Editor’s Notes
John Schaffner

Post 2 At-large Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood said she was “shocked” to hear someone say that the council could approve—without a public referendum—a special tax on residents and businesses bordering Peachtree Road in order to fund a streetcar along the corridor and other improvements.

“That’s taxation without representation and there was a tea party in the 1700s near here about that very thing,” she told the Buckhead Reporter during an Aug. 13 conversation in Castine, Maine.

Norwood and her husband, Dr. Felton Norwood, were enjoying some R&R (rest and recuperation) in the town that was first inhabited by the Dutch in the 1600s.

Castine also was the spot where the American navy apparently suffered its worst defeat. But no one cares much anymore as they visit this little town on Penobscot Bay free of 100-degree summer temperatures.

When Norwood found out I was going to be just across the bay in Camden, Maine for a couple of days, she insisted we get together in Castine for lunch. I never considered saying no, since I wanted to ask of her plans regarding next year’s mayoral race.

So, my wife Karen, and our traveling friends (John Stern and Reed Catlin from Palm Beach and Bill Mitchell and Cathy Meehan from Vidalia) drove around the horn—since the ferry boat was sold out—for a delightful few hours with Mary and Felton, talking about issues and politics in Atlanta.

It was my first time meeting Felton, a native of Perry, Ga. He is a pediatrician by profession with a keen interest in botanical gardens and making beautiful flower arrangements, a fourth or fifth generation family graduate of Emory’s medical school going back to the 1800s, and an all-around smart and immediately likeable guy.

Of course, you get a newspaper editor and a member of City Council together around a table and the conversation is most definitely going to gravitate to local issues and politics. We discussed affordable housing, juvenile crime in the city and the lack of the points enforcement, infill housing and the gentrification of some of our neighborhoods and, yes, the Peachtree Corridor plan and the proposed streetcar, which I have dubbed “the trolley folly.”

I think I can reasonably say Mary Norwood would vote against a special tax district, including four or so blocks of residential homes all up and down Peachtree Road, to pay for a streetcar of questionable value.

As for whether or not Mary Norwood will run for mayor in 2009, she would only say she will run only if she feels she has a chance of winning. She says she is not interested in running just to boost her ego.

As for the next 800 days (or whatever is left), she plans to continue serving her constituents in the city as best she can, the way she has for the past term and a half.

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