Nathan Clubb is running for Atlanta City Council District 1.
Candidate website: https://www.nathanclubb.com/
Q: What is your current job (include the name of your employer) and list any significant memberships in public service organizations?
A: State Auditor, Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts, Performance Audit Division President, South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development (2018-2020)
Chair, NPU-W Bylaws Committee (2021)
Elected Representative, NPU-W (2018-2021)
Member, National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (2015-2021)
Q: What is the biggest issue facing your constituents and why are you the best candidate to address it?
A: Public safety is the biggest challenge I hear every time I engage with voters. I am the best candidate to address it because I understand how complex our public safety challenges are and how other policy issues directly tie in. I have worked on recruitment and retention issues while conducting state audits, a challenge our City needs to address for our police, firefighters, EMS, and 911 call centers. We need to adjust our strategies to increase community policing, providing a police presence while rebuilding trust. We also need to ensure we work with Fulton County and expand diversion programs so that we don’t criminalize poverty and mental health. We need to expand youth activities and opportunities. We need to build safe streets, engineered to reduce speed and allow residents to walk, bike, and drive without fear of a serious accident.
Q: How do you define “affordability” in housing and what is a specific tactic you would use to improve it?
A: Affordability to me is when a household pays 30% or less of their income on housing and utilities. I want the City to establish an Affordable Housing Trust Fund with dedicated funding sources so that we can stabilize existing affordable housing, have funds to partner with the Atlanta Land Trust to create permanently affordable housing, leverage vacant City-owned land (near transit) to build affordable housing, and expand grant programs for low-income residents to get needed home repairs so that they can stay in their houses and not get displaced.
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 am a state auditor. I will dig into contracts, budgets, expenditures. I will work to make the Atlanta Open Checkbook easier for the public to access and evaluate spending themselves. I will push for regular audits to ensure this Checkbook is accurate and up-to-date. I will personally look into all the policies established for contract procurement using my background as a state auditor.
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: These are both tied to the racial equity challenges our City faces. The impact of the pandemic was disproportionately felt by lower income Atlantans, particularly Black communities. We are consistently ranked last among U.S. metro areas for economic mobility and economic inequality. We need to look at our budget and our policy decisions through an equity lens to ensure we are working to reduce our inequities, not exacerbating them. We need to have community policing that rebuilds trust and ensure there is accountability for those officers who violate that trust.
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: I believe the Atlanta City Design plan was a great vision document for our future planning. It provides the framework for future planning. As noted by the recent Center for Civic Innovation NPU Initiative, we also need funding for neighborhood plans. Many neighborhoods lack plans or have out-of-date plans. Funding for these future small area planning effort, as well as ensuring we have an inclusive, representative process, will allow us to have the bottom-up approach from communities and neighborhoods while ensuring it ties into the citywide Atlanta City Design plan.
Q: Do you support the Atlanta public safety training center’s location on Key Road in DeKalb County? Why or why not?
A: While I fully recognize the need for a new public safety training facility, I cannot support building it at this location. The Atlanta City Design Plan, which City Council adopted as part of the City Charter, identifies the Old Prison Farm as part of a larger South River Forest, one of the last opportunities for us to protect the largest remaining greenspace inside the perimeter. The South River Forest would also provide needed tree canopy protection, floodplain restoration, and other ecological benefits. We should be looking for a new site to house this facility, and this should be done as part of an open, transparent process with each site publicly vetted. We should also be looking to partner with Fulton County to create a joint training facility. Doing so would create an opportunity to build greater cooperation with Fulton County on the public safety challenges we face.
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 turn to friends who serve in the Atlanta and other police departments. I turn to friends who have worked in our judicial system. I turn to friends who have worked in diversion programs. We need to rely on multiple perspectives to truly understand how to address crime. I have learned there are opportunities to improve our diversion program. I have learned there are opportunities to refocus APD on more community policing. I have learned we need the City and County to work together to best address our challenges related to crime.
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: We can work together on creating safe routes to schools. This includes obtaining safe routes to schools funding, designing safe roads, ensuring we have adequate sidewalks and crosswalks, and building a connected system of protected bike infrastructure. We can work on opening up greenspace controlled by APS to public recreation during non-school hours, which will also address equity issues around access to greenspace. We can work on building a better connection between APS and City afterschool programs, and ensuring we have adequate youth opportunities, from recreation to jobs.
Q: Anything else that you want to share for voters who may be undecided?
A: I have the most comprehensive experience of anyone in the race for District 1, serving as a neighborhood association president, on NPU committees, pulling together working groups to get safe roads built, and spending my career working to make government for effective, efficient and accountable.
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