Morrow City Council Candidate Van Tran
Name: Van Tran
Education/degrees completed/years: Accounting / Associate Degree - 1998
City of residence: Morrow, GA
Office sought: City Council of Morrow
If you are an incumbent, how long have you held this office? N/A
If you are a challenger, is this your first race? Yes
What elected or appointed public offices have you held before? N/A
Name two specific problems facing your ward/city. Please be specific (e.g., “human trafficking” vs. “crime”).
The city council has recently lifted a rule on allowing nepotism. The city employee base is less than 100 employees; not only the appearance of it destroys public’s trust but also causes issues with fair hiring practices. The city has increased the sanitation bill as well as added it to the yearly tax bill. This will create undo hardship on the community, and it is not necessary.
The city government has placed a moratorium on some new business until early next year and has already cost the city needed jobs. The city turned away an opportunity to create 55 jobs by not allowing a Goodwill store to be opened inside the city limits at a 400,000+ sq ft vacant building. Turning away business is not what the city should be doing nor should the city be involved in choosing who the winners are and who the losers are. This kind of thinking does not generate prosperity in our city. I am for a city open for business, so the city grows and prospers.
The city of Morrow’s current government has put on the ballot a change to the city’s charter to allow the city government to eliminate a homestead exemption on homes less than $150,000. This change goes against the principle that was set to allow people not to be overly taxed by the city.
What specific solutions can you as a candidate offer to solve those problems?
I would like to reinstate the no nepotism rule so no more family members can work together inside the city government. The reduction of the sanitation bill for the residents of Morrow is a priority of mine as well. I would also like to bring to the citizens a more open forum so we can hear the concerns of the citizens instead of reducing their voice like the way it is. The citizens now only have 3 minutes each for open comment unless granted more time by the council. If the council does not like what the citizen is saying, then the council can have that person removed by law enforcement. This will need to be reversed so that the people can be heard because after all government of the people, by the people, and for the people is my guiding principle.
I would to open for new businesses to come in. Having Tax Incentive (tax break) to attract investors to the City. I would invite Goodwill to come to Morrow.
What are two important projects underway or pending in your ward/city (construction, planning, etc.)?
The current city council has taken steps to block off a thorough fare because of vehicle speed issues. The traffic study presented to the council did not have this concern stated but none the less they are continuing with the street blockage. This needs to be reversed because of the safety of citizen to get first responders on the scene. The fire chief said it would take an additional 40 seconds to respond to an incident to those citizens affected. Life and death is measured in seconds and 40 seconds can be the difference between life and death. Speed control systems can be deployed to the area and leave the street open to traffic.
The city council has voted for the work at Morrow Center that was a brand new building when it started to operate. This is long overdue because the building has been neglected by the city for the last 10 years. The city now has a single bidder of $800,000 to do repairs to the center. The bid is from one source and was not sent to open bid. This is very disturbing because this is a large expenditure that is not getting fairly bid on to get the best price for the city.
How do you resolve conflict?
As a city council member, I would resolve conflict by first remaining calm and listening to the concerns of the people. Maintain a positive attitude so people understand I am not against them but for them. Understand what the conflict is so I can better formulate a suitable response to the issue in order to get the conflict resolved.
What steps will you take to increase local government transparency and accountability to citizens?
I would like to take steps to increase awareness amongst the citizens by creating an outreach program that will give tours to citizens on a regular basis on how the city government works. I would like to use technology to create a forum for public comment on issues before votes are carried out. Not everyone can be at every city council meeting due to living out their busy lives. We need to embrace current technologies to give every person a voice in the community.
Why are you the best-qualified person for this seat? I am uniquely qualified for the city council of Morrow because I have fresh ideas for the city. For example: creating incentives (tax break) for new businesses – the tool they need to start, so they want to come to the city. This will bring more value to the citizens of the city by creating more opportunities for the city’s citizens.
I am very knowledgeable on how the city of Morrow works because I spent 10 years working for the city and know what can be done to reduce the cities sanitation bill as well as increase the quality of service to the citizens. It is time for a change that will bring new ideas as well as increased transparency to all the citizens of our great city of Morrow. Please vote for our community, let me be your voice.