Candidate for Atlanta City Council District 4
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What immediate actions can city council take to aid in curbing the violent crime occurring in Atlanta?
To curb “crime”, we must recognize that year after year, City Council invests in one policy response at the exclusion and neglect of all others: heavier policing, aggressive prosecutions, and harsher punishments. We must have a holistic approach to public safety. The 27-year incumbent has proposed the same answer for every social ill, more policing. We are asking law enforcement officers to take time away from solving crimes to perform other tasks that they are not trained for and should not be held responsible for. My approach is evidence-based, data-driven, and founded on community oriented solutions provided by the residents and community leaders. We need to meet the needs of the community by providing affordable housing options, protections and safeguards for legacy residents as the city continues to grow, mobility justice throughout the city, accessible and affordable food options to combat the food apartheid in our district, mental health crisis teams, invest in policing alternatives and diversion initiatives, and platform community leaders and organizations with adequate resources and support that are seeking a holistic approach to public safety.
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?
I will work with colleagues, community organizations, and residents to create a Task Force, in partnership with Atlanta Housing Authority, to explore a municipal housing plan and other creative housing solutions like housing co-ops, using public land and financed by low-interest loans and funds provided by Atlanta’s borrowing and taxation authorities. We also need to remove barriers (background checks, etc.) for formerly incarcerated people to have access to affordable housing. Additionally, we need to provide housing for the unhoused by requiring the Atlanta Housing Authority to release inventory of undeveloped land and former public housing developments within a year of them becoming available and work with non-profits and other existing organizations to find new ways such as land trusts and housing co-ops to provide housing. This will help to increase the housing supply specifically for formerly incarcerated people, seniors, and youth, specifically Queer youth.
City Council needs to increase affordable housing options by requiring 30% of units be permanently set aside for affordable housing in all new developments with more than ten units/homes through a city-wide inclusionary zoning policy for rental and single-family developments. In addition, developers that do not want to provide affordable housing must pay a yearly fee.
Will transit on the Atlanta BeltLine corridor be a top priority and how will you work to fast-track it?
Transit on the Atlanta Beltline corridor must be a top priority for City Council if the BeltLine is to be beneficial to all residents of the city. I will work with community organizations, community leaders, residents, and colleagues to advocate for fast-tracking transit on the Atlanta Beltline corridor. I will use the power and resources of the office to provide platforms to those who value accessible and affordable transit and see the importance of transit in Atlanta, specifically, the Atlanta BeltLine corridor.
What can the council do prioritize combatting climate change?
On a city level, I will reassess and update the City of Atlanta’s 2018 100% Clean Energy plan to commit Atlanta to a net-zero city-wide citywide carbon neutrality by 2030. To do this, I want to create a jobs program would train Atlanta residents to revitalize the neighborhoods that Atlantans call home, training workers to install green infrastructure such as rooftop solar arrays, cisterns, community gardens, permeable pavements, while also restoring our green and natural spaces, weatherizing older buildings all centering climate-resilient design and community engagement. My office will explore and if possible, introduce legislation to ensure all city owned buildings are net-zero by 2025.
I support Parks and Greenspace for All, a vision where all communities in Atlanta are located within a 0.5 mile walk to public parks and greenspace. This includes allowing neighborhoods to buy back unused properties to use for socially and environmentally beneficial purposes such as public parks. I also want to ensure all new buildings are electrified to be “solar ready” by changing the building code to ban natural gas hookups for all new buildings.
What are three issues specifically affecting your district that you plan to address while on council?
The crumbling infrastructure, the housing crisis, and the rampant inequalities throughout the district are a few of the items I plan to address while on council. When it comes to infrastructure, fixing our neighborhood’s streets is a priority, specifically, the potholes. Our neighborhood’s streets are falling apart and we all have the flat tires to prove it. I will work to guarantee safe, accessible, clean, and well-managed roads with traffic calming devices to stop speeding, stop signs, and sidewalks. I will work to create a jobs program that recruits people from the district to help rebuild our infrastructure and provide them a stable and livable wage. This jobs program will work to prevent long-lasting power outages caused by natural disasters, such as flooding and severe storms, by investing in infrastructure and reducing response times to address the damage.
I will address the housing crisis that we have been experiencing by freezing property taxes for individual homeowners who live in neighborhoods where property taxes have increased by 10% or more for three years in a row and who have household incomes below the Atlanta median income ($65,000). I will also work to create a permanent legacy resident fund to prevent displacement. Money from the fund will be used to subsidize property taxes and/or home repairs for legacy residents who cannot afford to keep pace with rising costs and code violations. I will also work to ensure that we require all multi-million dollar commercial and luxury residential developments in gentrifying neighborhoods or gentrification-vulnerable neighborhoods to enter Community Benefit Agreements with Neighborhood Planning Units (NPUs).
We need to ensure that residents are assisted who are and have descended from those who were directly impacted by redlining, racial covenants, Black Codes, and other past practices that severely impacted the ability to build and pass down wealth. We must address the inequalities and inequities that are rampant in our neighborhoods and in our communities.