When I first considered asking for your vote to represent you on the Atlanta City Council, I got together with neighbors and sought feedback. One person said: you knew I’d work for you because I already had. That’s when I decided to run. I knew I could do this job for you.
Over the years before I ran, I had organized a neighborhood watch, handled constituent services for the outgoing councilman, helped community groups pull themselves together, and gathered teams to clean up our parks. I had learned that, while our intown communities are a work in progress, progress doesn’t just happen. It takes constant patience and care and attention. It takes work.
That’s my vision of good government at the local level: ongoing and hands on.
In the years since you first elected me, I have put that vision into practice. What began years ago as organizing a neighborhood watch to keep my street safe has become almost daily interaction with our Atlanta Police Zone Commanders and other officers, relaying to them the news they need to protect us better. I help neighborhoods set up watch programs and security patrols. I obtained a grant to create a District 1 restorative justice board to secure compensation for crime victims and to deflect at-risk youth from a downward spiral. And after years of being understaffed, the Atlanta Police Department is now up to nearly 2,000 officers on the force, with enhanced technological tools to fight crime for you.
Our communities thrive when the parks and greenspaces within them do, so pulling together “Friends of the Park” groups is one of my key tasks. We now have more “Friends” groups in District 1 than any other part of the City. Neighbors work to clean up their nearby park or greenspace, patrol it, and keep it safe. Community flourishes. The streets around are more secure. And we have opened new parks, including one of the first Beltline Parks to be completed.
We are building an intown environment. Safe streets and clean parks are a must, and so too is development that works for us. I have pulled together and found funding for local land use studies. Neighbors meet, voice their priorities, and cast their votes. We put on paper the kind of development we want. Just like a “Friends of the Park” group, these “Livable Centers Initiatives” and their neighborhood redevelopment planning process foster community and show neighbors as stakeholders. And I have worked to make the traffic flow better through our streets with new timing for traffic lights and additional placements of four-way stops.
Our intown environment also demands that we keep it clean. I served as Co-Chair of the City’s Solid Waste Facilities Task Force, and working with the City’s environmental affairs department I established the City’s Electronic Waste Recycling Day, when Atlanta residents recycle old computers and electronics. I organize and fund an annual District 1 tire removal day. Our recycling lowers our garbage fees. I authored an ordinance to restrict commercial repair or servicing of motor vehicles on residential property, another to limit truck and bus idling times to lower air pollution, and another one to require cement trucks to catch their spilling concrete. “Picking up after ourselves” not only puts our best foot forward, it builds our neighborhood spirit.
How City Hall works is every bit as essential to our intown environment as safe streets and recycling and traffic lights. My task as your voice at City Hall is to make things work for you. It has a fancier name, Constituent Service, but making things work for you is the heart and soul of it. It could be tracking down a City arborist so that you get a permit to remove a dying tree threatening your home, or replacing a smashed herbie curbie, or dealing with a boarded up house on your street, or help with a water bill that just doesn’t make sense. None of those are easy to navigate through the bureaucracy. I’ve got the numbers to call, and my staff and I are here to help, and we stick with it. When it’s your tree or your curbie or your street or your twelve hundred dollar water bill, I know that it feels like it’s the most important problem in the city. When you call, I get to work in it.
And you expect us to be good stewards of the tax dollars you pay. I’m known for doing everything I can at City Hall to stretch a dollar. Over the last four years, we’re managed to put our City back on a sound financial footing. We are living within our means, a turnaround accomplished without raising your taxes. Reserves have increased from $7 million to nearly $127 million. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s have both raised our credit ratings, enabling the city to sell bonds at more favorable interest rates, meaning savings for you.
Consensus matters. I am committed to consultation as a governing plan. I meet regularly with neighborhood groups to compare notes. We share our successes, and we have learned to view District 1 as one big neighborhood.
Ongoing and hands on work makes a difference. In November, when I ask for your vote again, you can have confidence that you are voting for someone who stays on task. You’ll know that I will work for you. I already have.
Thank you for your support.
P.S. You can message me through the “Contact Me” page of this website. You can also phone me: my home phone number 404-627-8313. Let’s talk!
Paid for by Friends and Neighbors of Carla Smith. No government funds were used.