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Nov 1, 2021

Axios Atlanta

Hey, Atlanta! Who let Monday back in the house???

☀️ Today's weather: It's gonna be a nice day, sunny with a high of 69.

Situational awareness: Despite a grand slam and taking an early lead, the Braves could not hold on to win the World Series. Game 6 is Tuesday at 8:09 pm ET in Houston.

Today's newsletter is 930 words — a 3.5-minute read

1 big issue: 🤔 What's the no. 1 issue for mayoral candidates?

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Tomorrow, after surviving roughly a year of friendly policy forums, politicking and mudslinging, Atlanta voters will cast ballots for their next choice of mayor, City Council president and representatives, and school board members.

  • Every candidate makes promises to solve Atlanta issues. But time, energy, and resources can be limited. So, we asked all 14 candidates where their administrations would focus most of their attention if elected.

The big picture: Campaign promises can set up candidates for failure, but they’re a good indication of priorities.

  • Four of the five top candidates listed crime or public safety as the number-one issue facing Atlanta.

Below are the responses from the five candidates leading polls and fundraising, in alphabetical order.

Read the full story for all of the responses from the mayoral hopefuls who responded to our questions.

Antonio Brown

  • Issue: Generational poverty and income inequality
  • Idea: Increasing access to living-wage jobs with health insurance in tech, healthcare, and infrastructure, and capital to build and expand businesses."
  • What he's saying: “By creating this inclusive ecosystem we can address these systemic issues and ensure no Atlantan is ever left behind again.”

Andre Dickens

  • Issue: Public safety
  • Idea: The SAFE Streets Plan centers on officers building trust with the community, using new technology and following policy and operating with oversight. In addition, addressing socioeconomic issues that contribute to crime with after-school programs, jobs and affordable housing.
  • What he's saying: “We have to… [do] more to ensure that we don’t just try to arrest our way out of the issue, but we truly address the issues facing our city.”

Sharon Gay

  • Issue: Public safety
  • Ideas include: A four-point plan to recruit, retain and equip officers; build stronger bonds with neighborhoods to address community concerns like unlicensed nightclubs; reduce recidivism by working with the judicial system; and address the root causes of crime.
  • What she's saying: “By working together, we can ensure that Atlanta is again a safe and welcoming city for all.”

Felicia Moore

  • Issue: Crime and public safety
  • Ideas include: New unarmed first responder unit to address those experiencing homelessness and behavioral and mental health crises, more transparency and accountability from the public safety department including releasing body cam footage and records within at least 72 hours, anonymous tip line for officers.
  • What she's saying: “Crime and public safety are the number-one concern for all Atlanta residents, businesses and visitors. It has not only covered this city in a cloud of unease, but it's hurting our brand.”

Kasim Reed

  • Issue: Crime
  • Ideas include: Hire and train 750 new officers, add implicit bias and de-escalation training, keep Atlanta city jail open, re-open recreation centers, expand the prearrest diversion program, and triple the network of traffic light cameras and license plate readers.
  • What he's saying: “Crime impacts our personal and collective quality of life and the city’s reputation, creating a vicious cycle that undermines everything that makes our city vibrant. The fundamental truth is that until Atlanta feels safe again, nothing else will feel right.”
2. 🏠 Property tax break on the ballot

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Less talked about in tomorrow’s election: a vote that would make a break on property taxes that fund Atlanta Public Schools permanent.

Why it matters: APS taxes make up more than half of an Atlantan homeowner’s property tax bill.

  • Policies like homestead exemptions provide tax relief for homeowners — but not renters — and, in many cases, help prevent displacement for seniors or people on low or fixed incomes.

Details: According to the resolution, the tax break would exempt $50,000 of a homeowner’s assessed property value, but they would be required to pay taxes on at least $10,000 of the value.

The numbers: Seth Coleman, a spokesperson for APS, says the school system estimates that at the current millage rate, the exemption would save the average homeowner $414 a year.

  • APS did not provide an estimate for how much the tax break would cost the system in lost revenue.
3. Catch up on the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's killers

Defendant Travis McMichael (L) and his attorney during jury selection. Photo: Octavio Jones-Pool/Getty Images

This is the third week of jury selection in the trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s accused killers in Brunswick.

What’s happening: Lawyers on all sides have been sifting through hundreds of potential jurors to find people who are unbiased. The court has so far qualified 55 of the 64 they need.

Why so slow? Glynn County is already a small community, and the attention on the Ahmaud Arbery killing permeated globally. Lawyers have struggled to find jurors who:

1. Haven't already made up their minds about the case

2. Do not have ties to Arbery or any of the accused killers.

Read more about the kinds of conflicts popping up among potential jurors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  • Yes, but: They’re almost there. Just nine more jurors need to be qualified.
4. 💔 Atlanta remembers Jovita Moore

A mural created by artist Jurell Cayetano that honors Jovita Moore was displayed on the Georgia's Own Credit Union sign perched on top of Downtown's 100 Peachtree building. Photo courtesy Georgia's Own Credit Union

News that longtime Channel 2 Action News anchor Jovita Moore died after a battle with brain cancer hit us hard.

Driving the news: Moore, who was diagnosed in April with glioblastoma, or a malignant tumor affecting the brain or spine, died overnight Friday surrounded by family, WSB-TV said.

  • Moore, one of WSB's most popular journalists, anchored the 5pm, 6pm and 11pm newscasts for the ABC affiliate.

Over the weekend, a mural created by artist Jurell Cayetano was displayed on the Georgia's Own Credit Union sign on top of the 100 Peachtree building.

What they're saying: Journalists, politicians, sports teams and other companies took to social media to express sadness at the loss of one of WSB's most recognizable anchors.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

WSB says you can honor Moore by making a donation to two organizations close to her heart, Our House and the National Brain Tumor Society.

Our thought bubble: There was no one like Jovita Moore. We're going to miss her.

Kristal is obsessively calculating how she can rearrange furniture to accommodate more houseplants.

Emma needs to rent a wood splitter. Anyone have any advice?

Thomas is resting, for tomorrow is Election Day, and those tend to run long.

Editor's note: Story no. 1 has been corrected to show that there are 14 candidates (not 15) running for Atlanta mayor.

Editor's note: Story no. 4  has been corrected to show that Jovita Moore died from brain cancer, not breast cancer.