CHARLOTTE — The primary elections are set for Charlotte City Council and mayoral races, and several Democratic primaries will end up determining who will fill the roles for the next term.
The Channel 9 Political Beat Team compiled a guide to the primary races by asking each candidate the same set of questions. See their unedited answers below:
Early voting starts Aug. 24 ahead of the Sept. 12 primary.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? For me, my top priorities for our constituents in Charlotte are centered around creating safe and livable neighborhoods that provide opportunities for employment and efficient transportation to and from those jobs.
I want to ensure that our neighborhoods are safe and secure. This means working closely with our law enforcement agencies and community partners to address crime and implement effective crime prevention strategies.
Our city is adding two new sites to the Alternatives to Violence, West Boulevard and Nations Ford/Arrowwood areas and one position to monitor programs related to SAFE Charlotte. We are also allocating $250,000 to continue our partnership with Atrium for the Hospital Based Violence Prevention Program and Atrium is contributing an additional $250,000. Charlotte is one of the only cities in the country with both a hospital and community-based violence intervention programs. One key I want to highlight, is for those individuals served by our hospital-based violence program, the case managers do an assessment and ask what the individual’s top needs are. The top need identified, by far is job and employment training.
I also recognize the importance of economic growth and job opportunities for our residents. We will focus on attracting businesses and industries that provide quality employment options, particularly in sectors that offer competitive wages and benefits.
Mobility is another critical part of creating livable neighborhoods. We need to strengthen our Charlotte Area Transit System. We have new leadership in place, our City Manager has corrective plan in place, and our Council and MTC has oversight of CATS. By ensuring that people can easily commute to and from their jobs, we can alleviate traffic congestion, reduce commuting times, and enhance overall quality of life for our residents.
Ultimately, the goal is to build a city where everyone can thrive and prosper. By prioritizing safe and livable neighborhoods, promoting economic growth and job opportunities, and improving transportation accessibility, we are committed to enhancing the well-being and satisfaction of our residents.
What sets you apart in your contest? My commitment to Charlotte and love for its residents sets me apart as a candidate for Mayor. From my roots as a city employee in the 80s to my current role as Mayor, my dedication to this city’s people has been constant.
Since taking office in 2017, I’ve spearheaded initiatives that matter. Affordable housing has been a priority, with $150 million invested by residents, impacting 5,000 families. I’ve championed transportation and community safety, evident in the 19-mile light rail and our city’s Vision Zero approach.
Charlotte’s economy has thrived under my leadership, with over 27,000 new jobs created. Our recognition as a top TechTown and startup hub is testament to our innovation.
My advocacy for equitable employment is consistent. Initiatives such as HIRE Charlotte connect job seekers with employment prospects, aligning with businesses’ staffing needs. Our Corridors of Opportunity initiative, backed by $67.5 million in investment and nearly $10 million for digital equity, demonstrates our commitment to long-term community betterment, encompassing affordable housing, infrastructure, transportation, workforce development, and urban design.
Public safety remains paramount through SAFE Charlotte, addressing interconnected factors like housing and workforce development for equitable outcomes.
My track record speaks of a dynamic Charlotte, and I’m committed to its continued growth and progress.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? When addressing transit, the restoration of community trust takes center stage. The importance of public transit cannot be underestimated, especially considering our city’s rapid growth. It’s a fundamental lifeline for many residents, making reliability and safety non-negotiable priorities.
I’m confident that our present leadership is steering us in the right direction. The commitment shown by our new CATS leadership and policymakers is unmistakable as they strive to enhance our public transit system. Notably, we’ve established a dedicated working group composed of City Council and Metropolitan Transit Commission members, tasked with assessing and recommending improvements to CATS’ performance. Additionally, the Federal Transit Authority is conducting off-cycle reviews of CATS’ operations and finances.
Moving forward, our focus remains resolute on driving continuous enhancement. Our goal is to create a transit network that’s not only efficient and accessible but also fosters community confidence. This involves maintaining a constant dialogue with our riders and community, nurturing a skilled workforce, utilizing data to showcase our progress, and above all, ensuring riders’ safety. These are the factors guiding our ongoing efforts.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issues? Our community is best served when our public and private sectors collaborate. The potential for a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium aligns well with our values of working together to benefit our city. The positive image of our city attracts visitors, boosts our economy, and creates jobs, especially in the vital hospitality and tourism sector.
