John Hubert Odom
District D challenger
Address: 2721-A Avent Ferry Road
Hometown: Manhattan, NY
How long Have you lived in Raleigh?
Thirteen or 14 years
What brought you to Raleigh?
My wife was moved by IBM.
In two to three sentences, please share something that you believe the City of Raleigh does well.
I think that their initiative as far as downtown and the development downtown, I think they’re doing well with that. I think they have a focus on it and they’re doing well with it and I hope they continue that.
In two to three sentences, please share one thing that you believe the City of Raleigh could improve upon or change.
One of the major things which I have a problem with and actively look to the incumbent for solution is, in the district now, is their handling of rental housing, the handling of landlords, the handling of the way that they try to make landlords be the responsible party for what their tenants do. They have an ordinance; a PROP ordinance which I think is far afield of reality. I take great exception to some of the things they do under that. And this is an ordinance pushed by my opponent, Mr. Crowder.
In two to three sentences, please share your position regarding public transit in the City of Raleigh.
We need more and we need to enhance it. I think, as with any city, transit is necessary and I think that they have to increase the amount as well as the routes as well as the hours as well as the number of trips, etc, etc. I think they have to try their hardest to get people out of cars, but they have to make it convenient.
In two to three sentences, please share your position regarding growth management in the City of Raleigh.
I think that growth, being a developer on the side and building houses, I think that growth is very important and that it shouldn’t be thwarted by the council. I think there are impacts about growth and that they should be mitigated. I hope the developers don’t criticize me, but I think the impact should be borne on the shoulders of those developing property, even though I am one of them. The impacts should be assumed but on a basis – they have to take into account the current economy – there are many factors that have to be taken in. I think you’ve got to pay to play, is really my concept when it comes to development.
In two to three sentences, please share your position regarding crime control in the City of Raleigh.
One of the problems I have with crime control is with this PROP ordinance. They are trying to make landlords be in control of their units as far as crime. For instance, if there is crime in your unit, they hold the landlord responsible, and in some cases, even before there is a conviction. They pushed it so it was actually, where if some things had happened in your rental unit, they can hold you responsible under this PROP ordinance. Not responsible, but they can eventually take away your right to rent the property.
They want you to control things like, for instance, like if somebody has, let’s say, a gun in your facility, in one of your units and they get arrested for having that gun, theoretically you get points against you. The point is that then it becomes my responsibility to evict this guy that has this gun and it’s my contention this is a police job, it’s not my job. I mean, can you imagine me going up to some guy, who has a gun that’s like 12 inches long, and saying “Well listen, you got arrested for having the gun. You didn’t get convicted; you got arrested, for it, so therefore I have to evict you.” I mean, what’s he going to say to me? You know? It’s not my job. I mean there are other things there, the Constitution and stuff like that. You know, I don’t know everything that goes on in a house that I rent. I can’t be held responsible for every single thing that happens in a rental unit. If there’s a loud party, I’ll hear about it, I’ll know about it when I’m told about it, but I couldn’t have stopped it because I didn’t know they did it. And then I’m supposed to evict them or get them out of there otherwise they get I’ll get more points.
I can’t be responsible for every single thing that a tenant does. It’s not my job as a landlord. Obviously, the external and the workings of the building, I have to maintain a healthy and a working building, but I can’t be responsible for everything that the tenants do. And this all came back to Mr. Crowder. He’s trying to get all the renters out of his district. That’s the district I’m running from. He’s trying to get all the students out of there. He has a following with all the single family residents there. They don’t want students, they don’t want rents and they don’t want anything of that nature in their neighborhood. They’ll do anything in their power – and they’re pretty powerful about doing it – to try and thwart that kind of thing.
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.
Parking on a single family property or on a residence. That’s what they just did, but they’ll probably expand it. They want, and again, this is one of Mr. Crowder’s – he wants everybody who has parking in their front yard to reduce it to two cars. And he wants them to improve it, he wants them to put a – even existing things – I mean, I could understand possibly with new things – but he wants people who have existing houses, who have cars in their front yard, and who may not even be able to put them in the back, he wants them to pave the thing. And can you imagine how many there out there? And can you imagine how much it’s going to cost these people? They haven’t even figured that out. They don’t even know how many people, and of course, this is the whole city. It can be hard packed gravel, crush and run, and that kind of thing. Anyway, it is a very expensive item. I’ve bought concrete, and I’ve bought bagged stuff. And they want them to change it. If you have three cars in your front yard at this point in time, even though you have them already, you’re not even grandfathered in; you have to reduce it to two, find a place for that other car, wherever it may be: the street, in the backyard or something. There’s a whole list of things, but the point is that these are existing houses. And they have to all change and they have to spend money. In most parts, the city doesn’t normally do that. As far as, things that already are, are grandfathered in, but this is not. You can make people spend money, especially in this recessionary economy; you can make them spend money. So they have a year to do it, but in a year from we’re all going to be in a depression, so how much better is that going to be. They’re never going to be able to enforce this thing. It’s just bogus. They’ve been trying to do this a long time, and in my opinion, this is just another way to get the renters out of his district. The house is going to have to move forward to do this in new houses; you’re going to have to put parking in the backyard. I believe the backyard is somewhat a place for recreation, not the front yard. And if you put cars and stuff out of the backyard, that is where people enjoy their houses.
Taxes. I think that especially in this economy we have to keep them as low as possible and you know, we can’t fund all things. I’ve read some of the new budget, I haven’t read the whole thing, I read some of the budget and there are things in there which I would remove. There are things in there that shouldn’t be. There were raises that were given to some people that shouldn’t have happened. And they removed raises from other people in order to make up their budget. But I think by reducing people’s raises and merit increases, that is not the way I would do it. I would have left that alone because they have to workforce that does the right thing and that can handle the problems but I don’t think that all of the things in there need to be. I think they could cut things.
What would you say is your guilty pleasure?
Being too involved with public affairs and public policy. I spent too much time going to meetings, I’m overly political. I’m too involved in the politics of the city. It takes a lot of my time when I could be doing something more lucrative, but I’m sort of stuck with it. It’s one of those things that I can’t get away from. I listen to it, I read it, I practice it, I go to the meetings. Anything political gains my interest and has for a lifetime.