Before qualifying ended, the race to claim Councilman Ceasar Mitchell's at-large post looked like a clown car. Nine political hopefuls had filed to run for the citywide seat, including perennial candidates, a former councilman and a handful of unknowns. When it came time to pay the $1,184 fee to run, however, only four men and women remained.
Thankfully, Adam Brackman was one of them.
Brackman, a 42-year-old resident of south Atlanta’s Benteen Park, has risen through the ranks of neighborhood-based politics to stand out as a fresh-faced candidate with an arsenal of ideas — and a strong dose of enthusiasm — that could greatly enhance a council where nearly half the members will win their seats without opposition.
The fast-talking, openly gay IBM project manager is a genuine grassroots community advocate who knows his neighborhood's police beat number. He's served on multiple neighborhood group boards, chaired the Neighborhood Planning Unit-W public safety committee, and created the greenspace advocacy group Friends of Benteen Park. For the last three years, he's been heavily involved with Fulton County CourtWatch, a district attorney's office program in which residents are encouraged to attend legal proceedings that involve crimes committed in their neighborhoods. This year, he was named the Best CourtWatcher for his dogged persistence and frequent attendance at trials and sentencings.
Brackman's running on a platform of improving public safety, spurring financial reform, and making City Hall more efficient and accessible for taxpayers. On public safety, he's the most experienced of the candidates, boasting four innovative funding solutions that could not only add and retain officers, but also boost morale. That perspective garnered him the police union endorsement. Add an understanding of affordable housing and transportation, and you have a candidate who's not just running on the issues du jour.
Both Dwanda Farmer and Chris Vaughn, two contenders who've run for several other political offices in the past, lack Brackman's grasp on the issues. Michael Julian Bond, a former councilman who's made three unsuccessful bids to return to City Hall, brings innovative ideas to improve public safety, boost nightlife and streamline service delivery.
But he doesn't match Brackman's mix of private sector experience and genuine desire to bring a resident's perspective to everyday issues. On top of that, Brackman doesn't view a seat on council as a stepping stone to a higher office.
"I just want to fix the city," he says.
And we think he deserves the opportunity.