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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Dunwoody, City Council, District 1, Post 1

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

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    Pamela H. Tallmadge Charter System Foundation

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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?

As a national television news producer who was sent to the Pentagon on 9/11 and as a consumer investigative journalist who has helped countless victims of scams, I am equipped to dig deep into issues and find solutions. Citizens want to turn to elected officials for help – not red tape. Constituent services can be more valuable to a community than a vote on an issue, and residents need to be able to rely on someone who is a capable of handling their requests. I believe in continuing to congratulate the fantastic employees in our city, but I have witnessed some not taking ownership for their mistakes. I believe greater transparency can help fight the wasteful spending that occurs and help engage more of the public. I am an ethical person who personally wants all residents to be represented with integrity. With two teenaged daughters in the local schools and both my parents living in Dunwoody as well, I am driven to make sure they have the best city possible. I have a vision where our government can help all of us enjoy the future of our city by providing greater partnerships with our religious institutions and our magnificent nonprofits, such as the Dunwoody Nature Center, the Spruill Center for the Arts and the Dunwoody Preservation Trust.
Intended to revitalize areas of our city, the Dunwoody Development Authority can offer incentives such as tax abatements to prospective developers. Although a separate entity from City Council, the members are appointed by the council and have the power to create contracts and intergovernmental agreements. They don’t hide their dealings, but the public hears very little about them. Meanwhile, tens of millions of tax dollars are given away from our tax digest to lure developments. The theory is that the long term payoff will benefit us, while in the short term, we lose millions in funding for our schools, infrastructure and even police. I want there to be greater information provided to residents to help in the participation of judging the merits of these tax giveaways. As developers continue to show interest in properties around Perimeter Mall, there needs to be more questions about why it’s worth giving millions of dollars to a business that is already wanting to be in our city.
When our city was created, all campaign contribution reports were prominently posted on the city’s web page making it easy for all to see any potential conflicts. Then, without and public discussion, those documents were removed. It would be simple to return to that level of transparency. The newly formed city of Dunwoody also spent considerable time crafting a practical “Mission, Vision and Values” statement that seems to have been forgotten. We need to remind our leaders of the significant moral and ethical compass delivered in the text of that document. Additionally, the city has created a difficult process for residents to make ethics complaints and has given the chairman of our Ethics Board too much power in the ability to squash legitimate grievances. And, the basic ability to even watch our public meetings online has been a continued struggle, as the technology our city uses is inadequate. Open government saves us money and sunshine on all our dealings is the best disinfectant.
Many legal residents from other countries seek to live in Dunwoody due to our already welcoming community, great job opportunities, proximity to public transportation and for our good local schools. And many of them often reside in our apartment complexes. Often, the prominent homeowner’s association is active in working to prevent and even dismantle reasonably priced living options. Though, I have seen a very positive outreach from our city council and police department within the pockets of foreign communities we have and hope this continues. The city should redouble our efforts to ensure we are an inclusive community for everyone, which includes taking active steps to encourage affordable housing.
I put my money where my mouth is in cooperation with Dunwoody’s initiative to solarize businesses and homes. We recently purchased an array of solar panels for our home and took advantage of the partnership the city created with a solar vendor. Though, as our new city hall is built, it is unfortunate it is not being equipped with the solar systems it is promoting for others to use. As the former owners of an electric vehicle and now owning a hybrid, we are proud the see that Dunwoody worked to install several charging stations. Dunwoody continues to struggle with maintaining a valuable tree canopy that reduces smog and can prevent heat islands, so we must put a priority on providing the financial benefits, improved air quality and splendor trees create. While a MARTA train platform now connects to State Farm’s office building, the remainder of the city will be finding it harder to reach that very same station, as dense projects continue to be approved by City Council which will further exacerbate traffic around the MARTA station. Dunwoody needs to halt the permitting of buildings so close to streets and along sidewalks, as we are limiting ourselves to future possible transportation alternatives such as shuttles that will need a curb cut to pick up passengers.
Campaign Phone (770) 354-7653
My experience is a great assistance to me. I have built relationships with key personal at DeKalb County Schools, including the Superintendent’s office. Also, the leadership team at the Georgia DOE. Locally, neighboring municipalities council members and our state legislators welcome my call. My volunteer work has afforded the opportunity to meet citizens whose opinions and advise act as a good sounding board as I work for the citizens of District 1. I am honored to have served. My platform of “common sense” was my slogan then, as it is now. We have a great opportunity to build a new Dunwoody focusing on the future and not forgetting the past. Our quality of life is important I want to be the voice for the future. We must have “the Dunwoody” that we have all come to love and manage the expected growth we are going to experience.
Growth - I want to continue to be involved with the positive changes Dunwoody has enjoyed since the city was formed in 2008. I believe the city and its citizens are facing significant progress, and with this progress comes opportunities. I believe we, as a community, do not want to lose what makes Dunwoody, Dunwoody. I want to be part of the team bringing fresh ideas, based on the citizens input to manage the expected growth for the betterment of all our citizens.
The City of Dunwoody follows all protocol regarding open records. I believe our city leaders, including staff must be held to a very high ethical standard. Current we publish our meeting notes, document the public hearings, and when we gather, as a group of council members, the meeting time/location is published and documentation of the meeting takes place. We provide ethics training for all city committee board members. I believe, if there are any findings of unscrupulous behavior among staff or council; that person shall be removed immediately.

The City of Dunwoody is a carbon copy of the United Nations. Visit any school in the Dunwoody High School cluster, parks, city events, retailers, restaurants, and our corporate office buildings…there are no words that need to be written or said. We demonstrate every day that we are a diverse city with representation from numerous nations, who have joined together to live and work in Dunwoody. I have chaired the Dunwoody 4th of July parade for 13 years, and continue to do so. One very important addition to our event is a Naturalization Ceremony that occurs at the conclusion of the parade. Men and women are sworn in as United States citizens – there is not a dry eye in the house!
All our citizens should have the ability to enjoy our beautiful city by way of a walk, a quick run, or an enjoyable bike ride. We should have a safe way to accomplish this activity in our city. One positive, with a well thought our multi-use trail will take some automobile traffic off our streets. I would also like to see transit options throughout our city-connecting the residential areas to our business district. We can accomplish this through state and federal grants.

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