In an effort to help voters prepare for the Nov. 7 elections, Atlanta Loop sent questions to candidates running for Atlanta City Council, Atlanta Mayor and Atlanta School Board. Early voting begins Oct. 16. To see district maps, click here.
1) Why are you running for office in the city of Atlanta?
I am running for my current Post 3 at Large Councilmember seat because I want to continue to push for equity, efficiency, ethics, and opportunity across the entire city that I was born and raised in.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
Fortunately, no one is running against me.
3) What do you think is Atlanta’s greatest strength?
Our people. The people of Atlanta are diverse, beautiful, and strong. The heart of our people cares for their fellow citizen and visitor. We are welcoming and compassionate. I also think that has led to our economic vitality as witnessed through the existence of our airport, Fortune 500 businesses, small businesses, colleges/universities, and long-standing religious institutions.
4) What do you think is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
Equity and access to opportunity. They are the same but said differently. Tragically, Atlanta is growing in an imbalanced way geographically, ethnically, and economically. We need job centers, better transportation options, and development south of I-20. But that development must not come with displacement. We also need to have opportunity for working class people on the north and east side of Atlanta. Lastly, access to opportunity can be increased by training 18-35 year olds for high-demand jobs like computer coding. We must create a pathway to the middle class.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
I will continue to push for equity and add to the 7-8 major equity policies that I have passed in my first 4 years. Affordable Housing, minimum wage increase, economic development for new job growth, Transportation enhancements, and improved education across the city.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
Equity, Transportation, and Education (K-12 and after high school)
7) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Beltline? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
The BeltLine is a great economic development instrument for our city. It connects 45 neighborhoods and dozens of schools. One day it will have a dedicated train going around it to get people around the city safely and efficiently. It’s the future. But it has to be for everybody in every income level. It can’t displace long term residents and it must invite all income bands to live around it. We need mandatory Inclusionary Zoning around the BeltLine and we need an anti-displacement policy along with a tax-increase mitigation plan.
8) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Streetcar? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
Its not effective now but it will be once it goes further. Once it goes around the BeltLine and cross-town, people will use it and see the benefit. However, it absolutely must be in a dedicated lane so it is not stuck in traffic.
9) What should the city of Atlanta do to reduce traffic congestion in the city?
Form a Department of Transportation or Department of Mobility for the city of Atlanta. We need one department that is singularly focused on transportation, congestion, and mobility. The current format has inefficiencies in planning and implementation because you have DPW, Renew Atlanta, BeltLine, Planning, and the TSPLOST.
We also need to create job centers on the southside of the city to alter commute patterns which will cut down traffic. Lastly, we need to work with the regional leaders to expand rapid transit to Cobb, Gwinnett, and Douglas Counties.
10) What should the city do to increase affordable housing options for its residents?
Adopt more of the policies that I have already led the discussion around over the past 4 years. We need mandatory inclusionary zoning and anti-displacement policies. We also need incentive the increase in production of tiny homes and accessory dwelling units like garage houses, carriage houses, etc.
11) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?
Absolutely. I do so currently.