Candidate Questions

What will you commit to do to restore confidence in Atlanta city government among Buckhead residents and businesses?

These answers are offered as a community service from candidates who chose to respond.
They do not represent an endorsement by the Buckhead Coalition.

Mayor Candidates

  • Andre Dickens: The residents and businesses of Buckhead have the same desire as anyone else in Atlanta. They want to feel safe, valued, and that their tax dollars are being put to good use. As mayor, I plan to bring back that mutual trust. I will be a mayor who is seen and who listens and addresses the concerns of the people. I will show up at community meetings and engage with the community. I will work with the community so that they know their concerns are heard and understood. It is all about restoring mutual trust. We have to work together to move Atlanta forward, but that requires all of us to be at the table and to operate in good faith with honesty and integrity.
  • Sharon Gay: I understand their concerns and share them. I believe that the secessionist movement in Buckhead and the concerns I hear expressed throughout the city stem from similar impulses, which is a frustration to address the underlying causes of the failures we see, whether it be crime, failing schools, health disparities or wealth inequality. The answer is not to split apart, it is to come together to understand how we got here and what we need to do to move forward together. I urge Buckhead residents to focus on electing new leadership this November and hold those leaders accountable for the change they seek.

Central to my strategy will be a re-aligning of city functions with neighborhood needs as defined by the neighborhoods themselves. We need to push out decision-making into our neighborhoods to ensure that the city is being supportive of the vision that neighborhoods have for themselves. In addition, I will set a tone of ethics and service, implement my four-part plan to take on violent crime, redo the purchasing process to reduce the risk of corruption, and restore competence in delivery of city services.

  • Mark Hammad: Full disclosure, I am a Buckhead resident. This will likely be on the ballot in November 2022. We need to prepare for that and the next Mayor will have a very short timeframe to act. Folks in Buckhead fall into 3 groups:
    • 20-30% are Pro Buckhead City, no matter what;
    • 20-30% are Anti Buckhead City, no matter what;
    • The remaining 40-60% are undecided.

We have to target and convince the 40-60% of undecided residents to stay with the City of Atlanta. From that perspective, we have to ask ourselves: What does Atlanta have to offer – why should they stay?

I will demonstrate, through action, not words, that the City can be responsive to Buckhead residents and can respond to their requests. Right now, too many in Buckhead feel marginalized and unheard. They are tired of the City and elected officials telling them that they value Buckhead. It’s time we show them that they are valued.

My platform and priorities address everything that the Buckhead cityhood movement demands: safer communities and more investment in basic city services (trash pickup, roads, parks, etc).

  • Felicia Moore: We all want to create a future where it’s safe to raise children, walk your dog, pump gas, and go to work, and all taxpayers deserve to get professional, on-time delivery of city services.

While we certainly need to hire more officers, we need more immediate action to get more patrols on our streets. Within the first 100 days as your next Mayor, I’ll require every sworn officer on administrative duty to spend one shift per week on community patrol. I’ll also incentivize recently retired officers to return on contract. These two actions will swiftly enable hundreds of officers to fill the force gap while we recruit, train, and hire new police using a 21st-century HR strategy.

I will also make the Atlanta City Detention Center available to Fulton County so that repeat and violent offenders will not be released due to overcrowding.

In addition, I will work daily to re-tool every city service department in a community-informed, transparent way so that we fix what’s broken. My decades-long reputation for serving the public with ethics and accountability, means Buckhead will have City Hall leadership they can count on to deliver on expectations.

  • Kasim Reed: I have deep community and business connections in Buckhead, so I understand the challenges that have so many concerned. Given this foundation, if elected, I would work alongside Buckhead residents with the understanding that their contributions to our city cannot be overstated.

I fully understand and empathize with Buckhead residents looking for ways to solve the problem of crime and not feeling heard by Atlanta city government.

As mayor, I will bring a clarity of purpose and zero tolerance for crime that will be communicated every day, across City Hall. Until our city feels safe again, we will conduct weekly cabinet meetings organized around detailed reports on crime data and the measures each department will take to positively impact public safety. While APD certainly will be at the forefront of those efforts, they will not be alone – departments throughout City Hall will understand and demonstrate urgency and focus on restoring our city’s safety.

  • Roosevelt Searles: My mom always told me, “what’s done in the dark eventually comes to light”. I didn’t really understand but now as an adult it is very clear.

