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Local Politics

    Gwinnett County, one of the most diverse communities in Georgia and the entire Southeast, will soon have its first-ever non-white mayors.  The city of Norcross made longtime councilman Craig Newton Gwinnett’s first-ever black mayor during Tuesday’s election. Newton was not challenged.  Read more about Newton here. And in Loganville — which is in both Gwinnett and Walton counties — former councilman Rey Martinez roughly doubled the unofficial vote total of opponent Donna B. Jones. It’s believed he will become Gwinnett’s first-ever Latino mayor. Martinez, a U.S. Navy veteran and restaurateur, made a name for himself last fall by helping lead several Georgia rallies for then-candidates Donald Trump and Mike Pence. “Black, white, Hispanic, Muslim — Donald Trump is going to pick all of you up and make you believe in this country again,” Martinez said at Pence rally in Cobb County last September. Gwinnett is a majority-minority county, meaning it has more non-white residents than white ones. But it has never seen a non-white candidate elected to the county commission or school board.  MORE: Results from more Atlanta-area elections MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT. The AJC's Tyler Estep keeps you updated on the latest happenings in Gwinnett County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:  Gwinnett says it's making 'enormous strides' toward Spanish ballot edict  Gwinnett wants to build a $30M 'water innovation center.' Why?  Snellville mayor proclaims innocence while suspending self from office Never miss a minute of what's happening in Gwinnett politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.
  • Atlanta City Councilwoman Carla Smith said Friday that she has returned a $2,600 contribution to her re-election campaign from a controversial ballot committee fund tied to Mayor Kasim Reed. As the AJC reported Thursday, a committee called Citizens For Better Transportation 2016 raised more than $1.2 million from some of the city’s most influential businesses to campaign on behalf of a sales tax increase for road improvements in Atlanta last year. But the committee only spent half of the money, and began using the left over contributions this summer — sending maximum campaign donations of $2,600 to seven incumbent council members who are up for reelection, and who have been among Reed’s biggest supporters. Smith was one of the recipients. She said the AJC’s story “raised important questions” about the appropriateness of the contributions. “To ensure full compliance with our campaign disclosure laws (laws which I wholeheartedly support), I am returning the money to Citizens for Better Transportation 2016,” she said in a text to the AJC. State law clearly says excess funds from a ballot committee should be either returned pro rata to the donors, or given to a charity. Robert Highsmith, the committee’s attorney, said the donations were legal, but an official with the state ethics commission said they might not be.
  • A Florida state senator, in line to become the Democratic leader in the Florida Senate next year, abruptly resigned Friday. >> Read more trending news State Sen. Jeff Clemens of Atlantis, made the announcement after Politico reported he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist. “I have made mistakes I (am) ashamed of, and for the past six months I have been focused on becoming a better person. But it is clear to me that task is impossible to finish while in elected office. The process won’t allow it, and the people of Florida deserve better. All women deserve respect, and by my actions, I feel I have failed that standard. I have to do better,” Clemens said in a statement. He emailed a shorter statement to Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, saying “Please consider this email as my resignation from the Florida Senate.” Clemens said his resignation was effective immediately. Under state law, Gov. Rick Scott must set the date for a special election to fill Clemens’ seat. “It is clear to me Senator Clemens made a decision he feels is best for both his family and his constituents,” Negron said. In his public statement, Clemens said, “Though they have been aware for some time now, I apologize again to my wife, my family and anyone and everyone that I have treated poorly in the past for putting you through this in such a public way. I will continue the therapy I began months ago, will seek to personally apologize to anyone I have wronged while seeking forgiveness, and will spend my time being a better husband and father.” The resignation came less than 24 hours after Clemens sent an email apologizing to Senate Democrats on Thursday night as Politico was preparing to report that Clemens had an affair with lobbyist Devon West. West worked for the Martin County government and now works for Broward County’s lobbying office. Efforts to reach her on Friday were unsuccessful. “I take full responsibility for my behavior, and I apologize for bringing any embarrassment to the Caucus,” Clemens said in the Thursday night email to his colleagues. “I have spent much of the past six months going to therapy, strengthening my relationship with my wife and my kids, and trying to be a better human being. I still have quite a ways to go. But I am unwavering in my resolve to get there.”
  • Former DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson pleaded guilty Wednesday to receiving about $3,000 in advances for government trips and using the money for personal purposes. Watson, who repaid the money before he was charged with crime, was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 150 hours of community service for a misdemeanor count of theft by conversion. Watson, 63, withdrew advance checks early last year for conferences in Chicago and Savannah, but then he resigned from office in March 2016 before those trips took place. County policy requires that unused travel funds must be repaid immediately, but he didn’t complete his reimbursing the government until nearly a year after the trips, according to District Attorney Sherry Boston’s Office. There was no plea deal, but Watson asked DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson to reduce the charge against him to a misdemeanor, which she agreed to do after listening to testimony about Watson’s character and public service. Prosecutors had sought five years on probation. Exclusive for subscribers: Read the full story on myAJC.com.
  • We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman.  Berkeley Lake  Special Referendum Election Shall the issuance of licenses for the package sale of distilled spirits be approved?   Braselton  Mayor Name: Bill Orr (i)   Town Council Member Seat 2 Name: Peggy B. Slappey (i)   Town Council Member Seat 4 Name: Robert Clark   Name: Hardy Johnson Age: 71 Residence: Chateau Elan Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? Community involvement experience: - Serves and supports Braselton's NE Ga Medical Center Foundation Cabinet campaign - Member Braselton Rotary Club  - Serves on Downtown Development Authority Braselton, promoting Braselton as a great place to live, work, and play Life experience - Native Georgian, Born in Fitzgerald, Georgia - Eagle Scout at age 14 - Attended Georgia State University at night for 8 years- earning BBA & MBA - Married for 51 years to wife, Donna - Two children, four Grandchildren Career experience - President of Tarmac America in Florida for 20 years responsible for all aspects of business including 2,500 employees, 49 concrete plants, nine block plants, largest cement plant on East Coast and fifth largest aggregate facility.  (edited for length) What issue got you into this race? The growth in Braselton should be reasonable, responsible and orderly. With growth, we must ensure that our police are adequately trained, properly equipped and sufficiently staffed. Braselton government must be effective and efficient. Our infrastructure must be updated to improve traffic situation. Which current television character do you identify most with? Frank Reagan, “Blue Bloods,” because of his devotion to family and his dogged dedication to a challenging responsibility. Website: www.vote4hardy.com Email: hardybjohnson@gmail.com   Buford  City Commissioner (To Succeed Chris Burge) Name: Chris Burge (i) Age: 57 Residence: Buford Profession: Owner Buford Brake & Lube (30 years) What experience will help you in office? I have held this seat for 25 years, a position that I have never taken for granted and always said I would stay as long as the citizens of Buford would allow me. What issue got you into this race? The love for the City of Buford and the past generations and the generations to come. We all strive for triple A excellence. To continue to push our city and schools to be the best in everything we do. Which current television character do you identify most with? None, I do not see the relevance of this question. Email: lcburge@hotmail.com   Name: Gary A. Ingram   City Commissioner (To Succeed Michael Smith) Name: Bradley W. Weeks Age: 36 Residence: Buford Profession: Real estate broker/ property management What experience will help you in office? I have served on the City of Buford Zoning Board of Appeals for the last five years. I have also served on the Gwinnett County Housing Authority for the last six years. What issue got you into this race? I am very proud of the success Buford is having. We live in a great town and I want to make sure Buford continues in the same direction. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch a lot of current television shows. If I had to pick it would probably be one of the settlers trying to make it in Alaska. I love being outdoors and working outdoors. Email: BradWWeeks@hotmail.com   Board of Education (To Succeed Pat Pirkle) Name: Pat Pirkle (i)   Board of Education (To Succeed J. Bruce Fricks) Name: J. Bruce Fricks (i)   Dacula  Mayor Name: Jimmy Wilbanks (i) Age: 75 Residence: Dacula RD Profession: Retired from state government What experience will help you in office? My nearly 20 years as mayor. My 34 years of public service for Georgia citizens. What issue got you into this race? Continuing service Which current television character do you identify most with? I don’t identify with any TV character. Website: Electjimmywilbanks.com Email: jimmy.wilbanks@daculaga.gov  Council Member (To Succeed Donna Barber Peairs) Name: Donna Barber Peairs (i)   Name: Daniel R. Spain Age: 59 Residence: South Dacula subdivision Profession: Semi-retired, part time at Queen of Hearts antiques What experience will help you in office? Fifty-nine years in the city of Dacula. 37 years in manufacturing with many of those years in a leadership role. What issue got you into this race? Wanting to get the citizens more involved in the city operations. Which current television character do you identify most with? none Email: spaindrs4@bellsouth.net Facebook: Danny Spain   Council Member (To Succeed Wendell Holcombe) Name: Wendell Holcombe (i)   Duluth  City Council Post 1 Name: Marsha A. Bomar (i) Age: 65 Residence: Downtown Duluth Profession: Transportation engineer What experience will help you in office? My diverse background, which includes 45 years as an engineer and planner, more than 20 years as a multiple business owner, extensive training in municipal governance, and volunteer service including chairing the United Way campaign twice are a few of the elements of my background that help me be effective in service on Council. I also have extensive professional experience in community engagement, which helps me work with all people and groups. What issue got you into this race? I have been serving and want to see some of the big projects through to conclusion. Which current television character do you identify most with? “Madame Secretary.” She is a strong, strategic, savvy character and I aspire to be like that. Email: mbomar@duluthga.net Twitter: streetsmartsmom Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marsha.bomar   City Council Post 2 Name: Kirkland Dion Carden Age: 29 Residence: Riverbrooke subdivision Profession: Transportation planner with the Georgia Department of Transportation What experience will help you in office? I have served my community as a member of the Duluth Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the 2016 Citizen’s Budget Review Advisory Committee. These experiences taught me the value of listening to all sides, analyzing problems, and finding effective solutions for them. I’ll bring these skills with me to the City Council. As a city planner, I have a robust knowledge of city affairs, such as local zoning codes, and development processes. I will utilize this knowledge when elected to the City Council. What issue got you into this race? As a longtime resident of our city, I have seen our city grow and become more diverse over time. I believe our city must do all it can to welcome this diversity, and use it as a catalyst rather than a barrier. In a personal capacity, I’ve volunteered on multiple efforts around civic engagement, as well as fostering youth engagement with government. As our city becomes more diverse, we need forward thinking leadership that strives to meet the unique needs of each of our residents. I believe my experiences adequately qualify me to address these challenges, and it’s something I’ll do. (edited for length) Which current television character do you identify most with? Rick Grimes from “The Walking Dead.” Rick is a take-charge type of guy that takes care of his own. Website: https://www.kirkland4duluth.com Email: kirk@kirkland4duluth.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kirkland_Carden Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirkforduluth/   Name: James T. 'Jim' Dugan (i) Age: 65 Residence: Carriage Gate Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? Being the incumbent, I already have years of leadership and decision making experience in city government. I've also received the 'Certificate of Distinction' award for 204-plus hours of municipal training through the University of Georgia. This training makes me a more valuable asset to our city. Not just about ideas but knowing how to bring those ideas to fruition. My analytical skills, as a former project leader/business analyst, help me to look at issues openly and objectively and to determine the right actions to be taken to obtain the best outcome for our citizens. What issue got you into this race? I'm the incumbent seeking re-election. I desire to continue serving and working for Duluth citizens by providing positive leadership. By taking an active role in the decision-making processes, I can help enable our citizens to enjoy their community to its fullest and to take pride in calling Duluth their hometown. I have been involved with our ongoing downtown revitalization and I want to continue to bring economic development to Duluth by attracting new businesses, building city/business partnerships, promote local arts as a major attraction, and continue to enhance our infrastructures. Which current television character do you identify most with? Kiefer Sutherland - “Designated Survivor,” President Tom Kirkman. He is not a 'politician' but he's serving his country and doing what is honest, just, and right for all citizens. He has no preconceived agendas and handles each issue methodically. Email: jdugan@duluthga.com   Name: Louis Tseng   City Council Post 3 Name: Billy Jones (i)   Grayson  Mayor Name: Allison L. Wilkerson (i) Age: 44 Residence: Windsor Place Profession: Real estate broker What experience will help you in office? I was elected to the Grayson City Council in 2001, then became mayor in 2014. I have served as the president of the Gwinnett Municipal Association for two terms and currently sit on the Executive Committee. I also serve as an adviser for the Grayson Youth Leadership program, which is a joint effort between the City of Grayson and Grayson High School. What issue got you into this race? Grayson is growing and I want to continue to cultivate smart growth. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch a lot of television. Email: awilkerson@cityofgrayson.org  Council Member Post 2 Name: Robert (Bob) Foreman Age: 70 Residence: Olde Town Grayson Profession: Architect What experience will help you in office? Thirty-plus years as founder/owner of architectural firm in Gwinnett, 45 years as a licensed architect; 2014 graduate of Gwinnett Senior Leadership, currently serving as chairman of GSL Infrastructure Day; served as chairman of management team at Mountain Park First Baptist, group Bible study teacher and deacon; served on Olde Town Grayson Home Owners Association board and the Advisory Council; 1970 commissioned as officer in U.S Army Reserves; served Gwinnett community through Rotary Club of Duluth. What issue got you into this race? Grayson should do everything possible to retain its small town character and charm, to avoid large commercial developments, to encourage appropriate land use, and to encourage quality residential development. In 2018 Grayson will be updating its Comprehensive Plan, a critical tool in maintaining the quality of life in Grayson. We should continue to enhance the town center area around the city park. Well designed small commercial development such as the RailYard project should be encouraged. Which current television character do you identify most with? Why would I identify with a character on TV? TV is fantasy and make-believe, mixed in with entertainment pretending to be news. When I watch TV, it is often home remodeling shows on HGTV or DIY. I also like the History channel and the National Geographic Website: www.BobForGrayson.com Email: May be reached through contact page at listed web site, BobforGrayson.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/robertcforeman   Name: Donald Lawrence Thrower Age: 55 Residence: Pine Grove Village Profession: Regional operations manager What experience will help you in office? I've been in many different leadership rolls in my career. I listen to people's concerns without prejudice. You can always learn things from everyone you come across. I never let emotions get in the way of the facts at hand. What issue got you into this race? No particular issue, this is something that has always intrigued me and I feel that there are many things to offer the citizens of Grayson. I'm a very good listener, coupled with being able to create ideas and solutions for any given situation. Which current television character do you identify most with? Dave Kindig, I identify with his creativeness and caring of the end results.   Council Member Post 4 Name: Linda S. Jenkins (i) Age: 73 Residence: Middleton subdivision Profession: Retired educator; 38 years of teaching, 31 in Gwinnett Public Schools What experience will help you in office? Previously served on the council during late 70s/early 80s. I have lived in Grayson my whole life and have a feel for what residents want from city government. What issue got you into this race? Overseeing the orderly growth of Grayson, improving transportation issues, and making the city a beautiful place to live, work, and play. Which current television character do you identify most with? .   Lilburn  City Council Post 3 Name: Eddie Price (i) Age: 56 Residence: Woodfall subdivision Profession: Small business owner What experience will help you in office? A small business owner for almost 30 years, a member of the Lilburn Business Association for over 20 years. Twelve years on Lilburn city council, plus two years on the Lilburn zoning board of appeals. I have over 40 credit hours of municipal training, mostly in revitalization and municipal procedures. I have served on the Lilburn Downtown Development Authority for the last 10-plus years. I have made many contacts with other Gwinnett cities and the county to help partner with them to move Lilburn forward. This partnership built a new city hall and library ... (edited for length) What issue got you into this race? Continue moving Lilburn forward, with ongoing revitalization of the Lilburn downtown area and highway 29. Improve quality of life by continuing our sidewalk initiative, greenway trail improvements, events in the park and adding more restaurants and other businesses. Which current television character do you identify most with? Pride on “NCIS New Orleans,” he is a person who puts others first, works with others to protect and serve those around him. May not always be pretty but is successful. Email: eprice@cityoflilburn.com   Name: Shabaka C. Fletcher Age: 43 Residence: Lilburn Profession: Neurobehavioral counselor What experience will help you in office? Highly motivated; goal oriented and accomplishes results through influences verses direct control. Analytical thinker with ability to conduct research, data analysis and resolve complex problems quickly. What issue got you into this race? Citizen protection Which current television character do you identify most with? Wonder Women Email: shabakalilburn@hotmail.com   Name: Philip (Phil) Holland Age: 73 Residence: Hunter's Hill Profession: Retired postmaster and real estate investor What experience will help you in office? I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience while serving my country and community through military, federal, civic and charitable service. My strength is my ability to communicate with and work with diverse groups of people to achieve our objectives. I have budgeted, managed and directed small and large workforces. I have helped to plan and provided oversight for small and large real estate developments. I have owned, redeveloped and operated a very successful business and retail strip shopping center. What issue got you into this race? The issues that got me into this race are the absence of retail development, fine dining and family restaurants within the city of Lilburn. Our residents are required to travel to neighboring cities that are more progressive and aggressive when it comes to pursuing investors. The lack of boutique shopping that if properly developed could make Lilburn a destination city. Lilburn needs a fresh vision. 'It's Time For A Change' in leadership. My vision is to 'Make Lilburn A Community Of Unity.' Use the diversity of it's citizens to make Lilburn a place that other cities will envy. Which current television character do you identify most with? Frank Reagan of 'Blue Bloods' and Randall Pearson of 'This Is Us.' Both are good men who love their families. My family's first Sunday dinner with my wife, kids and grandkids reflects the Reagan family. Both of these men have characters of strength and hum Website: Www.electphilipholland.com Email: Phileh@bellsouth.net Twitter: @electpholland Facebook: electphilipholland   City Council Post 4 Name: Tim Dunn (i)   Loganville  Mayor Name: Donna B. Jones   Name: Rey Martinez Age: 48 Residence: Tara Profession: U.S. Navy retired What experience will help you in office? Loganville Council Member 7 years  Vice-Mayor 2015-2016 Loganville Public Safety Chairman 2012-2017 Loganville Public Works Chairman 2011-2012 Board Member Georgia Equal Opportunity Commission 2015-present Degree in education What issue got you into this race? Public safety and transportation Which current television character do you identify most with? Don't know. I don't watch much Television Email: reyforloganville@bellsouth.net Facebook: ReyMartinez2017   City Council (Vote for Three) Name: Anne Coles Age: 46 Residence: Birchwood Place Profession: Entrepreneur / small business consultant What experience will help you in office? As an entrepreneur and a small business consultant that helps business owners with their bookkeeping, I work with people from all backgrounds and varying income levels. I manage money well, have resources and experts in many professions that I can rely on for input as a council member, and I excel at unifying teams for a greater purpose. I am known for three things - being candid, credible and conscientious. My clients know that they will always get the truth from me, no matter how hard it might be to hear. I am trusted by my clients ... (edited for length) What issue got you into this race? Business development in the City of Loganville. We don't have enough places for our residents and visitors to shop, work, and play. People drive through our city to get somewhere else. I want us to be a destination, not a drive through. I am an existing City of Loganville Commissioner so I am already working in the area of business development. I was also on the City of Loganville Urban Redevelopment Plan Committee, which was formed to advise the city on ideas to implement a better downtown area. Which current television character do you identify most with? Judge Judy. I love how she calls it like it is and doesn't take any baloney off of anyone. She seems to be unaffected by political correctness and treats everyone fairly. Website: www.annecoles.com Email: anne@annecoles.