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Triangle Downtowner

Meet the Candidates!

Sep 14, 2017 08:29PM ● Published by Crash Gregg

The race for Raleigh Mayor and City Council seats has generated one of the largest candidate pools the city has seen in recent history. Incumbents for all seats are running again, except for long-time At-Large Councilperson MaryAnn Baldwin. We sent all the candidates a questionnaire of four questions we thought would give Downtowner readers a feel for the issues that each candidate believes are important. We’ve included a portion of the questions here in this article and the full Q&A on our website at www.triangledowntowner.com. For those that did not respond, we’ve included their website info so you can find out more about. The candidates’ answers are included as they arrived and have not been edited.

Early voting begins on September 21 with the final day to vote on October 10. You can find out how to register to vote, where you can cast your ballot, early voting dates and locations, and more information on the Raleigh (and Wake County) elections can be found at http://bit.ly/voterinfo2017. We hope our readers will visit the websites for each candidate in their district, learn more about them, and take the time to cast your vote in this year’s elections. In these times of emotional and opposing political views, it’s even more important that we, as a community, give our input, vote with our hearts and minds, and all work together to make sure Raleigh continues to grow in the right direction: a great city for all its people.

 

All candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Candidates for each race who did not reply to our questionnaire are listed last and we’ve included a link to their website for our readers who would like to learn more about each.

 

RALEIGH MAYOR

 

 Name: Charles Francis

Seat: Mayor

Website: www.FrancisForRaleigh.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FrancisForRaleigh

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

The top three issues are access to affordable housing, reducing traffic congestion, and recruiting and sustaining more jobs with livable wages.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

I will aggressively pursue the construction of tax credit housing all over Raleigh. I will work to promote home ownership for working people through city programs, especially for employees. I believe strongly in home ownership for working people as a vital step in securing wealth and financial security.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

Job availability for our youth, and particularly, for African-Americans youth is vital. City sponsored programs are viable options, but it is better to include a discussion with small business leaders as to the demands of the labor force they need to help promote and increase job opportunities for our youth.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

I know Raleigh can do better and we can start by acknowledging that Raleigh is wasting money to request additional studies for budgetary decision. I believe that is a task that city management can take care of which will decrease frivolous spending.

 

 Name: Nancy McFarlane

Seat: Mayor

Website: www.nancymcfarlane.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NancyMcFarlaneForMayor

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

Transportation. Affordability. Accommodating our city’s incredible growth in a way that respects current residents. Good planning is key. In preparation, Council put nearly $6 million towards affordable housing that will grow with Raleigh. We’ve also expanded public transit and placed the upcoming transportation bond on the ballot.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

Affordable housing is one of the most important challenges our city faces as the city moves forward. In addition to dedicating an additional $6 million for affordable housing, Council is tripling the number of affordable housing units built each year. Continued expansion of public transit is also key to meeting this challenge.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

I worked with the Obama Administration to obtain a “Tech Hire City” designation for Raleigh. This led to the development of our program called IT Beginnings to provide IT training and workplace experience to youth in historically underserved communities. We must continue to introduce and expand programs like this.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

The opioid epidemic needs immediate attention, both locally and nationally. We have just passed a new policy and our police officers will start carrying Narcan. That will save lives but it’s not enough. We must continue to support the county and the Attorney General’s office in their work on this issue.

 

 Name: Paul Fitts

Seat: Raleigh Mayor

Website: www.paulfitts.com

 

 

RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL, AT LARGE

 

 Name: Shelia Alamin-Khashoggi

Seat: Raleigh CIty Council At-Large

Website: http://sheliakhashoggicampaign.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Khashoggi-Campaign-1150790551692303

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

1. Affordable Housing - This is actually a matter of reviewing and reworking the UDO to provide greater density within the present city boundaries. 2. Transit and Transportation infrastructure. 3. Economic Opportunity

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

Housing affordability is the difference between Raleigh that runs out of steam and a Raleigh that presents an example to the Nation and world of how American cities handle the 4th Industrial revolution. I propose reworking the UDO to allow for higher population densities while allowing CACs to manage their look and feel.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

The problems are with education and skills development. Historically, our young are compelled to take entry level low skilled work. This work is being replaced by artificial intelligence and robotics. My objective would be to recruit companies that manufacture the automation while encouraging the companies that develop the AI to remain in Raleigh.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

Mass transit is not getting the attention it deserves from the city. In the current state, Raleigh mass transit doesn't address the connectivity and IoET issues and opportunities which make 4th Industrial Revolutionary opportunities possible. I would merge the for-profit and public assets to open the city to 24x7x365 commerce.

