Elections

Charlotte mayor candidates: Where they stand

rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

Four prominent Democrats are competing for their party’s nomination in Tuesday’s primary election: Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes, Mayor Dan Clodfelter, at-large City Council member David Howard, and former County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts. The two Republican candidates competing to be on the November ballot are former City Council member Edwin Peacock and Scott Stone, a businessman who has not held office.

Here is how they voted on various issues considered by the city in recent years. When candidates weren’t serving when the vote was taken, they were asked what their position would have been.

Streetcar

 

Democrats

Michael Barnes: Has voted against the streetcar on several occasions, including city budgets that included funding for the project. He objects to using general fund revenue to pay for the project instead of money from the half-cent sales tax. In a debate, did not say whether he would veto a city budget if it contained streetcar funding from the general fund.

Dan Clodfelter: Supports city’s plan to build and operate streetcar.

David Howard: Supports city’s plan to build and operate streetcar.

Jennifer Roberts: Supports city’s plan to build and operate streetcar.

 

Republicans

Edwin Peacock: Believes streetcar should be funded by the half-cent sales tax, not from city general fund. As council member, voted against streetcar funding. Did vote for overall budget that contained streetcar money. Supports the Lynx Blue Line extension.

Scott Stone: Against the project. As mayor, said he would veto any city budget that contains money for the streetcar. Since Blue Line extension is under construction, said it must be finished “efficiently.”

Toll lanes

Democrats

Michael Barnes: Said he has reservations about the DOT’s noncompete clause for the Interstate 77 project. He did not object to the project publicly this summer on City Council.

Dan Clodfelter: Opposes the I-77 toll lane project and has questioned the state’s plans for toll lanes on I-485 and U.S. 74. Did not publicly question the project as mayor this summer, said city has not found leverage to stop I-77 toll lanes.

David Howard: Voted for the toll lane project on I-77 as the city’s voting member of the Charlotte Regional Transportation Organization. Said recently he “somewhat” supports the toll lanes.

Jennifer Roberts: Said she opposes the I-77 project because of the noncompete clause.

Republicans

Edwin Peacock: Toll lanes on I-77 and other highways can be used, so long as they are last option to relieve congestion.

Scott Stone: Said in debate: “Nobody likes tolls.” Said any future toll lane project, such as U.S. 74, should be decided by voter referendum.

Housing

Democrats

Michael Barnes: Supports city policy to disperse low-income housing throughout city. Voted for 2014 rezoning to allow low-income apartments off Weddington Road.

Dan Clodfelter: Supports city policy to disperse low-income housing throughout city. Was not mayor for 2014 Weddington Road rezoning vote.

David Howard: Supports city policy to disperse low-income housing. Did not vote on Weddington Road rezoning because he works for the project’s developer, Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership.

Jennifer Roberts: Supports city policy to disperse low-income housing. Was not on City Council for Weddington Road vote.

Republicans

Edwin Peacock: Supports the city’s efforts to disperse government-subsidized housing to parts of the city that don’t have any, such as Ballantyne. But voted against the city’s Locational Housing Policy. Supports the city’s Housing Trust Fund, which uses tax dollars to support some low-income housing projects.

Scott Stone: Would change the Locational Housing Policy to emphasize placing low-income housing near mass transit and employment centers. Said he is against subsidized housing in areas such as Ballantyne. Said the Housing Trust Fund is approved by voters, so money must be spent “wisely.”

LGBT issues

Democrats

Michael Barnes: Voted against the city’s proposal in March to expand the nondiscrimination ordinance to include gay, lesbian and transgender residents. Was asked in debate whether, as mayor, he would veto the ordinance if City Council approved it. Declined to answer.

Dan Clodfelter: Supports an expanded ordinance, including a provision that would allow transgender residents to use the bathroom of their choice.

David Howard: Voted against the expansion of the nondiscrimination ordinance for LGBT residents. Said he supported most of the LGBT protections, and was only opposed to the provision that would allow transgender residents to use the bathroom of their choice. As mayor, said he would not veto the ordinance if passed by City Council.

Jennifer Roberts: Supports an expanded ordinance, including a provision that would allow transgender residents to use the bathroom of their choice.

Republicans

Edwin Peacock: Has said in past he would support some protections for LGBT residents, but said this year he would have voted against a proposal in March to expand the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include gay, lesbian and transgender residents.

Scott Stone: Opposed all parts of proposed expansion of nondiscrimination ordinance, saying it wasn’t necessary.

Taxes

Democrats

Michael Barnes: Voted against 2015 budget that included a property tax increase. In 2012, he voted against a budget that included $119 million for a streetcar. He then supported a budget with a so-called “revenue-neutral” tax increase – and no streetcar funding. That budget was vetoed by then-Mayor Anthony Foxx.

In 2013, Barnes voted for a budget that included a 7.25 percent property tax increase, once the streetcar had been removed from the budget.