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goannecoles/   Name: Danny Ford (i) Age: 69 Residence: Lake Hodges Landing Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? I have over 30 years managerial experience from Scientific-Atlanta and Lithonia Lighting. I feel this experience will help with the planned growth in keeping Loganville on track for QUALITY growth and expansion. I also have served as Lake Hodges Landing HOA President for five years and then I was appointed to the Loganville Planning Commission where I served as vice chairman. What issue got you into this race? A proposal for apartments pushed me into politics when I was Lake Hodges Landing HOA president. I had, along with many residents, concerns over the impact on traffic. The project was eventually scrapped but my urge to serve the city was born. Serving on the planning commission provided me with a better understanding of how the city government works. I then ran unopposed for an unexpired term and began serving our great city. Which current television character do you identify most with? Frank Reagan (”Blood Bloods”), a no nonsense type of guy. Website:  Email: dford@loganville-ga.gov   Name: Mike Jones   Name: Lisa Newberry Age: 50 Residence: Tara Club Estates Profession: Senior account manager, corporate What experience will help you in office? My work life experience includes years of leadership with day to day operations and financial responsibilities. My civic life includes five consecutive years volunteering for Loganville's city events and I am a member of the Loganville Historical Society. I also proudly serve on the Loganville Planning and Zoning Commission. This appointed position has taught me the municipal ways of the city. My work and civic experiences have prepared me to serve as a city councilwoman. What issue got you into this race? I talk to many citizens every day who have the concerns of expensive water bills, taxes, traffic, growth, etc. These are all ongoing issues that I would like the opportunity to address. In addition, our city's safety is paramount. Our public safety needs the resources to keep our citizens safe, as well as the equipment to keep them safe. Which current television character do you identify most with? Reba McEntire, the television show 'Reba.' Reba has a successful career in singing, but desired an acting role. She had the courage to follow her dream, go for it and succeed. She is a great example of wanting something bad enough and working hard to ma Email: lisanewberry28@gmail.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisanewberry8 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.luffmannewberry   Name: Femi Oduwole   Norcross  Mayor Name: Craig Newton Age: 62 Residence: 380 Langford Drive, Norcross 30071 Profession: IT technical consultant What experience will help you in office? As business manager for over 20-plus years with a local world leading high-tech, analytical laboratory instrument manufacturing company, I understand best business practices and will seek to bring a strong business ethic with me as the city's mayor. My belief is that our city should be run like a business with its citizens as its owner and shareholder all done with compassion and respect for its dedicated city employees. What issue got you into this race? My focus in maintaining and improving our quality of life in Norcross includes .. 1. Increasing our economic viability through: protecting our downtown, expanding our city center, attracting high wage technically inclined businesses 2. Increased public safety: utilizing new technology and increased community policing efforts 3. Sustainability of our parks and natural resources: our historic character and small town charm are assets that other cities emulate. What we have must be preserved, maintained through continued strategic planning. Which current television character do you identify most with? Though I seldom watch TV ( sports excluded ) , I prefer reading for entertainment and researching the latest news The closest answer I can give is Judge Mathis through his interaction with a myriad of personalities. My colleagues often remind me that, like him, I am firm but fair. Website: www.Norcrossga.net Email: cnewton395@gmail.com Facebook: Craig Newton   Council Member (Hutcheson, Paul) Name: Hoyt Hutcheson   Name: Chuck Paul   Council Member (Thompson, Watch) Name: Thad Thompson Age: 26 Residence: Historic Norcross Profession: Financial advisor What experience will help you in office? I am blessed to have grown up in Norcross and have family history dating back to the early 1800s. This deep connection has given me an amazing outlook on what makes Norcross so amazing and what could make it even better. As a business owner that helps others reach financial success I look forward to helping maintain and forecast a balanced budget to ensure this community remains a PLACE TO IMAGINE for generations to come. What issue got you into this race? Norcross has set out to attract more young families to our town. I feel called to serve as an ambassador to both the city and residents to make this a reality. It's important to have folks of all ages call Norcross home so that it will continue to be an amazing place to live for generations to come. This community has provided abundantly for my family and me and I look forward to giving back. Which current television character do you identify most with? Alex Trebek, I love to meet new people everyday! Website: thadfornorcross.com Email: thad@thadfornorcross.com Facebook: facebook.com/thadfornorcross   Name: Daniel Watch Age: 58 Residence: Norcross Profession: Architect What experience will help you in office? My master's degrees in architecture and city planning from the University of Pennsylvania will be beneficial to the community. As a global leader in laboratory design, I have authored four books, won six international design competitions, and was inducted as an American Institute of Architects Fellow. My work, which includes advocating for sustainability, writing, and lecturing at over 100 institutions, has educated thousands. I travel over 250,000 miles annually to work in developing countries. What issue got you into this race? I would like the opportunity to improve the City of Norcross with a strong master plan. Our community of residents, public servants, business owners, and investors, will come together to create this plan. The process will include public meetings, student presentations, and brainstorming sessions, which will result in a three-dimensional, virtual computer model. Together, we can support thoughtful city planning by including successful initiatives of the past while giving better definition to our future. Which current television character do you identify most with? I identify with Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family.” Phil works very hard at his chosen profession, but always makes sure his family comes first. Just like Phil and his son, Luke, my youngest daughter, Lucie, and I have many humorous adventures.  Email: dan.watch@perkinswill.com Twitter: @dwatch3 Facebook: Dan Watch for Norcross City Council   Special Elections (1) INVENTORY OF GOODS OR RAW MATERIALS IN THE PROCESS OF MANUFACTURE OR PRODUCTION “Shall the City of Norcross exempt from ad valorem taxation, inventory of goods in the process of manufacture or production which shall include all partly finished goods and raw materials held for direct use or consumption in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacture or production business in the state of Georgia (the exemption provided for herein shall apply only to tangible personal property which is substantially modified, altered or changed in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacturing, processing or production operations in this state)?” 2) INVENTORY OF FINISHED GOODS, MANUFACTURED OR PRODUCED IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA “Shall the City of Norcross exempt from ad valorem taxation inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced within the State of Georgia in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacturing or production business, when held by the original manufacturer or producer of such finished goods (the exemption provided for herein shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is produced or manufactured)?” (3) INVENTORY OF FINISHED GOODS IN TRANSIT TO A FINAL DESTINATION OUTSIDE THE STATE OF GEORGIA “Shall the City of Norcross exempt from ad valorem taxation, inventory of finished goods which, on January 1, are stored in a warehouse, dock, or wharf, whether public or private, and which are destined for shipment to a final destination outside the State of Georgia and inventory of finished goods which are shipped into the State of Georgia from outside this state and stored for transshipment to a final destination outside this state (the exemption provided for herein shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is stored in this state)?” (4) STOCK IN TRADE OF A FULFILLMENT CENTER WHICH IS STORED IN A FULFILLMENT CENTER AND WHICH IS MADE AVAILABLE TO REMOTE PURCHASERS WHO MAY MAKE SUCH PURCHASES BY ELECTRONIC, INTERNET, TELEPHONIC, OR OTHER REMOTE MEANS, AND WHERE SUCH STOCK IN TRADE OF A FULFILLMENT CENTER WILL BE SHIPPED FROM THE FULFILLMENT CENTER AND DELIVERED TO THE PURCHASER AT A LOCATION OTHER THAN THE LOCATION OF THE FULFILLMENT CENTER. “Shall the City of Norcross exempt from ad valorem taxation, stock in trade of a fulfillment center which, on January 1, is stored in a fulfillment center and which is made available to remote purchasers who may make such purchases by electronic, internet, telephonic, or other remote means, and where such stock in trade of a fulfillment center will be shipped from the fulfillment center and delivered to the purchaser at a location other than the location of the fulfillment center (the exemption provided for in this paragraph shall be for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date such property is stored in this state. Such period shall be determined based on application of a first-in, first-out method of accounting for the inventory)?”   Peachtree Corners  City Council Post 2 Name: Eric Christ (i) Age: 50 Residence: Neely Farm Profession: Business executive What experience will help you in office? I've been a homeowner in Peachtree Corners since 1998, along with my wife of 23 years and our two daughters. I moved to Atlanta in 1991 to attend Emory Business School where I was a Woodruff Fellow and received an MBA. I also have bachelors degree in business from Georgetown University. Since graduating from Emory, I’ve worked as a senior manager at five technology firms, including McKesson Corporation in Alpharetta, and am currently the president of privately-held health care software firm in Sandy Springs. I served as vice chairman of the Peachtree Corners Zoning Board of Appeals for four years. What issue got you into this race? I was elected to the PTC City Council in 2016 to fill an open seat representing District 2. I'm running for re-election because public service is a way for me to give back to a community that has given me and my wife such a wonderful environment in which to work and raise a family. I've enjoyed my time on the City Council and look forward to serving the residents of District 2 for another four years. I support a conservative budgeting and appropriations process that keeps expenses below revenue and supports our low property tax. (edited for length)] Which current television character do you identify most with? Running a software company, serving on City Council, being part of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2018, and keeping up with a busy family leaves little time for television. Website: www.votechrist.org Email: votechrist@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/votechrist   City Council Post 4 Name: Jeanne Aulbach (i) Age: 66 Residence: Avocet Profession: BI developer What experience will help you in office? I have served on Peachtree Corners City Council for five years, since we first became a city. Prior to that, I served on Peachtree Corners Yes, to promote cityhood. I participated in the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) training program and obtained a Certificate of Achievement which requires 72 hours of training, including at least 36 hours from the required list and the Newly Elected Officials Institute.I am also is a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett, Class of 2017. This is a nine-month program focusing on Gwinnet County services issues. It enhances relationships with county officials. What issue got you into this race? I have served on City Council since the city incorporated in 2012, and on Peachtree Corners Yes prior to that to advocate for cityhood. While we have made a lot of progress, there still is much work to do. I want to continue to work to ensure the success of my city. Which current television character do you identify most with? I really do not watch enough TV to answer this question. Website: jeanne4peachtreecorners.com Email: jeanne4peachtreecorners@gmail.com Facebook: Jeanne For Peachtree Corners   Name: Luke Crawford Age: 24 Residence: River Station Profession: Marketing What experience will help you in office? While in college, I started a marketing/media company that has taught me a great deal about both marketing and business, these are both valuable skills that would prove beneficial in a City Council position. In addition, I bring young blood to the PTC City Council. As a millennial, I will work hard to attract more millennials to Peachtree Corners as they are the future. What issue got you into this race? The main issues that got me into the race were the desire for efficient use of tax dollars, my interest in improving the flow of traffic, my passion for stopping sex trafficking in Peachtree Corners and last but not least my strong belief in a limited and small government. Which current television character do you identify most with? I rarely watch TV, but if we were to pick a movie I would choose Benjamin Martin from “The Patriot” as he is fearlessly dedicated to the well-being of not only his family, but his country. That kind of perseverance is inspirational.  Website: www.electcrawford.com Email: luke@electcrawford.com Twitter: @luke_a_crawford Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/electcrawford/   Name: Joseph Sawyer Age: 52 Residence: Meadow Green Profession: V.P Alpha&Omega Carpet Cleaning What experience will help you in office? Business owner , co-founder Bridges Peachtree Corners, Army veteran, pastor, and more What issue got you into this race? I Want to make sure that 'All People in Peachtree Corners are Represented' Which current television character do you identify most with? Kiefer Sutherland in “Designated Survivor” Website: www.CitizenJoeSawyer.com Email: citizenjoesawyer@gmail.com Twitter: @CitizenJoe_PTC Facebook: citizenjoesawyer   City Council Post 6 Name: Weare Gratwick (i)   Sugar Hill  Mayor Name: Steve Edwards (i) Age: 53 Residence: Secret Cove Profession: Sales What experience will help you in office? Been elected since 2003, master’s in public administration, unopposed What issue got you into this race? Continue our vision to build a downtown Which current television character do you identify most with? Hawkeye from MASH   City Council Post 4 Name: Curtis Northrup (i)   City Council Post 5 Name: Taylor B. Anderson Age: 41 Residence: Wild Timber Profession: Civil engineer, small business owner What experience will help you in office? I've served in several leadership positions through the years both in Sugar Hill and Gwinnett County. I currently serve as chairman of Sugar Hill’s Downtown Development Authority. The DDA in partnership with the city is working to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in investment into downtown. I also serve as chair - Goal 3 for Partnership Gwinnett and chairman of Gwinnett’s Development Advisory Committee. I’m owner of Blue Landworks, a civil engineering and land surveying company. What issue got you into this race? Leadership. Our city is growing quickly and the development happening in downtown will be a transformational period for our city. Our city is at a point in its life where the city's growth will benefit from someone with experience in infrastructure, economic development and making strategic decisions as a business owner. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don’t watch much television and from what I’ve seen, there aren’t many aspirational leaders in current television. The character I most identify with would be Captain Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”   Website: tayloranderson.com Email: ta@tayloranderson.com Twitter: twitter.com/tayloranderson Facebook: facebook.com/TaylorforSugarHill   Name: Joshua Mantz   Suwanee City Council Post 3 Name: Linnea Miller (i) Age: 41 Residence: Ruby Forest Profession: Education What experience will help you in office? I’ve lived in Suwanee for almost 20 years. During that time, my participation in leadership roles on behalf on the city, programs of the Gwinnett Chamber, and the North Gwinnett Schools Association, as well other community-centric entities and organizations, has provided me with real-life experience in developing and fostering the key insights and relationships that are necessary to accomplish the things that contribute to creating and maintaining a thriving, healthy, inclusive community. What issue got you into this race? I am passionate about creating a healthy community where our citizens, visitors and businesses can thrive. In my role as councilwoman, I have dedicated myself to making sure our community is safe, fiscally responsible, intentionally planned and culturally engaging. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch TV very often, but if I did, I might identify with Oprah's passion for wholehearted living. She celebrates good things happening in the world, and the people doing them. She provides tools to help people become a better version of themselves. Email: linnea@forsuwanee.com Facebook: Linnea Miller For Suwanee   Name: Paquita V. Wright Age: 44 Residence: Suwanee Profession: HR and real estate investor What experience will help you in office? Residential and commercial real estate, development and contract negotiations, for-profit and nonprofit entities, strong ties to the education community, business owner, great wife and outstanding mother. I am uniquely talented to find win-win opportunities for our community business owners, employment base, parents and our aspiring children. What issue got you into this race? Land use issues and wanting Suwanee to continue to thrive and be a place to enjoy raising our families. Embracing our senior community and changing demographics while halting high density housing projects. Which current television character do you identify most with? This was a hard question but I see myself 50/50 Mellie Grant and Rainbow Johnson. Both have a high drive for success, embrace their strength as women and they are so passionate about everything they touch. But, no matter what, family first. Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paquitamorrissphr/ Email: pwright4council@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pwright4council/   City Council Post 4 Name: Joe Briggs Age: 59 Residence: Barrington Estates Profession: Engineer What experience will help you in office? Former school board, Manchester NH. Taxpayer, parent, engineer. I can do the math to determine when development proposals are tax-negative. What issue got you into this race? Excessive, rapid, high-density residential development threatens to change the rural character and quality of life and property values in Suwanee. Developers have taken it too far creating traffic and crowded schools. We want Suwanee; not Rosswell. Which current television character do you identify most with? Tucker Carlson. Email: jbriggsnh@gmail.com Facebook: @joebriggssuwanee   Name: Beth Hilscher (i) Age: 47 Residence: Westbrook Road Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? I've lived in Suwanee for 19 years -- long before it became known as one of the best places in the nation to live and raise a family. I understand the importance of managing positive growth and providing excellent services, while remaining fiscally prudent. Because I am actively engaged and operate my practice in the heart of downtown Suwanee, I work and serve with my neighbors, which provides valuable insights to the community's desires and expectations. What issue got you into this race? I am proud of Suwanee’s accomplishments and wish to continue to ensure that Suwanee remains a wonderful place to live and work. Suwanee already wins awards for its excellence in management and planning, its vibrant events, its transparent budgeting, and its well-trained police force, all while maintaining a Triple A bond rating. I wish to continue to work with a team that leads in governing with innovation, smart progress, and ethical community engagement. Which current television character do you identify most with? Perhaps ironically, I enjoy watching the development of the character 'Beth' on 'This is Us'. She is a strong, professional woman who is steadfast in her love and commitment to family. She demonstrates a compassion for people -- even when messy, and leads. Email: votebethhilscher@gmail.com Facebook: Beth Hilscher for Suwanee City Council   City Council Post 5 Name: Dan Foster (i) Age: 54 Residence: Forest Plantation/Stone Ridge Profession: Verizon architect What experience will help you in office? Served 12 years as council member, one year on P&Z board, five yrs on ZBA What issue got you into this race? Would like to continue to serve my community. Which current television character do you identify most with? Ronald Regan Website: Fb.me/danfostersuwanee Email: fost1dan@gmail.com Twitter: Fost1dan Facebook: Danfostersuwanee   Name: John S. Kantor
