Occupation: Principal broker, Greater Raleigh Real Estate
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?
In your larger cities, when you have a city controlled city like Detroit, D.C., the city mayor’s role is the same as we see the city manager. On the role here, this person would be the one who helps to lead and direct the City Councilors, and as it is we are all voted on at the same time, we all have equal votes, so the most important thing to me would be establishing rapport and credibility with them so we can all move forward. So their role is in establishing policy.
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?
I would talk about Dix Park and we have a wonderful opportunity there, and fortunately the governor has managed to have that put off when the mayor gets to execute a new plan, and I look forward to that because the General Assembly has now given the governor the absolute right to decide that.
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 find [growth] advantageous to us because the more that we grow the less our taxes will be. There are some who want to manage growth by changing zoning regulations, then there are some that would allow for more infill so that people can, in some areas we’ve had people tear down one home so they can put two homes, for instance. So we have a Comprehensive Plan that we’ve been following for the last two years and I think we should just let it run as it is. As each one needs to have a set of regulations so people can petition the city for what they want. But in terms of managing growth and all, to me it can be considered as trying to keep some people out while allowing some people in and that’s where it gets a little dicey.
What do you think are the best and worst decisions made by the Council these last two years?
Oh the absolute worst decision was firing the city manager. I’ve known Russell Allen since he was hired and the East Raleigh CAC was the first to allow him to come in and speak to us. The reason why that put us in a bad situation is because it impacts how city employees operate. So now City Council has allowed themselves a way of stepping in and going directly to employees for what they want. That has the danger of reducing moral and pitting employees against each other. That was the worst. I’m still searching for the best.
Raleigh voters will decide whether to approve bonds for a transportation plan. Do you support the bond? If so, what would be your priorities?
I haven’t thought about [the priorities]. I haven’t really given it a lot of thought because what disappointed me about it was that they planned to have a bond and then they realized that they needed to say what they needed to spend the bond on so that kind of set me back a bit. We always have a need for resurfacing our roads. We have a special need to pay strong attention to all of our infrastructure needs. So I also want to know, how does that impact our bridges? What are the condition of those? So anything that is going to ensure that we’re going to repair what we have first is real important to me. I can’t specify one over the other people I haven’t looked over the entire bond. The good news is we will have a good, strong group of Councilors who will decide on that after October.