 

Name: Rob Axtell

Seat: At-Large City Council for Raleigh

Website: www.Rob4Raleigh.com

Facebook: Rob-For Raleigh

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

Transportation, Affordable Housing and Managing Growth are all interconnected. Current transportation options are lacking, there needs to be more affordable housing to bring back teachers, first responders and city workers to the city. City growth is great, but it is becoming disjointed and leading to an unconnected city.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

Affordable housing is vital to Raleigh’s future. Luxury housing is being created all over Raleigh, but high costs are pushing out city workers and Raleigh natives. I propose offering new incentives to developers who build and maintain affordable housing, and promoting existing incentives for affordable housing via targeted marketing campaigns.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

More training programs inside and outside of schools are key. Businesses need skilled electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, construction specialists, etc. Too many people have the false impression that everyone must go to a four year college to be successful. Overlooked is the enormous need for trades that make a modern world function.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

Raleigh is becoming more alienated into different regions. Left behind are people without vehicles, who have a hard time getting around the city. We need all of the aforementioned transportation options to ensure that ALL parts of the city are connected and readily accessible by ALL of Raleigh’s citizens. We must literally bring Raleigh together.


Name: Zainab Baloch

Seat: Raleigh City Council At-Large

Website: www.votebaloch.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/VoteBaloch

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh?  

I believe we must prioritize making Raleigh a safe city, a healthy city, and a city for everyone. This includes fostering strong relationships between city officials and city residents, promoting affordable housing, and enhancing access to public resources such as outdoor park facilities.


How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

I believe affordable housing is paramount to our future. It can be pursued by pushing for tax credit housing for those who are prospective home buyers as well as mixed-income housing for renters looking to live and work in the area, and by raising the minimum wage in Raleigh to $15 an hour.


What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

Promoting development, including green development, has the added benefit of bringing jobs to our city. Increasing public resources in underserved areas share this potential. I also believe that we should enhance our public transportation for several reasons, among them providing access to job opportunities to those who might not otherwise have it.


What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

Immigrant communities are becoming increasingly afraid for their safety and security. It's crucial for all of our safety that immigrants feel comfortable approaching the police and others when they or others need help. Thus, I would support outreach activities and policies that communicate to these communities that Raleigh is a safe zone for them.



 Name: Stacy Miller

Seat: Raleigh City Council At-Large

Website: www.stacymillernc.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/StacyMillerNC

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

(i) Affordable Housing (ii) Public Transportation and Infrastructure (iii) Smart Growth

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

Affordable housing is critical to Raleigh’s future. We need to create a strategic plan for (i) land banking (ii) public-private funding solutions (i.e. TIFs, fee-in-lieu, density bonuses and assessment districts), (ii) incentives to rehabilitate naturally occurring affordable housing, and (iv) other innovative funding ideas, such as leveraging the Community Reinvestment Act.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

Raleigh needs a strategic job growth plan focused on (i) citizen engagement, (ii) 21st century industries with well paying jobs that employ the knowledge, skills and abilities of the existing community (iii) workforce training (iv) transportation infrastructure to better connect job and housing centers and (v) businesses incentives to hire from within the community.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

Wage disparity is an increasing problem in our city. Not all areas of the city have enjoyed the same level of economic development, leaving some communities underserved. The city needs to develop strategies to create competitive environments and economic opportunities for these underserved communities.

 

 Name: Nicole Stewart

Seat: Raleigh City Council, At-Large

Website: www.nicoleforraleigh.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nicoleforraleigh

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

Growth: Raleigh's current pace of growth is astounding, and we are feeling the challenges. Everyone should have access to affordable housing, transit opportunities, and a high quality of life. Environment: I'll work to protect our drinking water, manage stormwater runoff, and champion our greenways. Citizen engagement: Raleigh needs multiple approaches that fit our diverse communities’ needs and create a sustained two-way dialogue.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

Housing affordability is one of the top priorities of my campaign. My approach would be multi-pronged. I believe we need to better understand the challenge, focus on best practices and bright spots, rely on regional cooperation, address overall cost of living, explore creating a land bank, and target housing supply.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

Raleigh should do more to lift-up our entrepreneurs especially when it comes to women and minority-owned businesses. We should invest in our people and small business owners already here by providing vocational training partnerships with WCPSS and local colleges, increase access to capital (loans and grants), and expand the City’s youth employment program.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

Access to the decision-making tables by people not already at them. Raleigh is a diverse and growing city, and government leadership should reflect our diversity in demographics and experience. I support a robust citizen engagement program that respectfully and efficiently elevates a growing diversity of voices and engages residents to create a sustained two-way dialogue.

