Name as it appears on the ballot: David Williams
Full legal name, if different:
Date of birth: 11/18/1967
Home address: 1114K Schaub Drive Raleigh NC 27606
Mailing address, if different from home: 5540 Centerview Drive, Ste 200, Raleigh NC 27606
Campaign Web site: www.WilliamsforRaleigh.com
Occupation & employer: Financial Advisor; self-employed
Work phone: 919-424-3806
Cell phone: 919-793-6676
1. If elected, what are your top priorities?
My priorities if elected are to minimize taxes, restrain municipal spending, and secure all 306 acres of the Dix property as Raleighs central park. We also need to put the highest focus on addressing our water needs in a smart and responsible way. We need to preserve our precious potable water, and should look at establishing bulk wastewater reuse stations for our commercial customers, and accelerate implementation of our capital projects for pumping stations and extension of water lines.
2. What is there in your record as a public official or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be effective on Council? This might include career or community service; but please be specific about its relevance to this office.
I am a business owner and have over 9 years experience as a financial advisor, and have also worked as a senior data network engineer in the telecommunications industry, and will bring both financial and technology expertise to the city council. Additionally, I am active in church and community and volunteer with both Meals on Wheels and Urban Ministries of Wake county and have a heart for the people of Raleigh. I will be a councilman for all citizens and am not a captive to any special interest.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
Im not easily categorized and am not an ideologue, however, some have described me as a Goldwater or Reagan conservative. Ive received the national endorsement of the Republican Liberty caucus. Generally speaking I believe that government is often the obstacle rather than the answer, and that the government that governs least governs best. My political philosophy has certainly shaped many of my life and career choices, and is also evident in my campaign platform. I understand that if were to remain an attractive place to live with an affordable cost of living city leaders must fight to restrain taxes and spending. We must insist that we get a dollars worth of services from each dollar in taxes, and this is why I recommend the city implement activity-based costing to stretch our municipal dollars. The city of Indianapolis since the 1990s has saved hundreds of millions of dollars using this approach and has been able to both cut taxes and make park and infrastructure investments. We need to do similarly.
4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
Restraining and even cutting municipal expenditures always carries political risk. No doubt once hard financial decisions are made I will lose some voters. Nevertheless the financially prudent course is the path I will take on city council. I pledge to be a good steward of our city coffers and be the taxpayers best friend.
5. The Independents mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
Most everyone who knows me knows that I have a friendly and generous nature. My opponents in this campaign are just that, opponents, not enemies. When Im elected to office I will practice this same kind of civility towards all members of city council. Despite policy differences I know we want many of the same things, and I will endeavor to work with the rest of the council in the spirit of camaraderie.
6. In the next two years, Raleigh will complete a revision of its comprehensive plan. If elected, will you seek to influence what it says? If so, how?
In general I think Raleigh needs less direction from central planners not more. As a city we would be better served if we allowed citizens as agents and owners in the free market more say in the shape of our city. We should reduce onerous land use regulations and diminish the cost of development, thereby increasing the stock of affordable housing. In our system plans we need to extend protections for our watersheds and update our water and wastewater plans. We also need to make sure our green spaces that are intended as nature parks, such as Horseshoe Farms, indeed remain nature parks.
7. The issue of tax-increment financing (TIF) is before the Council because of developer John Kanes request for a $75 million tax break in connection with his North Hills East project. Do you support or oppose Kanes request? In general, do you think TIFs are needed in Raleigh? If so, under what circumstances?
The developer community and John Kane in particular have done a lot for our area and the city of Raleigh. Through their developments they have been engines of economic activity and wealth creation, and have made the city a better place to work and live. That being said, I am opposed to any municipal subsidies or tax breaks for Mr. Kanes parking deck. I believe in the free market, and that development should succeed or fail based on its own merits. If we subsidize the Kane project a bad precedent will be set, and other businesses will seek similar subsidies. On the subject of tax-increment financing (TIFs) I am inclined against their use. TIFs are a less advantageous means of public financing than general obligation bonds, and carry a higher interest rate. The city of Raleigh has a good credit rating and to date has had no problems accessing the capital markets. At this time I do not see a strong case to be made for TIFs.
8. Raleighs impact fees for parks and roads were increased 72 percent last year, but they remain far below what state law allows. Do you support increasing impact fees further, and if so, by how much?
Taxes are too high in Raleigh, and an impact fee is to my mind just another tax. I support no increases to our tax burden, and on the council I will look to restrain municipal spending first. We do need to make additional investments in roads, and as an elected member of the Wake delegation I will press the state government for Raleighs fair share of transportation dollars. I am sensitive to homeowners and especially those on fixed incomes, and as opportunities arise to cut taxes I will focus on property tax reductions first.
9. CAC leaders are asking the Council to help them strengthen citizens involvement in city government matters. Should the CACs be strengthened? If so, what specific measures would you support to assist them?
Since the CAC system was originally instituted the city of Raleigh has changed markedly. Weve grown and grown in different directions, and some CAC districts are frankly too big. We need to look at redrawing some of the CAC boundaries and perhaps add to the number of CACs as well. I dont think we need to be spending taxpayer money on additional bureaucracies to support CAC efforts.
10. Public transit is a huge issue in Raleigh, but theres little consensus on what to do about the local bus service, or about regional rail or bus connections. What are your goals in this area?
Before we consider spending millions of dollars in new investments with our neighbors in rail or other transportation solutions we need to make sure were getting a return on our current investments. Raleighs CAT system at present takes in less than $3million in passenger revenues and is subsidized with approximately $14million a year. We need to allow the development of more walkable, mixed use neighborhoods by easing zoning and land use regulations. We should also encourage more free market paratransit and vanpool commuting solutions, and invest in more bicycle paths throughout the city.
11. Several city or county governments in the Triangle extend employee benefits to domestic partners (including gay and lesbian partners) the same as to married spouses. Raleigh does not. Should it? Is this something youd support if elected?
No I dont support extending employee benefits to the domestic partners of city employees.