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Top 8 candidates for Atlanta mayor face-off in debate at WSB-TV

Top 8 candidates for Atlanta mayor face-off in debate at WSB-TV

The top eight candidates for Atlanta's mayor based on polling faced off right here in our Channel 2 Action News studio.    Mary Norwood, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Peter Aman, Ceasar Mitchell, Cathy Woolard, Vincent Fort, Kwanza Hall and John Eaves took each other to task on public safety. All eight candidates voiced support for Atlanta Police officers and the need to keep them employed here and keep them happy. There were also ideas from the different candidates about how to tackle repeat offenders, criminal justice reform, and juvenile crime. 'I am appalled that we have decimated our police department with 14-18 men and women leaving every month because the pension plan does not work for them,' said Mary Norwood. TRENDING STORIES: Embracing bodies found in national park died in ‘sympathetic murder-suicide' Police seek 3 thieves who stole guns in Cartersville crime spree Woman leaving work carjacked at gunpoint in busy shopping center 'I think we need to take a tougher stance when it comes to our re-entry programs, we need to make sure that people out of prison, they have an opportunity, for education, job training, etc,' said Keisha Lance Bottoms. 'Now, what we need to do when I'm mayor is to pay our officers more, five to $10,000 more, so we are at the top of the market in Atlanta,' said Kwanza Hall. 'I'm in awe of our officers but they need more help, we have to do targeted pay raises, we have to provide them with take-home vehicles,' said Peter Aman. 'We've got to make sure we're doing real criminal justice reform, which means not putting people in jail for things they should not be in jail for,' said Ceasar Mitchell. 'We've got to do more with young people that would be very very specialized in getting guns off our street and gangs out of our city,' said Cathy Woolard. 'I think we need to close one of the jails down, $35 million we're using to stop the school to prison pipeline in our city,' said John Eaves. 'We have to understand that if we're going to deal with the public safety issue that we have then the community is going to have partner with police,' said Vincent Fort. Norwood, who is leading the polls, noted that candidate Aman was the city’s chief operating officer in 2010 and 2011 at the start of when federal authorities allege that someone in city hall began taking bribes to secure city contracts. “In 2011, I was not at city hall,” Norwood said. “Mr. Aman was.” Norwood quoted a lawsuit accusing Aman and current Mayor Kasim Reed of violating city code. Norwood points out 'Mr. Aman was the Chief Operating Officer when the first concession bids were sent back to the airport' (1/2) #ATLMayor pic.twitter.com/0XdWqO6hDh — WSB-TV (@wsbtv) October 22, 2017 Norwood adds 'We need a new day at City Hall' (2/2) #ATLMayor pic.twitter.com/TZU81InUfM — WSB-TV (@wsbtv) October 22, 2017 “Hold on,” Aman said, adding that Norword had misrepresented the facts and that the city had won the lawsuit. Things got uglier from there, signaling a shift in tone and intensity as the contest enters its final two weeks. Fort criticized Council President Mitchell for waiting to call for a city hall compliance officer to investigate inappropriate financial dealings a few weeks ago. He said it sounded a lot like legislation he had proposed in January. Fort also noted that City Councilwoman Lance Bottoms had called his proposal a gimmick. “I did call it a gimmick,” Bottoms acknowledged. She then referenced a federal tax lien against Fort and said he had his state paycheck garnished from his time as a lawmaker. Fort then pulled out documents from his suit jacket that he said were copies of federal tax liens against Bottoms. In response, Fort says 'One thing the city of Atlanta doesn't tolerate is hypocrisy and I have here your tax leins' #ATLMayor pic.twitter.com/90Tw6ZFUqi — WSB-TV (@wsbtv) October 22, 2017 Bottoms said she and her husband fell behind on their bills after incurring expenses while starting a family. Fort said he had a payment arrangement on his lien. When candidates file to run for office, they must sign an oath stating they don’t owe any public money including state and federal taxes. But it also says they can still be eligible as long as they are on a payment plan. “Did you sign an oath that do not owe any taxes to the government?” Bottoms repeatedly asked Fort. After the event, Channel 2 Political Analyst Bill Crane said there was no knock-out blow or big win in tonight's debate but a few candidates stood out. 'You had a particularly good performance by Keisha Lance Bottoms, Ceasar Mitchell, the president of the Atlanta City Council, and I think there were a lot of compelling ideas that came out of John Eaves even though he's not doing that well in the polls,' Crane said. Crane says Norwood, who is leading in the polls, seemed to play it safe Sunday. 'I thought, kind of, you didn't see a lot of the passion that I know the candidate has in her answers tonight, but she did have a little bit more detail on some of the things she would plan to do if she were to be elected mayor,' Crane explained. Thirteen candidates in all are vying for office, making this one of the largest Atlanta mayoral races in recent years. Voters will cast their ballots on November 7. If it comes to a runoff, voters will decide between the top two candidates in early December. A minute-by-minute recap of Sunday's debate can be found here. WSB is your home for all things regarding this election. Check our detailed guide to the Atlanta mayor's race here.           Atlanta Mayoral Debate

