Being an elected official was never supposed to be an occupation, it was always supposed to be an act of civil servitude. Term limits prevent career politicians and help keep our governing bodies caught up with current values and keep solutions modern. I believe three terms (12 years), is more than enough time on a city council to pass the agenda and promises a candidate ran on.
Our energy usage and grid should be a lot like a good stock portfolio, diversified. Investing in newer and cleaner energies not only allows individuals and our governments to save money on their bills and taxes, but it also creates a more sustainable and clean environment. I believe all government buildings should run on renewable energies to cut back on the money spent running them and using those saving in better ways. Enacting a one time tax credit to new residential renewable installations would also incentive homeowners to invest in a clean energy system while helping them keep a little more in their pockets.
I believe our police should be given the best training possible that focuses on de-escalation and nonlethal practices. Being trained in hand-to-hand combat makes officers feel safer in their abilities and reduces their chances of using lethal force. For example, here in Georgia, we are seeing precincts teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and because of it use-of-force numbers are down by almost a quarter. You can read about it in the article I'm attaching. I also would like to invest in body cameras which have been proven to reduce the use of force and allow real tangible evidence in our courtrooms.
A sunset clause can easily be described as an expiration date, whereas after the specified amount of time has been reached, the contract or statute is no longer valid. In the context of a law or ordinance, if the rule is popular or successful, another vote would be done to extended it another term. Adding a sunset clause to all new ordinances would make the process of removing older rulings that are no longer relevant or outdated a more streamlined process, as it would take care of itself. It also has the added benefit of making our city council and governing bodies look at the effectiveness of each new ordinance and decide if it's worth continuing to enforce. Under this system, all new approved ordinances will come with a twenty (20) year clause.
Home Buyer Grace Period
The current housing market is facing problems we haven't seen at this scale in arguably decades. One of the many causes of this competitive and inflated market is due to private and institutional investment firms buying out first time home buyers. In many cases new homes put on the market are sold within minutes, typically in cash at a price way above the asking, making it close to impossible for families and first time home buyers to even put in an offer they can afford. 22% of all home sold in 2022 were done by such firms, https://www.billtrack50.com/blog/investment-firms-and-home-buying/. To prevent our city from becoming another victim of this market and becoming too expensive to live in, I suggest that only after fourteen (14) days of a single family home being put on the market may such firms make an offer. This allows families and hopefuls a chance to live in the city we all call home and allow them to see what makes our town so great, while keeping out firms and corporations from taking it away.
Fiber Optic Internet Investment
In this day of age, we rely so heavily on access to fast and reliable internet, whether it's for school, working from home, or our simple day-to-day tasks like paying bills. Affordable and dependable internet is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. It's strange that in a developed city, especially one with a major university, that many of us simply don't have these options. To put it into perspective, here in Kennesaw according to BestNeighborhood.org we have 3 internet service providers that offer fiber: AT&T with just over 60% availability, Xfinity with just under 10%, and Google fiber with only 1%. Our local government needs to work with ISPs and invest in the infrastructure required to give the citizens of Kennesaw the options of fiber optic internet at competitive prices before we fall too behind. We can't afford to have our progress stippled by a loading bar.
I believe one of the biggest debates with Airbnb is the pattern of property being bought solely for the purpose of being used as a short-term rental. I’m a supporter of finding ways to create passive income or another source of revenue, but sometimes these ventures do get out of hand. Likewise, I believe in a reasonable limit in purchasing property and converting them to short term rentals, such as a maximum number of properties a single person or entity can run. In a housing market as competitive and filled with private equity firms buying units at prices normal people cannot afford, limits like these can ensure at least a fighting chance for everyday folk and first-time home buyers to purchase property.
Downtown Golf Cart Usage
Many towns, including ones around us like Acworth and Woodstock, allow Golf Carts (PT Vehicles) in downtown areas and streets with speed limits of less than 25 MPH. It’s been done and can be done here in our downtown. Like any vehicle, rules need to be followed: drivers must be licensed, must have turn signals, not permitted on sidewalks, and vehicles must be registered, to name a few. If implemented properly, I see no problem why PTVs shouldn’t be allowed.
Apartment vs Single Family Home Development
I believe in utilizing our lands as effectivity as possible and creating a balance of accommodating buildings like apartment complexes to our rising population and traditional single-family homes for those who enjoy suburbia. Spaces town homes utilizes space nicely while still allowing a sense of property ownership. For those who prefer the renter’s lifestyle of cheaper living expenses or simply not wanting the stress of a mortgage, apartment complexes are a great way to do just that. Like all things, balance is the key to sustainability. However, we need to make sure that new apartment complex's that are approved will not contribute to the further gentrification of our city. I highlight this in my policy below.
Stop the Gentrification
In the modern world we are seeing a trend of "high end" and "luxury" complexes being built promising affordable rates, but as soon as people start moving in they increase rates to predatory levels. These so called "luxury apartments" sprout up rapidly across cities like ours and this is almost always just the beginning of gentrification. We have seen time and time again this process taking place in towns and cities just like ours where the final outcome is citizens can no longer afford and are finically forced to leave the homes they've built their lives in. I see this happening in our home, and I will fight the corporate greed trying to take our city. This starts with one main promise, a stop to these projects.
Run Off Elections
Here in Kennesaw we practice a first past the post style of elections whereas a candidate only needs to receive a plurality of the vote, not a majority. As we saw in last years city council special election the winning candidate received just 18% of the vote, a system where 82% of the voters don't vote for the winner is a system built to fail. Run off elections prevent this and requires the winning candidate to receive 50% of the vote +1, ensuring that the majority of voters get their preferred candidate. A 2021 study done by the CRS found that 80% of Americans have a favorable view of run offs, this passes the 50% +1 threshold, easily I should add. A common concern many have about runoff elections is reduced numbers in the 2nd round and the added cost, which are reasonable things to address, in fact my senior thesis was on this topic. The reduced number can be addressed to many things, but its predominantly because of accessibility to vote. Fortunately in this day of age voting has never been easier with expanded options including: weeks of early voting, absentee voting, Saturday voting, and mail in ballots. As for the price I have two things to say 1. You can not put a price on democracy and true representation, 2. Instant Run-Off Voting / Ranked Choice Voting. IRV/RCV has become more prevalent in the past few years with now 17 states practicing it from the local to even presidential levels. IRV/RCV is not only popular by voters who use the system, but it also does away with the spoiler effect and allows voters to actually vote for the candidates they like rather than who they think can beat the person they don't want to win. Most importantly since its done at the time of voting no 2nd round of in person voting is required, saving voters time and local governments from using tax payer dollars.
If you've driven down Cherokee Street or Main Street anytime recently, especially in the mornings or just after school/work lets out, you've probably experienced an insane level of traffic and reckless driving. You're not alone. Its obvious our current infrastructure doesn't accommodate the current level of residents we have, let alone the thousands more we will soon have when the close to 2000 apartment units being built right now are finished. Things will only get worse if our City Council keeps this pace of adding more and more "luxury" apartments with little to no focus on our outdated infrastructure. Adding a roundabout to Cherokee Street would: allow a continuous flow of traffic, create less oppurntity for collisions, reduce speeding, and create cleaner air with less idling vehicles. Potholes, overgrown roots, cracking asphalt, all of these are given quick fixes instead of the proper treatment they need which only ends up costing taxpayers more money compared if they were fixed the correct way the first time. We need a council that understand the cheapest option isn't always the best and that investing in modernizing our infrastructure is key to reducing traffic, not adding another lane.
More Key Issues to Come