With Election Day less than a month away, mayoral candidates Patrick Cannon and Edwin Peacock are working to separate themselves in the eyes of voters.
And in south Charlotte, that means taking a stand on a number of local issues – everything from the balanced spending of the recently approved tax increase to public safety in Ballantyne-area neighborhoods, on top of other city-wide concerns such as control over the airport and the much-debated streetcar project.
Cannon, the Democrat candidate and current Charlotte mayor pro tem, and Peacock, the Republican candidate and former Charlotte City Council member, were both sent questions on timely south Charlotte issues. In order to include their full answers to every question, Peacock’s answers will run this week, followed by Cannon’s next week.
See how the two mayoral candidates answered questions on uniting the city and making Charlotte a destination city, among other topics asked earlier this campaign season, at www.thechar lotteweekly.com. Search keywords “Charlotte mayor race.”
Election Day is Nov. 5, a Tuesday. Find more information on the ballot and your voting location at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections website, www.meckboe.org.
Do you feel a competition between Ballantyne and Uptown for new business is healthy for the city, and what do you believe a mayor can do to invite new businesses and business expansion in Charlotte?
I feel competition is always a positive. Uptown is the “heart” of the city. A strong and vibrant uptown should radiate to the entire city, not just Ballantyne. The urban core and the suburbs are in a symbiotic and inner-related relationship. Each needs the other to remain sustainable and relevant. The mayor is the “advocate-in-chief” to promote private-sector job creation. He works in partnership with the chambers of commerce, the CLT Regional Partnership and North Carolina Department of Commerce to help recruit new companies, but also encourage the growth and expansion of existing businesses. This can only be done when we are a safe, clean and affordable city. The key word is “affordable.” We are NOT affordable and it’s getting worse. We’re the third highest taxed city/county in the state. We need to get off that list. Affordability is especially relevant to Ballantyne businesses, as they are under constant comparison to doing business across the border in South Carolina.
Some argue south Charlotte sees an uneven distribution of tax money on local projects, while others say south Charlotte is in good shape with infrastructure and doesn’t need new projects as much as other parts of the city. Do you feel south Charlotte residents should be satisfied with how their tax dollars are currently spent?
South Charlotte residents represent a significant portion of our city’s residential property tax base. There is understandable frustration in this relationship between the urban projects versus the growing needs of the suburbs. This is only made worse when a city council raises taxes for a large Capital Improvement Projects plan where controversial projects like the streetcar dominate the debate. Capital projects like these must answer to the critics in the south, otherwise the resentment and trust is lost. Large capital projects such as the light rail have proven a worthy investment for our city and our region.
Do you feel the city should consider a moratorium on new residential development in south Charlotte due to traffic congestion, or are there other means you support to help traffic congestion in the area?
No… to a moratorium.
Congestion relief will only come with a multi-modal and regional approach to congestion relief. The Metropolitan Transit Commission was established to use our transit dollars effectively. The MTC sets the priorities as it relates to transit and we need to follow through on what we’re promising taxpayers. One area of traffic congestion relief we often overlook is our bus system. I’ve heard from south Charlotte residents who are frustrated that, in order to go from Providence/N.C. 51 to get (anywhere), they’d have to go to Uptown first. Currently, we have a “hub and spoke” system, which has served us well to this point, but we really need to be a “grid” system to address concerns like this one. Finally, we must continue to address road repavings, widening and other improvements (improved signalization) to existing roads in order to address the growing number of cars traveling in south Charlotte.
Are you satisfied with the amount of police officers currently assigned to south Charlotte, and if not, what would you suggest doing to increase the amount of officers assigned to the southern divisions?
No, I’m not satisfied. I’ve been on three “police ride-alongs” this year and know that sufficiently staffing our largest divisions is becoming increasingly difficult. Yes, you could re-allocate some resources, but you’ve got a growing problem with the shear population growth we’re seeing in the south. There is not a “silver bullet” here. I’d refer this to the Public Safety Committee to evaluate all 13 police divisions and their current needs, their staffing models and what’s on the horizon for budgeting purposes.