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 Atlanta City Council to ensure to every community, neighborhood, and family that The Dream Lives. The Dream Lives implies that we have the responsibility to continue the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King’s philosophy of love, nonviolence, peace, and unity to bring about positive change and create the beloved community. The Dream Lives demands that we have a progressive economy with the most skilled and educated workforce, safe, clean, vibrant communities and neighborhoods and investments in growing industries like technology, research, and clean green energy. I am running to help create more affordable housing, fight homelessness and stop the sad trend of seniors and long-time residents being squeezed out of their homes because of rising taxes – to remove the transportation roadblocks that often keep hard working families from their jobs, families and lives – and to promote civic engagement and partnerships so that collectively we can make Atlanta the best city it can possibly be. As a former Sergeant in the United States Army, minister, journalist and author, I want to take this breadth of experience and leadership to City Hall to always ensure that The Dream Lives.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
I am the only District 02 candidate who has served this nation – serving honorably as a Sergeant in the US Army. I have the experience and leadership to both take commands as a servant to the citizens and give commands as a leader and representative of the people. As a minister, my rapport with pastors and faith leaders will prove vital as we work together to make District 02 a district of prosperity, diversity, and exceptionalism and create the beloved community. I present fresh ideas, concepts and solutions having worked closely with leaders for other areas. I am a graduate of District 02’s GSU and have a daughter who is a Junior at GSU. I both work and have received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for the past three years for volunteering more than 550 hours annually – in District 02. I am the most committed, dedicated and experienced District 02 candidate.
3) What do you think is Atlanta’s greatest strength?
It’s people. We as residents of this great city are the strength of our neighborhoods and communities. Collectively, we can resolve any issue we face and build a better city for all.
4) What do you think is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
Homelessness. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. It is directly related to the economy, education, employment and public safety. By effectively facing this challenge, we effectively resolve many challenges that plague District 02 and the city of Atlanta. At its core, everyone should have a place to live, food for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
~Investing in resources that address the psychological and mental illnesses and addictions that often cause people to want to remain homeless because shelters and housing do not allow them to satisfy their drug addictions.
~Creating a Homelessness Task Force to provide recommendations for long-term solutions to the real housing problems and provide job training.
~Develop a system for rapid re-housing for those who have lost their homes. Working with the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency to help them get back on their feet.
~Partnering with Faith based organizations and streamlining efforts and increasing resources of funding, volunteers, social workers, psychologists, mentors, etc.
~Making sure funding allocated for housing is used in the most efficient and effective way.
~Getting more businesses involved in addressing homelessness.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
Housing (Homelessness, Affordable Housing) 2. Transportation 3. Clean and Safe neighborhoods.
7) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Beltline? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
I think it is great for the most part and fully support its timely extension. It must be true to its intent especially as it relates to its affordable housing. That agreement has not been satisfied and we need to make sure it happens.
8) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Streetcar? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
I believe it is a great project but certainly support its expansion into other areas and better promotion so that more citizens and the many visitors to our area will be aware of its availability.
9) What should the city of Atlanta do to reduce traffic congestion in the city?
~In a thriving city, people need the ability to exercise their physical freedom. When we address our traffic problems, businesses and entertainment leaders will be more likely to choose the city of Atlanta for their relocations. While automobiles consist of a majority of our transportation in Atlanta, we must invest in clean, green, and dependable solutions.
~Expand service and other transit opportunities to as many residents as possible, and that starts by building new stations, enhancing regional express options, and building trails and sidewalks to better fit the needs of our city.
~Create a Department of Transportation or special committee that would oversee and develop all transit projects in the city. Given how much Atlanta depends on its transit and transportation infrastructure, it is imperative that we work to keep it efficient, well-governed, and well-funded.
~Improve the quality of road surfaces and call for a zoning audit to ensure that new estimates of population and density are considered. By doing so, bottlenecking and major traffic jams will be solved and residents will be able to join their families at home at a more reasonable hour.
~Increase the number of bike lanes and sidewalks in the city, as well as close gaps in the existing network to ensure that it is safe to ride a bicycle to work every morning and evening.
10) What should the city do to increase affordable housing options for its residents?
~Partner with housing organizations to develop a compressive plan
~An inclusionary zoning policy that doesn’t have a buyout clause.
~A dedicated funding stream to incentivize developers to build affordable housing
~Ensure that all development in the city come with a Community Business Agreement
~Develop a housing trust fund that helps homeowners – especially seniors and long-time residents – who want to stay in Atlanta with home repairs, maintaining their homes and paying their taxes.
~Partner with builders who want to take blighted areas of the community and transform them into affordable housing. Revisiting building codes that often prevent them from doing so.
11) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?
As a former member of the Ethics Commission and in total support of transparency in our government, I am committed and will wholeheartedly conduct myself in a manner that is both ethical and transparent. With the bribery and corruption we see in City Hall today, it is imperative that we restore the integrity and the faith in city government back to its constituents.