Occupation: Chiropractor, Army Reserve
City of Residence: Raleigh
What do you see the role of the mayor as in Raleigh city government and how would you be the most effective mayor?
I see Raleigh right now at a crossroads. What we need to be doing is trying setting up Raleigh for success in the near future as a leader. A leader not just in the United States, but in the world.
Many issues taken up by the state legislature have a direct impact on Raleigh. How can Councilors work better with the state legislature on those issues?
You’ve just got to open up that line of communication and be willing to sit down and talk with everybody, all the parties involved. That’s the most critical thing. As a leader, especially as the mayor of Raleigh, you should be above all political hidden agendas. You should be willing to listen to everybody.
Raleigh continues to grow at a good pace, which affects everything from our water quantity to our infrastructure. How do you feel Raleigh can become more proactive about managing that projected growth?
I would really like to take a look at our studies right now in regards to Falls Lake. I’d like to see if there is any way for us to possibly deepen the lake in order to help with our water resource issues in addition to ensuring to preventing contamination from local runoff.
What do you think are the best and worst decisions made by the Council these last two years?
The City of Raleigh needs to be focusing on the basic structure of the community. I think we’ve spent quite a bit of time and resources on building beautification projects and neighborhoods and downtown infrastructure, which I support, however, we’ve neglected the basic stuff that the city needs. The police and fire department have had a five-year pay freeze. Recently they just allowed a 3 percent pay raise, but then they increased the property tax this past year 12.6 percent. They’ve increased the water tax 15 percent. All this during a time where we’ve gone from an unemployment rate of 4 percent up to seven and a half percent. It’s still a very shaky economy, and I think that we need to be focusing more on the basics right now and getting that base established because the past 5 years we’ve had a 10 percent increase in population. Our emergency 911 calls have seen an increase of 17 percent, so that tells me that it hasn’t been good quality growth there’s been some issues there that we need to go ahead and address and be sure that Raleigh remains a very safe community and be sure that those greenways are also safe.
Raleigh voters will decide whether to approve bonds for a transportation plan. Do you support the bond? If so, what would be your priorities?
The transportation system right now in Raleigh is inadequate. For 25 years I’ve been hearing about Raleigh being on the top 10 lists, a growing community, growing, expanding. When my family moved here, we were getting fresh eyes on the situation and we’re not seeing the transportation needs being met. Now two years ago there was a $40 million bond issue that did get passed and that was suppose to help alleviate some of this congestion and I don’t see much progress on that. The $75 million bond this year has many projects in there and I’m concerned about whether those funds are going to be spent appropriately and be held accountable. There’s no visible leadership that I see coming from the mayor or the city council in controlling these issues. It’s the public’s money, I just want to be sure that each dollar is accounted for and each dollar is spent appropriately.