Elections

Charlotte’s District 6 City Council candidates give their views on 4 key issues

Staff reports

DEMOCRATS

Sam Grundman

Age: 31

Education: UNC Greensboro

Professional experience: Web developer

Previous public offices held (if any): Former Board Member for Cape Fear Public Transit Authority

Website: https://www.facebook.com/SamGrundmanForCLT

The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning to build express lanes on I-77 south, U.S. 74 and I-485. Should those projects continue?

Sadly, we cannot afford to continue to pay for roads with tax money alone. The federal gas tax has not been raised since 1993, not even for inflation. If we want to keep driving alone to work and keep widening our roads and highways, we need to pay for them. If, however, we don’t want to pay for more roads, we need to start building our cities for people, for walking and public transit.

For years, a City Council priority was to disperse affordable housing throughout the city, to prevent it from being clustered together. The city has moved away from that policy in an attempt to build more housing quickly. Is that a good idea?

No. Our city is most prosperous and strongest when we have housing of all income levels mixed together across the city. Giving more people the opportunity to live within walking distance of their jobs, or connected with public transit, is a great way to begin to make our city more affordable.

Do you support the city spending $30 million in hotel-motel money for a proposed Major League Soccer stadium?

No. The city has a lot of more important issues to address first. MLS would be nice, but now is not the time.

With homicides on the rise, what steps would you take to try to reduce crime? What has the current council NOT done?

The long-term solution is to provide better education and provide more economic opportunities. The current city council needs to work to provide more transit options to get people to work, to provide people affordable housing without parking if they cannot afford a car, and the first opportunity to move into the new apartments and set up business in the new developments gentrifying neighborhoods.

REPUBLICANS

Tariq Scott Bokhari

Age: 37

Education: BBA Information Systems, Radford University

Professional experience: Built a multi-million dollar business from scratch, where I learned what it takes to create jobs in Charlotte. Worked as an executive at Wachovia, Wells Fargo, GE Capital and FIS Global, where I learned the impact of creating partnerships, the importance of leading staff, and the challenges of navigating regulation.

Previous public offices held (if any): Ran for Charlotte City Council in 2007 and 2009 as a way to give back. Served as a City Council appointed member of the Business Advisory, Privatization & Competition, and Community Relations Committees, where I learned how to navigate city government to achieve results

Family: My beautiful and talented wife Krista and I moved to Charlotte 15 years ago because we decided it was where we wanted to build our family. We have 3 children: Chase (4), Charlotte (2) and Channing (1 month) who were all born at Presbyterian Hospital, and I’m working every day to make Charlotte a place they want to grow their own families one day.

Website: www.tariqscottbokhari.com

The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning to build express lanes on I-77 south, U.S. 74 and I-485. Should those projects continue?

Ideally, I would prefer we prioritize our current spending to expand general purpose lanes opposed to toll lanes. Given the community anger we are seeing in North Mecklenburg, I would be hesitant to support moving forward until every voice is heard and their issues are addressed.

For years, a City Council priority was to disperse affordable housing throughout the city, to prevent it from being clustered together. The city has moved away from that policy in an attempt to build more housing quickly. Is that a good idea?

Yes, the locational policy of dispersing affordable housing encumbered the free market, and as a result has slowed down the creation of affordable housing.

Do you support the city spending $30 million in hotel-motel money for a proposed Major League Soccer stadium?

I do not support spending money on an MLS stadium, especially while we have more pressing local priorities and commitments that have been made to our city.

With homicides on the rise, what steps would you take to try to reduce crime? What has the current council NOT done?

The rising homicide trend in Charlotte is my top priority. I would work to partner across council, staff and CMPD to ensure they have funding to hire the number of officers they need, to get the tools and training they require to be effective, and to build relationships with the influencers doing great work as individual contributors in our neighborhoods. In my opinion the current council has not provided a satisfactory level of air cover and support for CMPD, and that has impacted morale and officer retention.

Eric Laster

Age: 61

Education: Attended ECU

Professional experience: Edifice, Inc. - Owner/CEO 1987 - present S.C. Hondros & Associates - Business Development 1983- 1987 Tri Cities Construction - Project Manager 1979 - 1983

Previous public offices held (if any): None

Family: Kimberly P. Laster

Website: LasterForCharlotte.com

The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning to build express lanes on I-77 south, U.S. 74 and I-485. Should those projects continue?

I have read the Mercator Review of the comprehensive agreement for the I-77 Express Lanes Project. I found many issues that are of concern and would not recommend going forward.

For years, a City Council priority was to disperse affordable housing throughout the city, to prevent it from being clustered together. The city has moved away from that policy in an attempt to build more housing quickly. Is that a good idea?

We should use all of the tools and opportunities at our disposal that are reasonable to help alleviate this problem.

Do you support the city spending $30 million in hotel-motel money for a proposed Major League Soccer stadium?

Personally I would love to see MLS in Charlotte, however, I am 100% against city funds being used for this. Charlotte is a dynamic growing market and MLS would love to be in Charlotte. Business people will figure out how to make that happen without the city funding. We have too many higher priorities such as affordable housing, safety of the citizens of Charlotte, and our infrastructure.

With homicides on the rise, what steps would you take to try to reduce crime? What has the current council NOT done?

Increase police presence - CMPD is 200 to 300 uniformed officers short.

Make use of DNA evidence - make certain police have the best training.

More community outreach - more monitors in high crime areas.

Long term early childhood education, reading particularly.

Help convicted felons finds jobs and homes.

LIBERTARIAN

Jeff Scott

Age: 60

Education: San Francisco State University, BA Economics and BS Statistics; Top Economics Student, Phi Beta Kappa; Adjunct Scholar, Mises Institute

Professional experience: 30 years as financial markets and banking professional, starting as economist for Federal Home Loan Bank in SF, also worked for WF, Visa and BofA, now working as financial technology consultant for small bank.

Previous public offices held (if any): None

Family: Wife Leslie (public artist), children Eddie (24, auto fabrication) and Eileen (17, NWSA student)

Website: http://lpmeck.org/jeff-scott/

The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning to build express lanes on I-77 south, U.S. 74 and I-485. Should those projects continue?

I support improving transportation by using real market prices to charge for use. As we get closer to a high-tech, user-paid fee system, consumers of roads will be less frustrated.

For years, a City Council priority was to disperse affordable housing throughout the city, to prevent it from being clustered together. The city has moved away from that policy in an attempt to build more housing quickly. Is that a good idea?

The city should not be involved in development subsidies except where they must deal with housing emergencies, for people in a chronically difficult situations, or retaining public safety workers. The city must streamline permitting and other zoning decisions and not put city taxpayer dollars at risk in the booming market. Housing for lower income families should be funded through private capital in the form of neighborhood trusts, sponsors and foundations. Builders who cannot build for a profit should not be building.

Do you support the city spending $30 million in hotel-motel money for a proposed Major League Soccer stadium?

No.

With homicides on the rise, what steps would you take to try to reduce crime? What has the current council NOT done?

Public safety is number one and I would direct resources toward violent crime and property crime, less to victimless crimes such as marijuana and documentation status. I was robbed recently, and I understand the burden must also fall on residents to be more attuned to the facts and police advice. I do not fault the current council for their reaction to the rise in crime. As an additional step, I would encourage a real labor market for the police in hiring and firing practices.

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