Dickie Thompson — District A

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Dickie Thompson

Dickie Thompson

1. Why are you running for city council?

OK. I’m running because I am a Raleigh native. Lived here my entire life. My family has been in Raleigh for 100 years and you know I really love this city and I care a great deal about it and its future. And I think it’s, with the experiences I’ve had in business, community and civic work that I’ve done through my life here, I’d like to put that to use on the city council.

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

I think the biggest challenge is going to be managing our growth here in the city. We have, people are relocating here every day. The Wake County Manager told me the other day we have 42 people a day coming to Raleigh, Wake County. Twenty of ‘em are born but that’s still 22 people that are selecting Raleigh as the place to live. So that’s, that’s a lot of people. And our growth has just been phenomenal since 1990. And we’ve gotta make sure we do a good job of having appropriate growth with the right density in the right places and that we have the infrastructure in place to be able to handle that.

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?

Right. Well you know I think that several years ago they came up with the livable streets, they’re trying to. The best thing that Raleigh has done in a long time was to open Fayetteville Street back up and the, the importance of getting people to come back downtown to live. Of course we didn’t have housing there but we, we certainly to now. And we had to make it a good place for people to want to live there and also because of the amenities there. There’s a lot of dining. There’s entertainment. There’s, you know, location for a lot of office buildings so we, we have to be considerate of the, the folks that live there.

I think the city council did the right job and made the right decision in putting a trial period on the hours. I know they’ve, they’ve changed some of the hours back. Some of the folks downtown aren’t happy about it, especially the ones that own some of the taverns and bars but I believe it’s the right thing to do because at the end of the trial period then they’ll do an assessment of some of the key factors they were looking for to determine about noise, rgw disruptive behavior, you know altercation with police, blocking sidewalks, that sort of thing. So, no I, I think it was certainly the right move.

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

Well it’s a great place to live. It’s a great, because you know I’ve lived here my whole life, I mean. It’s; we did, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping the things that make Raleigh great still here. I mean we still have them. We have, it’s a great place to live, to work, to raise a family, to start a business, to grow a business. Our greenway system is, I think phenomenal. We really believe in parks. The Dix Park is I think a jewel for the city. It was a very, I think important action that the city took to purchase that park and I’m really excited about the master plan study that’s gonna to start now as far as the future for Dix Park. And the other thing is that we have a lot of universities here that have really added our, you know, quality of life. It brings in a lot of people: professors, students, state government, county government, city government. It’s just, it’s just a good place to be.

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?

Well I attended one of the public hearings which was down at the Fletcher Auditorium back in the summer and I think were maybe 80 speakers that night and I think it was pretty clear to me cause I sat there and took notes throughout the process of what the different folks were saying and you know it was pretty clear that there was still a lot of confusion, a lot of fear and a lot of just, doubt as far as you know what exactly the city was trying do.

A lot of folks felt like, that they would lose their property, their tax values would go way up. I think the city needed to do a better job of explaining the process, why they were doing it and I know since that public hearing they have met several more times with the public but there’s still a lot of confusion out there. It’s very complicated and the average person, unless they’ve spent a great deal of time studying it, it’s easy to misunderstand it. So I think we need to be very diligent in about how we go about doing this. We don’t need to rush into it. I, I know they’ve been working on it for several years now but I still think that there needs to be, we need to slow it down a little bit and study it more.

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

Well you know it’s always hard to say what’s the best or worst decision. And if you polled each one of them individually I would think you would probably get eight different answers from the different folks. You know I, I think that this UDO is probably been one of the worst things that they’ve had to go through.

Just the whole process that we talked about just a minute ago, if they could do that over again I think they would do it. And I think the best decision that they’ve done in the last two years or the best action in my opinion was to purchase Dix Park. And I know our mayor has worked extremely hard with the council members to work with the governor and the legislature to make sure that happened.

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