By enhancing the stadium, we open doors to potential world-class events that could significantly stimulate our local economy. In essence, I think our approach hinges on partnership and shared success. We just have to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure our decisions align with the best interests of our community.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? Considering the remarkable growth that Charlotte has experienced, I do consider our city to be safe. However, as responsible policymakers, it’s essential for us to consistently scrutinize our policies and ordinances to ensure they effectively serve our residents and facilitate continuous improvement.
During my leadership, a significant stride was taken in 2020 when the City Council adopted the SAFE (Safety and Accountability For Everyone) Charlotte plan. This initiative outlines enhancements to public safety policies, driven by input from residents and community leaders. Embracing a holistic approach, our city has been addressing interconnected factors like unemployment, housing, transportation, and workforce development. This approach is integral in fostering a community marked by equity and opportunity.
I am dedicated to the progression of our SAFE Charlotte Plan and our Alternatives to Violence program. It’s undeniable that our public safety officers exert tremendous effort and sacrifice, and we are committed to providing them the necessary support to maintain neighborhood safety. Simultaneously, we remain in our commitment to ensuring that our most vulnerable residents have access to essential services. This comprehensive approach reflects our commitment to a safer and more secure Charlotte.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? The top issues I identified for Charlotte, NC, include violence, low-income housing (often referred to as affordable housing), and concerns related to the youth population. These challenges are significant and can have a profound impact on the city’s overall well-being and future development. It’s important for our local leaders and community members to work together to address these issues and create positive change needed.
What sets you apart in your contest? I, Lucille Puckett stand out from my opponent due to my distinct background, leadership style, and approaches to critical issues. My personal experiences, including the tragic loss of my son to senseless gun violence in 2016, enable me to connect deeply with the vulnerable communities and everyone that is concerned for their safety and the people of Charlotte. Living in relatable situations and facing challenges firsthand, I possess a genuine understanding of marginalized groups. Unlike my opponent, I offers fresh perspectives, unburdened by promises or debts, allowing me to approach problems with an unbiased viewpoint. This combination of empathy, understanding, and innovative thinking sets me apart and makes me a unique, qualified, and compelling candidate.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? To improve accessibility and safety in transit, Charlotte needs to explore several fixes starting with ACCOUNTABILITY:
1. Expand Public Transportation: Investing in expanding public transportation options, such as buses and light rail, can provide more convenient and accessible ways for people to travel within the city.
2. Infrastructure Upgrades: By upgrading and maintaining infrastructure like roads, bridges, and transit stations can enhance safety and increased transit usage.
3. Pedestrian and Cyclist Infrastructure: Creating dedicated lanes, sidewalks, and bike lanes can improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, making it easier for them to access transit options.
4. Technology Integration: Implementing real-time transit tracking and information systems can help commuters plan their journeys better, leading to improved accessibility.
5. Safety Measures: Enhancing security through increased surveillance, well-lit stations, and not only visible presence of law enforcement, but to have officers on the buses can make transit spaces safer for everyone.
6. Community Engagement: Involving the community and drivers in the planning and decision-making process ensures that the transit solutions meet the needs of the drivers and residents and address everyone’s concerns.
7. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD): Encouraging development around transit hubs that includes units with affordability for all income levels, promote walkability, reduce reliance on private vehicles, and create vibrant neighborhoods.
8. Equity and Inclusion: Prioritizing equitable access to transit services ensures that all members of the community can afford and benefit from improved accessibility and safety measures.
It’s worth noting that the specific fixes can evolve over time based on community feedback, changing needs, and available resources.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? Deciding on a public-private partnership for Bank of America Stadium depends on various factors such as funding, community impact, and potential benefits.
As a candidate for Mayor, I would first assess the feasibility, cost, and potential return on investment of such a partnership. Then engaging with stakeholders, reviewing information on hand, and conducting more thorough research if necessary, and soliciting public input will help me make an informed decision. It’s important for me to transparently communicate the benefits, risks, and rationale behind the decision to the City Manager, Council and the public.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? Charlotte, is generally considered to be a safe city, but like any big urban city, it does have its share of crime. In the last few years, the city has seen a rise in homicides, which is a deeply concerning trend. My family experienced a loss in 2016 due to senseless violence, so the issue of safety is very personal and important to me.
To improve public safety, a multi-pronged approach can be effective. Have to start by rebuilding trust between the leadership, police department and community. Then, need to increase community policing efforts, investing in social programs that address the root causes of crime, enhancing surveillance technology in public areas, and fostering partnerships between law enforcement, local government, and community organizations to create a comprehensive safety strategy.
