reminiscent of demagogues of bad old days (08/02/99)
"Step back from the supercharged language of the debate over the city of Atlanta's
affirmative discrimination program. Tune out Mayor Bill Campbell's absurd talk of a Ku
Klux Klan of the new millennium or "a fight to the death."
"In fact, the city's position is no different from that of Alabama Gov. George
Wallace when he stood in the schoolhouse door to defend an unconstitutional principle.
Wallace, seen from Kansas or Connecticut, looked hateful and foolish. The U.S. Supreme
Court, after all, had struck down segregation. It could not survive.
"[Then-Gov. George] Wallace was defying the rule of law. [Mayor Bill] Campbell
intends to as well. "There will be no judge beating us into submission," he told
The New York Times.
"Campbell has become like the demagogues who once held such sway over the South. ...
His stock in trade now is economic blackmail and intimidation.
"What's going on is the end of affirmative discrimination, the well-intended artifact
of the '70s that was to be a temporary bootstrap for those left out by Jim Crow. The
program began here in 1973. It would seem that 26 years is plenty of temporary. The city
admits no discrimination against minorities has been practiced for years."
(Atlanta Business Chronicle 08/02/99 by Dick Williams)
Atlanta set-aside program is
breaking the law (07/23/99 - no link)
"Discussing the important issue of affirmative action is really an exercise in
definitions. Although Mayor Bill Campbell and his political allies have attempted to frame
the discussion as an "us against them fight to the death" to protect the
progress made by minorities, the sad irony is that Atlana's set-aside quota program for
public contracts violates the very laws for which the civil rights activists of the 1950s
and '60s fought and died. We owe it to those brave pioneers, and to our children, to
uphold the anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws, not break them.
"The Southeastern Legal Foundation's goal is to uphold those laws, not to end legal
affirmative action. The facts are clear. According to Larry Wallace, the city of Atlanta's
chief operating officer, Atlanta government does not discriminate against minorities
and women, has not discriminated in the last 10 years, and will not start discriminating
if the city's quota program is dismantled." (AccessAtlanta 07/23/99 by Matt
Affirmative Action: Program a
pillar of Atlanta growth (07/23/99 - dead link)
"In 1973, when Maynard Jackson ran to become Atlanta's first African-American mayor,
opponents of his candidacy proclaimed Atlanta a city too young to die. Nevertheless,
Jackson won and created a legacy by ushering in Atlanta's affirmative action program. This
program was designed to address systemic discrimination in Atlanta's public contracting.
Although Atlanta had a 65 percent African-American population, it was spending only 1
percent of public contracting dollars with African-American businesses. Founded on pillars
of fairness and justice, the program's aim was to include all races in the economic
marketplace of our city. In the 26 years since the city ushered in its affirmative action
program, Atlanta has transformed itself from a small Southern city into an international
capital of commerce and culture. It stands as a symbol of progressive interracial
cooperation, earning the right to host the Centennial Olympic Games." (Access Atlanta
07/23/99 by Bill Campbell)
In fight for affirmative
action, Mayor Bill Campbell makes fight personal (07/23/99 - dead link)
"The sad thing is, they think they're winning. Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and his
supporters have organized an aggressive public relations offensive against the
Southeastern Legal Foundation, which will soon file suit in federal court challenging
Atlanta's affirmative-action program as unconstitutional. City officials have helped to
organize rallies and picketing at foundation offices and have participated in
demonstrations. They have established a private legal-defense fund, soliciting donations
from companies that do business with the city. They've given at least tacit support to a
boycott of companies represented on the foundation's board of directors. And they've been
quite blunt in describing Matt Glavin and the foundation he heads as racist, akin to the
KKK." (Access Atlanta 07/23/99 editorial)
Fighting words likely to
backfire on Campbell (07/23/99 - no link)
"At City Hall in Atlanta, Mayor Bill Campbell is unintentionally conducting a case
study in how to destroy support for an affirmative-action program. Denouncing critics of
the city's set-aside program as racists and comparing them to the Ku Klux Klan, using
battlefield rhetoric and employing in-your-face tactics, Campbell is likely to ensure the
demise of the program he is trying to save. Suffering defeat after defeat in referendums
and courtrooms around the country, affirmative action hardly needs friends like Campbell
and his compatriots. Imagine the results if the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had spoken
enthusiastically of hating his opponents, as a Campbell ally did at a recent rally. Would
the nation have moved so quickly to redress the wrongs of its racist past?"
(Access Atlanta 07/23/99 by Cynthia Tucker, opinion)
tough talk may work nationally (07/23/99)
"Maybe I'm just in a Machiavellian mood, but I can think of at least two ways in
which Mayor Bill Campbell's "any means necessary" rhetoric against the
Southeastern Legal Foundation might turn out to be politically shrewd. Angry, racially
divisive and self-defeating as the mayor may seem to some Atlantans, he could end up
making a positive impression on a relatively distant national audience of blacks, other
minorities, liberals and Democrats. He also may have found a weapon in the next election
for mayor, which could shape up as a contest between Campbell's candidate (whoever) and
City Council President Robb Pitts. Campbell mentioned national opinion at least twice
during last week's news conference, where he and his allies condemned the group that is
about to face Atlanta in court over the city's system of setting aside some city contracts
for companies run by minorities and women. (I missed the press conference, but I've now
seen it on videotape.)" (Access Atlanta by Colin Campbell, Opinion)
Campbell, Glavin take gloves
off: Will Atlanta's racial rift widen? (07/23/99 - dead link)
"During the peak of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Atlanta earned a
reputation as the "city too busy to hate." While riots and bombs rocked other
cities, and marchers were attacked with police dogs, nightsticks and fire hoses, Atlanta
Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. worked closely with the business community to ensure that the Rev.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s hometown stayed above the fray. And for the most part, it did.
