Occupation: Former Partner, Bain & Company, Former Chief Operating Officer, City of Atlanta (2010-2011)
Previous experience holding elected offices: None.
Other community service experience: Founding Board Chair (2014-16), Partners for HOME; Founding Board Member (2015-16), Westside Future Fund; Founding Board Member (2003-09, 2012-15), Atlanta Police Foundation; Board of Directors (2012-15), Woodruff Arts Center; Board of Directors (2003-09, 2012-15), Atlanta Committee for Progress; Board of Directors (2014-16), City of Atlanta Continuum of Care
What is motivating you to run for the Mayor’s Office?
I come from a family of civil servants. My mother was on the school board and my father was a town councilman. Being engaged, the spirit of service and why it’s so important, that’s what we talked about at the dinner table. It’s that spirit that drove me to get involved with the past two administrations, most recently as Atlanta’s COO. It pushed me to help lead more than six non-profits dealing with issues ranging from public safety to the homeless. It drives me today. Atlanta needs an honest, ethical leader, and I would be honored to serve.
What role do you see Buckhead as playing in the city’s civic life?
From what I’ve heard on the campaign trail, Buckhead residents want to see innovation around public safety and transportation.
Buckhead can be one of several places where we try and innovate on these issues; that is one role Buckhead can and seems to want to play. I see Buckhead as continuing to be one of several parts of town that combine green, leafy neighborhoods with mixed-use development nearby, showing the two can co-exist, if we are thoughtful in our planning. The pending growth of the city does make this harder, so there is a lot at stake for Buckhead.
Are you satisfied with the Atlanta Police Department’s efforts to fight crime in the neighborhood? Would you suggest any other strategies?
We must work on both safety and the perception of safety. Whether it’s car break-ins or more serious crimes – people are very concerned about both the crime and some occasions when APD does not seem to have the resources to respond quickly enough.
Our police force is understaffed. When I was COO in 2010 and 2011, we had some of the best recruitment and retention numbers for police during that period. Since then, those numbers have taken a nosedive. To change that, we need to offer our first responders reliable pay increases, take-home vehicles and updated equipment.
What is your position on the proposal for a new park capping Ga. 400 in central Buckhead?
Atlanta faces a fundamental issue of needing to better balance growth with provisions that make it easier to live in town. This not only applies to growing neighborhoods, but also ones that are highly developed like Buckhead. We must find creative ways to improve the amount of greenspace, pedestrian options and other things that would improve the character of the community. The proposed cap to 400 is designed in a way that does just that. It has my support, though we do need to identify funding sources.
Describe a policy or program you would enact or improve that would directly benefit Buckhead.
The way we assess and charge property taxes needs an overhaul and I will work with the state, if necessary, to resolve this ongoing issue. We can’t have five-year gaps between assessments resulting in 100 percent annual increases. The one-year freeze is a politician’s solution. I’m not a career politician. I don’t have the patience for poor planning and short-sighted fixes. As mayor, I will steady the ship and build a system that is fair and easy to understand.
We will examine multiple ways to help people stay in their homes, from changing the homestead exception to possible caps on reassessments.