  • We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman.  College Park  (See Fulton County Voter Guide)   Forest Park   Mayor Name: Angelyne Butler Age: 37 Residence: Forest Park - Ward 4 Profession: Insurance What experience will help you in office? 20-plus years of Leadership,15-plus years of management, over 10 years in local government, political science degree, master’s in public administration, PhD, ABD In public policy and administration What issue got you into this race? Lack of leadership, 7.5 percent unemployment rate, low median household income compared to surrounding metro cities, limited housing options and lack of transparency and accountability manifested in the P.E.E.R.S platform. (Political inclusion, , Economic growth, Educational awareness, Residential opportunities, Social empowerment). Which current television character do you identify most with? Jennifer Hudson - “The Voice” ... She was unknown until “American Idol.” Even though she wasn't victorious it was the beginning of the catapult of an amazing career; including “Dreamgirls” and success in a music career. Despite her challenges she continued her pursuits, while remaining her authentic self and continues to yield significant success. Email: Butleryourmayor@gmail.com Phone number: 1-833-5Butler or 1-833-528-8537 Facebook: www.facebook.com/AngelyneButlerYourMayor   Name: David Lockhart (i) Age: 40 Residence: Ash Street Profession: Attorney / mayor What experience will help you in office? Having served as the mayor of Forest Park for the past four years, I have a unique perspective of projects already underway and those slated to begin. I understand the challenges that we have overcome and those that lie ahead. With my professional background, I have been able to identify tax savings for our residents and businesses that would have otherwise been overlooked. What issue got you into this race? A true Forest Park native, I was born and raised here. Forest Park is where my wife and I chose to raise our four children and where I chose to open my law practice. Making my hometown the best it can be only makes sense. As an attorney, I represent families and small businesses, and it was a natural transition to add another way to serve my neighbors and my community as the mayor. Which current television character do you identify most with? Don Draper (”Mad Men.”) Like Don, I was raised near poverty, but through hard work and God's blessings, I was able to succeed. I will find creative solutions when obvious paths are blocked. Most find me quite likeable, but I am willing to make enemies doing right thing. Website: www.lockhartlawoffice.com Email: david@lockhartlawoffice.com Phone number: 678-986-8017 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MayorOfForestPark/   Councilperson Ward 1 Name: Kimberly James Age: 47 Residence: Forest Park Profession: Homemaker What experience will help you in office? I have lived in Forest Park for over 25 years and proudly serve my community. I serve and have served as chair of local school council, member of Starr Park Advisory Board, member of Forest Park Minister Association, leader of FP High School PTSA which is now a National PTA School of Excellence, volunteer with Mission Forest Park, volunteer volleyball coach and so on. I have a heart to serve all God's people in my community. What issue got you into this race? I would like the community to have a voice. I would like for all residents to be included in the conversation I would like to have initiatives to drive business and employment opportunity to our community. We need initiatives for teens, young adults and seniors. Which current television character do you identify most with? I am too busy to get into television and identify with a character. I have a son who recently graduated from Lincoln College of Technology, a freshman daughter at UGA, a senior daughter at Forest Park High and a sophomore son at Forest Park High, I would call myself, SUPERWOMAN! Email: kjames4ward1@gmail.com Phone number: 404-797-8382    Name: Thomas (Tommy) Smith (i) Age: 60 Residence: 4778 Hendrix Drive Forest Park  Profession: Driver What experience will help you in office? The 60 years living in Forest Park coupled with the five years serving the citizens gives will help me do what is necessary to serve the citizens of Forest Park going forward. What issue got you into this race? Five years ago I saw the need for a representative that had no hidden or personal agendas to have the best interest of ALL of the residents of Forest Park at heart. That still remains true today. I have and will always be a humble servant whenever there is a need. I have never left a call unanswered. Which current television character do you identify most with? If I had to pick one I guess it would be Frank Reagan-”Blue Bloods” because everything is about God, family, and community. Serving is something you must have a passion for or you should never enter public life. Email: rgistrudy@bellsouth.net Phone number: 404-366-0776   Councilperson Ward 2 Name: Dabouze Antoine (i) Age: 38 Residence: 4723 Chesler St., Forest Park Profession: Councilman What experience will help you in office? My track record for relating to the citizens in Ward 2 makes me the perfect candidate for the job. Since being elected to office I have kept an open-door policy for the citizens in Ward 2. I am sensitive to our needs and have proven to go the extra mile to work on solutions where we have problems or fall short. The people trust my heart and know that I have their back. What issue got you into this race? I am running for re-election because my work is not finished. Originally I got involved because I saw a big problem with government customer service. The people in Forest Park Ward 2 were not being informed, law enforcement relations were poor and our community was being overlooked because the seat was empty. I wanted to help ... I believe in focusing on the solution instead of focusing on the problem. Which current television character do you identify most with? Howie Mandel (judge on “America's Got Talent”) I'm like Howie Mandel: Like him, I love ALL people and I am willing to give everyone a chance. Oftentimes we pass judgment on people that don't look alike or you don't know. I believe it is important not to judge a book by its cover and always be willing to help.  Email: Dabouze.antoine@gmail.com Phone number: 770-374-6458   Name: Carl S. Evans Age: 61 Residence: Bembry-Hamilton subdivision Profession: Pest control What experience will help you in office? I have attended council meetings on a regular basis for the past 15 years . I am heavily invovled in the city . I also have several years in management experience. I regularly attended URA and Development Authority meetings. This direct public experience has taught me to listen, hear and respect all citizens. I have the ability to carefully weigh the facts and make decision for the entire community. I understand what's necessary to find common ground and forge solutions together. I have the hands-on ability to generate options, prioritize values and be fiscally responsible with public monies. (edited for length) What issue got you into this race? No one specific issue. With four generations of my family living in the city I have a great love for the city and a desire for a better future by attracting new business and keeping the ones we have , providing safe and economic transportation to and from our city, and keeping our neighborhood's safe and clean. Which current television character do you identify most with? Agent Gibbs from the television show “NCIS.” Website: Carlevansforestparkward2@gmail.com Email: carlevansforestparkward2@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/carlevansforforestparkcitycouncilward2   Name: Marlene Larson Age: 64 Residence: Neighborhood Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? Having a background in law enforcement, education and volunteer public service, I have gained administrative, organizational and leadership skills. These qualities will enable me to understand and work positively with all types and ages of people in any situation. What issue got you into this race? A concern for others and a godly compassion to help improve the quality of life for the residents in Forest Park. Which current television character do you identify most with? None currently however, Dale Evans who starred in “The Roy Rogers Show” is to be admired. She was outspoken in her Christian faith, stood up for the less fortunate and treated everyone with kindness. She was a courageous woman. Email: rmlarson88@yahoo.com Phone number: 404-483-9247   Jonesboro   City Council (Vote for Three) Name: Arlene Ruffin Charles Age: 69 Residence: 127 Arnold Place Profession: Professional caregiver What experience will help you in office? My international travel, serving on the Jonesboro Historic Preservation Commission, Downtown Development Authority, volunteering at our local park events. What issue got you into this race? The rebranding of Jonesboro ( Blue Print Jonesboro). Which current television character do you identify most with? None Email: charlesarlene558@yahoo.com Phone number: 678-829-3333 Twitter: Mardi70 Facebook: Arlene Charles   Name: Bobby Lester   Name: Lee Moore Age: 69 Residence: Jonesboro Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? I served on the Clayton County School Board and I have had two successful businesses What issue got you into this race? Concern got community Which current television character do you identify most with? Sports anaylst Email: rleemoore@att.net Phone number: 404-314-3935   Name: Billy Powell (i)   Name: Patricia G. Sebo (i) Age: 64 Residence: City of Jonesboro Profession: Administrative assistant, Clayton County Public Schools What experience will help you in office? I have served on the Jonesboro City Council for eight years and am running for a third term. I am currently the mayor pro tem as well. My years of experience and the many projects that I have worked on for the citizens of Jonesboro, I feel, give me an edge over other candidates. I serve at the pleasure of the people and look forward to another term should I be so fortunate. What issue got you into this race? It is my desire to see many of the projects that I have been working on come to fruition. With our newly created DDA and Main Street Program there is much to do and I want to be a part of the progress and continue to make a difference in Jonesboro. Which current television character do you identify most with? I do not watch enough TV to identify with any character. Email: patriciasebo@comcast.net Phone number: 770-471-8386   Special Election Nonbinding Advisory Referendum 'Should the governing authority of the City of Jonesboro seek to lower the homestead exemption from all City of Jonesboro ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes over a period of five years to the amount of $10,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that city?'   Morrow   City Council Name: Dorothy Dean Age: 66 Residence: Morrow Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? Previous business owner. Seven years experience actively involved with the community; creating Neighbors Helping Neighbors and co-creator of the Morrow Neighborhood Watch program, CERT certified and a member of Morrow Urban Redevelopment Authority to name a few. What issue got you into this race? Having lived in Morrow for 17 years, I wanted to contribute to the continued growth and lifestyle that Morrow has to offer. Which current television character do you identify most with? The latter version of Miss Jane Marple. Our shared love of gardening as well as her analytical approach to resolving life issues. Facebook: www.facebook.com/DorothyDeanforMorrow   Name: Junior S. Jackson   Riverdale   Council Member Ward 1 Name: Tammie T. Hardy Age: 44 Residence: Kingsland Pointe Profession: Financial analyst/auditor What experience will help you in office? My experience with government policy and  procedure as well as my experience with multimillion-dollar budgets. What issue got you into this race? I am disappointed by the lack of professionalism displayed by the current councilwoman and the frivolous ways she has misused and abused taxpayer dollars. There is also a negative connotation associated with her which has a negative impact on the city and is unfair to the citizens of Riverdale. Which current television character do you identify most with? Olivia Pope (”Scandal”) Email: tammiehardyward1@yahoo.com   Name: C. Stamps-Jones (i)   Council Member Ward 3 Name: Wanda Wallace (i)
  • Learn about the candidates for Atlanta Board of Education. We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. See where candidates stand on important issues.  AJC Atlanta Voter Guide Board of Education Member District 7 At Large   Name: Patricia 'Granny P' Crayton (did not respond)   Name: Nathaniel Borrell Dyer Age: 47 Residence: Washington Park Profession: Creative director What experience will help you in office? I believe children should receive an equitable world-class education. For the last 12 years, I have been a staunch advocate for the children in Atlanta Public Schools (APS). My experience includes:  - Visiting the homes of parents to understand issues facing their children at school - Attending parent teacher meetings to address those concerns - Supporting qualified APS staff needs to the school board  - Meeting with superintendents to express community concerns  - Holding the system accountable while impacting policy What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? BIG BUSINESS needs are priority over our children’s needs. Billions in development are sprawling throughout Atlanta with little to no impact on the school system or its taxpayers. When Mayor Reed boasts that a Beltline is more popular than APS and Bethune Elementary is closed in the shadows of Arthur Blank’s billion dollar stadium, should we expect to have a world-class educational system? We need a balanced relationship that puts our children's educational needs first. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? With over half of a billion dollar budget, there should be no poor schools in Atlanta. Because resources have not been properly allocated throughout the district, it appears to be a community issue only. This problem has existed since the inception of APS. It’s going to take bold and daring leadership to solve this problem successfully. It will also require candid conversations and bold solutions centered around race and economics. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  The big difference between traditional public schools and charter schools is the population they serve. Traditional schools are open to serve all students while charters serve a concentrated population. This experiment by APS has no accountability measures to monitor success. Georgia voted the governor’s OSD down, however, superintendent Carstarphen is doing what the OSD promised to do. She has closed/merged schools and turned schools over to charter operators. This only destabilizes the system. Website: www.nathanielbdyer.com Email: district7@nathanielbdyer.com Twitter: Nathaniel Dyer @FierceSoul Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nathaniel.dyer.31   Name: Kandis Wood Jackson Age: 32 Residence: Midtown Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? I am a former APS teacher and a current corporate attorney. My experience in the classroom, as well as my experiences in the board room and courtroom, will help me on the School Board. I taught sixth grade in an almost all-black Title I school, where many of my students received free or reduced-price lunch. I now work at a large law firm in Midtown Atlanta. I will bring to the board: lessons I learned from teaching, my legal training, my business acumen, and my strong passion for education. In addition, I am a graduate of Duke University  ... (edited for length) What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Equity across the district. Although all students in this city deserve high-quality public education, there are wide disparities in the school system that, unfortunately, tend to trend along racial, geographic, and socioeconomic lines. That is unacceptable to me because we have a duty to provide excellence to every child, no matter their neighborhood. I will address this issue of equity by focusing on 5 Ls:  (1) Leadership: recruiting and retaining effective, excellence-driven, entrepreneurial leaders.  (2) Literacy: implementing strategies proven to increase literacy rates in reading and math.  (3) Learning: minimizing external barriers to a child's ability to learn.  (4) Life :...(edited for length) What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? This is critical, because there are zip codes in the APS with incredibly low “child scores,” according to recent data from the United Way of Greater Atlanta. The child score is a composite score of the key indicators that outline important aspects of a child’s ability to succeed. This is relevant to the School Board because we cannot consider education in a vacuum. It is much harder for students to learn when they’re hungry, neglected, or hurting. These educational hurdles are a reality and on the board, I will fight to address and find solutions to these problems. (edited for length) Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I support any initiative that is kids-focused, excellence-driven, strategically-planned, and results-oriented. I believe the turnaround plan, for the most part, is one such initiative. The reality is that the next board will need to continue the purpose of the turnaround plan -- that is, to provide additional critical support to our lowest performing schools. There is still much work to do in this regard, and we must operate with a sense of urgency and purpose because our kids can't wait.  At the same time, the board will need to address the many valid concerns raised with this plan (edited for length) Website: http://www.kandiswoodjackson.com/ Email: kandiswood@gmail.com Twitter: @Kandis4Atlanta Facebook: Kandis Wood Jackson   Name: Micah A. Rowland (did not respond)   Name: John Wright Age: 50 Residence: Grant Park Profession: Program director What experience will help you in office? John brings experience to this position, understands the role of school board members and knows what real governance looks like. John has a proven track record of putting the educational needs of our children first. John is an accomplished and seasoned administrator, whose success was founded by a quality education received from B.E. Mays High School, followed by a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He currently works for AECOM managing over $1.2B of E-SPLOST school construction projects for the DeKalb County School District. John is running for office because he’s dedicated to every child. (edited for length)] What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? John believes the number one job of the Atlanta Public School system is to make certain every family in Atlanta, wherever they live or how much money they have, is able to send their child or children to a high quality and safe school.  We need to close the gap in academic achievement that has already happened by kindergarten. Because if children aren’t reading by second grade, reading for comprehension by third or fourth grade, then it’s really difficult for them to do math, science, social studies, word problems, etc., (the ability to critically think) well in school. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? John believes that equity pertaining to the allocation of resources is one the bigger challenges that APS faces in the future.  John believes investment in early childhood development and wraparound services will help children learn during the most crucial period of brain development. We need to create success for children from birth to six weeks, from six weeks to two years, from two years to five years. We need to double-down our support on pre-K and birth-to-five programs and support those that are quality and not the ones that are just glorified day-care. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  John believes that charter schools are just another public school option parents have when it comes to choosing the right learning environment for their child. Charters by their design are learning laboratories for trying new innovative teaching and learning techniques while being held to the same high achievement standards as district schools. Innovative approaches that prove to be successful can be used at other schools as an alternative or new means of teaching.  As an engineer, I like to see the objective assessment of KPI’s (key performance indicators) so we can invest in proof-based practices. (edited for length) Website: www.johnwright4kids.com Twitter: @johnwright4kids Facebook: John WRIGHT for KIDS   Board of Education Member District 8 At Large   Name: Cynthia Briscoe Brown (i) Age: 56 Residence: Buckhead Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? I have 30 years of deep and broad experience as a volunteer, parent, and community leader at every level and throughout Atlanta Public Schools, including four years in Board of Education Seat 8 At Large, numerous PTA leadership positions, helping found 14 school-based foundations, creating school-business partnerships across APS, and co-president of NAPPS. I’ve proved my maturity, commitment to our kids, and knowledge of how we as educators can help children grow and thrive. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Multigenerational poverty, housing/food insecurity, and other factors mean many of our kids start out way behind their peers. I have and will continue to advocate for citywide 0-5-year-old early education so every child has a good start in school. More wraparound services, like the medical clinics, social emotional learning initiatives, and family engagement opportunities we are providing now also help move more kids farther and faster. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? I strongly support giving every child, every day, everything they need to be successful in school and in life. Since 2014 we have redirected tens of millions of dollars from central administration into local schools, and our budgeting decisions reflect a commitment to equity in every area. I will keep working to ensure we equitably distribute all resources, including money, talent (teaching and administration), programs, and partnerships. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  We have not authorized a single new charter school in four years. I support the APS Turnaround Strategy, which includes partnerships with nonprofits to benefit our most challenged traditional schools. While not perfect, the strategy gives us more human, financial, and emotional resources targeted to our students and schools which need them the most. At the end of its first year, the Turnaround Strategy is clearly yielding positive results. Website: cynthiabriscoebrown.com Email: cynthiabriscoebrown@gmail.com Twitter: @CynthiaBriscoeB Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaBriscoeBrown/   Name: Charlie Stadtlander Age: 37 Residence: Midtown/Buckhead (Grady Cluster) Profession: C.E.O., Stadtlander and Company, LLC; former teacher What experience will help you in office? Atlanta business owner and former metro-Atlanta public school teacher.  Taught third grade, as well as ninth and tenth grade English literature. Master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University; Doctorate in jurisprudence-health law and policy (Loyola New Orleans); Post-doctorate graduate degree in health law and policy (Loyola Chicago). Served as bullying awareness coordinator, faculty sponsor of H.O.P.E. (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education), and debate team coach. I have also: Testified as an expert before the Georgia General Assembly in support of anti-bullying legislation; Served on the Board of Directors of AID Atlanta, the largest HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization in the Southeast (edited for length) What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? APS has much room for improvement in the following problem areas: 1.Recruiting and hiring a superintendent wiling to stay for a long-term contract; 2.Reducing central office excess; 3.Increasing accessibility and transparency to the public; 4.Spending monies effectively and wisely; 5.Ensuring that all schools are safe and welcoming learning environments; 6.Changing a one-size-fits-all approach; 7.Recognizing that all students face unique challenges and that students and parents should be met where they are; 8.Address budgeting challenges through efficiency, accountability, and effectiveness, not on the backs of teachers and school employees; 9.Improve and rebuild the relationship between the Board and City (edited for length) What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? All students, parents, teachers, and schools have unique challenges. We will end our long-standing practice of a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we will seek input and guidance from stakeholders on the front lines to drive policies.  