At-Large County Commissioners Race - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

At-Large County Commissioners Race

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBVT) - 17 people want to be the next At-Large member on the Mecklenburg county commission. They are running in the May 8th primary. To be fair WBTV emailed each  candidate a list of questions.  Some answered, some did not.

For those who answered here are their responses word for word.

Candidate James Peterson

email: Electjamesfpeterson@carolina.rr.com 

If elected what will be your top three priorities?

Education, Unemployment and Taxation. The Charlotte Mecklenburg School system's leadership is currently not operating in the best interest of our teachers or students. Our schools have become top heavy with rules, testing requirements and erroneous evaluation processes. Unemployment is over 10% and greater than 20% for minorities. I will promote jobs by promoting our small business owners. Taxation increases continue to put unnecessary strains on our family budgets. I will ask four questions for each new project proposed. Do we need it? Can we afford it? Will it benefit everybody or just a privileged few? Can the market do it better?

Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?

Most Recently, I believe the County Commissioners should not have been involved with the amendment one subject. It is a state level topic that did not need to be addressed at County Commission. At a time when we are struggling with high unemployment, rising taxes and the overall increase in our cost of living, we do not need the county leaders diverting their time to that discussion. I was at the meeting on May 1st and of the five and a half our meeting, the first four and a half hours were devoted to property revaluations and amendment one. Literally in the 11th hour there were approximately six budget increases and one proposal to increase LUESA fees next year. The later items should have had greater discussion and scrutiny. These 11th hour budget increases are not what our city and county need. Each budget increase results in extra money that has to be collected from our citizens via additional taxes and fees.

CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.

No, I don't believe the answer is to raise taxes again to pay for the additional $27.5 million. CMS needs to look internally at their budget for efficiencies just as we have to at the County level. We have far too many highly paid administrators and bureaucrats in the school system. The problem is they don't teach. Classrooms are overcrowded with 40 plus students. Our teachers are underpaid and our classrooms are lacking important learning tools. Teachers should not have to pay for classroom pencils, pens, notebooks and all the other basic supplies out of their own pockets. Instead of asking for more money every year, our school system needs to find common sense approaches to education by prioritizing its current budget. Presently, our schools prepare students to go to college, but not every student is interested in or can afford to go to college. We need a relevant curriculum that prepares our young people to do something productive. Perhaps courses in skilled trades, a mentoring program or internships. We don't need to spend more money; we need to get creative.

When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?

Tuesday May 1st 2012: I also spoke at this meeting to address my concerns with the County Property Revaluations.

What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission?

The County Commission job encompasses budgeting and fiscal responsibility at its core. I have been in the financial services industry for over 13 years with prior work as an industry consultant. My decisions are based on the core community needs and not just the latest big ticket items.

If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair?

Yes, I want a leadership role in our next county commissioner board. The question of chair verse vice chair will be dependent on the makeup of the board.

What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?

We need to promote our businesses and return Mecklenburg to a business friendly destination. We need to stop pushing our residents and companies across the county and state lines. In terms of regulations, permitting and fees, Mecklenburg needs to provide a business solution where fees and taxes do not go up during a recessed economy. New business translates to new jobs. Our quality of life is tied to the financial stability of our citizens. For that to occur our leaders (city, county, state and federal) need to do everything they can to encourage job growth in the private sector and in our home towns.

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CANDIDATE PAUL BROWN

Web Site: www.wix.com/electpaulmbrown/home

If elected what will be your top three priorities? If elected, my top three priorities would be on:

1. Economy/Jobs

2. Education.(Not only for our youth, but for adults seeking higher education or those that never completed high school while they were young.

Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?

One of the biggest thing that the commission has done that I disagree with is at time, not working together as a team. With all that our community is facing, we would hope that the best interest of the community is the ultimate objective as members of the Board of County Commission.

CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.

I feel that there are lots of teachers within CMS, deserving of a pay raise. If not given these much needed pay increase, we will lose these qualified teachers to other school systems. We must remember that teachers have the hard responsibility of educating our future leaders. If teachers are having financial issues due to their salaries, this will cause a distraction within our schools and classroom. More money should be provided to deserving members of CMS, but not to all the employees of CMS.

