Clarktson, GA — Three candidates are vying for the vacant seat on the Clarkston City Council. The special election will take place on Tuesday, March 16, and the victor will fill the remainder of Y.T. Bell’s term.
Bell stepped down to run for mayor and the term will expire on Dec. 31, 2021. Early voting begins on Feb. 22 through March 12.
Advance voting at DeKalb County Voter Registration and Election office runs Monday to Friday, Feb. 22 through March 12, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Absentee ballot drop boxes are not available for this election.
On Election Day, March 16, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and voters must cast their ballots at their assigned precinct. All absentee ballots must be mailed in or returned to the DeKalb election office by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tucker Observer previously reported.
Here’s a look at the candidates hoping to be the next Clarkston city councilmember.
Shana “Tiny” McAllister
Shana “Tiny” McAllister is a small business owner with a home and garden business. She moved to Clarkston in October 2019 and immediately fell in love with the city.
Shortly after moving she met Councilmembers Jamie Carroll and Awet Eyasu and the experience inspired her to get involved and put roots down in Clarkston.
She is also active on Nextdoor, where she has learned about the city and what residents are concerned about.
“I met the councilmen and they were very accepting of me and then that’s when I started going to the public council meetings and it kind of snowballed from there,” McAllister said.
She is running for City Council largely because she is in love with the city, wants to make it her home and wants to be part of the growth of Clarkston, she said on the Feb. 17 Decaturish Twitch show.
“I am committed to serving my community and it is my dream to serve on the Clarkston City Council,” McAllister’s campaign website says, adding she is dedicated to serving all of Clarkston’s residents.
The top issues that are important to McAllister are affordable housing green space development and beautification efforts. One of McAllister’s favorite things about the city is the murals and art.
A big focus for McAllister is better informing the public about how to recycle.
“I want to educate the public on proper recycling procedures and maybe work with the waste management companies to find out what do we need to tell the public, what do we need to tell people so they’re doing their part of the bargain correctly,” McAllister said.
McAllister’s neighbors are mostly immigrant families and she’s running to help represent them.
“I mean to just have people that are so accepting of me, like I can’t help but to do the same for them and for everybody who looks like them,” she said. “You have to be an advocate and an ally.”
She’d also like to see the city’s refugee programs bolstered, provide better housing and opportunities for them and make translation services more accessible.
Additionally, McAllister wants to continue addressing COVID-19 and address concerns with more food drives and more assistance for low income people like rent or utility assistance. She also looks forward to possibly overseeing planning and development, she said on the Decaturish Twitch show.
Dean Moore has lived in Clarkston for 24 years and was attracted to the area due to its proximity to Atlanta. He loves walking in his neighborhood, the age of the homes and the residents, according to his campaign website.
Moore has a construction background and is currently a member of the Clarkson Historic Preservation commission in which he helps preserve the city and ensure smart development, his website says. Moore also previously served on the City Council from 2010 to 2017.
During Moore’s tenure on the council, he helped the city shift to a council-manager form of government, hiring the first city manager in 2011.
Moore is running to continue his involvement in the city and help it thrive.
“All this new construction we’ve had has been a tremendous experience for me, and I want to continue that experience,” Moore said on the Twitch show.
His top local issues are the zoning code rewrite, the comprehensive plan update and smart development. He also supports enhancing downtown, an emphasis on public safety, and quality-of-life improvements for residents, his website says.
“We’ve still got some more projects coming up funded by the SPLOST, we’ve got the zoning issue, the comprehensive plan,” Moore said. “We’re basically writing out the future and getting our documents together for that. If I can do that once again I’ll be happy about my term and things I’ve done here.”
Regarding the zoning rewrite, Moore aims to protect the neighborhoods and make sure Clarkston continues to be a city of residents and not focused on developers’ decisions.
Moore was also involved in setting the city’s $75 fine for marijuana use and wanted to focus on not creating a paper trail of arrest records in an effort to not marginalize the community. He would like to review that and see how it still stands and what it’s doing for the city.
Moore additionally hopes to tackle affordable housing, especially as the affordable housing trust fund was created during his previous City Council terms.
“Council hasn’t really moved forward with defining that affordable housing trust fund or how we’re going to move forward with developers,” he said. “Maybe not even with developers, just in general how are we going to move forward with the affordable housing issues.”
Mark Perkins owns the for-profit consulting company, Leadersolve, which he established about two years ago. In this role he helps organizations increase their value and impact. He also works for a nonprofit that helps communities that are experiencing oppression or marginalization.
Perkins has lived in Clarkston since 2014 and appreciates the city’s diversity as he grew up overseas in Argentina, Bangladesh, India and Thailand.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I’ve been anywhere in the U.S. where it’s like I get a little picture of all the places that I grew up,” he said.
If elected Perkins plans to leverage his experiences working on diverse teams and in complex situations to help Clarkston through the current crisis, according to his campaign website.
He hopes to move the city toward a more collaborative spirit in politics that benefits the community, which he said is needed right now.
The core value of Perkins’ campaign is moving people together, utilizing knowledgeable people and having conversations.
His main concern is the coronavirus pandemic and making sure people don’t lose sight of the fact that COVID-19 is an ongoing issue.
“The thing I would focus on right now is helping us make sure that we survive this, and then if we do get to the point where we can begin rebuilding, make sure that we’re rebuilding in a way that we don’t lose the businesses and the people that make up the community there that we’ve all come to love and know,” Perkins said on the Twitch show.
He is also concerned about helping small businesses through the pandemic and also protecting them as surrounding areas expand closer to Clarkston.
Perkins additionally wants to see the Clarkston Police continue their work of cultural sensitivity and find ways to move that forward.
“I’d love to see that almost become an example for other communities as diverse as ours, of how community policing can work, and how those conversations and being culturally sensitive and some of those things,” Perkins said.
If elected, Perkins would like to use any potential influence he could to ensure renters are protected and understands there are limitations to what the City Council can do regarding renters.
“I would be definitely for exploring that, any way that we can continue to either direct funding from other sources there or find smart ways to use existing funding towards helping people,” Perkins said.
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