Pushing institutionalized directives from the central office will end. Instead, we will listen to what our teachers, students, and parents tell us that they need. The board will become responsive to these needs. Fiscal policies will be designed to set students up for success, not failure. Teachers will have our support. Parents will have confidence in the board and administration. (edited for length) Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  All students in charter and traditional schools are APS students. It is our moral obligation to ensure that all APS students deserve to be provided with a high quality education. The board has a mandated responsibility to ensure that the superintendent and/or other top administration officials are doing his/her jobs competently, fairly, and appropriately. The superintendent works for the Board of Education. The Board of Education works for the students, taxpayers, voters, and all other stakeholders. These roles are intricately linked and must operate smoothly for productivity to occur. Website: www.CharlieForEducation.com Email: Contact@CharlieForEducation.com Twitter: @crs213 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drcharliestadtlander/   Name: Ben Stone Age: 37 Residence: Morningside Profession: Environmental insurance underwriter What experience will help you in office? I feel a background in business is perfect for transitioning to public service. In the current economic environment you have to be nimble and resourceful to make it. I plan to aggressively tackle the challenges and give no execuses as giving the next generation the tools they will need is not something we can fail at. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Inefficiencies in fiscal responsibility is the number one issue. The district scored a 1.5 out of 5 in fiscal efficiency by the state, which is one of the worst scores in any district in the state. We have a lot of resources in the City of Atlanta and it is imperitive that they be used wisely. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? It's a tough challenge and there are no easy answers. The good news is that we as a district have considerable resources such that it is more about deploying them wisely. One thing that hasn't shown to be effective is turning the problem schools over to private charters. We as a district need to find the answers and manage these schools under local control. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I do not. The most recent scorecard shows half the charters performing slightly over the average of traditional schools and half below the average. We need to use our considerable resources to manage our own schools. Website:  Email: brs7377@gmail.com Twitter:  Facebook:    Board of Education Member District 9 At Large   Name: Jason Esteves (i) Age: 34 Residence: Bolton - upper west side Profession: Attorney What experience will help you in office? While my experience as an attorney and current board member will be important to my work in the next term, nothing is more influential in this work than my experience as a middle school social studies teacher. After college, I devoted myself to teaching at a school in a low-income neighborhood. I worked countless hours with students, teachers, and parents to ensure my students had the resources they needed to succeed. This experience gave me insights into the challenges our children face and the importance of public schools that help children overcome those challenges. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? APS still has a trust issue. Because of the cheating scandal, it has taken years to improve that trust, but that work is not complete. We still have to get our key stakeholders, including our parents, to trust in our decisions and hold us accountable. We also have to instill confidence with families that have not enrolled in APS for a variety of reasons.  I will address this issue by continuing to build a culture of transparency, engagement, and collaboration. There is a lot of work to be done to ensure parents and community members are fully engaged ... (edited for length) What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? To bring equity to Atlanta's poor neighborhoods, we have to address the root causes that have been exacerbated by poverty. I am committed to bringing universal early learning to APS, including 0-3 education to low-income communities in the city. I am also committed to providing universal summer learning programs to reduce the impacts of holidays and summer break on a child's education trajectory.  I will also work hard to improve our workforce to ensure we have a great leader in every school and an excellent teacher in every classroom. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I support the superintendent's plan to turnaround our lowest performing schools, which includes partnering with local organizations to operate a small number of schools. The first of those schools was Thomasville Heights Elementary, and in the first year of the partnership with Purpose Built Schools, we have seen significant improvements in school culture and test scores. In fact, we've seen improvements in test scores from 15 of 16 'turnaround schools' that received intensive supports.  The turnaround plan, while not perfect, is our best shot of improving our lowest performing schools. (edited for length) Website: www.jasonesteves.com Email: jason@jasonesteves.com Twitter: @jasonesteves Facebook: www.facebook.com/jasonforaps   Board of Education Member District 1   Name: Leslie Grant (i) Age: 51 Residence: Grant Park Profession: Mother and public servant What experience will help you in office? Over the last four years, having an opportunity to hear directly from constituents at my independently hosted Community Coffees (www.lesliegrantaboe1.com), has been a powerful investment that I plan to continue. Additionally, serving for almost four years on a board that has 1. Hired a new superintendent 2. Put a transformational plan into place to help some of our lowest performing schools, and 3. Identified some important structural weaknesses that need to be addressed, have all provided me exceptionally important experience for the next term.  What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Poverty, politics and governance are the biggest issue(s) facing APS. Poverty will not be solved by APS, but we are doing what we can to attract more and better resources for our families. And we MUST have more educationally-focused partners at the city and state level. The board needs to lead a major shift in governance so that our policy, processes, and procedures are more clear and effective. And we must require a customer service platform that is about transparent accountability so that simple issues are tracked and solved. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? A new governance process needs to be put in place by the next board, to ensure that each population at each school is receiving and properly utilizing their investments for student achievement. We must also work with the city to stop the constant displacement of families and keep our students connected to our schools for a healthier amount of time. More resourced families will be added to the mix of all communities, due to the unstoppable growth projected in Atlanta, and should bring with it more resources to 'poor' neighborhoods without displacing our families. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I more than support the Turnaround Plan. I advocated for, communicated directly and honestly with families, and defended the partnership proposals with Purpose Built Schools and Kindezi when they were under attack from the fear-mongering interests of 'politicians' and 'federations' who were afraid of losing their foothold of control over chronically impoverished communities. Students and families need more than political posturing and words. They need quality teachers, a supportive culture, advocates, and staunch defenders of THEIR right to a great public school education. Website: www.electlesliegrant17.com Email: electlesliegrant@gmail.com Twitter: @LeslieGrantBOE1 Facebook: LeslieGrantABOE1   Name: Ade Oguntoye Age: 40 Residence: Chosewood Park Profession: Social worker What experience will help you in office? For the past 16 years I have been providing direct service and developing programs that serve the students of APS. I have worked directly with students, teachers and administrators in dozens of APS schools. Additionally I have served on several boards including currently serving on a $5 million-plus federally qualified health center board. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? I think the biggest problem stems from our lack of using all of our community assets effectively. With all the resources we have available in the city, we should have a world-class public school system. I will build true collaboration with community partners and use best practices in all schools. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? As a school system we can provide some of the resources needed to transform economically distressed neighborhoods. Partnering with early childhood providers to have centers in all appropriate elementary schools, job readiness centers on school grounds as well as making sure we reach out to the community to inform them of employment and contract opportunities with APS are ways we can directly impact community both educationally and economically. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  We have to have accountability for all schools. Charter schools and other public schools are funded by our tax dollars so we should have both ownership and oversight of what is being done in all schools. Some charter schools are doing well while others need improvement so I wouldn't lump them all together. But we should have ownership of the programs so we can use the best practices in all our schools. Website: www.ade4education.com Email: ade4education@gmail.com Twitter: @ade4aps Facebook: @adeoguntoye4district1   Board of Education Member District 2   Name: Byron Amos (i) Age: 45 Residence: Vine City Profession: Aviation security What experience will help you in office? As a dedicated father, community leader, product of APS and a father of an APS student, I have a keener insight on what it is taking and will take to move the district forward. The decisions made over the last few years are now beginning to show positive results, we must continue the work. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The two most important challenges Atlanta Public School will face are the access to a more equitable education system and the need to improve the number of students reading at grade level. To provide an equitable education system to all, I will propose that we develop an Individual education plan (IEP) for every student. I would also continue to advocate for early childhood education. Early childhood education programs and a comprehensive strategy to address reading must be implemented. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? I would seek to adopt policies like other districts that seek to improve academic opportunities for all students and reduce achievement gaps between groups of students. This is done by proactively working to eradicate inequities that perpetuate negative stereotypes about groups of students, marginalized students or staff who seek to disrupt institutional bias, and restrict access to rigorous academic programs for certain groups of students based on race, special education placement, and other factors. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I support the development of a quality education system that provides access to an equitable education for all. This is something that I know APS can produce in house without turning over our schools to third party providers. Website: www.byronamos.com Email: amos4aps@gmail.com Twitter: @byronamos Facebook: Boardmember Byron Amos   Name: Tony Burks Age: 46 Residence: Washington Park Profession: Educational consultant and coach What experience will help you in office? I've worked in education across the country for 25 years. I've been a teacher, magnet director, college instructor, and school transformation coach. I've also been a principal, a principal mentor, and an area superintendent. I started teaching at 22 and became an elementary principal at 27. I am the founding principal of The Early College at Guilford, North Carolina’s first early college high school and one of the first of its kind in the world. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Equity is among our biggest problems; we operate in a tale of two school districts. I’d address equity as financial and educational matters. Board members are interpreters of the budget, the budgeting process, and expenditures. I’ll advocate for transparency and budget education. I’ll advocate for schools and the district budgets be posted in a user-friendly, interactive format on school and district websites. I’ll advocate for sustainable academic and social support for all students. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? If APS is truly about continual improvement, it’s important that the Board of Education removes barriers and roadblocks to create conditions for those at schools to do their best work with students. The district policies should enable the schools to provide supports that are flexible, timely, and responsive to the intensity, length, and manner of support each student needs to succeed. Academic and social support should be available to all students as a standard. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  My career as a leader and supervisor of leaders focused on school improvement. I am not in favor of turning over schools and washing our hands clean of continual improvement work. Data shows that APS needs change. Atlanta’s systemic challenge is implementation, programmatic fidelity, and leadership stability. We should be asking, “Is this the right change that will usher in continual improvement?” It’s important to examine the progress of the current APS School Turnaround Plan. Website: www.DrTonyBurks.com Email: DrTonyBurks@gmail.com Twitter: @DrTonyBurks Facebook: www.facebook.com/drtonyburks   Name: Keisha Carey Age: 46 Residence: Atlanta Historic Vine City community Profession: Wireless corporate business Sprint What experience will help you in office? As an elementary and high school graduate of APS and having served as a former substitute teacher, my experience which will help me in office is the knowledge that the role of a Board of Education member is to serve as an advocate for fair education rights, structure and policies while keeping in mind that casting a single critical decision vote among peers will impact students, parents, teachers, staff, community, city, state and the nation as a whole.  What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? There is a need to review charter versus public schools in the areas of low performance. I will work diligently in order to determine and provide solutions for learning so that students can maintain and achieve higher performance . What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Partnerships with organizations and business within the community and abroad to create programs of interest that will enable students to learn skills and trades most specifically for those that may not be college bound. For those who are college bound, work with these same groups to create more revenue to earn academic scholarships. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  No. There have been many discussions surrounding this subject. Although it appears that the push has become a reality, the current Board of Education has not focused on obtaining enough feedback nor listened to the needs and wants of the community including parents, teachers, students and classified employees which represent the entire APS system. Instead they have made drastic changes opposed to improvements which has created an environment of unevenness and uncertainty for the future. Website: www.keishacareyatlantaboard.com Email: keisha.carey@aol.com Twitter: @KeishaCareyBOE Facebook: www.facebook.com/KeishaCareyBOE   Board of Education Member District 3   Name: Adzua Agyapon  Age: 28  Residence: Kirkwood  Profession: Kindergarten Teacher  What experience will help you in office? As the only teacher, education advocate, or former elected official running, I am uniquely qualified to represent our district. I know first-hand how policies created in the boardroom impact our students in the classroom. This experience coupled with my past tenure as an elected leader in the city of New Haven, while a student at Yale, has prepared me to serve.  What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? One of APS’ biggest challenges is educational equity, specifically a lack of consistent high-quality instruction and uneven access to early learning programs across the district. I plan to address these issues by expanding crucial early learning programs, as well as recruiting, training, and retaining the best teachers.  What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? One way to bring equity to underserved communities is to make sure we are reaching kids from birth to age five. By age 3, children from low-income families have heard 30 million fewer words than children from more affluent families. Accordingly, one of my top priorities is to expand access to early learning opportunities and pre-K through collaboration with city council and the mayor’s office.  Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not? I support the turnaround plan because, so far, it appears to be working. The turnaround plan provides intensive support to our most struggling schools and students by leveraging the strengths and proven leadership of educators in our city and providing them with the wraparound supports needed to ensure equitable access to an excellent education.  Website: www.AdzuaforAPS.com  Email: adzua@adzuaforaps.com  Phone number: (404)919-1879  Twitter: @AdzuaforAPS  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdzuaforAPS/ Name: Lewis Cartee Age: 48 Residence: East Atlanta Profession: Territory sales manager What experience will help you in office? From leading both a community association and school governance team to representing NPU and the educational cluster, I bring a balanced approach to leadership that makes me uniquely able to view issues from multiple perspectives in order to provide a solution that is best for all students and communities. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Equity: This is not only the single biggest issues facing public education, but the number one issue facing our city. By working to create equity in our schools, we will also, concurrently, do the same for our city. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Early childhood education: Universal birth-pre k allows for proactive use of dollars for the greatest impact on achievement.  Local governance: Building a more productive voice within each school, teachers, principals, parents and community members can make specific changes impacting equity.  Partnerships: By electing public servants that truly believe in order to acquire the equity we all want, the diversity we all need and the city we all deserve we must first focus on our schools. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  Using nonprofit partners, bringing new, fresh and proven ideas, can allow the district to support the whole child both in and outside of the classroom. I support exploring any idea that pushes forward student outcomes, but only while including all children in the academic opportunities presented. Website: www.lewiscartee.com Email: lewiscarteeaps@gmail.com Twitter: @lewiscartee Facebook: lewiscarteeaboe3   Name: Michelle Olympiadis Age: 49 Residence: Morningside Profession: Real estate manger and coordiantor of afternoon Greek language program What experience will help you in office? An APS parent since 2007 with three children - (1) high school, (1) middle school and (1) elementary school, and with local, council and district levels of leadership in Parent Teacher Associations, service on local governance teams, state, district, and cluster advisory panels, I am positioned as the most engaged candidate. My work experience includes marketing positions with The Coca-Cola Company and Wachovia Bank, and service with the Consulate General of France in Atlanta. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The management of our budget. Until we fully understand where the money is, we will not have equity. We must continue to question where dollars are being budgeted so that we can move more dollars directly into our schoolhouses to support wraparound services and enrichment. We must create stability in our communities that have deficits by addressing the need for health and mental services and adequate affordable housing and food. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Wraparound services - Equity begins with stability. There are circumstances outside of the schoolhouse that impact children, families and communities. We need to understand the deficits facing communities and get them addressed. The solutions will vary but can be solved through reallocated budget dollars and partnerships to ensure that needs are being met such as adequate health care, mental health services, additional tutoring, additional enrichment, safe affordable housing, adequate food, and birth to preschool education. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?   Yes. It addresses students today in some of the lowest performing schools in the district. As we continue to look for strong leaders and at the budget to find dollars to go directly into schoolhouses, we must support our current population. The biggest controversy with the Turnaround Plan was the lack of direct involvement with the communities involved. That is an important takeaway that needs to be better implemented in the future. Website: https://michelleforboe.com Email: michelle.olympiadis@gmail.com Twitter: @MichelleforBOE Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleforBOE   Name: Antoine Trammell Age: 42 Residence: Druid Hills, Virgina-Highland Profession: Physician, educator, public health professional, and researcher What experience will help you in office? I have experience helping people solve real-world situations through evidence-based approaches and policy advocacy. I have firsthand knowledge of the effects of limited education and the importance of effective policy to improve them. Public health training and research experience equip with skills to interpret and design studies necessary to answer critical questions and obtain data upon which policy is based. I am also experienced evaluating policy impacts and engaging policymakers for change.  What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The diminished value of public education. Education outcomes of our school system are inconsistent with the financial investment as the APS budget exceeds the budget for Atlanta. Budget review to eliminate non-essential spending while improving educational delivery can restore the financial and educational balance. System efficiency can be improved by evaluating the effectiveness of current programs. Business community partnerships can be explored as additional sources of education funding.  What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Property taxes and local resources alone may be inadequate to overcome challenges to educational delivery. First, draw on the experience of people in the communities. Engage and work with them to determine specific barriers and possible solutions to achieving educational equity. Next, investigate business partnerships to equalize educational opportunity with program and service funding. Education investment supports the well-being of Atlanta with the return of a productive future workforce, leadership pool, and social equity. