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Felicia Moore is running for mayor of Atlanta.
Candidate website: www.feliciamooreformayor.com
What is your current job (include the name of your employer) and list any significant memberships in public service organizations?
Atlanta City Council President
What is the biggest issue facing your constituents and why are you the best candidate to address it?
Crime — Making every neighborhood safer, no matter what income bracket or zip code. I am the only candidate with a comprehensive approach to public safety that including how to immediate increase patrols while we reform how recruit and train in a post-George Floyd era.
City Service — I am the only candidate with strong relationships with the frontline city employees and the knowledge to fix what’s broken in every department at City Hall. As our next Mayor, I will focus on the basics and go department-by-department to determine the outcomes we want and how to produce them for all of our citizens, businesses, and visitors.
As our next Mayor, I will establishing the principles of ethics, transparency and accountability across all departments and expand upon the ethical and fiscal guardrails I have already instituted to restore the public trust.
How do you define “affordability” in housing and what is a specific tactic you would use to improve it?
I believe there are two categories that need to be addressed strategically: housing affordability and affordable housing.
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY is about keeping people in their homes. Aggressive housing speculators are the cause of rapid gentrification that artificially increases property values and makes it unaffordable for long-term residents, especially our seniors, to stay in their homes. Furthermore, the predatory practices of some housing speculators cheat many long-term neighbors out of receiving the full value of their homes.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING is about providing new housing opportunities for people in need and to make it possible for our city employees and service workers to live in the city they serve.
Furthermore, I will push to fulfill the forgotten promise of affordable housing along the Beltline through a combination of solutions by examining the private properties that received tax advantages to build and how they have fulfilled their promises to provide community benefits.
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?
I am proud to have already placed fiscal and ethical guardrails around City Hall operations. I authored and passed legislation for the City of Atlanta’s first Inspector General as well as the legislation to institute an independent procurement review office ,which has already found problems with some government contracts. As our next Mayor, I will expand these guardrails and put in place others to make sure that future Mayors and appointees focus on serving the public interest and not their own. I am proud to be the only elected official running for Mayor of the City of Atlanta who has never had a single ethics question or investigation. I will bring to the Mayor’s office the principles of ethics, transparency, and accountability, and I will expect everyone who serves at City Hall to abide by those standards.
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?
As the capitol of the Civil Rights Movement, Atlantans have a long history of protest and civil disobedience. As the late, great John Lewis taught us, there are times for good trouble, but we need our citizens and police force to re-learn what that means. As our next Mayor, I will establish rules of engagement that I will expect all sides to abide. Police will be expected not to escalate so that de-escalation is not necessary, and they will be held accountable for any misuse of force. Protesters will be welcome, and those that wish to perform civil disobedience will be told what to expect if their acts break the law. Sometimes, as Congressman Lewis showed us, that means going to jail.
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 debate over this location did not meet my standard. I believe all new development in the City of Atlanta requires public advice and participation in the planning. Specifically, I believe that such projects require input from the immediate surrounding neighbors before Mayoral sign-off, which is what I will expect as our next Mayor. We also need to take a harder look — in advance — at the short and long-term impacts on our infrastructure before new developments are approved.
Do you support the Atlanta public safety training center’s location on Key Road in DeKalb County? Why or why not?
As President of the Atlanta City Council, I did not get a vote on the matter, but in the event of a tie, and despite the process failing to meet my standard for public input, I would have voted yes, only because our police and fire training facilities are derelict, and inadequate for the kind of training we need for a modern force. It will also serve the critical needs to train our public works employees on heavy equipment operation. I’m glad the City Council forced a 60-day public input process because it did result in reducing the footprint of the facility to preserve 215 acres of green space.
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?
There is not a single expert I turn to, nor do I think any leader should rely on a single expert. I have always had an open door — and open phone — policy to activists and others who are concerned about the many public safety challenges we face. I have also personally visited Water Boys and toured various hot spots of activity that concern neighbors across all districts of the city. I believe it’s important for every leader to personally gain first-hand information. Furthermore, I am proud to have long-term, personal relationships with many rank and file officers and commanders who feel free to talk to me about the challenges and opportunities around modern policing. As our next Mayor, I will continue to seek input from stakeholders on all issues.
What are some areas of opportunity for the mayor’s office to work in partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent and board?
There are two major issues on which I will seek partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools. First, I want to pair schools with recreations centers so that you can be transported by school busses to have a safe harbor after school. I want to modernize our offerings at rec centers by partnering with local non-profits during the week to provide homework help, a meal, and time for play (including e-sports) and cultural enrichment. Secondly, I want to partner with APS and Fulton County to develop tax breaks and caps so that seniors can afford to age-in-place in their residences, and so that other long-term homeowners can resist the pressures of gentrification to stay in their homes.
Describe how you envision Invest Atlanta operating under your administration. What changes, if any, would you implement?
As our next Mayor, I will be the Chair of Invest Atlanta. In that role I will take a hard look at the strategic plan to ensure that we are investing in those communities that need the investment; those which have been neglected. I also want to look at how we give out incentives so that the give-back portion of the incentives are fulfilled so that we can close food deserts and provide quality services to neighborhoods where they have been absent. I also want Invest Atlanta to strengthen small business programs and use make more funds available to residents to prevent the displacement that typically happens with development and gentrification.
Explain your leadership style and how it would best serve the people of Atlanta.
In addition to creating a collaborative working environment by seeking input across all stakeholders and interest groups, I am proud to be known for expecting high ethics, transparency of process, and accountability out of myself and my colleagues. Simply put, I listen, and I say what I’m going to do, and I do what I say.
Anything else that you want to share for voters who may be undecided?
Recently, when I was praying about the enormity of the task ahead, I felt a breath of fresh air wash over me. Atlanta is blessed with all of the resources we need to address all of our crises and forge ahead. We have the best philanthropic, corporate, non-profit, and faith communities. Couple that with the general kindness and hospitality of our residents, and all we need is a leader who can unify us and bring our common visions to life. I believe I am that leader.
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