A friend whom I admire and trust once said that if a candidate gives me three things they can accomplish, I’ll vote for them. Of course the world doesn’t fall neatly into three categories, but it’s not a bad place to start. If elected I will focus on three broad areas:
Let’s develop tools for our government and the people of Athens to work together to address the complexities of a growing Athens. As we get more densely populated there is constant pressure on the “status quo”. We need a system that can balance competing, and possibly conflicting, interests. And we must recognize that land use and transportation should be considered together.
Currently, our zoning codes and design guidelines function without any framework for what we want our corridors to look like and how we want them to function. I will work for a planning process that considers transportation and land as inextricably linked.
Our zoning/design guidelines should allow for creativity as opposed to trying to “keep out ‘bad’ developments”. I believe there is a way to do both, and that the overriding issue is often scale, not use.
We must explicitly recognize that some members of our community don’t have the opportunities for employment and recreation available to all. I support citizen involvement in a local civil rights committee.
Many of our citizens are reliant on public or non-motorized transportation to get to work and school. By creating connectivity and access to jobs and housing for all residents, a multi-faceted transportation network is crucial to those trying to escape poverty, especially for those without personal automobiles.
All of our kids should be able to safely walk or bike to school / to play and have places close enough to walk to play. I will work for a Complete Streets implementation policy that evaluates all streets before repaving.
Let’s harness the power of our community to better inform our future and find a way to move from study to implementation.
Three minutes at the podium doesn’t leverage the full potential of the human resources at our disposal. I will work to capitalize on collective expertise we have available through a meaningful public input process.
I believe we should create a committee system within the commission which affords the opportunity for public engagement before decisions have been made, increasing the understanding of what/why/how to increase public buy-in to proposed changes, ultimately improving the final result.
I will work towards a community planning process which results in projects and policies we can implement with measurable goals and a feedback mechanism that allows for adjustments to be made. No plan is perfect from the first step; we need to strive to constantly improve.
Athens has the pieces to be the great city we all want it to be. Let’s trust ourselves to take control and make it happen. We can start by adopting a budget that reflects our stated “goals and objectives”. Our budget should reflect the belief that we can be progressive in our approach to decision making and fiscally responsible.