 

 Name: Robert Ward

Seat: City council at-Large

Website: www.Ward4Raleigh.com

Facebook: Robert Ward

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

Raleigh’s 2 billion dollar debt is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed. Improving infrastructure by fixing our crumbling roads and modernizing our neglected sewer and water systems. Cutting the wasteful spending that we have seen from our current city council members.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

Affordable housing is an important issue. I intend to work with builders and developers to target underutilized and underdeveloped properties to create more mixed use and better residential opportunities at reasonable costs. I will also push for reducing redundant red tape to develop suitable housing for all.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

The current council IS NOT business friendly. They have stopped jobs and construction possibilities in SE Raleigh. As a commercial realtor i understand how commercial development CREATES jobs for all.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

Raleigh’s 2 billion dollar debt. Raleigh is adding 60+ new tax payers every day, our taxes continue to go up every year, yet we add on average 100 million in debt every year. This is unacceptable and unsustainable. I will fight to cut the waste by focusing on our needs and not our wants.

 

 

 Name: Russ Stephenson

Seat: Raleigh City Council At-Large

Website: www.russforraleigh.com

 

 

RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT A

 

 Name: Alex Moore

Seat: Raleigh City Council District A

Website: www.moore4raleigh.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alexmooreraleigh

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

1. The amount of debt that the city has is a big issue. We are spending too much money and are not spending efficiently. 2. We have a crumbling infrastructure which the current city council turns to debt to solve. 3. We have a lot of growth coming, and we have to have to be smart and plan for the future.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

The number one thing the City of Raleigh can do to help with affordable housing is to keep property taxes low. We also need to streamline the process for the private sector who want to build affordable housing.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

The biggest thing is to have a City Council that listens. We don't have all the answers, but if we listen to the people and work together, we can find solutions to any problem. Encouraging entrepreneurship is vital in today's economy for young people. There are so many ways to make money in today's world, young people just need to be shown how.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

The debt and debt service. If we continue to spend like we do and to buy things we can't afford and accumulate more and more debt, that only leads to hire taxes, stiffled growth, and always being behind on our infrastructure needs.

 

 Name: Dickie Thompson

Seat: Raleigh City Council District A

Website: www.dickiethompson.com

 

 

RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT B

 

 Name: David Cox

Seat: Raleigh City Council District B

Website: www.davidcoxforcouncil.com

 

 Name: John Odom

Seat: Raleigh City Council District B

Website: www.odomforwake.com

 

 

RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT C

 

 Name: Crash S. Gregg

Seat: Raleigh City Council, District C

Website: www.Crash4Raleigh.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/crash4raleigh

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

1. Affordable housing for both middle and lower income. Renting has become so expensive that our emergency responders, hospitality, creative class, and lower income can no longer afford to live here. 2. Gentrification of our legacy homeowners. Folks who have grown up in southeast Raleigh are being pushed out by new development. 3. Infrastructure. Our roads, sidewalks, mass transit, and other infrastructure will soon lag far behind the demand from growth.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

As mentioned above, affordable housing for both middle and lower income is paramount to preserving the rich diversity, as well as the necessary workforce, of a city. Density is the key to more affordable housing and Raleigh is slowly losing much of its affordable housing properties to higher end growth.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

Historically, jobs follow growth. Except in forgotten neighborhoods where people feel they have been left behind. We need more training, job fairs, earlier business development education in schools, opportunities for mentors and internships, and programs to incentivize small business to give young people a chance.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

The answer to this question goes back to the first two. Affordable housing and gentrification are not being properly addressed or given the attention needed to make Raleigh’s future one that ALL its citizens can look forward to with hope.

