Pearlberg is running in the special election to fill the unexpired term of former Marietta City Councilman Van Pearlberg, who resigned. She is being challenged by former Councilman Andy Morris in the special election for the term ending on Dec. 31, 2013.
“I’m really running because I want to make a difference in the neighborhood,” said Pearlberg, 56.
“I’ve been what I call the community activist for over 10 years in the neighborhood, working to try to make things better. So my neighbors came to me when the seat became open and asked me if I would run.”
Pearlberg said the city’s biggest challenges are dealing with tight budget constraints since city revenue is tied to declining property values and turning around stagnant redevelopment in the city.
“We clearly have some stale developments around the city,” said Pearlberg, a real estate attorney.
“That’s where I think my experience plays a real important role in trying to take a creative look at how do we get those things started back again so that they are a positive contribution to the community.”
Specific to Ward 4, Pearlberg said she supports WellStar Health System’s expansion, but believes it should be balanced so as not to burden residents with infrastructure problems.
Pearlberg said Mayor Steve Tumlin deserves credit for getting council members to work together in order to effectively operate the city.
“There’s certainly still challenges ahead,” she said.
“That’s the part I think I bring to the table that’s different than people on the council. A lot of what the city deals with is land-use, budgets and services. That’s what I’ve done for over 30 years. I have interacted on behalf of my company with jurisdictions all over the metropolitan area and even outside of Atlanta.”
The Marietta Redevelopment Corporation has continued to be in the news in association with sluggish redevelopment efforts, particularly after purchasing 98 acres of the Hedges-Gramling neighborhood, which has yet to see a turn around.
“I don’t think you can hold them accountable for not being able to do something over the last few years,” said Pearlberg.
“There are a lot of real estate development companies that have also had to sit and allow things to start getting better. We’re starting to see the economy pick up. So now is going to be the time to see if the MRC can actually make something out of all of that.”
As for the Marietta Museum of History, which has faced similar criticism for being a drain on city finances, Pearlberg said the museum should be supported because it’s important to the overall quality of life in Marietta, but it also needs to improve its fundraising.
“That quality of life includes everything from housing to businesses, but it also includes the arts and museums,” said Pearlberg, past chairwoman of the Georgia Ballet.
“As a city, we need to in some form or fashion, support those groups. Not just the history museum, but all of the museums and arts so that we do have a good quality of life to offer people. However, each of these organizations are also responsible for working to support themselves through various fundraising.”
Pearlberg said Morris seems to be a nice guy, though she doesn’t personally know him.
“When Van came into office, he set a standard of being responsive to the community as a whole,” she said. “That is something that I want to see continued.”