Mary-Ann Baldwin

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Mary-Ann Baldwin
At-large incumbent
Age: 52
Address: 614 Capital Boulevard
Hometown: Pawtucket, Rhode Island

How long Have you lived in Raleigh?

Twenty-one years

What brought you to Raleigh?

My ex-husband. We moved down here from New York, his sister lived here. It was the place we wanted to be. We moved down here without jobs, but the reason why we moved here was because of the opportunities, the quality of life, the excellent university system, good schools, and we could afford to buy a home here and we couldn’t afford to buy a home in New York. Plus the weather was pretty nice after suffering through a winter where it was below zero for six weeks with a wind chill factor.

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

Well I think we provide all the basic services extremely well, and that’s our job. Whether it be water, police, firefighter, sanitation services, I think that we are really good at coordination.

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

I said this in the last campaign and I guess I’ll have to say it again. I think probably where we falter is in the area of communication, sometimes. I don’t think that happens steadily. I think actually we probably do a pretty good job of it when you consider how many citizens we do have to communicate with, how many people have issues, how many problems we need to resolve, but I think in terms of communicating some of the bigger picture issues, we don’t do the best job as we can do. We’re not proactive enough.

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

I am totally supportive of improved bus service and light rail. I’m hopeful that we’ll get the half-cent sales tax out of the legislature this year so we can move forward on that hopefully in 2010. But I’ve really made a commitment to working for transit. I was deeply involved in the founding of the Capital Area Public Transit, a grassroots organization. I also serve as the city’s representative on the Triangle Transit Authority. So, not only do I say I support this; I’m working really hard for it.

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

I think that this is the area where it is possibly most difficult for us to manage and understand. I think our new Comprehensive Plan is going to help tremendously in guiding growth. I think our biggest challenge is going to be helping people not fear density. We need to do a better job of having denser development, especially around transit stations and we’re moving in that direction. But I think that a lot of people hear ‘density’ and think of 8- to 20-story towers in their neighborhoods, when what we’re really talking about is homes on smaller plots of land, townhomes, condos, four stories max. I think we have to help the public understand that density is not a dirty word, but at the same time we have to protect the transition areas, so you’re not square in the face of this huge massive development especially where you are in a well-developed historic area.

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

I’m a big fan of community policing and I think we do a pretty good job of that. One of the things that [Raleigh Police] Chief Dolan has brought forward is he’ll put policing right in a neighborhood that’s having trouble. They have a portable, I think you call van now, and it really has helped to increase the police presence. I think that one of our challenges is making sure we recruit enough police officers to service the city.

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.

A big issue for me is gang prevention and student success. I think we’ve seen an increase in killings and robberies, most of which are gang-related, and they are occurring in southeast Raleigh. I really think that’s something we need to step in and make sure that we’re more focused on the prevention end, where we’re dealing with kids and their success in schools instead of just waiting until they get put in prison. So again, being proactive about that. I’m working with [fellow councilor] Dr. West on just that. We’re trying to develop a program that’s focused on student success and gang prevention.

My second issue is job creation. I worked in economic development for about 15 years. I really think that we need to do a good job right now of luring headquarters here. Headquarters tend to be philanthropic. They support the community, they also provide good jobs. And then just further develop our technology center – we certainly have the workers – and we need to make sure we’re providing jobs for them.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

This is going to sound totally silly, but if I have 15 minutes to just be totally mindless I love to play Word Mole on my Blackberry. It’s a word game. It sounds silly, but it’s a mindless way to spend time and sometimes you just need to erase any thoughts you have in your head.

Since this interview, Mary-Ann Baldwin has traded in her Blackberry for an iPhone and says her new guilty pleasure is “monthly massages. They keep me physically and mentally relaxed.”


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