John H. Eaves
Occupation: University Administrator and Professor; Former Chairman, Fulton County Board of Commissioners; Former Peace Corps Regional Director
Previous experience holding elected offices: 10 years as Chairman, Fulton County
Other community service experience: The Temple, Member, Social Action Committee; Founder, Fulton County Interfaith Council; Leadership Atlanta, Class of 2001; Fulbright Alumni Association of Georgia; German Marshall Fund Alumni Association; Morehouse College Alumni Association; Yale Alumni Association of Georgia; Established the Global Youth Leadership Program in Fulton County
What is motivating you to run for the Mayor’s Office?
City Hall needs an overhaul, and as mayor, I want to do for Atlanta what I did as chairman of Fulton County the past ten years. Fulton is now the role model nationwide; this year being named best county for transparency/ethics by the National Association of Counties. There has been zero corruption or scandal in Fulton. Also, where the county was once mired by division along racial, partisan and geographical lines, I unified Democrats, Republicans, south and north Fulton residents and Atlantans. We’ve passed the Eaves (property) Tax Freeze, reduced violent crime, saved Grady Hospital, and rebuilt our library system.
What role do you see Buckhead as playing in the city’s civic life?
Buckhead should be a key player in the development of policies that impact other parts of the city, economically, culturally and socially. We must utilize the business/development brain trust and acumen of Buckhead to redevelop the rest of the city. I also would like to see Buckhead be a part of the apex for new training, jobs, education and development so we can keep our best and brightest here in Atlanta.
Are you satisfied with the Atlanta Police Department’s efforts to fight crime in the neighborhood? Would you suggest any other strategies?
Until everyone is safe and secure, we should never be satisfied. We have approximately 1,850 officers, well below the proposed 2,000. As mayor, I will prioritize the hiring of new officers to return the city to optimal numbers. My plan is for them to be strategically placed in neighborhoods, engaging with the community, i.e., walking a beat, or patrolling on bicycles or Segways. Further, and unlike my opponents, I will redouble our effort to retain those we hire by focusing on retention, good pay and affordable housing to provide incentives for our cops to live where they work.
What is your position on the proposal for a new park capping Ga. 400 in central Buckhead?
I support the “Park over Ga. 400” idea. Buckhead has the least green space per capita, and if estimates are correct, the economic impact would be a boon for Buckhead, in turn, a boon for Atlanta. Plus, I encourage public-private partnerships as a means to ensure good, smart and sustaining growth. If everyone has a stake, then a project has a greater chance of success. Also, we should consider transit-oriented housing as well. This reminds me of the 5th Street (Georgia Tech) overpass on the Downtown Connector; a good example of creatively building and “bridging” communities with park space.
Describe a policy or program you would enact or improve that would directly benefit Buckhead.
Real tax reform and ethics. On Day One, I plan to: 1) launch an analysis of the city’s financial condition to provide real data on the next best steps to achieve our overall goals and how to fund them, including a tax-reform strategy that finds way to offer real relief such as exemptions for seniors and longtime residents; 2) Empanel a Mayor’s Commission on E.T.H.I.C.S. (Ethics, Transparency, Honesty in City Services) to begin a complete review of policies and procedures to end the taint of corruption on City Hall, which will include every department or division in the city government.