By: Ashley Nelson
District 11 is the heart and soul of Atlanta. It is where some of Atlanta’s wealthiest Blacks lived as well as the poorest of the poor. District 11 covers a large portion of Atlanta’s historic Southwest where two of Atlanta’s most iconic civil rights legends, Rev CT Vivian and Rev Gerald Durley, reside along with the Mayor Kasim Reed and other prominent African Americans.
Atlanta citywide election is just a few weeks away. Newsmakers Live Emmy award-winning journalist and moderator, Maynard Eaton invited three of the eighth District 11 candidates to the show: Brionte McCorkle, Harold Hardnett, and Marcia “Marci” Overstreet.
McCorkle may be the youngest candidate running for the council in Atlanta’s election, however, the most experience among her candidates. McCorkle was involved in helping expand Marta to Cobb County. Though she is not from Atlanta, McCorkle knew Atlanta was where she wanted to be at the age of ten when she moved to Georgia with her family.
As a community activist and District 11 candidate, McCorkle goal is to educate residents on what is happening in their city. Atlanta is changing, a trendy city attracting everyone. McCorkle was amazed at how quickly Gucci Mane’s East Atlanta Zone 6 has changed within a five-year time span.
“East Atlanta priced out,” Brionte said.
McCorkle believes she is uniquely positioned to help District 11 with the transition of a new Atlanta. Balancing growth and having the ability to allow people to stay and prosper with the growth of the district is ideal for McCorkle.
Unlike the other District 11 candidates, Hardnett is the only candidate born and raised in Southwest Atlanta. He considers himself a public servant to his community, holding several public safety town hall meetings for the district. He did not stray far for college either. Hardnett studied political science and public policy at Morris Brown.
Hardnett believes his experience of community involvement would provide sufficient change for the residents who are concerned with gentrification. He favors gentrification as long as community members are not displaced. Affordable housing is an area he wants the city of Atlanta can improve. He will ensure future developers set aside fifty percent for affordable housing.
Having served as Public Safety Chairman for the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board, Hardnett intends to improve the district crime rates. He stated most of the young people committing these crimes are not the same individuals living in their community. His relationship with his zone commander; Major Terrell Griffin will help him lower crime rates.
Overstreet is not a career politician; however, she feels more than equipped to be the “collaborative word” for her district. “I may be new to politics, but I am not new to Atlanta,” said Overstreet.
Overstreet wants to see her district survive and thrive. A businesswoman herself, she would like to see residents less combative when corporations and companies move into the area. Instead, she encourages the community to create a dialogue with these new businesses in a way both parties can benefit.
Preserving the “black mecca,” Overstreet stated how important diversity was for the district as well as maintaining the Southwest legacy. She would like corporate companies to look at the Southwest region for their office rather than drive two hours to Sandy Springs.