Chef Luna is not one to mince words or beat around the subject. He has been an outspoken restaurateur and citizen in the City of Atlanta for years now, and recently decided to make the announcement loud and clear that he is running to be Atlanta's next mayor.
Creative Loafing described his background like this:
The Dominican-born Luna, who was once likened to a Navi tribesman from the movie Avatar by Atlanta magazine's Christiane Lauterbach, has been ruffling feathers here since he first came on the scene in the early '90s to open the upscale Italian restaurant Bice. In 1993, he opened Luna Si, followed by his iconic tapas restaurants Eclipse di Luna in '97 and Loca Luna in '99.
Recently there have been a few provocative articles written about Paul Luna, who is now known for his successful restaurant Lunacy Black Market on Mitchell Street in Downtown Atlanta. Creative Loafing also made a stir a few weeks ago by publishing a photo of Chef Luna naked in his kitchen, when he first told that outlet that he was running for Mayor.
Chef Luna reached out to Cascade Patch on Friday morning, saying he wanted to share some good news with readers.
"I am running for Mayor of the City of Atlanta," he said. "I am going to take the money away from City Hall and give it back to the people."
Giving money and power back to "the People" is a message that resonates with certain factions within all political parties. When asked if he identifies as a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, he replied, "I am running for the People, and they do not have a 'system'. I run from my heart, not a political system."
Why would a man who says he has never voted in America want to run for mayor in a city like Atlanta? Luna didn't have a ready answer, and even warned that if he did, readers should not trust him or his answer.
"That is what is wrong in politics today. The People put their trust in everyone else except themselves," Luna said. "Every politician and every government has failed you. Stop believing what they tell you, and believe in yourself."
Luna agreed that his message may come across as "crazy and/or unhinged," but he said the current system is broken and needs to change from the ground up.
"If the banking system is broken, then I am not scared to blow it all up and start over again," he said.
"It is important we focus on ourselves. This is not a message for Atlanta, per se, this is a message for the world. You can make the difference, but you have to change the way you think."
Mayor Kasim Reed, who has told reporters that he will run for re-election in November, has not had much to say about Luna's announcement that he will run. Though the official qualifying paperwork and fees hasn't been filed to make his mayoral run official, Luna said Reed won't debate him. "Would you? Would you debate a man who is naked?"
Referring to Reed, Luna said, "I love the human being. It is his politics that I don't like." Luna said Reed and council members have made bad decisions on transportation issues, especially related to the city's contract with ParkAtlanta.
Luna said his platform is:
- We Are For The People
- Be Environmentally Friendly
- Be Transportation Friendly (take the money out of the hands of City Hall and get private investors involved)
- Food and Shelter for All (create a plan that gives EVERYONE access to fresh foods and healthy meals)
"In the inner-cities, we are not eating healthy. All we have is franchises and corporations feeding us. We need to bring healthy living into the city," he said.
"I want to supply people with a healthy, cost-effective foods, no matter what their personal budget is, and it can be done."