I am proud to be involved in RaleighNDO.org, an organization dedicated to pushing for the adoption of a comprehensive Nondiscrimination Ordnance dec 1, 2020. Every candidate says they are for LGBTQ rights, but which rights do they support? RaleighNDO provides a framework for understanding where candidates stand.
The importance of this proposed ordnance is explained on the website as well as a list of every candidate who has pledged their support OR come up with an alternative NDO of their own
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.
The following list is a compilation of almost every question I have been asked over the course of this election. It includes newspaper interviews, candidate questionnaires and endorsement surveys. All answers are as submitted, not edited or redacted in any way
Name as it appears on the ballot: George Knott
Party affiliation: Democrat
How do you identify your political ideology? Franklin Roosevelt Democrat with Teddy Roosevelt attitude
Campaign website: www.George4Raleigh.com
Occupation & employer: Musician, self employed
Years lived in Raleigh: 42
Previous political and civic service (limit to three positions): None
Endorsements (limit to three): None, all endorsements offered have been declined
How would you add diversity to the City Council? I’d be the first Thousandair mayor elected in decades.
Me as a candidate
What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective as a member of the city council and as an advocate for the issues that you believe are important?
I have no record of public service, so I have no record to hold against me. I am a citizen of Raleigh who has read the newspaper every morning for the last 30 years and grumbled to myself about the state of our city. We’ve had some real great people on the city council and we’ve had some real disasters, and when they as to run for reelection I am always perplexed by the guile it take to be such a horrific councilperson and come back election after election and pretend that they haven’t left a wake of destruction and votes of self interest in their path. Then again I suspect that’s the nature of politics; not only that the rotten ones keep coming back but that the public keeps electing them. What short memories we have. Why would I be an effective member of the council? Well, I haven’t let you down yet.
Do you believe that big corporations have too much power in our economy and our democracy?
What experience and qualities do you feel you bring to this office?
I was born here in Raleigh, so was my father and his father before him. I go back 7 Generations, Raleigh is in my bones. I have sat back and watched for the last 20 years as large corporate interests have pushed their way into downtown and pushed our working residents out. Gentrification is ravaging our town and with city and county incentives we, the taxpayer are funding it and we the city are driving it.
I am not a millionaire. I don't have a political past working against me. I am as salt of the earth as they come in this election. I want to work for the people, not for the city, not for the businesses. The people of Raleigh have been taken for granted far too long. I want the people to have a voice and not just lip service. Growth, prosperity, and innovation are just code words for city sponsored gentrification. The citizens of Raleigh deserve more and I'm ready to step up for them, not because I want to but because no one else has
What do you think makes you the best candidate for this position?
I realize Raleigh is in dire straights. Our housing crisis and homeless population is bordering on criminal. It is all driven by our desire to change the landscape of our downtown and surrounding areas from a home for working people to a wealth generator for the rich. Growing a city and taking care of its residents are diametrically opposed goals. You can't have both yet most candidates try to pitch both ideas. Our growth is eating our citizens wholesale and the city doesn't care as long as the tax base grows.
I have volunteered at the LGBT center of Raleigh for 5 years, I have marched for the Womens March and protested against HB2 weekly. I have protested the conditions Kanautica Zayre-Brown has been held under and last week I took part in an anti Police Brutality protest.
Raleigh in General
Given the direction of Raleigh government, would you say things are on the right course? If not, for what specific changes will you advocate if elected?
For the past 20 years we, as a city, have courted tech industry with cash incentives’ and tax abatements to move downtown, you can see it everywhere, the new buildings with the big fancy logos on them. Those companies create jobs but those jobs import their workforce and that workforce wants to live downtown also. This growth displaces the blue collar Raleigh citizens who have traditionally lived and worked in and near the city core, close to services like bus stations, clinics, and other nonprofits set up to serve the cities most vulnerable. Our citizens find themselves relocated far from their job (if in fact they still have a job, gentrification affects industry also) and far from the public transportation and other services that were easily accessible when they lived near the city core. The gentrification has causes one of the worst affordable housing crisis’s in the south. It’s fueling social instability, it’s turning our downtown into a wealth generator for the rich and only the rich, it’s causing our out of control homeless problem, it’s erasing our blue collar working class so that Raleigh is becoming a city of the nuevorich tech bros and developers on the top and the working poor at the bottom. And its being financed by our own tax dollars. I find that repulsive.
Please identify the three most pressing issues the city faces.
In Reverse order:
3. Homelessness. Raleigh had 4,200 homeless in 2017, 5,500 in 2018. That’s an increase of 1,300 homeless citizens of Raleigh, in a state where the trend everywhere else is a declining rate of homelessness. We are well over 6,000 homeless where we stand today, and the county has 230 beds at the men’s shelter on Wilmington Street and is building 75 woman’s beds at the new facility on New Bern Ave. So we have 305 county beds and 5 other county funded non profits that house 5-15 people each. For 6,000 people. Of course, the answer to homelessness isn’t county beds in a shelter; it’s getting people into safe and stable housing, so . . .
2. The Affordable Housing Crisis. We are gaining 500 units of affordable housing a year but losing 1,000 to tear downs and market rate conversions. In 2015 we had a 54,000 unit deficit of affordable housing. We are actively losing working class blue collar houses and neighborhoods so the chances of the homeless finding stable housing in the city are nil. This is all driven by . . .
