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Suburb’s mayor moves to condo before deciding on demolition

January 4, 2022 GMT

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. (AP) — The incoming mayor of an Atlanta suburb is moving into a deteriorating condominium complex before deciding whether the city should demolish it

Khalid Kamau, who is being sworn in Tuesday as mayor of South Fulton, told news outlets Monday that he will fulfill a campaign promise by moving into the Camelot condominium complex.

Crime, fires and squatters have plagued the development. Many units are now occupied by renters.

“We believe you must live amongst people to understand them, so it is not a stunt but a principle,” Kamau said.

City leaders have proposed demolishing the complex, but some longtime homeowners oppose the move.

“I decided to move in before I make a final decision,” Kamau said.

Kamau is paying $800 per month for a one-bedroom unit, saying he will live there for up to a year.

Resident Condia Perry applauds the move.

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“Now we have a mayor who says, ‘I am with you, I support you. I want to see first hand, I am willing to live here,’” Perry said.

Kamau has won attention because of his identification as a democratic socialist and his involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement. He promises to make the 108,000-resident city a laboratory for economic, housing and justice policies that improve the lives of African Americans.