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Malone, McDonald battling for District 3 council post
by Everett Catts
October 09, 2013 04:08 PM | 3282 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Barbara Malone
Barbara Malone
Graham McDonald
Graham McDonald
Editor’s note: Barbara Malone faces Graham McDonald for the District 3 Sandy Springs City Council seat in the Nov. 5 nonpartisan election. Incumbent Chip Collins is not seeking re-election. Below are profile articles on each candidate, listed alphabetically.


Barbara Malone will be the first to admit she’s “not a politician.”

She is running for Sandy Springs City Council in an effort to improve the city.

“I’m a neighbor. I’m just a regular person who has a strong belief that the city can become even better,” said Malone, a native of England who has lived in Sandy Springs for 15 years. “It can become somewhere people are proud to live. I believe I’m objective, that I have a common-sense approach and have been called the voice of reason. I believe I have an understanding of how many of the residents would like the city to project [itself] going forward.”

Malone, an administrator with Edward Jones Investments, cited her experience as vice president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods and president of the Mountaire Springs Neighborhood Association as pluses. The 58-year-old said she resigned from the two leadership positions before announcing her candidacy Aug. 29.

Malone and her husband Kevin have one adult son, John. She said she is running for office “because I believe that the city needs to take stock of what it has.”

“The last eight years have been absolutely phenomenal for the city,” Malone said, “but we still don’t have our own identity. … We need to define what we are. We’ve brought a lot of ordinances from Fulton County and the city expected to rewrite those with in the first couple of years of its existence. That hasn’t happened. There are so many ambiguities and the ordinances leave so much open to interpretation.”

Malone said her top three issues are protecting neighborhoods, economic development and maintaining infrastructure.

“We’ve got to protect what we have and maintain it,” she said. “We also need to grow the economy but in a balanced manner. The city was very frugal when it first started. It was an experiment. I believe we need to take a step back and reexamine where we need to spend our tax dollars.

“We still need to do a lot of work on our infrastructure. It’s not a sidewalk or a new road, but it’s the backbone of the city. We have huge problems with stormwater [impact]. I think there are plenty of people who would rather spend more money on stormwater programs than sidewalks, not that sidewalks aren’t important. But you have to balance everything. The big thing is the community. Sandy Springs is a city of communities. In District 3 alone, we have more than 37 neighborhoods. We need to keep those communities alive and vibrant.”

Malone said she had raised less than $5,000 for her campaign as of late last month.



At 33, Graham McDonald is likely the youngest Sandy Springs City Council candidate in any district, but he says he has the experience to be a strong leader in his community.

He is a Leadership Sandy Springs board member and serves as vice chairman of the Sandy Springs Economic Advisory Committee, which he was appointed to by Mayor Eva Galambos.

McDonald, an attorney, is owner and partner of O’Daniel McDonald LLC, a Sandy Springs law firm where he practices in commercial litigation. He and his wife Kelly have a son, Elliott, 2, and a second child due later this month.

“As a father of a young family, a homeowner here in Sandy Springs and a small business owner here in Sandy Springs, I am passionate about and deeply invested in the future of this city,” McDonald said. “I’m here for the long haul. I believe in being an active and engaged citizen and have eagerly embraced positions including president and prior vice president of my homeowners’ association [North Harbor].”

McDonald also said he has the support and endorsement of some heavy hitters: Galambos, Collins and District 52 State Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, who are serving as honorary co-chairs of his campaign.

“I believe that the body of knowledge and experience I have gained over the past several years make me very well prepared to contribute to this community as councilman for District 3,” he said. “As vice president and now president of the North Harbor Homeowners Association, a neighborhood which sits right between the two busiest city-owned  roads in District 3, Johnson Ferry Road and Riverside Drive, I have come to know first-hand the challenges the city and fellow families face in managing and safeguarding our neighborhoods against traffic.

“Secondly, as a local attorney, I am well equipped to handle the legal issues and analysis that are involved in almost every area the city has responsibility, including zoning, stormwater control, contract review, ordinance drafting and enforcement. Third, through my mayor-appointed position on the committee, I’ve had to analyze and work to offer solutions for the numerous important issues on which the continued high quality of life our neighborhoods depend, including public safety, revitalization, the filling of empty retail and office space, creating more parks and greenspace and the creation of our city center. My most important role is being a father to my young and growing family. I think just in that position, I have an important perspective and voice that is a key to have on council.”

McDonald said his top three issues are “preserving and enhancing the quality of life in our neighborhoods, a commitment to traffic relief and fiscal responsibility.”

“I’ve heard from the neighbors and heard first hand that traffic is an immensely hot-button item in our neighborhood,” he said. “I believe the government is running efficiently and cost-effectively and I will make sure to keep it that way.”

As of late last month, McDonald said he had raised $13,000 for his campaign.

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