John Odom

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John Hubert Odom
District B challenger
Age: 62
Address: 4325 Kilcullen Drive
Hometown: Wagram, Scotland Co.

How long Have you lived in Raleigh?

Thirty-eight years

What brought you to Raleigh?

My wife took a job at Cameron Brown, so I had to come to Raleigh if I wanted to stay married.

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

I think something thing the City of Raleigh does well is parks and recreation, although I plan to help do some more, so I think we have one of the best parks systems around. I think we have a top- notch police department. I think we need to maintain that and make sure that we continue to grow that force to make sure the police officers have the tools they need to maintain that. As you know, Raleigh has got accolades, number one in this or that for many, many years. I think a lot of that took place while I was on the council for 10 years. I think that we blend well with the people that have moved here, which is kind of a different thing that has nothing to do with government. You realize that the majority of the people in Raleigh have been here less than 20 years. Those new people that came have blended well with the people that are here, although I can think of one or two that might not agree with that. I think for the most part, the new people who have arrived and moved in and done well with the people that were here. That’s not a thing that the government did, it’s just that the people came and found that the people here were nice or they became nice as well or they were nice.

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

I think in infrastructure sometimes we don’t do as good a job, because we tend to wait on the state to do a variety of things. How the state dictates to us, and how the federal government dictates to us, makes us do things we might have rather done differently. I believe they could improve on how they buy infrastructure. Here’s an example of something we didn’t do good enough structurally – we spent $42,000 per parking space in downtown Raleigh. Now I’m for the parking spaces, I’m just not for paying $42,000 for a parking space. There’s a parking deck downtown, which – I’m in favor of the parking deck – but somehow, something happened, and that’s absolutely absurd to pay that kind of money for a parking space.

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

Let me make sure I clarify that, because public transit is a variety of things. There’s Triangle Transit and that’s the big one, there’s the downtown and there’s the CAT system. I am for the CAT system. I am for making sure that the CAT system runs the routes that go to the people that need it rather than just saying we have to go within so many homes, which is what is federally mandated to us. So I will work to make sure the CAT system gets to the people who use it, or more visible to them. I am not for the Triangle Transit system at this time, because we do not have the money. If the City of Raleigh has to put money into it, then that takes away from some of the other infrastructure that I think we could do. I’m a big greenways fan, so when bicycles ride on greenways, I am big time for that. I think we need to incorporate that into our transit thoughts, when we talk about those things. Back in ’94, when I first met Sig Hutchinson, we implemented the top 10 greenway connections and we connected those within two years, so I’m not only a guy who talks about doing those things, I do them.

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

I think growth management is something the council thinks that they can dictate, but I think the reality is that we’re going to grow anyway, as long as we have the great quality of life that we have here. What we have to do is manage it once it gets here it. I don’t think the City Council can say, “You people live over here and you people live other there” or “You do this and you do that.” I think that the economy itself dictates the growth here.

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

Crime control is similar to your house; you need to work on it every day. That’s why I’m a big fan of the police department and keeping great communication between the council and the police department and the things that are going on. Also we need to be able to talk with the community and the community needs to admit the problems they have. A great example would be gang crimes that we have. Sometimes people don’t think they have gang crimes in their neighborhoods. We need to make sure they realize that they not only they could, sometimes they do. So communication is your biggest asset to solving crime as long as you give the police officers the tools to do what they need to do.

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.

Well, some of the highway problems we have are big issues right now, I think. Falls of the Neuse Road is one that the answer needs to be gotten. High volume roads, Falls of the Neuse and Capital Boulevard, these are basically in District B which is what I’ll be representing. You have to remember my questions are directed towards District B. I will serve the whole city once elected, but my focus is on District B which is where it ought to be. So highways in that area need to be completed, because all the growth has been out there. Falls of Neuse needs to be, whatever the decision, whether it be, I believe it’s a five lane or whether they had a meeting out there, that needs to be taken care of. I’m talking about 540. I’m talking about the connectors of those. Falls of the Neuse, Capital Boulevard, those types of roads, Perry Creek Road. Basically, the ones that connect the people of Raleigh to one another and their jobs.

I’m always a big parks fan and I think in this climate there will be plenty of opportunities to do a variety of things. Number one is the price of land has come down, rather than up or staying the same. We need to make sure that we, in our budget, we have the money to buy more parkland or and/or complete parks projects that we haven’t completed in the past. So that means no wasteful spending so that we have the funds available to do what we need to do.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

Basketball would be my guilty pleasure. I’m terrible about watching a basketball game. There’s something I ought to be doing and instead I’ll turn on that TV and watch a basketball game. I love basketball. My first love and just, like I said, there’s lots of time that I should be doing something else, and I’ll watch a basketball game. College ball, absolutely ACC, but I also like the high school teams. People don’t realize what kind of great high schools we have here. They’re all doing a great job so I love that, and I sneak in occasionally and just sit and watch a ballgame.

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