The conversation about public safety in Atlanta has devolved to the point where it would be worthy of an elementary school sandbox. Our leaders have forgotten that the public safety conversation should center around the people of Atlanta and not just stats and talking points. In order to solve our public safety issues we need leaders who will not cower from the hard conversations. It is a false choice to say that we must choose between safe communities and accountability in our public safety institutions. I believe that ultimately crime is a symptom. It is a symptom the follows systemic economic oppression. It’s a symptom that shows itself in communities where pitfalls are more plentiful than opportunities. It is a symptom of streets filled with blighted properties. If we were really committed to solving crime in Atlanta we would invest to eliminate the factors that breed crime in the first place . We have to move beyond treating the symptoms and start dealing with the root of the problem.
“We just can’t do the basic ABC, 123, of fighting crime, We have to go deeper.”
Housing & Development
It is time to change our mindset when it comes to housing and development. Rising Property taxes, unrealistic formulas to calculate affordability and policy that favors developers over communities is creating a perfect storm that threatens to push hardworking families out of our city. We should expand inclusionary zoning in Atlanta and push to create realistic standards for affordability to bridge the divide between and the average salary for our. Development should benefit the community that exists now….because the time has ended for massive tax breaks and incentives for rich developers while communities receive the massive bill.
In Atlanta 8% of our roads account for 88% of the traffic fatalities on our city streets. When we look at the 5 most dangerous streets in Atlanta 4 of them: Martin Luther King Jr Drive, Cascade Road SW, Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard and Donald Lee Hallowell Parkway run through our district. 1 in 10 Bus routes in our neighborhoods do not have proper benches and shelters. And we know from multiple tragedies that Biking along our streets can literally be a life or death endeavor. I don’t have to tell you how important safe streets are. Our communities have demanded more accountability for speed enforcement, rallied for crosswalks, sidewalks and traffic calming devices and even stood alongside our children from Tuskegee Airman Academy who created to #Respect Cascade movement to push elected officials to act. It doesn’t matter is you drive a car, bike, walk, take the bus or the train every citizen of Atlanta deserves a safe and dignified transportation experience. For too many of our leaders transportation is a political talking point….for me its personal I’m the son of MARTA bus driver and my neighborhood is bordered Cascade Road and Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.
The city of Atlanta leads the nation in income inequality and lack of economic mobility. A child born in SW Atlanta has a life expectancy 13 years shorter than a child born in Buckhead. 75% of Atlanta’s most dangerous roads are in the western quadrant of the city. Too often Black and Brown communities in Atlanta are at the epicenter of these statistics. It is a stain on our claim that this city is a safe space for black families to grow and thrive. The gaps in equity and opportunity in Atlanta are wide, and they didn’t develop overnight. While I will not claim that we can solve them overnight we must have leadership that commits to lifting the most vulnerable in our city. It will take intentional innovation to reverse the policies that that created a system where Atlanta was not allowed to thrive as one community
Income Inequality graphics: https://www.atlantawealthbuilding.org/racial-wealth-gap