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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Marietta Council Ward 1

The councilmember proposes bills, holds votes, and passes laws to help govern the city.
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    Jay Davis Retired Consultant

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    Cheryl Richardson Attorney

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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?

Campaign Phone (678) 540-1184
50+ years of business and life experience working with diverse organizations and people. My motivation is to use my skills to help Marietta achieve stable growth, while remaining the place that people want to live, play and work. My wife and I have chosen this beautiful city to spend our remaining years and want to serve while we are able.
How to find funds to provide and maintain parks and other public spaces that families can enjoy and feel safe. In addition, our public employees need to have cost of living raises without delay and without raising taxes every year. Zero based budgeting should be considered and implemented where possible.
Marietta has policy in place to insure that all contributions to elected officials are a matter of public record. Transparency in government is critical for our citizens to have complete understanding of issues and to trust their elected officials.
As a "serial entrepreneur", I understand the importance of start up businesses to create jobs and opportunities for growth. It's these new people that bring dreams and ideas to begin a new life. It is visible that Marietta is a very welcoming city for entrepreneurs from all parts of the world. One of my personal goals is to increase the number of businesses in our Ward.
Improved transportation infrastructure would reduce traffic which would reduce our overall carbon footprint. Marietta has an outstanding workforce, but does not have a large base of companies that produce pollution. Affordable housing and the opportunity to work in the community without long commutes would be the best way to reduce pollution.
Campaign Phone (404) 663-1174
I do not know if you can ever be truly ready for a job you have never done. However, to the extent your past is prelude, I believe I am well qualified for the position. From my military experience, I have been responsible for drafting and executing budgets, for managing personnel and for making critical decisions. But my military experiences are different from a civilian experience. I have lived in Marietta for over ten years and I have been active in local politics and civic matters. I was appointed to the Planning Commission, which gave me insight into the City’s long-range plan for growth and development. I have also spoken on numerous occasion before the City Council on issues that impacted my neighborhood. I believe these experiences, together with my legal background and my military experiences, make me capable of representing my ward. I believe my job will be to support the needs of the residents of the ward and try to do what is best for the ward, while doing what is best for the city. Sometimes those two goals will align and sometimes they won’t. I decided to run because I want to represent the residents of Ward 1 in Marietta. When I retired from the military, I decided I wanted to live in Marietta. I found Marietta to be welcoming to new businesses, to newcomers and a great place to live. I am running because I want to be part of the team that continues to keep Marietta as a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.
From what I can see, from not being privy to all the budget discussions of the City, Marietta does not have a budget “problem”. Marietta is in a unique position: the city can maintain a low millage rate because it transfers money from the Board of Power and Lights. This allows Marietta to have one of the lowest millage rates in Cobb County. If there is a budget problem that needs to be addressed, this is something that I would learn about after taking the position, if elected.

The infrastructure of the city appears to be strong. Roads, governmental buildings and power supplies do not appear to need repair. Police and fire personnel appear to be well equipped and trained. The city continues to update and build new parks and trails. The Kennesaw Mountain to Chattahoochee River project appears to be on track. The Franklin Gateway revitalization project also appears to be on track. Again, it is hard to know that to which you do not have access, so this may very well be an incomplete answer.

Much like the last question, I do not believe we have a problem with lobbyist gifting, ethics or transparency in Marietta. The City Attorney and City Manager are adept at ensuring the Council adheres to the Open Meetings Act. This ensures the transparency of the actions taken by the Council, other than on those actions that by their nature must be kept private.

As for issues regarding lobbyist, I feel that the State’s rules and regulations restricting lobbyists and the personal financial disclosure rules are sufficient to deal with the issue of lobbyist gifting at the local level.

Lastly, Marietta has a strong, independent and competent Ethics Committee that is charged with reviewing any complaints filed against an elected official. With this Committee in place, the City has an independent system to deal with complaints.
Legal Permanent Residents and naturalized citizens should not be treated any differently from any other tax paying citizen. If they are tax paying citizens, they should be given the same treatment and opportunities as any other business owner in Marietta.

I was born in Germany because my father was stationed there. When I was born in 1961, it was still necessary for children born of American parents to file for naturalization. I am a naturalized citizen even though both my parents are American citizens. I did not have any problem starting my business in Marietta. No person, who comes to Marietta, with a desire to start a legal business, who pays their taxes, who is a citizen or legal permanent resident, who wants to employ other citizens or legal residents should be turned away or dissuaded from started a business.

Marietta is business friendly. In Ward 1, there are several tax incentive zones, such as the Marietta's Opportunity Zones (OZs), Military Zones (MZs) and Less Developed Census Tracts (LDCTs), where businesses may qualify for the state’s highest job tax credits. Additionally, there are other tax credits that may be available. It is my passion to see an increase in economic development through attracting new business, especially small businesses with less than 100 workers who want to locate in Marietta. Marietta has the right stuff to attract these businesses regardless of who the business owners are.
To reduce carbon pollution, I would like to see the city consider changing out the city’s current fleet of vehicles for either hybrid or electric vehicles. This has been done in other cities and could be done in Marietta. Other cities have also used solar power to both power the electric fleet and have been able to sell some excess energy back to the grid. If the city had a large enough area for a solar array, the city could use a portion and lease a portion for additional revenue. In Valdosta, the Board of Education is looking at leasing unused school property to allow a company to construct a solar array. The lease would be a 25-year lease. Unfortunately, now is an uncertain time regarding the EPA and clean air initiatives. With the President moving away from the Paris Climate Agreement and the recent repeal of the Clean Power Plan, the incentives that drive cities and states to have cleaner air and less carbon emission may disappear.

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