Brandon Cory Goldberg
Candidate for Atlanta City Council Post 1 At-Large
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1) What immediate actions can city council take to aid in curbing the violent crime occurring in Atlanta?
Atlanta should recruit police from all corners of our city. Our police should live locally to their patrols, so that there’s built in trust with their neighbors and small business owners. We need to make sure police are well trained and well compensated. That way, we will retain our officers and provide them with the education they need to do their job effectively and equitably.
Police alternatives are also critical. I fully support expanding PAD’s resources to ensure they are not only available city-wide, but that PAD actually has the ability to respond city-wide. We need to reserve our police for instances of true public safety issues. PAD and the police should coordinate to ensure all of our responses provide safety for the responders. Additionally, we should not be sending our police to respond to issues like zoning violations. The zoning authority should be handling those issues. The presence of police escalates situations; their very uniform creates heightened tension. And so, we should focus on enforcing our laws and providing a safe city for our residents while recognizing that different issues call for different responses.
2) 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?
Yes. My campaign’s Housing Equity Committee has been working hard on this problem. I support much of the city’s Planning Report released in March. Rezoning single family homes, particular ones near transit options, can help alleviate this issue. We can maintain the feel of a neighborhood while still allowing for more carriage houses, basement units, and similar options. Additionally, the city should explore opportunities to build microhomes on currently unused city property. These homes will provide those currently homeless with a safe place to live and alleviate other issues in our city related to homelessness. Additionally, studies have shown that once a homeless person is given a home, they can devote more of their mental energy to finding and holding a job to then pay their expenses. Of course, we also need to ensure that developers meet affordable housing standards and that there are no fees or other alternatives for developers to avoid these standards.
The biggest obstacle to all of our housing issues will be to recognize that different neighborhoods will require different solutions. What works in one area may work in another, but it may not. We need to develop a plan that is both comprehensive and nuanced, addressing each part of our city appropriately in coordination with neighborhood associations.
3) Will transit on the Atlanta BeltLine corridor be a top priority and how will you work fast-track it?
Yes. Sustainability in Atlanta is going to rise or fall on how we address transportation, and that’s why I have an advisory committee dedicated to transportation. Considering issues such as public safety and housing equity, solving those other issues won’t matter as much if people cannot actually navigate the city in an effective way. Having a home you can afford and be proud of isn’t sustainable if you can’t get to work. Having major businesses relocate to Atlanta isn’t sustainable if they can’t move their staff and products around the city effectively. Atlanta won’t be a desirable place to live if you need to spend hours in traffic to get around, with only minimal transit options and unsafe roads for biking. More MARTA is one component of addressing this problem, but we also need to focus on building roads that can be shared with bikes and scooters, and we also need to focus on expanding access routes such as the Beltline. Other cities are decades ahead of Atlanta in this regard, and we need to make easy transit an assumption for those getting around, not a struggle to be planned and concerned about. If we fail in this regard, then Atlanta will not be an economic destination or a place for people to move to. We are a city on the rise, and we need to make sure we build an infrastructure to support our future.
4) What can the council do prioritize combating climate change?
Council should regularly call before its committees the city officials overseeing climate efforts. In particular, Council must stay updated on efforts that are falling short. Explanations should be provided by those officials, and corrective action should be presented as well. The Inspector General’s office should provide day-to-day oversight, ensuring ethical and legal management of our funds.
We need to require city contractors to meet clean energy standards, just as we expect them to meet diversity standards. Additionally, developers should be expected to participate fully in this program though the construction of their buildings with green components and using their buildings to assist in generating renewable energy. The city should also invest in green companies dedicated to furthering clean energy technologies and processes. With effective investment, we can become the green tech hub.
5) What are three issues specifically affecting your district that you plan to address while on council?
The three greatest issues facing Atlanta are our community divide, public safety, and housing equity. What prevents us from solving our issues is the divide in our community. We need not look any further than the 2017 mayoral runoff to see the stark divide in Atlanta. We need to bring people together from different backgrounds and points of view to identify solutions that will have buy-in from all sides. That’s how we find effective, sustainable solutions. My campaign’s advisory committees are designed to do just this, and my experience in our community is in bringing different perspectives together to find solutions. I have advisory committees dedicated to public safety, COVID-19 economic recovery, housing equity, transportation, and diversity.