Editor’s note: Throughout the week, Reporter Newspapers will be publishing portions of its voters guide for the upcoming Nov. 5 elections. Candidate info can also be found in the Oct. 4 and Oct. 18 editions of Reporter Newspapers.
Occupation: Small Business Owner
Prior Political Experience: None.
Why are you seeking this position? I am passionate about providing the leadership necessary to ensure continued success in Sandy Springs.
Why should the voters chose you? Many candidates talk about the things they want to do. I have a proven record of leadership, and I have been a consensus builder who has solved problems and delivered results.
With seven years neighborhood leadership experience, including three in a protected neighborhood, I have worked hard to preserve neighborhood quality of life. During my tenure as President of the Cherokee Park Civic Association I negotiated a parcel land transfer and traffic mitigating infrastructure. I have worked with other leaders to develop the “Main Street” concept for the Roswell Road Corridor LCI.
As Secretary-Treasurer of our Development Authority, I have partnered on approximately 16 million dollars in economic growth projects. They include the Hammond Half-Diamond, the refinancing for the Davis Academy, and the REBA grant that attracted CBS Corporation.
My goals are simple. Partner to insure fiscal accountability and government transparency. Preserve our residential neighborhoods, green spaces, and transitional buffers between commercial and residential properties. Grow Sandy Springs by improving infrastructure and attracting quality businesses of all sizes.
We need a leader on Council who will take a balanced approach to ensure continued success in Sandy Springs. Most of all, we need a leader we can trust to work hard and deliver results.
I would be honored to serve the people of Sandy Springs and I ask for your vote.
Campaign webpage: www.jenniferforcitycouncil.com
Sonja Stewart Tonpea
Occupation: Owner and Founder of Stewarts Village, healthcare organization
Prior political experience: None
Why are you seeking this position? Like many of my constituents I believe in an open and transparent government. ‘Behind closed doors’ is not a phrase that should be part of the political lexicon. Part of that transparency should be stricter financial management. I believe that Sandy Springs City Council can and should control costs through a more economical utilization of personnel, materials and time than is currently in place.
Why should voters choose you? Voters need to know that their elected officials are in service to them. If elected, I will work to include our residents in the governmental process and also respect and seek out citizen input. A city cannot survive without the support of its citizens. We must never forget our mission and purpose.
Occupation: Small Business Owner
Prior political experience: None
Why are you seeking this position? I’m extremely proud of our still new city, and the tremendous job our mayor and council has done over the last eight years. We have the opportunity to build on a great foundation, and I believe I can assist in making even more of our city’s dreams become a reality.
Why should voters choose you? My background in finance and as a small business owner makes me the ideal candidate for city council to help Sandy Springs take the next step forward in our growth. I also have a long career history of bringing different constituencies together in a collaborative way to solve complex problems.
Campaign webpage: http://stojforcouncil.com
Prior political experience: none
Why are you seeking this position? Elections are about choices. The choice this election will make is what kind of balance our now maturing new city of Sandy Springs will strike between neighbors and neighborhoods on one side and politicians, developers, special interests and bureaucrats on the other side. This question of balance plays itself out in many ways. You see it, for example, in the deteriorating timeliness and clarity of content in the notices we the citizens get for public meetings. You see it in the rush to redevelopment while uncertainty remains on the financial impacts and quality of life impacts it will have on us, the taxpayers and homeowners. You see it in the way so-called ‘stakeholders’ work out their plans behind the scenes to upscale Sandy Springs into a “golden ghetto” beyond the reach of the middle class, ignoring us, the real stakeholders here. Our continued quality of life depends on restoring balance, and that means seating at the table people from the neighborhoods who speak for the neighborhoods. That’s what this election is about. That’s why I’m seeking this office.
Why should voters choose you? Casting a vote for someone is really a statement about the values that voter and candidate share. These Sandy Springs neighborhoods are my world. I grew up here, playing in the creek side bamboo forests as a child, riding my horse from Chastain Park to the River. A future Sandy Springs where neighborhoods thrive matters to me, and I know that my neighbors value that vision, too. For years, well before our city was born, I have dedicated my time and energy to fostering these neighborhoods we so value: my track record is real and includes serving on the Council of Neighbors, as a citizen voice working on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, on the Watershed Alliance, on Oliver Porter’s Task Force for Public Works, and as an advocate before every one of the City boards. I’m a neighbor, not a politician. And I’m a seasoned citizen advocate, not a hired mouthpiece. That means that my fellow citizens can have confidence not only that I share their values but that I also have the experience and the determination to pull a chair up to the table and put our shared values into governmental practice.
Occupation: Attorney, Investor and Real Estate Consultant; Founder and Unpaid Lead Volunteer for the Sandy Springs Farmers Market
Prior Political Experience: President, Emory University Student Government Association (1984-1985)
Why Seek this Position? I’m running because issues matter, and because actions speak louder than words. I see Sandy Springs at an important crossroads, particularly with the planning of the new “city center” and city hall. We need to make smart decisions about our future, including building a 21st Century city hall that meets our needs and fits our budget, and NOT an oversized and extravagant 19th Century monument to government. We must prioritize projects that will have the greatest impact on our daily lives. As the parent of school-age children, I am especially sensitive to issues which are important to families, such as putting neighborhood and school safety concerns at the top of the list. And as fiscal conservative who believes in getting things done with a sense of urgency, it is unacceptable to me that beautification projects seem to get finished on time while critical infrastructure projects such as reopening Lake Forest Drive and important storm water repairs languish.
Why should voters choose you? The best way to determine what a person will do is to look at what they have done. Leadership is more than just attending meetings or complaining about what’s wrong, it’s about action and accomplishment. As the founder and lead volunteer for the Sandy Springs Farmers Market, I am proud of having a record of bringing thousands of Sandy Springs residents together and building a sense of community. The Market is proof that leadership, hard work and results speak louder than words.
Current City Councilman Chip Collins has endorsed me for this position. I think his words sum up the answer to this question better than I can. He wrote: “Effective city governance is more about cooperation and communication than mortal combat, and Andy’s temperament and interpersonal skills are a perfect fit for service on the Council. There could be no better example of someone tangibly making our city a better place to live than Andy’s success with the Farmer’s Market. His business background would provide much-needed expertise to the Council and help it make wise and informed decisions. I am proud to call Andy a partner in the hard work of building a great city.”
Campaign website: www.AndyForCityCouncil.com