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|Ga. Supreme Court to hear gay journalist's case against Atlanta City Council|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|September 28, 2011 16:05|
Matthew Cardinale, activist and editor of the online Atlanta Progressive News, is slated to present his case to the Georgia Supreme Court on Oct. 4, alleging the Atlanta City Council has violated the Open Meetings Act.
Alex Wan, the only openly gay city council member, told the GA Voice in May 2010 when Cardinale filed suit against the council and individual members, that the vote at the retreat was a "lark."
“No action was taken. Everything stayed the same. The irony is [Cardinale] got what he wanted. I'm baffled he would want to waste city resources this way. We have really pressing issues we should be focusing on. We have very open, liberal policies for public comment," Wan said last year.
“That said, I wanted to make sure that as our counsel, you're comfortable with my position and that if he does end up filing the lawsuit as threatened that the City is prepared to defend me and any other Councilmembers that choose not to submit to his tactics,” the email said.
Wan told the GA Voice last year he stood by his description that Cardinale was harassing City Council members.
“He says we were voting on a proposal and there should have been a roll call when in reality we were not voting. Eight said they were comfortable with how things were, seven said we should explore. Then he started harassing council, firing off emails to council, legal, the clerk,” Wan said.
Cardinale rebuffed Wan's accusations of bullying.
“I have taken extraordinary steps. I think the stuff from Alex about me bullying him is a mischaracterization and it shouldn’t even matter,” Cardinale said last May. “Just because I didn’t say ‘please.’ As a reporter, my primary obligation is to my readers and that doesn’t mean I have to play nice. I did a lot to reach out to Alex."
“And the chair can waive the five minute rule if someone is giving a lot of information and goes over. There are also so many other ways to communicate with council. With emails you have written record. If we as a council operate more efficiently it sends a message to the city,” Wan said.
But the unwillingness of the city council to initially share how they voted or have a public record stating who voted how led Cardinale to file a "pro se" lawsuit and he is representing himself.
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