TOCHIE BLAD PROFILE:
Tochie Blad views her candidacy for Sandy Springs City Council as the next phase in fulfilling her civic duty.
“I am stepping up to serve the voters in Sandy Springs after working many years in leadership roles in both my children’s schools and community groups,” said Blad. “With the advent of the new city, the neighborhoods were promised protection from intrusive zonings and a voice in the city’s plans. I want to serve the community in an elected capacity and seek public input on budget surpluses and the city center [redevelopment project].”
Blad earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in 1985 and a master’s degree in library and information science from Valdosta State University in 2011. She and husband, Robert, have two daughters, Catherine, 21, and April, 19.
Blad, a research librarian, was a mayoral appointee to the Sandy Springs Tree Advisory Committee and was appointed to the Fulton County Citizens Commission on the Environment from 1998 to 2000.
She cites her work in the community as an indicator of her commitment to the tasks at hand.
“I have been involved in my community since even before we became a city to improve the quality of life while raising my children in Sandy Springs,” said Blad, 48. “I have effectively worked at acquiring land for parks and greenspace with [the] Sandy Springs Conservancy, protecting neighborhoods as a board member of [the] Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods and addressing the needs of the community with Leadership Sandy Springs.
“I have effective working relationships with many homeowners’ groups … and I will continue to accomplish solutions to community issues as an elected leader.”
Blad listed city-citizen communication, infrastructure and zoning as her campaign’s top three issues.
“[First,] I plan to listen to [residents’] concerns and communicate effectively to resolve issues. As the city moves forward with the city center plans, we need to communicate and seek public input on the plans and define the public/private partnership funding for the project.
“[Second,] infrastructure is another concern from many District 4 citizens. Whether it’s traffic improvements to decrease commute times or stormwater upgrades to minimize flooding, these infrastructure improvements are a necessary component to ‘smart’ growth.
“Finally, our neighborhoods are the jewels of the city and intrusive zoning needs to be stopped. I want to protect neighborhoods from unwanted density from redevelopment.”
GABRIEL STERLING PROFILE:
Editor’s note: Gabriel Sterling did not return a reporter’s emails and phone calls last week seeking comment on the election. Information in this article was provided by his campaign website.
Sandy Springs District 4 City Councilman Gabriel Sterling vows to continue to push his agenda if re-elected.
Sterling, a political consultant and small businessman, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia.
He listed three issues that are central to his campaign platform:
“[First], we have seen developers continue pushing poor-quality or inconsistent projects in many parts of Sandy Springs, especially along the Peachtree Dunwoody corridor,” he said, according to his website. “I will fight any attempts to hurt our neighborhoods for the sake of growth. On council, I have voted to defeat zonings that could potentially harm our neighborhoods and led the fight against the use permit for the 26-story building on Mount Vernon Highway. In situations where zonings are going to pass, I have supported stringent conditions to raise the standards of construction to help better our city as a whole.”
“[Second], using our public/private model [of city management], which has since been replicated by every new city in Georgia, we have kept competition in place, while providing great responsive services to the people of Sandy Springs. I will continue to work to improve the system and keep our contractors on point, doing a great job for all of us.”
“[Third], anyone who says, ‘Elect me and I will fix traffic,’ is simply not being honest with you. Our traffic situation is a problem that has developed over decades. Fixing the problem in the long run will require working with our neighboring jurisdictions as well as state and federal governments. I plan to continue to work with Gov. [Nathan] Deal’s office and [the Georgia] Department of Transportation to get the funding in place to rework and improve the [Interstate] 285/Ga. 400 interchange…a fix that will aid our entire region, especially those of us in Sandy Springs.”