Overall participation: 71%
List five initiatives that you believe are more important than finding a new baseball team for the City of Richmond.
What are two qualities that people who know you well might say make you suited for the office you seek?
1) Bill Pantele knows the City’s budget and how to make city government more accountable to the taxpayers. As a way to improve public education and make our schools more accountable, Bill spearheaded the first major audit of our public school finances. The audit identified $25 million dollars in potential savings. Bill then worked cooperatively with the City Council and the School Board to implement these savings. These funds can now be used directly in the classroom to help teachers and to improve student performance. Likewise, Bill will implement an additional $30 million in savings, identified by the City Auditor as wasteful spending in the city government budget. These resources can then be dedicated to important priorities like fighting crime, improving our roads and streets, and providing tax relief for hard-pressed homeowners and senior citizens.
2) Bill Pantele has a proven track record of fighting for the average citizen and will be “the People’s Mayor.” He has been a leader in the fight to cut the real estate tax rate by 23 cents over the past seven years. He led the fight to preserve Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA’s) for city government retirees in the most recent city budget. If elected Mayor, he will disband the Mayor’s nine man security detail and drive himself to work.
What are your thoughts on the relationship between the current mayor and city council? Outline a model for how you’d like to see the mayor and city council work together in the future.
The relationship between the Mayor and the City Council needs to be one of mutual respect and an understanding of the delineation of authority between the two branches of government. As I campaign door to door throughout the city, I find that Richmond’s citizens are turned off by the grandstanding, political gamesmanship, and empty public relations initiatives that are hallmarks of the current city administration. Rather, they tell me that they want results and consensus on the important issues that they care about—improving education, enhancing public safety, cutting government waste, holding the line on taxes, revitalizing our neighborhoods, and improving roads and infrastructure.
As Mayor, I will build on the relationships that I have already formed with the members of City Council to forge a truly collaborative partnership that will work together to move the city forward. It is important to communicate frequently with Council members and to seek their advice and input regularly, and I will do just that. We also need to continue to improve relations with the School Board and with members of the city’s appointed boards and commissions. I believe that I have the vision and the leadership skills necessary to utilize fully the talents of all of our elected and appointed officials.
If you support the proposed Downtown Master Plan and if you are elected, what specifically will you do to ensure the plan is implemented? If you oppose the proposed Downtown Master Plan and if you are elected, what steps will you take to correct, change, or modify the plan?
Yes, I support the Downtown Master Plan. It will be up to City Council to decide whether or not to approve it. As Mayor, I will faithfully implement laws passed by the City Council.
What do you consider to be Richmond’s greatest asset? What do you consider to be its greatest liability?
If elected, how will you promote the use of public transportation by Richmond residents? What improvements would you make to the current system in order to do so?
We must facilitate the use of public transportation. As Mayor, I will work for a complete re-routing of GRTC buses, built around a convenient and useful downtown street car system in order to attract greater bus ridership. A regional transportation authority can provide an effective mechanism to promote regional transit in high density transit corridors radiating from our downtown core. I have been an advocate for more bike racks and a regional greenways program that will transform unused land into bicycle paths. I am a strong proponent of “New Urbanism” and a downtown Master Plan that promotes walkability and access to public spaces.
We also need to work with our regional partners to forge a consensus on transportation priorities. I serve on the Executive Committees of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and have developed excellent relationships with officials in surrounding counties. As a former Chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, I have long been an advocate for a more cooperative approach to addressing regional transportation issues effectively.
The city, state, and nation are facing a severe economic crisis, and yet during elections we typically hear candidates promoting projects and ideas that will require additional financial support. What are some initiatives you think Richmond is going to have to put on the back burner as we weather these challenging times? Please explain why.
On October 2, I announced a seven point plan to address a potential fiscal crisis:
FIRST: IMMEDIATE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AUDIT FINDINGS IN THE FLEET AND PROCUREMENT AUDIT…THIS REPRESENTS A SAVINGS OF 1 MILLION DOLLARS PER MONTH TO THE TAXPAYERS.
SECOND: ACT TO SECURE ANY SURPLUS FROM LAST YEAR’S BUDGET TO BE USED AS A DOWN PAYMENT FOR HEATING ASSISTANCE FOR OUR MOST VULNERABLE CITIZENS.
THIRD: NO NEW PROGRAM AMENDMENTS FOR NEW SPENDING…THIS REPRESENTS A SAVINGS OF FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND ($500k) DOLLARS A MONTH TO THE TAXPAYERS.
FOURTH: ACT TO IMPLEMENT AN IMMEDIATE OVERALL HIRING FREEZE.
FiIFTH: ELIMINATE THE MAYOR’S NINE-MAN SECURITY DETAIL, CUT THE PUBLIC RELATIONS BUDGET BY 50%, AND UNDERTAKE AN IMMEDIATE REVIEW OF ALL CAR ALLOWANCES. THIS WILL SAVE CITY TAXPAYERS OVER 1 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
SIXTH: COORDINATE WITH THE STATE GOVERNMENT FOR BETTER AND MORE EFFICIENT ENERGY PURCHASING ON A COOPERATIVE BASIS.
SEVENTH: SUSPENSION OF CITY CONSULTANT CONTRACTS UNLESS THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER AND THE MAYOR CERTIFY, IN WRITING, THAT THE SERVICE PROVIDED IS OF HIGH IMPORTANCE, AND WHY.