Commissioner-Elect, District 1
- Do you support fare-free bus service?: YES
“Absolutely, we have seen in other cities how this benefits the community. Especially in a community like ours that is highly impoverished.”
- Do you support expansion of transit service (e.g. increased frequency, more locations, longer service hours)? YES
“One of the many issues I hear is that the bus service is not suitable for workers due to inadequate times. More frequency.”
- Do you support increasing the budget for bike and pedestrian infrastructure from the general fund? YES
“More pedestrian and completed sidewalks.”
Criminal Justice Reform
- Do you support marijuana decriminalization? YES
“No brainer here.”
- Do you support a ban or fee on single-use plastic bags? NO
“I recycle and most people in Athens does a good job recycling. I constantly reuse plastic bags.”
- Do you support an Athens Civil Rights Committee established through the county government? YES
“Discrimination of any kind has no place in any society.”
Q: White people still hold a hugely disproportionate amount of economic and social power in Athens-Clarke County. If elected, what will you do to help fight this structural imbalance, increase the economic security of, and ensure the equal treatment of Athenians of color; especially black Athenians who continue to be most targeted by past and present systems of oppression? A: (click to read)
- Do you believe that Athens-Clarke County should move forward with comprehensive non-discrimination legislation? YES
As a black man, it is easy! Work together. We all have to work together. We cant in this day and time be divided. We all have to understand that we are ALL in this together. Some things work and some things don’t. But if we can work together and bridge the gap, we all will all be better off. We have to stop discriminating and oppressing minorities. We must eliminate and desist the practices of discrimination. But we also have to understand that there are problems, but working together, understanding the needs of our community, and building on successes, that we all can be equal and one. Let’s quit talking about change, and be that change. We are all different. But we are all in one accord.
Q: Rising rents and the proliferation of luxury student apartment complexes has been a major issue in town for the past several years. What will you do to promote affordable housing in Athens for its current residents? A: (click to read)
- Do you support repealing the single-family ordinance? YES
College students are examples of temporary tenants who inflate the cost of rent for Athenians. What I mean by Athenians is the people who live, work, and make their lives here. For example, there is nothing wrong with a luxury apartment for students, but there are too many luxury apartments for college students which displaces the Athenians who make Athens, Athens. Residents who call Athens home shouldn’t be displaced because of temporary residents. It is bad planning. It isn’t sustainable. Athens should work with developers in ensuring that property development is balanced to meet the needs of all residents, not just students or wealthy. The working class of Athens are being pushed because of the lack of affordable housing and zoning. Athens can do better with proper planning, zoning, and adequate input from residents.
Challenging Unjust State Laws
Q: County Attorney Bill Berryman has recommended inaction on certain issues in order to avoid, in his view, potential conflicts with state law. These issues have included operational funding in TSPLOST, marijuana decriminalization and comprehensive non-discrimination legislation. Citing his interpretations, the Mayor and Commission have elected to take little to no action on these and similar issues. Do you support a different approach, even if it may lead to Athens-Clarke County challenging state law? A: (click to read)
One of the tenants and foundations of a democracy is for those who oppose government action to speak out, take action and make suggestions. It is our First Amendment right. Also, to challenge government when it is overreaching or unfair. Always remember, elected officials work for the people, not themselves. We can work with our State legislators in demanding our voices be heard and our issues examined. Athens has great working relationships (in some respects) with elected state officials who can make the necessary demands that are needed. But I am all for challenging a law that needs to be challenged. We need government officials who listens to the demands and needs of the people.
Childcare and Early Childhood Education
Q: Lack of funding in the CAPS program means that there is an “early learning gap” of over 2,000 children in Athens. There is also a lack of quality rated childcare providers here. Turning this situation around would be quite expensive and difficult, but also extremely important to the lives of many Athenians. Do you support policies that would expand access to childcare subsidies, encourage more childcare providers to become quality rated, and incentivize quality rated providers to accept children receiving subsidies? A: (click to read)
Absolutely! I 100%. We as a society really need to understand how poverty affects the daily life of an impoverished kid. It is nice to be rich, but being poor carries so many burdens. Parents have to work to pay bills and keep a roof over their heads, that sometimes can mean working multiple jobs or odd hours which takes away from proper childcare and child rearing. We can help these individuals by securing up the proper funding (either through federal grants, reevaluating our budget or community support) to make sure that those who try to make a living be ensured that their kids are well taken care of, affordably.
Q: The rates of poverty and income inequality in Athens remain extraordinarily high. What will you do to specifically support low-income and low-wealth Athenians? A: (click to read)
A complex issue that requires a complex response. One easy way is paying a living wage. Also, ensuring that we have adequate job training, adult education programs, workers rights initiatives, and affordable housing. I would work with bringing businesses in our community that pay a living wage as well as provide job training. I will also work with local businesses and the community to discuss options of systemic poverty.
Q: What is your most important policy priority for 2018? A: (click to read)
More community involvement within our government.