Charlotte’s leadership seems to be focused on portraying the city as a model city and is in denial about the safety challenges it faces. Raising awareness about the impact of violence, sharing personal stories like mines, and collaborating with local organizations to advocate for increased public safety measures can help shed light on the issue. By me being active in the communities, my personal experiences and open dialog with both the community and city officials might encourage the leadership to take a more proactive approach to improving safety and acknowledging the challenges faced by the community. Again, regularly analyzing crime data and seeking input from residents can help tailor solutions to the city’s specific needs.
Charlotte City Council
(Four candidates will be elected)
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? Our top priority is public safety, sustainable investments, affordable housing, and economic development.
What sets you apart in your contest? Experience, integrity, and commitment
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? First, we need to restore the public’s trust by addressing safety, reliability, and efficiency concerns.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? I think it would be a disservice to our taxpayers to state my position without proper due diligence or understanding the community’s needs.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? Yes, Charlotte is a safe city. We must continue to build a safe Charlotte regardless of one’s zip code. To improve public safety, we must continue to implement a competitive pay plan to recruit and retain our best talent.
Additionally, we must expand the Alternative to Violence Initiative throughout corridors of opportunities to focus on the prevention of violent crimes.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? There are multiple issues facing our City which include: How Council can address HOUSING when investors have purchased a large swath of our single family housing, Council having a clear commitment with companies on PAY EQUITY for the lowest-paid workers prior to approving any tax incentives and creating more accessible and consistent PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION which can be done through partnership with local minority “car service” providers.
What sets you apart in your contest? I have a proven record of creating Job Fairs at the Airport and the Charlotte Premium Outlets, a Youth Job Fair and a job fair for the “Formerly Incarcerated” that created employment opportunities for local residents, having “Ban the Box” adopted by Charlotte City Council. in my first term, my advocacy for “Black-Women & Minority Owned Businesses who wish to do business with the City of Charlotte and how I show up in community at neighborhood meetings and events that do not always have media attention to hear the concerns of the residents and bringing those concerns to the diocese when projects are being proposed.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? I have advocated for more safety on the CATS buses for our drivers and happy to see the lastest Federal Transportation Administration funding of over $30 Million for electric buses that have a thick plexiglass to protect our drivers, along with advocating for a change in how our current bus and lightrail fee structure works. ie...it is on an honor system that rail riders access tranportation yet on the bus if you don’t pay you don’t ride and or if you are short a few cents you are not able to ride this can be addressed in a more equitable way when we approach all decisions through an equity lens not strictly a financial lens. I also believe that expanding the neighborhood routes that were eliminated under previous CATS leadership through local ride sharing partnerships will help many residents that do not have personal vehicles.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? There are benefits and unintended consequences in this structure. How will you approach this issue? First through an “Equity lens”, the only way I could see supporting this type of structure is to have clear enforceable language that does not create a greater chasm between the wealthy and our poorest residents. By this, I mean that only if the structure has language to give Disadvantage Business Enterprise, Small Business Enterprises, and Minority Business Enterprises the ability to be at the table in greater roles beyond sub-contracting.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? In comparison to city’s our size such as Fort Worth, Tx which is comparable in size, Yes. How can public safety be improved? This is a Nationwide challenge, Council is headed in the right direction by funding local “Violence Interrupter Programs”, I believe we also have an opportunity to reinstitute Community Policing, having officers work the divisions in which they live to build relationships and most importantly “Racial Bias” training to ensure all residents are treated with respect along with the expanded use of FIRST calling our Social/Mental health partners before drawing their guns when the situation is not a highlevel threat situation. I also would like to have the ability to institute that each officer has to have personal liability insurance so if they are found to have used excessive force or death of a resident tax payers are not paying for lawsuits caused by their actions.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? The top issue facing the city today is growth. How we grow impacts safety, schools, infrastructure, city services, housing, business recruitment, and overall quality of life of our residents. This requires a regional approach, beyond the city limits and into surrounding counties. We must begin to see our neighbors as collaborators rather than competitors, and approach development and planning appropriately.
