In the lead-up to the Nov. 7 election of Atlanta’s next mayor, “Closer Look with Rose Scott” will feature 20-minute conversations with the candidates in the race. Scott interviewed civil engineer Rohit Ammanamanchi on Oct. 3.
Rohit Ammanamanchi recently graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in civil engineering. If elected mayor, he hopes to improve Atlanta’s neighborhoods and transportation.
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“I saw the city in a state of disrepair,” Ammanamanchi said. “It was kind of calling to me that the city needs someone fresh and someone new to restore the trust in city hall and provide fresh ideas.”
Ammanamanchi said he believes the city of Atlanta can better improve neighborhood problems by engaging citizens and allowing them to have a voice in the solutions.
“Nobody knows the problems of your neighborhood like you,” he said.
He said having a neighborhood planning unit (NPU) is good, but he thinks Atlanta’s NPUs can be done better. In addition, he said there should be a private consultant to ensure that the people’s input is being considered in the final plan for solutions.
“People are smarter than politicians take them for when it comes to knowing what’s wrong and coming up with solutions for their own neighborhood,” he said.
Ammanamanchi said he thinks the city needs a consolidated infrastructure department to aid Atlanta’s infrastructure “disaster.”
But with infrastructure development, an issue that often arises is gentrification.
“I’d say gentrification, with the implication that you’re pushing people out to allow other people to move in, is pretty inherently evil,” he said.
He believes it is possible to revitalize the city “compassionately” without displacing people.
Homelessness is another issue Ammanamanchi spoke on and has addressed on his campaign website.
“It starts with assessing the need,” he said. “We know about an estimate of how many homeless people there are.”
The solution, Ammanamanchi said, is to provide permanent housing.
“Some people have been suffering for too long, and the city should be doing things proactively to be able to support all these people who are suffering to recover,” he said.
On education, Ammanamanchi said now is the time to strengthen the city’s relationship with Atlanta Public Schools.
“Any neighborhood you wanted to live in in Atlanta would have a good school, and would have a good, safe neighborhood,” he said.
“We need to be building more schools, and we need to be helping fund good teachers, new equipment, he said. “We should be providing a laptop or a tablet for every student, because, honestly, that’s the future, right?”