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I do not support the privatization of public education. Governance structure in the charter system contract is the local governance council, superintendent, and school board except for the charter schools specified in the agreement. Communities best know their needs including education demands and what is required to meet them. Local empowerment over local education should remain. Awareness of needs and capacity to meet needs differ, but assistance fulfilling needs can occur without turn over. Website: www.antoineforatlanta.com Email: contact@antoineforatlanta.com Twitter: @antoine4atlanta Facebook: www.facebook.com/antoineforatlanta   Name: Rashida Winfrey (did not respond)   Board of Education Member District 4   Name: Nancy Meister (i) (did not respond)   Board of Education Member District 5   Name: D'Jaris 'DJ' James Age: 29 Residence: Cascade Commons Profession: HR talent acquisition What experience will help you in office? I feel my experience in talent acquisition will allow me to give a better insight on career planning and development with our youth. Receiving a bachelors degree in psychology gives me a clear understanding of how to interpret data and make recommendations that will produce results. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Budget and the inability to increase both graduation CCRPI rates. Both go hand in and I would have experts come address the faculty and staff to explain the data including sample error. Target students that have been identified as “low hanging fruit” and implement additional class sessions even if it means I help with the facilitation. Ask principals to consider subgroups that will focus on drills or partner stars and developing students together. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Identifying the needs of the children as early as possible so that additional services can be provided for them. Along with investing in the community through other avenues outside of education such as partnering with the community and fostering growth. Making sure low-income areas are aware of opportunities that will lead to better outcomes. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  No, however but I do believe a collaboration is needed so best practices can be discussed and properly implemented. I feel as a board when turning schools over to charter operators it would leave the stigma of either the board or the schools’ leadership is ineffective. Website: votedjaris.com Email: votedjaris@gmail.com Facebook: D'Jaris 'DJ' James (https://www.facebook.com/djaris4district5   Name: Raynard Johnson (did not respond)   Name: Jatisha Marsh Age: 37 Residence: Mays Profession: Human resources manager What experience will help you in office? I worked for Atlanta Public Schools as a teacher, homeless tutor, after-school program director, virtual academy teacher, and human resources analyst. I have a master’s of public policy from the Andrew Young School at Georgia State University; I completed my graduate internship in the APS Office of Policy and Governance. I had the opportunity to shape policy in my role in human resources and as a graduate intern. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Students must feel safe before learning can take place. The school must be a welcoming environment for students, parents, staff, and community. The board is charged with hiring and evaluating a superintendent and approving a budget. The superintendent must be ultimately accountable for the climate in our schools through the annual evaluation process. I will support budgetary outlays that are proven to improve school climate and safety. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? APS has commissioned equity studies in the past; another has been proposed. APS has to engage parents, community members, teachers, and leaders for their feedback. Stakeholders must have a shared definition of equity. We know some of the significant areas for inequity. Actual implementation and regular monitoring of recommendations must take place. The district must hold itself accountable for taking action. As a board member, I will make decisions through the lens of equity. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  Many APS charter schools have a long waiting list because parents are not pleased with the climate in their neighborhood school. Going forward, it is the job of the district to provide a world-class education to the students. APS should elevate, find, and hire staff that can increase student achievement. The district should engage parents to find out what they find attractive about individual charter schools and what can be replicated in traditional schools.  Website: www.marshforstudents.com Email: jatisha@marshforstudents.com Twitter: marsh4students Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marshforstudents/   Name: Erika Yvette Mitchell (did not respond)   Name: Bobby K. Montgomery Age: 41 Residence: Northwest Atlanta Profession: Entrepreneur/media partner What experience will help you in office? I have experience in the classroom as a teacher for grades K-12 and special education. I was also certified in early education per the GACE standards for the State of Georgia. This firsthand front lines experience intimately qualifies me to speak on behalf of the needs of the teachers, administrators, and most importantly the children. I have seen with my own eyes the problems that are plaguing our classrooms and destroying the morale of our teachers that give everything to a system that is constantly taking away from them. This cycle must be addressed and has to change. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Many times teachers and administrators are called on to be 'super heroes' for the children. While many go above and beyond, it takes a village to raise thriving healthy children. One major problem that I will address is to begin welcoming the local community and parents into the plans for APS and local schools. I will create events and more opportunities for the community to be a part of the children's educational journey and have an idea of APS budget plans for the district. The community must have a vested interest in the local education of its youth. (edited for length) What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? It starts in taking care of the little things. We need to get feedback from the teachers and the children on the things that can be done right away to change the environment or the culture at these schools. We must get the local business support and even the corporate support of companies that benefit off these communities. This will help offset the lack of resources available from the residents. There are many concerned business leaders that understand the importance of having all of Atlanta's young future being the best and the brightest. (edited for length) Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I support what works and what is most effective. In some instances, charter schools provide a viable option to help get the children and struggling schools to a more equitable position. This has only become a popular option due to the lack of leadership transparency, integrity, and faith that APS has the children's best interest in mind. In other examples, a charter school would not make sense. Especially if the results are not dramatically creating a better opportunity and environment for the children. We have to do right by the children ... (edited for length) Website: www.BobbyMontgomery.com Email: BobbyKMontgomery@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheBobbyKMontgomery   Name: Jackye Rhodes Age: 70 Residence: Chalet/Peyton Woods community Profession: Retired educator/ Realtor What experience will help you in office? Both of my children were educated in and graduated from APS schools. During the time when my children attended APS schools, I served as treasurer of Garden Hills PTA and other support committees for their schools. I am the only candidate with 38 years of experience teaching APS students. I have experienced firsthand the impact of board policies on the abilities of both teachers and administrators to provide a quality education for our kids. I served as member of a visiting team for SACS with the responsibility of making recommendation about how those schools could improve their academic programs. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The biggest problem is that 66 percent of our student cannot read by the end of the third grade! Given that this skill is a central component in our overall educational program, when a student finishes the third grade without being able to read, that student is condemned to largely remedial work for the remainder of his/her stay in high school. We can solve this problem by assigning reading specialists at underperforming schools. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Work with Go Teams to establish appropriate goals for the schools and then provide whatever wraparound resources are necessary, within reason, to achieve those goals. For example, schools in poor neighborhoods might be provided with the financial incentives they need to keep their better teachers and to attract other caring and competent teachers to work at their schools. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  No! Schools should be the center of our communities. Parents and other community leaders should be equipped with the skills they need to guide and monitor the operations of their schools. Website: www.electjackyerhodes.com Email: jcrhodes2002@yahoo.com Facebook: electjackyerhodes   Board of Education Member District 6   Name: Eshe' Collins (i) Age: 37 Residence: Princeton Lakes Profession: Program and community director What experience will help you in office? As your current District 6 representative, I am an Atlanta native, attorney and former educator in Atlanta Public Schools. My experience is the combination of my classroom, policy and legal work. Currently, I serve as the program and community director for Jumpstart, a national, early education nonprofit. I earned a B.A. in psychology from Spelman College, M.S. in urban teacher leadership from Georgia State University and J.D., cum laude, from North Carolina Central University School of Law. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Equity is the major issue facing Atlanta Public Schools. If decisions are not made from an equitable lens, we will continue to marginalize children with the greatest needs. The investment of more direct resources on the school level, recruitment and retention of great educators, a more student-based budget, heightened transparency and engagement are avenues to address this issue. Allyship is pivotal to addressing equity, and the restoration of community trust is imperative to overcome inequities. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Poverty and inequity is a harsh reality for Atlanta Public Schools. Our academic programming must incorporate a wholistic approach, such as the inclusion of early education and literacy, wraparound services, social emotional learning and stronger family engagement. We must strengthen our partnership with other entities to support our children after school hours. Lastly, we must align funding and budgets to support this direction. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I believe the Turnaround Plan is a solid, comprehensive start to helping some of APS’s most struggling schools. The plan encompasses a variety of interventions such as intensive student support, talent development, and partnerships with other education organizations, such as charter school operators. These partnerships are not relinquishments, but collective efforts to help support our schools. While everyone does not agree on every strategy of this plan, it provides strong opportunities to improve student achievement. Website: www.collinsforkids.com Email: eshe.collins@gmail.com Twitter: @collinsforkids Facebook: Eshe Collins for APS   Name: Patreece Hutcherson Age: 40 Residence: Brentwood community Profession: School counselor What experience will help you in office? I am a concerned parent that wants to stop school closings. I have also been in education for 15 years. I know what it is to be a working parent with limited time that needs support from city leaders. I didn't get that support from the current school board. That is why I am running to change the way people are treated. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? The school closings are the biggest issue. It was given a name to make it seem like it was helpful by saying school turnaround. That is how the current board operates. They mask and cover up things in order to confuse people. Then we end up with empty buildings in our community. That has to stop. I will be more transparent in order to listen to the voice of the people. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Going out to the community and sharing information where they are. The same way people campaign to get in office, should be the same way they share information once they are elected. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  Absolutely not! My son was in the APS system when the school turn around started. His teachers started fleeing because they were in fear of losing their jobs. My son thought he was a failure because his school was called low performing. It was and still is awful and must change. Website: electpatreece.com Email: patreeceprideaps@gmail.com Facebook: electpatreece   Name: Donta A. McMichael Age: 28 Residence: Hidden Creste Apartments Profession: Youth mental health assistant (Peachford Hospital) and after-school teacher (T.H. Slater Elementary) What experience will help you in office? I've worked as Co-chair of policy council for Easter Seals of North Georgia, teacher and gym Instructor for The Boys & Girls Club, counselor for Youth Villages, after-school teacher for Charles R. Drew Charter, APEC Learning Center, and T.H. Slater Elementary. I also started a collegiate organization that focused on community engagement, which was recognized as Georgia Southern University's 'Best New Student Organization' in Spring 2012. Currently, I’m a Lead Youth Mental Health Assistant. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? APS needs to create solutions that address the deficits in literacy and math in our primary and secondary schools, as well as the graduation rates within our high schools. This can be made possible by enhancing strategic leadership at the school, local, state and federal levels. Engaging and partnering with parents, cultivating relationships with both students and teachers, and creating school communication plans are just a few things I plan on incorporating when in office. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? Some of the changes that I wish to implement once elected include; finding the resources necessary to provide underfunded schools with technological equipment, and furnishings to support state-of-the-art teaching and learning. Promote academic and workforce development programs that prepare students for high-demand jobs to assist with breaking the cycle of poverty within our communities. I also plan to find the proper resources to gain high-quality infrastructure within our schools that’ll profoundly help shape student outcome. Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I do not support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators. Carstarphen’s turnaround strategy will fail or, at best, yield short-term results. As seen with Gov. Deal’s proposed OSD plan, a majority of voters aren’t too fond of the idea of our schools being taken over by outside entities, especially charter schools that are known for profiting and privatizing our schools instead of prioritizing our students. This plan is simply too risky! Website: www.dontamcmichael.com Email: votedontamcmichael@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UniversalNoiseCEO   Name: Valrie Walker Sanders Age: 68 Residence: Cascade/Adams Park Profession: Census field officer What experience will help you in office? My legal training, as well as my training in the master's program at Georgia State, working with English language learners and struggling readers, has helped me to understand the needs of many students. I engaged students as a substitute teacher for Atlanta Public Schools; utilized strategies to help struggling students in an after-school program; and successfully tutored under-performing students in Fulton County Schools, for the CRCT. Additionally, I have volunteered for several years with community groups such as SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. and connected immigrant communities with the wider population. What is the biggest problem facing Atlanta schools and how will you address it? Currently, two-thirds of Georgia’s third-graders are unable to read at grade levels. This lack of literacy will impact a student's ability to learn content. Failure to read may also lead to discipline problems, dropping out of high school, unemployment, and trouble with the legal system. I would advocate for healthy food for brain development; mandatory physical activity; and a diversified curriculum to include music and the arts. This will give students the motivation to learn the mundane skills needed for the standardized tests in the fundamentals. What changes would you propose to bring equity to Atlanta schools in poor neighborhoods? First, it is imperative that these schools have fair and adequate funding, and that the teachers have the requisite skills and knowledge. Students can learn in any environment if they feel valued, safe and have pride in their neighborhoods. Because of the ethnically diverse communities in Atlanta, students are able to learn from each other, especially when this diversity is also reflected in the curriculum. This has the potential to prepare students to compete and live in a global setting wherever they choose to live as adults.  Do you support the superintendent's push to turn schools over to charter operators? Why or why not?  I am opposed to the 'turnover' policy because there is no evidence that charter schools have outperformed properly funded public schools with skilled teaching staff. Innovation is impressive, but not at the expense of students learning the fundamentals. Additionally, I am also concerned about the possibility of public funds being used without adequate accountability. I know that some charter schools have been unsuccessful and have had to close; however, there little discussion about the funds expended.  Website: www.valriews.wixsite.com/voteforvalrie Email: valriews@gmail.com
  • Learn about candidate for Atlanta City Council President. We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. AJC Atlanta Voter Guide Name: C. T. Martin Age: 80 Residence: Southwest Atlanta Profession: Retired social worker/city councilman District 10 What experience will help you in office? My experience as city councilman for the last 20-plus years will help me in office. Known as the Dean of Council, I earned this respect from my colleagues due to my ability to impact legislation. What issue got you into this race? The increased need for government transparency motivated me to seek the office of Atlanta City Council President Which current television character do you identify most with? Richard Webber - “Grey's Anatomy” Website: www.ctforatlanta.com Email: ctmartinforatl@gmail.com Twitter: @CTMartinforPres Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImWithCT/   Name: Felicia Moore Age: 56 Residence: Collier Heights, northwest Atlanta Profession: Real estate broker What experience will help you in office? As our next city council president I will draw on a combination of my time as a neighborhood association president, an NPU representative, and my 19 years on Council ferociously defending and protecting northwest Atlanta families. I'm ready to get to work to protect and serve ALL Atlanta families. I'm proud to be endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, PACE, and many others. What issue got you into this race? My proven record as a reformer and a common-sense independent voice dedicated to making our neighborhoods safer, to fight against gentrification, and to fight for more affordable housing and expanding public transit. I didn't see those things being done outside of my district, so I wanted to tackle them all head-on for all of Atlanta. Which current television character do you identify most with? Growing up I identified with Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, from “Star Trek,” played by Michelle Nichols who represented the first mainstream African-American lead on a prime time American television series. Website: www.VoteFeliciaMoore.com Email: info@votefeliciamoore.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/FeliciaAMoore Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MooreForAtlanta   Name: Alex Wan Age: 50 Residence: Morningside-Lenox Park Profession: Director of development What experience will help you in office? My education (Georgia Tech/Wharton/Harvard) and professional experience in the private (former small business owner), public (City Council), nonprofit (Jerusalem House), and higher education (Emory University) sectors uniquely enable me to bring a practical, metrics-driven perspective to city government. My collaborative, consensus-building temperament I have utilized on City Council (versus being divisive and combative, or letting politics-as-usual lead the day) is precisely what we need to change the tenor of how we conduct the city’s business. What issue got you into this race? The issue that most compelled me to run is Atlanta’s growing economic and quality of life disparities, highlighted in a recent Brookings Institute study naming Atlanta as the worst major city regarding economic mobility and income inequality. Consequent social justice challenges manifest in numerous ways, including economic opportunity, housing affordability, employment, education, public safety, community development, access to food, and other factors. Allowing this to worsen could create dangerous social instability in our city. Which current television character do you identify most with? Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory.” He’s a big nerd with a love for science and science fiction. And while he at times may be socially awkward, he has a big heart and cares deeply about his friends and family. I care deeply about Atlanta. Website: www.AlexWanforAtlanta.com Email: Alex@AlexWanforAtlanta.com Twitter: AlexWanforATL Facebook: AlexWanforATL
  • A Georgia lawmaker now says she does not support quarantining HIV patients after she seemed to ask if it was legal to do so during a House study committee meeting last week. >> Read more trending news “I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients,” Georgia state Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) wrote in a statement. Price, the wife of former Health and Human Services Secretary and Georgia Congressman Tom Price, was at a meeting of a House study committee last week when she asked a state health official about HIV patients.“What are we legally able to do?” Price asked during the meeting. “I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it. Is there an ability since, I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxes and treatment of this condition. So we have a public interest in curtailing the spread. What would you advise? Or are there any methods, you know, that we could do that would curtail the spread?” >> Previous story: Georgia Rep. Betty Price suggests ‘quarantine’ for HIV patients Price said in the statement that her comments were “provocative and rhetorical” and “part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context.” “I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge,” she said. Metro Atlanta’s LGBTQ community was quick to condemn the original statements.“The comments from Rep. Price were incredibly disturbing,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of LGBT organization Georgia Equality. “In this day and age, to be even mentioning quarantine around people living with HIV, there just really is no excuse for it. I was heartened to see that she made some recognition of this with the statement that she made over the weekend. I think that is a good start, but clearly, we need to go further than that.”