But some fear that recent, bitter public exchanges between Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and
the Southeastern Legal Foundation, which has said it will sue the city to dismantle its
affirmative action program, are threatening to tear the delicate veil of racial harmony
stitched together more than 30
years ago." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 07/23/99 by Carlos Campos)
Mayor Steps Up Rhetoric Against Conservative Group (07/26/99)
"Constitutional scholars are stunned at the ferocity of the reaction by Atlanta Mayor
Bill Campbell to a challenge by the Southeastern Legal Foundation to the legality of the
city's affirmative action program. In the four weeks since foundation president Matt
Glavin sent the mayor a letter suggesting the city's race preference program was illegal
and unconstitutional, Glavin and his associates have been on the receiving end of hate
tactics reminiscent of those employed by reactionary whites against blacks during the
civil rights campaigns of the 1960s, Glavin told CNSNews.com.
"Indeed, the mayor's attacks have become so fervent they have even alarmed his
political allies, most notably, the liberal-leaning Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Traditionally a staunch defender of the mayor's race programs, the paper downplayed
Campbell's questionable conduct - until it appeared to cross the line. The final straw was
the public expulsion of Glavin from a city hall news conference, at the mayor's
behest. Campbell called the conference to denounce the Southeastern Legal Foundation
for challenging the constitutionality of the city's race program. When he spotted Glavin,
who came to observe the proceedings as a private citizen, the mayor directed an Atlanta
police officer to escort Glavin out of the room, and later, out of a waiting area as
"Campbell's 'bullying of a political adversary suggests that the mayor needs a
refresher on the Bill of Rights,' the paper wrote in an editorial. ... 'He has called us
racist; he has called us KKK. He said we've taken off the sheets and put on suits. He has
sent picketers to our offices to yell at us through bullhorns. He is boycotting businesses
that support us. I've had to hire armed security to travel with me and to protect my home,
because they've now threatened my home. I've even been driven off the road,' Glavin told
CNSNews.com. (Conservative News Service 07/26/99 by Lawrence Morahan)
Defies Threat to End Affirmative Action (07/16/99)
"As their city faced a threat of lawsuit by a conservative group that has campaigned
pointedly against race-based preferences for most of a decade, hundreds of black Atlantans
let loose their "amens" today at a City Hall rally called by the Mayor in
defiance of the threat of a lawsuit to end the city's affirmative action program.
"Even though the courts in recent years have chipped away at similar race-based
benefit programs across the country, the Mayor, Bill Campbell, has said he refuses to
allow the same thing to happen in Atlanta, which is more than two-thirds black and is
known as the cradle of the civil rights movement.
"A conservative public interest legal group, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, gave
the city 30 days' notice on June 14 that if its affirmative action program was not
abolished voluntarily, the foundation would file a lawsuit. The foundation, led by its
president, Matthew Glavin, has said that the program violates the Fourteenth Amendment and
that it will file suit next month.
"Today the city ... has set a goal that 35 percent of its contracts be handled by
minority-owned companies. Both white and minority business owners have said the
program amounts to a patronage system in which friends of city leaders receive big
contracts. Over the years, a small core of Atlanta developers has won bids on most
of the city's biggest contracts, including a $142 million project at the Underground
Atlanta shopping center. (New York Times 07/16/99)
Program Suspected of Favoritism, Corruption (04/06/99)
"The Atlanta City Council on Monday urged tighter controls over the city's
minority business program, complaining that it has been plagued by politics and by
favoritism, and that it has only benefited a handful of companies. "I am very
disturbed," said Councilwoman Julia Emmons. "The minority program is abused
right and left."
"[The council's] action follows articles in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about
the city's program, including a report that a major contract was given to a firm with
close ties to [Atlanta Mayor] Campbell. The firm, approved as a minority contractor, did
not perform most of the work it was hired to handle.
"Another firm recently became the first to have its certification revoked by the
city, after an article revealed a city employee who helped register the firm for minority
status later became its president.
"City Councilwoman Cathy Woolard complained that the city repeatedly relies on the
same minority businesses. [Atlanta Mayor] Campbell appointed a committee last month
made up of business and community leaders to recommend ways to improve the city's minority
business program." The mayor made no mention of any effort aimed at improving
the city's business dealings with white-owned contractors and businesses. (Based on
Atlanta Journal-Constitution 04/06/99 by Julie B. Hairston and Carols Campos)
See Also: Federal Probe of Corrupt Atlanta
End Older News - Atlanta Quotas and Set-Asides Page