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’m running in the community where all of my meaningful life moments have occurred. I graduated high school in the community. My husband Al and I were married in our District 11 church. We have had a family business in the community for 20 years. We’ve raised 3 children in District 11. I’m running to STAY in District 11. I’m motivated to create a progressive AGE-FRIENDLY community for my family and our neighbors.
· I’m running to ensure that we have safe and secure neighborhoods.
· I’m running to enhance the quality of life for all District 11 residents.
· I’m running to improve economic development so that prosperity and quality neighborhoods are available to all of my neighbors.
· I’m running to provide opportunities to our youth to thrive and grow and have access to quality education, extra curricular activities and part-time jobs.
· I’m running to protect our renowned legacy neighborhoods and the residents that deserve to remain in their homes while we grow. Displacement of our Seniors due to gentrification is not an option while I’m a councilmember at City Hall.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
I’m the better candidate for this race for all of the reasons mentioned in question 1 coupled with a few more qualifications. I’m a Delta Air Lines retiree. This means that I have a deep understanding of the importance of quality service. I’m rooted in service. I’ve always raised my hand to lead in organizations and committees. A brief summary of the skills that I will bring to the City Council position includes, but are not limited to:
· A long-standing committed resident to the progression of District 11 and the City of Atlanta;
· Deep, strong relationships that have been cultivated throughout many years;
* Solid education geared towards addressing community interests and needs and communications;
* Active leadership while being a team player, raising my hand to work on community and organization projects often;
* Exceptional organizational skills evident by the intricate workings of this campaign;
* Proven collaborator willing to listen and effectively communicate with neighbors;
· Strong people skills needed to engage with constituents on controversial issues as well as during council with during full council negotiations;
* Insightful of the historic nature of the District and the necessity to grow while preserving; Community relationships and respect.
3) What do you think is Atlanta’s greatest strength?
Atlanta’s greatest strength is its engaged, unwavering people.
4) What do you think is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
Atlanta’s biggest challenge at this moment is steering gentrification so that displacement during growth is avoided at all cost. Because Atlanta has been typically seen as the “Tale of Two Cities” due to a huge economic divide between the haves and the have-nots. It is imperative that we remain vigilant to maintain a growth process that incorporates legislation to protect our resident’s quality of life.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta’s biggest challenge?
I intend to continue the trend of implementing an affordable housing agreement with each and every development contract per neighborhood. I understand the importance of having these agreements in place at the beginning of the negotiation process.
I also advocate for affordable housing initiates because it is our responsibility to work together to reduce homelessness. Many families and individuals depend on the city to hold developers accountable to the needs of the masses.
I’d like to work will the surrounding counties, the state, public and private organizations to ensure that we are making a way for Atlantans to thrive and that means that at minimum, ALL citizens deserve an opportunity to have an affordable place to live.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
• I plan to improve economic development so that prosperity and quality neighborhoods are available to all of my neighbors.
• I plan to provide opportunities to our youth to thrive and grow and have access to quality education, extra curricular activities and part-time jobs.
• I plan to protect our renowned legacy neighborhoods and the residents that deserve to remain in their homes while we grow. Displacement of our Seniors due to gentrification is not an option while I’m a councilmember at City Hall.
My vision for the City of Atlanta is one that is safe, transparent, equitable, progressive, accountable, compassionate, diverse, inclusive and sustainable. Specifically, this vision can be realized through diligently working daily for the betterment of all areas of Atlanta.
7) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Beltline? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
I’m very proud and supportive of the Atlanta Beltline Project in general. There are a couple negative aspects of the project that have been discussed recently. I feel that one of the problems should never have been allowed on the Beltline. The demeaning artwork of only Black males in prison being displayed on the bridge clearly is a lack of sensitivity and judgment with an entity associated with the beltline. Another problem in my opinion is the lack of accountability and penalties associated with the developer not adhering to the affordable housing component of the Beltline. It is not enough to require an agreement for a percentage of affordable homes to be included in the growth contract it has to be monitored. If the agreement isn’t upheld, there should be a substantial monetary penalty and a probationary period where the developer isn’t allowed to bid for a city agreement for a set amount of time. NO EXCEPTIONS. The families that suffer due to a developer’s failure to provide affordable housing as agreed upon deserve protection by the City from negligent developers.
8) What is your opinion of the Atlanta Streetcar? Is there anything about the project that you think should be handled differently?
I agree that MARTA should take over the Streetcar. The Streetcar needs to be redefined and better marketed towards being more substantive and useful.
9) What should the city of Atlanta do to reduce traffic congestion in the city?
Finally surrounding counties and cities are now open to addressing the traffic in the City of Atlanta. For many years, no one wanted to tackle the situation and did not want to be “connected” to the city. We are now at a point where everyone is interested in exploring transportation and commuter options. I feel that Aerotroplolis is a collaboration that should be better recognized and explored in some form on several fronts. Our traffic strategies should have an AGREESSIVE schedule.
I feel that we must influence Atlantans to use public transportation. This will require the city to offer more transportation options, expanding our skeletal rail system and committing to a “campaign” promoting all of the new and improved services.
10) What should the city do to increase affordable housing options for its residents?
Refer to questions 4 and 5.
11) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?
ABSOLUTELY!!!! I strongly believe in an open door policy. The residents of Atlanta deserve to know how each dollar is spent. I will implement a transparency policy as an agreement with my constituents ensuring they will have access to weekly updates of the Council’s developments and affairs.
Lastly, I will serve with integrity at all times for the betterment of the city of Atlanta and not my own personal agenda. District 11 will never be slighted due to my collaboration with council members or any other entity.