  • We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman.  Atlanta (see Fulton County Voter Guide)   Avondale Estates   City Commissioner (Vote for Two) Name: Joe Anziano Age: 77 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Real Estate sales and management What experience will help you in office? I'm an active member of the Avondale Planning and Zoning Board so I know the rules of the road for zoning; I'm a director of the Avondale Community Club so am socially active with our citizens, I'm an active Citizens Patrol driver giving me a full understanding of our streetscape. Plus I've attended and participated in almost every meeting and planning session of the Board of Mayor and Commissioners and Downtown Development Authority for the past five years. I know what's happening. What issue got you into this race? Avondale is on the verge of creating a wonderful and walkable downtown area to add to the already wonderful residential areas; I want to be a part of keeping our vision on point with smart planning and development, and helping make good things happen in Avondale. Which current television character do you identify most with? Local news Website: AnzianoRealEstate.com Email: JoeAnziano@Gmail.com Facebook: Joe Anziano   Name: Paul Brown Age: 65 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Architect What experience will help you in office? Brown Architects LLC: Architect/owner since 1987 Avondale Elementary School Education Foundation; Founding chair - achieved 501c3 accreditation 2016.  City of Avondale Estates Board of Appeals; member since 2013.  City of Avondale Estates Ad Hoc Educational Committee; community volunteer Generation Avondale; Member What issue got you into this race? I have actively participated the last eight years in the BOMC and AE city government attending meetings and providing a reasonable voice for education, stormwater retention, and improving Sam’s Crossing Bridge for the community.  Make practical policies to create a more open public realm; to expand high-quality affordable housing options and make long-term investments in children and families, specifically in education, health and economic well-being. Which current television character do you identify most with? Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) in “Blue Bloods.” Website: Paul Brown For Commissioner (Facebook) Email: pbrown30309@yahoo.com Facebook: Paul Brown   Name: Ben Dostal Age: 36 Residence: Melford Place Profession: Program manager What experience will help you in office? In my professional life I have worked with cities and neighborhoods to build consensus and create mutually beneficial events and programs. I would like to bring these skills to public service. What issue got you into this race? I was motivated to run after my neighborhood lobbied the Board of Mayor and Commissioners to change a zoning regulation that would have greatly impacted us. Which current television character do you identify most with? Leonard Hofstadter (”The Big Bang Theory”) Though I'm not lactose intolerant I am a bit of a nerd.  . Name: Wilmer Engle Age: 28 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Student at GSU, B.B.A. in Accounting (2017) What experience will help you in office? I served in the military for six years as an intelligence analyst and have been studying business and accounting for the last few years. What issue got you into this race? Slow business and recent crimes that have happened. Which current television character do you identify most with? Ben Wyatt from “Parks and Recreation” Facebook: Facebook.com/Wilmerforavondale   Name: Terry Giager (i)   Name: Candace A. Jones Age: 64 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Retired public health manager and nutritionist What experience will help you in office? Since 2014, I have been a very active city resident. Attending and participating in most city meetings, work sessions, and public hearings. I am knowledgeable of the issues, plans, codes, documents, processes, responsibilities, and time commitments required to be an effective commissioner.  Professionally, I have over 30 years of public health management experience at the state, district and county levels. Responsibilities included: - Planning and implementing programs, budgets, policies and procedures, plans, contracts, and grants - Managing personnel and completing local agency performance audits -Collecting, analyzing and evaluating data -Evaluating the impact of proposed legislation. What issue got you into this race? Our city is at an important point in its evolution. I want to serve our city as we act and plan for the next several years as well as its next century. I want to ensure that our city retains its high quality of life for current and future individuals, families, and businesses as we progress forward. We must continue to balance the needs of our current residents and residential areas, which are the core of our city, against the needs of future residents and businesses in our downtown areas. Which current television character do you identify most with? Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan of the “Bones” television series. Website: JonesforAvondale.com Email: jonescandace2@comcast.net   Name: Lionel Laratte Age: 51 Residence: Avondale Estates Profession: Consultant What experience will help you in office? I have helped over 60 companies successfully manage and take advantage of their evolution. A large part of that is working with various interests to develop and implement a common vision. I think there are a lot of parallels with being a commissioner. What issue got you into this race? It wasn't one specific issue but my primary interest is our downtown and its development. I believe we are on the verge of realizing its potential as a unique and engaging center. I want to bring my experience and love of the city to the table and help move that along. Which current television character do you identify most with? I like characters who are very cerebral and at some disadvantage. For example, I watched the series “Goliath” and thought Billy Bob Thornton's character was great. He was flawed and not taken seriously. But he was intelligent and he worked hard to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do. Website: https://www.facebook.com/lionelforcommissioner Email: lionellaratte+vote@gmail.com Twitter: @llaratte Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lionelforcommissioner   Name: Elise 'Lisa' Shortell Age: 56 Residence: Historic district Profession: Former teacher and tutor What experience will help you in office? I have been actively attending Board of Mayor and Commissioner meetings, work sessions, and other city meetings such as Downtown Development Authority and Planning and Zoning meetings for years. My involvement has included participation in planning document updates and workshops. I, along with a small group of fellow residents, started a citizen interest group called Second Century Avondale which has now been advocating for a high quality, walkable, and unique downtown for three years. What issue got you into this race? Avondale Estates is at an exciting and pivotal juncture. Downtown development is coming and the community has an incredible opportunity to create something special that will benefit generations to come. Of course, there are great challenges and these need be met with planning and strategy. These include growing Avondale's unique identity and character, funding, and establishing a physical framework that incorporates all aspects of public space (streets, sidewalks, stormwater infrastructure, bike connections, and open space). Which current television character do you identify most with? None. I don't watch much television. Email: LisaforAvondale@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/LisaforAvondale   Brookhaven   Council Member District 2 Name: H.J. 'John' Park (i) Age: 43 Residence: Ashford Park Profession: Technical architect What experience will help you in office? First, the last three years of experience as a city councilman. I also spent many years in consulting where we analyzed businesses’ processes and assisted our clients in change management and process improvement. Decision making was key. My experience in troubleshooting as an IT performance engineer brings analytical skills to government. What issue got you into this race? Balancing growth and maintaining the natural beauty of our neighborhoods. Which current television character do you identify most with? Ron Swanson. You'd never expect someone like him in government. Website: votejohnpark.com Email: john@park.net Twitter: @votejohnpark Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Friends-and-Neighbors-for-John-Park-1531451017066776/   Council Member District 4 Name: Dale Boone Age: 51 Residence: Cross Keys Profession: CEO of World League Of Competitive Eating What experience will help you in office? Working with world known international company will help dealing with the International corridor of Buford Highway. With its cultural and economic diversity, that needs to be preserved. Studied abroad in India and I am multilingual.  What issue got you into this race? The lack of leadership, accessibility and neglect from our elected official in District 4. Crime rate in district 4 has to be brought under control. Traffic congestion needs a solution ASAP. District 4 needs new Leadership. Which current television character do you identify most with? Jorge - “90 day Fiance” Website: www.daleboone.com Email: wloce@msn.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/proeaterdaleboone   Name: Joe Gebbia (i) Age: 66 Residence: Pine Hills Profession: President / owner - Health Matters What experience will help you in office? For the last five years I have served as a founding councilman for Brookhaven and I am very proud of the work I have done to help birth this new city. Being a team player I have been effective in developing strong partnerships with many individuals and agencies on the local, regional, state and federal level. This will be of immense value as the city enters an explosive growth period over the next four years. What issue got you into this race? During the next four years the Buford Highway corridor will be the city's focal point for development and redevelopment. One key project includes the completion of our new $36 Million Peachtree Creek Greenway park that will connect to the Belt Line. In addition, District 4 will be 'ground zero' for $2 to $3 billion in new office, commercial, retail and residential developments. I am seeking re-election to continue guiding these efforts. Which current television character do you identify most with? I make a real effort not watch TV. The news is skewed and depressing, and evening shows filled with excessive violence and sex. I have no problem finding other things to do.  But talk movies - I would answer Indiana Jones: a man confronting multiple obstacles but still gets it done. Website: joegebbiaworks.com Email: electjoegebbia@gmail.com Facebook: facebook.com/Joe.Gebbia.98   Chamblee   Mayor Name: R. Eric Clarkson (i)   Name: Van Pappas Age: 47 Residence: Huntley Hills Profession: Certified financial planner What experience will help you in office? Founder of the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce, serve on the Downtown Development Authority, decades of financial planning experience What issue got you into this race? The need to bring a financial planning approach to our city leadership Which current television character do you identify most with? Tom Selleck - “Blue Bloods.” Family oriented, transparent, follow the law kind of guy Website: www.VanForMayor.com Email: vanpappas@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/VanForMayor   City Council At Large Name: Brian K. Mock (i)   City Council District 1 Name: John Mesa (i)   Clarkston   Mayor Name: Beverly H. Burks Age: 49 Residence: McLaran Profession: Director What experience will help you in office? Twenty years of community engagement, five years as Certified PMP, eight years of policy experience, 1.6 years on city council What issue got you into this race? I want to continue the progressive agenda I started on city council and make sure Clarkson has strong leadership to move us forward. Which current television character do you identify most with? “Game of Thrones’ “ Daenerys Targaryen. She is a strong woman and many people underestimated her power and strength. Website: www.beverlyhburks.org Email: beverly@beverlyhburks.org Facebook: @beverlyhburks   Name: Edward 'Ted' Terry (I) Age: 34 Residence: Casa Woods neighborhood  Profession: Executive director What experience will help you in office? I bring over 17 years of community organizing, nonprofit management and public service to this office. I have served as mayor of Clarkston for the last 3.5 years. I am a public servant at heart. My purpose in life is to contribute to a larger movement seeking an inclusive, just and equitable society for all. What issue got you into this race? We have made great progress in Clarkston over the last four years. But we have much more work to do. We need to make Clarkston one of the safest cities in Georgia. We need a cleaner city, improved roads, programs for our youth and seniors. We want more restaurants, walkable paths, and a sense of community. Together we can create a Clarkston we will all be proud to call home. Which current television character do you identify most with? Iron Fist Website: tedformayor.com Email: ted.terry@gmail.com Twitter: @tedterry1 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mayortedterry/   City Council Member (Vote for Three) Name: Yterenickia 'YT' Bell Age: 28 Residence: The Reserve at Twin Oaks Profession: Mental health professional What experience will help you in office? My extensive policy, legislative advocacy, and teamwork capabilities will help me in office. What issue got you into this race? I'm very passionate about people and improving their quality of life. As a result, I am eager to serve my neighbors and work towards creating more progressive solutions to Clarkston's challenges. The issues that I am running on in this race are safety, sense of community, economic development, and affordable housing. I will work with elected officials, city staff, and Clarkston residents to continue the redevelopment of downtown Clarkston, cultivate affordable housing options, adopt responsible budgets, and promote economic development through partnerships and business improvement/enterprise zones. Which current television character do you identify most with? The current character that I identify with is Randall from the TV show “This is Us.” I identify with Randall, because of the impact that a few, recent events have had on my career and life path. Website: www.Bellforclarkston.com Email: Bellforclarkston@gmail.com Twitter: Bell4Clarkston Facebook: BellforClarkston   Name: Christopher Busing   Name: Jamie Carroll (i) Age: 33 Residence: Jolly Avenue Profession: Commercial litigation attorney What experience will help you in office? I learned a lot about the legislative process by drafting and sponsoring the first Tiny House community ordinance in Georgia. While drafting the Tiny House ordinance, I got feedback from experts and other stakeholders in the community, and worked with other Clarkston council members and the mayor to refine the ordinance so that ultimately we were able to successfully pass the Tiny House Ordinance, which will create affordable housing options for Clarkston residents. What issue got you into this race? We need more housing at all prices, and to support existing businesses and encourage the creation of new businesses, so Clarkston residents can afford to live here and have the option of jobs close to home. I want to make sure that Clarkston continues to grow while remaining affordable for all of its residents. This growth will also provide Clarkston with the revenue we need to increase public safety resources and fund more community programs. Which current television character do you identify most with? Edmund Reid, from “Ripper Street.” I admire his tireless dedication to justice, even when nearly all the other characters in the show are willing to give up the search for criminals. Website: www.carrollforclarkston.com Email: jfcarroll11@gmail.com Twitter: @JCforClarkston Facebook: @CarrollforClarkstonCityCouncil   Name: Ahmed M. Hassan (i)   Name: Laura Carol Hopkins Age: 53 Residence: Clarkston Profession: Coordinator of clinical education What experience will help you in office? Some strengthening experiences: from being an accountant - attention to detail; from being a business analyst - reading fine print; from being an immigrant who did not know the language - humility; from being an executive recruiter - the importance of a win-win outcome; from my degree in finance - finance; from being a chef - the importance of creativity, and from serving in the administration of a major university - the importance of collaboration. What issue got you into this race? No particular issue hooked me but simply a love of Clarkston and a sense of duty to cultivate a healthier community. I have just helped my mother to move here, and we are both committed to Clarkston as home. I want to promote an environment where people feel heard and connected, feel safe to trust, and confident to grow. We want business and balance. I can help. My keys: livability, affordability, safety, and community. Which current television character do you identify most with? Agent Carter Website: https://rally.org/LauraforClarkston Email: LauraForClarkston@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraForClarkston/   Name: Dean S. Moore (i) Age: 63 Residence: Rayford Trail Profession: Commercial construction superintendent What experience will help you in office? Eleven years of service to the community as a member of the Planning and  Zoning Committee and more recently as a councilman is a good reference point. Knowing the community. Training with the Georgia Municipal Association and the Atlanta Regional Commission as well as being on the GMA Board of Directors has been invaluable. As a superintendent/project manager, I’ve had the pleasure of building a wide variety of complex projects and buildings with a variety of craftsmen of varying skill levels for clients from all walks of life, including medical operating rooms, churches, restaurants, and even a Starbucks. ...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? As an incumbent these past eight years, the City Council has turned the city around. It keeps getting better and better and I wish to continue as a member of a successful winning team. One main project, the streetscapes project that cuts through the city from one side to the other, straight through the heart, has been in process and engineering design for 12 years. It has just hit the ground and I want to be there for the ribbon cutting when it is completed. Which current television character do you identify most with? Presidential historian John Meachum may not qualify as a character. I’ve been a witness to the current history of Clarkston and would want him to ghost write the book for me. Second choice is Joyce Kerns Goodwin. Email: deanmoore64@gmail.com   Name: Grant Hassan Salaam   Name: Jennier Schliestett   City Council Member (To Fill the Unexpired Term of Beverly Burks, Resigned) Name: Andrea Cervone Age: 28 Residence: Casa Woods Profession: Communications director What experience will help you in office? I will bring more than seven years of communications, marketing, and policy experience to the Clarkston City Council. What issue got you into this race? I believe good government should be open, accessible and accountable to the community it serves. Clear, transparent communications is something the current government in Clarkston is woefully lacking in, and I believe my communications and marketing experience will modernize the efforts of the city. Which current television character do you identify most with? Batman has been my hero since I was a child, and will likely always be, in part because of his relentless drive to do what's right, not what's easy. Website: https://rally.org/andrea4council Email: andrearcervone@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrea4clarkston/   Name: Warren Hadlock Age: 64 Residence: West Smith Street Profession: Retired contractor What experience will help you in office? I have eight years of previous experience as a city councilman including one year as vice-mayor; 2-plus years on Planning and Zoning; work on two comprehensive plans and LCI plans. Ongoing volunteer caretaker of Friendship Forest Wildlife Sanctuary. Numerous seminars accredited by the Georgia Municipal Association. What issue got you into this race? I spearheaded the development of many projects and positive changes during my first time as council member, but there are still many essential programs where we are lacking. A recreation program for our youth and a senior citizens' center are badly needed. Citizen safety: A much more efficient 911 service is needed. Pedestrian safety: We need pedestrian crossings with traffic lights. I want to reach out to our newly annexed citizens, who I currently feel are not aware of what Clarkston has to offer them. Which current television character do you identify most with? Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press.” Sorry, that's as close as I can get if you want a current one. Email: warrenhadlock@gmail.com Facebook: Councilman Warren Hadlock   Decatur   City Commissioner District 1 Post A Name: Betty Blondeau Age: 80 Residence: Pinetree Drive Profession: Retired What experience will help you in office? I have been a professional fundraiser in the arts with the Alliance Theatre and Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company working extensively with corporate and volunteer boards, government and foundation funders. Also as a volunteer I have worked for greenspace funding for Woodlands Garden as well as historical restoration with the Mary Gay House. In my work over the years as a citizen activist in Decatur and DeKalb County I have gained experience in the areas of planning, development, and zoning, areas that affect the quality of life for all of us. I have worked with the Citizens Task Force...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? A desire for transparency has brought me into the race. I want to be sure that citizens know about upcoming issues before the issues are resolved and that they have the information they need so that they can be a part of finding solutions for their concerns. I want to be in the room where these decisions are made and be sure that citizen concerns are considered in finding answers.  Which current television character do you identify most with? Grace in “Frankie and Grace” played by Jane Fonda Website: bettyfordecatur.com Email: betty_blondeau@bellsouth.net Facebook: facebook.com   Name: Melissa Manrow Age: 49 Residence: Decatur Heights Profession: attorney, recently retired from a civilian law enforcement position What experience will help you in office? My deep roots in the city, my service on the Decatur Planning Commission since 2010, involvement in the updating and implementation of the city’s Uniform Development Ordinance, on the Decatur Infill Task Force in 2005, and on the Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association executive committee from 2004-2008. I wrote and presented the Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association plan to the City Commission, requesting that any new development within Decatur Heights not exceed existing housing density. What issue got you into this race? My love for Decatur, plus the avalanche of support I've received since announcing. Certainty that our best days are still ahead of us, and even more so if we make sure to bring all our fellow citizens along with us. Fostering access to housing for “all ages and stages.” At every stage of life, where we live is the foundation for our health, education, safety and well-being. Encouraging strong succession planning among Decatur’s senior staff. Which current television character do you identify most with? Lillian from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” For that matter, Kimmy, though I've never been kept in an underground bunker for years on end. Website: melissamanrow.com Email: friendsofmelissamanrow@gmail.com Twitter: @MelissaManrow Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DecaturForMelissa/   Name: Tim Martin Age: 38 Residence: Rosewalk-Cottage Grove Profession: Financial adviser What experience will help you in office? As the recent president of the Decatur Business Association, I have worked with the city government and know what it takes to get things done. Being a financial adviser has allowed me to work with my clients' assets to help them reach their financial goals. I'll bring the same decision-making skills as a commissioner with Decatur's tax dollars and harness the energy of good people around me to make a real difference. What issue got you into this race? Multiple issues to address: We are facing two major challenges --unprecedented growth in our city as well as dwindling diversity among our citizens. We need to focus on housing for seniors to age in place and establish some workforce housing options; taming Scott Boulevard through traffic calming measures as well as implementing safer pedestrian walkways; also, we must focus on our downtown to keep it livable for its residents and thriving for our businesses. Which current television character do you identify most with? I love watching cooking shows …my favorite is “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” Chef Guy Fieri gets to experience our country and meet extraordinary people through food. He has a large personality that I love and gets to taste everyone’s best dish. I hope to get to travel and do that someday! Website: www.timfordecatur.com Email: tim4decatur@gmail.com Facebook: @tim4decatur   Name: Kelly Walsh Age: 47 Residence: Clairemont Great Lakes Neighborhood Profession: Realtor What experience will help you in office? My experience combining a busy professional life with active volunteerism and community organizing for the last dozen years has prepared me to be an elected leader in our city and makes me the most qualified candidate. Having worked with multiple constituencies via service to our city government and our schools provides me with unique insight and vision into what residents want from their new commissioner and where we are headed as a community. What issue got you into this race? My platform is an integrated set of priorities that best represents the very qualities of our city that Decatur residents value because they are what make it an amazing community in which to live. My priorities are to support our city's greatest asset of walkability, in combination with a focus on enhancing and enlarging greenspace, fostering diversity through affordable housing and inclusive government, while supporting our schools as a stakeholder and parent myself. Which current television character do you identify most with? I have really enjoyed watching Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) on”Parks and Recreation.” Leslie is a dedicated public servant who is passionate about her work, loves where she lives, and just generally loves life. I identify with her sense of humor and her ability to always laugh at herself. Website: www.votekellywalsh.com Email: kelly@votekellywalsh.com Twitter: @votekellywalsh Facebook: votekellywalsh   City Commissioner District 2 Post A Name: Patti Garrett (i)   City Board of Education At Large Name: Annie Caiola (i)   City Board of Education District 1 Post A Name: Lewis B. Jones (i) Age: 49 Residence: 615 Glendale Ave., Decatur  Profession: Lawyer What experience will help you in office? I have served on the board the past four years. Legal experience helps, given the bewildering array of legal mandates applicable to school districts. I also draw on my experience working with clients to structure and work through public involvement processes. Finally, I spent one eye-opening year after college as a high school math teacher. God bless our teachers! Finally, I have five children, including two DHS graduates, and a super spouse. What issue got you into this race? We are doing important work to set high academic standards for all students of all abilities, reduce disproportionality, and serve the needs of struggling readers. I want to push to ensure these initiatives continue. I will also continue to advocate for STEM as well as for programs such as art, music, sports, and other extracurriculars that build character and help develop the whole child. Which current television character do you identify most with? The Demogorgan in “Stranger Things.” Email: lbjones@csdecatur.net   City Board of Education District 2 Post A Name: Heather Tell   Doraville   City Council Member District 1 Name: Stuart Anderson Age: 73 Residence: District 1 Tilly Mill area Profession: Consultant What experience will help you in office? I am Stuart Anderson DBA Psycle Racing. For 40 years, Psycle Racing has consulted professional motor sport teams and individuals; consults on engineering projects and conducts R&D.  