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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Avondale Estates City Commissioner (Vote 2) {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

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

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    Paul Brown Architect

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    Ben Dostal Program Manager

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    Wilmer Engle Student at GSU, B.B.A. in Accounting (2017)

  • Terry Giager

  • Candace A. Jones Retired Public Health Manager and Nutritionsit

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    Lionel Laratte Management Consultant

  • Elise (Lisa) Shortell

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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I feel my being elected Commissioner will benefit the future direction of this city. I have over 30 years of experience working directly with major development companies and metro area community development governments.

• Brown Architects LLC: Architect/Owner since 1987

• Avondale Elementary School Education Foundation; Founding Chair -achieved 501c3 accreditation 2016.

• City of Avondale Estates Board of Appeals; Member since 2013.

• City of Avondale Estates Ad Hoc Educational Committee; Community volunteer

• Generation Avondale; Member

• I have actively participated the last 8 years in the BOMC and AE city government attending meetings and providing a reasonable voice for education, storm water retention, and improving Sam’s Crossing Bridge for the community.
Updated Storm water retention and control is our largest budget issue. The city's storm water fund has a limit on available funds. Work will proceed to correct and replace existing infrastructure as funds become available.
The remaining three members seated on the BOMC all work tirelessly for their families, education, nonprofits and churches to create a difference in this community beyond their duties as board members. They lead by example. It would be my honor, if elected, to serve this city together with them.

Transparency exists in this community to the extent possible. All information and recorded meetings are posted online and access is sent to all who receive the weekly newsletter.
To understand Avondale Estates is a growing diverse community. We all live here together. Building a community is more than buildings and planting trees, it is friendships and relationships that give it nourishment for growth and prosperity. Neighbors helping neighbors makes our city stronger.

Working in partnership with the other communities to make practical policies to create a wider, more open public realm; to expand high-quality affordable housing options and make long-term investments in children and families, specifically in education, health and economic well-being.

Parks, transit and affordable housing might be key to handling a population splurge but without better schools open to all students in this community we haven’t met the basic needs of families.
Our downtown business district is currently in development with priority being given to alternative transportation modes to the adjacent Avondale MARTA station. A Mobility Plan is being developed with the proposed road diet for Highway 278 with options for bicycle paths and large pedestrian sidewalks with ample landscaping. Electric carts are already accepted and used throughout the existing residential neighborhood.
In my professional life I have had significant experience collaborating with both city and neighborhood groups. I'm excited to bring those skills to Avondale as we continue to grow. Collaboration will be crucial in ensuring that we are able to encourage business growth while maintaining our small town charm.

My motivation to run stems from my excitement for the opportunities that are on the horizon for Avondale Estates.
With growth will come an increase in the number of people using City services. In order to maintain the same level of service for residents, we need to be planning now for future demands so that residents don't have to shoulder a tax increase.
As a firm believer in transparency in government I believe that we can certainly improve in making sure the public is informed. While we currently list meeting agendas and minutes online, these documents could be more detailed for residents who may not be able to attend.
For our future growth to be sustainable we have to be welcoming of all entrepreneurs and support their endeavours as long as they operate within city regulations. For those relocating to Avondale Estates, I have found that we are a tight knit community that was welcoming to my husband and I from the day we moved in. I would expect residents to welcome all new residents with the same warmth regardless of nationality, race, or gender.
Environmental protection is should be on everyone's mind. Given our close proximity to two MARTA stations and popularity of cycling our our community I would like us to support commute alternatives. Additionally, I'm thankful for the recycling program that we have in place currently and I'd like to expand that program through either a broader pick up service, or drop locations for additional items.
I am an analytical person. I was an Intelligence Analyst in the military. I also have been studying accounting and business at GSU. I want to put the skills I have learned in those fields to use to benefit the city.
As of the I write this response, I am not versed enough into the cities current budgeting situation. I am researching it now and hope to find ways to reduce unnecessary expenditures and make sure records stay accurate.
I believe that transparency is very important because all elected officials should be held to the highest standard. I think that no one should accept lobbyist gifts because that could be a questionable ethical issue.
I feel Avondale is a very welcoming community to all types of people, and I hope it stays that way. I would enjoy meeting with people, no matter where they are from, that would like to start a business in Avondale. What matters to me is the strength and potential their ideas have, not where they were born, when it comes to entrepreneurs.
Avondale has many programs to plant and maintain trees and other plants all over the city. This helps keep the air clean and fresh. We should consider making the area more walker/cyclist friendly and see about public transit options to reduce carbon emissions.
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Campaign Phone (678) 778-2094
Since 2014, I have been a very active city resident. Attending and participating in most city meetings, work sessions, and public hearings. I am knowledgeable of the issues, plans, codes, documents, processes, responsibilities, and time commitments required to be an effective commissioner. Most recently, I participated in the code audit stakeholder discussion, comprehensive and downtown master plan updates, and downtown development planning sessions for our city owned four acres.

Professionally, I have over 30 years of public health management experience at the state, district and county levels. Responsibilities included: -Planning and implementing Programs, Budgets, Policies and Procedures, plans, contracts, and grants -Managing personnel and completing local agency performance audits -Collecting, analyzing and evaluating Data -Evaluating the impact of proposed legislation.

