Jenné Shepherd is running for Atlanta City Council District 12.

Candidate website: www.jenneshepherd.com/

What is your current job (include the name of your employer) and list any significant memberships in public service organizations?

I am self employed. I am a part of the New Power Education Board and National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement

What is the biggest issue facing your constituents and why are you the best candidate to address it?

Their two biggest problems is not feeling like their city council person is representing their area and not having communication. I am the best candidate for the job because I have been a strong advocate for our community for the past 6 years. I show up for them when they are concerned about changes such as new developments, parks and housing issues. I will make sure that there is no one left behind by doing effective communication. I am ready to bring answers to our food desert problems, safety issues and housing problems.

How do you define “affordability” in housing and what is a specific tactic you would use to improve it?

Not spending more than 30% of your income. I would give tax incentives to small business owners (for example: A person who owns 10 units or less) when they agree to keep their units affordable. 

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?

The City Council needs to be the strong force they were designed to be. All persons, especially those who are elected to office must be held accountable for their actions. We have seen to many people fly under the radar and City Council needs to be the driving force to make sure there is accountability. 

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?

I have learned that policy is made with the people who live here as an after thought. When they voted last year to withhold an increase to the police department, there was no real follow up on what should be done and then the budget was passed in June. Are our city council members being intentional in creating legislation that protects our citizens, as well as helps with our Police to be successful with community policing?

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?

I do believe that communities and neighborhoods should be a part of the planning process for new developments and major changes happening in our City. I would change the idea of not giving communities a full scope of information. I would equip neighborhoods with complete information. I do believe that some things are left out or ignored in order to bypass questions that Leaders are not equipped to answer or want to answer. 

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?

I have been reading information from  the National Association for Civilian oversight and I have built a relationship with PAD. I have learned from PAD that though it was available to our Police officers first, they were less likely to use it because they do not get incentives for assisting with resources, they only get incentives for arrests. This is something that needs to be changed.

What are some areas of opportunity for the Atlanta City Council to work in partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent and board?

I believe that City Council should help support APS when it comes to making sure that parents have access to the resources needed for their children’s success. City Council should collaborate on housing needs, day care resources by passing legislation that can be of support to students and parents. 

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