Name: Vi Lyles
What office are you running for? City Council at-large
Political Experience: Current At-Large City Council Member
Family: I was with my late husband John Lyles of 17 years, have four children: Aisha, 32; Kwame, 35; Sean, 44; and John, 46.
Work Experience: City Council Transportation and Planning Committee, Chair; City Council Economic Development & Global Competitiveness, Co-Chair; City Council Budget Committee, Member; Vi Lyles Consulting, President; Flynn Heath Holt, Consulting Director; The Lee Institute, Director; Former Assistant City Manager of Charlotte; Former City of Charlotte Budget Director
1) Why are you running for office?
I am running for a second term on City Council to continue my efforts to improve our transportation system within the Charlotte region, to bring jobs to Charlotte and to promote safe, viable and healthy neighborhoods in all parts of the City.
I have more than 30 years of experience with the City of Charlotte as former Budget Director and Assistant City Manager. Most recently, my previous experience as Budget Director paid dividends. I worked with Councilman Phipps to solve the budget gap that resulted from decreased revenues for Charlotte as the result of new legislation enacted by the General Assembly and the continued real estate revaluation of property in Mecklenburg County.
2) What would be your top priorities if elected?
Job Growth – I am focused on recruiting jobs to Charlotte so that all of our citizens may participate in the growth of our city. I also plan to request a review of regulations that create obstacles for small businesses in Charlotte. Finally, I am working on a program to partner with the private sector to establish apprenticeship programs to help the chronically unemployed.
3) Transportation - I support transportation choices including the current Transportation Action Plan, the 2030 Transit Plan, the Charlotte Bike and the Charlotte Walkable City plan.
4) Development –My focus for next year’s budget is to address citywide investment in infrastructure to support our quality of life as we experience rapid growth. We need more small transportation fixes; corridor investment, especially on the East and West sides of Charlotte.
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?
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 support managed lanes. The transportation policy should incorporate transportation choices, freeways, roads, managed lanes, rail, buses, bikes and walkable communities.
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?
If a proposal for a Major League Soccer team is presented, funding would be in the context of collaboration with the hospitality industry, the community and other project priorities that create additional economic development opportunity.
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?
The transit plan is needed to support transportation choices and the quality of life in Charlotte, particularly, air quality. The Metropolitan Transit Commission has appointed a citizen committee to develop a financing plan for the 2030 Transit Plan that includes a number of innovative finance options. I look forward to reviewing the committee’s recommendations.
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?
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic District Commission operates under the State statutes to buy and sell to preserve as well as designate historic landmarks. I support the work of the Commission and encourage their role to preserve the city’s historical sites.
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?
An area plan is a guide for consideration of development. If the housing project is within the context of the plan, consideration of the housing would be warranted.
9) Should the city change its guidelines for offering Business Investment Grants for companies considering expanding or relocating to Charlotte?
The change I would support is the consideration of jobs generated for the chronically un- and under-employed residents of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. I would also consider any Economic Opportunity Task Force recommendation in this program.
10) What makes you the best candidate?
I will work to build a Charlotte in which everyone has an opportunity to participate in the City’s success. I have a vision that every citizen participates in Charlotte’s economic growth which includes transit choices, job growth and development.
11) What else should voters know about you?
My five brothers operate a construction company started by my grandfather with mules and wagons. As the only girl, my Dad didn’t believe I should go into the business of moving dirt. So I left Columbia, SC and headed to Queens College. At Queens, I developed a desire to serve others and build a stronger community. As a mother, a city of Charlotte employee and now as a city council member, I have had the opportunity to be a servant-leader. I am so glad my Dad wouldn't let his little girl play in the dirt!