Ralph Long is running for Atlanta City Council Post 3 At Large.
Candidate website: www.ralphlongiii.com
Q: What is your current job (include the name of your employer) and list any significant memberships in public service organizations?
A: Real estate broker and owner, the District Realty LLC
Q: What is the biggest issue facing your constituents and why are you the best candidate to address it?
A: The biggest issue facing Atlantans right now is the legitimate fear that our city cannot keep us safe. Crime and public safety concerns permeate every part of our lives throughout Atlanta. Just as we have to worry about our own personal safety, we also have to consider the conditions that lead to some of our neighbors turning to a life of crime. I worry about the income inequality, lack of opportunity and other causes that are at the root of crimes of opportunity in Atlanta.
Q: How do you define “affordability” in housing and what is a specific tactic you would use to improve it?
A: Affordability is relative and there is no magic number or price point that applies to all people. I live this fact every day in my professional work as a real estate broker. I believe that it is important that Atlanta remains a city where all kinds of people can afford to live here, renters and owners at every place in the income scale. Atlanta must remain a place where first time homebuyers can find a home that meets their needs and is affordable. As a member of the Atlanta City Council, I would create and encourage financial incentives to sellers and real estate developers who make their properties accessible to first time homebuyers.
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: The only way to restore the public trust is by implementing measures leading to greater transparency and accountability. Staff and office spending by members of the City Council should be completely accessible to the public. We cannot allow a culture that pretends that taxpayer money is the personal province of Councilmembers. The contract procurement process should be audited by a third-party so that the City can make any improvements that are identified.
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: The COVID-19 pandemic and the protests for racial justice made even clearer to me the fact that our nation cannot move forward and truly prosper until we atone for the harms done to people brought to this country and enslaved. The pandemic exemplified the compounding factors of race-based health care disparities, institutional racism and a lack of access to affordable health care coverage. Instances of police brutality showed that we still have a very long way to go before Black people are truly free in the United States.
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: Our city planning should be led and guided from the grassroots level. It is frustrating that our city so frequently puts time and money into community engagement around big projects, only to ultimately reject the desires of the grassroots community in favor of what Corporate Atlanta deems important. We need a Mayor and City Council who place as much weight on the planning desires of everyday Atlantans as they do on the corporate sector.
Q: Do you support the Atlanta public safety training center’s location on Key Road in DeKalb County? Why or why not?
A: No, I do not support this location of the Atlanta public safety training center. Locating this facility there, in the face of public opposition from residents who do not have a voice over City of Atlanta matters, is a slap in the fact to that community. I am especially disappointed by the fact that there were other facilities that would have been more suitable.
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: In my four years of service in the Georgia General Assembly, I learned the importance of listening to diverse voices as we worked to solve the problems impacting our communities. Some of my best advisors on public safety issues have been long-term neighbors and legacy residents who have been in their communities long enough to watch these issues grow over the years. Many years ago, I was struck by the statistics showing the rates of recidivism among formerly incarcerated people who lived in zip code 30310 of Atlanta. That measure made clear to me that long-term policy decisions are made every day without certain people participating in the discussion.
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: Atlanta Public Schools should build out an entrepreneurial pathway for high school students who have a desire and need to make their own money to support themselves. This pathway would provide practical, hands-on business experiences to interested students. Our children need to know and hear rom us that they have the ability to do anything.
Q: Anything else that you want to share for voters who may be undecided?
A: Ralph Long is a lifelong Atlantan, a husband, father, former Democratic State Representative and real estate broker. In this year’s election, Ralph is fighting for the soul of Atlanta and to make our city safer. Ralph Long represented us at the State Capitol for four years, where he fought to protect our public schools, our senior citizens and to make Georgia a better state to live, work and care for your family. Ralph knows that we need an Atlanta City Council dedicated to fighting for working Atlantans. Ralph will bring his tireless work ethic, accessibility and integrity to the Atlanta City Council, Post 3 at-Large.
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