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 Jamie Carroll (incumbent), who is running for Clarkston City council. The answers have not been edited.
1) Why are you running for this office?
I’m running for re-election to the Clarkston City Council because I want to help make Clarkston a growing, safer community that is welcoming to all. I want Clarkston residents to have more job and housing opportunities in Clarkston, and for Clarkston to continue to make public safety improvements, along with improving our sidewalk network and increasing park and green space.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
I have the experience over the last four and a half years of passing numerous ordinance changes that improved the lives of Clarkston residents, including changes to allow tiny homes and mother-in-law suites, increasing sidewalks and traffic calming, lowering property taxes, and providing more resources for public safety that will help me better implement changes that will help make Clarkston a growing, safer community that is welcoming to all.
3) If elected, what are your top two or three priorities?
Clarkston needs to spend the $3.8 million in stimulus funds that it has received wisely to help encourage Clarkston residents to get vaccinated, provide rental and mortgage relief to those who have lost work, and help Clarkston businesses recover. Clarkston also needs to get its zoning reform right to encourage downtown development and more housing options while preserving trees and existing neighborhoods. Finally, Clarkston needs to improve its public safety using FLOCK cameras and pedestrian safety with increased traffic calming and sidewalks.
4) In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing Clarkston?
Clarkston needs to encourage downtown development and more housing options so that Clarkston residents can continue to afford to live here, as well as increasing the property tax base so we can lower property taxes again. Clarkston also needs to continue to improve public safety and pedestrian safety in Clarkston.
5) What is your current opinion of the Clarkston Police Department and are there any changes you would advocate for if you are elected?
Overall, the Clarkston police department has improved and is doing a good job, but we can continue to support the police department by implementing more FLOCK cameras to track criminals, increase recruiting so we can have more officers to patrol the streets, and by having resident groups give feedback to the police on what areas to improve.
6) What is your opinion of Clarkston’s current city manager?
Shawanna Qawiy is currently the interim city manager effective September 20, 2021. I have confidence that she will do a good job based on my experience working with her as the Planning & Development director, and she will certainly be a candidate in Clarkston’s search for a permanent city manager.
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 need to continue to recruit a racially diverse workforce for the city, particularly the police force. We also need to make sure Clarkston provides more quality housing options and improves its inspections of our current apartment complexes to make sure that Clarkston can stay a diverse, welcoming community, particularly with the expected increase of refugees to Clarkston due to the policy changes of the Biden administration.
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?
I think overall the City has had a good response to COVID-19, but we can still improve. I sponsored an ordinance to offer $50 gift cards to people to get vaccinated. We need to continue to educate our residents as to the dangers of COVID and incentivize COVID vaccination via gift cards, as well as providing more masks to local businesses and non-profits for Clarkston residents to wear.
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?
Clarkston needs to ensure that its zoning reform encourages the development of all kinds of housing at all prices to promote affordable housing options in Clarkston for all its residents. Clarkston also needs to use its affordable housing trust fund, which has $200,000.00 in it, to promote affordable housing, and we should consider using the trust fund to work with various affordable housing non-profits to leverage this fund to increase affordable housing in Clarkston.
10) What do you think is Clarkston’s greatest strength?
Clarkston is a diverse, welcoming community that is evident in its residents welcoming people of all kids of racial and social-economic backgrounds, its non-profits devoted to improving our community, and its businesses that reach out to help Clarkston residents.
11) What do you think is Clarkston’s biggest challenge?
We need to make sure that Clarkston provides job and housing opportunities to its residents so that they don’t feel obligated to leave Clarkston to improve their lives.
12) How would you address what you believe to be Clarkston’s biggest challenge?
We need to encourage more downtown development, such as more retail on the first floor with housing on top, similar to\ Ponce City Market, and housing options through our zoning reform, as well as improving public safety, so that Clarkston continues to provide opportunities to our residents.
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?
I support refugee resettlement in Clarkston as I believe that refugee resettlement provides great benefits for the city and its residents.. I would be in favor of resettling more refugees in the Clarkston area.
14) If you are elected, what will you do to support the business community in the city of Clarkston?
We need to reform the business licensing process to make it easier to do business in Clarkston. We also need to encourage more downtown development and housing options in Clarkston so businesses will have more customers nearby.
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?
Clarkston needs to do more for cyclist and pedestrian safety, including expanding the sidewalk network, particularly north of the railroad tracks, so that pedestrians can walk safely. We also need to consider more traffic calming measures, particularly in residential neighborhoods, so that people and cyclists can be safe. We should also look at where we can create more bike lanes so that cyclists can be separate from cars, and encourage cyclists to use the Path.
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?
Clarkston’s DDA should focus on encouraging development in the downtown and Brockett area. We should make sure that Clarkston’s DDA is representative of the Clarkston community and considers feedback from all community stakeholders, including businesses, homeowners and apartment residents before taking any action.
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?
I have conducted myself in an ethical and transparent manner for the last four and a half years, and will continue to do so by obeying the spirit as well as the letter of the City’s ethics regulations. I will not accept any donations from any person or business that has a pending matter before the Clarkston city council.
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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