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?
To continue Buckhead’s tradition of having its elected officials put residents first, fight for its fair share of resources, agitate for better service delivery, oppose any and all property tax increases, and insist on a municipal government that is financially sound.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
I have over 25 years of experience in dealing with complex matters of municipal policy and politics, whereas my opponent has none. I have never supported a property tax increase, and I have never failed to support the zoning and land use recommendations of Buckhead’s reviewing bodies.
3) What do you think is Atlanta’s greatest strength?
The uniqueness of its transportation resources (its nexus as a rail, air, and highway hub) combined with its civic resources (its tradition of social tolerance and collaboration).
4) What do you think is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
Maintaining our strong financial footing, especially in the face of the recession we are likely to experience.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
Maintain discipline regarding our reserves; be very selective about incurring additional debt; avoid adding programs/services beyond those required by the city charter; and always factor in the credit rating agencies when evaluating policy proposals.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
In addition to the financial matters mentioned in previous answers, I look forward to improving our public safety, taking on our traffic congestion, and continuing the spectacular expansion of our network of parks, trails, and green spaces.
7) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Beltline? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
I have been a BeltLine supporter since its days as a concept, and co-sponsored the legislating birthing it. While still a strong supporter, I will encourage the newly installed executive director to rekindle the initially close relationship with the public, particularly as regards an unflinching review of which segments should or shouldn’t have rail and if so which segments should be tackled first.
8) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Streetcar? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
We’ve all been to cities with successful streetcar systems, so we know they can work. I opposed the initial decision to have the City run it, and support its hand-off to an experienced mass transit provider. Only when a larger system exists will we really be able judge its overall effectiveness, although it should be noted that in terms of generating significant investment in an area of need it has been a home run. Buckhead residents have made it abundantly clear that absent major advances in streetcar technology and engineering they oppose installing one on Peachtree Road.
9) What should the city of Atlanta do to reduce traffic congestion in the city?
Atlanta: Continue to integrate our existing/expanding transportation modes, and mix land uses. Buckhead: Continue to re-engineer our most problematic bottle-necks, mix land uses, install a best-in-class traffic signal system, and reduce the causes contributing to our ‘incident’-based congestion (such as lane closures).
10) What should the city do to increase affordable housing options for its residents?
As one of benefits of an effective affordable housing program is a reduction in traffic, I support a thorough review of the best policies that other municipalities have installed (as opposed to ‘inventing’ one based on theoretical notions). That said, we must be wary of programs that create a new subsidy, the financing of which would likely fall upon us.
11) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?