I believe the ideal leader is one who has integrity, morals, and holds everyone accountable including themselves. Part of my 100 Day plan is to audit and investigate each department and require a financial report within 5 weeks of inauguration. We will not stop until the swamp is cleansed and every fraud politician is wiped from city hall. My team has already uncovered millions of dollars in potentially fraudulent transactions and we are concerned.

The People’s administration will commit to transparency and allow residents a true chance at having their voices heard. The residents of BuckHead want to annex from the city however I am asking for them to think about the NOW. I support the annexation being on the ballot because I believe we live in a Free Country and the people should choose who governs their daily lives. In the same context, I would like the citizens of BuckHead to think about the present day. Look at the candidates we have on this year’s ballot.

All 5 front runners have collectively done over 40 years of work for the city. Unfortunately not all of them have had Atlanta in their best interest. 2 of which are currently under Federal Investigation. The others may be committed and have the funding, but they are lacking the passion for CHANGE! We need a fresh start and I am here to bring it! Join me in the fight to #ReclaimAtlanta & #StopFraudCity!

  • Richard Wright: I believe in building relationships. There are four fundamental relationships in a city, I call them the fundamental Four. The relationship between the Mayor and the citizens, between the APD and citizens, between the Mayor and City Council and the relationship between the Mayor and the Business community. I will repair the relationship between the Mayor’s Office and the citizens of Buckhead by communicating with Buckhead in a honest way. I will hold monthly multi district townhall meeting. We need to talk as a city to solve issues. I am a CPA who has worked for Fortune 500 companies. All companies who cross the 12G threshold must issue quarterly reports. My administration will issue a quarterly 10-A to all citizens and businesses. The 10-A will consist of financial report, a MD&A, a ESG report and a report card so the citizen can grade my administration. Politicians talk about transparency, leaders cherish the opportunity to communicate with their stakeholders.
  • Glenn S. Wrightson: As Mayor, I, Glenn S. Wrightson, would have the City Government be more productive thereby increasing the deliverables for which the taxpayer is due.I would instruct middle management to “tighten their belts” and streamline operations to derive efficiencies.

I would evaluate “programs” to determine why monies thereto allocated are not serving the intended purposes.I would require any and all employees that are paid for 8 hours of work, to actually work 8 hours. I would scrutinize the budget, eliminate wasteful spending and monitor the output against amounts spent.I would open the books to any requests on a by-appointment basis.

City Council President Candidates

  • Natalyn Archibong: There are 3 things the city must do and as City Council President I will do. First, we must restore confidence in city government by addressing our city’s crime – especially in Buckhead. We must consider locating a zone precinct in Buckhead, and to setting up satellite precincts in select locations. We must also install additional lighting and cameras where needed. Second, we must improve basic city services. Curbside sanitation services must be restored to regular and consistent service. Potholes need to be filled quickly to minimize the proliferation of steel plates. We must resolve the lawsuit regarding sanitation billing rates with multifamily and condo owners quickly and complete the study of our billing structure for sanitation services. Third, we must restore regular dialogue with business, community, philanthropic and faith leaders. This means the Mayor and the City Council President must have an open-door policy and that we must come to Buckhead to meet with its leaders on a regular basis to ensure the city is responding to current problems. I am committed to doing all within my power to rebuild and maintain a strong and effective relationship with our Buckhead constituents.
  • Courtney English: We will focus all of our energy of reducing crime, improving city services, ensuring our roads are paved, potholes are filled, our permitting process works, and that we have a responsive and effective city government.

As the former Chairman of the APS Board of Education, I led the turnaround of our city’s school system after the largest cheating scandal in American history. Together, we raised graduation rates to a record high, increased teacher pay, sent more kids off to college, and built the APS Police Departmen– and we did it all without raising taxes. Our city needs another “turnaround.” I’ve done it before; I will do it again.

  • Doug Shipman: ​​As council president, I will be personally responsive to citizen concerns and act as a bridge between residents and the mayor, city, and other council members. I will directly engage leaders across Buckhead to improve public safety, city services, homelessness and to work together to define a plan for reasonable growth. These are the issues I’ve heard from residents and stakeholders. I will work on a 12-month agenda so that residents can see tangible improvements in big things like public safety down to basics, including yard trimmings schedules.

