HomeRocking Chair ReflectionsA Letter From Carla...

A Letter From Carla Smith

Dear Neighbors,

Twenty years as your City Councilperson: I will reach this milestone shortly.

It has been one of the great privileges of my life to work for you. During these five terms, you have given me an opportunity to make a difference.

Together, we made positive impacts on Atlanta and our District 1 community that will endure. Livable Centers Initiatives (LCIs) have enabled residents to envision their communities and channel that vision into guidelines for future development. Funds from the sale of the old stadium are being plowed back into the neighborhoods nearby. Our Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) and the Browns Mill Food Forest receive national media coverage as pathbreaking approaches. Soon, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will knit our neighborhoods together and whisk us to work, shopping, and amenities. Projects from one end of District 1 to the other — from the underground infrastructure needed for the Villages at Carver to the Glenwood at Moreland realignment — show what can be done when we as a community invest our time and seek consensus. We used to be literally “the other side of the railroad tracks,” but, together, we’ve changed our trajectory.

Long-term residents and newcomers alike face day-to-day challenges. To my mind, the role of a City Councilperson extends well beyond legislation, budgeting, and community planning. If the City were a business, my office door would be labeled “Customer Service.” Untended lots and missed trash pick-ups, crime hot spots and leaking water lines, code violations and the name change of Confederate Avenue, animal cruelty issues and potholes, I take your calls. My home phone number is listed, and week after week I get marching orders directly from you. Quality of Life is an ongoing concern. The Big Picture doesn’t matter much if the City doesn’t work for you, and for two decades I have paid attention to the little things. One of the things I am proudest of, as I look back on my community service, is that people really do say, “Everybody has a Carla story.”

With genuinely mixed emotions, I write to share this news: my work for you as your City Councilperson draws to a close. I will not seek re-election.

I know District 1. I know many of you have the same urge that I had, to serve the community. I know there are lots of folks with great talent and good hearts who can do this job and do it well. Making my decision early gives people time to consider running. No chosen successor waits in the wings. Just like any other voter, I look forward to learning what the candidates have to say. If there comes a time that seems right, I may weigh in. For now, everyone who wants to make a difference should at least consider running. From personal experience: it will be one of the highlights of your life.

I love my community. I want to stay in touch, during the rest of my fifth term and during the years after. You have my home phone number. Keep in touch.

Carla Smith

Your City Councilperson


1099 Woodland Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316


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