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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Atlanta City Council Member, District 11

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

    Harold Hardnett Entreperneur

  • Candidate picture

    Debra F. Harris Paralegal. City of Atlanta, Departmental Contracting Officer/Legislative Liaison Retired.

  • LaTarsha D. Holden

  • Anthony Johnson


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    Brionte McCorkle Assistant Director, Georgia Sierra Club

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    Marci Collier Overstreet Candidate City Council District 11, Retiree, Author

  • Georgianne "Doc" Thomas

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?

Campaign Phone (770) 833-1733
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.
Campaign Phone (678) 516-7701
I have 38 years of work experience in the Public Sector, both local and State government. Worked for the City of Atlanta from 1979-2011 as a Departmental Contracting Officer, Legislative Liaison and Paralegal within the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Commissioner's Office, Management Services Division from 1985-2011. Worked as a Contract Compliance Specialist in City of Atlanta, Mayor's Office of Contract Compliance from 1979-1984, was instrumental in implementing the City of Atlanta's Minority Business Enterprise Program which was held as the best in the country under the late Mayor, Maynard H. Jackson. Gained first hand experience on the executive and legislative process of City Government. Have a keen understanding of legislation development, competitive contracting, legal research, MFBE and contract compliance policies. Motivated to return to the City of Atlanta to serve the Constituents of District 11, the City and it's Citizens with experience, integrity, high ethical standards and accountability that I provided as a City employee, so as to make our Southwest Atlanta community a better place to live with the know how and will to get things done. I also want to encourage and support the City's employees having worked in the trenches alongside with them from 1979-2011. My education: M.A. Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). B.S. Degree in Social Work from West Virginia State College.
I would work for a permanent reduction in the Water bills and Sanitation taxes. Have a Fair tax system for our Senior Citizens to help them as homeowners.
Lobbyist gifts should have a set rate established for all and that will govern ethical behavior. I will bring transparency to City government.
I would support foreign born, minority and female owned business enterprises as previously done while working in the City's, Mayor's Office of Contract Compliance and will help their families compete for good paying jobs. Atlanta is the City that is "too busy to hate".
The City should use Solar energy in City buildings and facilities. Purchase more electric vehicles for City employees to use. The City should make it mandatory to recycle.
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Campaign Phone (404) 822-5064
I bring over 25 years of professional and business experience to the City as an investigator, policy and legal analysis, of Federal, State and education law, with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights and the Department of the Army .I learned the inter-workings of City Government and Planning as the chair, vice chair and committee chair of the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board and the Neighborhood Planning Unit R. As the chair of the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board, I established the first televised Community Planning meetings in all 4 quadrants; and as the NPUR chair I developed and directed the research on the first comprehensive neighborhood study ever completed in the City of Atlanta. I love community organizing, community planning and working with the public, to create innovative program/projects. I am inspired when I can create public / private partnerships for collaborative planning with regional partners to solve problems, shares resources and harness
I think that the biggest budget issue facing the City of Atlanta is funding infrastructure improvements for the entire city. First I would work with the experts from each related department, public works, and watershed management staff to complete an exploratory Report of the problem, priorities, and potential sources of funding and their requirements. Once the exploratory report was completed, I would have staff create draft legislation to begin to create a phase in comprehensive plan to complete the infrastructure improvement plan. If there is push back, I would try to form a partnership with other council members to create a special fund for the priority infrastructure issues in communities where there is a critical need especially in locations where there is a need for new development
I think the city should establish specific penalties for each offense including lobby gifts, ethical behavior and a lack of gransparency in government. when there is a violation, the penalty to be imposed is clear and deliberate and timely..
I think that all people should live in this City without fear of reprisal from anyone. If Atlanta is a sanctuary there needs to be a way to define how all people are to be treated without exception. No harassment, no profiling, no intimidation, no illegal arrests search and seizures, etc. Everyone should feel free and safe in this City. I would like to see welcoming signs everywhere in Atlanta including in our schools, neighborhoods, grocery stores.
I think we need to explore alternative forms of transportation, plant more trees, use motorized vehicles around neighborhoods, electric cars, bicycles, motor cycles, redesign travel routes to limit automobile traffic in certain areas, special routes for bikes and not on the same streets as cars and buses. We need more sustainable solutions to reduce carbon pollutions in underserved communities. We do not have bike racks, electric recharging centers, wide sidewalks for uniform walking areas and connectivity.
Campaign Phone (678) 465-7420
I earned my degree from Georgia State University in Public Policy. Over the years, I have served with United Way as a call center volunteer, ensuring that people got the help they were looking for. I also volunteered with Operation Hope to teach financial skills to our children and our community. In 2012, I worked at the Atlanta Regional Commission on water. From there, I joined Southface, a nonprofit focused on improving energy and water efficiency in buildings. There I played a role in training workers in high quality jobs. I am now the Assistant Director of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization. I work on expanding transit throughout the Atlanta area. In 2013, I began working on expanding MARTA to Clayton County. Thousands of people, businesses, pastors and more came together to make it happen. This wasn’t just about expanding transit; expanded transit meant access to better schools, jobs, healthcare, recreation, food, housing and more. In that moment, people felt empowered, like they finally had control over their lives and their community. I decided then that I want to spend every day working to empower people and build better communities.
I think the biggest budget issue is balancing the continued growth of our city with efforts to preserve affordable housing. Over the years, we've done a lot to improve and revitalize the areas in our city that were languishing, and we’ve still got a lot of work to do and resources to spend on improving the blighted areas in south and west sides of our city. Typically, we attract developers by offering tax breaks and other incentives in exchange for redevelopment. Unfortunately growing discontent in the city with rising housing prices and displacement of low income communities of color have led us to examine the way these deals are made and ask whether we are doing everything we can for the people of Atlanta. What are we doing to ensure the people who stuck with areas in the city when they were going through its worst times can be there when it's going through its best? To solve this, we need to put up real, sustained funding for affordable housing initiatives through regular issuances of the Housing Opportunity Bond. Still, can we afford to do that while still offering incentives to developers that can reduce our tax digest?
The scandal at city hall earlier this year has led to a revelation that many Atlantans do not trust city’s leaders to do the right thing. We feel left out and unheard. To rebuild trust with the public, I believe that nothing will be more impactful than to focus on improved customer service and efficiency in service delivery to neighborhoods. People must be able to see their government working for them. We should be more transparent with how we choose contracts and where our dollars are spent. I will:

(1) Mandate that all city finances, including council member spending and contracts online, are made available in a way that is organized and easily searchable (2) Overhaul the bidding process for city contracts, expanding the emergency contract measures enacted earlier this year in response to the unfolding scandal to apply to all contacts (3) Implement new ethics procedure training for City employees (4) Rather than establishing an external oversight committee of procurement practices, I propose examining the current ethics board to determine ways in which it can be more effective in general and with procurement, and restructure as necessary (5) Explore workflow improvements, process enhancements, and maybe some code improvements that might help improve service delivery
My husband is a West African immigrant from Mali so this issue is very personal to me. I support and will continue to uphold the Atlanta City Council’s resolution to limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. I also support fully funding and partnering to expand initiatives from the Welcoming Atlanta program of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. I would also look at ways we can assist immigrants in becoming homeowners through Invest Atlanta programs.
As the Assistant Director of the Georgia Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots organization, I have been promoting a 100% clean energy future. A clean energy economy will bring reduced energy costs, saving the city and its residents on power bills. We will have cleaner air through reduced emissions from power plants, leading to lower asthma rates and improved public health. It will also create thousands of high-quality, high-paying jobs which we need to attract to our city. This also includes training our young people to be positioned to take these jobs.

We’ve taken significant steps to position the city of Atlanta as a leader in the movement for a just climate future. In addition to making a strong stand on the Paris Climate Agreement, we have also attracted 100 Resilient Cities. This work will allow our city to continue thriving after major shocks, whether caused by climate or social stresses. The city has also committed to a 100% clean energy future by 2035. I’m very excited to see the plans produced by this effort, and as a council person, will make sure that the necessary departments are adequately funded and supported to achieve their goals.
Campaign Phone (678) 358-5850
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.
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