When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?

I have never attended a full county commission meeting, but have viewed them on TV and on the Internet.

What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission? As far as qualification, I have a Masters of Public Administration and Masters of Business Administration degree. I currently serve as Board member on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Access Corporation. I have served as a board member on Student Government Association while attending Central Piedmont Community College. As a Producer/Host of the award winning Paul Brown Show, airing on Time Warner ACCESS 21 Channel, I have been able to educate/inform our community on services and issues that we face on a daily basis.

If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair?

According to the rules and regulations, I would have to be voted to either of those positions by fellow board members. Also, in the past, the Commissioner receiving the highest votes during election has been appointed into the commission board chair. With either position, I feel that it would be an honor, and I would assume the position, if selected.

What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?

To improve the quality of life for all, I feel that there is a need for more involvement from every member of our community. This would include more education/information, so that people are aware of how these issues affect them and their community. As far as the economy, we need not only work on bringing new business to the area, but, but give incentives to our current business owners for creating more job opportunities. Providing salaries to employees, that is consistent with cost of living criteria.

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CANDIDATE PAT COTHAM

Email: patcotham@gmail.com

If elected what will be your top three priorities?

Job, education, quality of life

Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?

Communication with residents could have been improved with the revaluation being an example.

Our government must be open, transparent, responsive, and fair. Many homeowners did not feel the process was transparent or easy to understand. We must strive to improve in this area. Staff must make time for county residents and explain the process and the reasons for the decisions made. If elected, I commit to being a reliable and accessible resource for Mecklenburg residents.

County government must also be user friendly. Government cannot be the problem. When I speak with business leaders, I hear their frustration with government entities and agencies. I want to make the process easier, so as to better serve the needs of our companies, big and small.

 The County's relationship with our unique small towns is important to me. Town leaders have relationships and know the issues critical to their communities. Under the business theory called the "eight foot rule," people who work within eight feet of a problem know more than others. The same is true here. Leaders in those communities know more and need to be engaged early. These things would have helped in the revaluation.

CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.

I think the BOCC should give the money but only if it is held in escrow for raises to prevent the money being used for other things.

When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?

I attended a full county commission committee meeting in March. I watch them on television often.

What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission?

I am a leader with a long history of involvement in the community - from the arts including being a long term trustee at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, to a leader in the democratic party to the peace and justice ministry at my church. I am a passionate advocate for people. In my current work helping to find jobs for people with a criminal record, I have seen the struggle to succeed of families who feel that everything is "stacked against them." To some, these people are statistics. To me, they are sons and daughters, husbands and wives, who just want to work and care for their family. I carry their stories with me. I see their mental health needs and I want to advocate for that issue as well. Some of their stories are tragic, but most show hope for all that is good in people.

In my professional life, I have spent decades as a recruiter, helping people - from executives to persons who have been in prison and jail - find jobs. I understand the challenges that people face in this economy. But, even more importantly, I understand the job market. I understand what industries and prospective employers look for when they hire. This experience uniquely positions me to offer new ideas for recruiting business to our community.I am a leader who wants to serve.

If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair?

I am only focused on the primary at this time.

What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?

I am a believer that "we must meet people where they are" and so the answer has multiple facets. In my current work helping to find jobs for people with a criminal record, I have seen the struggle to succeed of families who feel that everything is "stacked against them." To some, these people are statistics. To me, they are sons and daughters, husbands and wives, who just want to work and care for their family. I carry their stories with me. Some are tragic, but most show hope for all that is good in people. They want a "second chance" to find a job and care for their family. To reach their goal, they need more adult education, libraries open longer in their communities, access to mental health services and great schools for their children. Those things would improve their quality of life. They need hope and a community that will give it to them.

In other parts of the community, people tell me they also need better-paying jobs, safe recreation for their families, and great schools for their children. Education is a common thread across all communities and also on "the checklist" of businesses who are considering relocating to our area. We must support our schools.

