Elections

Charlotte city council at-large: Julie Eiselt on the issues

Name: Julie Eiselt

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

Party: Democrat

Neighborhood: Myers Park

Political Experience: None - but I've done a lot of citizen advocacy work for public safety and public education at the City, County and State level.

Family: Husband: Tom; Children: Jack (20), Joe (18) and Kate (16)

Work Experience:I spent my career in international banking with Bank of America (predecessors) working in the Brazilian and East European markets for project and trade financing. I also worked for a Fortune 500 Manufacturing company as the International Treasury Director. Most recently, I worked as a retained recruiter in the industrial sector.

Campaign contact: www.JulieEiselt.com; 980-349-8683; votejulieeiselt@gmail.com; www.JulieEiselt.com; FB: Friends of Julie Eiselt; Twitter: @julieeiselt

1) Why are you running for office?

I’m an active volunteer in our community, a former banker, a wife, and a mother of three, Through my years of work in the community, I understand that until we address the structural policies and patterns that keep people from equitable access to opportunity - like good schools and jobs, safe neighborhoods and affordable housing, we will never achieve prosperity and success as a community. I have experience taking a problem and finding a solution. I experienced a violent crime which led me to found Neighbors For A Safer Charlotte. I worked hard to unify the community to demand justice and accountability for all residents, and advocate for resources for the criminal justice system. I want to bring my experience to the City Council so we continue in the right direction on public safety: lower crime, higher neighborhood engagement, and a commitment to the funding our criminal justice system needs.

2) What would be your top priorities if elected?

Help to deliver justice to all residents, strong economic growth by building a skilled workforce and access to opportunity for all, through better infrastructure.

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

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?

I do not support the way the toll road plan was structured and financed.

We need a comprehensive solution for the Independence Boulevard corridor that makes trips faster and less frustrating but it needs to be done by engaging stakeholders - including those who use the roads most.

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?

We already give numerous subsidies to professional sports in Charlotte at taxpayer expense. We have to be thoughtful about when and why we use our hospitality tax dollars.

However, Memorial Stadium is not only a potential MLS stadium, it's also where generations of Charlotteans have watched Friday night football. I would consider making this investment if it's the right investment. And I would seek out corporate sponsorship for Memorial Stadium.

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?

If we extend the Gold Line we have to make sure it is serving the purpose of providing economic opportunity for overlooked corridors and that means we need to package it with incentives for development of the corridor. Far too often, Charlotte's prosperity doesn't reach every neighborhood in Charlotte. We have to change that.

Congestion on I-77 is a major issue, and years of planning have gone into the concept of commuter rail along that corridor. Given the frustration that many of our neighbors have with that commute, commuter rail is a good investment, but its not a done deal.

We need a revenue solution for these projects that doesn't place an undue burden on Charlotte.

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?

Yes. Charlotte can do a better job preserving its history and the character of neighborhoods. We have to find the right balance between affordable housing and aesthetics and other quality of life issues. When we do a tear-down, we have to make sure the new building has affordable units and provides a benefit - not a burden - to the neighborhood.

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?

It depends on the updated needs of that area vis-a-vis the needs of the community. Will that project provide access to better schools? Are there transit lines in place and what will that do to local traffic patterns? Home ownership is a bedrock of any healthy community. It creates equity for working families, countless jobs and access to better schools. We should work to reduce the barriers to owning a home and increase affordable housing stock while keeping the needs of the community in balance.

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

Businesses have choices of where they want to go and who they want to hire. We can't be all things to all people so we need to stick to the blueprint of identifying our strategic industries and provide incentives to those companies that fit that description and that offer the most jobs with good pay and benefits.

10) What makes you the best candidate?

I have a strong record of of community leadership and accomplishment. I worked with a diverse group of stakeholders from across our community to improve public safety in Charlotte. I have the financial background needed to tackle the challenges of possible budget shortfalls and the need for infrastructure financing. On City Council, I will continue that work while also working to allow access to opportunity for everyone who calls Charlotte home.

11) What else should voters know about you?

Hablo español y trabajaré a protegir la seguridad y los derechos de toda la comunidad.

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