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Closing Comments from the 10.26.21 BOC Meeting

Good Afternoon Everyone:

It was a great privilege to attend the Four Pillar Tribute Honoring Ambassador Andrew Young sponsored by the Council for Quality Growth on October 14th. The theme for the evening was Peace in The Midst of Struggles. When I consider the struggles that this great man experienced over the course of his amazing life, I am deeply moved and humbled. He was a member of the United States Congress. He was the US Ambassador to the United Nations. He was Mayor of Atlanta, GA. And of course, he was a friend, ally, and confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the civil rights movement. The tributes to him that evening in words and music were wonderful. It is difficult to overstate the impact that Andrew Young has had on the State of Georgia, the United States, and globally.

On a related note, over the weekend I was able to watch an interview with Ambassador Young on The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart. During that discussion, Andrew Young’s humanity, insight, and good humor came shining through. I would recommend watching this to anyone.

Throughout the years of struggle, at age 89, Andrew Young remains a man of peace. His example is something that we should all strive to emulate.

It was great to join my friends in the Safari Woods Community for their Fall Festival on October 16th. Safari Woods is one of the great communities in District 4 and they have always been supportive of my efforts. The weather that day was perfect. The fellowship was wonderful. And the food was excellent. I want to thank community leader and my dear friend Mrs. Rozella Pringle and all the other leaders for keeping their community together and for the invitation to attend. I look forward to returning in the future.

Later that day, my wife and I spent some time in Hairston Park. My office made an allocation of $142,000 in May of 2017 to Hairston Park, which was one of many such allocations that I have made to District 4 parks, and it remains deeply gratifying to see the improvements that continue to take place in that wonderful space. Likewise, it was gratifying to see so many people that day enjoying the park. Once again, I want to thank Gwen Stegall, Jan Costello, and all the Friends of Hairston Park for their continued leadership in their embrace of this wonderful space.

On October 18, I was invited to speak at the Task Force for Global Health’s Council for Opportunity Diversity and Equity. During that meeting, I was able to share some of my initiatives with this highly engaged, highly intelligent, and diverse group of people. In turn, I received some insightful thoughts from them. We are so fortunate to have this outstanding organization headquartered right here in DeKalb County. I want to commend President and CEO Dr. David Ross for the excellent work that The Task Force for Global Health is engaged in all over the world. And I want to thank him for affording me the opportunity to speak with that outstanding group of leaders.

On October 21 it was great fun to visit the Station Soccer venue at the West End MARTA Station on October 21st. I was joined on that site visit by my friend and colleague Commissioner Ted Terry. Soccer in the Streets or Station Soccer is a citywide community project built around a vision to create a network of mini soccer fields and more, anchored by MARTA transit stations. Affordability and transportation hurdles mean that many kids in the metro Atlanta area do not have access to safe places to play soccer nor the resources required to travel. This wonderful program seeks to mitigate and alleviate these hurdles. In the next few months, we will be breaking ground on a Station Soccer location at the Kensington MARTA Station. I want to thank Sanjay Patel and Tony Carter for their commitment to this effort. They are doing an outstanding job. Obviously, I am supportive of this program and we look forward to having Station Soccer in District 4 sometime soon.

It was an honor for me to attend the Felony Mental Health Treatment Court Graduation Ceremony on October 21st. This is one of the Accountability Courts that was derivative of some criminal justice reform measures. Simply stated, these programs offer an alternative to going to jail and affords individuals who complete the program the opportunity to get their lives back on track. My office has been supportive of this effort since its inception. Watching these folks complete such programs is encouraging. And it was an honor for me to bear witness. I want to thank my friend DeKalb Superior Court Judge Shondena Morris for her excellent administration of this program. And I want to thank her for the invitation to attend the ceremony.

On October 22nd, we held our regular DeKalb Mayors Roundtable meeting. This is an initiative that I started in 2018 to build better relationships with our municipal leaders. As usual the mayors were not shy about sharing their concerns or the great things that are going on in their respective cities. I always come away from those meetings with valuable insights. I would like to thank meeting participants: Doraville Mayor Joseph Geireman, Pine Lake Mayor Melanie Hammet, Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson, Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett, Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch, Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst, Stone Mountain Mayor Pat Wheeler, and Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary. I will continue to host these meetings for as long as the mayors see value in doing so. And like I did on Friday, I want to commend Mayor Eric Clarkson and Mayor Pat Wheeler for their years of dedicated service. Both will be leaving office at the end of this year after achieving remarkable success in their respective cities. I just want to thank them both for choosing the path of public service. I look forward to seeing what’s next from both of these outstanding leaders in the future.

On October 23rd, we held our final Quarterly in the Fourth Community Breakfast meeting for 2021. This is an initiative that I started in 2018 to create another point of access between me and the constituents that I represent. As usual, there were excellent questions from the attendees on several issues. I want to thank all the departments who participated. As always, your support is greatly appreciated. Additionally, we had some special guests who joined us as well to include, Clerk of the Superior Court Debra DeBerry, Dekalb State Court Judge Kimberly Anderson, State Representative Billy Mitchell, and President of the DeKalb Chapter of the National Council of Negro Women Derrica Williams. Their presence and comments greatly enhanced our meeting. I intend to continue these meetings in 2022. Hopefully, we will be able to resume doing these meetings in person sometime next year.

If you need any information or assistance, you may call my office at 404-371-4749 or visit my website at l will close today by once again, thanking the citizens of District 4 for affording me this opportunity to serve. It is indeed an honor.

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