Sgt. Bergdahl faces life in prison for endangering comrades

Sgt. Bergdahl faces life in prison for endangering comrades

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will appear Monday before a military judge who will determine his punishment for endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan. Before delivering his sentence, the judge will have to resolve a last-minute defense argument that new comments by President Donald Trump have tainted the case. Bergdahl faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Prosecutors made no deal to cap his punishment, so the judge has wide leeway to decide his sentence after a hearing expected to take several days. The judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, is expected to weigh factors including Bergdahl's willingness to admit guilt, his five years of captivity in the hands of the Taliban and its allies, and the serious wounds that several service members suffered while searching for him. Prosecutors are expected to put on evidence or testimony about soldiers and a Navy SEAL who were seriously wounded by gunfire during these search missions, including an Army National Guard sergeant who was shot in the head, suffering a traumatic brain injury that put him in a wheelchair, unable to speak. Bergdahl, 31, from Hailey, Idaho, was captured soon after walking off his remote post in 2009. He has said he was caged, kept in darkness and beaten, and tried to escape more than a dozen times. He said his intention had been to alert other commanders to what he saw as problems with his unit. Still, when he pleaded guilty, he told the judge that his actions were inexcusable. President Barack Obama brought Bergdahl home in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, saying the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield. Republicans roundly criticized Obama, and Trump went further while campaigning for president, repeatedly calling Bergdahl a 'dirty, rotten traitor' who deserved to be executed by firing squad or thrown out of a plane without a parachute. Nance ruled in February that those campaign statements were 'disturbing and disappointing,' but didn't amount to unlawful command influence, noting that Trump made the comments before he became president. Defense lawyers argued last week that Trump's views haven't changed as commander in chief, citing his reaction to Bergdahl's guilty plea. Trump told reporters he couldn't say anything more about the case, 'but I think people have heard my comments in the past.' The White House issued a statement Friday that, without mentioning Bergdahl by name, said any military justice case must be 'resolved on its own facts.' Prosecutors cited that statement in opposing the latest defense arguments. ____ Follow Drew at www.twitter.com/jonldrew .

The Latest: Trump calls failure on tax plan GOP doom in 2018

The Latest: Trump calls failure on tax plan GOP doom in 2018

STERLING, Va. (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump. (all times local): 10 p.m. President Donald Trump is warning House Republicans that 2018 would be a political failure for the GOP and a disappointment for the nation if they fail on tax overhaul. A GOP aide familiar with the conversation tells the Associated Press Trump told the lawmakers the party would have a steep price to pay in next year's midterm elections if they failed to pass his plan. It would slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and double the standard deduction used by most average Americans. The president also said that, beyond the looming elections, his plan was the right thing to do for the country, the person said. In a conference call, Trump urged members to adopt the budget passed by the Senate this week and move on to tax reform. ___ 5:24 p.m. President Donald Trump has urged House Republicans to move swiftly on passing the budget during a conference call, clearing the way for what he called an historic step on taxes. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence joined a Sunday afternoon House Republicans call in which Trump urged members to adopt the budget passed by the Senate last week and move on to tax reform. Trump told the members they were on the verge of doing something historic. That's according to a Republican official on the call. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss what was intended to be a private call for members. House Speaker Paul Ryan also said on the call that he hopes to pass a revised Senate bill this week so that tax reform can be enacted by the end of the year. —By Jill Colvin ___ 11:24 a.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it. A proposal by two senators — Republican Lamar Alexander and Democrat Patty Murray — would extend to insurers federal payments that Trump has blocked. Trump has offered mixed signals about whether he supports the deal. McConnell tells CNNs' 'State of the Union' he's 'waiting' to hear from Trump 'what kind of health care bill he might sign.' He adds: 'I think he hasn't made a final decision. When he does, and I know we're not just debating it, but actually passing something to be signed, I'd be happy to bring it up.

Eric Von Haessler is trading places with Herman Cain starting Monday, October 2.  The “Von Haessler Doctrine,” will begin airing a two-hour show from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Herman Cain will move to 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The “Von Haessler Doctrine,” will also continue the bonus podcast each day as well and the show's entire team – which includes Autumn Fischer, Tim Andrews, Jared Yamamoto, Greg Russ and English Nick will remain the same.
Eric Von Haessler is trading places with Herman Cain starting Monday, October 2.  The “Von Haessler Doctrine,” will begin airing a two-hour show from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Herman Cain will move to 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The “Von Haessler Doctrine,” will also continue the bonus podcast each day as well and the show's entire team – which includes Autumn Fischer, Tim Andrews, Jared Yamamoto, Greg Russ and English Nick will remain the same.
Eric Von Haessler is trading places with Herman Cain starting Monday, October 2.  The “Von Haessler Doctrine,” will begin airing a two-hour show from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Herman Cain will move to 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The “Von Haessler Doctrine,” will also continue the bonus podcast each day as well and the show's entire team – which includes Autumn Fischer, Tim Andrews, Jared Yamamoto, Greg Russ and English Nick will remain the same.
Eric Von Haessler is trading places with Herman Cain starting Monday, October 2.  The “Von Haessler Doctrine,” will begin airing a two-hour show from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Herman Cain will move to 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The “Von Haessler Doctrine,” will also continue the bonus podcast each day as well and the show's entire team – which includes Autumn Fischer, Tim Andrews, Jared Yamamoto, Greg Russ and English Nick will remain the same.
Echoing Reagan, Trump pushes Congress to act swiftly on tax reform

Pushing the House to take another step this week on the road to major tax reforms, President Donald Trump used an op-ed in USA Today to argue that GOP tax plans will “ignite America’s middle class miracle once again,” as he channeled former President Ronald Reagan, saying with “tax reform, we can make it morning in America again.”

“Revising our tax code is not just a policy discussion — it is a moral one, because we are not talking about the government’s money – we are talking about your money, your hard work,” the President wrote.

Mr. Trump meanwhile used a conference [More]