The key to becoming president of your fifth-grade class is singing off-key campaign songs that poke fun of yourself. But when you run for town office, I don’t want to see gimmicks. I want to see experience.
Experience can come in many forms – business, community involvement or government. I wouldn’t want a clown overseeing the City of Charlotte’s $2.4 billion budget.
Enough rambling. Here’s who I think should win Nov. 7 races:
• Candidate: Vi Lyles and Kenny Smith.
• Vick’s Pick: I endorse South Charlotte resident Kenny Smith as mayor.
If you’ve ever thought the south Charlotte area wasn’t getting its fair share of city resources, then he’s your candidate. He’s also going to shift the council’s focus back to city issues. He is south Charlotte.
I wrote a column one year ago titled, “Kenny Smith mayoral run isn’t far-fetched.” I thought at that time that Smith would be the Republican frontrunner and Vi Lyles would be Smith’s toughest Democratic challenge (tougher than Mayor Jennifer Roberts). His campaign has fared much better against Lyles than I anticipated.
City Council (District 6)
• Candidates: (Sam Grundman, Jeff Scott and Tariq Scott Bokhari.
• Vick’s Pick: Tariq Scott Bokhari will make a fine successor to Kenny Smith’s District 6 seat.
He is concerned about many of the same things, such as jobs, public safety and transportation, but he comes at it from a financial technology background.
Charlotte is well positioned to be a global FinTech leader, but we’re not where we should be. Bokhari can help our leadership be on the same page with the business community.
City Council (District 7)
• Candidates: Sharon Roberts and Ed Driggs.
• Vick’s Pick: Councilman Ed Driggs has done a great job representing the people of Ballantyne on the council and should get re-elected.
He also possesses “spidey sense” when his colleagues on the council are about to do something dumb. They should listen to him more. I expect him to flourish more once Mayor Jennifer Roberts is out of office.
City Council (At-Large)
• Candidates: Dimple Ajmera, Parker Cains, Julie Eiselt, James (Smuggie) Mitchell Jr., John Powell Jr., Steven DiFiore II, David Rice and Braxton Winston II.
• Vick’s Picks: I support south Charlotte resident John Powell Jr. because he is focused on issues that affect our day-to-day lives, specifically public safety and infrastructure.
Outside of that, I’m endorsing the three incumbents, Julie Eiselt, James (Smuggie) Mitchell Jr. and Dimple Ajmera.
Eiselt puts a lot of thought into her decisions. A big part of Mitchell’s platform is helping small business owners succeed. Ajmera can get things done.
I think Parker Cains is two years away from holding office.
Board of Education (District 5 seat)
• Candidates: Margaret Marshall, Jim Peterson and Jeremy Stephenson.
• Vick’s Pick: Margaret Marshall and Jeremy Stephenson are strong candidates, but I’m going to give it to Marshall.
She’s has been hands-on with schools in the district. I’m confident she will ignite more collaboration between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the community, particularly those wearing suits.
Board of Education (District 6 seat)
• Candidates: Allen Smith and Sean Strain
• Vick’s Pick: I believe Sean Strain will best represent the views of parents in Mecklenburg County’s towns, particularly those wanting to preserve neighborhood schools. Strain will work to ensure parents have more educational choices in terms of magnet programs.
School bond referendum
• Candidates: Yes or No
• Vick’s Pick: Vote yes!
We published several stories last year mentioning how Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools outlined $2 billion in construction and renovation needs. This bond referendum would address $922 million of that, knocking 29 projects off the to-do list.
We published a column from County Commissioner Jim Puckett last week outlining why one should vote no. While I respect Puckett, I think there are less damaging ways to send a message to CMS that it needs to up its game. Let’s start by electing better school board members.