November: Election 2016, a brewing fight in Reynoldstown, and more!
Let’s Go Vote.
I’m voting early to make sure that nothing gets between me and the ballot box on November 8. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton for President because she’s the most qualified person to run for President and because I believe she has more to offer Atlanta than the other guy. I’ve been looking at issue statements from both candidates and Secretary Clinton’s plans have so much more to offer residents of America’s cities.
Clinton’s infrastructure investment plan will provide funding for upgrades to our transportation systems including transit, roads, bridges and airports. She understands the need to invest in water and sewer upgrades to ensure clean drinking water in every community. And she’ll work to ensure that 100% of our communities have access to affordable broadband at home as well as in public buildings and public transportation. These investments in infrastructure aren’t sexy and it’s easy to kick the can down the road, but at some point, we end up in gridlock, with critical systems failures and lose our competitive advantage in a global economy.
There are other issues of importance to Atlanta voters on the ballot this year. I’m also voting for the two sales tax options to fund transportation in Atlanta.
Passage of these two amendments will finally give Atlanta some control over our future by providing resources to expand MARTA, for to complete the loop and put transit on the BeltLine, improved bus routes and circulation times, synchronizing traffic signals, complete streets bike/pedestrian projects and other things we need to get Atlanta moving. We’ve got decades of lost investment to make up for if we are to get ourselves out of the traffic mess we’ve created. The additional funding these measures will provide can give us what we need to expand our transportation system without having to wait for other jurisdictions to get on board.
Pay Attention to Reynoldstown.
The Reynoldstown neighborhood is on the tip of the spear for new Atlanta BeltLine real estate developments.
Watch the rezoning application of an apartment project at 930 Mauldin Street. In 2008, the neighborhood and later, Atlanta City Council, approved a 108 unit, three-story building on the roughly one-acre parcel directly adjacent to the BeltLine. The project was never developed and now the same owner is back to rezone the property for another 40 units and at roughly twice the height.
There was no provision for “affordable” units at any price in the original rezoning nor in the new application.
Neighbors in Reynoldstown are concerned about increasing density to a six-story building across the street from single family homes that can dwarf the scale of the existing street and continue the trend toward suburban style apartment buildings that have been the trend along the Atlanta BeltLine.
As it applies to the Reynoldstown project, we should be starting the conversation at 20% affordable units if any rezoning and additional density is approved, with at least some portion of those units designed to be specifically ADA accessible.
It’s time to stop kicking the commitment to affordability and accessibility down the road and it should start with this project.
There are more design concerns that should be addressed if changes are made to what was initially approved. The building interface with the BeltLine corridor needs to be more than a back-door entrance for residents of the building to enjoy and the quality of the building needs to exceed the projected twenty-to-thirty-year life cycle that the developer has stated. We know what this rezoning application portends – more poorly constructed, high-priced apartments designed without consideration of the impact on the city, the neighborhood or Atlanta BeltLine users.
Let’s not build another project that residents and visitors to Atlanta point to and regret. It’s time for the Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Beltline, Inc. to be better stewards of the Atlanta BeltLine and the unique communities through which it passes. And they can demonstrate that by how they handle this project.
Above the Law? Cathy weighs in on Mayor Reed's excessive use of emergency lights.
An investigation by Channel 2 News found that Mayor Reed uses his flashing blue emergency lights and sirens to get around town quicker for non-emergency things, like news conferences, job announcements, and even debate watch parties.
"We have to go back to the premise of the law. Elected officials can't use blue lights and sirens unless it's an emergency," said Woolard.
Mayor Reed's response?
“It’s really not about me feeling like I’m above the law and I’m just trying to do a job that's really hard,” Reed said. “The bottom line is it costs what it costs to secure the chief executive of the city.”
What do you think? Let us know on twitter! @CathyForAtlanta
Watch the full story here.
Everything You Need to Know About Voting Right Now
The good news is that you can vote today at any of the early voting polling places in Fulton County. There is no bad news in this scenario. Some of the polling places are even open on the weekend. There’s just no real logistical reason that you can’t find time to vote between now and the end of the day on November 8th.
The chill in the air is finally back and it’s safe to say that fall has arrived. I hope you’ll join us for some fun and hard cider at Urban Cidery on November 14th. This event is as much a friend-raiser as a fundraiser so we hope you’ll come out, bring some new friends to hear about the campaign and enjoy good hard cider, food and music as we get ready to campaign like it's 2017!