Mary Norwood, the chair of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods and former mayoral candidate, is seeking to return to the Atlanta City Council in Buckhead’s District 8 seat.

District 8 incumbent J.P. Matzigkeit announced this week that he will not run for re-election Nov. 2. He did not immediately respond to questions about other candidates and whether he might endorse one.

Mary Norwood.

Norwood is a former three-term City Council member who held the Post 2 At-Large seat now held by Matt Westmoreland. She lost two close mayoral elections — to Kasim Reed in 2009 and to incumbent Keisha Lance Bottoms in 2017 — and is continuing a political comeback that began with her taking on the leadership of the BCN in 2019.

“I am running because there are many challenges facing our city and now, more than ever, we need leadership, vision and courage in our elected representatives,” Norwood said in a written statement. “…It has been my pleasure to have served our city on the Atlanta City Council for three terms, and I would like to continue my service for the upcoming term.”

Norwood runs the BCN much like a city council, producing policy “resolutions” on such issues as crime, transportation and tree protection, and has forged closer ties between her group’s neighborhood associations and the local business organizations.

In her statement, Norwood said she will run on similar issues.

“One of the most important issues that must be addressed is public safety,” Norwood wrote. “We must treat violent crime as a crisis. We must protect our neighborhoods, families and businesses with more police officers on the street, a recruitment plan that brings in the best and the brightest, and improve morale with new APD [Atlanta Police Department] leadership.

“We must improve city services and fix our streets, roads and sidewalks,” she continued. “We must address our zoning and development codes so that our neighborhoods and quality [of] life are protected, which includes protections for our tree canopy.”

Following on the often bitter 2017 mayoral race, she has also sometimes butted heads with the Bottoms administrations on such issues as the city jail. Both on the council and in recent years, Norwood has been closer to City Council President Felicia Moore, who is now challenging Bottoms for the Mayor’s Office.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.