The two candidates for mayor of Sandy Springs are very different, and voters will face a definite choice on Nov. 5. The Sandy Springs Reporter asked each of them to consider how their city will change if he were elected mayor. Here are their responses.
The difference between the next four years, if I am honored to be mayor, and the past eight, will probably be more in tone and style rather than substance.
In talking with residents, I sense a general, unified vision for our community. There is a consensus that we should keep taxes low, live within our means, focus on infrastructure improvements with our capital dollars, boost our parkland, and create a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly Roswell Road corridor that compels rather than repels.
That consensus also places a premium on neighborhood protection and improvement that buffers residential areas from unwanted development, while focusing commercial activity within clearly-defined business centers. Unfortunately, Fulton County-era zoning decisions created unnecessary challenges around certain neighborhoods, but the priority must be preserving the neighborhood environment that makes us so desirable.
Four years from now, I hope people will notice significant progress on a new government complex that is a true community center, rather than a sterile collection of government offices. That includes the ability to host a variety of community activities and multi-functional performing arts/public events, and being a home for locally-produced visual and fine arts, interconnected green spaces and other amenities.
I hope also we will begin to see a transformation of the Roswell Road corridor to accommodate more restaurants, shops and mixed-use activities that will draw our citizens to the area and create a true heart of Sandy Springs.
Sandy Springs will differ greatly under my leadership in ways that will be essential in building our community.
First, the city will freely celebrate all holidays no matter what the religious affiliation may be. Celebrating our diverse heritage and allowing residents and businesses to participate with decorations and festivities make for a healthy and happy environment. This promotes that “village” feel I want for our city.
I also have ideas of streamlining our traffic patterns by making the signals easier to navigate and reworking nonessential signals.
With me, the neighborhoods and businesses will get a better deal, because I will not sell out to anyone for any reason. My support cannot be bought. I know I can get things done as I am not beholding to anyone except, the real boss, which of course, is the people. I understand that principal well as I have been a boss for 40 years, and subscribe to the “buck stops here” theory. My decisions as mayor will be based solely on what the people of our community want and need.
I live here and have a vested interest in the growth and care of our community. I am not a career politician and have no intention or desire to move around to seek other offices. I want the city to get new, non-partisan leadership, not the same ole, same ole type of leadership which is beneficial to the person running for office and furthering their career.
I want new ideas and better relations between all entities, which is what is best for my city. We need harmony between the business section, which pays most of the taxes, and the homeowners we have sworn to protect. We need zero tolerance for special interests and zero lobbying for influence.
It is time for a true fair, honest, and open forum government run for the people by the people – the people who live and work here. I subscribe to that theory, and know that together we can implement new ideas, a fresh start, and good foundation for a healthy government that will be easy to deal with – a government that respects individuals’ rights and doesn’t poke into where it shouldn’t, but is always there when you need it. That I can guarantee, a common-sense approach to leadership.