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Rep. Taylor Accuses APN of Homophobic Conspiracy

(APN) ATLANTA -- Today, State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta) publicly accused the Atlanta Progressive News of engaging in a two-year conspiracy, in conjunction with political operatives, to produce homophobic mailers targeting Mr. Taylor as well as Angela Brown, a former candidate for Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education.

Rep. Taylor is currently in a heated Primary Election with State Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta), as they have both been drawn into the same district this year by the Republican-led legislature.

Yesterday, Georgia Voice magazine reported that Taylor has come forward with a mailer making homophobic attacks against Mr. Taylor.  Taylor claims that the flyer has been found throughout South Atlanta.

Taylor called on the Gardner campaign to denounce the flyer, which she has.

Today, Taylor accused the Atlanta Progressive News of conspiring with political operatives to produce the homophobic flyer.  The News Editor of APN and present writer--who is openly homosexual--denies the allegations and finds them to be astonishing.

Rep. Taylor had a press conference to discuss the flyer this morning, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, and later crashed a press event that State Rep. Pat Gardner had been planning for over a week at Paschal’s restaurant.

At Taylor’s press conference, he noted, “During the School Board race, there was a flyer that came out with these exact same bullet points, sourced by the exact same news source, with the same homophobic undertones.  Then, over the weekend, it’s the same folks who are running that School Board campaign that are now working on Pat Gardner’s, and this flyer has shown up.”

“The same bulletpoints, it’s the same newspaper associations, it’s the same homophobic attacks we saw in the School Board race,” Taylor said.

In the parking lot at Paschal’s, “There are people who have some serious political policy disagreements, they’ll do anything to win,” Taylor told Gardner.

“But why would I get blamed for what they do?” Gardner asked.

“Well, it’s the same stuff that happened in the School Board race,” Taylor said.

“I had nothing to do with it,” Gardner said.

“You advertised... You’re advertising on the, you know, Progressive News.  Matthew Cardinale perpetuates this kind of homophobic stuff, rumors.  And I knew that would end up in the race.  That’s their whole strategy,” Taylor said.

The flyer that Taylor claims to have been distributed in South Atlanta states: "The Real Rashad... The only openly gay male in the Georgia General Assembly [AJC 5/27/11]; Accused of using his position in the Legislature to solicit sexual relationships [AJC, 5/27/11]; Former roommates with Khaatim El [APN, 1/20/11]; Possibly lived with a male lover on Moreland Ave [APN, 6/11/12]."

It is true that the Atlanta Progressive News has written two articles--one in 2011 and one in recent weeks--that have looked at the question of where Taylor has lived for the last several years and whether he has lived in his own District.

The articles have looked at (1) discrepancies involving Taylor’s voter file, (2) discrepancies between his voter file and statements he has made to APN sources regarding where he lives, (3) his consistent use of a PO Box in campaign and qualifying materials, (4) his unusually high number of addresses, and (5) concerns raised by his constituents regarding their inability to determine where he lives.

Taylor, to date, has still not answered questions regarding his residency, failed to respond to two emails from APN, and failed to answer questions from at least one other publication, the Georgia Voice, regarding his residency.

APN had reported in 2011 that Taylor lived with El, which he recently admitted to Georgia Voice, in the context of an APN article regarding concerns that were raised by Atlanta Public Schools parents regarding Taylor’s role in assisting El with his takeover of the APS Board of Education.

APN had reported more recently that Taylor, according to a source, had a lover off of Moreland Avenue, and that he may have lived there with him, in the context of an APN article regarding concerns raised by Taylor’s constituents regarding where he lives and whether he lives in his District.

The other flyer that Taylor was referencing is one that Angela Brown claimed was being mailed to voters regarding her.  The flyer quoted an interview that Brown gave to APN, in which she stated that she would support students who wished to wear gender-bending clothing to school.

Her opponent, current BOE Member Byron Amos, denied putting out the flyer regarding Ms. Brown.

It is important to note that APN interviewed four out of five candidates in that School Board race and asked them numerous questions regarding their positions on various education policies.  One of those questions was indeed regarding school dress codes.

However, the allegation that APN asked the question regarding school dress codes as part of a conspiracy with certain political operatives to produce a homophobic, trans-phobic flyer regarding Angela Brown is absurd.

The further allegation that APN has engaged in a two-year conspiracy to work with certain political operatives to produce two homophobic flyers--one regarding Brown and one regarding Taylor--is so ridiculous that it is breathtaking.

When Taylor accused APN of working with the “same folks who are running that School Board campaign that are now working on Pat Gardner’s,” he was likely referring to Rev. Mitzi Bickers, who worked on the Amos campaign and is now working on the Gardner campaign.

The present writer--prior to a ten minute phone conversation within the last hour--had never met, talked with, or otherwise communicated with Ms. Bickers previously.

Gardner has denied producing the flyer.

However, one possibility is that Brown and Taylor put out both flyers about themselves, in an attempt to generate sympathy from the LGBTQI community and to paint their opponents as homophobic.

The fact that Taylor claims that he currently lives with Brown, and they have been co-political operatives for several years means that they are operating from the same political playbook.  Oftentimes in the “silly season” of politics, things are not what they seem to be.

