Byron Amos is running for Atlanta City Council District 3.
Candidate website: www.byronamos.com
Q: What is your current job (include the name of your employer) and list any significant memberships in public service organizations?
A: I am self-employed with End All Threats Security. I am currently a member of the Vine City Civic Association; Neighborhood Planning Unit L and I am a member of the Community Leadership Council of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. I am a former member of the Atlanta Board of Education and the City of Atlanta License Review Board.
Q: What is the biggest issue facing your constituents and why are you the best candidate to address it?
A: Public Safety: True Community Policing, True Criminal Justice System Reform, Better training and training facilities
Neighborhood Identification and Preservation: Affordable neighborhoods, Neighborhood friendly Zoning, The “We are District 3” campaign
District 3 Infrastructure and Workforce Readiness: Committee on the Environment, Balanced business and economic growth, The District 3 Office of Small Business and Workforce Development
All these issues listed above I have intricate knowledge of. I have addressed them before in previous positions. I am the only candidate that has collaborated with other elected officials in an official capacity to create change, My years of experience and wisdom pertaining to these issues make me uniquely qualified for this position.
Q: How do you define “affordability” in housing and what is a specific tactic you would use to improve it?
A: Affordable neighborhoods are a part of my platform. I believe that there should be housing options for everyone in our city regardless of their income level. Affordability must be addressed on several levels. The federal level, who are the ones who create the AMI formula for affordability, the state level by those who can implement rent control and the local level. Public-private partnerships are essential to providing housing options that are accessible and affordable for the residents of the city. My District for example is composed of close-knit working-class communities, so I intend to build on the work of the House Atlanta Task Force recommendations. Specifically, we must expand initiatives like the anti-displacement initiative, which is a national model, which is focused on reducing the tax burden in gentrifying communities. We must also use and activate real estate, which is owned by the City of Atlanta, APS, the Atlanta BeltLine, Atlanta Housing.
Q: City Hall has been dogged by an apparently ongoing federal investigation involving accusations of corruption in the previous mayoral administration. How would you help restore public trust on matters of staff spending and contract procurement?
A: I would continue to support the Office of the Inspector General and the ongoing restoration of trust in our city government implemented by the current administration and council. Our procurement procedures should be continuously scrutinized to ensure that we are operating efficiently. I will recommend that a standing council committee be established to review all contracts awarded more than $1 million. Finally, I believe that we should require council review and oversight of any change orders or change of scopes of service which exceed five percent of the contract amount.
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: Using the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing as a road map, first, I would make sure that the City of Atlanta’s police force reaches 2,000 active officers. This goal has been achieved before and will make a significant difference in the safety and security of our city. Second, I will bring new focus on ensuring that the repeat offenders who commit a disproportionate amount of crime are appropriately sentenced by the Judge. Third, I will support expanding the At-Promise youth intervention model developed in partnership with the Atlanta Police Foundation. Fourth, I will work to expand the effort to provide police officers with housing that is made available to them for purchase. Neighborhoods that have police officers living in them have enhanced safety and security. Fifth, I would significantly expand the use of video cameras and license plate readers throughout the city and improve the monitoring of them.
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 planning of our City should be a two-way street. We should have input form all affected residents and stakeholders alike. We as elected officials must be the medium between the two. We must consider what is best for the City, which includes the residents in it. All ideas should be properly vetted, and consideration taken into account.
Q: Do you support the Atlanta public safety training center’s location on Key Road in DeKalb County? Why or why not?
A: Yes, I would have supported the location. As a graduate of the Atlanta Citizens Police and Fire Academies, I have a better understanding of how our police, firepersons and correction personnel are trained. The training facilities that we currently have are dangerous and obsolete. As we seek to better train our public safety personnel, we must have the facilities to do so. This facility will allow us to train not only our police but our fire personnel as well. We need to be able to certify the drivers of our fire apparatus and have the ability to create live “burn” scenarios. Although I would have supported the location, I would be the first to say that the process was seriously flawed, and the engagement efforts were even worse.
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 have always turned to the numerous relationships I have nurtured of the years with law enforcement on the local to the Federal level. From Former to current police chiefs, Sheriffs to regular beat officers, the insight that is gained is paramount. I have also cherished the counsel of our grassroots organizations that collaborate with our communities on a daily basis. To understand the underlying factors of crime is the first step in preventing it.
Q: What are some areas of opportunity for the mayor’s office to work in partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent and board?
A: There are numerous ways that the Mayor’s office can partner with APS. As a former APS Board member, I realize that there were several things that affect education that were not in APS preview. Housing, the safety of our students before they were on school property, the connection between education opportunities offered by the city and the ones offered by APS.
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