Matthew Charles Cardinale is an independent, progressive warrior who has been fighting for the people of Atlanta for over thirteen years. He lives in Atlanta’s Hunter Hills community with his three cats, Penelope, Veronica, and Mister Fluffers.
Matthew’s compassion for low-income and homeless people is personal. Matthew left home at the age of fourteen, and was a homeless teenager from 1995 to 1998 in South Florida. His experiences include navigating the shelter system, staying with friends, on the streets, and on and off at Covenant House Florida. At the age of sixteen, Matthew became a legal adult by petitioning for legal emancipation; and got his own apartment while working and going to school. He recently told the story of how he overcame homelessness and went on to be an advocate for affordable housing in his memoir, Tales of Audacity at the Turn of the Millennium.
Atlanta Progressive News
Matthew moved to Atlanta in 2005 from New Orleans, Louisiana, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He decided to create the Atlanta Progressive News, an online, independent news service which is now in its fourteenth year of publication. With nearly 3,000 articles to date, APN has helped to inform and empower Atlantans to make a meaningful difference in the democratic process, including by shining a light on Atlanta City Government.
Cardinale v. City of Atlanta – Supreme Court Victory
As a City Hall watchdog, in 2010, Matthew became concerned with a secret vote taken by the Atlanta City Council. The Council had taken a vote about whether to limit public comment, while the Council was having lunch on Retreat at the Georgia Aquarium.
When the City Council refused to disclose its secret vote, Matthew sued the City of Atlanta in 2010, without an attorney, appealing all the way up to the Supreme Court of Georgia, which, in 2011, took the case.
In 2012, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled in favor of Matthew, in Cardinale v. City of Atlanta. Not only did the City have to go back and disclose how each Councilmember voted as a result, but because it was a state-level appellate victory, secret votes were judicially banned across the State of Georgia!
Opening Up the Committee Briefings
In 2011 (re-filing in 2012), Matthew filed a second lawsuit against the City of Atlanta for the Council’s practice of holding closed-door Committee Briefings every two weeks for all seven Council Committees. In 2013, the Council finally opened all seven of its Committee Briefings to the public; and adopted an ordinance that Matthew drafted, requiring all Committee Briefings to be open to the public going forward. With this victory in hand, Matthew settled with the City.
Matthew has a BA in Sociology and Political Science from Tulane University (2003); an MA in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine; a Masters in Public Administration from the University of New Orleans (2005); and a Law Degree or Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University (2018), with coursework at Emory University.
Thirteen Ordinances and Resolutions
Over the last several years, Matthew has been inspired by ideas that he has had for specific legislation. To date, he has taken the initiative to draft some thirteen progressive ordinances and resolutions that are now law in the City of Atlanta.
He has given these ordinances and resolutions to Councilmembers for introduction, including Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large), Matt Westmoreland (Post 2-at-large), Andre Dickens (Post 3-at-large), Carla Smith (District 1), Natalyn Archibong (District 5), and former Councilman Kwanza Hall (District 2), in addition to the Committee on Council; and he has followed each bill through the legislative process in order to gain Councilmember support.