Sherry B. Williams is running for Atlanta City Council Post 3 At Large.
Candidate website: https://www.sherryforatlanta.com/
What is the biggest issue facing your constituents and why are you the best candidate to address it?
Crime. I am the best candidate to address this because I served on and chaired Citizens Review Board for many years. I have actually been out in the community advocating and marching directly with people and local governments. I am the only candidate that has engaged with the city council, Fulton County, the state legislature, ARC, GDOT, MARTA, ATL Link, APD, and the NPUs to hear concerns about crime and other issues
How do you define “affordability” in housing and what is a specific tactic you would use to improve it?
There are two major issues at play. We need to ensure that existing residents are able to afford to stay in their homes and to grow the available housing supply to keep a downward pressure on prices.
Long-term residents need tax relief from increasing property values, and residents over 65 who have been in their homes for over 20 years should be exempt from property taxes as a whole that can force them out of their homes.
We also need to improve Atlanta’s inclusionary zoning policies. Inclusionary zoning policies allow developers to continue building units to address the supply shortage without limiting new buildings only to high income earners. The city should consider requiring 5% of units to be at 30% AMI citywide as was done in the Westside overlay.
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?
We need to ensure the office of Office of Inspector General that was just put into place is funded and given enough independence to actually do its job. People know who the bad apples are; we just need to be able to investigate and prosecute them.
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?
We need better communication between the City Hall, APD, and the community. It needs to remain an ongoing process and not just occur when police misconduct is in the news. Ongoing communication channels can prevent harm to people and private property. As the home of the Civil Rights Movement, we should be a model for the nation and not lagging behind.
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?
The process should be bottom up from neighborhoods. We live here every day, while developers make money and leave. Protecting our tree canopy, regardless of what is being built, should always be a priority. We need to encourage development that promotes clean air and healthy lifestyles. On the Council, I will ensure that policies are put in place so community input is required and implemented.
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?
Dr. Cedric Alexander, APD, and the community. I also will work to implement Obama’s 21st century policing strategies. Experts know crime trends, the police know what’s happening on the ground, and the community is the people that are actually impacted. I will insure these groups work together to make our neighborhoods safer and improves confidence in law enforcement.
What are some areas of opportunity for the Atlanta City Council to work in partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent and board?
We need more rec centers, playgrounds, and weekend activities because idle minds can be destructive to themselves and the community. We also must ensure that students that need wraparound social services, such as homework assistance and meals, actually receive them. We can also partner with APS and Fulton and DeKalb counties because the city is in both counties to ensure all students get wraparound services because issues don’t stop at the city limits.
Anything else that you want to share for voters who may be undecided?
I am the only candidate will be ready day one because I have already engaged with the city council, Fulton County, the state legislature, ARC, GDOT, MARTA, ATL Link, APD, and the NPUs to hear concerns about crime and other issues. I know and have worked with all the stakeholders necessary to solve complex issues facing the city. As a four time breast cancer survivor, I will fight as hard for Atlanta residents as I did to fight cancer. I will not give up when it comes to solving inequities in the city and making sure all Atlanta residents are safe.
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