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Holiday wishes for our next mayor

Please, not a stocking full of coal

Dear Mayor 1 1 05web .5a302e5b9128f
Photo credit: Joeff Davis/CL File

DEAR MS. MAYOR,

Congratulations and happy holidays! Atlanta voters have entrusted you with the reins to the city. Please don't screw it up.

Let's be candid here; this ain't an easy gig, and you're gonna catch some flak. It'd probably be best for you to grow some thick skin and gear up for the onslaught of antagonizing to come. Complaints will be aplenty, and compliments and congratulations will be scarce.

That said, we'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from blocking us on Twitter. We're going to call you out on your flubs. Hell, we might even be mistaken in our skepticism. Maybe we'll jab at you for gaffes you didn't make. Suck it up. You're a public official, and we are the all-knowing citizenry whose rabble you'll be obligated to entertain.

We know it is a lot to ask, but 'tis the holiday season. It is a time of giving. So why not start stuffing our stockings, spinning the dreidel, or drinking from the unity cup so we have something to toast to at the start of the new year? We can make anything happen in this city if we work together and have the right priorities. The more creative and outrageous the better. The status quo is not the answer. So we've put together a list of holiday wishes for our Atlanta future we hope you can grant us some.

We want to live in an Atlanta where improving our neighborhood does not mean exiling us from our neighborhood.

We want to live in an Atlanta where 'affordable housing' isn't just a buzz term, but a reality enforced by legislation.

We want to live in an Atlanta where all residents have access to free Wi-Fi.

We want to live in an Atlanta where we don't have to look at monuments and street signs honoring white supremacy.

We want to live in an Atlanta where we are a true sanctuary city that welcomes refugees and refuses to turn residents over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

We want to live in an Atlanta where public schools are better than private ones.

We want to live in an Atlanta where school funding is not based on property tax rates, which leads to unequal access to education.

We want to live in an Atlanta where HIV and other health screenings are free and easy to access.

We want to live in an Atlanta where Grady Hospital's emergency room does not have an endless wait.

We want to live in an Atlanta where $700 million of public money is distributed to 700 small Atlanta business owners instead of going to just one business owned by a billionaire to build a stadium we don't need.

We want to live in an Atlanta where stadiums paid for by public money are allowed to be used by the public.

We want to live in an Atlanta where vacant, blighted properties are not allowed to just sit and fester for years.

We want to live in an Atlanta where homeless people can rely on city systems to land them jobs, healthcare, and a place to live.

We want to live in an Atlanta where drug addiction and mental illness don't condemn someone to a life on the streets or in jail.

We want to live in an Atlanta where rehabilitation programs are available to those who need them whenever they need them.

We want to live in an Atlanta where jails aren't jam-packed with poor people who have committed nonviolent crimes.

We want to live in an Atlanta where libraries receive as much funding as correctional facilities.

We want to live in an Atlanta where mental health professionals work with police departments so that every 911 call is not treated as a criminal issue.

We want to live in an Atlanta where the public defender budget is as big as the district attorney budget.

We want to live in an Atlanta where police don't carry guns.

We want to live in an Atlanta where every citizen-cop confrontation is filmed and promptly published for all to see.

We want to live in an Atlanta where public art is everywhere.

We want to live in an Atlanta where more streets are pedestrian only.

We want to live in an Atlanta where street vendors aren't treated as the enemy, and street musicians are encouraged.

We want to live in an Atlanta where public transportation is free.

We want to live in an Atlanta where we have the option of riding a gondola across the city instead of sitting in traffic.

We want to live in an Atlanta where big businesses are not wooed to the city by outrageous financial promises.

We want to live in an Atlanta where the growth of small Atlanta businesses is the priority.

We want to live in an Atlanta where mom and pop stores are valued and helped to survive and thrive.

We want to live in an Atlanta where architecture is bizarre and outrageous and interesting and beautiful.

We want to live in an Atlanta where Ponce City and Krog Street markets aren't the new retail norm.

We want to live in an Atlanta where cell phones are illegal in some places.

We want to live in an Atlanta where one position on the city council is randomly chosen from the citizenry.

We want to live in an Atlanta where there are more free Atlanta festivals and Freaknik is an annual extravaganza.

We want to live in an Atlanta where Chad Radford programs one day of the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

We want to live in an Atlanta where issues of race and class are openly discussed.

We want to live in an Atlanta where there is a river in the heart of the city instead of a highway.

We want to live in an Atlanta where we can borrow the latest technology at the library.

We want to live in an Atlanta where metal plates aren't the solution to fixing roadways.

We want to live in an Atlanta where maintaining a strong economy is as important as maintaining a strong cultural identity.

We want to live in an Atlanta where Atlanta museums and aquariums and zoos have a free day once a week.

We want to live in an Atlanta where urban farming is encouraged.

We want to live in an Atlanta where we have a soul food museum.

We want to live in an Atlanta where the Beltline benefits the locals more than the property developers.

We want to live in an Atlanta where alternative energy is encouraged and subsidized.

We want to live in an Atlanta where green space is expanded and trees are hugged.

We want to live in an Atlanta where movies are shown in Piedmont Park on summer nights again and every park gets as much care as Piedmont Park.

We want to live in an Atlanta where our city leads the nation in quality of life, not income inequality.

Love,

An anxious gaggle of Atlantans



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