Ricardo “Israel” Korn announces run, qualifies for Avondale Estates City CommissionRicardo "Israel" Korn is a candidate for the Avondale Estates City Commission. Photo submitted by Ricardo "Israel" Korn.
Avondale Estates, GA — Avondale Estates resident and real estate company owner Ricardo “Israel” Korn has announced his run for the Avondale Estates City Commission and has qualified for the Nov. 2 election.
Two seats on the City Commission will be on the ballot in November. The commissioners are all elected at-large, not for specific districts. Three candidates are running for the two seats. Incumbent Commissioners Lisa Shortell and Lionel Laratte are also running.
Korn and his wife, Chrysa Bormpoli, have lived in Avondale Estates for about four years.
Korn is running for the City Commission with hopes to put unity back in the community and help citizens’ voices be heard in government.
“With the coronavirus and everything, people have more time on their hand. I started looking and investigating a little more what was going on in the city because I really started hearing a lot and I started to understand how my voice matters in government. People around the city were saying that they didn’t trust … City Hall,” Korn said. “I was just trying to improve the communication that’s going on from City Hall to the citizens.”
His three areas of focus are community, beautification and city services. In terms of community, Korn wants to make sure that all voices are heard within the city and wants to improve communication to ensure that people are educated and informed about what’s going on in the city.
“Number two is transparency and essentially the trust,” Korn said. “There’s a lot of murmurs around the city that there’s a lack of trust in City Hall. I don’t think it’s necessarily that there are untrustworthy people up there. I just think that the communication can be a little better.”
He hopes to bridge that gap. He suggested some ideas like sending out mailers, sending a weekly email about the city’s finances or creating a Facebook group to share notes on the city minutes.
“First and foremost, we have to put unity in the community before we do anything else,” Korn said. “When the residents aren’t on the same page of what we’re doing with city, we can’t really move forward.”
When it comes to beautification, Korn said there’s no reason why Avondale Estates can’t be one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Atlanta.
“Something has to happen [with the abelia hedges]. They’ve been neglected for many, many years,” Korn said.
If elected, Korn would like to address issues around dilapidated commercial buildings.
“As soon as you cross that city line, you can see that there’s missing roofs, that some of the wood has disintegrated on the planks throughout some of these houses along East College Avenue,” Korn said. “So as soon as you go into Avondale Estates you kind of get that feel like maybe this city’s not so well taken care of, and I really want to change that perspective.”
He wants to see the city be a beautiful and welcoming city.
Regarding city services, Korn wants to maintain the city services that the community currently has and maintain the taxes the city has now.
“With the city services, I would like to focus on maybe providing some more roads, repaving of the roads,” Korn said. “If it’s DeKalb County’s part, let’s work with DeKalb County, so we can enable them to repave those roads, and if it’s city business, let’s focus on them.”
Korn would also like to address stormwater issues in the city.
The City Commission began reviewing the police department’s policies and procedures in June 2020 and agreed to hire a consultant to evaluate the department. The board interviewed candidates in September 2020 and has been going through the process to receive state accreditation through the Georgia Association of Police Chiefs.
The City Commission has not moved forward with hiring a consultant and is waiting to do so until the accreditation process is complete. The police department has completed the GAPC’s audit and is expected to receive the report soon.
“I don’t think I’m in the position to say how we can move forward other than keep our end of the deal. We told the people that we’re going to hire consultants to look at the police department, we should,” Korn said. “But I think on the other side to that with the police here in Avondale Estates, I think they’re doing a great job.”
Racial justice and equity have also been points of conversation in the city over the last year. The Avondale Alliance for Racial Justice envisions “Avondale Estates becoming a more welcoming city to those who live, work or visit here regardless of their race,” according to the AARJ website.
Avondale Estates has also long had the perception of being an insular city and not being welcoming to others. One point of contention in the city for years was the locked gate at Willis Park. The city removed the lock on the fence gate in July 2020 in an effort to be more welcoming.
Until 2017, there were also signs at Lake Avondale and Willis Park that said the amenities were exclusively for the city’s residents and violators could be prosecuted, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But Korn wondered how the city is currently being exclusive.
“I understand that inclusivity, that should just be the given,” Korn said. “Everyone has the opportunity to move here in Avondale Estates. Anyone that moves here is going to be welcomed. Myself, I will be happy to serve any person, no matter what your background is in Avondale Estates.”
Instead of preaching the message of how the city will be inclusive, Korn would rather preach the message that the city isn’t exclusive, he said.
The City Commission has also recently began looking at the city’s tree ordinances. The board has discussed amending the duties of the Tree Board, adding members to Tree Board, amending the tree list and looking at the process for removing trees.
“I think what we can do is have an ordinance that doesn’t necessarily dictate what the residents need to do but basically protect, more or less, the mature trees in Avondale Estates that make this city more unique,” Korn said.
More information about Korn can be found on his campaign website.