Sun., October 25, 2009 8:49pm (EDT)

Atlanta Mayoral Debate Mostly Polite
By Susanna Capelouto
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
GPB and The Atlanta Press Club sponsored Sunday night's Atlanta mayoral debate.
GPB and The Atlanta Press Club sponsored Sunday night's Atlanta mayoral debate.
All 6 candidates for Atlanta mayor debated for one hour Sunday night on GPB Television.

The one thing they agreed on was that the city's finances need a makeover.

Current council president Lisa Borders promised a new business model and budget awareness. When questioned why Atlanta's finances got into trouble under her watch over the city council, she said that the council has little oversight over the day to day operations of the finance department.

A recent poll put Borders in 3rd place with 17 percent of the vote. But there's still a huge block of undecided voters just 10 days out.

Former Democratic Senator Kasim Reed, who is showing up at 22 percent in the recent Insider Advantage poll, is hoping to make it into a runoff with council woman Mary Norwood. She is polling at 41 percent.

While the election is non-partisan, Reed pointed out in the debate that Mary Norwood voted Republican 70 percent of the time dating back to the mid 90s. Norwood, defended her votes and said she is independent and has also voted Democratic.

Here are some answers to questions posed by a panel of reporters.

Kasim Reed: Believes the city needs lobbying reform, but does not think companies that do business with the city should be restricted in giving contributions to candidates.

Lisa Borders: Does not believe the key to downtown revitalization is gambling in Underground. Instead, she wants to bring more retail downtown and help boost Georgia State University's urban campus.

Lisa Borders: Would turn Parks and Rec Services over to non-profits like the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Mary Norwood: Does not believe the city council needs downsizing by eliminating the 3 At-Large positions (one of which she holds).

The other candidates in the debate were Jesse Spikes, Kyle Kaiser and Peter Brownlowe.

All candidates agreed that a state takeover of the city's MARTA transit system would only work if the state would put up a lot of money.

They all agreed that a commuter tax is out of question, though Lisa Borders would look at an added parking fee to raise money.

The Candidates will debate again on Tuesday morning on Atlanta radio station V-103 and on WSB Television in Atlanta on Sunday, November 1.