Craig Ralph — At-Large

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Craig Ralph

Craig Ralph

1. Why are you running for city council?

I’m running because I’m concerned that Raleigh’s position regarding its debt, its infrastructure, and its quality of life are suffering under the current administration.

2. What is the biggest challenge currently facing the city, and what would you propose to do about it?

The biggest challenge right now is our one and a half-billion dollars in debt. For every one dollar we take in tax collection, 33 cents of it goes toward paying the debt service. And I also think there is an immediate need for water and sewer replacement for our infrastructure. If elected I would immediately start making sure we have the resources set aside for the replacement of our water and sewer and start a program to pay down our one and a half-billion dollars in debt.

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 don’t think the way the text change was passed was the appropriate way to go. I think there needs to be more collaboration. I think we need to not attack any one particular business, and I think we need the community leaders, residents, business leaders and work out a prolonged solution, not a quick fix. I would point at the noise monitoring on Glenwood South. It took a long time and a lot of work that they had offered as arrangements with bar owners and residents there. They didn’t have administration come down with a heavy hand of action, swoop down, upset business owners, patrons as well as residents. The city’s got to start being more socially responsible to business owners as well as residents and patrons and not target any one particular business.

4. Raleigh has ended up on a lot of Top Ten lists in recent years. Why do you think that is?

I think people recognize the value of what we have from a quality of life standpoint, and the economic standpoint as well as position in southeastern United States. Our goal is to continue to make those lists. Those lists are aggressive. Once you’ve already been on the list, you immediately kind of work toward securing your place next year. Our challenge is to continue to maintain those rankings, and we can only do so by making Raleigh affordable for everyone who lives here and everyone who would like 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?

No, it should not be approved at all as it currently exists, and the biggest problem is the way the city went about conducting the remapping and rezoning. They made a lot of the residents suspicious, a lot of the residents fearful, a lot of the residents hurt, and all the residents confused. I currently serve on the Hillsborough Street Cameron Village Study Area Committee, and we are grappling right now with the same rezoning suggestions for the Hillsborough area and Vanderbilt Street that would be affected, and because of the swift nature of this a lot of people involved in the process are suspicious and upset and really quite honestly don’t want the city to do anything until the new council is elected. The most unfortunate issue is if this rezoning is passed, elected council leaders will have to deal with the actions of what the past leaders decided to do.

6. What is the best and what is the worst decision made by city council over the past two years, and why?

As a 10-year board member of Dix306!, the best decision was to go ahead and purchase the park on behalf of the city of Raleigh, although I’m disappointed with our debt level. We had to actually borrow $52 million, causing us to go into debt even more to purchase one of the greatest assets in the city of Raleigh, not only now but years into the future.

And I think the worst decision was to rush in and do the rezoning, or the remapping of the city of Raleigh, thereby causing further confusion and greater suspicion with the public toward the city council.

4 thoughts on “Craig Ralph — At-Large

  1. Huh? Too much debt, but the best decision brought the city $52 million in debt? Consistency?

    I think I could get on board that spending 33% of our revenue servicing debt is a problem, but I need more info:

    – where does the 33% number come from?
    – what would you do to fix that problem? Because if we’re in debt to pay for infrastructure, it’s because we’ve subsidized developers in who build sprawling neighborhoods of 3000 sqft+ homes and pay nothing to connect to utilities. Impact fees anybody? And don’t tell me that “that would slow development” — that is code for “my friends and I won’t make as much money if we actually have to pay market value for utilities”.

    Is Craig’s big picture at the top along with Russ’ an indication of an endorsement? It’s unclear what you guys are doing here.

  2. Hi Jason,

    Just to clarify – we do not endorse candidates. I’m not sure what you mean by “Craig’s big picture at the top along with Russ” – are you referring to the profile shot we have of the candidates next to their individual interviews?

    Thanks,

    James

  3. Jason,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, hadn’t realized things were displaying that way on the topics page. Will look into fixing that tonight.

    Thanks!

    James