What sets you apart in your contest? Progressive pragmatism. As an engineer and policy scholar whose PhD focused on economic mobility policy, I bring big-picture thinking, academic rigor, and practical problem-solving to my service as a neighborhood leader-turned-councilmember. I have been an advocate for the marginalized, a proud West Side resident, and a bridge builder between hardworking, honest neighbors who care about their community and the establishment. I am a firm believer that the people rule--not only those at the top.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? The time has come to lay the foundation for a transit authority. Charlotte is a region, and we must plan and invest in mobility with this reality in mind. We need to truly understand and respect the needs of surrounding counties in order to garner support for a governance (and investment) strategy that will be viable at the state and federal levels, as well as compelling to our region’s residents. In regards to safety, I support additional security on our buses, improved lighting and bus stop facilities, as well as closed circuit television where possible to enable monitoring by law enforcement.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? Given the ownership structure of the parcel, any improvement to Bank of America stadium would necessitate some form of public-private partnership. Without a financial or feasibility analysis, any conclusion would be premature. Ultimately, this will depend on how this project impacts our ability to fund other tourism initiatives, and the overall return on investment to the community. As with all economic development projects, I’m interested in the real economic impact and community return, livable wages, substantive opportunities for MWSBE participation in design, construction, and operations, and workforce development opportunities.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? We’ve seen initial success with our Safe Charlotte program (https://www.charlottenc.gov/Public-Safety/Safe-Charlotte), and I support expanding programming across the city, including violence interruption, leveraging nonsworn personnel for non-emergency activities, enhancing recruitment and youth programming. I am a strong proponent of neighborhood organizations to empower residents to build stronger communities. In addition, I continue to challenge existing zoning regulations in an effort to reduce the density of alcohol outlets in vulnerable neighborhoods.
James ‘Smuggie’ Mitchell
James Mitchell has not responded to our questions yet.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? I view affordable housing as the most pressing concern in our city. It impacts two key groups: the most financially vulnerable and individuals who struggle despite working or being educated. Addressing this demands government intervention, as private markets can’t solely solve it. Charlotte’s median home price has nearly doubled in four years, and steep interest rates further exacerbate the housing market’s inaccessibility, escalating rents to unprecedented levels.
To address this crisis, I advocate for several strategies. Firstly, addressing housing inventory is vital due to Charlotte’s constant population influx of over 100 people daily. This requires amending the UDO to facilitate affordable, dense, urban housing. Simplifying the UDO, which spans 700+ pages, is imperative to reduce developer obstacles.
Moreover, I propose establishing a city-funded Community Land Trust (CLT) to empower our most underserved communities. A CLT would provide perpetual affordable housing by leasing homes while retaining ownership of the land. This approach fosters generational wealth and guarantees affordability through fixed-rate increases for future buyers. By implementing these measures, we can effectively combat our city’s affordable housing challenge.
What sets you apart in your contest? Two key differentiators set me apart from my fellow contenders. Firstly, I bring a unique aspect to the at-large race by being the sole candidate who has not previously appeared on the ballot. Unlike my opponents, who have City Council experience or previous campaign attempts, I represent a “fresh face” approach to the at-large seat.
Furthermore, I’m vying to become the first Gen Z representative in Charlotte’s elected offices. This signifies a pivotal moment for our city, demanding a novel perspective on City Council matters. The urgency I bring to issues that profoundly affect Charlotte’s residents arises from my position as a Gen Z candidate – distinct from my opponents who are established political figures, business owners, professionals, and homeowners who don’t feel the undue burdens of the current economic environment. My understanding of the challenges within the housing and job markets resonates with the struggles faced by many in our community, making me a voice that genuinely represents their concerns.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? Addressing ongoing CATS issues requires comprehensive solutions. Foremost, appointing a permanent CEO is paramount. Effective transit management hinges on stable leadership, and without it, CATS will persistently struggle. Once a CEO is in place, my focus will shift toward enhancing accessibility and safety.
Collaborating with union representatives and transit experts, I intend to introduce safety barriers for operators and drivers. This proactive measure can enhance the well-being of both employees and passengers. Additionally, I propose exploring an innovative mixed hub-and-spoke and point-to-point model to optimize efficiency and reduce ride durations.
Furthermore, elevating wages and benefits for all CATS operators is crucial. This will address staffing issues that have long plagued the organization, ensuring a competent and motivated workforce. By taking these steps, we can rejuvenate CATS, making it a safer, more efficient, and accessible transit option for everyone.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? While acknowledging the valuable contributions of the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC to Charlotte’s economy, a cautious approach to public-private partnerships is essential. It’s imperative not to allocate funds beyond the city’s anticipated economic gains. Tepper Sports and Entertainment’s request for $600 million through tourism taxes for stadium enhancements warrants thorough evaluation.
Currently, our tourism fund doesn’t hold the full requested amount, which would necessitate borrowing and extending tax obligations until 2060. This could impact our ability to attract new developments crucial for tourism growth, job creation, and attractions. I advocate for fiscal responsibility to avoid overextending our resources on a private initiative.