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CANDIDATE MICHAEL HOBBS

Web Site: www.electmichaelhobbs.com

If elected what will be your top three priorities?

1) Move the agenda forward to permanently fix Property Revaluation Process

2) Jobs! Put into action those policies that will reduce County Government's intrusion on local business owners so they are incented to hire.

3) Fiscal responsibility and accountability. I will be hawkish on waste and abuse and continually work with all members of the commission to move forward with a more transparent and much more efficient county government.

Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?

Posturing over policy that the Commission has no influence over. This type of politics does nothing but discourage our citizens. I want to encourage the electorate that we are working for them on those things that the County can directly improve.

CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.

I do not support continued funding as usual for CMS. I would like to see more vocational focused education to provide a job skill for our kids that will not go to college. I would work with local manufacturing to bring back apprenticeship and other related programs to help provide real life skills.

When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?

As of the time I sent this I am working out of state for a week, but I was able to tune in online for the meeting this week. I have long had an interest in local, state and national politics and have spent many hours watching televised and web cast local government meetings.

What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission?

Life, community and professional. I grew up in a broken home, spent a short time on government assistance and did not have the opportunity to go to college. I have achieved despite many challenges and can be a good example to those in similar situations. I have been President of a homeowners association, a member of PTSA and School Leadership Teams and active in the community. I have been in professional sales for 30 years, calling on manufacturing and understand what they need to maintain and create jobs. I am a skilled negotiator, work well as part of a team and can disagree but do it respectfully.

If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair?

Let's take it one step at a time!

What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?

I believe in opportunity for all and that the best way to do that is to create a thriving economy in Mecklenburg County where people of all backgrounds can find employment.

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CANDIDATE CRAIG MADANS

Email: corporate@hocoa.com

Questions and responses from Craig Madans

If elected what will be your top three priorities?

1) Schools - education/ vocational/ teachers pay increase - Smaller Classroom sizes- keep language, music, etc as part of the curriculum

2) Budget - fiscal responsibility - we don't spend what we don't have. Broaden tax base.

3) Environment -Social Environment - Safety/ Veteran Benefits/ Senior Benefits/ Financial Opportunity, Physical Environment - Think Green for our air, water, trees, parks and the land around us.

Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?

The relationships between the commissioners caused too much negative publicity. I believe the teachers raise should have been handled sooner. I believe that the services provided for our Veterans and seniors should not have been reduced.

CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.

Yes, teacher's pay should be increased. Other raises and expenses need to be re examined to determine the necessity at the moment and for the future.

When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?

I have been involved in the county for over 25 years, I have served and chaired on committees, the last being CharMeck Tree Commission. I attend meetings when necessary and leave when issues have been handled.

What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission?

It is the responsibility of elected officials to educate their constituency on issues that come before them and to understand their concerns. I would use my business skills including my ears to educate my colleagues and the people on the issues, my patience, my voice, and my sense of reason with the ability to understand the art of compromise. I have the ability to Identify individual's strengths, likes, and dislikes. By Introducing myself into the community, setting up lines of communication, and spending time in the community helps identify and prioritize major issues and concerns. I have continually demonstrated this over the last 25 years by being involved and visible in all parts of the county. I have the ability to locate the deal, discuss the deal, and close the deal.

I am a Business owner, entrepreneur, international marketing and sales, consulting, manufacturing, and job locating services.

Some Highlights…

Chairman CharMeck Tree Commission

Several Ad hoc Committees over the years

Former Charlotte mayoral candidate.

Spearheaded Committee to save Independence Arena- Original Coliseum. Aided the Police department, succeeded in getting 9mm Pistols and Bullet Proof Vests as mandatory equipment instead of being donated by Dominos Pizza. Improved Communication System to remove dead zones.

Chaired Committee to bring district representation to CharMeck allowing a voice from all parts of our community to the school board.

If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair?

Yes, It would be an honor and a pleasure to serve as board chair or vice chair.

What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?

We need to resolve lingering issues; we need jobs/ financial opportunities for all. We need a leader that can represent all parts of the community. As well as being able to resolve issues between the community and the government. Better communication, better performing school system, and a safe community. Mecklenburg county needs to be place where seniors and Veterans can enjoy their benefits, a place where clean air, water, and parks provide recreational enjoyment. I want to serve you in helping Making Mecklenburg County a place to live our dreams and others dream of living.

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CANDIDATE MARC GUSTAFSON

email: marcgustafson@hotmail.com

If elected what will be your top three priorities?

Education and job creation, healthcare and mental health services, parks and recreation.

Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?

I disagree with the audit of the tax revaluation process. I think if there are specific problems, those should be addressed but we should not spend taxpayer dollars on an audit.

CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.

I do support these funds for teachers. But more importantly, I think we need to try to create a sense of security and trust with our teachers and communicate to them how important they are to our community.

When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?

I attended a commission meeting about 3 months ago, just before the filing deadline and campaigning began.

What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission?

I will build consensus on the Commission in the same way I have built consensus working with Democrats and Republicans in my legal practice, in my work at the public library, on the Arts & Science Council boards, and in my non-profit experience with the Spokes Group, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 24 Hours of Booty and the University of North Carolina Board of Visitors.

If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair?

I think that should depend on the candidate who receives the most votes in the general election

What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?

Education and job creation must have top priority in the County budget. In 2011, County funding to schools was cut by $49.1 million. Despite the majority of funding for schools coming from the State budget, Mecklenburg County's public schools must remain a priority for our community. As the economy continues to grow, we need to invest in early childhood literacy, in high school dropout prevention and in workforce and economic development. By investing in these areas, we can improve the quality of life for all of our citizens.

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CANDIDATE JASON BATEMAN

Web site: www.electjasonbateman.com

If elected what will be your top three priorities?

1. Reducing regulatory and tax burdens on businesses in Mecklenburg County.

2. Exploring the idea of school vouchers to spend education dollars more efficiently and put control in the hands of parents.

3. Refocusing local government on legitimate functions such as law enforcement.

Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?

Committing tax dollars to an uptown baseball stadium was a bad decision. After building a basketball arena (without taxpayer approval), a hall of fame, and a Whitewater center it should be apparent that these boondoggles never pay off and are based on overly optimistic economic forecasts.

CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.

Many private sector workers have not had raises in years if they are lucky enough to be employed at all. The public sector in Mecklenburg county has been mostly spared from this. Taxing residents that are buckling under economic pressures already is not the best way to spur the economy and put us back on the right path.

When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?

1 month ago.

What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission?

After partisan bickering what the commission needs is a voice that represents both fiscal responsibility and personal liberty. As a Libertarian I would support both and voters would not have to choose between one or the other.

If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair?

Certainly not during my first term.

What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?

Fostering an environment of economic growth and prosperity would allow for a better quality of life for all citizens in the private and public sectors. Allowing businesses to expand easily would create jobs and tax revenue to support social services.

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CANDIDATE ROBERT HILLMAN

email: electrobhillman@gmail.com

If elected what will be your top three priorities?
 
My top three priorities are as follows:
 
1.       Job creation;
2.       Infrastructure development (i.e., transportation); and
3.       Education and vocational training.
 
Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?
 
Unfortunately, the commission has distinguished itself as a group of publicly elected officials who are unable to work together.  I'd like to change this perception.
 
CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.
 
I support the 3% for teachers, and believe the raise is overdue.  A teacher that is distracted by the needs of a moonlighting job is less effective in the classroom.  We need effective teachers.
 
When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?
 
I have taken advantage of the online recordings of the meetings.  Also, in mid-April, I physically attended a briefing on the capital budget and on the county's debt rating.  As a former investment banker, the discussion around the need to maintain the county's AAA-rating, was very familiar.
 
What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission?
 
The major role of a commissioner is to analyze budgets (and budget proposals) to ensure our tax dollars are allocated and spent as efficiently and effectively as possible.  From my perspective, it's a budgeting job and I'm a numbers guy - a compassionate numbers guy.
 
I have more than 20 years' experience as a financial analyst and as an engineer and, more importantly, a lifetime of experience as a community servant.
 
I earned an engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from New York University's Stern School of Business.  In 2002, I was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst (C.F.A.) designation.  I am currently an investment advisor.  
 
On the community service front, currently, I mentor teenagers as a robotics coach with 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte; mentor "hard to employ" adults at the Community Culinary School of Charlotte; and, assist Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department on major holidays as a member of the Men Who Care Global, Inc.
 
If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair?
 
My priority as a county commissioner is to serve the best interest of the citizens of Mecklenburg County.
 
What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?
 
I plan to focus my energy to:
 
1.) Create jobs;
2.) Enhance Charlotte's infrastructure - particularly with respect to transportation; and,
3.) Support educational excellence and vocational skills training.
 
These three issues are critical to the expansion of opportunity for all who live, work and do business in Mecklenburg County.  Getting it right with respect to these three issues will ensure quality living for all and, continued growth and prosperity in our city, county and region.  With growth and prosperity comes the funding for the many necessary human services the county must efficiently deliver to its residents.

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CANDIDATE WAYNE POWERS

Campaign website:  www.ElectWaynePowers.com

Campaign Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/electwaynepowers

If elected what will be your top three priorities?

My overriding priority is to help restore the faith, confidence and trust of our citizens in their elected county government, partly by earnestly addressing these issues:

Taxes:  The citizens of Charlotte-Mecklenburg pay the highest taxes in North Carolina.  Our tax base (people and business) is fleeing across county and state lines as a result.  Cut spending and cut taxes, fees and burdensome over-regulation.  Fix our seriously flawed revaluation process.

Jobs:  Our unemployment rate remains among the highest in the nation, despite all the manipulated stats and projections from politicians.  Create a positive business environment to help launch, grow and attract business --- and the jobs which only a healthy private sector can create.

Education:  CMS is broken.  Stop teaching to the test and start educating our children.  Enhance mentoring and vocational training options for our students.  Restructure our school system to serve the students and teachers in the classroom --- not the bureaucrats in the office towers.

Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?

Our latest figures show Charlotte residents continue to pay the highest amount in taxes and fees of all North Carolinians in support of local government, with combined Char/Meck revenue at $2,290 per person --- yet we proceeded anyway with a massive county property tax increase under the guise of a property revaluation, which was poorly managed and executed, and with results which were largely unfair, selectively punitive, and startlingly unrelated to actual market value.  I'd call that a bad move --- for everyone.  It's seriously hurting many of our citizens who can least afford it, and it further diminishes the already anemic public confidence in our elected government.

CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.

 Absolutely not.  Our CMS graduation rate is only 70%.  That translates to a whopping 30% failure rate --- one of the worst in North Carolina!  We've been avoiding fixing the structural problems of our education system, choosing instead to throw massive amounts of money down the CMS drain.  Our priorities are totally out of whack.  Teachers have gone for several years without a raise, so why are we overpaying our new Superintendent? 

When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?

This past Tuesday evening --- from gavel-to-gavel, until after 11PM.  In fact, I was a speaker in support of auditing our severely flawed revaluation process.  I've also attended the County Budget/Debt Workshop with the commissioners and county staff.  I attend most County Commission meetings, and watch online the meetings I cannot actually attend.

What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission?

I didn't just show up and decide to run for office.  I have been a consistent, principled and vocal advocate for the citizens of our community for the entire 19 years I've lived in Charlotte --- including countless appearances before City Council and County Commission, many published policy and opinion pieces in local print, broadcast and electronic media, and spending the last four years as a frequent guest host and special programming host on WBT news/talk radio.

 

If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair? 

One election at a time, please.  I have no such plans, but rule nothing out as I seek to serve ALL our citizens of Mecklenburg County in the most effective manner possible during this time of unprecedented challenges to the very future of our community.

What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?

Two items:

1)    Reduce taxes, spending and debt load --- thereby creating a business and residential tax base magnet, protecting our endangered AAA bond rating and guaranteeing our ability to continue providing essential county services --- without irresponsibly burdening the future of our children and grandchildren with crushing debt.

