Editor’s note: Decaturish and the Tucker Observer have published an Elections Guide, a 76-page e-edition featuring Q&As with nearly every candidate running in our communities. To see it, click here. This special e-edition features candidates running for public office in Decatur, Avondale Estates, Atlanta City Council District 5, Clarkston Tucker and Stone Mountain. There is a PDF version of this, which you can see by clicking here, but due to the format of this e-edition, we strongly encourage you to use the e-reader version.
The Tucker Observer provided each candidate in our local races with a series of questions about local issues. Here are the answers of candidate Dean Moore, who is running for Clarkston City council. The answers have not been edited.
1) Why are you running for this office?
I’ve lived in Clarkston for 24 years. Ten years ago, I was elected to council. We renewed our charter, balanced the budget, hired our first city manager, established credit, built a new swimming pool, renovated our parks and playground equipment, and created the current wave of streetscapes improvements. We basically built a responsive city government. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves again and work on the next wave of professionalizing our operations to benefit the residents of Clarkston.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
Experience, knowledge, and patience have allowed me to be a leader in Clarkston in professionalizing our administration, identifying projects to target for improvements, and elevating the quality of life in Clarkston over the past 14 years. I recognize the benefit and the opportunity of specialized continuing education. I have over 117 hours of government training with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), served on the GMA board of directors from 2014 to 2016, as well as courses and seminars with the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC).
3) If elected, what are your top two or three priorities?
Protecting our neighborhoods from rampant out of control development, improving multi family living conditions, and meeting the needs of our residents in developing better access to better health and education.
4) In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing Clarkston?
Two important issues are business development and residential stabilization as we face a changing economy emerging out of the pandemic. We may be facing massive evictions as the financial safety net is pulled away while the COVID-19 virus continues to ravage our communities.
5) What is your current opinion of the Clarkston Police Department and are there any changes you would advocate for if you are elected?
The Clarkston Police Department has made welcome changes toward more community involvement over the past decade or so and the police have been very responsive to 9-1-1 calls. I think the council should evaluate the status of our current policing policies, hold public meetings and surveys to find out how well the residents of Clarkston are engaging with our police personnel, and make recommendations to the administration based on those evaluations.
6) What is your opinion of Clarkston’s current city manager?
City Manager Gomez has been a good manager. I would like the administration to consider expanding our service to our residents, for example, to provide a tenant/landlord relations commission or specialist, as well as an economic development team to improve business relations.
7) Racial justice and diversity have been points of conversation over the last year. What will you do to promote racial justice and diversity in the city of Clarkston?
We will continue to be a welcoming city. Our diversity is our strength. Diverse communities bring more perspectives, creativity, and cultural competency. I led the council on decriminalizing possession of an ounce or less of marijuana specifically because it is a law that has been enforced along racial perceptions. The focus was to eliminate arrest records that systemically prevent employment based on racial prejudice that create pathways to poverty. I’m pleased to see other cities have followed Clarkston’s lead. The state and federal governments have implemented a policy to “ban the box” on employment applications, as did we, and we also developed a policy in to employ contractors for the city that also follow the “ban the box” policy.
8) What do you think of the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what steps do you think the city should take to help reduce the spread of the virus?
The city has done a tremendous job responding to COVID-19. We have clinics that have done a tireless job of getting the public tested and vaccinated. The city has been supporting these efforts as well as providing masks and hand sanitizer throughout the community and conducted massive food distribution efforts. Everyone should continue to wear masks, wash your hands, and get the COVID- 19 vaccination.
9) Affordable housing continues to be a challenge for people moving to the Atlanta area. If elected, what steps would you take to promote affordable housing in Clarkston?
Every city is struggling with the issue of affordable housing. We put an affordable housing fund together a few years ago that now requires details to be hammered out and terms for replenishment expanded. We have mixed income apartments being built in Clarkston that have a thirty-year commitment to provide rental rates based on the average median income (AMI). I would like our current multi family dwelling owners to make a similar commitment with funding as an incentive to make critical upgrades in their housing inventory.
10) What do you think is Clarkston’s greatest strength?
Our community is solid and diverse. Our community has benefitted from sound economic policies. The current Mayor has excellent leadership skills, and we continue to stress the importance of civic engagement.
11) What do you think is Clarkston’s biggest challenge?
We have done a massive remodeling of our physical appearance with our streetscapes projects. Now, we need to concentrate on pulling the commercial enterprises together to shape a business community that can thrive through the pandemic as well as resilience when facing economic challenges in the future.
12) How would you address what you believe to be Clarkston’s biggest challenge?
The council needs more input from businesses and should solicit, on a continuing basis, recommendations from the businesses and residents that would benefit the overall community.
