1. Why are you running for city council?
I think after being involved in city politics for 15 years, 11 of it I consider myself an intern of Thomas’ [Thomas Crowder was a city councilor who passed away in 2014 due to illness. Kay was appointed to fill his seat for the remainder of his term) it seems I am truly prepared for it.
Raleigh is a place I call home, I’m a native here, when you have a home that you love, that people want to move to, you want to give back to it and I really do want to make District D a wonderful place to continue to live and help guide the city and doing an excellent job in making sure that we have a place that people want to come to live, work and paly.
2. What is the biggest challenge currently facing the city, and what would you propose to do about it?
Probably the biggest challenge right now is that we have 429,000 people living here, 62 people moving here each day and we need to figure out where they’re going to live and how we’re going to move them around. So transportation becomes a big part of what we have to solve and that, I think, is a multipronged approach. The first phase of it will be with our bus services, to ensure 15-minute headways, also it needs to be safe, clean, Wi-Fi enabled, there need to be ore bus shelter’s and the city’s got to do a better job of getting connectivity to bus stops through sidewalks, bicycle paths, pedestrian paths, whatever those are we’ve got to make it a more seamless transition. I think the second part we really have to explore a rapid rail concept that we could do on the western side, between Cary and Raleigh, or between Morrisville Cary and Raleigh.
Density is part of what we have to deal with, and we have to develop around places you know are going to be transit stations, build them up so people can live there.
3. A text change ordinance was recently passed restricting sidewalk dining, was this the right move? Why or why not? What kind of balance should be struck between revelers & residents?
I think this was in the Law & Public Safety Committee for almost a year; they brought back to us a compromise they thought would be the first place to start, to move the ball forward through negotiation and compromise. Certainly it’s a 90-day trial and it’s something we intend to tweak after 90 days, it’s important to say it’s not really a patio issue, it’s a public sidewalk issue, and as with anything in the city operating on public space, we have the right to regulate it, whether it’s a newsstand or a food cart or whether it’s someone selling beverages, we have the right to regulate that as it relates to public safety.
And the issue of public safety led to the decrease in hours [for sidewalk dining]. It doesn’t mean if you have a private patio you can’t continue to use your patio until your alcohol permit says you have to stop serving, so we’re just asking those that use the sidewalks to take those patrons inside during the last hour, I mean we had complaints on all sides, we had to start somewhere.
Is it perfect, no, can we tweak it to make it more perfect, yes. We’re looking to have some data at the end of the 90 days to determine the best way to go.
4. Raleigh has ended up on a lot of Top Ten lists in recent years. Why do you think that is?
I think it’s a lot of things, I think having the ability to attract high-tech companies here, having universities here that create an intellectual property that everybody wants, having incubators set up here, the cost of living, the quality of life you can have here, the beauty of the green that’s here and that we love our natural resources. The city has really decided to engage in our greenways, in our parks and the amenities so that people they quality of life they have here. Our schools, and we continue to work with the county to make sure we have the best schools in Wake County, and we continue to attract more people, and do all the things the city needs to do to make itself more attractive for businesses to want to come here and people to want to live here.
5. Council is currently considering a rezoning case that would remap a significant portion of the city. Should this be approved as is, with changes, or not at all? Why or why not?
I want to move forward with remapping, I still think we have some areas, citizen engagement has shown us some areas, whether it be transitions between established neighborhoods and a little bit higher density areas, we’re working on trying to refine that so that property owners in existing neighborhoods as well as new owners feel comfortable with the prospect and what’s being done to make the transitions work better and other things we’re tweaking throughout the remapping. It still needs a little bit more work. I truly believe the remapping should wait for the new council to vote on it, only because I think the new council needs to be responsible for what is happening in remapping so they can be held a little more accountable for what’s moving forward. I would like for the new council to be elected and to be able to give their final approval on remapping.
We do have some citizens that don’t understand it, and because of the complexity I think we need to hold their hands and make them feel comfortable with the process, and let them know that we’re not taking away any of their property rights or values, I think it’s really important that we get this right, because we’re going to be living with it for a very long time.
6. What is the best and what is the worst decision made by city council over the past two years, and why?
I can really only speak to one year, OK, because I’ve been there for a year. I think the absolute best decision was the purchase of Dix Park. It’s an extraordinary thing to happen in a city of our size, for us to acquire 300+ acres inside of our city, so close to downtown, we have an opportunity to combine that park together with downtown, with Union Station and all the communities around it, I think it’s an extraordinary opportunity, so I’m looking forward to being able to move forward with that.
As far as the worst, I would say, looking at the remapping/rezoning, I think it would have been better if we had done this in phases as opposed to doing the city all at one time. I think if we’d done it in phases it would have been much easier to address the shortfalls. If we had the chance to redo it, we would phase it in as opposed to trying to do the entire city as one big remapping and rezoning.