Morning talk: Mark Toro talks racism, Patti LaBelle throws shade

At a recent Bisnow event, Atlanta developer Mark Toro, head of North American Properties, blamed the stalled Marta expansion on racism.  “It’s racism,” said Toro, as quoted by Curbed Atlanta. “We’ve got to recognize it and call it what it is … The train runs both ways, and we don’t want those people out here. That is the prevailing theme in suburban communities.”

Bisnow called Toro’s claim “shocking” but really, it isn’t, considering he pretty much said the same thing a year ago. He just didn’t use the word “racism.”

050712 ALPHARETTA: --A NEW VISION FOR FAILED DEVELOPMENT-- North American Properties Atlanta head Mark Toro discusses the Avalon project that will be built on the former failed Prospect Park site on Old Milton Parkway, Alpharetta, Monday, May 7, 2012. The re-imagined project is a sign of hope and a symbol of the challenges ahead for failed development proposals around metro Atlanta. Curtis Compton

North American Properties Atlanta head Mark Toro dabs on Marta blocking racists. Actually, this is him in 2012 discussing his plans for Avalon in Alpharetta. Curtis Compton

Writing for the AJC in Dec. 2014, Toro said he’s a MARTA rider and expressed his confusion at metro Atlanta’s attitude toward public transportation and the people who ride it.

“The expansion of public transit into north Fulton County has been playing catch-up since the connection of Ga. 400 in 1993, when economic development outside the Perimeter began a boom that has increased population, added jobs and prompted rampant development. With it came traffic, lots of it. For myriad reasons, not the least of which is the cultural and racial bias (a.k.a. fear) of our leadership, the reaction has been building “faster horses” by adding lanes to Ga. 400, stalling public transit at the North Springs station.”

You can read the full story here, and rest assured that Toro is consistent in his messaging.

Patti LaBelle on the other hand is being very inconsistent.

After initially calling and thanking James Wright Chanel for plugging her Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pies on Facebook (for which he got 10 million views and counting), LaBelle backtracked this weekend when she was caught on the street by TMZ.

Sales of the $3.48 pies spiked and subsequently sold out at Wal-Mart stores nationwide since Chanel’s video went viral, but LaBelle told TMZ she did it herself and she was selling pies before he showed up.  Here’s the clip:

And an Itchi gitchi ya ya da da to you too Patti.

Reader Comments 0


So a White man admits it's racism; shocking. Well he would know, he is just summarizing what he has heard at dinner parties, meetings at work. etc. Where is the chorus to accuse him of race hustling and so on and so forth? Oh well, the band marches on. I say forget about expanding MARTA north, they need to do more south and east of the city. "Those people" have to get to work too. Let the folks in North Fulton and Gwinnett choke on their exhaust fumes I say.


Nedra, perfect way to end the Patti Labelle report. Hilarious!