City Council Candidates, Post 1 At-Large

  • Michael Julian Bond: As a citywide elected official, I am privileged to work with residents from all of Atlanta. I can attest that Buckhead wants a responsive government—not unlike every other segment of our city. It is unfortunate that the current administration has failed to provide accountable government responses and service delivery to Buckhead residents and businesses, and I share the community’s disappointment. We are one Atlanta, and I am committed to being responsive, accountable and attentive to the needs of Buckhead. Bringing government to the people—through City information fairs and hearing from residents and business owners in regular townhalls—is the type of outreach I found to be extremely effective when I was a district councilmember. I am committed to working with Council colleagues elected from the Buckhead districts—Seven, Eight and Post Two—to provide greater citywide support of the community’s concerns.
  • Alfred “Shivy” Brooks: First, I will be present, listen, and respond to Buckhead’s concerns. Buckhead deserves a high return on its tax investment in the City, and right now isn’t getting that. Buckhead has long endured slow police responses, a non-attentive City Hall, and shift of neighborhood identity. I recognize the problems and offer pragmatic solutions to achieve outcomes Buckhead deserves.

Buckhead provides 37% of Atlanta’s tax revenue, and deserves a high return on investment. Currently, Buckhead has the slowest police response time of all areas in our city. Buckhead’s police zone covers the largest geographical space of all zones in Atlanta, creating unacceptable response times. I propose adding an additional police zone in Buckhead to improve police presence, crime prevention, and safety.

I also recognize the importance of preserving Buckhead’s character. Atlanta has fallen short in protecting the identity of our communities. I support zoning policies that will preserve the Buckhead you know and love.

Buckhead deserves a better return on its tax investment regarding infrastructure and “quality of life” factors. Buckhead is one of the most visited areas in our city, which has brought great opportunity, but has damaged Buckhead’s infrastructure. We must improve the roads, bikeability, and walkability of Buckhead.

  • Brandon Goldberg: The use of auditing and an Inspector General needs to be vastly expanded. Mismanagement of funds and programming, such as with the WorkSource grant and HOPWA, are unfortunately perfect examples of Atlanta falling short in areas where we should be excelling. This kind of mismanagement is totally unacceptable, and only through closer auditing and review can City Council and the Mayor work together to ensure effective governance. Council should regularly call before its committees the city officials overseeing efforts that are falling short. Explanations should be provided by those officials, and corrective action should be presented as well. The Inspector General’s office should provide day-to-day oversight, ensuring ethical and legal management of our funds.

We must also increase neighborhood engagement. Councilmembers attending a neighborhood meeting merely now and then is insufficient. We must stop employing one size fits all solutions, understanding that what works in one part of Atlanta may not work in another. Nuances are fine; they shouldn’t be avoided. We can enact new ideas around housing and transportation in only certain parts of the city without interpreting that as some kind of failure.

  • Todd Gray: It is no secret there is a deep schism between Buckhead and City Leaders. City Leaders have sometimes taken the community for granted and this is unacceptable. But, I also know that there are opportunists who seek to divide us. If elected to serve, I will listen and act on the concerns of those who live in Buckhead. I will also work with other leaders in Atlanta to respond appropriately, quickly, and effectively to the concerns of those who live and work in Buckhead. We always overcome challenges by working together and giving everyone a seat at the table.

City Council Candidates, Post 2 At-Large

  • Matt Westmoreland: I completely understand the frustration and anger that far too many residents feel over a spike in violent crime, deteriorating and/or dilapidated infrastructure, the unreliability of essential city services, and what feels like an inaccessible and unresponsive City government.

But the answer to those problems isn’t secession, which would be devastating for our city and incredibly destabilizing to the region and the state. The answer is having a Mayor and Council jointly focused on ensuring we are deploying a full-staffed police department, using our current and future infrastructure dollars to repave roads, fix and build new sidewalks, and invest in green space and public safety facilities. And it means closing the significant vacancy rate in our public works department so all their responsibilities can be met.

Government leaders have to be accessible and responsive– as I have always sought to be. My email is matt@mattwestmoreland and my cell number is 404.408.0980

City Council Candidates, Post 3 At-Large

  • Jacki Labat: The majority of constituents I’ve spoken with across the city feel the Buckhead city-hood movement is divisive and will negatively impact not only Atlanta but metro-Atlanta and the state as a whole. I agree. The reality is, so goes Atlanta, so goes metro-Atlanta, from Forsyth to Palmetto and all points between and beyond. That said, it is incumbent upon us as elected officials and leaders to get this right. No city or town is an island, and metro-Atlanta is indeed a multi-jurisdiction metropolis. The actions and decisions of any one affects all others. The reality is that many governmental jurisdictions and non-governmental jurisdictions have shared constituents. Rather than seeing ourselves as separate entities with competing agendas, it is time we join together and demand the best in class and seamless service that all citizens of Atlanta want and deserve. As elected officials, our responsibility is not just to make policy and operate in a rote manner to address the concerns of constituents. We must focus on customer service and responsible use of tax dollars to provide first-rate, efficient and environmentally responsible services. The new administration should work with leaders from both sides of this issue to move Atlanta forward.
  • Jodi Merriday: Atlantans depend on municipal government to deliver services: public safety, sewer and sanitation, accessible transit, maintained roads, parks and recreation spaces, etc. To restore confidence, I am committed to putting constituents first, providing excellent customer service, and ensuring that municipal departments provide exemplary services. I am also committed to removing incumbrances to doing business in the city or with the city. I would use my expertise and experience to upgrade technology, strengthen professional acumen, and upgrade service delivery.