Given that Atlanta is such an open, tolerant, diverse, and progressive city, it is difficult to believe that anyone with the intention of helping Pat Gardner would put out a homophobic flyer regarding Mr. Taylor, and not realize that the flyer would have an opposite impact.


Comments (4)

Steve Swimmer
Said this on 6-20-2012 At 02:55 am

Below is flyer copy, Rev. Bickers may have passed along while supporting Pat Gardner.  While not exactly politically correct; the flyer is hardly homophobic.  Me thinks Rashad Taylor is screaming about nothing.



ABOMINATIONS ??? Gay bashers? Let's see: eating shellfish is an "abomination" as is homosexuality, so says, Biblical Leviticus' proclamations. Yet, we Americans cannot reject a Maine lobster tail drawn in butter.

Fact is, regardless any authority, shellfish eating is here to stay and no one cares who eats stuffed crab or Cherrystone clams.

Likewise, homosexuality, permanently ingrained in our human being, is equally here to stay, will not change and must integrate with complete equality for justice to reign in our Great Nation.

Gay bashers save your breath for other bashing; such as, perhaps, adulterers. I mean, here, God devoted an entire Commandment. Better: leave peaceful peoples sexuality alone and enroll in an anger management program.

Then, the Gay community can live in peace and our Country will be better served.

Importantly, Gay bashers will have a chance to outrun bigotry, homophobic fear, hateful violence; and, with extra-good anger management therapy, maybe, just maybe, control those fitful tempers.

Leave the Gay community alone. There is nothing wrong with being Gay that two or three generations of equality won't cure.

When ultra-right wing Christians denigrate the homosexual lifestyle, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an "abomination" for men; and, only men who "lie" together. I mean, nothing is said concerning women or oral sex. Sooo", what's with involving Lesbian folks in the religious debate?

Regarding some other elements of Biblical rules and how to follow them, I also wonder:

1. Leviticus 11:10. "And all that have not fins and scales in the seas", they shall be an "abomination" unto you." A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination; it is a lesser abomination than being Gay. I don't agree. I think an abomination is an abomination; thus, eating fried oysters is equivalent to Gay (males) on the Leviticus abomination scale. Can anyone settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

2. Leviticus 20:20, "And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife", they shall die childless." Is this worse than the abominations of eating crab Louie or being a Gay male? And, why does death for adultery escape God's notice here?

3. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians? Can my slaves be Gay as long as they are not Jewish?

4. I would like to sell my Daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? Also, Since God clearly favors homosexual females (by withholding the admonishment of abomination as reserved for Gay men): do you think I could get a better price advertising her as a Lesbian?

5. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

6. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1: 9. The problem is: my neighbors. They claim the odor is not so pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

7. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2, clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

8. Lev. 21:20. "Or crookback, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye" may not approach the altar of God. Does this include a defect in my sight? I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

9. Lev. 21:21. "No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire." Is this the authority by which ultra-right wing Christians often state: "If he's got one drop of Jew blood he is of the Devil"? And, speaking of Aaron. How can he die twice? Once on Mt. Hor (Numbers: 20:26-29) and some time latter in Mosera (Deut. 10.6). Is there a Resurrection story missing here?

10. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

11. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

12. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14).

There are many other questions one can ask. Especially, why are ultra-right wing Christians so obsessed with Gay people; yet, ignore those who: "lieth" with his father's wife; "lie" with his daughter-in-law; take a wife and her mother; "curseth" his father or his mother, or "committeth" adultery. All as death
sentence worthy, according to Leviticus, as if a man lies with a man.

Agreed, it is abundantly clear: God's word is eternal and unchanging. I mean, Leviticus has been the same for 5000 years and is not going to change.

It is we who change: today homosexuality and eating shellfish religious attention, rightfully, commands far less credence. In fact, hardly anyone knows eating shrimp as an "abomination." We long ago found that shrimp scampi and the likes were no abomination at all and too delicious to pass up. So, with little compunction, over time, we equalized shellfish with other foods we enjoy.

Accordingly, allow Gay folks privacy with equality and in a couple of generations no one will care about the present day stigmata of homosexuality any more than we notice today's diners enjoying Hawaiian prawns or poached Maine lobster drawn in lemon butter.

Said this on 6-23-2012 At 09:06 am

I am writing this comment to speak in support of Rashad Taylor whom I know personally and believe to be one of the finest persons I have ever known. He is a progressive Democrat who has served his district well and should be reelected to continue the good work he is doing, especially his advocacy on behalf of the low income residents of his district, the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, citizens who need progressive legislators to speak up for them. On these scores and on many other issues, Rep. Rashad's record is excellent. I would urge progressives to support Rep. Taylor in his campaign for reelection. I would end by saying this: shame on Matthew Cardinale and the Atlanta Progressive News for stooping to the worst forms of gutter politics  by forming an alliance with two conservative, probably Republican, Buckhead women, Kim Kawach and Allison Adair, who have undertaken a scurrilous (and so far unsuccessful) campaign to force this progressive, decent human being from office mainly by focusing on his sexual orientation. Here, I believe,  is the real irony: Matthew Taylor, Kim Kawach, and Allison Adair, the Gang of Three, channeling Senator Joseph McCarthy, by employing the the most underhanded of tactics (focusing heavily on sexual orientation, personal relationships,  home addresses) to destroy the political career of a good man.  As someone once asked Joe McCarthy while he was attacking a young man for having Communist Party affilliations, "Have you no shame, sir? At long last, have you no shame?"




