I was trained and worked in the legal industry for years, before and after being graduated from law school. I understand the power of dissemination of information, how policy is made and how implementation may have a disparate impact within communities. My parents taught me, “To whom much is given, much is required.” The privileges I have received were the result of “blood, sweat and tears” and many sacrifices made well before I opened a book and began any learning. I am the son of an “old school” pastor and public servants; service is the small price we should pay for our ability to live in this great and vast world. We all have the ability to serve in some capacity. I offer myself, my abilities and skill set, for my community’s use as a policy maker.
I am active in my neighborhood’s planning unit (NPU), community association and I am one of my street’s “block captains.” The fact that each and everyday, our neighbors leave the community and sometimes the City, for basic goods and services, fuels my motivation to serve. As the plans for the City and district nine (9) progress forward, I am excited and anxious for what can become, because we have suffered without for decades. I want to be at the table vigorously advocating for my community and its bright future.
We must find funds to address livable wage issues for all city employees, especially funds for public safety and to increase the salaries of policemen and firemen for recruitment and retention.
We must search the budget, evaluate and re-evaluate each department for needs and productivity and re-assess allocations. We want to improve city services, with efficiently operating departments, paying a good and fair livable wage to all city employees.
I support ethical behavior and total transparency in government. I will obey and follow all of the laws, rules and procedures set forth by our state legislature with respect to interaction with registered or un-registered lobbyists. The standard I set for myself is to avoid “the mere appearance of impropriety” of any kind.
Embracing permanent residents and naturalized citizens provides an opportunity to build future community leaders necessary to bridge gaps between ethnic communities and city government. We should focus on challenges like removing language barriers, and improving access to housing and to healthcare. I support welcoming packages that promote civic engagement, immigrant outreach, the use of city and legal services and access to social services.
I support providing information to Atlanta’s foreign national population regarding community development programs, professional and resettlement services, English as a second language classes and outreach efforts to remove language barriers between city officials, specifically those in public safety. We should consider the creation of an advisory committee to recommend and inform the city on issues relating to our foreign national community, to create partnerships, and work with schools and parent groups to promote the best performance and integration practices.
As a city and state, we should try our best to meet and exceed requirements set by the federal Clean Air Act. The City of Atlanta must promote progressive policies that support an increase in renewable energy options, clean power plans, climate protection, and the reduction of manufacturing emissions. I support transportation systems that are linked with long-term land use planning to reduce transit times and our reliance on automobiles, e.g. improved sidewalks, bike lanes, and transit via rail and clean air low emissions buses.
We can and should continue to educate the public on how they can support clean energy production individually and on a corporate level, e.g. when choosing an energy provider, or everyday transportation options. We all have a role to play in improving Georgia’s air quality and all positive choices must be considered as part of the solution. District nine (9) of Atlanta's city council, has the largest tree canopy within the City. As development plans move forward, we will do all that we can to keep and maintain the canopy. This is essential to supporting clean air.
I worked as a Special Projects Director for current District 9 Councilmember Felicia Moore from Feb. 2015 until Jan. 2017. During that time, some of my projects involved improving public safety and addressing blight across the district. Working towards the goal of improving public safety, I managed the District 9-funded “Operation Shield” camera roll-out in cooperation with the Atlanta Police Foundation and the Atlanta Police Department’s Video Integration Center. In bettering code enforcement and mitigating, I submitted and/or followed-up on over 1000 code enforcement cases and, in collaboration with other city departments, resolved over 800 cases, including over 100 demolitions of blighted structures. I also earned my Masters in Public Administration in Dec. 2016.
My motivation is driven by work in our neighborhoods & my desire to continually improve our city. Some top priorities include bettering public safety, managing growth and affordability, and improving ethics & transparency
The city’s current financial position is a strong one. The current administration has been able to build our fund balance to a respectable level, which has contributed to our continually improving ratings on the finance and bond markets. Having such a strong credit rating is crucial as the city seeks diverse funding solutions to address our aging transportation and water infrastructure through bonds, such as the recent Renew Atlanta bond. I would continue to build our city's strong financial position and work to address our large infrastructure backlog.
The city is currently embroiled in a bribery scandal due to its lack of implementation for best practices regarding transparency in local government. I will work with my colleagues and the administration to implement identified best practices to improve our city’s transparency and make the city’s most vulnerable departments (such as Procurement) less susceptible to “pay-to-play”. This includes establishing a central online portal for all the city’s financial and budget data (down to the checkbook-level) in an easily-accessible, downloadable database. Furthermore, we should place all city contracts online, as well as details and costs of all subsidies awarded to corporations.
In addition to improving the city’s ethics and transparency, I would also look to strengthen the city’s Ethics Office, Auditor’s Office, and their respective boards. Previous audits of city departments have uncovered many issues with resource utilization, spending, mismanagement, and cost overruns.
Atlanta is a world-class international city with the world's busiest airport. We should be a leader when it comes to acceptance and inclusion of all. The City of Atlanta should continue to develop and implement policies that support being a welcoming city to foreigners and their families. In addition, we should work with lawmakers on the state level to try to implement positive changes statewide.
Atlanta should continue to work towards multiple goals already established to improve the sustainability of our city, working to reduce our carbon footprint. These include establishing EV charging stations at city facilities, working with partners to establish solar panel fields at closed city landfills, improving the overall efficiency of city operations (e.g. all-LED lighting conversions and replacing inefficient fleet vehicles), and improving and expanding our city's greenspaces and parks.