Charlotte city council at-large: Bruce Clark on the issues

Name: Bruce Clark

What office are you running for? City Council at-large

Party: Democrat

Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood

Political Experience: Obama for America 2008 - Deputy Regional Field Director Charlotte, NC; Anthony Foxx for Mayor 2009 - Campaign Manager; Ken Lewis for U.S. Senate 2010 - Campaign Manager

Family: Wife - Abigail Clark

Work Experience: Currently - Digital Inclusion Project Manager, Knight School, Queens University; Previous: Infobelt - Director of Marketing, B2B enterprise technology startup; Showtime - Homeland - Props Department; The PPL - Executive Director - Digital media hub during DNC 2012; Greyhawk Films - Director Strategic Development; Ken Lewis for US Sentate - Campaign Manager; Anthony Foxx for Mayor - Campaign Manager; Obama for America - Deputy Regional Field Director; Nothing But Noodles - Director of Operations

Campaign contact: votebruceclark.com; 980-349-8444; bruce@votebruceclark; facebook.com/votebruceclark; twitter @ibclark; instagram @ibclark77

1) Why are you running for office?

It is no secret that Charlotte is changing faster than ever before. I chose Charlotte almost 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve had experiences, like managing Anthony Foxx’s first mayoral campaign in 2009 and as the Executive Director of the DNC digital media hub The PPL, that allowed me to learn about every corner of the city. What I’ve learned is that Charlotte is a city of incredible potential, but we aren’t interconnected enough to realize this potential. Our assets are segregated and not united behind a clear vision for our future. I am running because I chose this city, I know this city, I know what it could be, and I want to help us get there. I want to make Charlotte the most connected city in America by creating economic mobility opportunities, by celebrating and encouraging our diversity, and by building a 21st century city.

2) What would be your top priorities if elected?

▪ A. One of my key priorities is to pass an uncompromised non-discrimination ordinance.

▪ B. Work with city staff, regional partners, and private business to form a “Grown Here” fund supporting early stage high-growth startups who are headquartered in Charlotte. The fund would spur early investments in key sectors such as technology, data, healthcare, and fintech.

▪ C. Continue to support the Community Investment Plan and work to ensure passage of future bonds needed to completely fund the project. This is a key program for spurring development and improving the built environment in our historically neglected parts of East and West Charlotte.

▪ D. Work with city staff, community partners, and private companies to form a Charlotte Housing Land Trust. The trust will acquire land in key areas of Charlotte to ensure affordable housing will be part of a balanced formula for how neighborhoods develop. Affordability is a critical component to how we connect people to housing.

3) Would you support the city's proposed expansion of its non-discrimination ordinance to include the LGBT community, including a provision that would allow transgender residents to use the bathroom of their choice?

Yes without hesitation. I support an uncompromised nondiscrimination ordinance including protection for ALL members of the LGBTQ community.

4) Do you support the N.C. DOT's plans to add express toll lanes to Interstate 485 in south Charlotte and U.S. 74? Or would you prefer to widen the highways with general-purpose free lanes?

The traffic congestion in these areas of the city is awful. We need to look to creative solutions to ease the congestion, including mass transit options. I am against the creation of more express toll lanes like those created in the contract between the state and I-77 Mobility Partners as a method of easing congestion.

5) Would you support spending hospitality tax dollars to renovate or rebuild the county owned Memorial Stadium in hopes of the city winning a Major League Soccer franchise?

I am a supporter of bringing Major League Soccer to Charlotte. Our community has proven its connection and passion for the game of soccer. The creation of an MLS franchise in Charlotte will also likely spur an increase in youth participation in soccer around the city. Organized sports can be incredibly helpful in youth development. However, the road to get there is a complicated one and needs to be thoughtfully crafted. I’m willing to consider any proposal for improving the stadium if it will guarantee a franchise, including using hospitality tax dollars, and will proceed with the best available option to do so.

6) Would you support an increase in the general sales tax to support more transit projects, such as additional miles of streetcar and a commuter train to Lake Norman?

In order to build a 21st century city that attracts and retains its people, we must continue to invest in a more robust transit system. Giving people choice and access, allows them to connect to all parts of our city and the opportunities that exist in each area. However, I do not believe at this time we should increase the general sales tax to support more transit projects. I would however be in favor of transit oriented tax-increment financing to spur specific development.

7) There has been a significant amount of redevelopment in neighbors close to uptown, with older, sometimes historic buildings being demolished for new apartments. Would you support more restrictions on tear-downs?

We should absolutely take every step necessary to preserve the history of our community. I want to make sure that we are growing Charlotte strategically—preserving the old while fostering new ideas and growth. Aside from properties protected by law, we must find a balance between development and what neighbors want to see happening in their neighborhoods. We must also be incredibly mindful of affordability of housing.

8) A goal of the city is to increase affordable housing. In some instances, however, the City Council is asked to approve rezoning requests for low-income apartments, even when an area plan says single-family homes should be built on a site. Should the council follow the area plan recommendations or approve multi-family projects to increase affordability?

As we have seen first-hand in Plaza Midwood, South End, NoDa, and many other parts of the city – multi-family developments do not always equal affordability. While my first reaction is to follow the plan, I am also forward thinking enough to know that that may not always be the best case. Circumstances may have changed since the creation of the plan that requires us to rethink our approach. What is most important is that affordable housing is a lens through which we evaluate every project that comes before council. One way I propose to aid in the creation of real affordable housing is through the creation of a Charlotte Housing Land Trust that would be citizen owned and acquire land to guarantee the affordability into the future.

9) Should the city change its guidelines for offering Business Investment Grants for companies considering expanding or relocating to Charlotte?

Yes – the current Business Investment Grant is geared toward recruiting larger companies to Charlotte. It makes special provisions for large companies relocating to the area, but does nothing to support small business attraction and incentives for entrepreneurship. As the data proves, more jobs in this community are from small business of 100 or less employees.

I will work with city staff and our economic development team to bring another player to the table, alongside the Chamber, to ensure that the program can evolve to support our emerging entrepreneurial sector through addition of grant opportunities.

Not only will this support a more balanced approach for our economy, but entrepreneurship is also a contributing factor to our enterprise companies’ success. They desire to be collocated near disruptive startups providing R&D opportunities and partnerships.

10) What makes you the best candidate?

I’m not interested in being the best candidate, I’m interested in being the best city councilperson possible—regardless of how I get there. I hope this questionnaire has given you some insight into why I would be one of the best choices for that position. I have a vision for a connected, smartly-grown city. I have experience working with individuals from all corners of the city, and I have the ability to bring different and diverse voices to the table. I also care deeply about making the place I have chosen to make my home the very best city possible.

I am comfortable with change, which is critically important when asking our leaders to make change. We need this in leadership. It allows me to look for new and unique connections/perspectives that have not already been considered or previously dismissed because they require change.

11) What else should voters know about you?

As I mentioned before, I chose to live in Charlotte ten years ago and I continue to choose Charlotte to make my home. I look forward to helping others who have done the same, as well as those lucky enough to be Charlotte natives.