Name: Michael Barnes
What office are you running for? Charlotte Mayor
Political Experience: Charlotte City Council member since 2005
Family: Married with 3 school-age kids
Work Experience: Practicing attorney for 16 years. Areas of practice include personal injury, employment, and business litigation.
1) Why are you running for office?
The work I've done on City Council has been my community service. I've enjoyed my role of making policy decisions and seeing great results in our city. I want to continue my leadership role as our city is going through a new wave of change. Thousands of people move to Charlotte every year and making decisions about how to meet the needs of those people excites me. From police and fire protection to bike lanes and sidewalks, I enjoy working on the issues that effect the lives of our citizens.
2) What would be your top priorities if elected?
Addressing economic inclusion, implementation of our capital investment plan and the continued diversification of our local economy.
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?
Only if we establish a stakeholder process that allows all voices to be heard. There are valid and legitimate concerns/questions on both sides of this issue and they should all be heard and addressed.
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?
If managed toll lanes are a useful tool to fund road projects and address congestion in a given area, then I'd be open to it. People should have a non-toll lane option as well.
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?
It depends, but likely not. I haven't seen any data on the ROI for an MLS franchise, nor the specifics of any role the city/county might play in attracting and retaining a franchise.
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?
Any additional transit sales taxes should apply to the region so that we can move transit lines out of Mecklenburg County into neighboring counties and into South Carolina. A regional approach to transit is the only immediate way to solve our funding and mobility challenges. I'd like to work with neighboring leaders to determine whether we can grow the system together.
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?
It would depend upon the details of the restrictions. Would there be tax abatement? Would there be some type of mitigation system?
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 upon the age of the area plan, changes to the area and area plan and whether a proposed project fits a given area.
9) Should the city change its guidelines for offering Business Investment Grants for companies considering expanding or relocating to Charlotte?
Yes. My committee is working on this now.
10) What makes you the best candidate?
My committee assignments- current economic development chair; former budget chair; former transportation and planning vice chair, among others, have uniquely positioned me to continue to lead our city. I have always been willing to ask tough questions, take a position, vote my conscience and live with it. That's what leadership is all about.
11) What else should voters know about you?
My wife and kids are the best part of my life.