Candidate for Atlanta City Council District 2
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What immediate actions can city council take to aid in curbing the violent crime occurring in Atlanta?
City Council can ensure we have competitive pay and push the Mayor to take a laser focus on violent and gun crime. This includes a focus on removing stolen guns from the streets of Atlanta, targeting hot spots for violent crime, and holding the Mayor’s office accountable to utilize new nuisance legislation to shut down businesses that are contributing to violent crime activity. We should also be utilizing Group Violence Intervention to prevent violent crime and gun violence by connecting community, law enforcement and outreach providers and focusing on deterrence of crime
Will you make affordable housing a priority of your term on the council, and what actions need to be taking to insure meeting the goal of 20,000 affordable homes by 2026?
Our affordable housing crisis is one of the key reasons I’m running for City Council. We need to take a number of actions. This includes establishing an affordable housing trust fund with dedicated funding sources so we can fund our affordable housing strategies. We need to leverage existing vacant City and Atlanta Housing land to build affordable housing (and other needed community amenities such as grocery stores and health clinics). We need to upzone properties along frequent transit corridors and create more affordable housing options by allowing carriage houses, basement apartments, and more flexibility with accessory dwelling units (ADUs) by right. We also need to ensure we do not lose existing affordable options by working with land trusts to permanently preserve these affordable options and ensuring rising taxes do not force residents out of their homes.
Will transit on the Atlanta BeltLine corridor be a top priority and how will you work to fast-track it?
I attended the very first BeltLineRailNOW! meeting as well as all of the MoreMARTA prioritization meetings to push for rail on the BeltLine. It is a top priority to ensure the full vision of the BeltLine is achieved. To fast-track it, we need to ensure MARTA is pursuing funding mechanisms to accelerate delivery of light rail. For example, in the intergovernmental agreement between the City of Atlanta and MARTA, MARTA is to pursue public private partnerships and other opportunities to obtain the funding needed to deliver on the MoreMARTA projects. We need to pursue additional funding mechanisms. This includes pursuing a federal TIFIA low-interest loan to accelerate construction by bringing in needed funds now that would be backed by future sales tax dollars. We also need to pursue FTA New Starts grants, and we can increase the likelihood of receiving these grants by aligning BeltLine housing policies with FTA’s measure of affordability (which is housing affordable to those making 60% or less of area median income (AMI)). I want my daughter to be able to do more than just look at maps of rail on the BeltLine and actually live in an Atlanta where she can use it as a primary form of transportation.
What can the council do prioritize combatting climate change?
Atlanta has long been a leader in sustainability and we need to continue efforts like the Atlanta Commercial Energy Efficiency Ordinance and support the PACE program. To truly combat climate change we need to make fundamental changes around transportation and land use. This includes prioritizing public transit, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, to decrease car trips. We can also ensure a better land use pattern that prioritizes building housing near transit, including replacing many of the existing parking lots in Downtown with dense housing. We also need to support financing and tools to deliver increased use of solar power and weatherization for all Atlantans to decrease utility costs and carbon emissions.
What are three issues specifically affecting your district that you plan to address while on council?
1) The southern part of District 1 suffers from poverty and disenfranchisement. I will host regular mobile office hours in the southern neighborhoods. I will have a community engagement staff member who works to build capacity in these communities. Showing up and listening are part of the solution. We can no longer afford to ignore disadvantaged communities. It’s time all our residents have the resources they need to thrive.
2) Dangerous roads (Boulevard, Moreland and Jonesboro, among others). As a co-founder of the South Moreland Avenue Working Group, I will continue to work with the state on this route and other state routes in District 1 to push for safe pedestrian crossings, engineering options to slow vehicular speed and prevent street racing, build sidewalks and encourage better land use. For Boulevard and other dangerous city-owned streets, we need to move more quickly to build complete streets with great sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure.
3) Beltline-related gentrification has resulted in sharp increases in home values, particularly in middle and lower income communities. The property tax increases can drive folks out of long-time homes, reducing diversity within our communities, while lower-income renters are at even greater risk of displacement. We need to establish an affordable housing trust fund to proactively provide more affordable housing and stabilize existing affordable housing, including use of land banks.