Public Safety Crisis and Workforce Development

Despite large tax increases intended to support police services, there remains a substantial vacancy in positions, affecting public safety levels. The DeKalb Police Department currently has over $10-million in funding for positions that are not filled. Moreover, the responsiveness of code compliance and other county services must be improved to ensure community standards and safety. Addressing these issues will enhance the overall quality of life for District 1 residents.

The County is currently at a crisis level of staffing. I will start a program to partner with the DeKalb County School District to create a career pathway program where students can take the EMT licensure on their 18th birthday and be guaranteed a job as an EMT serving DeKalb County. If the program cannot be ramped up quickly enough, we will provide 100% technical college scholarships.

I will continue that collaboration with the school system to start a career pathway program for students to be guaranteed a job (contingent on standard checks) with DeKalb County Police of Sherriff’s Departments upon high school graduation. Students can work on various assignments (jailer, transport officer, crime tech, etc.) until they can go to the academy at 20 years old and be sworn in on their 21st birthday to serve the residents of DeKalb County with a guaranteed salary of $55,000.

Enhanced Public Services

This was reported to Commissioner Patrick on 12/14/23 and he responded he was “on it.” It still has not been repaired.

DeKalb County’s services require attention and improvement to better serve both city dwellers and residents of unincorporated areas. The services offered to cities and unincorporated residents have gotten much worse in the last four years. DeKalb County Watershed continues to tear up streets and sidewalks, leaving steel plates and gravel there for months and sometimes years. It is essential to recognize efforts for resolution and focus on collaborative approaches for faster outcomes.

Additionally, the mental health crisis center’s funding remains unfunded, impacting the well-being of many individuals. The County’s approach to homelessness also necessitates a more robust and comprehensive strategy. The derelict response to both of these issues is only compounding issues at the jail. A new approach that involves collaboration with county and state entities to secure necessary funding and resources is crucial for addressing these concerns effectively.

My opponent’s position: The Commissioner fails to see the role of county government in addressing these issues and has not made them a priority. The reasons for the annexation petitions has been the lack of effective government and timely action.

Annexation and Resident Engagement

The principle that residents should have the right to petition their government is fundamental to democratic values. Discussions around annexation and the potential for referendums are significant to ensure that residents’ voices are heard and considered. Engaging in open dialogue and supporting measures that empower community involvement are key to fostering transparent and responsive governance. Whether residents join a city or decide not to, it is important that there be a vision for a neighborhood, a plan to provide effective services, and someone who can effectively communicate and implement that plan. That can be a Mayor and Council or two county commissioners.

My opponent’s position: The Commissioner believes that residents should not be allowed to petition their government and espouses Republican, not Democratic, values to suppress the voting rights of residents in District 1. He has even pushed State Legislators to issue a three-year moratorium on any annexation votes.

PDK Airport Expansion Concerns

Commissioner Patrick refused to attend a community meeting with other Commissioners regarding the historic expansion of PDK

The proposed expansion of PDK airport has raised important environmental, social, and community concerns. It is vital that thorough environmental and sound studies precede any such developments to assess their impacts responsibly. Ensuring that community voices are heard and acknowledged through constructive dialogue and public meetings is essential in maintaining trust and accountability.

My opponent’s position:  Shortly after selling his home under the PDK flight path and moving to Dunwoody, he advocated for unprecedented PDK expansion, even though residents gathered 3000 signatures on a petition in opposition. In November 2023 he cast the deciding 4-3 swing vote by the County Commission to approve the PDK Master Plan, which allows much larger, noisier, and massively more polluting jets at PDK than previously.

Animal Welfare

The welfare of animals under the care of DeKalb Animal Services must be a priority, with clear plans and actions required to address ongoing issues. A four-year-old shelter should not be on the news. The County has a tremendous advocacy group. It is time to listen to them and develop concrete plans to follow their 5 common-sense ideas.

Sanitation, Recycling, and Green Programs

Improving the efficiency of local recycling programs is a priority that has been overlooked for too long. The County has had a broken system for almost five years.

I pledge to initiate the transition to unleaded aviation fuel at our county airport, which the FAA has allowed for years. This change is not just about adhering to environmental standards; it’s about protecting the health of our residents, preserving our beautiful landscapes, and setting a precedent for sustainable aviation practices.

Government Transparency and Charter Review

The obstructive approach to the Charter Review Commission’s work hinders progress and transparency. It is imperative to support efforts that allow for timely revisions and public input, ensuring that the County’s governance reflects the current needs and values of its residents. The current DeKalb charter still refers to chain gangs!

My opponent’s position: The Commissioner has been obstructing the progress of implementing the findings of the Charter Review Commission. On  March 5th, he refused to adopt the findings and let the residents vote in November. He has also been distracted for four years fighting various ethics cases and has racked up an unprecedented six campaign finance violations, where he has been fined $650.

Frankly, we need a Commissioner that priortizes things differently.