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Posted by on September 10, 2012.

Brookhaven cityhood in-depth: the District 3 candidates

The Brookhaven Reporter reached out to all the candidates to learn a little more about them and ask them about their reasons for running. Here are the candidates running for District 3.

Deborah Anthony

Occupation: Attorney

Neighborhood: Brookhaven Fields

Community involvement: Brookhaven Fields Association

Why are you running for this post?

First and foremost, because I love Brookhaven.  My husband has lived here since 1993, and I have lived here (in the area behind the Brookhaven MARTA station) since we married in 1995.  Watching closely as the city moved through the Legislature, I became determined that this community retain the aspects that make it a special place to live, work and play.  I am called upon to use my time and skill set to do as much as possible to create a successful city government.

Why should the voters choose you?

Because I’ll be ready on Day One to represent my neighbors in District Three.  My background gives me unique skills that translate well in moving our new city forward.  Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work closely with businesses, local governments, nonprofit organizations and individual homeowners in the development and operation of new communities.  Each segment provides an integral part in creating a community, and has distinct concerns.

My experience is that by listening carefully to those concerns, we can work together to create the best result for all parties. I believe I will be a forceful and effective advocate for my district.

Worth mentioning is that our community has worked hard to develop the Peachtree Road corridor and Dresden Drive area in and around my district as a livable community employing smart growth principles developed by the Livable Cities Initiative. One of my concerns is making sure the new mayor and city council members understand how vital it is that we preserve the LCI Overlay and zoning standards in order to continue this initiative. We want the heart of Brookhaven to remain a livable, walkable, vital neighborhood as this popular area continues to grow and develop.

What do you think should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven?

 Since the city charter contains no requirements for the services offered, my mandate for District 3 and the new city is to assure that the citizens receive delivery on the core services promised by the sponsors of the city movement.  These services include police, parks, roads, zoning and code enforcement.

We, as elected officials, have a responsibility to see that the inaugural city services are delivered in an efficient and fiscally responsible manner.  During this process, I want to make sure that the concerns of District 3 are fully represented in developing the consensus needed to have effective government for the city of Brookhaven.

Video Profile:

 

Hope Bawcom

Occupation: Business Consultant

Neighborhood: Historic Brookhaven

Community involvement: The Atlanta All Stars.

Why are you running for this post?

I have been a resident of Historic Brookhaven for 12 years, I care about our community, and I am willing to put in the work to make our city exceptional.

Why should the voters choose you?

I have a significant amount of experience in building new and sophisticated organizations.

What do you think should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven?

Implementing our police force in the most cost-effective way.

Video Profile:  This candidate has not filmed a video profile.  The Brookhaven Reporter has invited all candidates to participate. To make an appointment, call Associate Editor and Digital Content Manager Dan Whisenhunt at 404-917-2200, ext. 113 or email him at danwhisenhunt@reporternewspapers.net

 

Bates Mattison

Occupation: Business development manager at Cosmetic & Laser Specialists

Neighborhood: Brookhaven Fields

Community involvement: past president and board member, Brookhaven Fields Civic Association

Why are you running for this post?

I believe that Brookhaven has been given an opportunity to create a local government which can govern our area more effectively than in the past, but it will up to our city leadership to deliver on this promise.

As the debate for the city of Brookhaven unfolded over the past year, I worked to inform my friends and neighbors to the potential advantages and disadvantages of the vote, becoming more informed and involved as the process evolved.  I realized that the success of the “city vote” would ultimately fall upon the leadership and execution of the new mayor and City Council members.

I am running for the council to ensure that the new city delivers on the potential of better safety and services without raising taxes.  I grew up in Atlanta, moved to Brookhaven after returning from college, and have been active in my passion to improve the community in which I have lived since 1997. I ask for your vote to continue this effort to make Brookhaven the best city in Georgia.

Why should the voters choose you?

I have been involved with Brookhaven issues for the 15 years I’ve lived in Brookhaven. As a native Atlantan, I have seen both Brookhaven and greater Atlanta grow and change over the last four decades. I have worked with many District 3 neighborhood organizations to promote issues important to our constituents before the county and local businesses. As a business owner, I understand the importance of a responsive local government in addressing the concerns of our economic development.

Our new city needs effective leadership to communicate and develop solutions to the issues facing Brookhaven. I believe I have the background, leadership, and vision to produce the results Brookhaven deserves.

What do you think should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven?

Initially, our city must focus on creating the infrastructure to our local government. The departments (Police, Zoning/Code, & Parks) must be created and staffed with individuals dedicated to the goal set forth by the city commissioners

Our first task should be defining the issues, creating a vision for Brookhaven, setting milestones and goals for ourselves and the city administration, while communicating the progress to our stakeholders and the community. Our city is more connected than ever to our constituents, yet we must hold government accountable by creating benchmarks for our progress.

Video Profile:  This candidate has not filmed a video profile.  The Brookhaven Reporter has invited all candidates to participate. To make an appointment, call Associate Editor and Digital Content Manager Dan Whisenhunt at 404-917-2200, ext. 113 or email him at danwhisenhunt@reporternewspapers.net

 

Bridget O’Donnell

Occupation: Self employed

Neighborhood: Historic Brookhaven

Community involvement: Dress for Success, Special Olympics, United Way, Atlanta Public Schools

Why are you running for this post?

The desire to assist in the creation of a city that will satisfy all residents of Brookhaven

Why should the voters choose you?

I have an extensive background in commercial real estate development, where I worked with local municipalities around Atlanta regarding permitting and zoning. Working in development allowed me the opportunity to work with different neighborhood organizations and understand the needs of the respective communities in order to achieve their cooperation in completing projects that provided long-term benefits.

What do you think should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven?

The first task should be a complete review of the budgeted expenditures and revenue so that the city of Brookhaven maintains fiscal responsibility from the very start and to be vigilant about containing costs.

Video Profile: This candidate has not filmed a video profile.  The Brookhaven Reporter has invited all candidates to participate. To make an appointment, call Associate Editor and Digital Content Manager Dan Whisenhunt at 404-917-2200, ext. 113 or email him at danwhisenhunt@reporternewspapers.net

 

Ben Podgor

Occupation: New York State Attorney and Certified Public Accountant, Retired; now, author, composer and publisher.

Community involvement:  Various offices held in veterans organization.

Why are you running for this post?

I believe that because I have the qualifications for this office, there is an obligation to make myself available.

Why should the voters choose you?

The work that the new city council will face needs the knowledge and experience that I have, law, accounting, and the experience of involvement in the civil affairs of an entire country, France, for which I was “knighted” See: http://ben.benjaminpodgor.com

What do you think should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven?

Get itself organized so that it can provide a secure environment and takes on the responsibility for all the functions that are at present provided by DeKalb County. We are paying the expenses of the entire DeKalb County; when fully ready, we will be paying the expenses for only the city of Brookhaven.

Video Profile: This candidate has not filmed a video profile.  The Brookhaven Reporter has invited all candidates to participate. To make an appointment, call Associate Editor and Digital Content Manager Dan Whisenhunt at 404-917-2200, ext. 113 or email him at danwhisenhunt@reporternewspapers.net

 

Kevin Quirk

Occupation: Attorney

Neighborhood: Historic Brookhaven

Community Involvement: Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association, past Board member; Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church and School finance committee; basketball coach, Catholic Metro League of Atlanta; past leader, children’s liturgy, Marist School; Marist Way home discussion group leader.

Why are you running for this post?

I am running for Brookhaven City Council from District 3 because I want to help guide the formation of the new city.  For those areas that are well served and thriving, I want to help preserve Brookhaven as the best place to live in the metropolitan Atlanta area.  For those areas that are ill served or struggling, I want to help improve Brookhaven so it can meet its enormous potential.

Why should the voters choose you?

Forming the new city of Brookhaven will be exciting, but it also will be extremely challenging.  I believe my professional and neighborhood experience, along with a diligent nature, will enable me to meet the demands of the council position.

As an attorney representing corporate and individual clients in various types of lawsuits, nearly every case I handle presents a challenging situation requiring hard work and sound judgment in order to bring the case to a conclusion.  As a citizen who served as a Board member of the Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association, I worked with fellow neighbors and with DeKalb County officials to successfully oppose a zoning variance that would have allowed for the construction of 30 residences where 4 formerly had stood.  I also worked with fellow neighbors toward installation of speed tables on a perilous stretch of road in our neighborhood.

I feel my professional experience, neighborhood experience, diligence, and work ethic make me the right choice for District 3 from among many concerned candidates.

What do you think should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven?

The first task of the new city government should be establishing essential city services, particularly a police force, and adopting a code of city ordinances.

Video Profile: This candidate has not filmed a video profile.  The Brookhaven Reporter has invited all candidates to participate. To make an appointment, call Associate Editor and Digital Content Manager Dan Whisenhunt at 404-917-2200, ext. 113 or email him at danwhisenhunt@reporternewspapers.net

 

Julia Russo

Occupation: Real estate professional

Neighborhood:  Brookhaven Heights

Why are you running for this post? 

I love Brookhaven.  Having lived here for almost two decades, today we are, together, embarking on a new chapter in the history of this new brand new start-up city.  What will it be?  How will it work?  Well, work is the operative word.  I am ready to roll up my sleeves and work very hard to make this city the best it can be.

I’ve got the right mix of talents, experience and community involvement to get the job done. Let’s face it.  Brookhaven has always been great.  Now, it’s just going to get better and better.

Here’s my agenda:  Strengthen our sense of community. Grow our economy. Let the neighborhoods be. Set paving and traffic calming priorities. Emphasize smart growth. Focus on zoning that encourages development that shares the community vision. Support the LCI Overlay. Keep the trees.

Focus on responsive and close government through communication, monthly open-slot meetings, and community advisory boards. Emphasize a seat at the bigger table of DeKalb, Atlanta and the southeast region. Build cooperation. Think smart. Think smart technology and smart transportation. Think Green.

Use underutilized space first. Improve commercial areas. Find the money. Spend the bond money we already have and don’t leave it unattended. Set the budget wisely and follow it with rigor. Set appropriate checks and balances. Control costs. Explore private partnerships when they make sense. For employees, support 401K benefits.

Protect, protect protect our children, our city, and our tax dollars. Value our beneficial location, our proximity to the airport and major thoroughfares, and our MARTA. Even though public schools remain the purview of DeKalb County, prioritize life-long education.

Why should the voters choose you?

I have the right mix of talents, experience, and community involvement to be a good candidate.

What do you believe should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven? 

To properly set up the city.

Video Profile:

 

 

Gaye L. Stathis

Retired corporate banking relationship officer

Neighborhood:  Historic Brookhaven

Community Involvement:  Trustee, St. Martin’s Episcopal School, 2002 – 2008, member finance and investment committees.  President, Club Commons Association, 2000 – present

Why are you running for this post? 

I am running for this post because I have seen 14 years of neglect by DeKalb County in Historic Brookhaven.  Despite numerous attempts to engage DeKalb County in an effort to maintain our streets, protect our citizens, and protect the value of Brookhaven, the community, the county has chosen to take our tax revenue contribution for granted and not return any value to us.

Why should the voters choose you?

Voters should choose me for District 3 because Historic Brookhaven is my home and I will expend all of my energy trying to maintain and improve the quality of life that we all deserve.

What do you believe should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven?  

The first task of the new city government should be to hire and deploy the finest community police force in Georgia, and as soon as possible after accomplishing that important task, begin addressing the other issues that we will be responsible for such as maintenance and upkeep of our streets, sidewalks and parks.

We will need to be as efficient as possible and I have many years of experience developing, reviewing, and implementing multi-million dollar budgets for corporate and public entities in my former career.  In addition to that important background, I will accept no more than half the compensation allocated to the council representative position and will sign a pledge to that effect.

Video Profile: This candidate has not filmed a video profile.  The Brookhaven Reporter has invited all candidates to participate. To make an appointment, call Associate Editor and Digital Content Manager Dan Whisenhunt at 404-917-2200, ext. 113 or email him at danwhisenhunt@reporternewspapers.net

 

Erik Steavens

Occupation: Director of Fleet Relations, RouteMatch Software

Neighborhood:  Arbors at Brookhaven

Community involvement: President, the Arbors at Brookhaven Homeowners Association

Why are you running for this post?

As a new city, we need to make sure that our new government is on a sound foundation.  I see four main goals for our new city.  These goals can be summed up as S.A.F.E. :

Safe and secure – ensuring we have great public safety as well as having good roads, sidewalks, and drainage; Accessible and accountable government – ensuring that citizens have access and can participate in critical decisions of the city; Financially sustainable – ensuring that the city is on proper financial footing.  I will make sure that we are a financially viable community and work to develop cost effective services and bring new businesses to Brookhaven; Efficient service delivery – ensuring that services offered by Brookhaven are cost-effective and meet the needs of our Community

Why should the voters choose you?

I have a nearly 20-year background in developing transportation projects all across the country.  I have worked in federal, state, and local government and understand how government works and in some cases does not work as well.  I will use my knowledge, experience, and relationships within federal and state government to help us build a great new city.

What do you think should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven?

The timeline for setting up our new city is very short.  Ensuring that services are provided when the new city begins operations is critical.  This will involve much work before a mayor or city council is elected.  Everyone should stay engaged to the work of the Governor’s Commission and the Citizen’s Task Forces.  These groups working together will be researching and developing a blueprint for the new city to operate from.

Acting on the recommendations of the Governor Commission in setting up service will be some of the first actions needed by our new city.  I am hopeful that during the course of the year more dialogue can happen within our city on what we want to look like as a community and how we will get there.  There is much potential in our new city and many people have ideas on what direction we should go.  I am hopeful in the coming year that our new city will balance the need to establish service with defining our future as a city of Brookhaven.

Video Profile:

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