Candidate for Atlanta City Council District 10
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What immediate actions can city council take to aid in curbing the violent crime occurring in Atlanta?
As Councilman, I would push an effort to study and implement structural changes that increase the police zones based on the 2021 Census Data.
As a city we should also study and implement changes to the scope of APD. I support removing from police responsibility areas like traffic enforcement. We have seen success with this direction as PAD has been implemented city wide. We should ensure that this program is fully funded to be open 24/7. This would allow our understaffed police force to focus on violent crime.
We must also focus on fully staffing the department based on the current city needs with an eye on future growth. We should remove barriers to recruitment such as archaic HR rules that eliminate a candidate for tattoos.
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?
Atlanta has simply failed on the affordable housing question. As councilman, I would push innovative solutions to change how we calculate affordability. Currently the city uses the federal Area Medium Income (AMI) formula to calculate what is affordable. This formula takes into account the richest communities in Atlanta when calculating affordability. I will push for a targeted formula that is localized to zip code or council district and based on average salary to calculate affordability for city supported developments. The medium household income in the 10th District is $31,655 which means most residents are locked out of “affordable” housing set by AMI medium household income above $80,000.
We should also prioritize and incentivize developing vacant city land and parking lots near transit hubs for affordable housing. In these developments we should legislate that developers not be allowed to opt out or pay penalties to work around their commitment to building affordable units.
I also support expanding inclusionary zoning in Atlanta. This would increase the types of housing including basement apartments, accessory dwelling units and neighborhood apartment buildings. The current zoning code pushes either exclusive single family zoning or large apartment buildings. By focusing on “middle” zoning we will increase the diversity of housing options and increase affordability.
Will transit on the Atlanta BeltLine corridor be a top priority and how will you work to fast-track it?
Yes, transit on the Beltline is a priority for my campaign, however I would prioritize transit on the West and South side trails over the east side. We must work to mitigate the historic inequities in our transit system. Placing rail on the east side trail first would only perpetuate those inequities. Rail on the Beltline presents an opportunity to connect neighborhoods currently untouched by transit and “fill in” the current system. There are opportunities to connect current stations and create infill stations.
We fast track it by pushing for both state and federal funding. MARTA is the only system of its size that is not funded in part by a state. We should also engineer our as many parts of the plan as possible to ensure that they are “shovel ready” to maximize the ability to leverage federal dollars.
What can the council do prioritize combatting climate change?
I would focus immediately on making the promise to shift the city fleet to clean energy vehicles a reality. We should also strengthen requirements on green infrastructure and use of renewable resources in the city core.
The city program that provided home weatherization resources for lower income families was a tangible program that was very successful at the community neighborhood level.
What are three issues specifically affecting your district that you plan to address while on council?
In the 10th District there in an opportunity for the city to create a national model to deal with our own historic wealth gap while simultaneously leading a national conversation on solutions. The data is clear that in order to deal with the racial wealth gap there must be intentional action put against ownership in minority communities. Partnering with groups like Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative & Atlanta Land Trust to look at long-term wealth building such as employee ownership, higher wages, long-term affordable ownership will be key to leveraging subject matter experts.
We must also deal with the looming eviction crisis. As Councilman I would work with housing agencies and non-profits to create emergency action to streamline housing assistance programs. Without this action families will be rapidly displaced and have their credit negatively impacted reducing access to future housing. This will have a domino effect in the ability of those impacted to gain access to education loans, and even business startup funds. For those who have already been impacted the city should create partnerships to provide credit counseling.
We also should reform neighborhood stabilization and improvement programs to streamline aid to neighborhoods who are seeing a high rate of displacement due to rising prices, taxes, ect. In Westview I created the “This Old House Program” as a partnership between the community, local businesses and developers building in the neighborhood to repair the homes of seniors who had code enforcement violations.