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1. In proportion to the city's growth, the city council must ensure that it appropriately allocates resources to expand various Government Department's capability and to improve customer service; prioritizing with the lowest performing departments first.
2. Create a customer service satisfaction survey to be optionally completed after each call or visit.
3. Create an process of accountability that includes the replacement or training of department heads (when a department is consistently underperforming) or employees (when employee performance rating is consistently low.)
What can you bring to the Atlanta City Council that it currently lacks?
Wan: N/A. However, I do occupy a unique space on Atlanta City Council as the first Asian-American as well as the first openly gay man to serve on this body, and I believe not having those perspectives in the Council's deliberations would create a much less rich conversation.
Boyle: Independent thought vis-à-vis the mayor. Mayor Reed is a good mayor but that doesn't make him always right. If you look at the votes at city council, they're unanimous (ie 15-0) and in agreement with the mayor most of the time. When you have independent thinkers and people with the courage to push back, there is debate and ideas get aired, and every one benefits when that happens. I will stand up against the mayor on the ParkAtlanta issue and will stand up against him whenever I believe my constituents' best interests are challenged.
Austin: Someone who is passionate about the children of Atlanta and willing to prioritize issues that are specifically related to our children and youth. When we speak of issues ranging from sidewalk repairs to homelessness we must specifically look at how our policy is addressing the effects or risk factors on the children of Atlanta.
What is a city issue in Atlanta that, in your opinion, very few people have paid attention to? Could you — and would you — address it?
Wan: Very few people realize that the City of Atlanta has tens of millions of dollars in unexpended trust funds and bond proceeds, and these funds remained effectively trapped and useless unless a way is found to either repurpose the funds to unwind the original action that obligated the fund. Understandably, that process is complicated and requires careful legal analysis. That said, if achieved, the city could have the funds to tackle many of the initiatives that we have had to postpone or abandon because of lack of resources.
I have been one of a small group of Council members who has been inquiring about the status of the administration's research into the process of making those funds available for use. If re-elected, I absolutely plan to continue pushing on this issue.
Boyle: Sovereignty/Local control. Today the interconnectedness of the world economy provides immense opportunities for Atlanta but also risks. When you look at the nervousness the debt ceiling debate in Washington must cause our creditors, you have to think, for example, the Chinese government, with $1 trillion of exposure to US Treasuries, would want to make that more secure somehow. Right now foreign investors like China own a large percentage of US debt but a small percentage of municipal debt – the kind we use to fund our roads and schools. But if that changed, then you have to worry about influence on local governing institutions. For example, you could potentially have this odyssey of property taxes from Atlanta home owners flowing to China because they own our school debt. At that point you wonder are we educating our kids so that we can compete with the Chinese or are we educating them so that we can pay the Chinese back? Some metrics we should watch in the coming years are who owns Atlanta muni debt, what is the concentration level, and are we at risk of undue foreign influence as far as school board, city council and other governing units.
Austin: Our city needs to look at the number of families that move out of the city because of their concerns related to the schools, safety and services. Atlanta needs to make greater efforts toward incentivizing families to live, invest in and stay in our city. I will address it by promoting my quality of life agenda that prioritizes children.
Southeast Atlanta residents recently raised concerns about a big-box retail center along the Atlanta Beltline. As the Beltline continues along in its development, what steps would you take to make sure its vision — specifically, the one residents laid out in planning meetings — is fulfilled?
Wan: The Atlanta BeltLine vision was crafted and shaped through an extensive, collaborative process between the city and the community, through which the project's stakeholders have developed a vested interest in that plan. In sections of the project, however, there remains a gap between the existing underlying land use and zoning of the parcels versus what the BeltLine vision prescribes, and such discrepancies create opportunities for developments inconsistent with the vision to arise.
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