Randall Stagner (I)

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Age: 51
Occupation: Retired Army Colonel
Website: www.randystagner.com

How long have you lived in Raleigh?
Three years.

Why have you decided to run for office?
After 28 years of mili­tary service, I miss public service. There was an op­portunity for me to give to my community. I’m very happy to live and work and play in North Raleigh. I wanted to get in the po­sitions where I could do things for my neighbors, do things for my neigh­borhood. We’ve got a great quality of life here in Ra­leigh, and the reason why I’m running for that is I want to preserve that and improve upon it if I can.

What do you think are the three biggest issues the city faces and how would you address it?
I want to take those three decades of leader­ship, organizational and management experience and bring them to the city council. I’m a guy who knows how to build and sustain consensus in order to get things done. In spe­cial operations, you have to deal with various pop­ulations downrange that don’t necessarily like each other — Bosnians, Serbs, Croats, and Muslims for example. I figured if I can handle them, Democrats and Republicans and In­dependents shouldn’t be much tougher.

When I talk to folks up [in North Raleigh], the nonpartisan message comes through. They are really sick of what’s going on in D.C. and they do not want to see that here. I ask them what their concerns are. When it comes to quality of life issues, they’re concerned about schools. I explain that as a city coun­cil person there’s not a lot I can do about that. On things I can control, prob­ably the top thing is traffic up in North Raleigh. Our streets were built for when we were 200,000 people. We’re now 400,000 peo­ple; we’re going to be over half a million here in 10 years. There needs to be a serious evaluation done of our streets in North Raleigh.

I would like to see more economic development up in North Raleigh. I’m not looking for light industry and that sort of thing, but we have a lot of potential up there for businesses that are kind of turn-key op­erations. So, it’s a variety of businesses and it’s a sus­tainability issue. You need to have residential and re­tail and businesses and a bit of a mix. I’d like to see that more up in North Ra­leigh. I’d like to see more sustainability when we plan growth for Raleigh.

What do you think are the best and worst decisions city council has made?
There’s a lot I like about the current council. In particular, the buying of the buf­fer land, be­cause that shows vi­sion and is also very pra c t ica l . If you can’t see the fu­ture then you can’t see the practicality of it.

Worst? There’s a lot of controversy about the public safety center. And let me be clear, the public safety center must be built. But I have yet to talk to any two people who agree what that should be. The deci­sion on execution — not on whether or not it should be done — but the deci­sion on execution needs to be looked at and modified accordingly.

What do you think is the most important issue facing your district and how do you plan to address that?
Well, the most impor­tant issue in our district is probably traffic, and that kind of goes into what I want to do with transit. We need to have an evalu­ation of our road system up there. It was designed for conditions that no longer exist. With the doubling of our population, with the opening of 540, very clearly there needs to be an upgrade in the way we do business. The other thing is, there should be better public transportation. Bus stops — most of the bus stops up there are a sign on a post. There’s no bench. There’s no s h e l t e r . There’s no digital dis­play. There’s no solar panel that is feeding energy to that digital display say­ing when the next bus is. It is not a system that is District A friendly, or anybody friendly. That needs to change. There needs be a serious look at light commuter rail and see what that can do about taking some of these cars of the road.

What do you think the city should do to house its public safety functions?
You need to have a state-of-the-art, world class, communication system that all city services are tied into, so that when we have something like the tornadoes, there is a very efficient and expeditious processing of that informa­tion in order to get servic­es where they need to be, when they need to be there, to cut down on waste and confusion in the process. What we do with Lightner quite frankly is going to depend on what the after action report on the tor­nadoes that came through. That is a golden opportuni­ty on what we need to do. A better evaluation can be made from that on what needs to be done.

How do you feel about impact fees?
I like the idea of folks who are coming in the area and who are impact­ing on Raleigh being the ones who help pay for the quality of life that they came here for. I do not like, as I saw the other day, the county commissioners shifting the burden to peo­ple that live here now. If you’ve got people that are coming into the area, they are the ones who should probably be paying for it.

What ideas do you have for public transportation?
I want to see greenways that are actually usable for transportation, and hon­estly, we’re almost there. Bring the greenways down­town and continue to maintain them. Bus rider­ship would increase if you had some place to sit and get out of the sun. I’m talk­ing about minimal stuff here. We tout ourselves as a world-class city, let’s act like it. The roads, they probably need to be smart­er. I don’t think the lights are smart enough, at this point, for the way that our traffic flows through, es­pecially, District A. Light rail: I think they almost got that right. They almost got to downtown. I see val­ue in having a light rail sys­tem. People in North Ra­leigh they say two things to me about light rail: down­town and airport.

How do you think the city should plan to meet its future water needs?
Continue to mitigate the degradation of our water systems by com­munities upstream. Also, there needs to be addi­tional holding capacity done by opening up res­ervoirs. There are quarries that would be great for ad­ditional capacity. And, if we need to as a last resort, put in a new reservoir. I see that as a last resort, not a first option.

The city has been given a million dollars to do whatever it wishes. What would you do?
I’d take that money and try to find matching grants for a city priority, whether that’s transporta­tion, water, greenways. But if you get a million dollars like that, I’m going to see how much more money I can get with that money by saying ‘Okay, county, state, federal: I’m willing to put down this amount of money in order to get an amount of money.’ And that could be whatever we can get our biggest bang for, for all the priorities we have in the city.

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