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Rebecca L. King is running for mayor of Atlanta.
Candidate website: www.voteRebeccaKing.com
What is your current job (include the name of your employer) and list any significant memberships in public service organizations?
CEO Cover Your Assets, Inc. I am a member of the Buckhead Condo Alliance (BCA) as well as a member at-large and Fundraising Committee/Membership Chair for Livable Buckhead, working to ensure long-term vitality and prosperity of the Buckhead community. Rebecca co- chairs the Midtown Quality of Life & BCA joint committee to combat excessive bar and street noise along with illegal solid waste fees. She was Secretary and Board of Director for the North Buckhead Civic Association for two years and currently serves on the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU – B).
What is the biggest issue facing your constituents and why are you the best candidate to address it?
Crime. One of the first things my administration will do is to rejuvenate the morale of the Atlanta police department with incentives to retain and recruit top-rate first responders that are highly trained. Expanding the Pre-Arrest Diversion program is a must so that it can operate seven days a week allowing officers to focus on solving crime. Third, I will create a position that would serve as a liaison to the not for profits sector to work in tandem on homelessness, mental illness and other issues that pull our first responders away from solving violent crime.
How do you define “affordability” in housing and what is a specific tactic you would use to improve it?
The appraisals of property and taxes have stressed different neighborhoods of Atlanta so that affordability is defined by the income and means of what someone can pay. Utilizing employee stipends, non profits and improved public transportation would improve affordability and decrease traffic. Being able to afford to live in a neighborhood also, includes the ability to pay for the necessities of life. Childcare, medical care and goods are needed to maintain a quality of life.
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?
The City of Atlanta should invest and utilize technology. My administration will have an open books philosophy to earn back public trust and to show that my staff are good stewards of public funds that earn the best return on investment. Through transparency we will have a website that will list all transactions under my purview.
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 Mayor I am going gather as many facts as I can before making important policy decisions. Through public policy I will focus on bringing people together as one Atlanta after hearing all angles so that we are united instead of divided and so that we proactively understand the unintended consequences of all current public policies. My administration will make certain that no one is left behind and that each voice is heard.
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?
Having an open planning process through complete transparency means gathering input from both sides with emphasis on hearing from the communities that will be affected. My administration will utilize more of the bottom-up approach from the neighborhood and NPU system.
Do you support the Atlanta public safety training center’s location on Key Road in DeKalb County? Why or why not?
Yes. Our police officers need a training facility that is top notch as well as, provides current courses in mental health and advanced technology making their job easier to solve crime and improving morale. I am hopeful that the facility will become an integral part of the redevelopment of the community so that residents can feel safe and protected. Accessibility to the development and its green space will allow residents the opportunity to enjoy the benefit of the development. Community will be created among officers and citizens so that police officers are sought in positive situations instead of an interaction when there is a crisis. Many youth could benefit from access to the horse facility and envision their career as a mounted police officer or any other equine related career.
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?
As a member of NPU-B I turn to our first responders to guide me on the best way to address crime. The tactics done on thirty day increments show if there are successful, measurable results. Those successful tactics are shared across all stakeholders and build trust that our first responders are staying engaged. Citizen academies that give access to our police department and create community buy-in are great tools so that all are working in tandem to be a partner in reducing crime. As Mayor I will surround myself with public safety experts and those related respected fields. Additionally, I will add mental health and rehabilitation professionals to lessen recidivism and proactively address homelessness and mental illness.
What are some areas of opportunity for the mayor’s office to work in partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent and board?
My administration will be a bridge to the business community and non-profits to enhance any projects that are requested by the school to keep our school system a world class experience. My experience in higher education will benefit the Atlanta Public School System. Financial assistance is paramount. Technology must be cutting edge and accessible to all whether in school hours or after school hours. Monthly meetings with leadership will create a warm relationship that is open and welcoming and will create one team.
Describe how you envision Invest Atlanta operating under your administration. What changes, if any, would you implement?
There is important work already in progress and shows the return on investment of Atlanta’s dollars. One opportunity that I will recommend is to add mentors that are guides to facilitate the process from initial contact to finalization of the requested program. Having someone that is available at any moment to encourage completion of the application is important to someone that is maintaining employment while working toward their dream of business ownership.
Explain your leadership style and how it would best serve the people of Atlanta.
As your Mayor I will be transparent and accessible to all Atlantans. I enjoy building teams of diverse, individuals respected in their fields and that have the best interest of the City of Atlanta at heart. Incentivizing employees and creating a work environment that gives the tools for employees to be successful and efficient will best serve the citizens of Atlanta.
Anything else that you want to share for voters who may be undecided?
I am not a career politician. I have a servant’s heart that meets people where they are. Atlanta needs to be unified in our approach to crime, crumbling infrastructure, and homelessness. A proactive approach to our needs rather than a reactive approach would give our city the edge. We need a fresh voice to build community, to trust in our government and to rejuvenate Atlanta.
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