Spotlight on Brookhaven: Meet John Park, Brookhaven City Councilman
John Park, City Council, District 2 - www.brookhavenga.gov/bc-citycouncil - 404-637-0500
What made you get into politics?
General dis-satisfaction with the way the city was going. It was a new city, and we were sitting around complaining one night about the way things were headed when we decided to do something about it. And well, I drew the short straw! No, I am kidding! Thanks to the hard work and dedication of my friends, I was elected into city council district 2.
What was it like when it first started?
It was intimidating and I was nervous as I was kind of the outsider when I first started. I was trying to build bridges and get things accomplished, but initially it was difficult to understand how politics worked. Eventually I began learning more and more and was able to adjust to the leadership that was in place at the time.
What surprised you most?
That government is slow, it is something everyone knows, but it is still something we don’t expect. We want things to happen right away, but if you truly care about something and want things to change you have to be patient and work towards it. I had to understand that just because I am an elected official, I can’t snap my fingers to get something done.
What advice would you give to aspiring community leaders?
First, understand what yours getting into, because if you are going to do it right it is going to take a lot of time and effort. Secondly, know the people in your community and neighborhood - know who your constituents are because if you don’t it is just going to be a struggle.
What are you goals in district 2?
Our neighborhood was originally un-incorporated DeKalb so I want to start rebuilding community and have more citizen involvement. Changing zoning laws are a huge part of rebuilding community so that we can bring more walkable shops and eateries to our area.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
That I grew up in Auburn and Montgomery, Alabama.
What is the most memorable experience that you have had since being in your position?
My most memorable experience was the first constituent zoning hearing that we had. Kroger wanted to put a gas station on a very busy road, and we had 150 citizens show up in matching t-shirts with signs… I think I might have even seen a pitch fork! (kidding!) The crowd was very orderly, but the passion of our citizens was eye opening.
What do you love about the neighborhood?
I love that I can walk it! The environment with the beautiful trees and our house diversity – our neighborhood has so much character that is unique to Atlanta.
What are you favorite things to do in Brookhaven?
Mostly, I just love to hanging out with friends at our local hang out spots. We go to There in Town Brookhaven and Kaleidoscope off Dresden Drive a lot. I really enjoy being social and getting to know new people.
Why do you think it is important to shop local?
Shopping local builds community – it is that simple. Using a plumber in your neighborhood not only supports your neighbor but also provides you with their inside knowledge on how the plumbing works on the typical floorplans of a neighborhood. These people live within your community so supporting them is extremely important.
Interview conducted by local REALTOR® Kelly Marsh.