Carrie L. Williams


On Saturday, August 28, 2021, amid a bevy of community sages young and old, in West Atlanta’s Grove Park, veteran statesman Al Bartell responded to being called out by Street Groomers of Georgia to run for Governor -- and accepted their challenge publicly.

“The community said it was not up to me, whether I got to sit on the sidelines or not, to run or not,” Bartell told the crowd gathered loosely at the “Stuff the Bus” school supply giveaway/barbecue organized by Street Groomers and their community partner The Community Boutique.  “And they called me out.  I’m here to answer their challenge to run for Governor of Georgia, to demonstrate my full commitment to the people of Georgia.  I’m here today to accept their challenge, to say yes, I will run for Governor of Georgia, to stand for the people of the communities of Georgia.”

In a one-on-one exchange with Street Groomers leaders, Bartell answered questions about what his plans for community change would entail, including this exchange:

Street Groomers of Georgia Leadership:: “We have crime and violence.  What initiative would you take to solve the problem of crime and violence?”

Bartell:  “We have the police department.  We have elected officials.  We have all kinds of folks talking about crime and solving the problem.  We know that if it were not for the people that are around here [pointing to the audience], crime would be worse than it is.  So, the person from the community is who’s keeping things from being worse than it is.  Neighborhood leaders, community leaders, faith leaders, and small business leaders.  Those are the people that are keeping things from being worse than they are. When somebody’s getting ready to shoot somebody, a community leader says to them, ‘Don’t do that’.  When somebody’s getting ready to rape somebody, a community leader says to them, ‘Don’t do it’.  When somebody’s getting ready to break into somebody’s business, a [community] business leader is saying to them, ‘Don’t do that’.

“It’s not the police department, it’s not the government, it’s the community.

“So, for the first time, in the history of the state of Georgia, as Governor, I want to establish a community network to decrease violence, and have that person that is managing that network be down at the Governor’s office.  Not the police department,  not the state department, but the community.  As Governor, I can create a community network to decrease violence in Atlanta, the state of Georgia, and in the Southeast region of the nation.

“The first thing I want to do as Governor is create that community-based Violence Prevention Office, down at the Office of the Governor.”

Bartell plans to formally announce his run as an Independent candidate for Governor in 2022 in the coming weeks through a Bartell for Governor campaign launch event.
Related news coverage:

Al Bartell
Street Groomers Community Call Out Al Bartell
To Run For Governor of Georgia In 2022
Public Statement Challenges Bartell To True Up
To The People’s Commitment
In a public statement released at week’s end to the media, Street Groomers of Georgia “call out” Al Bartell, known in metro Atlanta’s inner circles as an uncontrollable political wildcard. Quietly acknowledged behind the scenes as a statesman, Bartell has impacted the platform of many Republican (and Democratic) candidates in Georgia.

Known as a conflict resolution leader, and certified mediator in the area of public policy management, Bartell has maintained affiliations down through the years with both Republican Party leaders, as well as Democratic Party activists.

The Street Groomers statement calls out Bartell on his commitment to the people of Georgia, and to their communities -- something Bartell consistently communicates as his mantra.

Known for their commitment to keeping community streets safe, Street Groomers’ recent public statement follows:

“We are the Street Groomers and we are finding there’s a high interest in Al Bartell, who ran for Mayor of Atlanta and U.S. Senator of Georgia. We are calling him out. Bartell speaks so highly about himself being about the people. The Street Groomers want him to publicly explain that to us -- and to the people of Georgia. We agree with his political stand as an independent candidate -- that power should be taken away from the government and the politicians, and placed back into the hands of the people. Yet, Bartell says he wants to be more involved in the community. He’s even described himself as a kind of “King Arthur”, who believed in the people of Camelot and who governed according to the voices of the people.

"The Street Groomers want to know if Al Bartell is that serious and that bold to say he believes in governing according to the people, when is Bartell going to get real, and actually be a leader for our communities where it matters, where the true power lies in Georgia: the Governor’s Office. If Bartell means what he says, if he’s truly a leader for the people in our communities, then Street Groomers is challenging him to answer our question, publicly: 

“Al Bartell, why aren’t you running for Governor of Georgia, if you are serious about placing power back into the hands of the people -- specifically, our hands, the people in the communities of Georgia?” -- end of public statement

When asked about the statement, the unconventional, nonpartisan public policy leader-statesman did not immediately respond.

But the Street Groomers have begun promoting a community event they call “Stuff the Bus” that will be held on August 28th in the communities of West Atlanta, off Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway and Hollywood Road. And they’re letting Bartell know he’s got a wide open space to give a public response to their challenge to put his proverbial political mouth where his “for the people” money is.

The 2022 Governor’s race in Georgia is already off to an unfavorable start for staunch community advocates. Now-Republican Trump-supported Vernon Jones has been receiving an open-arms reception county-by-county since the Republican state convention this past June. Unless something alters, it is likely he will become the Republican nominee coming out of the primaries. Although she’s not announced, all Democratic gubernatorial hopes in Georgia lie with Stacey Abrams -- a virtual one-candidate primary as well. Neither of these potential nominees-candidates for Governor are looking for community votes. And community voters are not looking for them.

If Bartell decides to take up the challenge, seriously considering a run for Governor in 2022, it would have to be as an Independent. That means a serious ground game -- for petition signatures, for potential voters, and for enough serious funders, this time, to be taken seriously by all -- publicly. Out front. In the spotlight.

All eyes are on Georgia. That won’t change any time soon.  

A groundswell movement among the communities of Georgia for something other than the status quo political divisiveness is possible. Among voters of all parties. Altering the current paradigm permanently.

American statesman Theodore Roosevelt did it as a Republican at the beginning of the 19th century. It became known as the “Progressive Era” -- a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States of America that lasted until 1920. The movement took on the political machines of that time.

Are we now possibly on the verge of that same kind of massive political change in the dawn of the 21st century? And, if so, are we entering the conditions ripe for that kind of change -- a national tipping point -- right here in Georgia?

We won’t have long to find out.

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