Name:Bill Overend

Email Address: bill@billoverend.com

Running for: Candidate for ACC Commission District Seven

Are you a Democrat? Yes.

If elected, will you work to enact the ACCDC platform? (Attached in the email we sent you.)

I fully support the National Democratic Party Platform. I understand the CCDC platform merely highlights important points from the national platform, so I support that as well. Having said that, much of the goals of the Democratic Platform are beyond the power and scope of local government. My primary goal as commissioner will be to make the ACC government work for and be more responsive and accountable to the citizens of Athens.

Have you ever been a member of the ACCDC? If you have, please indicate youryears of service and describe your work with the ACCDC.

I was a member of the CCDC from 2006 until 2017. I served in various leadership positions and also served as chair.

Please list all campaigns you have worked on, regardless of party affiliation, in either a volunteer or staff member capacity, on either the federal, state, or local level, and briefly describe your work on each.

I was an active advisor/volunteer on the following campaigns:

  • Heidi Davison – mayoral campaign 2006
  • Kelly Girtz – first commission campaign 2006
  • Gwen O’Looney – 2010 mayoral campaign

I was a “media consultant” (I helped with drafting, recording, and production of radio advertising) on the following campaigns:

  • James Marlow, Congress 2007
  • Tim Riley, State Senate, 2012(?)
  • David Sweat, Superior Court Judge Western Judicial Circuit
  • Sherry Jackson, State Senate
  • Mac Rawson, State Senate

Please describe any work you have done in your community, either in Athens-Clarke County or elsewhere, in support of progressive causes.

  • Board Member, Athens Justice Project
  • Voter Protection County Liaison, DPG – multiple election cycles

Please list organizations and/or causes you have been involved with in any kind of substantial way.

 

If elected, what will be your policy priorities? Please describe 3 – 5 priorities.

Five Points
Five Points is booming, but with the exciting new restaurants and shops, come new challenges in regard to density, parking and pedestrian safety. We need to not just ?x today’s problems in Five Points, but anticipate and plan ahead for what Five Points will look like in two years, ?ve years, ten years down the road, and we need to take action now to make that vision a reality.

Neighborhoods
We need to protect the character of our neighborhoods. In some cases, historic district designation is the right tool to accomplish this, but sometimes the restrictions of a historic district aren’t feasible or the right ?t. There are other, less restrictive options available and we need to be more proactive in ?nd the right solution for the right neighborhood. We need to make better use of overlay districts which can provide a broader, but less restrictive range of use and design standards in our existing neighborhoods and can be tailored to the speci?c needs of those individual neighborhoods.

Corridors
Many of the main arteries into Athens feature a hodgepodge of uses, design elements and business types. These “?rst impression” of Athens should simply look better than they currently do. Incremental attempts at addressing and cleaning up these corridors have been made, but we need more focused action needs to happen.

Economic Development
With the University and medical services industry expanding, we are on track for positive economic growth over the coming years, but we need to draw more a diverse mix of white collar industry to Athens. Our community is a perfect environment for expanding tech startups, science and engineering ?rms, and we should attract some of the huge in?ux of ?lm and television opportunities coming to Georgia. We haven’t done enough to draw these businesses here and we need to focus on attracting the type of industry that will bring good-paying jobs and keep them here.

Diversity
Diversity means more than making sure our downtown bars aren’t discriminating against minorities in violation of already established state and federal civil rights laws. It means fostering a truly diverse community.

Despite being a “progressive” or “liberal” community, Athens is still economically and socially segregated in many ways and often the best and brightest of our minority population leave Athens after high school and don’t return because there are more business and social opportunities elsewhere. We need to incentivize minority business development to keep our best and brightest here in our community and giving back to Athens.

Downtown
Our downtown used to be the envy of other small southern cities, but now, in many ways, downtown Athens is in decline. Bad odors, broken sidewalks, and dirty storefronts don’t show o? all that downtown has to o?er. But downtown doesn’t just need a physical facelift, but a more diverse economic environment as well. We need a healthy mix of retail, food and beverage, residential and o?ces to create a vibrant, livable, workable downtown district that we can all enjoy – day or night.

Does your campaign have a platform? If so, please include a link here. http://billoverend.com

Do you support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour? Yes

Do you support making it easier for workers to organize and join unions? Yes

Will you support policies aimed at increasing the stock of affordable housing in in-town neighborhoods and making home- ownership more possible for ACC’s low-income residents? yes

Would you support initiatives to help keep longtime Athens residents in their homes– people who are in danger of being pushed out of their neighborhoods by gentrification and rising taxes?

yes

Do you support equal pay for equal work for women?

Yes

Should marijuana should be removed from the list of “Schedule 1” federal controlled substances?

Yes

Should local law enforcement agencies be required to assist federal immigration law enforcement agencies with deportations?

No

Should military-style weapons be accessible to civilians?

Not as they currently are. I do think that review and approval by local law enforcement, along with REAL background checks, should be an available avenue for collectors, etc. But generally, it is far too easy to acquire a gun in this country – no matter what type of gun.

Do you support repealing the Campus Carry law?

Yes. Stupid law.

Do you support incentivizing investments in clean energy and ending tax breaks and other perks for fossil fuel companies?

Yes

Do you support increasing protections for wetlands buffers to help keep our waterways uncontaminated?

Yes

Do you support comprehensive non-discrimination legislation in ACC? What does that look like?

The reality is that a local government has very little power to enforce the types of laws to address discrimination in the substantive way that state legislation could and should. We certainly can continue to have strong non-discrimination policies in those areas that the ACCUG does have enforceable authority (the “dress-code”ordinance being one example, government hiring practices, ACCPD policy), but, as frustrating as it may be, the truth is that we simply cannot enact and enforce the type of “comprehensive non-discrimination legislation” that many in our community (and state-wide)are seeking. Local ordinances are not “legislation.” They are not enforceable in State courts- technically these courts cannot even take judicial notice that these ordinances even exist.“Our” court- the ACC Municipal Court – is a court of extremely limited jurisdiction and is unable to hear civil cases between non-governmental parties, which is often the process by which civil rights violations are pursued and enforced. While I strongly support a State “civil rights act” or similar strong non-discrimination legislation, I have to acknowledge the limits of local government power.

Should it be illegal for public businesses and institutions to discriminate against LBGTQ people?

Yes. Of course

Do you support the expansion of Medicaid in Georgia?

yes

Do you support the goal of Universal healthcare – healthcare as a fundamental human right for every American?

Yes

Should all state education funds should be directed to public schools?

Yes.

What are your thoughts about how to secure safe schools for all students?

Do you support the current Teacher Retirement System of Georgia?

Yes

Should legislation requiring electoral districts be drawn by an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission?

yes

Do you support restoring the full protections of the Voters Rights Act?

Generally, yes. But full restoration of the Voting Rights Act might come into conflict with independent, non-partisan redistricting efforts.