Striking a balance is key—enhancing facilities while safeguarding our capacity for future growth. Prudent investment enables us to meet immediate needs without hampering future development prospects. I prioritize a responsible approach to ensure Charlotte’s long-term prosperity remains intact.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? Charlotte is generally safe, yet certain issues require attention. One pressing concern is the lack of resources for marginalized communities, contributing to crime due to limited opportunities, including affordable housing. To combat this, we must offer job training programs, establish community land trusts, grant opportunities for small businesses, and ensure equitable living wages that reflect local costs and inflation.
Furthermore, enhancing public safety demands a robust police force. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s officer shortage necessitates strategic action. Rather than compromising standards, we should raise starting salaries to attract dedicated candidates who genuinely serve the city. By prioritizing community engagement and effective recruitment, we can bolster public safety and ensure a brighter future for all residents.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? The top issues for the city are and always have been Unaffordable Housing and Jobs and because the lack of both, crime and public safety are key issues as well.
What sets you apart in your contest? Born and raised in Charlotte, North and West Charlotte, I am a citizen first and gentrification is real and ever present. I have had 55 years of lived experience that separate and qualifies me to represent this city with conviction, integrity, transparency and a willingness to listen and learn the needs of the people. As a mother, a survivor, and advocate for keeping our city safe! Trust and accountability are important to the community. Our vote matter and so does our voices.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? Mass transit is the worst ever. Average time to get from place to place is not convenient to most. Anywhere from 45 to one hour without car. 25 minutes with a car. We have to make it so that all sides are able to get to and from where they work, live and play easily in a timely manner. We need to expand more bus routes. I would like to see us take a page out of the Charlotte International Airport Handbook when it comes down to transportation mobility.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? The partnership is great opportunity, as long as it includes the ones who frequent the facility and not tax the constituents for upgrades and amenities, when they are not reaping the benefits.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? A safe city depends on what side of town you live on. Public safety can be improved by more community engagement and involvement with the citizens. I would like to see more programs and workshops to help the youth jobs and this helps cut down on crime.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? The top issue facing our community is keeping Charlotte affordable for all. Providing affordable housing for those who need it, jobs and workforce development opportunities, the ability to provide regional public transportation options, and creating safe neighborhoods where we protect history, traditions, and those who call it home.
What sets you apart in your contest? What sets me apart is my extensive experience and the ability to get this done on behalf of the district and the city as it whole. The ability to turn district issues into citywide priorities. Currently I serve as Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, former Chairman of the Affordable Housing Committee, and a member of the transportation Committee. I have championed the corridors of opportunity program that protects residents and provide much needed resources to underserve communities.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? I support the federal review process that is currently under way to provide a comprehensive review of the CATS operation and finance. In addition, there’s a RFQ process underway to select a new CATS Operation Agency that’s responsible for the day-to-day operations of the System. Further new private policing efforts are under way to ensure safety for workers & riders.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? Yes, public/private partnership & sports & entertainment is in the DNA of our community. Tepper Sports & Entertainment produces an economic impact of over 1.5 billion dollars a year, that supports out travel & truism industry and those who work in it. As chairman of the Economic Development Committee, I will support a relationship that’s mutually beneficial to the community and Tepper Sports, and one that ties the team to the stadium for 20 years or more.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? As Charlotte continues to grow so does CMPD calls for service. We still have work to do to ensure no matter what the numbers say that citizens feel safe and secure throughout the city. We must hire more sworn officers, enhance more crime prevention programs like Alternatives to Violence, anti-gang programs, and more support of non-profit organizations and human resource organizations that work to resolve the root causes of crime in the community.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? What a convoluted question haha. In all honesty, the answer depends on your economic position, housing situation, access and mobility around the city; but, the bottom line is regardless of where you live a person must feel safe in that environment, and that’s why I believe a sense of public safety and reduction of crime is something that is universal in every neighborhood. The domino effect to this is that the root of the issue is connected to economic gain or socioeconomic mobility, and the displacement of residents from communities they are familiar with to foreign environments to which survival instinct and mentality kicks in; ergo, the cycle of crime.
What sets you apart in your contest? First, I have a strong reputation for being staunch in my responsiveness and being genuine towards all people throughout my many years of leadership within this community and Corporate America. Second, I was born and raised in the community for which I’m running, meaning my policy approach may not be a stance where I feel “the community is too involved in decision making processes” by their government. These communities helped shape me into the man that I am today from diapers, and if I was never accepted anywhere else in the world, I have Charlotte to call my hometown. And being on Council gives me the fiduciary duty to advocate in the very best interests of those same communities.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? On the “shortage of drivers” issue, I believe there should be an intense and focused workforce development program to present the opportunity to become a driver for CATS to those in communities that do not think of this job opportunity as an outlet to economic gain. That’s a great segue to say you must ensure these same jobs are attractive for a person to provide for their family without still struggling economically in the city; attractive in time (PTO), salary, & benefits. A refined system should generate revenue to enhance ridership, therefore revenue. Further, we might have to work out a partnership between CATS and CMPD to either allow officers to greenlight on the bus, or use this as a recruiting opportunity for CMPD to fill vacancies by having this as a new role. As these are only my ideas to a large issue, I’d want to hear from and work closely with my fellow cohorts to solve this issue sooner than later.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? I’m not opposed to that. I feel meeting ownership half way would be sufficient. I would be open to more being deployed for the project if the specified funds to be utilized might allow for more to be provided in terms of jobs, reinvestment in Council selected communities that are below the City’s AMI, and more benefits for the taxpayers to reap in terms of the Stadium itself.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? I believe that Charlotte is safer than the majority of cities that are comparable in size. I believe we can deeply address crime through our youth. If we are not going into communities, where our youth do not believe they have a true opportunity to achieve the “American Dream” and changing their mindsets, then we aren’t curving crime or enhancing public safety. 70-75% of our knick knack and violent crimes are kids 14-25. If we are not using our influence to expose these kids in a positive way early on, then they will resort to things they see in their neighborhood, in the streets, or hear in their music. Working cohesively with our District Attorney, Sheriff’s office, CMPD, judicial branch, other elected officials and grassroots organizations is the only way we can curb crime and enhance public safety.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? One of the top issues is more affordable housing. With 100 plus people moving to the city daily - one of the top concerns is getting more money in the budget to add to the 50 million already allocated for affordable housing.
What sets you apart in your contest? Born and raised in Charlotte, NC- I have lived in District #3 my entire life. My agenda is led by the community and constituents. I was raised by my hard working single mother- I overcame generational poverty, and the barriers of the federal prison system and became a small business owner- and non profit president. As a formerly incarcerated person- I use my lived experience to be an effective public servant -who leads with transparency. I am accessible, accountable, dependable and hardworking.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? Living in Charlotte all of my life I have grown to understand the transit issues. We are the World’s 15th Largest City. One proposed fix would be alternate transportation habits- decrease motor vehicles commuting and traveling on roads.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? My answer is No
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? Overall I think Charlotte is a safe place to live. How can public safety be improved? Charlotte could be a safer city by adding more after school activities and programs for the children that become a part of the safety concerns for lack of activities and not enough positive and community involvement. We could also have community led safety programs and this would improve public safety.
Warren F. Turner
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? Transportation, because the city of Charlotte has a need for a better mass transit hub that will support the city’s mobility plan, reduce congestion, and move toward a carbon-neutral plan for the citizens of Charlotte.
What sets you apart in your contest? Proven leadership that comes with experience and the ability to understand the depth of the issues that are impacting our city. The ability to take the knowledge and apply it to the issue to help develop an action plan to effectively address the real needs of our communities across the city and in District 3.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? What I know is that we cannot pave our way out of this problem. A mass transit system is a must for the future of our city and the present. The city has a good mobility plan that we should look at as a working document that needs a permanent funding source for a long-term solution. The city must provide more training for our transit staff and workers in dealing with an ever-changing society regarding conflict and safety. In addition, staff training is needed on how to deescalate conflict in an effective and safe manner. By increasing transit authority personnel, this will provide more safety on public transportation. We must provide tougher laws regarding conduct towards city employees in our service industries.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? The Bank of America Stadium is a pillar of the Charlotte community financially, which brings in approximately $1.5 billion to our local economy. We should consider all possible options to support the renovations of the stadium with a long-term contract in place to recover the city’s investment.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? Yes, I consider Charlotte to be a safe city. However, improving safety in the city of Charlotte has many moving parts that consist of many departments throughout city government. Proper lighting along our streets with working light poles, more sidewalks allowing people to move about without impeding traffic, improved intersections and traffic lights, more separation between people and vehicles on our public streets, hiring more police officers to fill vacancies to improve response times for 911 emergencies, and there is a need to revisit community policing as a viable resource to improve the city’s public safety.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? I see our affordable housing deficit as the top issue facing the city. Across the state, population growth has been outpacing our ability to produce housing. While we can’t ignore the unexpected impacts that COVID-19 had on the production and shipment of raw materials, we must be intentional about how we address this issue. Simply building more residential properties does not ensure that people will be able to afford living in them, whether that be as part of a short or long term lease or homeownership. If we want people who move to Charlotte to stay in Charlotte, I think it’s fair to focus on building & revitalizing communities rather than units and we should do all of this in a way that respects and supports the communities that already exist and have been a cornerstone of Charlotte’s culture.