1. Our city and county sponsored growth; i.e. a culture of corporate welfare. We pay companies to come to our downtown. They import a workforce and that workforce wants to live downtown and they have the shiny tech money to do it. Affordable housing is bulldozed and high rises go up, blue collar neighborhoods are razed and market rate condos go up. Our gentrification problem is burning every bit as hot as our city’s growth because they are two sides of the same coin. OUR CITY IS PAYING FOR OUR WORKING CLASS TO BE DISPLACED. People are priced out of their homes through no fault of their own, they find themselves flung out into the suburbs where public services like access to public transportation have a harder time providing them access to the services they provide. Often the citizens also find their jobs have been displaced by the business our city imports and without the social safety net a city center has traditionally provided and no job, well, go back to problem #3 and start again.
Please describe how you plan to implement the top 3 issues you wish to address.
The cities overheated growth must be curbed. The most effective way would be simply to stop subsidizing companies with cash and tax abatement to move downtown. This of course is not without it's drawbacks but we must realize we are in a dangerous bubble that is being held inflated by our tax dollars subsidizing huge corporations. Those corporations do not have Raleighs best interests at heart. The bubble will burst sooner or later, the later it is, the uglier it will be.
We have to start making developers integrate affordable housing into new developments. To keep ignoring this powerful card the council hold is malicious. We have to allow Aux Dwelling Units. We have to give seniors tax relief so they are not forced from their homes due to increasing tax bills based on the values of the homes that surround them.
Until that happens we need to increase the number of beds available to the homeless. We need more mental health outreach and safe spaces for LGBT homeless youth
Do you think Raleigh’s system of Citizens Advisory Councils is the best way of fostering engagement with local government? If not, how do you believe the CAC system should be reformed?
I’m really on the fence about this one. On the one hand they are the best and most stable platform for citizens to engage with their government that I am aware of. On the other hand it’s like everything else in Raleigh, how seriously they take your CAC probably depends a lot on the part of town you live in. But then again that goes for just being a citizen in general. I’ve talked to people who think they are great and I’ve talked to people who have no faith in them. One thing is for sure, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Police Accountability or Moloks, there’s a problem getting through to the people in charge; the CAC’s act like a buffer between individual citizens and the Council and the Council acts like a buffer between the CACs and who actually runs the city. But now I’m getting into some of that Wizard of Oz stuff, ignore the man behind the curtain, keep moving, nothing to see here folks.
When Mayor McFarlane announced her decision not to seek reelection, she cited increasing incivility among council members. Do you agree with her assessment? If so, what would do to lower the temperature in city government and make the council more productive?
We have had hot heads in the council for the last 10 years or so. This is nothing new. Some have been worse than others but there is defiantly an unhealthy culture that has rubbed off and been passed down through the years. I won’t say we need a complete reset but some of the people running have a history of causing trouble and I surely do not want to see them come back next term. The amount of disconnect between the public understanding of the situation and the history of some of the elected officials (which has been well covered in the News and Observer and the Indy) is stunning.
Do you think the makeup of the City Council reflects the people who live and work in Raleigh?
Our City Council has always been a very narrow demographic. That’s not to say they haven't always had the best of intentions but they are not and have not been representative of the cross section of Raleigh.
Do you support major investment in local infrastructure, including repairing crumbling schools and roads, building out clean energy infrastructure, and wiring communities with high-speed Internet?
Are the city managers and staff doing a good job implementing the Council’s vision as stated and running the day to day operations of the city?
The City manager and staff are professionals. I have the utmost respect for them, and what they do (which is having to deal with the city council)
What is the most important issue facing Raleigh right now?
Our city subsidizes growth that displaces old Raleigh business, gentrifies neighborhoods, and supports the housing crisis we are in. We are in a bubble that our city has funded with our tax dollars and is not sustainable. Nobody likes the boy who cried wolf but nobody is talking about the crash either.
Do you support adding participatory budgeting to the city’s budget to let residents decide some community projects?
I’m running for mayor for the first time. Let me get my bearings on the meat and potatoes issues before I start getting all fancy in here.
Do you think the current City Council has put Raleigh on the right path?
I have been accused of wanting to roll Raleigh back to what it was in 1985. That is not true. I wish Raleigh had grown organically and justly into the Raleigh it should have been in 2019. We have lost our way, bowing to corporate welfare, unchecked growth, and a complete lack of concern for the citizens of Raleigh. It’s not just this city council, you can trace the path back 20 years. I think around 2007 or 2008 we could have course corrected to the right direction but we didn’t and we haven’t since. Raleigh has a bloodlust for growth and for the most part, it has little to no concern about protecting the citizens that are adversely affected by that growth. We welcome development on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens.
What is your vision for Raleigh 20 years from now? Development will happen whether you support it or not -- so what is next? What is the big idea? What is YOUR big idea?
Raleigh in 20 years will mirror San Francisco if we stay on the same path of corporate welfare and chasing growth at by all means available. There is one script, one destination. We are speeding towards end stage capitalism. My big idea is nothing new. I believe a governments main job is to help it’s citizens, and particularly the most needy citizens that the free market ignores. This doesn’t mean a hand out, this means though civil projects, municipal job creation, education and job training and help with housing. Rather than focus on the most vulnerable and impoverished in our society our city acts as an agent for the already wealthy to become even richer. When we incentivize growth and choose to invest in million and billion dollar companies to move into our city core, we superheat our problems of inequality, we create a class divide and drive the mechanism that has lead us into this housing crisis. Our housing crisis and incentivized growth are two sides of the same coin; you can’t feed one without feeding the other. Raleigh will still grow if we don’t shovel tax dollars into the top and hope it trickles down. It won’t grow as fast and it won’t be easy but the consequences of growing the way we have been are far too heavy a burden to shoulder.