13) What is your opinion of refugee resettlement in Clarkston and if elected would you be in favor of resettling more refugees in the Clarkston area?
One of Clarkston’s great strengths is our reputation as a refugee resettlement community. I support the resettlement efforts of the various service agencies and job training programs in our area. They have done a great job of weathering the pandemic storm even in the dwindling trickle of resettlement candidates. The more refugees that are resettled, the smoother the process will work. Everyone is welcome in Clarkston, always.
14) If you are elected, what will you do to support the business community in the city of Clarkston?
We need feedback from our businesses. I would like to get them together to communicate with the council and with each other. If there is any way the council can help businesses thrive, we will learn it from the businesses. Outreach by the council is of vital importance. Perhaps forming a Chamber of Commerce would be a benefit for the community.
15) Do you think the city has done enough to promote safety for cyclists and pedestrians and, if not, what changes would you make to make local streets safer?
There is more work to be done. We have one big route, the PATH, and need to develop other routes with more destinations. Planning and developing a safe pedestrian infrastructure require patience. I have led the effort for massive changes in our infrastructure that we have implemented these past ten years. In 2011, I proposed bike lanes and a middle turn lane on a previous four lane N. Indian Creek Drive in DeKalb County, leading into Clarkston. The project was done in 2014 due to my persistence, even after funding was voted down by county residents in July of 2012. We have worked with the PATH foundation to complete the Decatur/Stone Mountain bike trail that ended on both sides of Clarkston. We now have a dedicated pedestrian bridge over I-285 and a protected route through our community. Connecting the latest improvements to more destinations throughout the community will be our next step. I will strive to make all modes of transportation and recreation safe and efficient in our community.
16) Clarkston recently dissolved its development authority and plans to start a traditional downtown development authority. What should Clarkston’s DDA look like and what issues would you like the DDA to tackle?
It was right to dissolve the CDA. We have had a history of mangled correspondence between the city and the state. Again, the businesses need to be intimately involved to ensure that our downtown area is developed for the benefit of the community. Multifamily dwellings in a live work configuration are part of our plan for downtown. Current business owners and community leaders, coupled with a Chamber of Commerce type commission and Tenant/Landlord commission, and a sound relationship with the city council, would help guide development and would ensure a thriving downtown community.
17) If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government?
If provided the honor to serve, I promise to conduct myself in an ethical and transparent manner. I encourage all my council members to take advantage of the ethics training provided by the Georgia Municipal Association and the Atlanta Regional Commission, as well as the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
More information about voting in the Nov. 2 election:
Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting will begin on Oct. 12 and will end on Oct. 29. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 4. To register to vote, click here.
To see a list of important dates in the 2021 election year, click here.
Voters in DeKalb County are eligible to apply for an absentee ballot as of Aug. 16.
To apply for an absentee ballot:
— Visit the Georgia Secretary of State website.
— Complete the absentee ballot application using the state’s official paper form. Use black or blue ink only.
Applications can be mailed to the county elections office at this address: DeKalb County Election office, 4380 Memorial Drive, Decatur, GA 30032-1239.
Applications can also be submitted by fax, 404-298-4038, or email, [email protected]
Voters may send an absentee ballot request for multiple people who live in the same household in the same envelope or email.
If an absentee ballot is not mailed to you, call DeKalb Elections office, 404-298-4020. You may still vote in person, either early or on Election Day.
In accordance with SB202, a new voting bill signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in March, a copy of a voter’s ID is required to apply for an absentee ballot. A Georgia driver’s license, Georgia state ID, Georgia voter card, U.S. Passport, U.S. military ID, employee ID issued by any branch of the federal or state government, tribal ID, or a document verifying a voter’s name and address – including a paycheck, utility bill, or bank statement – are accepted forms of ID.
Early voting begins Oct. 12 and ends Oct. 29. The hours for early voting are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be weekend early voting on Oct. 16, 17, 23 and 24. Call your elections office for hours.
Beginning Oct. 12, you can participate in early voting at the following locations:
– Bessie Branham Recreation Center (2051 Delano Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30317)
– Lynwood Recreation Center (3360 Osborne Road NE, Brookhaven, GA 30319)
– Berean Christian Church – Family Life Center (2197 Young Road, Stone Mountain, GA 30088)
– DeKalb Voter Registration & Elections Office (4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032)
– Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library (5234 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084)
– Stonecrest Library (3123 Klondike Road, Stonecrest, GA 30038)
– County Line-Ellenwood Library (4331 River Road, Ellenwood, GA 30294)
– Dunwoody Library (5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road., Dunwoody, GA 30338)
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