Erika Estrada is running for Atlanta City Council District 3.

Candidate website: www.erikaestradaforatlanta.com

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

A: CPA, Consultant, Owner – Acculedger I’m a member of or affiliated with the following public service organizations: 1) Board Member, Treasurer – Initiative for Affordable Housing 2) Board Member – Ladies of Favor Mentoring Program & Ladies of Favor Dream Academy 3) Active Member of Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

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 issue facing my constituents at this time and I’m the best candidate to address this issue because I will take a strategic approach that addresses rising crime in the short-term, as well as address the root causes of criminal activity in the long-term. Tackling public safety issues will require collaboration and a community-policing approach. Based on my professional and personal background, I’m the best candidate to bring the right stakeholders together, draw up a plan to address the issues and actually follow through with its implementation.

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

A: I personally define affordability in housing as housing costs, including rent or mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, etc. being less than 30% of a household’s gross income. This would theoretically leave room in a household’s budget to afford other costs of living, such as food, healthcare, transportation, discretionary spending, etc. A specific tactic I would use to improve affordability in housing would be to specifically increase housing supply targets at the lowest levels of AMI, as AMI is what the housing industry uses to define affordability.

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: My first priority in helping restore public trust would be to make sure that the expenditures of my office and staff remain open, accessible, and updated in a timely manner for the public. I would also openly speak about the availability of this data to my constituents in neighborhood meetings, as appropriate. Second, I would advocate for continued proper funding, staffing and operations of the newly created Office of Inspector General Office for the City of Atlanta, as their work will ultimately ensure a more transparent and accountable city government.

With nearly every seat either contested or open, the 2021 Atlanta municipal election will certainly shape the future of our city. Our election guide is a fact-based, nonpartisan primer on who’s running, how to vote, and other information you need to be an informed voter. Click to return to the main voter guide.

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: I learned many public-policy lessons from those two events, but one I’d like to highlight regarding racial justice and police brutality is that the “public” must be included in public policy in this area. We must reform legislation and expectations in racial justice and police brutality and stakeholders from the community, law enforcement, faith community, and more must take an active and collaborative role in creating public policy that moves forward for legislation with elected officials.

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: My approach would be to first make sure that in whatever approach is taken (top-down or bottom-up), my constituents will feel well informed along the way in understanding what is happening, how it will impact their quality of life and how it will impact our city. Both a top-down and bottom-up approach are equally necessary depending on the situation, but overcommunication is key!

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 the training center’s location on Key Road at this time as I don’t have enough information to know that that site was the best option environmentally, socially and financially.

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: The main expert I turn to for information on understanding and addressing crime are the communities that have implemented tactics that are successfully reducing crime in their jurisdictions. I’ve learned that they are involving key stakeholders from the community, business, faith community, law enforcement, etc. to create the best solutions.

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: I hope that the mayor’s office and the APS superintendent and board establish a better working relationship where they meet consistently and regularly. It is my hope that the Mayor’s office will work collaboratively with APS to develop solutions that improve the quality of children’s lives and opportunities outside of school that impact student’s success in the classroom. One key area is more wrap-around services to support children and families outside of the classroom.

Q: Anything else that you want to share for voters who may be undecided? 

A: Please check out my website and social feeds where I’ve focused on showing voters who I am and why I’m the best candidate!

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