Pin It

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ralph Long III joins race to unseat Councilman H. Lamar Wilis

Ralph Long III, a former two-term state representative and real estate broker, has joined the race to boot Atlanta City Councilman H. Lamar Willis from his citywide seat.

Long, who lost his Gold Dome seat in 2012 as a casualty of the recent round of Republican-led redistricting, says he wants to focus on providing better city services to Atlantans.

"I just felt that with the citywide election, we can't afford the seat going to inexperience, we can't afford the seat not being a prized jewel of the City Council," the 37-year-old real estate broker told CL on Sunday. "The highest ethics need to employed."

If you've been following the race for the citywide seat, the "inexperience" remark is a reference to Andre Dickens, a Georgia Tech administrative staffer, neighborhood activist, and former business owner who's running for the Post 3 At-Large seat. (He also enjoys the support of former Mayor Shirley Franklin.) Attorney Shelitha Robertson, who's run for other positions in the past but never served in elected office, has also announced her intention to run for office. Her camp has been relatively quiet in recent months.

And the "ethics" comment is directed at, you guessed it, incumbent H. Lamar Willis. The councilman and attorney could be disbarred for failing to properly handle settlement payments related to a personal injury case he handled. Willis, who has not been charged with any crime, said the emotional pain of his divorce and duties as an elected official caused some "administrative things" to fall through the cracks. In addition, Willis ran afoul of ethics rules for failing to properly register a scholarship foundation he operated and which accepted contributions from current or potential city vendors.

"When I took my classes in real estate and all up until I got my license, it was beat in my head with a hammer over and over again," said Long, who lives in Sylvan Hills with his wife and son. "When you receive the earners' money deposit check from the client, take it to the bank and deposit it into your escrow account. Period. You are to have full disclosure with your escrow account and you're not to spend that money."

Long, who regularly uses his Facebook profile to raise awareness about issues affecting his neighborhood and greater southwest Atlanta, says focusing on city services would be the cornerstone of his campaign because that's "the cornerstone of me."

"I'm about constituent service," he says. "I'm not part of the get-along gang. You call me when you want to talk about city services."

If elected, Long said, he wants to work with all communities and Neighborhood Planning Units to find better ways for the city to fix broken sidewalks, address PARKAtlanta, fight crime, and boost development - including at Fort McPherson, the shuttered Army base in southwest Atlanta. He would like to see how neighborhoods have tackled issues and see if they can be applied to other communities throughout the city. He also wants to discuss other programs, he said, such as shelters for transgendered youth.

Had he served on Council during the stadium talks, Long said, he would have pushed to let voters decide via referendum whether the estimated $1 billion facility should receive cash from the city's hotel and motel tax. And he also said he would not have voted to give himself a pay raise, as Council did earlier this year. (It's worth noting that, were Long to win the race, he would benefit from that pay raise upon coming into office.) Long also recently chatted with Atlanta Progressive News and gave some additional views on his challengers.

Long, who as a state lawmaker pushed for a law cracking down on mattress resellers and called out Gold Dome Republicans for using MARTA as a "political football," says he doesn't expect to raise much cash because of his past positions. And he's getting a late start compared to the other candidates. Qualifying for municipal elections takes place next week, however, so he might not be the last person to jump into what's looking to become one of the more competitive City Council races. When we chatted on Sunday, Long was finalizing discussions with a campaign manager and building his team. Expect more details and news in the coming weeks.

Tags: , , ,


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Sober 32

    A writer grapples with alcoholism and searches for peace of mind
  • Streetcar funding foul-up 20

    Where'd we put that millions of dollars in funding?

Latest in Fresh Loaf

More by Thomas Wheatley


Search Events

Search Fresh Loaf

Recent Comments

People who saved…

© 2014 Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation