Greetings constitutes and politicos. You are cordially invited to George4Raleigh's first of four Town Hall Meetings. Held in Neptune's Parlor, beneath the beautiful streets of old down town Raleigh, we will have a brief introduction and field questions from you, Votorius Supremo.
Musical interludes will be provided by the Atomic Rhythm All-Stars and Cash Bar will be provided by the good folks at Neptunes. Unlike your elected representatives on the City Council, you may (and are encouraged) to address me directly and personally. I will answer with all the frankness and honesty you have come to not expect from a candidate running for office.
Town halls will be July 22, 29, Aug 5, and 12. All Mondays, all 8-10. There are no reservations and no entry fee. Any donations will go to paying the members of the band and not a cent will go to George Knott or his campaign. George Knott isn't for sale at any price.
Also, Neptune's is in the basement of an old building and there are about a dozen steps to get in and unfortunately it is not handicap accessible. Feel free to message me if this is an issue
I am looking forward to seeing each and every one of you, and hearing your concerns for our city.
Improving and Maintaining the Quality of Life for Raleigh and Its Citizens
We’re all in this together, folks
1) Ban trolley pubs
Open containers are illegal. Public intoxication is illegal. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence is illegal. Playing Jon Bon Jovi on a boom box at full blast anywhere should be illegal. Let’s send these abominations back to Myrtle Beach where they belong.
2) Paint a center line down Fayetteville Street
Seriously, it’s the Wild West down there. Let’s finish turning it back into a motorway and put a proper center line down the middle
3) Ban lime and bird scooters.
4) Fix the Greenway
Here in Raleigh we have an amazing greenway. It’s 117 miles of natural trails and walkways that connect many neighborhoods and parks. But it has reoccurring problems that need to be fixed. Just one example: the section between Atlantic and Capital had pilings washed out by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The repairs took 18 months to complete, and they lasted 4 months before the trail was washed out again only a few hundred feet upstream. City estimates put the finished repair in spring of 2020. There is currently no viable detour. This is just one of seven closures posted. We have a great Greenway system that is crippled by maintenance issues. We need a sustainable solution instead of throwing more money at unfixable problems.
5) Get rid of red light cameras
When a police officer stops you, the first thing he asks for is your driver’s license so he knows who committed the offense. With red light cameras, there is no way of knowing who was driving. A photograph is not positive identification; to treat it as such violates your due process. Red light cameras are a money-making business that puts a little money in the city’s pocket and a lot of money in the red light camera operator’s pocket. Let’s drop the red light camera scam. If you’ve ever run a red light, you are entitled to be stopped by a real police officer, not sent a Dear John letter from a camera. You deserve better.
6) Citywide prohibition on leaf blowers
There is no pride to be found in anything but a rake.
Reining in Development and Saving Our City
Put an end to slash and burn model of city building
1) Revisit and roll back lax guidelines in the Unified Development Ordnance
If you look across Raleigh, you’d be surprised to learn we actually have a set of rules and guidelines for new construction which used to be reasonable. It’s called the Unified Development Ordnance (UDO) and it’s a fascinating read. It’s also being ignored all over the town. We used to have a five-story limit on building height, and 50-foot setbacks from the street. The latest UDO allows for buildings up to 40 stories and setbacks of only 5 feet. I used to walk around hopping mad that the city council was granting permission to go around the UDO but it seems like they’ve changed it recently to make it easier for developers to build their gaudy towers and shopping centers that don’t fit in with our skyline and sit right up to the street. Look, Raleigh is growing, and growing fast. We can’t stop it but we don’t need to encourage it. These high-rise buildings don’t help the people of Raleigh, they help developers and highly skilled/highly paid workers who move here for work. I don’t care about highly skilled workers who want to move here; I care about the people who are already here. I don’t care about developers. They are extremely motivated self-starters and don’t need special treatment from the City Council. They are going to come out on top no matter what. Speaking of, do you know how many builders, developers and architects have sat on the city council for the last 20 years? No wonder they want to move regulations out of the way.
My mother used to say ‘When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ Well, half of our City Council is either in the building trade or in the pockets of developers and Raleigh is getting nailed in a bad way.
2) Tree preservation tax credit
All over Raleigh, a ranch house or bungalow is sold, a developer comes in, knocks down the house and carries it off in a dump truck. Then they clear-cut the lot bare as a baby’s bottom in anticipation of a McMansion. It’s tacky, it’s environmentally negligent, and it should be against code. I want an incentive so attractive to developers that they will leave old growth trees standing or make a penalty so harsh they won’t dare touch a tree outside the footprint of the new building. Trees clean our air, they keep out heat in the summer, and they prevent erosion. Our natural heritage is written in the sky with branches that ascend to the stars and form an unending canopy. Except where the McMansions grow. The lack of trees over new developed neighborhood is shocking and will take a century to turn around. Stop cutting down healthy trees
3) Do a complete study on our waterways and the impacts of development and runoffs
Flooding happens. But it’s happening a lot more in Raleigh than it should. We pull up trees, we subject our lawns to hurricane-force leaf blower winds on the weekly, we bulldoze hills and valleys and creeks for strip malls, and we wonder why our city is washing away. We need to stop treating our city drainage like it is an impediment to progress and realize our ‘progress’ is causing major problems. It all starts with your neighborhood storm drains and ends up in our creeks and rivers. It’s all linked and we need to see where we can undo damage that is done,and make sure any forward development includes environmental impact studies and that the city has the teeth to enforce the law and hold violators accountable
Raleigh’s Affordable Housing Crisis
It’s bigger than you think.
