During the course of this campaign, I have been asked numerous times about additional issues which are not addressed on my main platform. I have addressed how I will handle these issues below.
– VOTER TtttttttURNOUTt
Atlanta, like many cities in the country has not been building enough new housing to meet the demand for housing overall. This is especially acute in Atlanta, which has been growing and is getting new residents week after week. Housing in Atlanta is getting more expensive due to simple supply and demand – demand for housing is outstripping the supply available and is driving prices higher (both rent and housing prices).
On the demand side, there is little direct input that the City has. However, as my vision for the City is implemented, it will induce increased demand for housing in the City as more people will want to move back in town, making the need more urgent to supply more housing options. On the supply side, we need new housing and lots of it. Even though there is already a large amount of residential development taking place, this is still insufficient to meet the demand.
On the supply side, we need new housing at all price points, not just focusing on affordable housing. If we focus only on affordable housing and those who qualify for affordable housing, we would simply shift the housing problem to the next income group.
The amount of new housing we need is staggering – in the tens of thousands of units. This is an amount that the City does not have the resources to develop on their own. This is due to the 10+ years of underinvestment in the space by previous and current administrations. As a result, we are in a position where we have to partner with developers to bring this supply online. My areas of focus for development are the following:
• Vacant or underutilized land in high density/commercial corridors – we need to put our land to use if we want to have a chance at stabilizing the housing prices.
• High density developments within proximity to Marta stations (subway stations);
• Developments on City owned or Atlanta Housing Authority (AHU) owned land; and
• Rehabilitate blighted and abandoned properties in existing neighborhoods to bring additional housing supply online.
– VOTER TtttttttURNOUTt
In case you haven’t noticed – traffic and rush hour is back. During the height of the pandemic, we were fortunate to be able to get around with relative ease. Those days are over. We need big solutions to the traffic that chokes the city on a daily basis. Further, this is a problem that we cannot solve on our own, we need to collaborate with our regional, state, and federal partners and elected officials to implement these solutions.
The biggest transportation issue that Atlanta faces is being extremely car dependent. We need a leader who will support and advocate for real public transit expansion, giving residents and commuters viable options and moving away from our car dependency.
Transportation is my wheelhouse and an area I know very well. I have worked as a transportation consultant and I have experience working on every type of transportation project, including roads, highways, streetcars (light rail), bus rapid transit (BRT), subway (heavy rail), and aviation.
Through my experience, I have become an ardent public transit advocate and supporter. What Atlanta needs is a leader who will champion a real expansion of the MARTA system. The Atlanta region has not done a major expansion of MARTA in more than 20 years. In that same time, the Atlanta region has grown immensely.
Atlanta lacks real transportation options and alternatives for commuters and we all suffer as a result. We see this in the traffic that chokes the connector, I-85, SR400, I-75, I-20, and I-285 on a daily basis. As Mayor, I will advance an expansion of MARTA up to Gwinnett, North Fulton, and Cobb counties. We need a leader who will bring together all the stakeholders to get a real regional expansion completed for MARTA – this includes dozens of local municipalities, the state of Georgia, and our federal partners.
For many in the Atlanta region, having a car is not a luxury, but a necessity and we need to provide alternatives to allow people the choice to move away from being car dependent. This will allow both the city and the region to be more sustainable as we grow. This will also drive development and continue to attract businesses and residents. Expanding public transit will allow Atlanta and the region to achieve many goals, including sustainability, growth, development, equitable access, and equitable opportunities for everyone in the Atlanta region.
– VOTER TtttttttURNOUTt
For too many communities in Atlanta, economic mobility and specifically, upward mobility, is not likely. We have too many black neighborhoods and communities that are stuck in a cycle of generational poverty. Both the school district and the City bear responsibility for this trend.
The single biggest contributing factor to economic mobility is educational attainment and outcome. However, right now, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is not producing outcomes that promote economic mobility. In fact, less than 40% of the students in APS are proficient in reading and math, and the graduation rate is less than 80% (Source: https://www.niche.com/k12/d/atlanta-public-schools-ga/academics/). This lags other districts in the metro area significantly. Until this changes, opportunities for economic mobility will continue to lag as well.
It’s not fair to put all of the blame on APS. My wife is a teacher and knows all too well that issues outside of the classroom can impact performance. If a student is worried about where their next meal is coming from, they don’t care about their homework. If they are worried about their safety, they don’t care about their homework. If they are worried that their family might get evicted, they don’t care about their homework. It’s the City’s job to remove the negative environmental factors that prevent students from showing up, and prevent them from showing up focused and ready to learn.
The City and APS need a better working relationship so we can get our citizens and their students across the finish line and ensure that they are college and/or career ready when they graduate.
The main parts of my platform and priorities directly address removing the negative environmental factors. I will secure our communities, clean up the trash and blight, and address homelessness.