Occupation: President/Owner: Health Matters, Inc., a private corporation selling high quality nutritional products to over 600 health food stores in five states.
Previous experience holding elected office: Original councilman when Brookhaven became a city on Dec. 17, 2012. Re-elected to my first full four-year term in 2013.
Other community service experience: Founding Board Member of the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce; Founding Board Member of the Brookhaven Innovation Academy (BIA), the first city-sponsored state charter school in the state of Georgia; member/speaker with Georgia Municipal Association on the topic of eliminating sex trafficking.
What is motivating you to run for City Council?
I have worked hard to make Brookhaven a great city. We have the lowest millage rate; a state-recognized police force with our own 911, K-9 unit and 3-minute response; aggressively addressed filling potholes, paving streets and installing sidewalks; beautified parks and implemented a multi-year master plan for improvements; preserved precious green space while protecting our tree canopy; implemented our bike/ped plan.
I am now focused on the bigger redevelopment opportunities of Buford Highway, the annexed area (CHOA, Emory, Hawks), and the Brookhaven MARTA Station; continue improving our police force; complete the Greenway; find a permanent home for City Hall.
What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?
Addressing increasing crime besieging our city from outside criminals. This includes car break-ins, home burglaries and incidences at late-night establishments. Brookhaven is the first city in Georgia to work jointly with Georgia Power to install license plate readers and cameras along the public right of way. Motto: “Commit a crime in Brookhaven and you will get caught.” Council is also reviewing policies regarding alcohol permits and serving hours.
Another big issue is how BuHi – Brookhaven’s “Diamond in the Rough” – redevelops. As your representative, I am continuing my lead role to ensure we do get it right the first time.
What role should the city play in supporting the Peachtree Creek Greenway park and trail?
The city is the lead developer. Estimated at costing $36 millon, the PCG will connect to the BeltLine via Path400. Once completed, this will be a magnificent “statement park” enhancing our city. The PCG’s impact on economic development is stated to return $6 for every $10 invested – realized primarily through higher-quality commercial and residential projects. I presented the concept of the PCG to Council in January 2013, and with help from many others I am proud to say it will soon be a reality.
Once completed in Brookhaven, this trail will expand into Chamblee and onto Mercer University.
What specific policy or program would you propose to preserve Buford Highway’s cultural and economic diversity as the corridor redevelops?
There are several very important ways we must work to preserve our rich cultural diversity:
- Brookhaven must continue to work toward providing affordable housing in the redevelopment projects. I have brought many ideas to the table and continue to work with the Latin American Association (LAA) in addressing this pressing issue.
- I lead the charge (with full council support) to have Brookhaven become a certified “Welcoming City.” Under this umbrella, the city will now work with other civic, county and state associations to help integrate our rich cultural diversity throughout all of Brookhaven.
As Emory Healthcare and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta build major new complexes in the district, how will you ensure these large nonprofits pay their share for roads and city services?
First step is to keep as many parcels of land as possible on the tax rolls. This would include out-parcels that could be sold to independent contractors to develop in conjunction with these project’s site plans. Second, and more impactful, would be to estimate applicable taxes lost over an extended period of time and then assess a fee – as is sometimes done with impact fees. The goal would be to ensure the city would not have to bear the financial burden for infrastructure improvements (new bridge, new ramps, enhanced sewer installation) without the guarantees of a future income stream.
What city service or program needs improvement? How would you improve it?
I think there’s always room for improvement, but as a matter of principle, I would like our city’s standards to be the “Very Best at All We Do.” This includes how we operate our City Hall and how respectfully and professionally we treat our developers and residents. We currently have a study underway looking at this issue and I am working to ensure we get input from multiple parties who have interacted with City Hall. I look forward to seeing this report and ensuring council provides meaningful guidelines to have the city operate more transparently and efficiently.