Jesse Houle’s Platform
Transforming Athens, Together
A better world is possible – if we work to make it. And we can. We will. Starting here. We are the change we’ve been waiting for.
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- Recognize and redress the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and indigenous removal through public advocacy, and take action on projects led by those directly affected. The Linnentown Project is a great example of this.
- Champion living wages for all workers, including those tangled up in the criminal justice system.
- Develop labor programs to support unions and worker-owned cooperatives with a robust infrastructure for workers to understand, exercise, and expand their rights.
- Equip small business owners with the tools to democratize workplaces, improve conditions, and raise wages.
- Stand against ICE with a commitment to security and dignity for all immigrants regardless of status.
- Pass comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, and other classes not protected by federal or state law.
- Tie the salaries of public servants to the median income of Athenians so people tasked with governing and managing our community’s resources benefit in direct proportion to the residents who pay them.
- Advance strong ecological preservation policy that always puts people and planet over profit.
- Establish fare-free bus service that runs with more frequency to more places and later into the night.
- Champion walking and cycling infrastructure with a robust network of footpaths and a public bike share.
- Incentivize renewable energy and weatherization on all new construction; mandate it for anything publicly funded. The 100% Clean and Renewable Energy Resolution is a great example. This, and more initiatives like it, must be carried out to the fullest extent possible with economic and racial justice held center at each stage.
- Enact a Tenants’ Bill of Rights.
- Negotiate Community Benefits Agreements to compel just investment from private developers.
- Abolish the discriminatory and legally unsound single family ordinance.
- Safeguard against displacement of low income residents through zoning and planning measures that also ensure truly affordable housing is a part of any new, large scale development.
- Rethink policing as social work.
- Transition to a skilled and unarmed first responder staff trained to de-escalate crisis situations through nonviolent conflict resolution without incentive to arrest.
- Build a compassionate, lasting community safety program with more Crisis Intervention Response Units.
- Eliminate the County’s use of unpaid inmate labor.
- End shoot-to-kill training practices.
- Create community advisory boards to hold public safety departments accountable to the people.
- Decriminalize possession of substances, sex work, and other nonviolent activities.
- Audit public safety departments to ensure the wellbeing of people incarcerated or under supervision.
- Ensure scrutinous oversight of EMS and other services for accountability to agreed upon standards.
- Reduce surveillance infrastructure and eliminate militarized weaponry from public safety departments.
- In Our Neighborhoods
- Hold regular town halls in District 6 and around Athens.
- Facilitate ongoing community organization on the neighborhood level.
- In all of Athens
- Rethink governance as a grassroots process with participatory budgeting and policymaking.
- Empower committees of directly affected community members with decision-making authority.
- Bring democracy out of City Hall into more public spaces with a focus on listening and collaboration.
- Beyond Athens
- Stand up to large institutions, corporate and state, on behalf of the people.
- Organize to change policy and transform government into a vehicle of the people.
- Ensure District 6 is serviced as a part of Athens just like in-town neighborhoods are.
- Extend public solid waste services (garbage and recycling) to all of Clarke County.
- Expand the network of alternative transportation infrastructure and services to cover all of Athens.
- Work creatively to revitalize deteriorating areas, such as the mall, into vibrant spaces for cohousing, leisure and incubators for community development and empowerment.
This platform is a living document. It will evolve as our conversation continues and the movement grows!