Job Application: Atlanta City Council - District 2
QUALIFIED TO GOVERN
Q: What do you think is the most important role of the City Council?
A: The most important role of City Council is to ensure the well being of the residents of Atlanta via policy setting and the creation of ordinances.
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: One accomplishment I am proud of was my role in bringing the first public park to the English Avenue neighborhood, Lindsay Street Park. As a coordinator at Invest Atlanta, it was my responsibility to ensure that the project, spearheaded by the Conservation Fund along with other partners, moved forward. The park was built using workforce development programs and provides greenspace and environmental education. I am proud of this because it convened multiple partners from the government and nonprofit sectors to provide a neighborhood with one of the most basic amenities that provides not just one benefit to the community, but several. This project required the ability to collaborate with partners, understand the financial aspects of the project, and analyze the impact it would have on the surrounding community. In my estimation, these are the basic mechanisms for governing which I have proven that I am capable of.
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: 1. South Downtown Steering Committee: >2 Years as a member. 2. Sweet Auburn Works: >2 Years as a board member and a member of economic development committee . 3. World Affairs Council, Young Leaders Member: 3 Years as a member, 1 year as a fundraising committee member.
Q: What does it mean to be an Atlantan/ATLien in 140 characters or less?
A: It means that you embrace diversity and dream big, and you do it all with a warm spirit and swagger unlike any other.
Q: What is a new slogan for our city that could unite Atlantans and highlight who we are as a people?
A: Always together, always forward
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: Community input should always be gathered in the beginning of the process to develop concepts. From there the city should use that input to craft solutions that address the neighborhood and city needs. Such solutions should then be represented to the community until it is deemed favorable by the community.
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: I believe that the NPU by-laws should be standardized and that the city should at the very least work to encourage as much civic participation as possible. As a councilmen I would propose this standardization, and work to increase the participation rate of the constituents within my district.
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: Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you view it), I have aligned myself largely with institutions and organizations who believe in the same progressive ideals that I do, so I don't have many examples of collaborating with those with different view points. However, I have had to collaborate with many people on the following tasks; 1. Helping to craft the promise zone application (won by Atlanta in 2016): Required having to work with several city departments, 2. My work on the Community Improvement Fund, Downtown Facade Improvement Grant Fund Program, and Resurgens Grant Fund Program: All required me to collaborate with various community members, from start up entrepreneurs, to community activists, to affordable housing developers, to large scale developers. All of which required understanding their wants and needs first, and helping them shape their vision based on my ability to help.
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: Homelessness: We have to build an ecosystem through which we can plan out, step by step, how to get a homeless individual or family into permanent housing, into a sustainable situation, and eventually into wealth generation. The things I would do would be to 1. Explore ways to penalize, in some shape or form, municipalities that participate in "dumping" practices. A practice where their local law enforcement or other officials take the homeless from their jurisdiction and place them in the City of Atlanta. 2. I would propose a social impact fee on development that would provide resources to address education (pre-k & wrap around services provided to APS kids and families) and homelessness. 3. I would advocate for the city to use such funding as a "carrot" to incentivize organizations to work within the framework and pipeline established by the city, which should effectively coordinate the efforts of the sector and maximize efficiency.
STRONG INTEREST IN TRANSPARENCY
Q: What level of openness and transparency should the citizens of Atlanta expect from city government under your leadership?
A: Atlanta can expect the highest degree of openness and transparency. I believe in ethical leadership that is under the constant eye of citizen review therefore I would repeal any measures done by the prior administration or council that intrudes on citizens review boards ability to be independent. Furthermore I believe in consistent and proactive engagement and education of the public. I would seek to hold consistent, cross-district, workshops and town halls that would educate the public in how city government, current efforts of the city, and what resources are available to them.
Q: Please describe any policies, programs, or ideas you are considering to increase the transparency of city government, particularly in your office.
A: I support the creation of the city app proposed by Keisha Lance Bottoms. The one stop shop app should be residents' go to resource for interacting with the city and should be able to stream meetings, provide legislative updates, etc. Additionally I believe that every piece of legislation should have a cover page devoid of legal jargon that very clearly spells out what the piece of legislation is about and why it is being proposed, so that the average citizen can easily digest what is happening on council.