Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Atlanta City Council Member, District 1

The councilmember proposes bills, holds votes, and passes laws to help govern the city.
  • Ron Aribo

  • Oz Hill

  • Candidate picture

    Mo Ivory Attorney, Media Personality, Law Professor

  • Bill Powell

  • Candidate picture

    Carla Smith Atlanta City Councilmember, District 1

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

What experience do you bring to the job to set policy for your city and what is your motivation to serve?

What, in your opinion, is the biggest budget issue facing your city and how, if elected would you propose to address it?

How should your city address the issues of lobbyist gifts, ethical behavior, and transparency in government?

Legal Permanent Residents and naturalized citizens contribute over a billion dollars in state and local taxes each year. How will you help ensure your city is a welcoming place for foreign born entrepreneurs and their families?

Cities across the country are embracing aggressive goals to reduce carbon pollution. What do you believe your municipality should do to support cleaner air?

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Campaign Phone (404) 965-2770
I have worked hard as a citizen’s resource for information and engagement for more than 20 years. I am an attorney with strong business and legal skills, a former real-estate developer and media personality with exceptional communication skills. I can clearly convey information, ideas and policy. I am qualified to serve on the Atlanta City Council because I am a motivated, critical-thinker and problem-solver. I am also a 25+ year resident of District One. Furthermore, I am an educator and community servant with strong relationships, having served my community since arriving at Spelman College in 1987. Throughout my life, I have wanted to serve a greater purpose and to be a resource to people. I want Atlanta to hold the title of world-class city that is good for business and family; therefore, I am motivated to run by three issues: 1) economic development that includes viable transportation options and job creation; 2) affordable housing that addresses our immediate need for housing equity and workforce housing; 3) arts and culture that recognizes the opportunities in our ever-growing film and television production industry.
While the City of Atlanta’s 2018 budget shows a slight increase overall, I think we must continue to spend wisely. Given the growth happening across the city and the demand for more city services—from traffic management to hiring additional workers to provide required city services—I want to have a voice in making sure that the spending is equitable across the city. I would like to see increased government efficiency and expanded monitoring of the annual budget.

Additionally, I would push for greater oversight of the city’s investment in grant services and how it leverages our assets. I would work to provide information to constituents to involve them in understanding the budget preparation process and how to maximize allocations in District 1. I think this is important for every taxpayer to know, especially now as the City’s overall financial position is strong than ever with its a solid AA+ rating.
Accountability, transparency, and openness are standards of good government that enhance public trust. We must always commit to act from this standard. As a City Council member, I would first recommend an annual code of conduct review and commitment from city employees. I would also call for a review of current operations—from hiring policy, performance management and evaluations to compensation/benefits. Additionally, I would push for a review of the current practices with lobbyists and seek policy updates that reflect today’s social and technological advancements. Furthermore, I would expect the outcome of these audits to trigger actions to remove unethical practices from city government, acknowledge the honest and fair practices; and rebuild the public’s trust.
It is important that we recognize the contributions and impact that legal permanent residents and naturalized citizens have on our local and state economies. With the new city administration, I would work closely with our state legislative delegation, state chamber of commerce, consulates office and associations to establish a respected policy for ensuring that these thriving business leaders and their families can live comfortably and safely here while contributing to our economy.
I believe reducing pollution and carbon emissions should be a top priority for the City of Atlanta. First, I would work with the Office of Sustainability and provide them the resources they need to further implement Atlanta’s Climate Action Plan that the City Council passed in 2015. Second, I would urge the new administration to make it a priority to start enforcement of those requirements in the Plan for energy efficiency in new and existing single- and multi-family residences and creating green infrastructure in some of our most challenged communities. Furthermore, in collaboration with my City Council colleagues, I would call for recognizing carbon pollution as a public safety and health issue in the city. I would push for moving quickly on the commitments that can have the most immediate and greatest impact on our population.
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Campaign Phone (404) 627-8313
As the District One Councilmember in my fourth term, I have worked tirelessly and take great pride in representing the people who live in southeast Atlanta. As a legislator, I advocate for good development, safe and green neighborhoods.

I have authored and co-authored some of the city’s most notable legislation including; the Atlanta BeltLine, Public Memorials, the Housing Opportunity Bond, and currently I am the Chair of the Zoning Committee and we are re-writing the Zoning Code from top to bottom.

My motivation for serving is laying a solid foundation which ensures a good quality of life for everyone. Our quality of life depends on things as small as repairing a pothole efficiently, fixing water leaks quickly to public safety and land use policy in our neighborhoods. Growth and progress doesn’t just happen - it takes constant patience, care, and attention. It takes work. My vision of good government at the local level is ongoing and hands on.
Ensuring and retaining affordable and workforce housing is an issue. This can be achieved through Neighborhood Stabilization and redevelopment. We can partner with leaders such as the Urban Land Institute, private developers and non-profits. One tool we can use in these partnerships to provide land and/or money comes from the recently passed Homeless Opportunity Bond.
Under the Franklin administration we passed the most stringent rules of ethics of its time; creating an Ethics Officer with an independent office at City Hall. It is time to review and improve our ethics policy and look at best practices that have worked in other cities. Going forward we need to include more stringent ethics training for employees handling the procurement processes.

Early in the procurement process, above a minimal threshold, we should put as much information as possible on-line for public inspection. We need to create an external oversight committee of trusted ethical business, financial and education professionals to review procurement procedures.

Ethics is something that is lived. For example, I won't allow anyone with any interests in the City even buy me a cup of coffee. The City of Atlanta has to be willing to do without the services of others that can't live this way.
Atlanta is known for being a diverse city. We are also known for being welcoming to all types of people and all types of businesses. We should give legal permanent residents, naturalized citizens, and foreign born entrepreneurs every benefit we would give any business in the City of Atlanta. We support diversity and foreign born entrepreneurs because they also benefit the economic vitality of the City of Atlanta. The City of Atlanta can create opportunities for small and large businesses to thrive. One tool the City of Atlanta provides for any entrepreneur is working with Invest Atlanta which supports businesses through helping find locations, assisting with business plans, and providing information on low interest rate loans. As part of our contracting process, we conform with the State of Georgia reporting requirements. Having said that, we do believe in the value of supporting all business because the City of Atlanta is the economic engine of the State of Georgia.
The Atlanta City Council unanimously adopted the Climate Action Plan. This plan will reduce energy and water usage, create local jobs, improve air quality, and reduce the City’s carbon footprint.

There are more ways we can support cleaner air and the reduction of carbon pollution including:

1. The City of Atlanta has acquired electric vehicles in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. This process began in 2016, when the City of Atlanta deployed 60 electric vehicles, along with the corresponding infrastructure charging network. This allows first responders and the Department of Parks and Recreation to access the BeltLine with zero emissions. Our goal is to have 600 electric vehicles by 2020.

2. The City of Atlanta is striving to make biking and walking friendlier. In the City and District 1 we have added many bike lanes, bike share locations and parklets, creating the first parklet in District 1. Working with the PATH Foundation to create multi-use trails will connect neighborhoods, parks, and the BeltLine. Currently we have two trails located in District 1 (and more to come!) which will eventually connect to the BeltLine.

3. I amended the code to prohibit truck or bus idling for more than 15 minutes in any street or public place in Atlanta. Also, I have been awarded the Golden Shoe award from PEDS for pedestrian friendly legislation, and I received the 2016 Velo-City Award for the most bike friendly elected official from the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. logo


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