Al Bartell to Challenge Atlanta Councilman Michael Julian Bond in 2017
Bartell has previously run for City Council President in 2009, but says he had to drop out of the race due to medical issues he was experiencing. He also previously ran for Mayor against Kasim Reed in 2013.
“The lessons I learned from previous campaigns is to not get caught up in the political marketing and stay with the integrity of community engagement,” Bartell told Atlanta Progressive News.
Bartell is critical of political campaigns that exist solely to “keep collecting money,” saying “it disregards the interest of people who live in the community.”
Four key areas will drive Bartell’s campaign: green space development, affordable housing, community policing, and stormwater management.
“[I]t’s just unbelievable how much green space is not available in these [urban communities]… I want to make that the number one priority in my campaign,” Bartell said.
Bartell spoke critically about the recent proposed displacement of residents in Peoplestown-Summerhill by the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, including community icon Ms. Mattie Jackson.
“What is happening in Peoplestown and Summerhill is an example of corporations controlling our public policy on housing in the city. And it’s an ineffective policy and it has to be dismantled at all costs,” Bartell said.
Bartell spoke critically about the lack of affordable housing policy in Atlanta. “All we do is look at the bond market for mixed-use housing… we don’t have affordable housing public policy for our city,” Bartell said.
To Bartell, community policing looks like a Public Safety/Legal Administration Committee focused on “establishing community engagement and funding community engagement.”
Additionally, Bartell spoke about increasing the number of crime prevention inspectors throughout the City, as a way to create a more community-oriented police force.
“There’s only a dozen… throughout the city, and there needs to be fifteen times that,” Bartell said.
Bartell raised the concern regarding Councilman Bond having recently settled a slew of ethics violations with the City earlier this year.
“[Bond’s] ethics violations are another example of disregard for the public trust. His relationship to corporations and special interest groups are examples of his disregard for public trust,” Bartell said.
Bartell’s previous campaigns have focused on public engagement as a key to reform, a platform that still resonates strongly in his campaign.
“Unless we have a community engagement public policy and have community involvement in the decision making process… we will be subject to gentrification,” Bartell said.
Bartell contacted APN to learn more about the Green Party of Georgia, following APN’s recent coverage of their struggles with ballot access. APN provided Bartell with contact information for the party.
Councilman Bond said the Post 1 seat belongs to the people, not to him; and that he was not offended. It is his belief that no elected official should be offended when someone offers themselves as a challenger in an upcoming election.