What are your thoughts about current city and county property tax rates? Should property tax rates increase or decrease. Which taxes and fees would you like to change and by how much?
We have some of the lowest property tax rates in the world. It is unreasonable to continue meaningful municipal operations while trying to appeal to the short sightedness of those not willing to pay their fair share into the society they live in. Property taxes will go up, to the level that the government is able to pay for all services needed without carrying over debt.
What do you think about our current level of local debt? Would you like to see higher or lower levels of debt? What are your plans to address our debt levels?
I have no opinion of our local debt. It would be ideal to be operating at a balance but that is almost an impossibility given the cities track record. I should say that also applies to cities across the country, I am not singling out Raleigh.
Do you support the issuance of additional bonds before previous bonds are paid off. For what, if any, purposes would you consider issuing additional bonds?
Bonds are issued as payment for a capital project. Some capital projects are necessary, some are schemes dreamed up by bond salesmen and sold as municipal improvements or investments to the city. I have no problem stacking overlapping bonds. I do have a problem with the city asking for a bond vote for a project that will not benefit everyone in the city.
What are your plans to deal with our growing unfunded financial liabilities?
If our goal is to operate at a budgetary balance (which I am not sold on being an absolute necessity) then the only way to fund them is through tax increases.
Do you plan to increase government spending during your term in office, or do you plan to reduce government spending? If you plan to reduce government spending, how do you plan to return money to the local taxpayers?
With the problems in housing and homelessness we are facing I would absolutely increase spending given the chance. We have been kicking that can down the road for 20 years, and we need to start addressing it in a big way. This is our problem, we made it, we have to clean up the mess.
What local government programs would you eliminate?
What local government programs would you reduce?
In which departments would you increase the number of government employees? By how many?
I would, given the chance, increase blue collar city jobs across the board. Engineering Services, Parks and Rec, Fire Department, Police, Public Utilities, Housing. Anywhere we can put Raleigh citizens to work to build a better Raleigh.
In which departments would you reduce the number of government employees? By how many?
Most people agree that Raleigh faces a housing affordability crisis. Do you believe the council made a wise decision not to place a bond on this year’s ballot? Why or why not?
We absolutely are in an affordable housing crisis and we needed action 10 years ago. We are so far behind the 8 ball that this election cycle almost every single candidate gives lip service to it. It’s not a problem that can be solved with campaign promises though. It’s going to be a long tough slog and will probably chew up many political careers along the way to get it done right. We absolutely need a bond to kick start an affordable housing solution but we should have been spending more of our tax dollars on it all along. I believe the county has allocated somewhere around 15 million dollars a year but I’d like to see that number doubled AND a bond to get a solid start.
Assuming the council places a bond referendum on the 2020 ballot, how much money to do you believe the city should ask for? What do you believe it should fund? Outside of a bond, what steps should the city be taking to promote housing affordability in Raleigh?
Durham proposed a $95 million dollar bond and I think that’s a good number. It won’t be enough by itself. I’d like to see the county double the money it spends on housing. As to what to do with the bond money, I have a lot of ideas. I’d like the county to get back into the housing market, not Raleigh relying on the private sector to provide for the neediest. This means reversing some of the damage caused by the HOPEVI program that demolished section 8 housing and replaced it with lower density privatized affordable and market rate units. For example, Halifax Court had 300 units of section 8 housing and it was torn down and replaced by 60 market rate cottages and 60 ‘affordable’ housing units and renamed Capital Park. That program fixed some problems but we should have been built 4 more neighborhoods like Capital Park to replace the one Halifax court. I’d also like the county to adopt a plan similar to California’s prop 13 for long term residents. This fixes property tax at the value the house was at when purchased, tied to inflation. Homeowners are protected who may otherwise be priced out of their homes due to gentrification of their neighborhoods around them. I’d like to see land trusts formed, especially around the most vulnerable areas like the neighborhoods surrounding Dix Park, anywhere around a ill conceived sports complex and around any transit hub. These are ground zero for gentrification
Do you support tax relief for long-term homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods?
My plan is loosely based on California Prop 13, which is not without its critics, and we can learn from the mistakes made implementing it over there. My plan is that the tax relief is tied to the purchase price and indexed to economic inflation, not the value of the homes around it. My plan differs from Prop 13 in that it would be extended only to homeowners, not commercial properties.
Discussions surrounding housing often turn on questions of protecting neighborhoods’ characters or promoting density in the city’s core—i.e., what kinds of new housing the city should add, and where? At the crossroads of this conversation is the rapid gentrification of Southeast Raleigh. What role should the city play in ensuring that the longtime residents of those neighborhoods can continue to afford to live there?
As the city continues to attract business to downtown with cash incentives’ and tax breaks, the boundaries of downtown are expanding south. There is literally nothing to be done to stop the gentrification of southeast Raleigh as long as we are growing. Any candidate who advocates for this type of growth and says they can slow or stop gentrification is talking out of both sides of their mouth. The city doesn’t add any housing, not enough to warrant that conversation. Housing is added by developers and developers, whether they build up or out, always do it where profits can be maximized. This means they always build where they can buy low and sell high, and that means housing is built on the backs of the poor and working class. Now this is where people get the idea that I am an anti growth candidate. I am not. I am am against using our tax dollars to pay private companies to move to our downtown. If we could slow growth to it’s natural and organic pace we could begin to try to get a handle on gentrification. Until then it is and will always be a losing battle
The city currently has twenty neighborhood conservation overlay districts, which can restrict new development. Do you believe this tool is being used effectively? How would you change the city’s approach to NCODs, if at all?
