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?
Atlanta’s District 4 needs a redefined focus: a Champion that can leverage resources and partnerships that will build our communities and stabilize our neighborhoods. Also, we need to proactively prepare and implement plans for future growth but without displacing our existing residents and businesses.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
Part of my platform is taking action and getting results. I’ve been serving my community and Atlanta for a while now. I’m an 11-year resident of Atlanta’s District 4. Four years as a resident of Century Lofts in Mechanicsville and now a 7 year homeowner in the West End Historic District. While living in District 4, I was also serving my district and the entire City of Atlanta as a past public servant employee of the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management. As a project manager in the engineering, planning and construction industry, my work included speaking before several City committees and the full city council for budgeting, design and construction of major infrastructure projects. I know and understand local government! In the community, I served as president of the West End Neighborhood Development for 3 years and I’ve served as Chair and Member of the NPU-T Zoning and Land Use Committee. I am and I have been passionate about doing the work, making realistic recommendations and speaking before applicable City Committees in efforts to generate City Legislation that positively enhances and impacts our community. I’ve been working for District 4 and intend to continue this work, once elected, as their next Atlanta City Council Member.
3) What do you think is Atlanta’s greatest strength?
As a proud City of Atlanta Native, it is an honor to be connected to a City that is respected as the birthplace of the modern Civil Rights Movement and a Leader in creating viable businesses. With this strong foundation and my family values entrenched in community involvement from school age to present, I would like to pick up that mantel with a strategic and focused plan to move Atlanta forward as a global leader that takes care of their own while making laws for the future.
4) What do you think is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
Focusing on who’s who in Atlanta and what really makes us great. While embracing change or the notion of change sometimes we forget what really works for Atlanta. Sometimes we lack proactivity in our planning but can be very reactive in our decision making. I believe while planning for future growth, it’s important to implement policies that aren’t just economic drivers for the City of Atlanta but also policies that are inclusive of all residents and businesses.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
I am committed to being an international leader not in rhetoric only but also in laws that touch all aspects of our everyday lives. This would include developing a city-wide housing policy that’s inclusive of various incomes, age groups, and soci-economic backgrounds. Extending the affordable housing units along the Beltline and $25 Million homeless policy to all areas of the City of Atlanta, becoming a global leader in the water and wastewater industry with the enforcement of policies that are compliant with state, federal and international green regulations, incorporating innovative transportation solutions that are safe and sustainable and proactive rezoning that spurs economic growth and redevelopment throughout Atlanta.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
Development without displacement, building an educated workforce and of course public safety.
7) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Beltline? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
I was on the forefront and I played an integral part of Atlanta Beltline’s local, national and international success with the Historic 4th Ward Park. As an engineering project manager during this project’s design and construction, I saw a lot. At the onset of our construction the adjacent apartments were about 30% occupied. Before we finished, every unit had been filled and new developments underway. So I’ve seen the housing and economic impacts that a Beltline project can have on a community. Thus, I believe this agency should continue their partnerships with the City and other organizations to help enhance the positive and offset negative impacts that their projects can bring to the neighborhoods to which they are located.
8) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Streetcar? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
Speaking from my experience as the Atlanta Watershed Engineering Project Manager for the Atlanta Streetcar Project during its implementation, I believe to make the Atlanta Streetcar work more efficiently and a stronger economic driver for the City as intended, it should be managed, operated and maintained by an authority that has transit experience, like MARTA.
9) What should the city of Atlanta do to reduce traffic congestion in the city?
Atlanta’s traffic congestion is a regional problem and doesn’t just belong to the City of Atlanta to solve. I believe we need to include more MARTA Board appointments to municipality representatives where ridership and dollars actually support the expansion of MARTA. Additionally, I believe that we need more equitable residential/commercial developments around our local train stations. I support more involvement and maintenance by the state department of transportation on their roads, bridges, highways and basic right of way within the City of Atlanta. Lastly, I advocate for existing and future infrastructure projects that include all modes of transportation that are safe, green and sustainable.
10) What should the city do to increase affordable housing options for its residents?
Housing affordability is relative to location and is a citywide issue in Atlanta. I believe and support the development and implementation of a citywide housing policy or strategic blueprint that covers all ages, incomes and demographics. I also believe in developing more and continuing partnerships for increased working class ownership opportunities. Lastly, I support rezoning efforts to increase the working class housing stock in addition to our single family homes to include more townhouses, condos, duplexes, quads, and co-ops that provide for more live/work/play facilities.
11) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?
Yes! During my 7-year tenure with the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management I was required to file an annual ethics disclosure form which never resulted in any infractions. Once elected as the next Atlanta City Councilmember for District 4, I plan to follow in this same vein.