The provision of point of service keypads, exit service feedback, and conducting service delivery audits can also strengthen confidence, transparency, and accountability. Cultivating a culture of integrity and positive ethical behavior would be at the core of my vision. Buckhead residents and businesses could rest assured that my 30 years of leadership and professional experience would be leveraged to their advantage. Restoring confidence requires Buckhead residents and businesses know that quality leadership is seated. I have chosen to run to lend my expertise, skills, and education to being a thoughtful, collaborative, and dedicated servant to Atlanta’s constituents.

  • Keisha Waites: I believe the Buckhead cityhood movement has come about because residents and business owners do not feel their concerns are being heard or addressed. As a citywide representative, I will make it my priority to be an effective conduit between Buckhead residents and city government.

Buckhead residents are justifiably frustrated at corruption in previous administrations, wasted funds, lack of communication and transparency, and a spiking crime rate. I am too, which is why I’m running. We have an opportunity to set the city on a new path with the Nov 2 election to select a new Mayor and council.

One of the biggest challenges our city faces is the need to eradicate the “Pay to Play” culture that has permeated for many decades. Until we put an end to nepotism and cronyism city hall will remain toxic and plagued with scandal. We must change the existing culture and create a focus on responsiveness, service, and stewardship of public resources. One of the most important tasks for the Mayor and Council is to assure residents that their tax dollars are being spent wisely. Public trust and integrity are essential for our city to thrive, attract new industry, new commerce and new residents.

  • Sherry Williams: Buckhead residents have real concerns, and they feel like City Hall is not addressing those concerns. Crime is a problem across the city, state and nation. But the solution is not to break up the city, but to work together to address crime that has exploded due to covid. In these challenging times, everyone has unprecedneted needs. It is a time to work together instead of further fracturing resources that already suffer from being split between too many local governments. The more resources we have working together the more efficient we can be. Instead, I will listed to all stakeholders to ensure Buckhead’s concerns are met, especially with regard to public safety. When we address the crime issues Buckhead has, we need to address crime issues across all Atlanta. We know that 50% of all violent crimes are committed by gangs, so we need tough policies to stop gangs and guns across the city.

We need to ensure the office of Office of Inspector General that was just put into place is funded and given enough independence to actually do its job. People know who the bad apples are; we just need to be able to investigate and prosecute them.

City Council Candidates, District 6

  • Alex Wan: The City must focus on restoring the delivery of its core services – public safety, infrastructure maintenance and repair, trash/recycling/yard trimmings pick up, licenses and permits, etc. – to the levels that its taxpayers deserve. Additionally, City Hall must be more accessible to its constituents through rebuilding its lines of communication and responsiveness immediately.

My previous service on the City Council gives me the knowledge and experience of how to utilize the committee process to highlight deficiencies in city services through 311 data and other metrics, identify key operational factors, push for and help craft solutions, and track progress. I also know how to utilize the budget process to prioritize resources to drive the desired change. I am ready to put that experience to work to champion these improvements.

I also built a track record of being accessible and responsive to my constituents through my personal participation in neighborhood and NPU meetings. I stand ready to pressure the new administration to do the same – including holding town halls jointly with the other council members that represent Buckhead with City leadership in attendance – until that trust is restored.

City Council Candidates, District 9

  • Dustin Hillis: As one of the four councilmembers who represents at least a portion of the greater Buckhead area, I will push whomever our new mayor is to immediately meet with Buckhead home and business owners, alongside Buckhead and At-Large Councilmembers, to hear the issues and hash out a robust plan to address the very real issues being brought to the table. Such a plan needs to have immediate, 30-, 60-, and 90-day changes, as well as changes that might take 6-, 12-, or 24-months. Those changes need to have measurable goals that are followed-up with during regularly scheduled meetings of that same group of people. Working together, we can and must address the many issues in Buckhead and across our city.