First mayoral debate set for Sunday

Atlanta voters who know little about the city’s mayoral candidates will have a chance to learn more about them Sunday.

WSB-TV is airing the first televised debate of the campaign. The first 30 minutes of the debate will be shown live on the station, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The rest will be available on www.wsbtv.com or WSB-AM 750.

The debate will focus on public safety and is being sponsored by the Atlanta Police Foundation, an organization that raises money for police department equipment and causes.

“It’s particularly important now to help educate voters on public safety matters as the city decides on new leadership this fall,” said Dave Wilkinson, the foundation’s president. “We must work together to ensure we have a safe city in which our residents, workers, visitors and businesses can thrive.”

Crime has been the greatest concern for many Atlantans this election season. Police Chief Richard Pennington recently announced plans to beef up the city’s police force by 139 officers and quadruple the size of its anti-gang unit from six to 24 officers.

The candidates invited to the debate are City Council President Lisa Borders, Councilwoman Mary Norwood, former state senator Kasim Reed and attorney Jesse Spikes.

The other candidates running for mayor are former Atlanta police officer Peter Brownlowe, Kyle Keyser, founder of Atlantans Together Against Crime and businesswoman Tiffany Brown.

Debate officials invited those four candidates for several criteria, including higher poll numbers and that they’ve raised more money.