 

 Name: Olen Leo Watson III

Seat: Raleigh City Council, District C

Website: www.electolenwatson.org/issues

Facebook: @oleniii

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

Homelessness, Affordable Housing, and Faith in Police are my primarily focus. In southeast Raleigh we've lost the continuity of community from years ago. After such neglect neglect we have to avail the southeast of those lost opportunities and ethos of community, binding up the weak, and standing behind the strong.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

Affordable housing and homelessness are the different points on the same spectrum. Affordable housing has reached a crisis. The next stage is a dramatic increase in homelessness. I have a specific series of policies on my webpage to address the issue from the direction of taxes, zoning, construction standards, and emergency preparedness.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

Groups like Black First Network connect and empower group economics in my community. The people create and sustain jobs. Zoning and accessory dwelling unit changes will permit new opportunity in construction at low entry cost for entrepreneurs in the southeast. We must make the General Assembly reduce occupational licensing hours.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

Many large organizations responsible to the public have an Office of the Ombudsman, separately funded and independent that handle complaints and controversial cases. Independent of the politically appointed chief, the office should have limited disciplinary powers including dismissal, and the ability to refer for further judicial review.

 

[no photo]

Name: James Bledsoe

Seat: Raleigh City Council, District C

Website: www.electjamesbledsoe.com

 

 Name: Corey Branch

Seat: Raleigh City Council, District C

Website: www.coreybranch.com

 

[no photo]

Name: Jeff Stewart

Seat: Raleigh City Council, District C

Website: https://ballotpedia.org/Jeff_Stewart

 

 

RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT D

 

 Name: Kay Crowder

Seat: Raleigh City Council, District D

Website: www.crowderforcouncil.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=crowder4council

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

Affordable Housing is no longer only the less fortunate priced out-skilled workforce-teachers/firefighters/police suffers under wage stagnation &cost of housing rises Transportation - all traditional/modern modes. Stormwater - for example, small lakes clean our stormwater runoff, yet are threatened due to cost of maintenance.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

Priority One. We will build 2.5x more affordable housing units this yr than in 2014 (when I joined the City Council), and almost 4x as many in 2019. Those skilled workers – teachers, firefighters, service workers – are becoming what I call our “Missing Middle”. We need to keep them in Raleigh.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

City started IT Beginnings: workforce development for unemployed/underemployed youth. I am advocating free bus passes for schoolkids. We should offer the same to participants and recent graduates of workforce development programs – can’t get to work without a ride!

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

We must to address infill- this affects value/quality of life in older neighborhoods. More flexibility in building design can create grand street-level experiences w/o violating height standards.

 

[no photo]

Name: B.J. Plott

Seat: Raleigh City Council, District D

Website: https://ballotpedia.org/B.J._Plott

 

RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT E

 

 Name: Stef Mendell

Seat: Raleigh City Council District E

Website: www.stefmendellforcouncil.com

Facebook: @StefMendellforCouncil

 

What are your top three issues that you believe need to be addressed within your district or throughout the City of Raleigh? 

We need an equal partnership among developers, residents, & city staff/officials in support of Smart Growth. We need to expand opportunities for Citizen engagement & strengthen the role of the Citizens Advisory Councils. We need to address lack of Affordable Workforce Housing and gentrification.

 

How important is affordable housing to Raleigh’s future and how do you propose ensuring that the city maintains an adequate stock of affordable housing?

Affordable housing is a top priority. The $5.9M/yr that is earmarked for affordable housing is insufficient to meet the need. We should earmark some of the proceeds from the sale of City property to add to the affordable housing budget. Tax incentives, tax credits, and tax abatements also could be utilized to increase the supply.

 

What are your ideas to create more jobs for young people, especially those groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates such as young African-Americans?

My 1st job after college was with Raleigh’s Prevent High School Dropouts program. I support similar programs where young people are exposed to academic & professional resources & opportunities that help them better realize their potential. Internship programs to teach job skills and provide job experience. Arrest expungement/ban the box efforts.

 

What issue is NOT getting the attention it deserves from city government? How would you address it?

Undue influence of special interests. We need more citizen representation on Council & committees. Impact fees on developers need to supplement property taxes, sales taxes, & bond packages so that they are helping to provide the appropriate infrastructure in support of development, & so that the burden doesn’t fall disproportionately on citizens.

 

 Name: Bonner Gaylord

Seat: Raleigh City Council District E

Website: www.bonnergaylord.com

 

[no photo]

Name: Derek Walker

Seat: Raleigh City Council District E

Website: https://ballotpedia.org/Derek_Walker

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