Here are my views on the other issues folks in District A have asked me about
Dix Park presents an incredible opportunity for our community. I am committed to seeing the Dix Park Master Plan implemented so that the vision of a park “for everyone, built by everyone” is realized. I am an advocate for open spaces and parks and have served on our city parks board for 5 years, including participating in the Dix Park planning process.
A key challenge in implementing the Dix Park Master Plan will be obtaining funding. We should look at all opportunities available to the City to fund this project, including funding Dix Park through a bond referendum and special tax districts that can ensure significant public benefit from the growth and development around the park.
In the near term, we should pursue implementation of phase 1 of the Master Plan, to open up and better connect Dix Park to its surroundings. This will include a beautiful restoration of the Rocky Branch Creek along Western Blvd., more welcoming entry-ways, and play areas for children.
We must also balance the need for implementation of the Dix Park master plan with the need for funding of our Raleigh Parks and Greenway system. The City’s long-term plans include a parks bond referendum of approximately $100 million for reinvestment in our parks system, and we must be true to our commitments to maintain our current system.
Short Term Rentals (AirBNB)
Generally, I think Raleigh’s current policy hurts our reputation as a welcoming city and it hurts our economic development prospects by making us a less attractive tourism destination. My view is that most of the “concerns” with short term rentals can be addressed through effective enforcement of our current ordinances, whether it be noise, nuisance behavior, parking, or littering. The requirement that the owner be present during the guests’ stay is unworkable and needs to be eliminated. Also, after the state legislature passed a new state law, I have questions about whether our permit requirement complies with the new law. In short, we have some work to do to protect our city’s reputation and I want to see us be more flexible on short term rentals.
As Raleigh grows and changes, we need leaders that are open-minded and ready to embrace change. I welcome fresh ideas and want to see us maintain our high quality of life as our community changes.
To keep our city moving forward, I believe that we should embrace the changes in economic activity that have been enabled by new technologies. For example, we should be planning our festivals and big events with ride-sharing in mind, allowing more flexible regulation of home-rentals, and looking for ways to embrace self-driving cars, delivery by drones, and the new technologies that we cannot anticipate today. We should also seek opportunities for implementing money saving technology in our city government operations.
Law Enforcement and Community Relations
I prioritize efforts to improve relations between RPD and our community before considering a police oversight board (which would require a change in state law). Raleigh can also do more to support its police officers, for example, hiring more officers, increasing officer salaries, revisiting the car take-home policy, and improving other benefits. Support for our police officers will help improve morale, retain talent, and attract qualified applicants. The City has made improvements in this area through its coffee with a cop program and national night out participation, and I would like to see these efforts continue.
Funding a Soccer Stadium in Downtown South
I support the concept of the Downtown South project, including the potential for a publicly-funded soccer stadium. I believe that interlocal funds should be one part of a strategic approach to ensuring that the project has a substantial public benefit. For example, I would also like to explore the use of a special tax district to ensure that the local community and the city as a whole benefit from the increased value that the soccer stadium and the surrounding downtown south project would create.
Raleigh has reached an inflection point on density as growth is moving further from our city center and even outside of Wake County. If this pattern continues, we will experience the kind of traffic congestion that happens everyday in Austin and Atlanta. Meanwhile, young people and senior citizens are asking for the same thing: walkable urban environments where they can live, work, and play without having to make a trip in a car. Raleigh has an opportunity to grow in a better way, and I support pursuing opportunities for Raleigh to create vibrant, walkable urban spaces, especially in the downtown core and in midtown.
Proposed Quarry Adjacent to Umstead State Park
As an advocate for parks and open space, I would never prioritize a quarry over a park. I oppose the proposed quarry adjacent to Umstead State Park. There is currently a lawsuit pending that does not involve the city of Raleigh. I am hopeful that the court will rule in our favor on this issue, and if I am elected to City Council I will vote to protect Umstead State Park and preserve open space, including, supporting legal action to determine what the city’s rights are to stop this quarry.
The Role of City Staff
As a member of our City parks board, a frequent attendee of CAC meetings, an active participant in transit planning, and a member of the Dix Parks planning workgroups, I have worked with a number of City staff. I have utmost respect for these public servants and believe that Council should empower them to help guide decisions in their areas of expertise.
In general, I think the City does a good job engaging citizens, however, I want to pursue opportunities to engage citizens online and to improve the City’s website. I also want to seek a community consensus on improving our citizen advisory councils (CACs) in ways that ensure all voices will be heard when the decisions are being made.
The most important issue facing Raleigh is…
how do we better manage growth and change, including the most urgent challenges like traffic congestion, maintaining our infrastructure, and the housing affordability crisis.