Our city is at an important point in its evolution. I want to serve our city as we act and plan for the next several years as well as its next century. I want to ensure that our city retains its high quality of life for current and future individuals, families, and businesses as we progress forward. We must continue to balance the needs of our current residents and residential areas, which are the core of our city, against the needs of future residents and businesses in our downtown areas.
Our biggest challenge is maintaining our small town atmosphere and quality of life while trying to meet residents' desires for a more developed downtown area. Our small city will have to be creative and patient as we maximize all funding sources for our improvements including public infrastructure, private development, public-private partnerships, grants, various revenue streams; and hopefully weather any market fluctuations.
Elected and appointed officials must conduct themselves ethically and responsibly; which I promise to do if elected.
We have a diverse city population of young children to seniors, single, partners and family households of all denominations, ethnicities and races; and we are becoming more diverse each year. We have many visitors who walk our sidewalks and paths, play at our lake and parks, visit our restaurants and businesses, and participate in city events such as the Easter egg hunt and antique car parade, Fourth of July parade and fire works, Labor Day race, fall festival, Light parade, Halloween trick or treating, Christmas Holiday markets and home tour, and the many other events. I always greet residents and visitors as I walk our sidewalks and paths to ensure that they feel welcome. Maintaining our safe, clean and tree lined streets, developing a vibrant downtown, and preserving and expanding our varied housing options will ensure that we keep our diverse population and continue to be a welcoming city to live in.
Our small city abides by all laws and regulations as it does business and expects our businesses within our city limits to do the same.
The primary reason I want to be a commissioner is that I want to bring two things to the table: experience and a unique perspective. I grew up in Haiti and have traveled to and lived in many places. I have seen a lot of different communities and organizations tackle challenges using a variety of techniques and strategies. I want to bring what may be useful to Avondale Estates to light.

The experience that will be important to the community is my 15 plus years working with large organizations, primarily Fortune 500, to develop strategies to better manage change and dynamic environments. My work has primarily been in the IT world but much of it is directly transferable to the public sector.
It's not news to anyone that inflation is a constant. In fact, there are very few years where the cost of things in general don't increase, especially when it comes to healthcare. The city has a responsibility to provide competitive wages and benefits to its employees while maintaining its core services, infrastructure and security to residents.

Having said that, we have choices. One way to generate the increased revenue the city will require is to tax its residents more. I don't think anyone is in favor of that but it is an option.

Another option is to increase economic activity within the city. In other words, make it a place people want to come spend some time and money. This, in turn will generate increased tax revenue from city businesses without raising their tax rate. This is the option I believe makes sense for the city.

It's also why developing our downtown is so important. It's not change for the sake of change. It's strategic change. It's knowing that the future always progresses. We need to embrace that progress and make it work to our benefit. If we don't define it, it will define us.

This is also an example of how my business experience is transferable to the public sphere. I advise clients on organizational change management. My solutions are measurable and I work with them to define what success looks like before we begin to formulate the strategy. Like they say, if you don't know where you're going, any road will do.
We should hold our public officials to high ethical standards. They are supposed to be leaders and the best of our communities. Now, I understand that is a tough standard and we are all human. We are all flawed.

However, I don't think it's too much to ask public officials to understand they are servants of their electorate and that they are committed to upholding the laws as well as the social standards of their communities.

How should the city address lapses in ethics and transparency? In a city our size, I think the community can bring direct pressure on officials and that will result in the correction of the lapses.
It happens that I am an immigrant and foreign born entrepreneur. I was born in Haiti and moved to the US for college. I became a citizen almost 20 years ago after serving in the US Army infantry. In fact, I did a lot of my training in Columbus, GA.

We can't ignore the contribution that immigrants make to our communities. We see immigrants every day putting in a lot of work to help our city be the beautiful and welcoming place that it is. I think that is a reflection of who we are. We are a city of good, welcoming and caring people.

We already have a quite exciting foundation of businesses like Garage Door that provide a place for immigrants like me to showcase their products and sell them to the larger population. We have the farmers market in My Parents' Basement's parking lot that also helps immigrants sell their products. We have the Rail Arts District that I'm sure has immigrant artists producing work.

Let's build on that foundation.
What immediately comes to mind is that we need to "think global and act local".

We are very lucky to be situated in between two MARTA train stops. It's a long term goal but I would like to see us capitalize on that by being able to provide some type of shuttle service to our city for shopping and other events. As we grow, I believe parking is going to become a deciding factor in how well we sustain ourselves economically as a city.

As I said earlier, we need to be able to at least match inflation every year to ensure we maintain the level of services our residents expect. Unless we want to continually raise taxes, we are going to have to generate revenue somehow. The best way to do that is to increase economic activity in the city and consumers are the key to that. I don't think a shuttle service into the city from those two train stops would be cost prohibitive. In fact, we could probably break even by charging a nominal fee for the ride. There are a lot of possibilities.

The bottom line is that we could have an eco-friendly shuttle service that helps us minimize traffic, lower our carbon footprint and increase economic activity. It's a win-win-win.

We'll need to get into some detailed planning to produce something viable. But we should not shy away from the challenge.
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