What sets you apart in your contest? I am a collaborator at heart, both personally and professionally. This, in combination with my advocacy background and lived experience has prepared me to manage multiple viewpoints and priorities in the interest of creating whole solutions to complex issues. I am well practiced at scanning the room for perspectives that might be missing from the conversation - especially conversations that impact the lives of people who might not be present. I do not take the responsibility of making decisions that impact livelihoods lightly and to that end I’m willing to ask questions and dig for a deep understanding of the impacts of the work of the City Council.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? I see two tiers of action we can take to address issues with transit in Charlotte - revitalization and expansion. Any action we take should be informed by the best data available and combined with input on the needs of riders and transit employees. An example of revitalization with safety in mind would be increasing lighting and weather shelter at our CATS stops. I relied on CATS for years to navigate the city and very quickly created a mental map of which stops and routes felt safe for me to use after a late shift at the mall or after the library closed. We know that when infrastructure looks safe, people feel safe and that could increase ridership across multiple routes in the city. An example of expansion would be reactivating canceled routes and ensuring that they are running on a schedule that allows people to use them to go about the work of everyday life. I think about folks who are reliant on our transit system to get to and from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport for work at various hours of the day and night when addressing this issue, for example.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? I understand that the details of this potential project have not been discussed publicly yet. That said, I strongly feel that what’s needed to make a healthy decision for the city is a clear understanding of where public funds would come from and how we could structure the project to include and boost local businesses in the process. As a city council member, I’ll be looking for the details around the structure of this potential project as well as the cultural and economic impact of a public-private partnership vs. successful models in comparable cities that we might be able to learn from.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? Safety is a top concern of any city seeing exponential growth, especially at the rates we are experiencing in Charlotte. While our Q1 reports show a decrease in violent crime over Q1 of last year, there is opportunity for us to continue to improve. As a proponent of Community Violence Intervention efforts, I’d like to explore ways to support and possibly expand our Community Assistance Respond, Engage Support (CARES) Team, as well as Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) certifications. On the neighborhood level, I believe we would best serve residents by continuing to engage with community leaders to find solutions that speak to the issues of that specific area. On a much larger scale, we can’t ignore that a lack of affordable housing, reliable transportation and proximity of good paying jobs inevitably exacerbates public safety concerns.
Reneé Perkins Johnson
Reneé Perkins Johnson has not responded to our questions yet.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? The top issue facing the city is development. Our city is growing at a rapid rate and we need to be thoughtful about how and where growth occurs. Charlotte needs to make sure it is looking for ways to incorporate smart growth policies that will enable the city to grow equitably. We also need to develop policies that increase the types of housing that are developed.
What sets you apart in your contest? What separates me from my opponents is the knowledge and experience I’ve gained in zoning, housing, and construction. I’ve also proven the ability to work with neighbors and developers in implementing smart growth policies. I will also provide leadership and advocacy for district priorities
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? The first issue that needs to be addressed is driver safety. Our city needs to provide a safe working environment for all bus and light rail drivers. We also need to address the driver shortage issues facing our transit system as well.
Additionally, we must also examine our transit system to ensure that it is reliable, safe, and convenient. We can do that by determining if our current system routes are efficient and reach the destinations riders are requesting. We also need to implement consistent operating hours for all our transit system options so that riders know when transit is available.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? I believe, as a minimum commitment to the Carolina Panthers, that the city should lobby the General Assembly to extend the food and beverage taxes and hotel/motel taxes until 2060. The current taxes expire in 2031, which means it would be very difficult for the city to assume a debt service that extends past that year.
When I get into office I plan to learn about each proposal on the table for stadium renovations. That will help me better assess the maximum commitment resident tax dollars should be earmarked for the stadium. I love the Panthers and want to move toward an option that works best for both residents and the team.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? Yes, I consider Charlotte to be a safe city. However, we can improve public safety by using proactive policing techniques that involve open dialogue and communication with the neighborhoods. We also need to work with commercial property owners to ensure that minor issues are addressed promptly before they become areawide problems.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? The top issue facing Charlotte is maintaining the safety and livability of all our neighborhoods as our record growth continues.