I start with this, in that a crew chief works in a time-restricted problem-solving, decision-making environment. Detecting and prioritizing a problem or situation, acting on a solution and considering the intended or unintended consequences are a skill set that I bring. However, what I also bring to the voter / city is that Psycle Racing also consults on questions of zoning. Interests range from the GM and Kmart developments ...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? As a 42-year Doraville resident, I am running for office because I have a vision for what I consider to be one of the most promising properties in the Atlanta area ... Doraville, Georgia. I will continue efforts to pursue a more citizen and business friendly policy of notification, for those affected, or those proposed to be affected by the actions of the city.  [Nov. 2007 C.C. resolution] Which current television character do you identify most with? I read Email: psycleracing@gmail.com   Name: Dennis E. Chupp Age: 63 Residence: Winters Chapel, Doraville Profession: retired animal control department head What experience will help you in office? Lifetime resident of Doraville, educated in its schools, small business owner and 25 years as the city's animal control officer . What issue got you into this race? The financial mismanagement of the city. The city is in debt for the first time since 1871! Hundreds of millions in bonds, 30 year tax abatements, 16 percent tax increase with more to follow. Nothing to show for it except body shops and car dealerships on the GM site. Which current television character do you identify most with? I read the newspaper, books and Use the internet . I don't watch TV. Prefer the outdoors. Website: www.dennischupp.com Email: drvldenny@aol.com Facebook: drvldenny@facebook.com   Name: Robert Patrick (i) Age: 45 Residence: Guilford Village Profession: City planner What experience will help you in office? I have worked in a community development department for over 10 years and am familiar with permitting, zoning and development issues. I have served as a Doraville District 1 council member for five years during which we have hired our first city manager, paved streets, fixed potholes and sidewalks, invested in our parks, wrote a zoning code for the redevelopment of the Assembly and Nexus sites, equipped our police officers with body cameras, and did all this with a balanced budget. What issue got you into this race? I was concerned with the steep decline of residential property values due to the Great Recession. Since then, I have worked to attract mixed-use developments with vibrant employment centers, improved pedestrian access to parks, and government transparency at city hall. I will continue to build on these successes and continue my strong support for public safety in Doraville. Which current television character do you identify most with? I like to watch movies. One of my favorites is “Limitless.” Website: http://www.voterobertpatrick.com/ Email: 6784047262@att.net Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/VoteRobertPatrick/   City Council Member District 2 Name: Joseph Geierman Age: 42 Residence: Northwoods Profession: Director of real estate and facilities What experience will help you in office? I’ve lived in the community for nearly 16 years, and have been actively engaged in neighborhood and city issues throughout that time - most recently serving as planning commissioner.  I have leadership experience – not only at my job, where I head up the real estate and facilities group – but also having served as president of several professional groups, as well as my neighborhood association. What issue got you into this race? I am concerned that Assembly - the development project at the former GM plant - has been stuck in neutral for too long.  I want to prioritize infrastructure improvements that will attract businesses to that site. I'll also focus on bringing Doraville's zoning and codes in line with those of our neighboring cities - making it easier for homeowners to improve their properties and for businesses to open shop here. Which current television character do you identify most with? N/A Website: https://joseph4doraville.com/ Email: joseph@doraville.net Facebook: facebook.com/doravillejoseph   Name: Tim Snyder Age: 61 Residence: Northwoods Profession: Freelance TV producer What experience will help you in office? Working worldwide with film/TV clients demands problem solving, budgeting and negotiating skills. These valuable skills will serve me in the city's future business dealings. Seventeen years of neighborhood advocacy gives me the local knowledge to protect and serve my constituents. What issue got you into this race? The city's disregard and lack of concern for our neighborhoods and the homeowners that live here. Questionable business alliances and spending that has depleted the city's reserves. Which current television character do you identify most with? Will McAvoy. (Jeff Daniels-”The Newsroom”) Website: timsnyder-citycouncil.com Email: nightskyinc@yahoo.com   Name: Peaches Toppin Age: 34 Residence: Arbor Woods Profession: Founder of Peach Threads Boutique What experience will help you in office? As an experienced accountant and small business owner, I intend to utilize my skills in management and strategic planning to create opportunities that will meet the needs of Doraville’s diverse and ever- evolving community. What issue got you into this race? As a new resident, I fell in love with the essence and energy of Doraville, which is rooted in community, growth and family. We have major opportunities to benefit from under-utilized resources right in our backyards. Which current television character do you identify most with? Olivia Pope (”Scandal”) Website: www.peachthreads.com Email: peachesfordoraville@gmail.com Twitter: Peachthreads Facebook: Peachthreads   City Council Member District 3 Name: Lee Flier Age: 54 Residence: Oakcliff Profession: Programmer, musician What experience will help you in office? I’m a 23-year resident, active in civic affairs for many years. My experience and training spans several disciplines including business and technology, the arts, and environmental design, so I bring some fresh perspectives to the table while remaining fact based and grounded. I’m good at connecting/inspiring people and finding common ground, work well with others and am known for being level headed, reasonable and caring. What issue got you into this race? I love my city and it's a critical time for us. We're a small city undergoing big changes, and I'm very motivated to make sure our growth happens in a responsible way that improves life for all residents. Which current television character do you identify most with? I honestly don't have time to watch TV these days! I did watch the new “Twin Peaks,” but can't say I identify with any of the characters, luckily for Doraville! I'm more of a “Northern Exposure” type. Website: http://leeflierfordoraville.com Email: lee@leeflierfordoraville.com Twitter: @lee4doraville Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lee4doraville   Name: Stephe Koontz Age: 58 Residence: Oakcliff Profession: Retired church administrator What experience will help you in office? I was a successful small business owner, which gives me a firsthand understanding of what a city needs to do to attract and keep quality businesses in our community. As a church administrator, I worked within a completely different budget framework and left the nonprofit’s finances in a far better state than when I arrived. What issue got you into this race? I was part of the steering committee for the 2016 “Design Doraville” comprehensive plan, and the experience made me realize that now is a pivotal point for the future of the city. We have to remain true to the vision we crafted in that plan, keeping our focus on what’s best for Doraville in the long run. Which current television character do you identify most with? I guess it would be Admiral Janeway from “Star Trek: Voyager” (I’m kind of a nerd). She’s a strong woman who is deliberative and thoughtful when confronted with a problem, but if time is short, she is decisive and is willing to take responsibility for her choices. Website: http://www.stephekoontz.com Email: stephekoontz@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/electstephe/   Dunwoody   City Council Member District 1 Post 1 Name: Joe Hirsch   Name: Pamela H. Tallmadge (i) Age: 60 Residence: Wynterhall Profession: Executive assistant Charter System Foundation and City of Dunwoody Council Member, District 1 What experience will help you in office? My experience is a great assistance to me. I have built relationships with key personal at DeKalb County Schools, including the superintendent’s office. Also, the leadership team at the Georgia DOE. Locally, neighboring municipalities’ council members and our state legislators welcome my call. My volunteer work has afforded the opportunity to meet citizens whose opinions and advice act as a good sounding board as I work for the citizens of District 1. What issue got you into this race? I am honored to have served. My platform of “common sense” was my slogan then, as it is now. We have a great opportunity to build a new Dunwoody focusing on the future and not forgetting the past. Our quality of life is important. I want to be the voice for the future. We must have “the Dunwoody” that we have all come to love and manage the expected growth we are going to experience. Which current television character do you identify most with? Tom Selleck, Police Chief Frank Reagan on “Blue Bloods.” He makes hard choices for the betterment of his city, not personal benefits. Listens and takes advice from his staff, advisers, friends, and family. Holds strong family values. Like the show - I have the Sunday night rule of family dinner! Website: www.pam4dunwoodyga.us Email: pam@pam4dunwoodyga.us Twitter: @ptidbids Facebook: @pam4dunwoodyga.us   City Council Member District 2 Post 2 Name: Jim Riticher (i) Age: 58 Residence: 5276 Trowbridge Dr. Profession: Retired engineer and IT professional What experience will help you in office? Among other things, cities build things (parks, public works, etc.) and pass judgement on things proposed to be built (planning and zoning). From my first career in commercial building engineering I read plans better most, which is helpful in evaluating what comes before us on city council. What issue got you into this race? I ran four years ago on a platform of stick-to-basics government, and remain true to that for my re-election campaign. We've reduced the paving cycle, are making sensible decisions on city spending for parks, and are taking the city from being renters (leased office space) to owners with our new, very frugal, city hall that we will move into later this year. Which current television character do you identify most with? Alec Trebek? I don't watch much television. Website: www.riticher.com Email: riticher@bellsouth.net   Name: Robert 'Bobby' Zuckman   City Council Member District 3 Post 3 Name: Henry H. Bierenfeld Age: 58 Residence: Andover Heights Profession: Event coordinator, East Lake Golf Club What experience will help you in office? The combination of helping to run a family business for over twenty years and my management experience in the nonprofit and for-profit sector will allow me to make a significant impact in our local government. What issue got you into this race? There was not one issue that inspired me to run for office. However, the desire to be a part of the future of Dunwoody as a member of our City Council as we embark on our next decade as a City was motivating to me. As a resident for over forty-seven years, I have witnessed the positive impact the creation of our city is having, and I wanted to be part of the process. Which current television character do you identify most with? The current television character that I identify most with is Leroy Jethro Gibbs played by Mark Harmon on the CBS Series “NCIS.” The character Gibbs is portrayed as being patient but firm with his team but has little patience for excessive bureaucracy. Email: vote.henryb@gmail.com Facebook: votehenrybierenfeld   Name: Tom Lambert Age: 48 Residence: Kingsley Profession: Marketing consultant - writer - at-home dad What experience will help you in office? Charter member and vice-chair of Dunwoody Sustainability Commission; Citizens Advisory Committee for Comprehensive Transportation Plan; Chair – Kingsley Charter Council; President – Kittredge Magnet School PTA; President – Kingsley Racquet and Swim Club; President - CHS Touchdown Club; Board of Directors – Murphey Candler; Board of Directors – Georgians for Local Area School Systems (GLASS); Committee Chair – Boy Scouts (pack/troop 434, All Saints); coordinated Dunwoody’s walk to school movement; volunteer coach – Murphey Candler, Atlanta Colts, Dunwoody Senior Baseball, DUMC, CMS. What issue got you into this race? The time to start building the Dunwoody of tomorrow is today. Let’s move out of perpetual planning and into building the projects that make a difference! Priorities are immediate implementation of the Brook Run Park plan and a commitment to projects in the Winters Chapel corridor. We can protect our residential neighborhoods and the character that makes Dunwoody such a special place to live, while adding the services and amenities our citizens desire and deserve. Which current television character do you identify most with? MacGyver ... I always make the best out of whatever resources are available to me. Website: www.VoteTomLambert.com Email: VoteTomLambert@gmail.com Facebook: Vote Tom Lambert   Lithonia City Council (Vote for Three) Name: William 'Ric' Dodd (i)   Name: Diane W. Howard (i) Name: Amelia Inman Age: 26 Residence: City of Lithonia Profession: Realtor What experience will help you in office? I have been a resident in the City of Lithonia for over 18 years. I knew as a little girl I always wanted to make a difference. My sister and I painted the mural near the train tracks on Conyers street; this was recognized in Atlanta Magazine. My family and I would pick up trash, maintaining the appeal of our city. As an involved resident in my community I will use what I know of real estate and the concerns of residents to increase knowledge, value, and pride of our homes and community. ...[edited for length] What issue got you into this race? It was not an issue that entered me into the race; it is more of awareness for change and new ideas. As a millennial with aging parents I understand that youth need to have a stronger voice in every area of our socio-economic structures because we truly are the future. Many residents see me involved in the community hosting home buying seminars as well as social events engaging with other millennials; so it became an ongoing question: “Are you going to run for city council Ms. Inman?” Nonetheless with prayer and confirmation I decided to move forward in the running ... [edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? I most identify with Donna Paulsen from “Suits.” She is smart, classy and professional. Her character exudes excellence and she is always aware of others and their needs. She also seems to be a part of the solution rather than merely focusing on the problem. In those traits of Donna’s character we are similar. Email: liastar5@gmail.com Facebook: /ameliainman  Name: Tracy-Ann M. Williams (i)   Pine Lake   City Council Member (Vote for Three) Name: Jean Bordeaux (i) Name: Brandy M. Hall (i) Name: Augusta M. Woods (i)   Stone Mountain   Mayor Name: Patricia Wheeler (i)   City Council Member Post 4 Name: Diana Roe Hollis Age: 69 Residence: Mountain Village Estates Profession: Retired risk manager What experience will help you in office? My longtime love and commitment to our community. Over 40 years of insurance experience and customer service have prepared me to work with the public, research and find solutions within the law. What issue got you into this race? The indifference to the needs of the citizens of our community, by the current council. This is public service, not personal promotion. Which current television character do you identify most with? I really don't watch a great deal of television Email: droehollis@gmail.com Facebook: Diana Roe Hollis candidate   Name: J. Michael Rollins Age: 49 Residence: Historic Stone Mountain Profession: Technical writer What experience will help you in office? My writing skills as well as my experience acting helps me communicate better. Another part of being a writer is being able to listen to people to make sure you get what they are trying to say. What issue got you into this race? Trying to improve the city, bring more businesses to the village, as well as trying to make the village and city a place people want to visit and live in. Which current television character do you identify most with? Barry Allen due to his desire to make a difference and help as well as his enthusiasm and good-natured outlook. Email: sonata@mindspring.com   City Council Member Post 5 Name: Shawnette Bryant Age: 55 Residence: Rockborough subdivision Profession: Reports clerk What experience will help you in office? My experience that will help me be successful in my new role, is first being a leader in my community and social organizations. I have held several leadership roles, so I have had experience working with diverse groups, communicating, and collaborating with others. I take pride in my experience that l've learn and gained throughout the years. I plan to take my proven track position to my new political position. What issue got you into this race? I saw the state of my community. I am not one to complain, without having a solution to solve it. I saw a need and want to bring about change that would not only help change the landscape of my community, but give future generations a community they could be proud of. I want to make a difference, and the expectation for the growth of Stone Mountain. I want Stone Mountain to be not known only for its beautiful and famous landmark, but I have a vision for Stone Mountain as a great place to introduce new businesses ...[edited for length] Which current television character do you identify most with? I most identify with Wonder Woman, a woman with super-strength, determination and who defends everyone. Email: shawnie404@att.net   City Council Member Post 6 Name: Judy F. Asher Age: 63 Residence: Mountain Village Profession: Interior designer What experience will help you in office? I have worked with numerous groups in the city under different capacities. This knowledge and the awareness of what is going on within the city will benefit me as a council member. All the wonderful people I have helped over the years and contine to help is the greatest experience. I have also spent time organizing events in the past and with that I want to use that experience so I can do more for our community. What issue got you into this race? There are numerous issues that made me enter the race. Stone Mountain, like other cities, needs change. There is a lack of transparency within the city government and that needs to change. People need answers to the questions they keep asking. What is going to be done for us. Neighborhoods, streets, crime, drug problems, new businesses and an interaction with the city government all need to be addressed and that is what I want to do for the citizens of Stone Mountain. Which current television character do you identify most with? I don't watch that much television so I can't give you a certain character. Email: j_asher@bellsouth.net Facebook: JudyAsher   Name: Jasmine I. Little Age: 29 Residence: Pepperwood Profession: Business owner What experience will help you in office? Running a business has taught me the best ways to communicate and what Stone Mountain needs to be successful. What issue got you into this race? Building the business district and education. Which current television character do you identify most with? Maggie from “The Walking Dead” Email: jasmineiheaden@gmail.com Facebook: Facebook.com/jilcitycouncil   Stonecrest   City Councilmember, Post 1 Name: Jimmy Clanton Jr (i)   City Councilmember, Post 3 Name: Jazzmin Randall Cobble (i)   City Councilmember, Post 5 Name: Diane Adoma (i)   Tucker   Mayor Name: Frank Auman (i)   City Council Member District 1, Post 1 Name: Honey Van De Kreke (i) Age:  Residence: Smoke Rise Profession: Manufacturer's representative What experience will help you in office? I was elected in 2016 to this seat. Elected officials are required to attend trainings by the Georgia Municipal Association on all aspects of government, so I have educational credits in addition to several decades of working in the community prior to Tucker becoming a city. What issue got you into this race? There was no single issue, I am committed to making Tucker the best city in Georgia. Although Tucker is now 20 months old, we have more to do to establish a solid foundation to build the future. Which current television character do you identify most with? Jethro Gibbs played by Mark Harmon. I like his character's no-nonsense approach. Website: www.honeyvandekreke.com Email: honeyvdk@gmail.com Twitter: @HoneyVanDeKreke Facebook: Honey Van De Kreke for District 1 Tucker City Council   Name: Pat Soltys Age: 63 Residence: Spencers Mountain Profession: Realtor What experience will help you in office? I have held elected office, served as an officer and negotiator for the board of education with the unions, worked on economic development in four states, served on the Governor’s Technology Commission, served as an officer on many boards for many charities and organizations, Served as a director in professional organizations and am very active in community organizations that serve District 1 and currently serve on the Tucker Zoning Board of Appeals. What issue got you into this race? Responsive communications: There is a great deal of frustration in the lack of communications and engagement. Example: The one and only town hall meeting for our district drew lots of people with the expectation of Q & A on important issues. The agenda was set with speakers that the crowd was not really interested in with no time for Q & A and important issues were avoided. Constituents deserve communications, answers and input options. Which current television character do you identify most with? Probably the Commissioner on “Blue Bloods” - listens openly, seeks input, is fair, brings people together even when there are difficult issues, does not shy away from challenges, works toward objectives with conscience and values, is family oriented and has a sense of humor. Website: www.pat-soltys.com Email: pat@smokeriseagents.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PatSoltysTucker/   City Council Member District 2, Post 1 Name: Matt Robbins (i) Age: 77 Residence: Idlewood Acres East Profession: Retired (EPA 43 years)/City Council What experience will help you in office? I currently serve on the first-ever Tucker City Council, having been elected in March 2016. The past 18 months required extensive time and deliberations on research, collaboration with the Council, county officials and staff and diverse constituents, resulting in decisions concerning the legal, personnel and business city functions. The progress we have made as a team needs to continue as we develop additional policies and procedures to improve the quality of service to residents. What issue got you into this race? The initial issue was to be part of the foundation for Tucker. My tools then and now are ability to work under pressure, to listen and collaborate with residents, states and municipalities, and diverse organizations, to implement actions relating to complex environmental and socio-economic issues. 18 months is not enough time to develop all appropriate partnerships or identify all relevant programs leading to greater customer service; I want to continue to make it happen. Which current television character do you identify most with? My watching is limited to news, sports and movies. I do not presently follow any specific show or character (my all time favorite series have been “Columbo” and “MASH”). For this question: Anderson Cooper who listens as people talk and then captures their thoughts into actions or further research. Email: mjr166@hotmail.com Facebook: VoteforMattRobbins@gmail.com   City Council Member District 3, Post 1 Name: Dave Deaton   Name: Michelle Penkava (i) Age: 50 Residence: Westhampton Profession: Tucker City Council member What experience will help you in office? Tucker’s success is my passion. I was part of the team that sought Cityhood and I have the privilege of serving on the inaugural City Council. While working on cityhood, I gained experience fostering successful relationships at the state, county and local levels, which provides opportunities for future collaboration and support. And as a council member I have been involved in all levels of set-up, planning and operation of our new city. What issue got you into this race? There is not one particular issue that compelled me to seek re-election. If given the privilege to serve a second term on the Tucker Council, I will continue working with our team to complete our city set-up, mindful that we must set sound policies to provide a workable and conscientious road map for future councils. I want to continue to be part of the council that will establish our city as the voters intended. Which current television character do you identify most with? There isn’t really a character that I identify with. Though I would like to think that I am (or with more practice can become) as cool under pressure as President Kirkman from “Designated Survivor.” Website: michellepenkava.com Email: michelle@michellepenkava.com Facebook: Michelle Penkava, Tucker City Council, District 3   Special Elections   DeKalb County Suspension of Homestead Option Sales Tax and Approval of Equalized Homestead Option Sales Tax   “Shall an equalized homestead option sales and use tax be levied and the regular homestead option sales and use tax be suspended within the special district within DeKalb County for the purposes of reducing the ad valorem property tax millage rates levied by the County and municipal governments on homestead properties?” (Unless BOTH the equalized homestead option sales and use tax (EHOST) AND the special purpose local option sales and use tax (SPLOST) are approved, then neither sales and use tax shall become effective.)   DeKalb County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Shall a special 1 percent sales and use tax be imposed in the special district of DeKalb County for a period of time not to exceed 6 years and for the raising of an estimated amount of $636,762,352 for the purpose of capital projects?  (A full list of county and city projects can be found on your ballot (https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/sites/default/files/user305/November%207%202017%20General%20Municipal-Special%20Election%20Composite%20Ballots.pdf) and at https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/splost/dekalb-county-splost)   DeKalb County Homestead Exemption Act 73, Senate Bill 143 “Shall the Act be approved which amends the homestead exemption from certain DeKalb County ad valorem taxes for county purposes in an amount equal to the amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the base year assessed value of such homestead by extending the time limitation on such exemption?”

