Does Mary Norwood Care About Black People?

MARTA, Atlanta’s public transportation system providing about 400,000 rider a day is in the deepest financial crisis in its 40 year history. On Saturday August 15, 2009 service cuts went into effect reflecting MARTA’s deepening fiscal crisis and on Thursday October 1, 2009 a fare increase went into effect. The service cuts and fare increase have affected hundreds of thousands of Atlantans but if you were watching the mayoral debate that aired yesterday, October 13, 2009 you would not have known it.

Do you know how much MARTA costs? I know how much it costs. I live in Atlanta and use the service everyday. Let’s assume you, like me, know how much a bus ride costs in Atlanta. Mary Norwood does not know how much a MARTA bus fare costs.

Doesn't ride MARTA or read about it apparently

Doesn't ride MARTA or read about it apparently

There is a difference between me and you and Mary Norwood not knowing this bit of information. A big one. There is an election coming up soon here in Atlanta. In 20 days, in fact. And according to polls, if that election were today, of us three, the one of us that doesn’t know how much it costs for transit-dependent Atlantans to catch a bus would be the mayor of Atlanta. MARTA stands for Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. It also known as ‘moving Africans rapidly through Atlanta’ due to the highly skewed racial demographic of the ridership.

What is going on inside Mary Norwood’s campaign for mayor? What is going on inside Mary Norwood’s head? How is it possible that mayoral candidate could be ignorant about such an important piece of policy at such a critical time for MARTA and for its cash-strapped, mostly Black ridership?

I view this foot in mouth incident as a sneak-peek into what a Norwood administration might be like for people like myself who rely on something like MARTA. She doesn’t care and doesn’t seem to see it as a problem not caring. Every other candidate attempted to answer the question of the cost of a MARTA fare. Norwood simply said she didn’t know, making it appear that she doesn’t even care that she doesn’t know. It also appears that she and/or her campaign don’t think it matters much that she doesn’t know. All of these things are worrisome to me and they should be worrisome for Norwood. That they don’t seem to be is even more worrisome for me.

Many people have expressed concern about this majority Black city, with its sordid history and present-day white racism problems, having a white mayor. This clear and present expression of either dullness, disdain or disinterest does nothing to allay the concern and much to validate it. Shame on you, Mary.

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