Atlanta

Mayoral candidates face runoff election tonight in Brookhaven

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — Two candidates for mayor of Brookhaven are in a runoff election.

John Park garnered 43 percent of the vote in the Nov. 7 election.

His opponent, Lauren Kiefer earned 30 percent among the four candidates in the non-partisan race.

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Park, 49, is a longtime council member and technical consultant who has won the endorsement of the city’s outgoing mayor, John Ernst.

Kiefer, 56, is an attorney who co-founded a software development company.

“I’m very encouraged by the feedback I have received since making it into the runoff,” Kiefer said.

She said she was motivated to run for mayor because the city needs to go in a new direction. “I saw some things that I thought we could do better, and I felt like many of our constituents feel that a change of leadership is what’s needed at this time,” she said.

Kiefer said she wants more public engagement in local government. “Greater communication both from city hall and from constituents, many of whom do not feel like they are being heard or listened to,” she said.

She pointed to the new $78 million City Hall, which broke ground in October, calling the price tag “excessive.”

She said the plans have lacked public engagement.

“I think it’s excessive for what it is, and the citizens of Brookhaven do not want to spend $78 million on that building.”

But Park said the new City Hall is the central piece of Brookhaven’s master plan to create places, or “villages”, where people can gather. “There’s two years of public input. We’ve had many, many meetings. We had many surveys,” he said. “It’s not just a City Hall, it’s the start of our city center.”

Park’s vision for the city is to complete what has been started under Ernst.

“Because we have accomplished so much,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of progress in fixing our major flooding issues. We acquired a lot of green space. We created a lot of connectivity with multi-use path and bike lanes and all that.”

He said his goal is to have every resident live within a 10-minute walk of a park or green space.

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“Connectivity and green spaces really just make our community more livable and more comfortable for everyone,” he said.

Park said he has the experience to the lead the city.

“I have a history and a list of accomplishments that I take pride in, and I have a vision,” he said.

“But that does not necessarily translate into leadership for mayor,” Kiefer said. “I bring a new perspective and a new set of skills and a new vision for Brookhaven.”

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