Job Application: Atlanta City Council - District 4

Candidate Name:
Jason Dozeir



QUALIFIED TO GOVERN

Q: What do you think is the most important role of the City Council?

A: City Council’s most important role is to steward Atlanta’s government in an efficient, ethical, and equitable manner. This is a broad mandate that includes a spectrum of important tasks, from routine budgetary decisions to historic new projects. While all legislative bodies function to make laws, Council is charged with shepherding this city through the challenges of the 21st Century. While all eyes might be on the mayor, the work done by City Council can affect communities for generations.

Q: Please describe, in sufficient detail, one professional accomplishment or contribution of which you are most proud. These examples should illustrate skills and capabilities you think apply to governing the City of Atlanta.

A: I served in Afghanistan from October 2010 to October 2011. During that period, I was charged with coordinating and synchronizing special operations missions in our unit’s operating environment in eastern Afghanistan. Over the course of a year, I used relationships that I developed and sustained between the Special Forces community, conventional military forces, and our Afghan partners to create a collaborative environment, setting the conditions to bring different organizations with different priorities together for a common goal. I firmly believe in the power of collaboration and communication. My work in Afghanistan helped instill a personal leadership style which works to generate buy-in from stakeholders and treats all parties as equals.

Q: Please list or describe no more than 3 current and past activities you participated in as a private citizen (not an elected official) in which you have acquired skills and perspectives that will make you a stronger mayor. Include your role in the activity and the year(s) in which you were involved.

A: My commitment to community-based priorities came from my experiences in the military. From 2007 through 2009, I was forward-deployed as a reconnaissance officer in Baghdad. I helped shape the unit’s diplomatic commitment to Iraqi citizens. I worked with elected officials, religious leaders, and administrative personnel to aggressively stamp out corruption, improve security, and build a better quality of life for the city’s citizens. I recognized that people came first, despite our different backgrounds and nationalities. I even taught myself conversational Arabic because it helped me build better rapport with the citizens I was seeking to protect.
This experience greatly impacted my worldview on community engagement. Those of us in positions of power must do all we can to make governance a friendlier and more accessible process.

CULTURE FIT

Q: What does it mean to be an Atlantan/ATLien in 140 characters or less?

A: Exceeding expectations and advancing beyond stereotypes while striving to remain committed to our rich, diverse history and cultural legacy.

Q: What is a new slogan for our city that could unite Atlantans and highlight who we are as a people?

A: Many neighborhoods, one vision.

DEMONSTRATES PEOPLE-CENTERED APPROACHES

Q: The City of Atlanta currently owns several hundred surplus properties that could be redeveloped. In deciding what to do with these properties, what is the role of community input and when should it take place?

A: Atlanta should focus on preserving access to quality affordable housing. We should update our land use policies to allow for a diversity of uses which would meet the needs of families looking for housing options beyond large-scale, multi-family and low-density, single-family units. These ideas must still conform to the standards of the communities in which they impact. We can achieve these goals in a comprehensive way that still conforms to the standards set forth by each community. My vision for Atlanta recognizes the importance of our communities in our city’s decision-making process. Atlanta’s leaders must aggressively champion our neighborhoods, our historic institutions, and our working families. We must preserve Atlanta’s position as a center of culture, heritage, and history, and that preservation can only happen when our city’s residents and institutions can afford to remain in the city. An aggressive community-based agenda would work to preserve this legacy.

Q: The NPU system was envisioned as a place for communities to engage with development in their neighborhoods. How would your administration support the existing NPU system or seek to change it?

A: Atlanta should focus on preserving access to quality affordable housing. We should update our land use policies to allow for a diversity of uses which would meet the needs of families looking for housing options beyond large-scale, multi-family and low-density, single-family units. These ideas must still conform to the standards of the communities in which they impact. We can achieve these goals in a comprehensive way that still conforms to the standards set forth by each community. My vision for Atlanta recognizes the importance of our communities in our city’s decision-making process. Atlanta’s leaders must aggressively champion our neighborhoods, our historic institutions, and our working families. We must preserve Atlanta’s position as a center of culture, heritage, and history, and that preservation can only happen when our city’s residents and institutions can afford to remain in the city. An aggressive community-based agenda would work to preserve this legacy.

PROACTIVE & RELENTLESS RELATIONSHIP-BUILDER

Q: Give an example of a time when you had to collaborate with many people and/or organizations, especially those who may not hold the same views as you do.

A: While deployed to Iraq, our unit trained local forces to assume leadership of security operations across the country. Three different organizations oversaw Iraq’s security infrastructure: the Iraqi Army, the National Police (which worked in a law enforcement role that prioritized anti-corruption campaign), and local police agencies. Each organization had different agendas and were affected by varying degrees of corruption. Rather than collaborate towards common goals, many of these individuals sought to undermine each other, which sometimes would lead to threats of violence. Our team convinced these groups to work together and focus on common goals. We worked together with individual leaders and generated buy-in from the various chains-of-command. We won over the organizations by winning over the leaders. We convinced people to put common goals ahead of egos, an approach that I think is vital to effective governance in any city.

Q: Think of one major Atlanta issue impacting the district you seek to serve and that needs to be tackled with a collaborative approach, how would you build relationships across the city and region with other governments, private enterprises, or organizations to effect change in our city?

A: Constituent representation is a fundamental responsibility, but so is collaboration. District 4 is in a unique position because it serves as a microcosm of the massive changes happening across the City of Atlanta. District 4’s needs and challenges are Atlanta’s needs and challenges, and I believe there is a terrific opportunity to collaborate with colleagues to implement comprehensive citywide strategies that would also positively benefit District 4. I already have an excellent relationship with many of our current and prospective City Councilmembers, and I believe that those positive relationships will allow for effective collaboration if elected.

STRONG INTEREST IN TRANSPARENCY

Q: What level of openness and transparency should the citizens of Atlanta expect from city government under your leadership?

A: Government transparency has been a cornerstone of my campaign, and it is a necessary component of an equitable and just society. For too long, planning in Atlanta has been influenced by backroom deals where those with the right access are prioritized over the people that our officials have sworn to serve. I served as an Army officer across two overseas tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, so I have seen firsthand how money can corrupt local governments, and when left unchecked, how that corruption can bring undue suffering to the people that need help the most. If elected, I will fight for justice, equity, and transparency in our government. I believe that no issue is too large or too small for public scrutiny. Whether it’s sanctioning a street closing for a film shoot or voting to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to build a sports arena, the public has a right to know how our elected officials are conducting themselves at City Hall.

Q: Please describe any policies, programs, or ideas you are considering to increase the transparency of city government, particularly in your office.

A: Champion an open, honest, and responsive government that values citizen input and community engagement. --Fight to maintain an independent ethics board which defends values like integrity and accountability through an active and robust oversight process. --Post checkbook-level spending for my District office online so that constituents can see how their needs have been prioritized. --Commit to routine, predictable, and well-advertised town hall meetings with neighborhoods across District 4. --Support implementing new regulations to stop ethics abuses by commissioning an independent, external body to audit procurement procedures. --Update public comment rules and build a framework which allows for the submission of questions and remarks outside of the public commentary period. --Continue to invest in our city employees by working to provide additional training, resources, and professional development opportunities tied to a uniform code of ethics.