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 Shana “Tiny” McAllister, who is running for Clarkston City council. The answers have not been edited.
1) Why are you running for this office?
If elected, I will bring a fresh outlook that we are currently lacking in local government and it is my passion to represent and protect the people through progressive public servitude.
I have a particularly unique background in comparison to many, an unwavering passion for helping all living things, and dreams to protect my city and my neighbors through public servitude.
I wish to represent people like me in local government. I’m a single mom, working multiple jobs, and I’ve lost everything and come back stronger every time. Clarkston needs someone that can bring this unique perspective to the city council. I want to protect our community – our pedestrians, our children and families, our greenspaces, and our infrastructure and roads.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
The median age of Clarkston residents is 31 years old, with ⅓ of our population living below the poverty line. The vast majority of residents are renters. Most of our businesses are small and run by families. As far as I know, I’m the ONLY candidate that falls under ALL of these conditions. I’m a passionate, hardworking single mom, renting a 1 bedroom apartment because I couldn’t find anything affordable in this city. I’m a Millennial who dropped out of college. I needed and received help during the pandemic. I am the ONLY candidate that understands what the majority of Clarkston residents are going through – literally. I know what our people need from our government because I live and experience the same things they do.
I may not have a college degree or fancy titles, nor do I have many years of service to Clarkston, but I hope to one day. What I do have is passion and a good heart – a big heart. I have the experience necessary to represent the people, and the initiative to learn things that I don’t fully understand. I think these qualities would prove to be an extremely valuable asset to the Clarkston City Council.
3) If elected, what are your top two or three priorities?
Pedestrian Safety & Equitable Access to Transportation
Realistically Affordable Housing in high density areas
Improving & Protecting Public & Community Spaces
4) In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing Clarkston?
– Housing is not affordable for – anyone –
– Our low income population and children are not receiving equitable access to a clean, safe and connected city
– We cannot allow foreign developers to continue to clear cut greenspaces, cause drama within the community, encourage gentrification, raise the cost of living/housing, and push residents out of the city
5) What is your current opinion of the CPD and are there any changes you would advocate for if you are elected?
When I attended an event back in July, the Coffee with a Cop gathering at Refuge, I was able to ask an officer a few questions about their line of work, and what changes they wished to see. What I heard from them was that above all – they want support. I will push to meet our staffing targets including firefighters, 911 operators, and police. I will push for de-escalation training within the Clarkston Police Department, and I will work with organizations to expand our public safety operations, including 24/7 mental health and poverty response teams.
6) What is your opinion of Clarkston’s current city manager?
I was surprised to hear that he was leaving at the same time as Tracy Ashby, the city clerk, was retiring. I’m disappointed that he’s leaving so suddenly, and I was hoping he would take my concerns seriously if I were elected. Guess that doesn’t matter now. I think Shawanna has her hands full and I wish her luck while Clarkston finds a new city clerk and now… a new city manager as well.
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?
Clarkston is probably one of the most diverse places you’ll find in the south. I think our city is a great representation of international inclusivity and how beautiful the people of the world are – our neighborhood is a melting pot of diversity! If elected, I will continue to support our city’s efforts in promoting racial equity and inclusivity. I will also work with the Clarkston Police Department to bolster emergency response services by advocating for specialized racial sensitivity and domestic violence training for all public safety personnel.
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 Clarkston has had an excellent response to the COVID-19 pandemic since the earliest days of the pandemic. I believe the food drives, rent and mortgage relief, and ongoing efforts to offer free testing and vaccinations available in Clarkston have been valuable beyond measure. I believe mask mandates are critical, vaccinations and testing need to be readily available, and if elected, I will push for continued efforts to support citizens throughout the pandemic.
Additionally, I would like to pursue establishing affordable mental health programs and resources for our nurses, doctors, police, firefighters, first responders, and uninsured living in Clarkston.
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?
NO ANSWER PROVIDED
10) What do you think is Clarkston’s greatest strength?
Hands down, our people. Present day Clarkston is our ancestor’s wildest dream. Cultures from all over the globe have established a community in the heart of Georgia, living and thriving harmoniously in a small city with a big heart.
11) What do you think is Clarkston’s biggest challenge?
Internal politics disrupting progress within the city.
12) How would you address what you believe to be Clarkston’s biggest challenge?
If I am elected, I’m hoping we can move past the tit-for-tat, back and forth power grabs that I’ve noticed since moving here. I’m all about progress and collaboration for the greater good. Getting caught up in drama helps no one.
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?
Before I was displaced from my home in April of this year due to a fire in my neighbor’s apartment, I lived in the Parc 1000 complex, which is home to a large number of refugee and immigrant families, many of whom have members of the household that speak little to no English. These people, my neighbors, were the original reason why I began to fall in love with this city. My neighbors from all over – Rwanda, Bhutan, Nepal, Nigeria, Iran and more sparked my interest and love for Clarkston. My neighbors and I didn’t need to speak the same language to bond and communicate. I absolutely want more refugees in Clarkston. Bring ’em all!
14) If you are elected, what will you do to support the business community in the city of Clarkston?
If elected, I will continue to support our local business owners, homeowners, and property owners. We can strengthen and reinforce our current infrastructure, renovate and improve our current buildings to encourage small business owners, families, and organizations to come to Clarkston. I am fiercely opposed to large corporations bulldozing and stripping Clarkston’s greenspaces under the guise of positive development with empty promises to keep Clarkston accessible to everyone.
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?
NO ANSWER PROVIDED
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?
To an outsider, this may seem like an insignificant question, but in Clarkston, it’s heavily politicized and part of the reason why I’m hoping I’m elected. Clarkston doesn’t need a DDA right now. At least, not within the next 6 months to a year. I think the newly formed council should have an abundant amount of time to address more pressing issues before attempting to start a new DDA.
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?
NO ANSWER PROVIDED
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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