Howard Shook

Howard Shook.

Occupation: Representing Buckhead and Atlanta on the Atlanta City Council is my full-time job.

Previous experience holding elected offices: Service on the Atlanta City Council since 2001; service on all seven Council standing committees, including four years as Chair of the Finance Committee and three as Chair of the Utilities Committee; elected Council President Pro Tempore; Co-Chair of the Council’s Select Committee on Pensions; Atlanta Budget Commission; the Mayor’s Atlanta Pension Panel; Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Waste & Efficiency; Chairman, Atlanta-Fulton County Water Resources Commission.

Other community service experience: Prior to joining Atlanta’s City Council, I was an eight-year president of the Ridgedale Park Civic Association; Chair of the Buckhead Neighborhood Alliance; Co-founder of the Partnership for Better Government; City Council appointee to the City of Atlanta’s Gentrification Task Force; Member, Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association Board of Directors.

Why should the voters choose you for this position?  

My experience and track record of advocacy for Atlanta and our neighborhoods make me unique in this race.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? 

There really are two: crime and traffic congestion. Crime can be reduced by completing our camera network and working with the courts to end its culture of “catch-and-release.” Traffic congestion can be eased by following through on the initiatives I’ve supported, including a reduction in commercial parking allowances, an updated traffic signal system, improved transit options, issuance of fewer “prime time” lane closure permits, and completion of ongoing projects designed to tackle our worst intersections and bottlenecks.

Are you satisfied with the Atlanta Police Department’s efforts to fight crime in the neighborhood? Would you suggest any other strategies? 

I will continue my efforts to make this the region’s best-paid department, which will help boost its strength. And I will continue to push the department (and the courts) to aggressively combat the so-called “non-violent” crimes (like car thefts and larcenies) that have been de-emphasized in favor of targeting crimes that, while more serious, are also much less prevalent in our community.

What is your position on the proposal for a new park capping Ga. 400? 

While the concept is breathtaking, I will not support this project unless my many publicly asked questions about its funding are adequately answered and community support evident.

Should there be limits on the scale of infill housing redevelopment? If so, what types of limits?

While Georgia’s Constitution and case law are quite clear that the massive densities awarded decades ago to Buckhead’s commercial property owners cannot be clawed back, we must continue to insist on development and redevelopment that mix uses, promote pedestrianism and better leverage our transit options.

Should Buckhead have more bicycle facilities, such as lanes or multi-use trails, and if so, what types would you support? 

Yes, we need to continue implementing what will ultimately be a world-class multi-use trail system connecting us to parks, schools, employment centers, the BeltLine, the Silver Comet Trail and beyond. Conventional bike lanes (on city streets) in Buckhead don’t currently allow for the level of connectivity we need. City planners, the community and biking advocates must coalesce around routes that are sensible, safe and don’t further reduce what remains of our road capacity.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.