Andrea L. Boone (incumbent) is running for City Council District 10.
Q: What is your current job (include the names of your employer) and list any significant memberships in public service organizations?
A: I was previously a seasoned public sector employee with over 30 years of professional experience. I state previously because as an elected official, I do not consider this role as a job. I am a public servant. The difference is that a job has boundaries and as elected I do what has to be done, going above and beyond without hesitation. However, I am formally trained as an educator, with a BA Degree from Tuskegee University. I am a member of the League of Women Voters, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Boulder Park Neighborhood Association and Rush Memorial Congregational Church.
Q: What is the biggest issue facing your constituents and why are you the best candidate to address it?
A: The biggest issue(s) facing my constituents are the lack of economic development opportunities, resources for seniors and the lack of quality amenities in the community. Over the last 3 plus years I have met with and walked the district with city officials and prospective developers to encourage them to consider coming west with some new and cutting-edge Developments for District 10. My track record is verifiable, my constituents know that I care and that I have been on the forefront working on everything that matters to them and Atlanta. I am the best candidate because I am doing the work. This is not a job for me, I am a public Servant.
Q: How do you define “affordability” in housing and what is a specific tactic you would use to improve it?
A: Affordable Housing or “Affordability” in housing is an ongoing issue that is becoming more critical every day. The City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances has specific mandates in place regarding affordable housing and development. These current guidelines have worked in the past, but as the world economics are being challenged, we will need to update some of the formulas used to determine eligibility. I think educating and equipping the public with more information would make a huge difference in advancing the discussion. In my opinion, most of the conversations have not included the real stakeholders and/or benefactors, which are those individuals that would eventually occupy an affordable home. This topic also requires a more comprehensive discussion and approach within the public/private sectors.
Q: City Hall has been dogged by an apparently ongoing federal investigation involving accusations of corruption in the previous mayoral administration. What do you see as the role of the City Council in holding the Administration accountable and in helping restore public trust on matters of staff spending and contract procurement?
A: Since the ongoing Federal Investigation there have been several changes in process, policy and procedures that provide more oversight and transparency. Most of these changes were codified through the legislative process, of which I supported. But you can’t legislate integrity. As one of the three branches of City Government, our role is clearly defined. However, as a body we can be more assertive in requesting information, timelines and explanations associated with staff spending and contracts.
Q: In 2020, Atlanta and the nation experienced two historic events: the COVID-19 pandemic and protests about racial justice and police brutality. What is a public-policy lesson you learned from those events?
A: Personally, it became more apparent that as an elected official when there are highly contested opposing positions and/or issues, when expected, we need to make a firm decision as quickly as possible. I cannot say with surety that things would have been different related to the world events that impacted Atlanta and highlighted us on an international platform; but I do think that more expedient decisions were needed in both the COVID-19 Pandemic and the numerous Protests.
Q: The debate about the location of a public safety training center is an example of longstanding tension over whether Atlanta’s urban planning should be more top-down from corporations and private groups or more bottom-up from communities and neighborhoods. What is your approach to planning processes and is there a specific change you would make?
A: The City of Atlanta has a massive Zoning ordinance that influences several aspects of Planning. I don’t think there is a one size fits all. I am supportive of a review and refresh of our Planning and Zoning process to make sure we are in alignment with best practices. One approach I am considering is the timing of initial contact with the community. By the time information is shared with the community, the project is very far along from the owners perspective. This has not given balance to either side.
Q: Who is the main expert you turn to for information on understanding and addressing crime and what is an important fact you have learned from them?
A: I utilize a plethora of individuals and organizations whose primary focus is Public Safety. However, the best information I have received since in office has been from residents, those people who are intimately familiar with their neighborhood and anything that is unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable. This has resulted in tangible information that can be given to our law enforcement professionals. All of this is in addition to the regular conversations I have with APD Leadership.
Q: What are some areas of opportunity for the Atlanta City Council to work in partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent and board?
A: There are several opportunities for the City and APS to partner. Sharing information regarding programing and resources for improved outcomes, looking into areas of policy and budget that could offer cost-savings if it were feasible to coordinate. We both have the same constituent base – APS’ community of interest are the students and COA’s community of interest include everyone (same household). However, we must start with an open conversation! The city has training opportunities that have not identified our APS partners, this should change.
Q: Anything else that you want to share for voters who may be undecided?
A: My sister and I grew up watching servants in action. My father, the late Reverend Joseph E. Boone (for whom Simpson Road was renamed) was a leader in the Civil Rights movement. My mother, Alethea Boone, a retired APS school teacher taught me values.
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