Said this on 6-23-2012 At 12:28 pm
Dear BigBill188,
First, you write about Rep. Taylor's progressive work for the community. I cannot think of a single example, other than one in which he rode on Sen Fort's coat tails. In fact, most people I talk to feel that he has been an absent legislator and an absent community leader. If he has a progressive record he wants to share with our readers, it is unfortunate that he chose to be the ONLY candidate, out of nine, not to respond to the APN questionnaire. I have invited Mr. Taylor, even past the deadline, to respond. He previously stated he would; I have the email; so that's a broken promise. Broken promises don't bode well for people running for office.

Second, I'm afraid you really don't understand the series of articles that you are referring to.

Let me say that I am proud of my friendship with Allison and Kim. You know, I have never asked either of them if they are Democrat or Republican. The fact is, our ultimate concerns were the pro-privatization interests who were working with the Gang of Five: specifically, the Alisias PR firm which is the happy face of public housing demolitions and charter schools, and Glen Delk, who would do away with all public education and replace with vouchers. These are the concerns--progressive concerns--that they raised and brought to my attention, and they were credible concerns.

I have friends all over this City, and APN has readers all over this City. I am proud of the diversity of our readership, racial, geographic, and otherwise. To insinuate that these two concerns parents must be horrible people because they live in Buckhead, is really unfortunate.

The reason Mr. Taylor was implicated in our APS coverage is because he (1) helped orchestrate the APS BOE takeover, and (2) he sought a legal opinion from the State House regarding the takeover. Allison and Kim filed the complaint because there was a possible conflict of interest with Khaatim El accepting help with his APS takeover from a roommate, Rep. Taylor. Frankly, the complaint was not well-written, and that's the procedural, not substantive, reason that the complaint was not heard by APS.

So, the fact that they were roommates was relevant to the story, because under the APS charter, being roommates would define them as "relatives." The idea that the purpose of the article was to suggest that they were lovers, or to engage is gay-baiting is simply not true, and is furthermore offensive.

The subsequent, more recent article, looking at where Mr. Taylor lives and whether he resides in his District, similarly has nothing to do with sexuality. Again, Mr. Taylor has failed to answer some simple questions--first to APN and now to Georgia Voice--and in doing so, he has created this debacle.

I would end by saying that Mr. Taylor has become synonymous with the worst kind of dirty politics, the kind the turns people off from the political process. All of his races--against Joel Alvarado in 2008 and against Able Mable in 2010--he has engaged in the worst kind of baseless attacks and hit pieces. Then the Kasim Reed and John Eaves campaigns which he managed in 2009 and 2010. The hit pieces Reed's campaign, with Rashad playing a key role, put out on Mary Norwood, were beyond the pale. Then, how quickly Mr. Taylor was prepared to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters by challenging Norwood's ability to run as an independent, over a stupid technicality like the pre-printing of the word Fulton, is similarly outrageous.

So, no, I don't think Mr. Taylor is progressive. I think he is bad for our City and bad for our political process. Thank you for your time.
Buckhead Bette
Said this on 6-24-2012 At 12:03 am

Shame on you and Rep. Taylor!  You are employing your own underhand tactics by using trumped up accusations of discrimination to hide the real issue which is far more serious than sexual orientation!  

The real issue is residency which is a legal requirement to run in a district.  Does Rep. Taylor now reside in the district for which he is running?  Did he reside in that district while he represented that district.  If he does not meet the residency requirement then he is breaking the law by misrepresenting his residence and fraudulently holding office.   

Ms. Adair and Ms. Kawach have not employed any tactics - underhanded or otherwise - regarding Rep. Taylor.  They have only pointed out that Rep. Taylor registered to run with the address of a Post Office Box not his address of residency which is required to prove residency.  And, that this should be vetted before he runs again.

Perhaps you are both confused with the meaning of the phrase "residing with" as used in the Adair / Kawach ethics complaint.  The focus of the ethics complaint was did Mr. El benefit from residing with Rep. Taylor which would violate the ABE Charter with regard to conflict of interest by using a personal relationship for personal gain on ABE.   The complaint only referenced that Mr. El resided with Rep. Taylor.  Saying that someone resided with someone does not address the nature of the relationship just that they resided together, i.e. room mates.  

Rep. Taylor should know the requirements of running for office, and show the respect for the law by following those requirements or perhaps he is not qualified to be running at all.

With Rep. Taylor's campaign experience it is ludicrious to believe that he does not know the residency requirements which leads one to believe that he is hiding something by reporting his residence as a post office box.  Hideing something like he does not live in his district.

People are tired of the real issues being purposely pushed aside and redirected by bullies spreading false accusations of racism and discrimination to create a smoke screen to hide their illegal activities. 




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