Dan Clodfelter: As mayor, supported the 2015 budget that included property tax increase.

David Howard: Supported the 2015 budget that included property tax increase, as well as 2013 budget with property tax increase.

In 2012, Howard voted against Barnes’ budget plan for a “revenue-neutral” tax increase. Howard supported a larger increase to support a larger capital spending program.

Jennifer Roberts: Was not a City Council member for those budgets. Said she would work to maintain “quality services and without raising taxes.” Said she would have voted against budgets with tax increases.

Republicans

Edwin Peacock: Wasn’t on council during 2013 and 2015 budget votes, but has criticized those tax increases. Said he would have voted against them. Said city must remain affordable to prosper.

Scott Stone: Also opposed to recent property tax increases. Said the city must cut its budget to be more competitive with neighboring counties and South Carolina.

Sports subsidies

Democrats

Michael Barnes: Voted for $87.5 million in public funding for Carolina Panthers; for a $16 million renovation of Bojangles’ Coliseum, in part for Charlotte Checkers; for $6 million incentive package for NBA All-Star game.

Dan Clodfelter: Was not on City Council when Panthers vote was taken, though he probably would have supported the deal. As mayor, supported Bojangles’ Coliseum renovation and incentives for NBA All-Star game.

David Howard: Voted for $87.5 million in public funding for Carolina Panthers; for $16 million renovation of Bojangles’ Coliseum, in part for Charlotte Checkers; for $6 million incentive package for NBA All-Star game.

Jennifer Roberts: Said she would have “worked to find an alternative to taxpayer money to keep the Panthers in Charlotte as well as for the Coliseum and the All-Star game.” Said she would have voted against Panthers agreement. In favor of Bojangles’ Coliseum improvements and for the NBA All-Star game incentives.

Republicans

Edwin Peacock: Was not on council for vote, but said he was against 2013 City Council decision to give Carolina Panthers $87.5 million for improvements to Bank of America Stadium. Said he would have voted yes for improvements to Bojangles’ Coliseum. Would have voted against city incentives to land NBA All-Star game.

Scott Stone: Said he is open to sports subsidies so long as they provide good return for city. With Panthers deal, said he is unsure whether he would have voted against it, but said city could have gotten a better deal. Unsure how he would have voted on Bojangles’ Coliseum renovations. Would have voted against NBA All-Star game incentives. Said Hornets should have put more than $150,000 and free arena rental into the deal.

Business Investment Grants

Democrats

Michael Barnes: Voted in favor of the Chiquita incentive package in 2011, and has chaired the council’s economic development committee since 2013. Supports tax incentives for some companies, and has voted for projects such as Sealed Air, Electrolux, and Black and Decker.

Dan Clodfelter: Supports city incentive program. Has said he would like to see city focus on attracting talented individuals, though hasn’t offered a specific program to do so. Said incentives need to be based on number of jobs created, rather than a company’s capital investment.

David Howard: Supports city incentive program. Has voted for projects such as Sealed Air, Electrolux, and Black and Decker. Was not on council for Chiquita vote.

Jennifer Roberts: Voted in favor of Chiquita incentive package in 2011 as county commissioner. Supports incentive program though wants more requirements for women and minority owned businesses.

Republicans

Edwin Peacock: As council member, voted against 2011 Chiquita deal to bring banana company to Charlotte. Peacock was concerned about the offer of so-called “up front” money to land the company. But said incentives are a “necessary tool.”

Scott Stone: Supports incentives for companies. Said Chiquita was ill-advised.

Environment

Democrats

Michael Barnes: Voted for 2010 Tree Save ordinance. In 2014, voted in favor of the Post Construction Controls ordinance, which allowed developers to pay a fee instead of treating and handling storm water on-site, a policy opposed by some environmentalists. City staff supported the ordinance.

Dan Clodfelter: Was not on council, but said he would have supported Tree Save ordinance. As mayor, supported Post Construction Controls Ordinance to allow developers to pay a fee instead of treating and handling storm water on-site.

David Howard: Was not on council, but said he would have supported Tree Save ordinance. Supported Post-Construction Controls Ordinance.

Jennifer Roberts: Supports Tree Save ordinance. Said she would have opposed Post-Construction Controls Ordinance because it could endanger drinking water.

Republicans

Edwin Peacock: Chaired the City Council environmental committee when Tree Save ordinance was passed. Voted for it. Supports city decision on the Post Construction Controls Ordinance, which allows developers to pay a fee instead of treating stormwater on-site.

Scott Stone: Said Tree Save ordinance has good goals, but is “problematic in its implementation.” Said it doesn’t provide much flexibility and has large permit fee. Would have supported allowing developers to pay fee instead of treating storm water on-site. Said Post Construction Construction Controls Ordinance goes “well beyond state water-quality standards and drives up cost of development.”

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs

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