News

  • Atlanta police have been handing out the flyers across the city telling people that a permit is needed to give food to the homeless. The fliers are being used as a warning to those trying to help the homeless. Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon found one group who received more than a warning. Instead of getting praise for helping Atlanta’s homeless, Adele Maclean and Marlon Kautz say they’re getting punished for it. “We’re looking at a citation,” Maclean said. Channel 2 Action News’ cameras were there when police wrote the pair a ticket for handing out food to the homeless without a permit. “I mean outrageous, right? Of all the things to be punished for, giving free food to people who are hungry?” Maclean told Wilfon. TRENDING STORIES: Worker killed after woman drives onto sidewalk on busy road, police say There's a Christmas tree shortage in metro Atlanta Arrests made in violent robberies of Asian-owned businesses The pair said they give food to the homeless every Sunday in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park, and have never heard of needing a permit. “It seems ridiculous to me that they would be spending their time and resources on stopping people from feeding the homeless,” said Maclean said. Wilfon contacted the city to find out what was going on. A city representative said the Fulton and DeKalb County boards of health both require permits to give food to the homeless and the city of Atlanta enforces those requirements. While the requirements aren’t new, Atlanta police told Wilfon they recently started more strictly enforcing them for several reasons. The city believes there are better ways to help the homeless, like getting them into programs and shelters. They are also taking issue with the litter the food distributions leave behind. Ben Parks, who runs a nonprofit for the homeless, told Wilfon he can see the argument from both sides. “I understand where the city’s coming from. I understand when they see groups come in and leave a bunch of trash behind,' Parks said. While this ordinance is also on the books in DeKalb County, DeKalb police told Wilfon Wednesday that they are not using police to enforce it. They’re leaving that up to the health department.
  • A candidate for mayor says she has always wondered if the current mayor of Atlanta won his seat fair and square. Mary Norwood lost to current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in 2009. Make sure to tune in to WSB-TV as Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood go head-to-head in a live runoff debate moderated by Channel 2’s Justin Farmer, LIVE on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m.  Norwood told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston that she never spoke publicly about the accusation because what she said she knew what happened wasn't significant enough to upset the entire system.  [WATCH: Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning] But our partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution got a copy of a transcript of a private June meeting where she brought up the 2009 election.  'I just want you to be who you say you are, live where you say you live and vote once,' Norwood told Huddleston.  [WATCH: Mary Norwood speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning] Norwood raised concerns about the 2009 election, which she lost to Reed by a couple of hundred votes.  TRENDING STORIES: Worker killed after woman drives onto sidewalk on busy road, police say There's a Christmas tree shortage in metro Atlanta Arrests made in violent robberies of Asian-owned businesses She told Huddleston that she always suspected there was voter fraud.  'I know there are instances where individuals were asked to vote in the election,' Norwood said.  She said individuals who didn’t live in Atlanta still voted in the mayor's race.   [SPECIAL SECTION: The Atlanta Mayor’s Race] Norwood said she's never talked publicly about the accusation, but privately has mentioned it to several groups, including last June, at a meeting that was recorded and leaked to the AJC. 'I have spoken privately to many groups, including last night to the NAACP, about the fact that I did not go public with some things I was concerned about with that election,' Norwood said.  ATLANTA MAYOR QUICK FACTS The city’s last five mayors have been African-American The last 27 have been Democrats There have only ever been two Republican mayors of Atlanta Shirley Franklin was the first female mayor of Atlanta. The next mayor will be the second Only four former Atlanta mayors were born in Atlanta Click here for more facts about Atlanta mayors Huddleston contacted Reed for a comment on this story Wednesday. His spokesperson responded and said in part: “If Mary Norwood had proof that the election results were invalid in 2009, she should have stepped forward and challenged the results then. She did not because she could not. She has no evidence to back up her claims. She has been a public official for the past four years and never raised any concerns about the integrity of our voting system.' Norwood said after the 2009 race, she joined the Fulton County Elections Board to get a new director on staff.  She told Huddleston that she's confident the Dec. 5 mayor's race will be fair, accurate and impartial.
  • Beyond the slick, Hollywood-style cinematics, the Islamic State is targeting Western recruits with videos suggesting they, too, can be heroes like Bruce Willis' character in 'Die Hard.'That's the conclusion of The Chicago Project on Security and Threats, which analyzed some 1,400 videos released by IS between 2013 and 2016. Researchers who watched and catalogued them all said there is more to the recruitment effort than just sophisticated videography, and it's not necessarily all about Islam.Instead, Robert Pape, who directs the security center, said the extremist group is targeting Westerners — especially recent Muslim converts — with videos that follow, nearly step-by-step, a screenwriter's standard blueprint for heroic storytelling.'It's the heroic screenplay journey, the same thing that's in Wonder Woman, where you have someone who is learning his or her own powers through the course of their reluctant journey to be hero,' Pape said.The project at the University of Chicago separately has assembled a database of people who have been indicted in the United States for activities related to IS. Thirty-six percent were recent converts to Islam and did not come from established Muslim communities, according to the project. Eighty-three percent watched IS videos, the project said.The group's success in using heroic storytelling is prompting copycats, Pape said. The research shows al-Qaida's Syria affiliate has been mimicking IS' heroic narrative approach in its own recruitment films. 'We have a pattern that's emerging,' Pape said.Intelligence and law enforcement officials aren't sure the approach is all that new. They say IS has been using any method that works to recruit Westerners. Other terrorism researchers think IS' message is still firmly rooted in religious extremism.Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks messaging by militant groups, agrees that IS makes strong, visual appeals resembling Hollywood movies and video games, making its media operation more successful than al-Qaida's. And IS videos can attract hero wannabes, she said.'However, these features of IS media are only assets to a core message it uses to recruit,' Katz said. 'At the foundation of IS recruitment propaganda is not so much the promise to be a Hollywood-esque hero, but a religious hero. There is a big difference between the two.'When a fighter sits in front of a camera and calls for attacks, Katz said, he will likely frame it as revenge for Muslims killed or oppressed somewhere in the world. The message is designed to depict any terror attack in that nation as justified and allow the attacker to die as a martyr, she said.The promise of religious martyrdom is powerful to anybody regardless of whether they are rich or poor, happy or unhappy, steeped in religion or not at all, she said.Pape said he knows he's challenging conventional wisdom when he says Westerners are being coaxed to join IS ranks not because of religious beliefs, but because of the group's message of personal empowerment and Western concepts of individualism.How else can one explain Western attackers' loose connections to Islam, or their scarce knowledge of IS's strict, conservative Sharia law, he asked. IS is embracing, not rejecting, Western culture and ideals, to mobilize Americans, he said.'This is a journey like Clint Eastwood,' Pape said, recalling Eastwood's 1970s performance in 'High Plains Drifter' about a stranger who doles out justice in a corrupt mining town. 'When Clint Eastwood goes in to save the town, he's not doing it because he loves them. He even has contempt for the people he's saving. He's saving it because he's superior,' Pape said.'That's Bruce Willis in 'Die Hard.' That's Wonder Woman. ... Hollywood has figured out that's what puts hundreds of millions in theater seats,' Pape said. 'IS has figured out that's how to get Westerners.'Pape said the narrative in the recruitment videos targeting westerners closely tracks Chris Vogler's 12-step guide titled 'The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.' The book is based on a narrative identified by scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama and other storytelling.Step No. 1 in Vogler's guide is portraying a character in his 'ordinary world.'An example is a March 25, 2016, video released by al-Qaida's Syria branch about a young British man with roots in the Indian community. It starts: 'Let us tell you the story of a real man... Abu Basir, as we knew him, came from central London. He was a graduate of law and a teacher by profession.'Vogler's ninth step is about how the hero survives death, emerging from battle to begin a transformation, sometimes with a prize.In the al-Qaida video, the Brit runs through sniper fire in battle. He then lays down his weapon and picks up a pen to start his new vocation blogging and posting Twitter messages for the cause.Matthew Levitt, a terrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says it doesn't surprise him that IS would capitalize on what he dubs the 'zero to hero' strategy because the organization is very pragmatic and accepts recruits regardless of their commitment to Islamic extremism.Heroic aspirations are only one reason for joining the ranks of IS, he said. Criminals also seek the cover of IS to commit crimes. Others sign up because they want to belong to something.'I've never seen a case of radicalization that was 100 percent one way or the other,' Levitt said.
  • A Georgia mother whose toddler has been waiting for a kidney transplant his whole life was gifted a car on Tuesday -- hours before a kidney donor was found. >> Read more trending news  Carmellia Burgess brought her son home from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Nov. 8, where he’d been since Oct. 29.  Burgess’s son, AJ, battled a potentially deadly infection, contracted pneumonia, had surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments and received blood transfusions before he was released from the hospital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. MORE: Toddler heads home from hospital to wait for kidney transplant But his mother didn’t have a car to get AJ to his hemodialysis appointments three times a week, she wrote on Facebook. That trouble ended Tuesday, when actor Tyler Perry gifted Burgess with a new car. The family later learned a deceased donor kidney would be given to AJ this week, attorney Mawuli Davis said.
  • A federal lawsuit set to go to trial next month marks the latest legal action brought against former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio over allegations that he pursued a trumped-up criminal case to get publicity and embarrass an adversary.The political opponent in this case: U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.One of Flake's sons filed a malicious-prosecution lawsuit, saying Arpaio pursued felony animal cruelty charges against him and his then-wife in a bid to do political damage to the senator and gain publicity.Austin Flake and his wife were charged in the heat-exhaustion deaths of 21 dogs in June 2014 at a kennel operated by his in-laws. The Flakes were watching the dogs when the in-laws were out of town.The dogs died when an air conditioning unit failed in a small room where the animals spent the night.The case against the Flakes was dismissed at the request of prosecutors, and the owners of the kennel pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges after an expert determined the air conditioner failed because the operators didn't properly maintain it.The lawsuit, which is scheduled for trial on Dec. 5, alleges that Arpaio was intent on linking the Flakes to the deaths, going so far as to conduct surveillance on the senator's home. The suit also says Arpaio's investigators examined phone records to see if the younger Flake called his father during the time he was watching the dogs.Lawyers for Austin Flake and his then-wife have said the senator disagreed with Arpaio over immigration and was critical of the movement questioning the authenticity of then-President Barack Obama's birth certificate.In a deposition, Arpaio didn't accept responsibility for bringing the charges against the couple and was unable to cite any evidence to support the allegations. But he still expressed confidence in his investigators.'I am going by what my detectives accomplished during their investigation,' Arpaio said during the July 2016 deposition. 'They had the nuts and bolts already. I defend my people. I have confidence in them. I don't have to know everything that's going on.'Arpaio and Jeffrey Leonard, an attorney representing Maricopa County and the former sheriff, declined to comment on the case.Stephen Montoya, an attorney for Austin Flake and his former wife, Logan Brown, said the sheriff's office didn't have evidence showing his clients intended to hurt the dogs, yet still charged them with crimes that devastated them and contributed to the demise of their marriage.'It splashed their names across the internet as the murderers of 21 dogs. It really ravaged them emotionally,' Montoya said, noting that Austin Flake was 21 and his wife was 20 at the time.A ruling in August by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake dismissed a defamation allegation from the lawsuit but determined investigators didn't have probable cause to charge the couple.'A factfinder could thus reasonably find that the prosecutors initially charged the Flakes based on pressure from Arpaio,' Wake wrote.The prosecutor who brought the allegations said in a court filing that she wasn't pressured by Arpaio's office to prosecute the couple and that the decision to present the case to a grand jury was made by her and her supervisors. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office isn't named as a party in the lawsuit.The lawsuit doesn't specify how much money the younger Flake and his ex-wife are seeking. But they previously sought $4 million in a notice of claim — a precursor to a lawsuit.It isn't the first time Arpaio has been accused of trumping up charges in an animal cruelty case.He launched an investigation against a police officer from the Phoenix suburb of Chandler over a 2007 death of a police dog that was left in a hot vehicle for 12 hours in blistering summer heat.The officer was charged with animal abuse but eventually acquitted. He filed a lawsuit alleging Arpaio brought the criminal case so the sheriff could exploit the publicity.Taxpayers paid $775,000 to the officer to settle the case.___Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/jacques%20billeaud .
  • Two-game winning streaks have given much-needed midseason boosts to Tampa Bay and Atlanta.Now it's time to see which team is ready for the tough NFC South.The Falcons (6-4) have moved into playoff position with back-to-back wins over Dallas and Seattle. Atlanta plays five of its last six regular-season games against NFC South rivals, including Sunday's visit from the Buccaneers.The Buccaneers (4-6) have won two straight over the Jets and Dolphins. Four of their last six games will be against NFC South opponents, including two against Atlanta.Tampa Bay faces a tough climb up the NFL's only division with three teams with winning records. The two straight wins have come with Ryan Fitzpatrick subbing for injured quarterback Jameis Winston . Fitzpatrick, who will make his third straight start against Atlanta, says the wins have helped boost morale.'It's definitely changed a little bit, a little more upbeat, but it's still businesslike attitude,' Fitzpatrick said. 'We know we've dug ourselves a big hole and we still have a long way to go.'Asked what Fitzpatrick has brought to the offense, Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said 'Toughness. Smarts. Competitiveness. Desire to win. Calming influence. How's that off the top of my head?'The Falcons have the same record through 10 games as they did in 2016, when they won the NFC championship before losing to New England in the Super Bowl. Last week's 34-31 win at Seattle left Atlanta in position for a wild card, even though they still trail New Orleans (8-2) and Carolina (7-3) in the division.'I knew it was going to be a battle,' said Falcons coach Dan Quinn of the division. 'That would be certainly the case this weekend. ... We had real regard for the division before the season started. As you go through and look at the different matchups and how some of the teams play, that's certainly the case.'While the Buccaneers' surge has come without Winston, the Falcons have had starting running back Devonta Freeman for only two snaps of their two straight wins. Freeman left the 27-7 win over Dallas with a concussion after only two plays and was held out last week.Freeman was still in the concussion protocol for the start of practice this week and is expected to miss his second straight game, leaving Tevin Coleman as the starter.Here are some things to watch as the Buccaneers and Falcons renew their NFC South rivalry:RYANS EXPECTING TWINS: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and his wife, Sarah, are expecting twins. For Ryan, the news brings more significance to his jersey number 2.'There is something about 2,' Ryan said, smiling. 'Before, I just liked it. Now I have something for it. It's cool.'Ryan said the twins are due 'in a couple months. We're just very happy, very excited.'REAL MCCOY: Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is tied with Arizona linebacker Chandler Jones for the NFL lead with 20 quarterback hits. McCoy is tied with Atlanta's Grady Jarrett with 10 tackles for loss, tied for the most among defensive tackles. He leads the Bucs with 5.0 sacks.GOODBYE GEORGIA DOME: This will be the Falcons' first home game since their old home, the Georgia Dome, was imploded on Monday . Koetter, the former Falcons offensive coordinator, is eager to see the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which was built beside the old facility.'I've heard it's awesome,' Koetter said. 'I am anxious to see it. I always thought the Georgia Dome was dark and had bad acoustics. I couldn't hear a word anybody said in there.'90-GAME MILESTONES WITHIN REACH: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is on the brink of setting new NFL standards for catches and yards receiving in the first 90 games of a career. Jones has 551 catches. He needs eight receptions to pass Anquan Boldin's record of 558. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown is second with 554.Jones has 8,396 yards receiving. He needs 107 yards to pass Lance Allworth's 90-game record of 8,502.WARD VS. WARD: Terron Ward moved up the depth chart with Freeman's concussion. As Coleman's top backup, there is a greater chance he'll go against older brother T.J. Ward, Tampa Bay's backup safety. The head-to-head competition is rare for the brothers.'We never played against each other,' said Terron Ward of the brothers' childhood, noting he is 5 years younger than his 30-year-old brother and the two would play together against cousins.'We used to get out there at Thanksgiving and Christmas, two on two,' he said. '... It would go back and forth so it's always been fun.'___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL