The events of the last year have shown the true colors of the members of the Raleigh City Council. They have shown themselves to be anti-democratic by eliminating Citizens Advisory Councils without public input. They have shown that they represent the interests of wealth and power at the expense of the poor and marginalized. They have done this by allowing continued unchecked and unregulated gentrification with their overwhelming support of the Downtown South project, which threatens the communities of South East Raleigh. The mayor, Mary Ann Baldwin, has clear conflicts of interest in ruling on development and zoning while being employed by a major construction contractor. The City Council has further shown themselves to support continued police brutality by giving uncritical support for RPD Chief Deck-Brown after the use of teargas, a chemical weapon banned by the Geneva Convention, on peaceful protesters. Every member of the council signed a pledge to pass a Non-discrimination Ordinance but have as yet failed to deliver.
These actions continue to concentrate power in the hands of developers, banks and a predatory real estate industry. The current council has chosen not to serve all of Raleigh’s people. This is especially true for the working class, the working poor and the homeless. If Raleigh wants to see change that reverses the decades long practice of marginalizing the most vulnerable of the population, then it is time to reach outside the cabal of self-interested candidates presented every two years. Raleigh needs new faces and new attitudes, people whose political beliefs are rooted in democratic participation and the awareness of the economic conditions citizens face.
In pursuit of a city government that is focused on the needs of the working class, I would like to announce my intention to run for Raleigh City Council At-Large in 2021. After the drama of the 2020 election cycle, we can work for a better Raleigh for all of us. It has been said that everyone should have a seat at the table in governing Raleigh, but today, only the developers have a real say. I am committed to representing the working people of Raleigh, not just the wealthy.
I believe in the following:
- Public transportation should be free at the point of use.
- No rezoning until there is adequate affordable housing for people across the spectrum of income in Raleigh.
- Gentrification of Southeast Raleigh should stop. In particular, the Downtown South project should be resisted and, at the very least, not funded with public money. It should not move forward until after the pandemic and a more comprehensive public input period
- Focus must be on affordable housing initiatives for the un-housed and low paid workers first.
- The Police Department must be defunded and replaced by community-controlled de-escalation task forces that focus on protecting lives over property.
- Setting up a “Chamber of Labor” as a counterweight to the Chamber of Commerce to advise the council on conditions of the workers, not the bosses, in Raleigh.
- Passing a strong city-wide non-discrimination ordinance.
- Creating buffer zones around reproductive health clinics in the city.
- Restoring and expanding the Citizens Advisory Councils.
Together we can make Raleigh a better place for all, not just the rich.
Candidate for Raleigh City Council At-Large 2021