Vernon Graham

Candidate for Sandy Springs City Council, District 4


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1) What are three issues affecting your district that you would tackle as a councilmember?

Carbon footprint, scoring only 25 out of 60 for Greenspace and 65 out of 85 on transportation and air quality as rated by the Atlanta Regional Commission on Green Communities in 2019.

Infrastructure that includes potholed roads, outdated signage not up to code and sidewalks with improved street lighting to help make it more walkable.

Housing density continues to increase without a universal plan to address zoning for businesses and housing cohabitation.

2) How would you encourage more housing diversity and affordability in Sandy Springs, especially for city workers and others who can’t afford to live where they work? 

Establish a comprehensive housing plan that is inclusive with all affected parties at the table including non-residents that work in Sandy Spring but can’t afford to enjoy the fruits the city has to offer due to the high costs.

Our city already has Federal Housing subsidies that address affordability to some degree, however it needs to tie into the larger vision.

Encourage communication and education on benefits of a diverse city such as improved innovation, new skills sets and economic growth.

3) How would you encourage redevelopment in Sandy Springs, such as in the city’s North End, while balancing issues of displacement for lower-income residents?

Firstly, repeal the steel building ordinance for the entire city and not just the north end to allow a more cost effective approach for developers.

Make it a cultural destination with attractions people want to visit such as art galleries, outdoor markets or festivals.

Displacement of residents can not be the solution. If we are to become an inclusive city, we need all levels of income since we know by itself it does not define one’s character.  Note information provided by Data USA shows the median household income has grown 6.1% year over year to $78,613 in Sandy Springs.

4) How would you work to improve equity and diversity in Sandy Springs?

Inclusiveness is the first step. Aggressively invite diverse groups to be on the city council, sit on commissions and participate in community activities so others can see themselves equally in those roles.

When lower wage earners and their tax dollars remain in the city by allowing them opportunities to live here, by default the city adds diversity in age, gender and race.

5) If city finances were to decline, would you consider a tax hike or would you rather cut city services and programs? 

No tax hike! No cutting city services! Procure better through sound price savings relationships with suppliers.

Revenue creation through having Sandy Springs as a desirable destination for folks to visit and spend money. Reduce number of commuters and make our city self-sustaining.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.