1)Affordable Housing Crisis
Raleigh is in an Affordable housing crisis. Our most precious natural resource is land, and affordable housing is being razed and replaced by high-dollar condos, apartments, and single-family houses at an alarming rate. We need to pump the brakes. Wintershaven, Tara East, North Hills Terrace, Whitaker Park, Lantern Square, Northside, Halifax Court; these were homes to people who lived and worked here, and now they are all gone, bulldozed to the ground by developers and replaced by housing that is out of the price of anyone displaced by the destruction. We have to turn this around. I fully support denying rezoning applications that don’t include affordable housing. High-end housing alone is not in the public interest and this should be reason enough to turn away rezoning requests. The affordable housing need not be on site of new developments, but can be in another area of town serviced by public transportaion. You want to put up 200 luxury condos? Sure, now find a site to build 50 affordable units also. That’s 4:1 ratio; 25%. It’s not enough to solve the problem but it’s a good place to start.
This is not a penalty in any way. As far as Section 8 Housing is concerned, the federal government and the Department of Housing and Urban Development guarantee payment under the Housing Act of 1937. Modest and efficient dwellings could be profitably built for low-income working citizens without government housing assistance. Affordable housing isn’t sexy, it isn’t high profile, but it is a solid and reliable money maker and we need more affordable housing. Developers have been playing reverse Robin Hood for too long, robbing from the poor and giving to the rich. It makes me sick and it should make you sick too and if it doesn’t, you’re probably a piece of garbage.
2) Remove ADU overlay requirement
Auxiliary Dwelling Units (also known as Granny Flats and Accessory DU) were approved by the City Council earlier this year if you have your neighborhood rezone for an overlay. That means if you want one you have to get the 10 acres surrounding you rezoned. You think the City Council is bad, try to get 60 neighbors to agree on anything. Ditch the overlay rule, and let people build in their backyards. We need more affordable housing; this is a great way to put a dent in the problem and put some money back into citizen’s hands
3) Tax reform for gentrifying neighborhoods
Raleigh is growing fast and that’s showing up in real estate prices. I want to propose a property tax system where the value your house is taxed on is tied to the purchase price of your house, and not the current market value. I have a friend who bought a house at $120K 9 years ago and today his house has a tax value of $268K. His neighbor, a senior citizen bought his house 40 years ago for $32K. He is retired and the ever-increasing tax burden is straining his finances. I want everyone to pay their fair share, but if a developer puts up a few McMansions on your block, it’s not fair that you have to pay more every year. It is bad enough you have to look at McMansions. I want to work with the county tax office to give relief to our existing residents so they aren’t forced out of their homes by neighborhood gentrification.
How I stopped worrying and learned to love the road
1) No left turns on Wade ave
Seriously, we all hate you. Stop trying to turn left. Go up a block, make three rights and wait to cross at the light, you monster. Exceptions of course where there are pre-existing left turn lanes (St Mary’s Street, Dixie Trail, and Faircloth Street)
2) Create Raleigh light rail transit
I intend to propose a plan to buy the assets of the Durham-Orange light rail transit, for pennies on the dollar. Then I’ll run a light rail from downtown Raleigh to Garner and Knightdale. You had your chance Durham, and you blew it. Thanks Duke, now Wake Tech students will reap the rewards. The proposed light rail will connect downtown Raleigh with a branch going west down the length of Hillsborough St. past the fairgrounds, ending at Ol’ Time BBQ, half way to Cary; traveling east down New Bern Ave. onto Highway 64 Business and through Knightdale, ending at Smithfield BBQ ; and south down Wilmington St, on to Hammond Rd, and ending at The Original Carolina BBQ on Highway 70 in Garner. There are no rail-worthy BBQ restaurants at which to terminate a northern spur.
3) Rip out bike lanes, lose the R line, bring back the Raleigh Street Railway
Where you’ve got room for bike lanes, you have room for trolley tracks. Raleigh had a great electric trolley system all throughout downtown for decades. The rails are still buried beneath the streets in downtown Raleigh. Bikes belong on the road, not in their own lane. We start by removing all the bike lanes and laying rail right down the middle of the road. Bike lanes are dangerous for riders, diesel buses like the R line are unsightly and dirty, and electric trolleys are fun and green!
1) We need an LGBT Non-discrimination Ordinance
Raleigh needs a comprehensive ordinance that protects people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in both municipal and private employment, housing, and public accommodations. The NCGA (which should be declared a hate group) put a moratorium on all non-discrimination ordinances to protect LGBT citizens through 2020, and then they can only be local, not state level. This is shameful. The first step in protecting all our citizens is protecting the ones the NCGA will not, and then pushing for statewide protections.
2) Keep our DMV offices here
I’ll fight to keep the DMV from moving to Rocky Mount. We have a DMV office here that the state owns; our DMV staff lives here, and I don’t think it’s right to send our Raleigh citizens an hour east to work in stinky ol’ Rocky Mount to work in a private building for which the state will pay over $2 million annually in rent. There’s something rotten with this deal and I intend to get to the bottom of it. If anyone thinks the DMV’s 400 employees will somehow raise the culture level of Nash County, you’ve never been to Nash County. Or the DMV.
3) Hillsborough St. roundabouts
I have a 7-year comprehensive plan on removing these public nuisances. My proposal involves creating detours around all of them, then slowly replacing them, one at a time, with standard intersections using stop lights to control the flow of traffic. Let’s go back to driving like civilized people.
I don't like mailing lists so there isn't one.
I don't know what strings are attached with all the money candidates raise so I'm not raising any.
Yard signs are gauche so you don't get one for me unless you make it yourself.
+5 points for creativity.