Latest news straight to you
Get our free weekly newsletter on important housing and democracy news every Thursday afternoon.
Roosevelt Searles, III is running for mayor of Atlanta.
Candidate website: https://www.rooseveltthepeoplesmayor.org/
What is your current job (include the name of your employer) and list any significant memberships in public service organizations?
Self Employed (Atl Quick Eatz)
What is the biggest issue facing your constituents and why are you the best candidate to address it?
Poverty. Have you eaten today? You may wonder why this matters but think about how many people in our city have not had a hot meal in a few days. I know you’ve seen the Snicker commercial.. Hunger leads to Anger. Anger leads to theft and theft eventually leads to violent crime. We have to start with our homeless population first, those of which are laborers, disable, mentally ill and many who are just down on bad luck. I am the best candidate because I have been homeless and I can make decisions based on experience not observations.
How do you define “affordability” in housing and what is a specific tactic you would use to improve it?
If you make $1,200 a month. Any apartment or home that you move in. You have to make 2.5-3.0x the rent, references, bank statements, rental history and good credit. This halves your tenant base and decreases the amount of homes available for many residents. We will build our own affordable homes. Making them available as soon as Summer 2022 using modular building technology. We will create several Rent To Own options giving the people an opportunity to feel a sense of ownership while reserving other properties for those who desire less responsibilities.
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?
This is a great question and the first time that I have been asked so far by an organization such as yourself. However in response to city hall corruption my campaign has started a rally to #StopFraudCity. As you know, a couple of candidates are currently under federal investigation. My administration will conduct a full audit in partnership with the new OIG of every city department to be completed within 5 weeks of my inauguration. In addition, I will execute my executive authority to create policies preventing officials from “self-spending” , over spending or utilizing tax payer dollars for anything that does not directly benefit all residents of the city.
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?
Regarding the pandemic, I would like to believe we all learned that it is not in the benefit of the people, to shut down small business and force lockdowns, mandates and stay at home orders. This created more crime, depression and unemployment numbers skyrocketed. In all honesty. I know this was all done by design to keep us in a state of fear and anxiety. Now here we are almost two years later facing more lockdowns, mandatory vaccinations and lose of rights to our bank account privacy. Next would be that our police force has gone too long without a strong, honest leader. It takes a man or woman of integrity and great strength to lead a police department and unfortunately we have not been given a fair chance at police/community unification.
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?
My administration will use all legal measures to prevent this from actually taking place. We have over 700 unused acres of land therefore building the facility on greenspace near an area where residents live close by, would create more issues than presently known. We have to focus on crime prevention not crime response. In addition to preventing this facility from opening, we will create The People’s Media; An outlet for communities and neighborhoods to actually take a vote on a issue and that vote be used to make the final decision. In the event there are not enough votes or a tie, then The People’s Board should make the decision. This board will be made up of 20-30 community leaders, business owners, non-profit founders and union group representatives.
Do you support the Atlanta public safety training center’s location on Key Road in DeKalb County? Why or why not?
After careful review of the city’s plan to use this land. I do support the use of this land. Atlanta’s Police Department needs a complete redo and what they are planning to do with the space is not too bad. In all honesty there have been many lies concerning this facility and even with my previous response I will have to say that the facility won’t be in range of residents of 1.5miles. This is more than enough distance to be undisturbed with constant gunfire etc. The only concern is to ensure that no guns are being fired in wood line and areas where residents could be enjoying the park. This is a really touchy subject but in order to properly train our officers we do need to revitalize the police force all together.
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?
The main expert for understanding crime is witnessing it take place and observing how each instance is handled by our current government leadership. I plan to build a more transparent police department, allowing residents the opportunity to engage and meet with Department leadership, road officers and even elected officials. We have to make the act of being honest more common amongst our political counterparts. This can only be done by creating an inclusive community of people gathered for the same interest; the betterment of each other.
What are some areas of opportunity for the mayor’s office to work in partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent and board?
As a city we should have more of a responsibility our kids future and education. For far too long have we ignored the issues that face APS. There spending needs to be addressed and we need to ensure that teachers and parents are given more of a voice rather than always siding or giving the decisions to those who sit on the board. My administration will work closely with the board and superintendent by having monthly meetings on the progress of our cities children.
Describe how you envision Invest Atlanta operating under your administration. What changes, if any, would you implement?
Invest Atlanta needs to be audited and investigated by an out of state agency not from California, instead we should bring in the top investigators and even invite the FBI to investigate this arm of Atlanta. There have been millions of dollars funneled through Invest Atlanta and we need to ensure that the residents of Atlanta know they have a government that is working in the interest of the people, not in the interest of self. My administration will implement several measures aimed at creating policies and guidelines surrounding Invest Atlanta and how it is currently structured, operated and funded.
Explain your leadership style and how it would best serve the people of Atlanta.
I lead by example. No matter what the task is I always want to learn the ins and outs to ensure that the task gets done appropriately and effectively. When you want something done, you don’t necessarily have to do it yourself but you should make sure that the task is followed through by performing check-ups and setting deadlines. A strategy I always use to motivate my team is to ask them to run an entire department by themselves. After an unsuccessful attempt, I made the statement “Now you see why we have a team?” That is one of the most important things to remember when dealing with a department or a group of people. Nothing can really be fully accomplished without the help from your team members!
Anything else that you want to share for voters who may be undecided?
Atlanta is hurting right now. We need a leader and a fixer. Somebody that can hear a problem, come up with a solution, and get it done in a matter of days or weeks. I consider myself to be that person. I’m not a politician. I’m a business owner and have the skills necessary in order to communicate and lead effectively, not only my staff and the departments of the city but also the great people of Atlanta. We have a young person issue in this city and I believe it’s going to take someone that can relate to everyone in order to achieve the change we are all longing to see.
Enter your email below to stay up-to-date on all the latest elections info.