Atlanta May Get Its First Gay Black City Councilman

Jon jones web story

Jon Jones is seeking to make history is Atlanta, a city with a strong LGBT population of color, by becoming the first black gay man elected to the Atlanta City Council.  He's up against two other openly gay candidates–Matt Rinker, who's won the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans, and Christine Enterkin–in his campaign the for the District 5 seat on the Council, and as the GA Voice reports, Jones hopes to put more of the power in Atlanta in the hands of the people:

Jones said he wants to implement "direct democracy" into the Atlanta City Council — a way to allow residents to actually vote, through their computers or smart phones — on legislative issues.

"This is a way to allow technology to play a role in the decision making process," he said. "Under my plan of direct democracy, you choose for yourself. People log in anytime there is an initiative up for a vote and each person gets to vote," he said.

And what the majority decides is what Jones will vote for. This way, he said. it's not only one person representing thousands of people.

"Each person is getting an equal seat at the table," he said.

Jones also told the GA Voice that he would decline a raise that the city council members had given themselves and would instead redirect that money back to taxpayers.

Last December, the Atlanta City Council approved a resolution supporting marriage equality, although Mayor Kasim Reed declined to express his own support.

While Jones would be the first gay person of color on the council, he would not be its first out member. Alex Wan, who is running for reelection to the District 6 seat, and two past members, Cathy Woolard and Anne Fauver, are all gay.


  1. emjayay says

    There is a reason for representative democracy, other than that all those people can’t fit in a town meeting. Also unlike the New England village, in a larger more complex society, each person sees just one angle on a problem and probably doesn’t know that much about it anyway. So not only are representatives a practical measure, but they are people who see the big picture and spend a lot of time gaining knowledge and expertise. So they don’t legislate just by polling or internet voting.

  2. Jonty Coppersmith says

    Having the masses vote on every issue is exactly what we are opposed to in regard to equality. The system he is calling for seems like anarchy to me. He should be able to engage his constituents and figure the polling on issues of importance. Then he should also have the balls to evaluate all sides and vote against the majority if he feels that is the right answer. Representative democracy and all that.

  3. Scooter says

    Please correct this, Alex Wan is Asian American, which makes him a person of color. Jon Jones might be the first out gay African American on the city council, but he is NOT the first out gay person of COLOR!

  4. Grace says

    I’ve actually had the chance to hear Jon Jones speak on the issues. At last week’s SEABA forum, Jones, the 2 other gay candidates, and the incumbent were presenting. Matt Rinker gave a fair performance, but every response seemed like generic politician speak (“create more jobs, “reduce crime”, etc). Christian Enterkin was way too aggressive; at times speaking so forcefully that the microphone reverberated. Natalyn Archibong did a fantastic job representing her record. Honestly, I don’t think she will have a hard time winning a fourth term. But Jon Jones, however, stood out the most to me. When he spoke, he was extremely articulate. His description of direct democracy – although it seems unrealistic – was very inspiring to hear about. He conveyed a calm intellect, and I and my husband were very impressed. I live in District 1, but I’m definitely going to watch this race to see how it plays out.

  5. ratbastard says

    ONE MORE TIME: “White” people are also “of color”. We are not translucent. At the moment, I’m tanned from being out in the hot sun over the summer, but I’ll be as white as Casper the ghost by winter.

  6. TampaZeke says

    First OPENLY gay, black city councilman.

    @Joseph, thanks for the 1980’s flashback but here in the 21st Century we know that sexual orientation isn’t a “preference”.

  7. Jason says

    I was going to bring up Alex Wan too, but several other posters beat me to it. Hopefully though, Alex Wan doesn’t get re-elected on his “close all the adult businesses in the adult business district” campaign.

  8. Hagatha says

    Just what we need: The municipal treasury being voted on by the same people who text for favorite contestant on American Idol.

    Here’s an idea: Let people who write the check for the property taxes vote on how those moneys are spent.

  9. Grace says


    You want only property owners to have rights….what is this, 17th century England?

    Trying to paint the masses as dumb so that only well-monied, “educated”, property owners can make all the important decisions is the epitome of an elitist aristocracy. Kind of what we have now.

    Banks get bailed out; we get sold out. You like that?

  10. DB says

    White people are ‘of color’ as much as blacks. We are not transparent. Also, he would not be the first gay black person on the City Council. He would be the first openly gay person on the City Council. It is safe to say there have been MANY gay black members of the Atlanta City Council.

  11. Hagatha says

    Grace – Like most of your ilk, you don’t think (or God forbid to research) before commenting.

    There are 578 properties in Atlanta which sell for $30K to $50K. Clearly one need not be “monied” or aristocratic to own property there.

    Requiring property ownership weeds out SOME welfare dependents who have no business voting on expenditures, as well as transients who don’t really have a long term investment in the health of the city.

    We have already seen what population shifts can do to cities. I give you Detroit, Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, and Atlanta. Some of these cities are on their way back, and some are hopeless.

  12. Grace says

    Hagatha, you represent everything that is wrong with America’s perverse obsession with capitalism. You think that money equals power. You say that buying and owning a home is proof that you’re “invested” in Atlanta? What about the working poor, who have long-standing roots in Atlanta, but don’t have the up-front money or credit rating to even consider home ownership. Should their opinions not count? What about Atlanta’s millionaires whose tax bills literally could buy a fleet of police vehicles. Should they get 10 votes? Maybe one vote for each of their houses? That’s fair in your twisted notion of democratic representation.

    The concept of direct democracy is far from perfect. But so is our current system – where the 1% control a disproportionate amount of all the money and power. While you’re researching housing prices, I and the rest of my “ilk” are trying desperately to survive in a system where it seems like the odds are stacked against us. Detroit, Philadelphia, DC, and Baltimore weren’t destroyed by the welfare recipients you so heavily fear. It was destroyed by greedy corrupt politicians and union bosses manning the helms, and diverting tax payer’s dollars into their own pockets.

    I, for one, look forward to change in the political system. And a setup where regular, average, everyday people have more input and oversight is definitely a step in the right direction.

  13. D-Money says

    The LCR does not have any noticeable influence in Atlanta – this is the first I am hearing that we have a chapter. Matt’s district is heavily gay and liberal, only a handful of them might know what the LCR is, so I doubt that endorsement will do any good for him. I don’t trust Matt any farther than I can throw him, but he is nice to your face. Jones’ idea is kinda dumb considering the whole technological divide between classes and Atlanta has one of the most noticeable economic disparities around, unless he just wants to do what all the white people on Midtown Patch vote for him to do, that is not what he should be focusing on.

    That picture of Jones is pretty old too since the red brick building in the background is now a white Hyatt hotel with a flat horizontal roof. Outwrite Bookstore was probably still open when that picture was taken.

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