NCOD’s are put in place in to freeze the character of existing neighborhoods. Some of the NCOD’s might be stifling affordable housing but ¾ of the NCOD’s in Raleigh are in affluent areas and they keep tear downs out and stop lots from being split in two; and when they split a lot in those types of neighborhoods they don’t do it to put up affordable housing, they shoehorn in two McMansions. If our goal is affordable housing, I’d look elsewhere first
Do you think the city’s current accessory dwelling unit regulations encourage density? If not, how would you work to make them more impactful?
I’d like to see the city allow homeowners to be able to build ADU’s. They should be allowed by right. It’s your property, you should be able to build a ADU to code if you desire; even if in NCODs and HODs as long as they aren’t seen from the street. It seems like the city council likes to give lip service but keep dragging their feet or real change. The amount of people who could benefit from having a rental unit in their back yard and the amount of people who need stable housing should be up in arms over the delays in approving the ADUs
Will you support housing ordinances that create more affordable housing options?
With the high cost of land in the city, do you think new affordable housing and workforce home ownership (single-family detached and townhomes) is possible outside the Habitat model? How do you think affordable home ownership programs will work? Do you believe home ownership at the 30% - 50% AMI is possible and can increase wealth and social mobility among low-income families? Do you feel affordable home ownership programs like this are necessary to address past discriminatory practices in real estate and lending?
It is not possible in Raleigh to own your own home and work a regular job 9-5 blue collar job. Unfortunately, the price of land is market driven and the market is artificially inflated because our city and county subsidizes large corporations to move to our downtown, import a workforce, and that workforce drives gentrification and forces property values up to the point that Raleigh citizens can no longer afford to live in their city. This is the greatest shame that our city has brought to itself.
What is your stance on changing current zoning to include tiny homes, cottage courts, and multi-family housing i.e. duplexes, triplexes, and quads, in areas currently zoned for single family units as an affordable housing option? Recent articles have given examples where municipalities have added these housing types into neighborhoods previously zoned for single family detached housing only.
Tiny homes are largely an affluent white phenomena; a counter culture movement that rejects modest size homes in favor of minimalism. The problem is counter culture movements seldom transfer over to solve mainstream problems. A tiny home may be hip and trendy now but a mobile home which is functionally identical are thought of as trashy and low class. We have to house our citizens with dignity, not in a 700 square foot tenement with no room for a kitchen or bathroom. There is also the issue of the cost of the land, the problems with financing tiny homes and with cottage courts the issue of zoning (how to split up the land for the cottages and once the idea falls from favor as I’m sure they will how to rezone the land back for traditional houses once the ‘fad’ wears off). I am fine with having tiny homes and cottage courts but not as an answer to affordable housing, only as an answer to density. For affordable housing I can get behind Dupleses, triplexes and quadplexes as long as they maintain enough room for dignity of the residents
Do you support the city buying property along major transit lines for affordable housing (land banking)?
Until the city starts acquiring land in a real and meaningful way to provide affordable housing and stop gentrification the most vulnerable will always lose. A new transit line can spark the gentrification of a neighborhood, but so can new development and municipal improvements. We should be banking land around transit, but also around Dix Park and the proposed stadium. Even if it doesn't go through (fingers crossed) the land will be a valuable tool to help Raleigh citizens who otherwise would be priced out of their own city
Is Raleigh dense enough? Does the city have the infrastructure to support more density? Does the city currently have pressing infrastructure needs? If so, what are they?
Raleigh is overbuild, especially downtown. We have great infrastructure for a city half our size. The largest need is the water available to our city. 10 years ago Falls Lake almost ran dry and that was 100,000 citizens ago. One summer without rain is all it takes and we’ll be there again
If you could change anything about the city’s unified development ordinance, what would it be and why?
The last time the city revamped its UDO it was to lay down a fast track for developers to turn ranch houses into McMansions, and turn downtown into highrise condos for the rich. Any argument for ‘preserving the character of the neighborhood’ went out the window when we allowed that to happen. If I could change one thing it would be to make the UDO cater to all, not just those looking to tear down modest houses and build the horrendous monstrosities that are too big for the lot, too tall for the neighborhood and to ugly for human consumption. I’d like the UDO to have a stronger hand in halting the McMansion frenzy, and make it easier to build Duplexes, triplexes and adding Accessory Dwelling units on existing properties.
Do you support John Kane’s proposal to rezone an area of Peace Street to build a 40-story tower? Why/why not?
No. While housing is needed adding density to a downtown that is already overbuild will just compound problems
When considering new downtown development projects—e.g., John Kane’s proposed tower on Peace Street or new developments in the Warehouse District—how much consideration do you believe the council should give to automobile traffic and parking concerns?
Downtown Raleigh proper is 6 blocks by 6 blocks and most of the streets are two lane roads. The bones of our downtown are modest, and we are way overbuilt for what they can support. There is zero we can do about it. The UDO setback guidelines allow high rises to be built right up to the road, there is no place for added lanes. I imagine all those proposed high rises will have their own parking garages built in and of course if you live or work in one those buildings you’re going to have a car. I don’t even know how to answer that question; we are so far beyond being able to reasonably balance our downtown infrastructure. That ship has sailed.
What is your stance on the city’s voluntary inclusionary zoning, i.e., asking developers to include affordable units in projects for which they’re seeking more intense zoning? John Kane recently proposed building a 40-story tower in the Peace Street area downtown with an offer of $1 million for affordable housing elsewhere if his rezoning request was approved. Would you support this type of trade-off or negotiate for the inclusion of affordable housing units in his development?
The city should have mandatory inclusionary zoning. The developers will still make money and if they pass because of the mandatory zoning, another will step in and build in their place. Bill De Blasio implemented a mandatory zoning rule in New York City where the number of units ranged from 20 to 50 percent of new construction. I don’t think that 50% would work in Raleigh but 20% of new construction in multi dwelling projects over 8 units seems about right to me
Developers are eyeing at least three parcels on the outskirts of the downtown business district for twenty-plus-story buildings. Do you believe this area is an appropriate place to add height and density? What conditions should the city attach to such projects, if any?
ALL new construction of buildings should include affordable housing built in. Bill DeBlasio implemented a plan in New York where all new construction had between 20 and 50 percent set aside for affordable housing. In North Carolina’s political climate 50% would be a hard sell but it would still be profitable. I think 20% affordable housing units for any new construction over 8 units is reasonable and not unprecedented. Getting our NCGA to allow us to exercise that power is another matter; but I think it could be negotiated if we were willing to fight that fight. We should have a City Council who is willing to step up for us.
Do you support using interlocal funds to help finance a soccer stadium entertainment complex on a parcel of land in Southeast Raleigh? Why/why not?
Not a cent of public money should go to private development when there are nearly 6000 homeless people in our city, an already unbearable affordable housing crisis, and hungry children in Raleigh. If a stadium was such a great idea it would not need public funding. Let’s re-direct the interlocal funds to help Raleigh Citizens
The Downtown South Sports and Entertainment Stadium would benefit local colleges like William Peace University and Shaw University who would be able to use the facility for their sports games, graduations and other events. Knowing this, would it make you support the project?
A recent report by the Urban Land Institute called for the creation of an independent authority to help serve to govern the Downtown South Sports and Entertainment Stadium - similar to the authority that governs the PNC Arena. Do you support the creation of this third-party authority to help govern the new sports and entertainment stadium?
A recent report by the Urban Land Institute indicated that the Downtown South Sports and Entertainment Stadium would help spur needed economic development opportunities in Southeast Raleigh. Knowing that the complex will not displace any residents but instead it will help create an asset for Southeast Raleigh that will create job opportunities as well as needed youth programs for that community would this make you a supporter of the project?
Not today, not tomorrow, not ever
Are the current City Council members putting forth a strong enough vision for growth?
Sadly they are and growth is not the thing Raleigh needs. We’ve put it ahead of everything, including our own citizens. We need to focus on housing, homelessness, and attracting industry that can employ the people who live here; not chase tech firms that import their workforce to the exclusion of everyone else
Do you support ending single-family zoning in Raleigh?
Single-family zoning is an artifact of 1950’s suburbia. It’s the 21st century and we’re in sprawlburbia, it’s time we got with the program and updated some of our codes
If you support increased density in existing neighborhoods, what type of infrastructure needs would you advocate for to support that increased density? How do you propose paying for this infrastructure?
If we could somehow reverse the trend and start moving towards higher density affordable housing that would be a great start, and specifically in the downtown area. That’s where the infrastructure has always been for working people. Bus Stations, municipal social services and non-profits have traditionally been centered in a cities downtown. Turning a downtown into a playground for the rich is the worst thing the city has allowed to happen over the past 20 years. As working and poor citizens are displaced, our ability to help them dwindles while the cost to try increases exponentially. The city has, through it’s desire to bring companies downtown, created a crisis the likes of which we may not be able to get a handle on. I feel we may have moved past the point of no return with our cities economic hostility to working people; we have displaced them to far and and to many directions to be able to help them all and the corporate welfare that we practice limits the amount of funds we have available to help all our citizens.
What are your thoughts on the city’s approach to alternative transportation options downtown? Is the city handling issues such as regulating e-scooter companies and building protected bike lanes the right way? Why or why not?
I am not surprised the city council has embraced the blight on downtown that is e-scooters. After all, municipalities across the country are salivating for the privatization of as many services as they can get away with. E-Scooters are, on the surface, a last mile option and if they deliver that is one less service the city has to provide. Here’s the thing. E-Scooters are not last mile options. The people who NEED last mile options are the disabled, the old, people with young children in tow, people trying to get groceries from the bus stop to their door. E-Scooters are of zero use to these people. E-Scooters are toys for affluent people who have smart phones and can walk but choose to look like buffoons and are willing to pose a danger to themselves and others while acting as such. The city NEEDS a last mile option that is accessible to all. E-Scooters are not it.
The problem with bike lanes, protected or not, is the issue of the available asphalt in downtown Raleigh. As I said of the infrastructure of Raleigh, the roads downtown are far too modest for what we are asking of them. Most roads are only two lanes with parking on one side. To add bike lanes often removes the street parking and many of the smallest, oldest and most vulnerable businesses downtown depends on street parking. If you want to ride a bike, put on a helmet and ride in the road like an adult. Of course there will be accidents, it’s impossible for there not to be when we have overloaded our roads to above capacity, when we have built the downtown so high. Hey, the city is growing. Some people lose their house to gentrification; others get run over by an imported tech bro pulling their Tesla out of the parking deck of their million dollar condo on the 27th floor of a new Styrofoam high rise. Thems the breaks of growth
How often do you ride a bicycle or take public transportation?
I ride my bicycle at least once a week. When I'm not campaigning for mayor I average 60 miles a week; I have a Surley Cross Check and a 1970's Bridgestone Kabuki Submariner stainless steel road bike. I do not take public transportation in Raleigh, I live far enough from downtown and deep enough into a neighborhood that the nearest bus stop is exactly 1 mile from my house; and I play the double bass professionally. If you can imagine carrying a musical instrument the size and shape of an armoire a mile to a bus stop, getting on a bus that isn't set up for an armoire and then working until 1 in the morning (after the buses stop running) you can see the reasons I commute in my car. On the other hand I am a product of the suburbs and what is the spirit animal of the suburbs if not the automobile? A fellow can only redefine himself so many times
What do you think are the main barriers to bicycling and public transit as viable transportation options in Raleigh?
As far as public transportation, the largest barrier is gentrification. Traditionally working people lived in or near the city center. Gentrification has increased the price of real estate at our city center to the point those people have been forced out and spread to the winds. When they lived close to downtown it was easy to provide centralized services (not only transportation but other public services) but as the rich are inhabiting downtown and displacing the citizens who need assistance most getting those services such as public transit to the citizens becomes exponentially more difficult and expensive. As far as cycling, I'm not sure what the barrier is. Get a bike and go, they are fun!
Significant areas of our city have gaps in bicycling and walking infrastructure. In addition to being safety hazards, these gaps discourage residents from biking and walking. How would you approach closing these infrastructure gaps?
I have never been unable to get anywhere in this town on my bicycle. Of course, a rudimentary knowledge of the streets and topography of the city are key. Knowing back roads to say off the larger roads (such as Wade ave or Falls of the Neuse) is relaxing and adds a sense of discovery as one explores new ways to navigate the city. Also realizing Raleigh is a city built on a series of ridges and riding along the tops of them to get where you are going makes cycling less daunting for a new rider who may be nervous about hills
What are your thoughts on removing publicly subsidized parking to provide an area for bicycle lanes and transit infrastructure?
Parking vital to downtown; and with the size of many of the roads the choice is either bike lanes or street parking. Losing street parking can absolutely destroy a business that has no parking lot of it's own. I am 100% against removing street parking for bike lanes when the choice is one or the other.
As our city continues to grow, streets are growing crowded, especially in our downtown core. Speed limits on narrow through roads range from 25 to 35 mph, which has led to collisions with vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. What are your ideas on ensuring traffic of all kinds can traverse our city safely and effectively?
Number one priority, remove traffic circles from Hillsboro street. Traffic circles are great for cars that want to not stop, terrifying for cyclists. Also, Hillsboro street has a university on one side and student housing and parking on the other. We need stop lights. We need the cars to stop every 1/4 of a mile. We need to keep the cars on Hillsboro street below 15 MPH; at least for the stretch where the university is. The stop lights provided traffic calming, and that's exactly what that street needs with thousands of students crossing daily on foot and commuting on cycles. As to vehicle, pedestrian, and cyclist collisions in the downtown core; unfortunately that is the nature of the beast. Painted lines on the road (such as bike lanes and crosswalks) provide only the illusion of safety. As long as all exist on the same thoroughfare there will be interactions.
During the past city council term, bike lane and sidewalk projects planned by the City of Raleigh and approved by City Council were cancelled or postponed due to vocal neighbors and business interests. How will you balance stakeholder feedback with the City of Raleigh's plans to build a connected, safe, and convenient network across our city for walking, bicycling, and transit?
I am running because I have been dissatisfied with the way our city has been run and I am dissatisfied with a lot of the projects and plans they have proposed and voted on. As far as I am concerned all proposed projects would be reviewed on a case by case basis; even when there was no push back; that is how dissatisfied with the city council I am. What I will say is priority #1 for connecting the city would be A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO BRIDGE #106. I remember when that bridge first opened and I though 'Wow, this is really cool. To bad it will not last'. By having that bridge closed we are cutting off the pathway from a traditional African American working class neighborhood over by Raleigh Blvd from the new development and jobs happening at the new Midtown Shopping Center (Wegmans anchor, adjacent to Holly Park). This is not just a greenway issue, this is an equality issue and is indicative of the way the city prioritizes its funds to go to affluent neighborhoods at the expense of neighborhoods that do not contribute as much to the tax base. People should have been fired over that bridge; not because it broke the continually of the greenway but because it isolated a community from opportunity.
Do you regularly ride a city bus?
The nearest bus station to me (in Midtown) is exactly one mile from my front door. Our sprawl makes truly accessible public transportation both problematic and expensive. With our city turning the downtown into a playground for the rich, the people who NEED public transportation are pushed out into the suburbs where they cannot be adequate serviced. Gentrifications effects are felt in many ways and removing working people from the city center also removes people working people from accessible social services like buses
Given the lack of population density in the local area, do you support spending public funds on transportation? If so, how do you plan to make this system economically sustainable?
The city made a decision 20 years ago to turn downtown from a working class city center to a playground for the rich. When blue collar workers lived downtown they had access to bus stop, a bus station, a train station. Once the affordable houses were destroyed and million dollar condos went up working people were forced out into the suburbs and the county. This did not negate their need for public transportation (and medical clinics, centralized resources, and city services that they need); rather the cities burden is now increased 10 fold. When the working class were forced into the suburbs they still need transportation and to service them we have to increase our bus system exponentially. This means an expositional rise in cost, which the city is responsible for. Our bus system will not be economically sustainable, there is no public transportation that has ever turned a profit, all operate at a loss. Ours will operate at a much larger loss because that is the trade we made when we allowed downtown to become gentrified.
