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ThreadATL 2017 Candidate Grades & Endorsements

ThreadATL’s candidate grades and city council endorsements are based on the following research: attendance at forums, personal conversations with candidates and their staffers, one-on-one interviews with candidates that we publicly hosted, and input from the local urbanist community through online surveys and in-person events.

What we are considering here is how well the candidates’ views align with our principles of good urbanism.

Mayoral Candidate Grades

We’re only going to list the mayoral candidates who rated grades A through C and leave out the lower-scoring ones. These are weighted very intentionally toward how well their views align with our principles.

Grade A:

Cathy Woolard

It’s clear that Cathy gets good urbanism, and that she has the ability to follow through on her ideas for improving the city in an equitable way that aligns with ThreadATL principles.

Here’s a quote from her response to our questionnaire (be sure to watch our interview with Woolard as well):

“With each new suburban style mall or retail development, we interrupt the opportunity to build a transit oriented city. I’ll work to make sure the new Atlanta rezoning project defines size and scale of commercial development so that it provides needed amenities for neighborhoods while helping us build more sustainable communities.”

Rohit Ammanamanchi

This quote from his response to our questionnaire says it all: Rohit knows his urbanism. His dedication to these issues and his passion for civic service are inspiring. If you ever get a chance to talk with him about Atlanta, take it.

“I will ensure that Invest Atlanta incentives are attached with specific regulations on design, such as reduced parking or street-facing retail. In some cases, Invest Atlanta subsidies would be provided specifically to construct connections to public amenities as in pedestrian connectivity or a bus bay.”

Grade B:

Peter Aman

The interview we did with Peter showed off his ability to talk with ease and depth-of-knowledge about urbanism issues — take a look at the video of it. Here’s a quote from his questionnaire response:

“The next mayor has a moral imperative to address poverty and inequality in Atlanta. Affordable housing is essential to tackling these challenges. One of the keys to an effective housing strategy is flexibility. As factors such as demand from developers, local incomes, the character of a neighborhood, and proximity to transportation shift, we need every policy option at our disposal to find the optimal solution for everyone.”

Grade C:

Ceasar Mitchell

Mitchell’s ideas about affordable housing are commendable. From his response to our questionnaire:

“In addition to requiring developers to designate 20% of new units as “affordable” rentals (up from the current 10-15%), I will work with various development agencies, such as the Atlanta Housing Authority, Atlanta Land Bank Authority and Habitat for Humanity, to transform the 5,000+ blighted and vacant homes around the city into affordable homeownership options for low-income families, recent graduates, law enforcement officers, and educators.”

Mary Norwood

Norwood did not respond to our questionnaire (she abstains from involvement in grading of candidates, a spokesperson from her campaign told us). But several people we spoke with from the urbanist community have been very impressed with her work on City Council. Her attendance at most of the Atlanta City Design events this past year was encouraging.

Vincent Fort

Fort is full of passion about city issues. At a ThreadATL event last year, he spoke well about the importance of public streets (in reference to the city’s unfortunate decision to give away Underground Atlanta’s historic streets to a developer). Take a look at the video of our interview with him.

City Council Endorsements

Lauren Welsh, District 2

We are obviously aware of Welsh’s commitment to good urbanism — she was a co-founder of ThreadATL (no longer involved, since her campaign began). But even if you weren’t aware of that, her deep belief in these principles can be heard any time she speaks about the city. On council, she’ll be an incredible asset for urbanists and for everyone in Atlanta.

Here’s a quote from her interview at Saporta Report: “One of the things I’m really interested in doing is completely updating our civic engagement model. We have the NPU system, I’ve been an NPU representative over here in Candler Park for almost 10 years. You’ve got the NPU system, you’ve got APAB, the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board; you’ve got the city’s technical advisory committees for a variety of issues…I know other cities look to us as having an incredible civic engagement model … the NPU model hasn’t been touched since 1974 and I think it’s about time.”

Jason Dozier, District 4

Look at Dozier’s response to the CBA questionnaire to see how smart he is about the city and about urbanism. Quote: “The Beltline must be more than just a pedestrian and bicycle path. A route that is only accessible to the physically-abled in good weather is not inclusive. Rail is critical for getting people to destinations efficiently and effectively, and at volume.”

Brionté McCorkle, District 11

McCorkle’s  issue statements from her website are impressive:
She’s pro-preservation. She wants to eliminate parking minimums. She wants a city DOT. She supports the platform put forth by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. We’re sure she’ll be rock solid on transportation issues and more.

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