The brief contest for the District 4 seat on Sandy Springs City Council is fully under way. Campaigns have posted mailings and web pages. Supporters have put up yard signs. Candidates are out knocking on doors hoping to catch the attention of potential voters.
They’re working so hard that when two of the candidates, Chiteka Jackson and Gabriel Sterling, were soliciting votes door-to-door one recent weekend afternoon, they met up with each other on the street. “It was hilarious,” Jackson said.
Jackson, Sterling and a third candidate, Dennis Williams, seek the council seat vacated by the resignation of City Councilwoman Ashley Jenkins, one of the city’s original council members. The nonpartisan election is scheduled for March 15, meaning the candidates only have a little more than a month after filing for the seat to try to win over voters and get them to the polls.
“When you’re running for City Council, you talk about kitchen-table issues,” Sterling said. “This is really about stuff that affects people’s lives.”
Few expect many voters to turn out. Only District 4 residents may vote, city officials say. Sterling speculated that 1,200 voters may cast ballots.
The candidates are very different. Jackson, 39, describes herself as a corporate manager. Sterling, 40, is a political consultant. Williams, 55, a businessman, lists business interests in real estate, nightclubs and restaurants and adult entertainment companies.
Williams says he’s running because he wants to be “an integral part of Sandy Springs and the decision-making process” in his community.
“I hope people see how much I love Sandy Springs,” Williams said. “I’m a Sandy Springer.”
He knows some voters may question his connections to adult entertainment, he said, but says he has no interest in promoting adult entertainment establishments in Sandy Springs and that his background in the business may help the city in its negotiations with those businesses. “If my constituents want to abolish them, then that will be the course I will take,” he said.
Jackson says she wants voters to know she would be accessible on City Council. “I give them my cell phone number and tell them exactly where I live,” she said. “They want to know they can trust their representative will be responsible.”