Samuel Bacote

Candidate for Atlanta City Council District 5


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What immediate action can city council take to aid in curbing violent crime?

I believe a large degree (perhaps as much as half) of the violent crime stems from street gang activities. In Chester, PA, the police department runs a Neighborhood Safer program. Violent crime dropped significantly when gang members were offered “carrots” like rental assistance, free technical school programs and mental health services. The Atlanta City Council should direct APD to begin interacting and deploying similar tactics with local gang members and holding summits with the same. 

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 make affordable housing a priority and promote the following actions:

– Champion good policy like inclusionary zoning and make it more incentive based for new affordable housing

– Reduce bureaucracy that increases costs and stifles construction (fast track affordable housing developments)

– Support use of city owned land to provide affordable housing

One organization that I have tremendous experience with is the Metro Atlanta Land Bank Authority. The power vested in the LBA should be expanded and funded in a more deliberate way. Ultimately, who controls the land controls what happens on that land.

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

We will need transit as a top priority to promote greater density to ensure affordable housing is provided along the BeltLine.  With transit, developers can build more economically by reducing parking needs as an example.  To fast-track it, we should expand Mixed-Use Trail Special Service District funding to include light rail to raise enough money for federal matching dollars.  

What can the council do to prioritize combatting climate change? 

The city should re-examine steps taken in its Climate Action Plan to do even better at reducing the carbon output. We must require builders and owners to use LED lighting, continuous insulation, recycled content and building materials, water catchment and renewable energies with smart monitors. We must continue to invest in fleets away from fossil fuels that run off alternatives like electricity and propane gas. We should also create incentives in credits and rebates that encourage investment in vehicles that run off renewable energies.

Public outreach is the foundation upon which the CAP rests. I will champion continued public engagement as the implementation process moves forward.

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

As a dynamic, vibrant part of the city, District 5 will continue to attract new capital and people. Important issues will be how do we balance that growth to protect neighborhood cultures, improve supportive infrastructure and make room for more people.

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.