2)       Elect Wayne Powers to County Commission At-Large --- thereby ensuring a dedicated and relentless effort to achieve item number 1.

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CANDIDATE HARRY TAYLOR

www.harrytaylorforcountycommission.org

If elected what will be your top three priorities?

Public education – Support the school board when I believe they are heading in a positive direction, or help encourage them in a different direction when needed.  Build a powerful collaboration to force NC General Assembly to provide appropriate funds for teachers' compensation. Use my voice to recruit support for the public school system so we don't have to rely so heavily on the criminal justice system as an alternative for those who fail.

Rebuild public confidence in the Board of Commissioners – By necessity, and in order to get paid, my profession requires that I find ways to make viable, intelligent "collective" decisions – among people with varied agendas and ideas.  That always requires listening well and respecting the views of others – with honesty and without prejudice, regardless of what political party other people favor. 

Be a vocal force for protection of our air, water, tree canopy, food sources, and public safety.  We know enough about the damage toxic airborne particles cause in children, pregnant women, and the elderly.  We know enough about the diseases that can result from drinking bad water.  We know the effects a poor diet has in terms of conditions such as obesity and diabetes.  We know that trees produce the very oxygen we breathe, some 800 times each hour.  We all must stand together to thwart commercial and – on occasion – government efforts to degrade and destroy the very essence of our environment.

Is there anything the commission has done in the past year that you have disagreed with, if so what was it and why do you think it was a bad move?

At times, the commission has put partisan politics ahead of community needs. For instance, disinterested and poorly educated youth are a problem for us all, not just for one political party. 

Also, Mecklenburg County is required by law to revaluate every eight years. The tremendous market growth of the past several decades, followed by the worldwide economic crash, should have been an indicator that this revaluation might invoke unprecedented challenges. If the staff had anticipated that possibility, and communicated their concern to the public, much of the present turmoil might have been avoided. As well, the staff might have marshaled more resources to cope with what was likely going to be both problematical and unpopular. Instead there was a disconnect that might have been avoided. It would seem appropriate to consider more frequent revaluations, perhaps every two to three years. A more frequent schedule would result in less radical fluctuation in values, would make it easier to identify and manage emerging issues, and the appeals process would not risk becoming bogged down. I favor reviewing how the Board of Equalization and Review is staffed, and how the appeals process functions with an eye toward making the process more user-friendly and transparent. 


CMS has requested an extra $27.5 million from the county to give a 3% raise to all employees. Do you think the county should give the school district the money? Please explain your answer.

Yes.  In my opinion, education of our children and future leaders is the most important resource.  It must honor teachers with compensation befitting the enormous task before them i.e. influencing and impacting our children toward self-sufficiency and greatness. 


When was the last time you attended a full county commission meeting?

January in person; however, I think it is a valuable service that citizens are able to watch the sessions on television so that they may stay informed.

What qualifications and experience do you bring to the commission?

Early on in my nearly four decades as a commercial real estate broker I learned that it is not possible to complete a transaction – and thus get paid – without a keen ability to bring people with varying objectives and goals together to find acceptable solutions. By necessity, it has become my nature to find ways to make viable, intelligent "collective" decisions. That means listening well and respecting the views of others with honesty, and without prejudice, regardless of what political party the other people may favor. 

If elected will you run for commission board chair or board vice chair? 

Yes.

What do you think needs to be done in the county to improve the quality of life for all?

The commission needs to look at the county as a whole, work with other board members and County staff to manage the County's business.  To provide honest, open leadership to the community of Mecklenburg County.  To constantly bring up, discuss, and deal with the important things that matter in our lives – public education, law enforcement, criminal justice, how the jails function, mental health, homelessness, the quality of the air we breathe, and social services.  The commission cannot make poor decisions that will deter businesses, and therefore jobs, from locating to our area.

I believe the community of Mecklenburg County is a special place, but it can be even more special with leadership that cares about people, especially young people, and about the future.  I would like leaders willing to talk about things that matter, not about what a particular party wants, not about what business wants, not about what a particular religion wants.

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