Would you support lowering the city’s $300 per scooter fee?
I would support raising the fee until it became unsustainable and the scooter blight left our humble town forever
Four council members have called for the city to join a lawsuit over the RDU Airport Authority’s quarry lease with Wake Stone. Do you support RDU’s quarry lease? Do you believe this case is something the city should involve itself in? Why or why not?
I am proud those council members have taken a stand. I am all for the preservation of green space, and the environmental impacts will be felt far past the hole in the ground that quarry will leave. If the city has legal standing we should advocate against the quarry and if we do not I will use my voice to fight against it. My stance on the preservation of green space extends to the Dix park plan, which I am appalled by. We should leave that a green space, not turn it into a semi Disneyland attraction like the master plan calls for. Model it after Central park, a large green manicured park with walking trials. We will NEVER have another chance to preserve such a magnificent and overwhelming natural park for all citizens to enjoy. The problem with both the RDU quarry and Dix park is those in charge see every piece of land as a potential revenue generator. We can do better than that. Our parks don’t have to make money. Our parks don’t need to have event spaces and hotels and restaurants on them. There is enough of that. We have one chance and once it’s built out it’s gone forever. Once it’s built up or mined, that’s it, finito.
Orange County approved a quarter-cent property tax increase to respond to the local impact of climate change. Would you support a similar measure in Raleigh?
I’ll see them and raise them ½ cent. Climate change is real and we have to start at the local level. It’s not coming from the top, that’s for sure
Do you believe the city needs a community police oversight board? If so, what should the board look like, and what powers should it have? Do you believe the city can or should challenge the state law that blocks access to certain police personnel records?
I support community police oversight boards. They should have the power of subpoena but not the power for disciplinary action. I do not believe this will solve the issue of police brutality that the people advocating for them hope it will BUT it will add transparency and accountability where the community feels they have neither. Police brutality is rare but certainly not unheard of. Like police departments across the country, RPD has had its share of issues. There are families in Raleigh who have had brothers, fathers, husbands killed and no answers. As mayor the least you can do (and I do mean the very least) is give a grieving family answers as quickly as possible. There are families that have been shattered that will never be made whole again, wounds that will never heal. That’s not OK and I don’t know what the answer is. If I did I wouldn’t be wasting my time running for mayor of Raleigh, I’d be reforming the US police culture. But until we have a system that keeps these things from happening I will continue to use my voice to be an advocate for the people.
Do you support your local government raising the minimum wage for municipal employees to $15 or more?
Do you support your state raising the minimum wage to $15 or more?
Do you support legislation to give everyone who works the right to paid sick days each year?
Do you support the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively, including teachers and firefighters?
Do you support your state guaranteeing universal pre-K?
Do you support bodily autonomy, and will you work to uphold the rights conferred in Roe v. Wade?
Will you actively support investment from local, state, and federal government to ensure debt-free college at all public colleges and universities?
Do you believe everyone should have equal access to housing, employment, and education, and do you support ordinances that would prohibit local landlords, employers, schools, and businesses from discriminatory or unequal treatment?
Do you support de-emphasizing local enforcement of low-level marijuana charges?
Marijuana should be legalized. It’s 2019, we understand the real harm from Marijuana is not in the drug but in the social ramifications that enforcing the prohibition on it brings. At this point the only reason for enforcing low level drug charges is to generate income for the private prison industrial complex and that is one of our greatest shames as a nation.
We have a lot of people on the street with serious mental illness who need more than a roof over their heads. In addition to what the city, county, and agencies are currently doing to address homelessness, what steps do you think the city should take to better address the needs of these vulnerable populations? If you think this is primarily the county’s problem, what do you think the city should do, if anything, to support the county in this work?
Our city subsidizes big corporations to move downtown, they create jobs but import their workforce, that workforce drives gentrification and the increasing price of real estate. The county currently has a mens shelter with 230 beds, they are working on a womens shelter with 75 beds. That’s 305 beds for a homeless population that is over 6,000. A roof over their heads is not enough to help people get back on their feet. The way to help the homeless is to get them in stable housing but there is no affordable housing to be had anywhere in the city. Our city has created a machine that creates homeless and then makes it impossible to help them. We need to (as a county) increase the number of beds available, have more facilities for addicts to clean up (there is one county funded non-profit that helps addicts), we need to have facilities where married homeless can be together and not split up into gendered shelters, we need to take better care of the homeless with mental illness, and we need to have a safe space for LGBT youth who are homeless. But the bottom line is our city is the ONLY city that is growing the way we are and we are the ONLY city in the state with a growing homeless population. In 2017 we had 4,200 homeless people, in 2018 we had 5,500. That's an increase of 1,300 in one year. Because the city has a bloodlust for growth and no plan for the people who will be destroyed by the growth
For so many people, particularly Black and Latino residents, a routine encounter with a police officer can become a traumatic experience that results in unnecessary, invasive searches. This happens because the individual doesn’t know that they have the right to refuse a consent search of their person, vehicle, or home. RPD has created a consent-to-search form that states an individual’s right to refuse a search, and RPD policy requires that an individual sign their consent before a vehicle or property search, but only requires written consent before individuals themselves are searched “where possible.” It is unclear whether this policy is effectively enforced.
