Kwanza Hall

Occupation: Atlanta City Councilmember, District 2

Kwanza Hall.

Previous experience holding elected offices: Atlanta Public School Board 2002-2005; Atlanta City Council 2006-present

Other community service experience: I am a Prince Hall Mason, Atlanta Consistory, Operation HOPE Board member and the creator of Yo!Boulevard. I also serve on the leadership bodies of the World Affairs Council, Leadership Atlanta, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the City of Atlanta Advisory Committee on International Relations (Chair), the Butler Street YMCA, the Metro Atlanta Arts Fund, the Downtown and Midtown Improvement Districts, the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy, the Historic District Development Corporation, Creating Pride, After School Allstars, Sweet Auburn Works, Caring for Others and the New Leaders Council.

What is motivating you to run for the Mayor’s Office?

Some of my accomplishments that uniquely prepare me to serve as Atlanta’s next mayor include:

  • “Year of Boulevard” (improved public safety, provided after-school and summer programming for kids)
  • Criminal Justice Reform (Ban the Box, Pre-Arrest Diversion Program, Body Cameras, Police Transparency and Quality of Life reforms).
  • Clean Energy Policies (100 percent Clean Energy by 2035, Property Assessed Clean Energy, Better Buildings Challenge).
  • Champion of programs and policies that enhance all neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for all citizens (Atlanta Streets Alive, Tiny House, Food Trucks, Art on the BeltLine, Bicycle Lanes and Relay Bike Share program, AC3 Conference)

What role do you see Buckhead as playing in the city’s civic life?

I see Buckhead as a center for people, culture and commerce. I think that many of the issues that arise in Buckhead are previews for issues that other areas will face as we continue to grow and develop. I think Buckhead is a living laboratory for how some of our more suburban development patterns become more urban and how we incorporate more diversity–in terms of age, race and socio-economic status–successfully.

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

I want cops to be able to focus on being cops and reduce the serious, violent crimes that make people feel unsafe. I would do this through reduced focus on petty crimes, like possession of marijuana, which wastes officers’ time and taxpayer dollars. Initiatives I led, like ban-the-box and pre-arrest diversion, will help strengthen police/community relationships, which will make our neighborhoods safer. It will also provide more job satisfaction, which will help reduce attrition that has plagued our force.

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

I support it, but think it needs a full community input and engagement process.

Describe a policy or program you would enact or improve that would directly benefit Buckhead.

I will create the Office of Neighborhoods, Non-profits and Faith modelled after my Year of Boulevard initiative that will weave together needs of neighborhoods with the people and the capacities that we are blessed with around the city that can help increase opportunities for our kids and improve public safety.

The City must explore all avenues to protect long-term residents and property owners across Atlanta, but particularly so in all the increasingly attractive neighborhoods. We must explore the possibility of freezing property-specific taxes in some areas for long-term resident owners.