District 8 candidate
Overall participation: 43%
List five initiatives that you believe are more important than finding a new baseball team for the City of Richmond.
1.To reduce youth crime and delinquency, I would develop a youth conservation corps to provide opportunities for employment and structured recreational activities. I would supplement the current community-policing program with Problem Oriented Policing that will integrate citizens, police, and ancillary services to respond to specific problems and focus on policing problems that result from crime analysis.
2.Richmond is threatened by the collapse of major financial institutions and severe restrictions that have befallen the housing market. Revenue sharing is likely to become impacted in the near future. The biggest impediment to economic development in Richmond is the limited quantities of arable land. Minority business concerns have also run into impediments in receiving an equitable share of the business, government, and commercial spending that occurs in the city. An ordinance structured along the lines of the Small Business sheltered markets that operate nationally could be very helpful in Richmond. Inclusion can only increase the vibrancy of the city and its commercial health.
3.With respect to housing, there needs to be greater oversight over the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority in order that the homes of lower income residents and housing opportunities for working class-and lower-middle class housing does not evaporate entirely. In addition, workforce housing needs to be greatly supplemented, in order that police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other classified employees can afford to live in the city.
4.It seems that the current system or responding to citizen complaints and satisfying service needs is overwhelmed. Short of a civic education program to direct citizens toward specific services, each council district should be allocated an ombudsman’s office to supplement the work of Council Liaisons. A community information network and electronic and print newsletters would help citizens and interest groups to understand policy and problems that confront council. These initiatives would reduce the confrontational nature of much citizen-council interaction by the sharing of information.
5.To assess the true academic progress of students, it would be necessary to correlate Standards of Learning Scores with the National Assessment of Education Progress results. To gain real and true composites of learning problems and teaching difficulties, it would be pertinent to engage teachers in professional development programs, while students would be exposed to curriculums that would prepare them to compete in a global economy. Phonics would replace the whole language approach to reading and language arts. For middle- and high-school students, take-home laptops would be provided to integrate technology into instruction and homework. Even more importantly, aging facilities will be replaced with new schools. To assess the true academic progress of students, it would be necessary to correlate Standards of Learning Scores with the National Assessment of Education Progress results. To gain real and true composites of learning problems and teaching difficulties, it would be pertinent to engage teachers in professional development programs, while students would be exposed to curriculums that would prepare them to compete in a global economy. Phonics would replace the whole language approach to reading and language arts. For middle- and high-school students, take-home laptops would be provided to integrate technology into instruction and homework. Even more importantly, aging facilities will be replaced with new schools.
What are two qualities that people who know you well might say make you suited for the office you seek?
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 City council should conform to the age-old principle of bicameralism advanced by Montesquieu and enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and in supporting legal and philosophical documents, mostly The Federalist Papers. The relationship should be unequivocally clear:
-The Mayor should perform as the Chief Executive Officer, handling the business of administering the city and its constituents agencies and departments.
-The City Council should be the legislative entity, providing advice and consent to designated mayoral actions, passing ordinances and policy guidelines, as well as serving the needs of the constituents of respective districts and the city as a whole.
-The Mayor has veto rights over the enactments of council. The council, by a specified majority, can override vetoes by the Mayor.
The peculiar rub in the current charter is what actions by the mayor are reviewable by the council and what are the joint responsibilities of the council and mayor with respect to fiscal matters and the supervision and oversight of ancillary entities, such as the school board and interrelations with constitutional offices, such as the Sherif and Commonwealth’s Attorney. What aspects of conflicts of interpretation of either party are subject to judicial review are not exactly clear in the current charter.
The charter should be revisited to make clear distinctions in roles and responsibilities of council and mayor. In addition to covering the concerns highlighted above, this review should clearly delineate the parameters and gravity of “executive privilige” and council oversight, in areas that are in addition to appointments.
The current council should not be arbitrary and presumptive in designating a Charter Review Commission before the election. Similarly the Mayor should not be involved in appointing major administrative officers, such as the Police Chief and Superintendent of Schools when there is less than six months remaining the extant term. These provisions should be spelled out neatly and clearly in the Charter and enabling documents.
I have not publicly endorsed a candidate for mayor, but will need to soon determine the venue and audience for such endorsement.
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?
What do you consider to be Richmond’s greatest asset? What do you consider to be its greatest liability?
Richmond’s greatest asset is the central and pivotal role that the city and region played in the American Civil War. Unfortunately, the city’s civil war history and current artifacts are not appropriately marketed to a sufficientiy diverse group of people. Many motorists traveling north and south pass on through Richmond without the slightest inkling of the important historical sites, documents, and paraphernalia that are in the area.
Richmond’s greatest liability is the lingering racism that was germinated during slavery and cultivated again by Redemption, segregation, and massive resistance. Because of this incipient racism, regionalism and common heritage of Richmonders are constantly crippled.
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?
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.