There are very few issues, if any, that Tony Eubanks would disagree with Commissioner Melissa Link on. But he is not a fan of her tactics. As he put it in an interview last week, he’s always on her side but never on her team. That’s why the longtime Boulevard activist is running against Link for the District 3 commission seat and will formally launch his campaign Friday, Jan. 19 at Cine.
“Obviously, I’ve been doing my homework for a long time,” said Eubanks, who’s been advocating for better planning and alternative transportation on Prince Avenue for 20 years. “There’s a lot of need for nuance, there’s a lot of need for give and take, and for cooperation.”
Eubanks and Link have long agreed on policy but disagreed on strategy. For example, where Link complained loudly about the inclusion of Walmart in the proposed Selig development downtown, Eubanks focused on trying to influence the design for the better. Two years later, in 2014, Eubanks switched his support from Rachel Watkins to Link late in the commission race but now has come to regret it.
The last straw, Eubanks said, was when Link essentially drew up a plan to reconfigure Chase Street on the fly and wound up neglecting to identify a funding source and upsetting businesses north of the Loop who weren’t consulted and whose trucks had to sit through traffic back-ups at rush hour. The commission needs to expand its committee system and hold hearings to improve public input, Eubanks said.
He sees himself as a behind-the-scenes guy, as opposed to the vocal Link. An example he gave was his work on the Athens in Motion bicycle/pedestrian plan, which will result in a much improved Complete Streets policy. He also said he’d like to expand the Neighborhood Notification Initiative (emails about developments in neighborhoods) to eventually become full-fledged neighborhood planning units, organize the Hancock Corridor neighborhood and to revise setbacks to prevent developments like the Milledge Avenue Best Western.
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