Jodi Merriday

Candidate for Atlanta City Council Post 3 At-Large 

Website: www.jodimerriday.com

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

City Council must lead the charge of creating a safe environment for every citizen and visitor to our city.  Immediate actions that can be taken include:

  • hiring additional public safety responders; 
  • expanding the Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative (PADS);
  • recruiting, retaining, promoting, and training community-based police officers;  
  • providing innovative police training in psychology, de-escalation, and understanding of diverse cultures and populations;  
  • initiating criminal justice reform;
  • piloting community services that engage citizens and young people in conflict resolution and de-escalation; and
  • funding technology that strengthens fighting crime.

 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?

Affordable housing will be a top priority during my term on council. The actions that I would take to ensure that the goal of creating 20,000 affordable homes by 2026 is accomplished include supporting: 1) a national search and dedicating assets to hire a top leader in housing to implement our One Atlanta Housing Affordability Action Plan; 2)  funding and developing partnerships to create and preserve affordable housing; 3) collaborations that bridge intergovernmental collaborations, partnerships with nonprofits, foundations, and housing developers to create land trusts and property donations to target low/moderate income families; and 4) exploring existing city-owned properties to help supply more affordable housing units. 

Lastly, I would further prioritize: 1) assisting legacy residents with repairing and maintaining their homes, 2) assisting seniors on fixed incomes with property taxes; and 3) offering affordable homeownership opportunities to unsheltered/homeless individuals, and families. 

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 will be a top priority.  However, I do not think there is a “fast track.”  This project must be aligned with development, the City’s affordable housing plan and truly actualizing the provision of economic benefit to Atlantans who have historically been marginalized when plans for growth are implemented.  The Atlanta Beltline offers an unprecedented opportunity for the connection of neighborhoods and Atlantans if implemented with fidelity and equity.  We should take our time and get it right for all Atlantans.

What can the council do prioritize combating climate change?

Council can commit to conservation, address the root causes of climate issues, align with the THRIVE Agenda to revive our economy while addressing the interlocking crises of climate change, and advance an equity-focused community-based agenda that concretizes measures that support environmental health, safety, and climate issues. 

The city is the largest consumer of electricity, with combined municipal operations accounting for 7% of all electricity consumed in Atlanta. Council should expand the work the city has done to be more energy efficient. The city has reduced its CO-2 emissions by more than a half million metric tons through its partnership with Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge and is fostering a sustainable transportation network with the One Atlanta Strategic Transportation Plan. Lastly, Council can continue to build upon this success by continuing to support green energy policy conversations that promote equity, improve public health and job creation across Atlanta, and propel continued public and private development. 

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

PUBLIC SAFETY.  A sense of safety and security must be restored. 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING.  Every Atlantan deserves an affordable place to live. 

TRANSPORTATION.  Our roads, infrastructure, and transit require improvement and advancement.  

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.