What sets you apart in your contest? I am a successful small business owner, community advocate, longtime resident of District 4 and a UNC-Charlotte graduate.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? From day one I will work with our City, County, State and even Federal officials to get the safe, efficient and modern roads that we deserve in District 4. Traffic flow patterns must be updated. We truly need to focus on creating a transportation infrastructure that matches our community’s needs. A “one size fits all” approach to transit often wastes our taxpayer’s money and often does not solve the problems that we set out to solve.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? Bank of America stadium is a huge benefit to Charlotte’s economy, but we cannot write a “blank check” for updates and additions. An openly negotiated public-private partnership is essential to create a clear process that mutually benefits both parties.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? Yes, compared to similar-sized Cities Charlotte is a safe city. However not all parts of Charlotte and all Charlotte’s neighborhoods are equally “safe”. To make every Zip Code in Charlotte safer and more welcoming we must expand and intensify Community Policing and fully fund and use incident “de-escalation” task forces. Police Body Cams must be turned on and monitored in real time.
Marjorie Molina has not responded to our questions yet.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? Affordable housing/homelessness
What sets you apart in your contest? I am a candidate that is in the community. “I am boots to the ground” by challenging and impacting the youth through my youth organization EMCB (Excuse Maker or Cycle Breaker) mentorship program also affiliated with The Royal Hornets Elite Football Organization Founded by myself and others in 2020. This organization teaches our student athletes to compete at the highest level, we build character through upholding self respect, peer relationships, we use redirecting to ensure our youth implement good morals and manners. We encourage education. EMCB encourages our youth by investing our resources and time along with cycle breaking sponsorships. EMCB uses motivational skills so that our youth knows the importance of using their voice, vision with confidence and most importantly their hearts so that they may see themselves, families, friends and peers live the best quality of life. As an Entrepreneur I will continue to build a Table for Me & My Family & You & Yours, So that together we Build a table of community that we can pass down to the ones that Look to Us For Better. The Better way Comes From Us All.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? CATS should be held accountable for providing more frequent reports to City Council about their work, ridership and safety in order to to monitor the safety in our transit system so that needed safety issues can be addressed sooner then later.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? No, we should not give the funding of 600 million dollars to a billionaire to upgrade or renovate Bank of America Stadium our city has been taken hostage by developers and big business for too long. We should use these dollars to address the needs of the constituents of our communities.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? No, there are not enough police officers. We need to look more at the model of our police system. We need to explore policing in order to tackle some of these issues. We may want to even look at a gun but back in order to get guns out of our community. Also the police should continue to build positive relationships with community leaders as well as building trust within our communities.
What do you see as the top issue facing the city? Our city has issues that are interrelated. The citizens of Charlotte, especially our city workers, are in need of livable wages so that they can live a quality life. If our workers are plagued with poverty ridden circumstances regarding housing, hunger and transportation, then our city is missing an opportunity to become an epicenter for economic viability. We must place livable wages as a short term goal for our citizens and build from there.
What sets you apart in your contest? I have been an active member of my community for over 30 years as a licensed general contractor building projects in the area and serving for 23 years through restaurant ownership, supporting senior citizens and youth through food programs and housing.
In terms of accessibility and safety, what is your proposed fix for transit issues in Charlotte? In order to increase accessibility to transportation, regional and state funding is needed. Instead of operating in silos, counties will need to come together, create trans-county plans and secure funding for implementation. Since the pandemic, safety has been an issue throughout all forms of transportation. Safety of our city drivers should be a priority. The plan would take years for completion, but securing our drivers in enclosed booths is one of my short-term goals.
Should Charlotte City Council pursue a public-private partnership to improve Bank of America Stadium? How will you approach this issue? The Bank of America Stadium has been a staple in the city of Charlotte for various events. 30 years ago, I worked in a program to help build the stadium. Although I understand the city’s ambition to financially support its sustainability, we must first secure liveable wages for our citizens.
Do you consider Charlotte to be a safe city? How can public safety be improved? Unfortunately, Charlotte has one of the highest crime rates in America. We can reduce crime in our city by eliminating the recruitment gap in the police force. Livable wages in our city can increase the number of officers patrolling our communities and give our citizens opportunities to grow financially, rather than resort to a life of crime for sustainability
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