As we approach Savannah's municipal election Nov. 3, the Savannah Morning News has been talking with the candidates for the City Council and Mayor. The two candidates for District 5, Shaundra McKeithen and incumbent Estella Shabazz, talked about poverty, SPLOST and their plans for the district.
On creating a city grants department:
"We need that type of office. Not only could they help the nonprofits, but they could help us with getting department of transportation money to fix some of these awful streets. We could get department of justice money with everything being in one centralized place."
On the city's fairgrounds purchase:
"I'm very concerned. The city of Savannah, especially the people that have been there for more than one term, have not had a good track record in making smart purchases for the city. The things they do never really benefit the people it should benefit."
"We need a lot of street maintenance in this area. There are dangerous places in the Bradley Pointe area. We need to find some dollars to get lights up there. I mean there are accidents all the time. We have a whole section out there beyond Hunter Army Airfield; none of those kids have community centers."
"Poverty is something we must continue to lower. We can continue to work with our agencies such as Step Up Savannah in supporting them as they support our citizens.
Also, in working with the summer youth work experience program, which provides supervised summer work experience for the youth ages 14 through 24 from June through August. There is also the youth build program for young men and women ages 16 through 24 who have not yet completed high school and spend nine months participating in GED instruction, construction training, leadership training."
On the fairgrounds:
"I am supporting it because it gives the city of Savannah control of the land. The residents that live around that property questioned me when it was up for sale -- why won't the city purchase the property? I knew the concern was there with the neighborhood associations. Also, because it will provide affordable housing and great space for family and recreational usage."
On her accomplishments:
"Hiring of city manager and police chief. Built two fire stations and police development center in the district. Purchased the fairgrounds property. Summer Youth Work experience program. Strengthened city efforts to support MWBEs. Helped re-establish neighborhood associations."