Are you in favor of requiring Raleigh Police Department to require and enforce the use of consent-to-search forms prior to any search and pat down that is not based on probable cause?
I support the Consent-To-Search form but compliance on the officer’s part is a must for the policy to be effective.
While Raleigh has implemented a body-worn camera program, it lacks a key element to ensure it is fully implemented: disciplinary consequences for violating the policies. This was illustrated in the failure of the officer who killed Soheil Antonio Mojarrad to turn on his body-worn camera. In order to ensure proper use of body cameras, policies should specify additional training opportunities and disciplinary consequences for officers who repeatedly misuse body cameras and improperly handle recordings. Similar policies have been implemented in other cities, including Durham and Charlotte.
Do you support the development and implementation of an effective discipline policy to enforce the existing RPD body-worn camera program?
A body camera protects both the citizens and the Police, and by extension, the city. If an officer doesn’t comply with policy it both opens the city up to liability suits, but more importantly, in the case of Police Brutality or the death of a Citizen at the hands of an officer, the victim or family of the victim will most likely not have an sort of satisfactory answer or closure regarding the incident and trust between the citizens and police is deeply damaged.
Another tool for ensuring the consistent use of body-worn cameras is to use a camera system that automatically turns on when officers draw their weapon from its holster. The body-worn cameras that Raleigh has purchased from a company called WatchGuard apparently do not support this feature, and are turned on by the officer clicking a button on the camera.
Do you support allocating funds to implement a holster activated body-worn camera system?
As Technology improves costs go down as capacity and features go up. Body cameras should be activated not only when the service weapon is drawn but also when other less than lethal alterative are unholstered (such as sprays or tazers). As I said before, if for no other reason, these systems should be implemented for police and city liability, and I believe that would justify the cost.
Are you in favor of requiring, and ensuring funding for, de-escalation training for all RPD officers? Do you support establishing consequences for officers who do not attempt to de-escalate prior to any use of force?
ALL RPD officers who carry a gun and interact with the public must be de-escalation trained first, and the rest to follow as a matter of course.
Questions that defy category
Earlier this year, the city passed an ordinance banning whole-house rentals and regulating other short-term rentals. Are you concerned about claims that this ordinance might conflict with state law? Do you believe the city’s policy is the best way to regulate Airbnb and other short-term rentals? Why or why not?
My views on Airbnb rental would allow citizens to rent out part of their homes 365 days a year, or full house rentals for a percentage of the year. What we want to avoid is allowing existing homes to be turned into full time, full house rental properties. We already lose enough affordable housing to redevelopment without allowing existing homes to be turned into full time, short term rental properties. As our city grows and gentrifies, this is one very small thing we can do to help our housing numbers.
Please discuss your views on Chartered Schools
Charter schools should be outlawed. They siphon resources away from public schools, they are not required to provide transportation creating equality barriers, they are not required to have certified teachers, hold students to any sort of curriculum, there is no mechanism for accountability, they have been proven to increase racial segregation, they are not required to be ADA compliant, and ultimately, charter schools are a front for profiteering off the education (or miseducation) of children. I find them morally repulsive.
According to the Arts & Economic Impact Study 5, the nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Raleigh generated $532 million in economic activity, representing 95% of the total activity for Wake County in fiscal year 2015. The creative economy also supports over 8,00 full-time equivalent jobs in Raleigh and generates $26 million in tax revenue for local government.
What is your vision for the arts and the role they would play in Raleigh’s overall economic development strategy?
People accuse me of bring in the arts. I play double bass for a living. I’ve done it for 20 years. I am not an artist. I am a small business owner who exchanges a skill for payment. I’ll never be rich, but it’s a living and every cent I have ever earned I have earned. I have never taken a grant, hand out, stipend, or any financial reward for anything but work done.
Every art is first a craft and not all crafts are profitable. If your craft is not profitable it is a hobby; if it is profitable it’s a job. I’m not sure exactly how that makes it any different from any other freelance job out there. I provide a service, I negotiate compensation for that service and I pay taxes like everyone else.
As long as there are Raleigh Citizens living on the streets, families who can’t afford safe housing and hungry children in our schools that talk of subsidizing the arts should be the end of conversation. The WPA made great contributions with government funded arts programs but we are not in the same climate by a long shot. Until we can get our city in order, artists have to make it on their own. That means they have to produce a commercially viable product, it means they will have to take commissions they don’t want, it means they will have to hustle for work. Just like every other freelance job out there
What else is important to your platform or that you want voters to know about you or your campaign?
I know you aren’t sposed to talk politics or religion in polite company but the Mayor race is non partisan so start talking about it with your circle of people. Last cycle only 17% of voters came out to the poles. Every candidate has a website and platform, read them all and get people excited about voting. There are 6 candidates on the ballot, each has a clear vision of the direction they want to take Raleigh. We do not agree on the direction that we feel would be best for the people of Raleigh; that’s where you, dear voter, come in. And remember, we are all lying to you. I can’t take out the roundabouts any more than the other candidates can fix homelessness or housing. But if I’m elected and I can’t remove the roundabouts no one gets hurt. If someone is elected who promises to fix the housing crisis and can’t, well, people’s lives are on the line here. Literally. It’s pandering to the most vulnerable citizens, it’s dirty. I guess you get to choose whether you want me and my little lies about leaf blowers and trolley pubs or you want the lie that feels good in the voting booth and allows the decimation of the poor over the next two years, just like it always has been, and just like it always will be.
But why should you trust me on that? I’m a politician