Matthew Charles Cardinale is an independent, progressive warrior with a proven record of results. In his thirteen years of advocacy, he has brought transparency to the Atlanta City Council, fought for the right of the public to participate, and convinced the Council to adopt thirteen progressive ordinances and resolutions that Cardinale drafted and are now law in the City of Atlanta.
Fighting for Transparency and Public Participation
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.
Thirteen Progressive Ordinances and Resolutions
Over the last several years, Matthew Charles Cardinale has drafted ordinances and resolutions based on his progressive policy ideas, and given them to various Councilmembers for introduction. Thirteen have passed City Council to date:
These ordinances include:
- Affordable Housing Impact Statements (14-O-1614, 2015) – Requires an impact statement for all policy decisions that would impact the affordable housing stock of the City of Atlanta, describing how many units would be added, subtracted, or preserved at each income bracket. Dickens. Also adopted in New Orleans, Louisiana (2017). Brossett/Cantrell.
- Affordable Housing Impact Statements amended (18-O-1026, 2018). Archibong.
- Surplus Property Affordable Housing Policy (17-O-1463, 2017) – Requires that the City evaluate surplus property for use as affordable housing, for sale to nonprofit developers for one dollar, to create units affordable at zero to thirty percent of the Area Median Income. Bond.
- Affordable Housing Inventory Policy (17-O-1778, 2017) – Requires that the City take stock of its affordable housing on an annual basis. Bond.
- Right for Public to Comment at Work Sessions (17-O-1674, 2017) – Establishes that the public has a right to comment at Work Sessions of Council Committees. Bond.
- Committee Chairs Must Offer Opportunity for Public Comment prior to Voting (18-O-1587, 2018). Prevents Committee Chairs from only offering public comment opportunity at end of meeting; at least one opportunity must be offered prior to voting on first legislative item on agenda. Archibong.
- Established Trust Fund for Turner Field neighborhoods (17-O-1080, 2017) – Cardinale facilitated community drafting of ordinance to create Trust Fund the Turner Field neighborhoods and created the first revenue stream for the fund, which now contains at least five million dollars. Bond.
- Follow-up ordinance regarding Trust Fund requested by oversight committee (18-O-1595, 2018). Smith.
- Improved Due Process for Small Businesses (18-O-1458, 2018) – Amended business tax code to prohibit the City of Atlanta from threatening an arrest citation over a portion of any business tax assessment that is under appeal. Westmoreland.
- Opened Committee Briefings to the Public (13-O-1049, 2013). Hall.
- Clarifies that in the calling of all votes, the Council President shall call the vote in a manner that permits the municipal clerk to record the yeas, nays, abstentions, and absences. (18-O-1150, 2018) Committee on Council.
- Atlanta Eagle Raid apology resolution (10-R-0132, 2010). Bond.
- Resolution calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution clarifying the right of U.S. Congress to regulate campaign contributions (14-R-4241, 2015). Bond.