Mandy Mahoney

Candidate for Atlanta City Council District 5

Website: www.mandy4atlanta.com

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What immediate actions can city council take to aid in curbing the violent crime occurring in Atlanta?

All Atlantans deserve to be safe while at home, work, and with their friends. At the district level, the council person has the ability to work with city and county agencies to address localized issues and hot spots for crime. Our community members, small businesses, and neighborhood leaders have a strong sense of what challenges the community faces. City Council should be listening to communities to address these chronic problem areas.

Additionally, City Council can and should work with the Mayor’s Office to address systemic causes of crime. We should invest in policing alternatives such as PAD, address the underlying causes of homelessness, and improve 911 response times.

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?

Housing affordability is one of my top three priorities as a candidate and I am committed and prepared to move the needle on affordable housing. I suggest four strategies:

1.Create a revolving loan program to provide capital funding at low interest rates to affordable housing developments within city limits that are applying for Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the state. This will boost the ability to obtain necessary state and federal tax credits and fill the gap in financing affordable housing. 

2. The City owns a lot of unused property and land. We should leverage these properties to unlock superb locations to house people, while retaining ownership of the land and facilitating affordable housing development close to schools and jobs. 

3.We must have a bias towards action. We must provide clear metrics for all agencies related to affordable housing development and preservation and hold all parties accountable for their responsibility in creating greater access to safe and economical homes. 

4. More flexibility is needed in zoning laws. The city also needs to target its affordable housing resources to households making less than 50 percent of the area median income, and ensure that these sources of aid are accessible and flexible.

Will transit on the Atlanta BeltLine corridor be a top priority and how will you work fast-track it?

Transit on the Atlanta BeltLine is critical. The only way BeltLine transit will receive the funding required to accelerate its progress is by accessing federal funding. To date, the case-making for BeltLine transit funding has fallen short at the federal level because it has received low scores and we must do more to strengthen the transit plan for the BeltLine. It is critical that the City of Atlanta work effectively with the Biden Administration to access any and all available federal funds.

What can the council do prioritize combatting climate change? 

Having spent the last 15 years as a national leader on climate and energy issues, I have a clear idea of what the council can do to combat climate change. At the budget level, we can and should require funding used by the City for infrastructure projects to incorporate sustainable infrastructure and consider how the infrastructure will be impacted by climate change. Atlanta has already set aggressive goals to get to 100% renewable energy but we have to pass ordinances that will enable us to achieve that goal. We must utilize renewable energy on City buildings and make it more cost effective for homes and businesses to maximize energy efficiency and utilize renewable energy. Furthermore, we need to dust off the Resilient Atlanta plan and put it to work.

What are three issues specifically affecting your district that you plan to address while on council?

The most pressing issues that I am hearing from District 5 stakeholders are public safety, housing affordability (specifically the ability for legacy residents to remain in their homes), and infrastructure improvements that more holistically consider pedestrians and cyclists.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.