As a 25-year business owner, I am well familiar with budgeting, allocation of resources and working with ever-changing consumer demands. In business, our constituents are consumers. This experience has afforded me skills such as time management, exceptional customer service skills, top-notch negotiation and problem-solving. The councilman has to do all of this for a variety of different demographics. My district has residents in poverty to those who have wealth. The position gives everyone a seat at the table. I have talents to bring people together, enable us to reach consensus on items that impact us all. The business world taught me to be responsive to needs and demands while looking at better ways to do things. I bring this to the table.
Public Safety is a major concern citywide from Peachtree Battle to Princeton Lakes. We recognize that it takes more than just hiring more police. We have to look at how to get better use of our dollars by being more collaborative with the Atlanta Public School system, Fulton County Justice System, and our community partners. It's imperative that we become more aggressive with capturing economic development in our distressed communities to provide jobs with decent wages that people can earn a living on. We also must look at ensuring our youth have programs and projects that engage them by tapping into their passion.To improve public safety, we must create economic development opportunities (brings in new revenue to reduce tax burdens on current residents) and provide more youth activities (keep them busy, occupied and engaged which lowers crime within their cohort).
Transparency is critical as it provides the mechanism for citizens to know what is going on with their government. The city does a great job of streaming all meetings including subcommittee meetings. I would look at limiting gifts of lobbyists to $50 or less as our votes are not for sale. If a lobbyist wants to take a city leader or official to a meal to talk business and allow us to hear their cause, then it's within reason of the scope of business. We have to eliminate pay to play as it's too tempting for those with money problems to start selling votes. Any vote we take must reflect what our district needs and wants not what a lobbyist with connections and money paid for. We should have a required review of the conflict of interest policy that is triggered every couple of years to make sure it's reflective of the current complexities and dynamics. We should eliminate all loopholes to protect the government as much as possible.
We have to keep excellent relationships with our state and federal officials as these are laws within their jurisdiction. Diversity is Atlanta's greatest asset and we have many new residents from foreign countries that look to make their home here. We want to look at ways of making the path towards citizenship easier and efficient where people quickly become citizens and become eligible for services and rights afforded to citizens. Secondly, we must work with those who are here through additional advocacy work in their communities through liaison programs. These liaisons can assist us with being proactive instead of reactive and eliminate the barrier between them and the city. Our foreign-born business owners should be aware of our many business associations that exist and become involved in their corridors to build needed relationships among their peers. We should inform them of tax credits where they can assist us in creating jobs.
Recently, Atlanta residents voted to tax themselves area for improved and enhanced MARTA services. This will allow more people to be able to use MARTA as an alternative form of transportation. We should work with major employers to provide incentives for their employees to use rail or buses when possible to help take cars off our roads. Secondly, we must make sure our neighborhoods have a robust sidewalk infrastructure that includes trails for skating and bikes. When such facilities are available, citizens are more likely to use them for short trips or even for health/leisure purposes. Sidewalks to nowhere do no one any favors. With the addition of the Beltline, we must make sure it's on track to complete the circle around our city to connect communities. Atlanta has plans in place and we must make sure they are relevant to the new needs and most importantly, completed and executed.
Having had the experience of enjoying our legacy neighborhoods during my fundamental years will undoubtedly help while in office. The relationships and trust that I've built through leadership roles and community involvement that I have successfully taken on in various organizations, along with the decades of invested interest in the community demonstrated through our Cascade Road family business, will prove useful while serving at City Hall. My Journalism major and Management minor will also aid in solid policy writing while on council. I'm motivated to serve my community as its council member because my neighbors and I have agreed that our legacy community is worth preserving while growing. We deserve a safe neighborhood that is both age-friendly and a progressive haven for our youth. Our city is growing rapidly with many projects slated for southwest Atlanta. I'm running to ensure that Southwest Atlanta reaps the benefits of this enormous growth without displacement.
Tackling the issue of affordable housing is the biggest budget issue facing the City of Atlanta right now. Displacement is costly to the city and homelessness is extremely costly to the city as well. I intend to continue the trend of implementing an affordable housing agreement with each and every development contract per neighborhood. I understand the importance of having these agreements in place at the beginning of the negotiation process. Ideally, while on council we will implement a more comprehensive approach to the affordable housing agreements with city developers that could include incentives for compliance and penalties for violations.
Bottomline, it is the city government's responsibility to work together to reduce homelessness and mandate affordable housing. Many families and individuals depend on the city to hold developers accountable to the needs of the masses.
I will not tolerate for a "pay to play" culture at City Hall. I plan to RESTORE INTERGRITY by implementing a transparency policy as an agreement with my constituents ensuring they will have access to weekly updates of the Council's developments and affairs. I will follow up on each request from a resident and include the findings and/or resolutions in the weekly updates on a portal available to the public.
I feel that we should strive to become a certified City of Ethics. I advocate for more frequent ethics training for employees and vendors. I advocate for a PUBLIC balanced budget. I will look closely at the appointment of the Ethics Board. I will have a regular "Concerned Citizens of the community “meetings. "Concerned Business Citizens" community meetings are needed as well.
Tax payers deserve to know how their hard earned dollars are spend anytime they want to know. I believe that integrity, both perceived and actual, is a vital aspect of holding a council seat.
In the past, now and when elected I support equal rights for all human beings. I will always ban discrimination and vote against legislation that is not fair to naturalized citizens. This includes protecting their rights to employment, housing and entrepreneurship with nondiscrimination protections. No one should face unfair treatment based solely on where they were born.
I believe that we should continue to stay on the plan set forth by current council this year for Atlanta and the metro to establish a plan of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. The resolution mandates that by January 2018 the city's plan should be outlined with the details of the path to transitioning our city to being run by using 100% renewable energy by 2025, followed by the surrounding areas being folded into the plan to also run on 100% renewable energy by 2035.
I advocate for this new resolution as it is a scientific fact that carbon pollution is a threat of climate change and unhealthy for us all regardless of the opinion of our current President.
While I'm on council, I will continue to fight for an Atlanta that is powered by 100 percent renewable energy. I believe this work will be good for our heath by providing clean air and water. It will also create jobs and save our citizens money by lowering their utility bills.