Gregg Kunz

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Gregg Steven Kunz

Mayoral challenger

Age: 48

Address: 800 Glenwood Avenue

Hometown: I was a corporate brat and I’ve lived in 14 different places. I was born in Burbank, California. I call London home. I moved to England when I was 12 and moved back to the states when I was 17.

How long Have you lived in Raleigh?

Ten years

What brought you to Raleigh?

A job opportunity with a company called Dialog. It was part of the Thompson Company, which is now part of Thompson Reuters.

In two to three sentences, please share something that you believe the City of Raleigh does well.

I think the first thing it does well is provide a safe environment for its citizens. An easy to get around in environment and a really pleasant place to live.

In two to three sentences, please share one thing that you believe the City of Raleigh could improve upon or change.

Right now, I think providing some hope for people. I think that we’re burying ourselves with thinking about long-term projects that are kind of topical and not particularly well thought out. I think there’s pressing issues today and I think there are long-term issues. I think a cohesive, strategic, long-term plan that is shared with the citizens and not just a knee jerk response, we need to build a ball park or we need a light rail system. And strategy isn’t developed over a period of days; strategy takes months to do correctly.

In two to three sentences, please share your position regarding public transit in the City of Raleigh.

I think for the size of our city, our public transport is almost sufficient. It could be improved upon probably. But, I think a great deal of thought needs to go into what areas we need to serve and how we’re going to serve them and who’s going to take advantage of them. As a kid growing up in England, I only took public transport. Here, people don’t do it. My kids don’t do it. I drive them and they could be next to the bus stop, but that’s my fault.

In two to three sentences, please share your position regarding growth management in the City of Raleigh.

I think that we need to have a vision for what we want this metropolis to look like, because it’s becoming a metropolis, Wake Forest is no longer a town you drive to, Wake Forest is just a little further up Capital Boulevard, north of North Raleigh. When I moved here going to Wake Forest was like going out of town. I think that a vision needs to be painted of what we want to become. And certainly we don’t want to become an Atlanta or just a whole city of clover leafs. I think there more to it than that. That requires some vision. That requires a lot of research to decide what it is we want to grow up to be. I don’t think it’s out of control right now, I think things actually are moving pretty well. The growth I’ve seen here over the years has been above average in the way it’s been developed. I think it’s great! That’s why I’m still here. I’ve moved 14 to 15 times, but I made Raleigh my home because I like it so much. I continue to like it. That’s why I continue to stay, but I think we need a plan that says, “Where are we going?”

In two to three sentences, please share your position regarding crime control in the City of Raleigh.

I think our police department does a tremendous job, for starters. I see them, they’re very visible. I think that in some areas having more foot patrols would probably help. I think police should be visible in every neighborhood, not select neighborhoods. Because if you make every neighborhood safe, then people are going to take some pride in where they live and they’re going to improve that neighborhood. And we’re not going to have the blight that we have in some areas. We’re taking back parts of the city, but taking back – I’m not sure I really like the sound of that word, “taking back,” we’re improving areas of the city, but I’m not sure what we’re doing with the people who live in those areas right now. Where are they going? Are they being pushed out? Displaced? I don’t know.

Now, we would like to hear your position on two issues that were not previously mentioned, but that you think are important to the voters in the City of Raleigh. You tell us the issue and then give us two to three sentences about your position on the issue.

I think the most pressing issue is the economic state that we’re in. People are afraid. People are paralyzed. They don’t know what to do. If they are employed, they’re paralyzed. If they are un- or underemployed, they are waiting for help and they need to stop waiting and be empowered to do something. And I think that the leadership in this town could set an example and provide that leadership. I think that people need to know that only ourselves are going to pull ourselves out of the current situation. The government is not going to pull us up and out. There are no checks coming in the mail. And we’re going to continue on this downward spiral unless we start to do thing to help people start new businesses. Because if people have work, as soon as they have work, they have hope. As soon as they have hope, they work harder. When they work harder, they feel better and when they feel better everything seems to improve. It really seems to be to be a simple answer. I think we need to focus on the here and now. Right now.

The mayor’s term is two years. Entitlement program are going to impact for 10 years, infrastructure things, that’s fine. But what the people of Raleigh really need right is they need a hand to pull them up and a little bit of shove from behind to help them up, so that we can pull ourselves out of this crisis that we’re at. It’s depressing to say the least. You drive by a job fair; we have 3,000 people, resumes in hand with hope and with no real prospects of anything helping or anything happening. The banks that we have here do actually nothing. We have banks headquartered in this state that don’t do anything to help a small business start. If you give somebody $10,000 to start a business and you give them the tool and the help to start a business, they’ll create jobs. Not every idea is a great idea, but if you help someone and you share this knowledge base that we have, more than just S.C.O.R.E. which is a fine organization, but let people with ideas sit down with someone who knows what they’re doing and is there to really help, and to help them with that process and to mentor them. Or get other businesses to mentor other business people. To me, it’s very simple. People are just a little too self-centered or we don’t demand that the people who do business in our state, the banks, for the most part, the large banks – that we’ve bailed out – they don’t want to talk to a small business person, they don’t want to talk to a depositor who wants to borrow money to help themselves. It’s a shamble. It’s not that I don’t like bankers – I mean, I love my bankers, they’re all nice people but they work for some jerky organizations.

I think some straight answers on what are the priorities. Define what the true public priorities are. Present a definition of what those are to people and let them say “yes,” those are the priorities. I think that this process of this mayoral campaign will allow the candidates to come out and start to talk about those issues. And by getting to better understand what people are really thinking, then they’ll be able to surface what the priorities really are. Because when you read the newspapers, you read the Internet and you listen to the radio, there are a lot of things that a really very self serving, there are what I would call misguided projects, there are huge concerns about items or issues that I think have fairly simple solutions, for example. You know we talk about the water issue, the water restrictions. If the lake or the proposed reservoir was filled, then we’re probably not going to have a quantity problem for the foreseeable future, because we’ve still got rain. Everything works in cycles it appears to me. You know, everyone was up in arms about this big drought. Well, it seems to me the drought is over, or at least it was a couple weeks ago. But preparing for the future. I mean, if you want to build a reservoir, you want to contain water, then, build a reservoir. It’s not real tough! I mean, what are we going to think about doing otherwise? Are we going to borrow water from Virginia or from another state? It’s common sense, simple. It’s not always terribly easy, but sometimes the answers are pretty easy.

Another one is where is this stimulus money being spent? Why, for instance, why are we repaving roads that don’t have potholes? How stupid is that. We’re repaving virtually every road in Raleigh right now because the fed government, I believe, I may be wrong, is giving us this money. Someone needs to stand up and say, “Wait a minute, that’s not the best use for this money.” Job creation and growing employment is, to me, a much bigger priority right now than repaving the roads. I think that the people accept that money. I know it’s not the city council that does that , it’s our state leadership, they don’t fight back, they don’t say, “This is ridiculous, why are spending on something that is working right now, at the expense of things that need help.” There’s a ton of money being spent really wastefully at this point in time. For fixing bridges, fine, fix a bridge, but don’t repave a road for the sake of repaving a road.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

I think spending time with my kids at the beach. I think it’s a question of guilt, because the way things have been in the recent past, I have not made the time to take them to the beach and sit there and do nothing You know, throw out the computers, turnoff the radio, throw out the cell phones and you know, just kick back and laugh and be goofy.

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