Six New Ideas from Raleigh’s District D Candidates

In Buzz, July/August 2020, Uncategorized, Web Exclusive by Jane PorterLeave a Comment

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Updated: In a 6-1 vote this afternoon, the Raleigh City Council appointed Stormie Forte as District D’s new representative. Forte will be the first Black woman to serve on the council.

WEB EXCLUSIVE When you take fundraising and campaigning out of the equation, it turns out that there’s quite a bit of interest from the city’s residents in serving on the Raleigh City Council.

Current members of the council received more than 50 applications from District D residents seeking to be the new councilor for the district covering southwest Raleigh, following Saige Martin’s resignation in June. Over the weekend, council members voted to narrow the list down to five preferred candidates, and on Sunday, those candidates participated in a virtual forum where they answered questions submitted by the public on topics ranging from COVID-19 to affordable housing to transportation to police accountability.

At 4 p.m. this afternoon, the council will hold a virtual meeting to select and appoint the person, out of the 54 total applicants, who will represent District D for the next year and a half. If a candidate receives five or more emailed votes from council members on the first ballot, they will be appointed to fill the seat; anyone who receives a vote on the first ballot will be eligible to appear on the second or third ballot, if needed, until there is a five-vote consensus.

Tune in to the meeting here.

The Five District D Candidates Selected to Participate in the Candidates Forum

Carmen Cauthen

Carmen Wimberley Cauthen, 60, a Raleigh native and retired administrative clerk for the NC General Assembly

Stormie Forte

Stormie Denise Forte, 49, a Raleigh native, attorney and volunteer with the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association and Wake County Voter Education Coalition

Jane Harrison

Jane Lindsay Harrison, 34, a North Carolina Sea Grant coastal economics specialist

Todd Kennedy

Joseph Todd Kennedy, 45, a scientist and project manager for the global infrastructure advisory firm Moffatt and Nichol, who has served on the city’s Environmental Advisory Board and Human Relations Commission

Jennifer Truman

Jennifer Katherine Peeler Truman, 30, an apprentice with Matthew Konar Architect, former secretary of the Southwest CAC and District D Facebook group administrator

Six New Proposals We Heard From Candidates Participating in Sunday’s Virtual Forum

On new measures the city can take to prevent or reduce the spread of coronavirus if the numbers begin to surge again:

From candidate Stormie Forte:

City officials should work with the state and county to establish more testing sites throughout Raleigh and create a database to track cases of coronavirus that emerge in businesses and retailers.

“One of the main concerns I have seen from folks is access to testing, particularly folks who can’t afford to pay $200 as a co-payment for their doctor. It’s important to have people tested so you can do contact tracing… I would also urge state officials to start a database with retailers and other places where they have had COVID outbreaks.”

On specific policy proposals to improve affordable housing, economic development and public transportation:

From candidate Stormie Forte:

Work with city staff and transportation committees to streamline the public transportation process so that large city buses aren’t driving around the city empty or mostly empty of passengers.

“I see these really large city buses moving around the city, and oftentimes they are practically empty…Is there a way we can bring smaller buses onto the line and have more expanded reach and have those as feeder systems into the larger buses that move around the city so we don’t have so many larger buses operating empty with fewer routes?”

From candidate Jenn Truman:

Provide grants to small businesses to open along transit corridors, creating walkable, mixed use neighborhoods, and make small changes in the city’s zoning codes to make opening a small business easier.

“We have a lot of plans around transit corridors but… it is critical we build affordable housing near transit. …That density makes our transit successful and makes our small businesses successful because it provides the kind of place where we need mixed use.”

On reforming law enforcement operations:

From candidate Jane Harrison:

Look at diverting 911 calls from police to unarmed social service providers, such as mental health specialists, potentially modeled after the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon.

“Is it possible to look at other models where they have taken some of their 911 calls and diverted them from the police to social service providers who can really address the issues at hand?”

From candidate Stormie Forte:

Create an ombudsman’s program within RPD for police oversight.

“[An ombudsman’s program] would create a mechanism for fellow members of the law enforcement department to have a way to go in and report incidences related to their colleagues in a safe manner and in a manner that they will feel protected to share that information and have that disseminated going forward disseminated without fearing repercussions.”

On a vision for Raleigh’s future given current economic shortfalls:

From candidate Todd Kennedy:

Develop a “Resilient Raleigh” plan for future crises.

“We can start chronicling the lessons learned [from COVID] thus far and start preparing for the next pandemic and we can combine that with other natural and manmade hazards, like climate change, to really prepare Raleigh for the future.”

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