How long have you lived in Raleigh?
Why have you decided to run for office?
I was asked to. I’ve run for State House twice before in a minority district, so I was asked to step up.
What do you think are the three biggest issues the city faces and how would you address them?
Public debt, pay off the debt in a responsible manner as somebody comes in. It’s like a credit card: sometimes you just can’t afford to pay it, sometimes it’s not smart to put all your money on it at once because you need rainy day money. You have to pay that off.
I would say that second one is that we’re building a city public center, like the Lightner Center, that we actually build it somewhere like southeast Raleigh, the Martin Luther King Boulevard area, probably some areas where it’s wanted, needed for the economic aspect.
Public transportation — I know that in my district, some districts maybe don’t need it as much, but in my district, you have a lot of people that are working and they don’t have cars. So, you know, sitting out there in 100-degree heat, you’ve got a grandmother, or a woman with her kids, or a male with his family, and they’re sitting, waiting 15, 20 minutes for a bus.
What do you think are the best and worst issues the current city council has made?
The worst one is probably the art issue. I mean, we need art, and you’re always going to put money into art. I’d never vote for not putting something into art, but I think that they’re putting money that they have available into art instead of maybe putting it into the buses or putting it into the debt.
I guess the managed growth — that they’ve managed to not go overboard in either direction. And the area too, because whatever Raleigh does will affect the other small towns around it as well. So, that’s probably the best issue they’ve done.
What do you think is the most important issue facing your district and how would you address it?
Probably the gangs. If we’re building a new safety center, we’re going to put it right there, in the middle of that area. I know we have substations, but I think we need to beef up the police presence in the gang units, in the crime units, and in the area. Because it’s known, I mean, that police presence or community presence of other groups deters crime. Visibility deters crime.
What do you think the city should do to house its public safety functions?
I think that, right now, their ideas are off-base. I think they’re actually, in a sense, skirting the law. Some people have told me, that our constitutional scholars for the state — that some of the stunts they’re pulling to raise money are actually illegal. And if it were to get to a point to where, if the courts were to step in or somebody would to take it to the courts, and then the courts said “Yes, what you’re doing is illegal,” then, all of a sudden, we’ve got this thing that we want to do that we hired the contractors and then bought the land and did all this, and then to find out that we can’t finance it without raising people’s taxes or raising debt
How do you feel about impact fees?
I’m not a big fan of impact fees. Impact fees go straight onto the price of the house, and if they’re big enough, they can prevent some people from purchasing houses that would’ve been able to purchase a house before. Builders don’t pay that; it’s just like taxes. People say, “Well, you know, we’re taxing this guy that’s digging the stuff out of the ground.” Well, you know what? Those taxes, as long as the market will bear, go directly to the consumer.
But, on the other hand, I am a fan of the builder buys X amount of land to build a subdivision based on the city codes, so many houses per acre, has to set some of that land aside. So, in a sense, that’s an impact fee.
What are your ideas for public transportation in Raleigh?
Do a better job with the buses. Do a much better jobs with the buses. Get the fuel-economic buses on there, that’s kind of hard to do, but you know, you’ve got natural gas. You got different kind of fuels. Get buses that are clean, economic and get enough of them. Keep them up to date. Not that they could ever do it — it would be a great idea here — but have some sort of little tram going straight down Hillsborough Street from downtown.
How do you think the city should plan to meet its future water needs?
That’s a hard one. I know they recently built a new water treatment plant, and in turn, they’ve raised all of our water rates because we’re using less water because of the previous droughts. So, I think it’s the best thing they can do is preserve their source and keep it clean, keep it protected, keep it buffered.
The city has been given a million dollars to do anything it wishes. What do you think the money should go to?
Paying down the debt.