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District 6 Sandy Springs City Council candidates Q&A
by Bobby Tedder
October 30, 2013 10:35 AM | 2218 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Andy Bauman
Andy Bauman
Patty Berkovitz
Patty Berkovitz
Jennifer Steele
Jennifer Steele
John Stoj
John Stoj
Sonja Tonpea
Sonja Tonpea
Editor’s note: Andy Bauman, Patty Berkovitz, Jennifer Steele, John Stoj and Sonja Tonpea are running for the District 6 Sandy Springs City Council seat in Tuesday’s nonpartisan election. Incumbent Karen Meinzen McEnerny is not seeking re-election. All five candidates are running for public office for the first time.

n Name, age: Andy Bauman, 49

n Occupation: attorney and real estate investor

n Education: bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory, 1986; law degree from Emory University Law School, 1990.

n Family: wife Debbie, two children: Evan, 14, and Anna Rose, 10.

n Why are you the best choice? “The best way to determine what a person will do is to look at what they have done. Leadership is more than just attending meetings or complaining about what’s wrong; it’s about action and accomplishment.   As the founder and lead volunteer for the Sandy Springs Farmers Market, I am proud of having a record of bringing thousands of Sandy Springs residents together and building a sense of community.”

n Top three issues: infrastructure; responsible redevelopment and growth; protection of neighborhoods

n Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $4,805

n Campaign website:

n Name, age: Patty Berkovitz, 59

n Occupation: neighborhood advocate

n Education: associate’s degree in zookeeping, animal behavior, psychology from Santa Fe Community College, 1972; associate’s degree in veterinary technology from Bel Rae Institute of Animal Technology, 1974.

n Family: widowed with an adult daughter

n Why are you the best choice? “I have almost 15 years of experience with all areas of city services, regulations, land planning, public works, and citizen advocacy with Fulton County and the city of Sandy Springs.  I am a life-long resident of Sandy Springs and have a vested interest in the success of the city as one of those that worked to make cityhood happen. [It’s about] community building — connecting all the dots — and making sure we use all of our local talent and creativity … I want to help make this the city that the citizens of Sandy Springs want it to be.” 

n Top three issues: traffic, better stormwater utilization and infrastructure

n Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $10,731

n Campaign website:

n Name, age: Jennifer Steele, 51

n Occupation: small business owner

n Education: bachelor’s degree in business administration from Oglethorpe University, 1987.

n Family: husband Gregory

n Why are you the best choice? “Many candidates talk about the things they want to do. I have a proven record of leadership and I have been a consensus builder who has solved problems and delivered results. With seven years neighborhood leadership experience — including three in a protected neighborhood — I have worked hard to preserve neighborhood quality of life. During my tenure as president of the Cherokee Park Civic Association, I negotiated a parcel land transfer and traffic mitigating infrastructure. I have worked with other leaders to develop the ‘Main Street’ concept for the Roswell Road Corridor [Livable Communities Initiative]. As secretary-treasurer of our development authority, I have partnered on approximately $16 million dollars in economic growth projects …”

n Top three issues: fiscal accountability and government transparency; preservation of neighborhoods, greenspaces and transitional commercial-residential buffers

n Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $7,582

n Campaign website:

n Name, age: John Stoj, 43

n Occupation: small business owner

n Education: bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame, 1992. Master’s of business administration from University of North Carolina, 1996.

n Family: wife Kimberley, infant son John Ford

n Why are you the best choice? “My entrepreneurial spirit, combined with two decades of financial experience, gives me the opportunity to make a unique and effective contribution to not only District 6, but Sandy Springs as a whole.”

n Top three issues: preservation and improvement of existing neighborhoods; economic development; creation of a strategic vision for development within the city

n Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $10,655. He has been fined $125 by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission for not filing his annual financial disclosure report.

n Campaign website:

n Name, age: Sonja Tonpea, 60

n Occupation: founder and owner of an in-home healthcare enterprise

n Education: nursing degree from Samford University

n Family: widowed with three adult children

n Why are you the best choice? “Voters need to know that their elected officials are in service to them. If elected, I will work to include our residents in the governmental process and also respect and seek out citizen input. A city cannot survive without the support of its citizens — we must never forget our mission and purpose.”

n Top three issues: traffic; transparency in the budgeting process; eliminating bureaucracy related to permits and zoning regulations

n Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $525.00

n Campaign website: under construction
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