Eugene Weeks (D)

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Age: 70
Occupation: Educator, Retired Military
Website: www.weeksworks.com

Why have you decided to run for office?
The same reason I decid­ed to be an appointment — I wanted to make sure I’m still here to increase the quality of life in south­east Raleigh for not only the citizens in southeast Raleigh, but the City of Raleigh.

What do you think are the three biggest issues the City of Raleigh faces and how do you plan to address those issues?
One of the issues would be our transit and trans­portation and we already have a bond referendum coming out there: housing, and increasing business opportunities.

We’re already address­ing one on the transporta­tion bond. We’re address­ing the needs in that, and we’re also doing it in the housing referendum bond. So, those are some of the needs, and what I would do is to continue bring­ing them to the table to make sure we are doing the things that we need to be doing to move Raleigh in the right direction.

In my district you’re playing catch up all the time. And I just wanted to see southeast Raleigh on the same playing field as all the other areas.

What do you think are the best and worst decisions the current city council has made?
Some of the best deci­sions made, I’d have to go back to the recent one with the storm, the tornado. The way we reached out to people who cannot af­ford to get back into their houses. Coming up with some funds to help people get their homes back up to minimum code, so they could move back in and not be in hotels.

I’m very satisfied with the way we are looking at our growth pattern here. We’re adjusting to the growth pattern because it changes every day. But, we’re addressing it because when we have growth, there’s more need for citi­zens, from sewers to ev­erything else that we have here.

We’ve got two things on the public agenda. We have our comprehensive plan­ning for 2030, but we’re also getting the input on our [Unified Development Ordinance] before we go in the final part on this. I like the public hearing that we’re having on that, and how we’re using the infor­mation that we’re getting from the public to amend change and do whatever we’re doing.

What do you think are the most important issues facing your district and how do you plan to address those?
The most important is­sues that are facing my dis­trict, first of all, would be infrastructure. Small busi­ness would be another one. Affordable housing would be another. And jobs would definitely be.

First of all, I believe that not only jobs in south­east Raleigh, but jobs that might come up from the city, even the playing field to make sure that Afri­can-American contractors get a share of the pie on this. We’re talking about awarding contracts. This will help with jobs a whole lot: small business loans to help small businesses in southeast Raleigh get a start.

Infrastructure, not only infrastructure, but trans­portation needs. A good example would be that southeast Raleigh is very neglected in the transit needs as far as bus shelters and benches.

Affordable housing: what I’m talking about is that we want to see — and it’s already started — not blighted areas in our area, blighted areas of housing, but if you replace them, can you replace them so they can be affordable to people?

What do you think the city should do to house its public safety functions?
I am a proponent [of the Lightner Public Safe­ty Center]. I believe we should move forward with the center. All these acco­lades we’re getting for the City of Raleigh, but yet have your police depart­ment spread out all over the city? They need to be together.

How do you feel about impact fees?
I agree that some im­pact fees should be put in because if we are having problems, your developers are making the money. So, if you’re going to be here, why don’t you help the City of Raleigh to accom­plish some of the things that we need to do?

What are your ideas for public transportation?
We need buses that are running all the time. They’re already starting with the new transporta­tion center off of Poole Road; that’s a step in the right direction.

At the same time, let’s look at why is it that our citizens in Raleigh have to stand out in the rain, in the cold, the snow with no shelters. That’s an urgent matter. Why isn’t there an electronic board telling you the time your bus is coming?

How do you think the city of Raleigh should plan to meet its future water needs?
We’re doing a good job on it now with conserva­tion surrounding the cities who want to be a part of it. And I think that, along with growth, we are going to have to look into what are other ways that we can conserve and do things without hidden fees on the consumers.

I understand we have to pay for utilities. Our utili­ties department in the City of Raleigh is really above some of the cities that I’ve seen. They’re already re­porting on some of the things that we need to do. Replacement of our pipes; we’ve got pipes in the ground that have been in there for 40 years. So can we be proactive on what we need to do now to try to get funds to be ready for some of these things.

The city has been given a million dollars to do anything that it wishes. What do you think the money should go to?
Well, with the econom­ic downturn, I think right now we should be able to establish more jobs. A million at the city, okay. I think we should be able to look doing more for our city employees. You notice I left out building. Right now you’ve got to satisfy the needs of your citizens. That’s the bottom line.

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