News - C.T. Martin

For being a divider, not a uniter

In the City Too Busy to Hate, conspiracy theories nonetheless abound, most of them having to do with the ever-present issue of race. Numerous local politicians — black and white — have made a point of playing the race card whenever they're unable to prevail through logic or consensus-building.

Then there are guys like Atlanta Councilman C.T. Martin, who uses racial attacks so casually and reflexively that, half the time, it seems like he's doing it just to stay in practice.

Case in point: As a recent council work session on the city's sewer plan was dragging on, white council member Debi Starnes implored her colleagues to abandon their speechifying and return to discussing possible solutions to the crisis. Martin stood up to inform her that, given their respective ethnic heritages, he would not allow her to be his "slave master." Wouldn't it have been easier just to say he'd give a speech if he wanted to?

Last year, during the city's rancorous budget discussions, Martin attacked the mayor's plan to slash the payroll by asking, "Who are you cutting when you cut the work force? The descendants of the slaves." Now there's a conversation stopper.

You might imagine it'd be difficult to turn Atlanta's present sewer woes into a racial issue, but where there's a will, there's a way. Which brings us back to conspiracy theories. One that's surfaced recently holds that the mayor's proposed rate hike is part of a scheme to tax black families out of their homes so that whites can more quickly gentrify intown neighborhoods. (Almost as moronic: Radio agitprop loudmouth Neal Boortz is claiming Franklin's real strategy is to push the sewer rate hike knowing that it will fail. Then the only solution would be to raise property taxes. Since north Fulton (i.e. white) areas have the most high-value homes, Boortz says Franklin's goal is to make whites pay for the sewers.)

It's a shame that politicos like Martin are working to make the already-torturous ordeals of rate hikes and fiscal belt-tightening as ugly and divisive as possible by encouraging racial bickering.

The Weekly Scalawag is now accepting nominations. E-mail scott.henry@creativeloafing.com.

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