Dickie Thompson | Candidate Questionnaires - Wake County | Indy Week

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Dickie Thompson

Raleigh City Council (District A)

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DICKIE THOMPSON
DICKIE.THOMPSON@JMTHOMPSONCO.COM
Occupation: GENERAL CONTRACTOR
Phone Number: 919-349-7377
Email Address:DICKIE.THOMPSON@JMTHOMPSONCO.COM
Years Lived in Raleigh: 63

1) Between gentrification in historic neighborhoods and expensive rentals downtown, Raleigh has struggled with questions of affordable and workforce housing. In June, the city council set a goal of fifty-seven hundred more affordable units over the next decade. With burgeoning growth and rising housing prices, what additional steps should Raleigh take to create more affordable housing?

I DON'T BELIEVE THERE IS A QUESTION ABOUT THE NEED FOR AFFORDABLE AND WORKFORCE HOUSEING. WE DEFINITELY NEED MORE OF IT. I VOTED TO INCREASE OUR PROPERTY TAX RATE BY ONE CENT LAST YEAR WITH THE INCREASED REVENUE TO GO TOWARD AFFORDABLE HOUSING. WE HAVE INSTRUCTED CITY STAFF TO EXPLORE MORE POSSIBILITIES OF PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS TO INCREASE OUR NUMBERS.

2) Related to affordable housing (and affordability in general) is viable public transportation. What steps can the city take to improve mass transit throughout the city? County voters approved a transit referendum last fall that will eventually create a bus rapid transit system and commuter rail line. What more should be done?

I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT EVERY AFFORDABLE/WORKFORCE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT SHOULD BE ON THE MASS TRANSIT ROUTE. WITH THE 112% SALES TAX INCREASE IN WAKE COUNTY FOR TRANSIT THERE SHOULD BE NO REASON WHY THAT CAN'T HAPPEN. ALSO, FREQUENCY AND DEPENDABILITY OF SERVICE IS CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. WE NEED PEOPLE TO USE MASS TRANSIT BY CHOICE AND NOT ONLY OUT OF NECESSITY.

3.) Given the inflamed racial tensions after the recent events in Charlottesville, what steps should Raleigh take to position itself as a guardian of social justice? How would you characterize city leaders' relationship with Raleigh's communities of color, and what should be done to improve that relationship going forward?

I AM VERY PROUD OF OUR POLICE CHIEF AND HER STAFF AS WELL AS THE ASSISTANT MANAGER'S OFFICE IN MAKING A TREMENDOUS EFFORT TO REACH OUT TO ALL COMMUNITIES ESPECIALLY COMMUNITIES OF COLOR. THEY HAVE HELD MANY TOWN HALL TYPE MEETINGS IN THOSE COMMUNITIES TO ENGAGE CITIZENS AND LISTEN TO THEIR CONCERNS. I BELIEVE EVERYONE CAME A WAY FEELING THAT THEIR CONCERNS AND THOUGHTS HAVE BEEN HEARD.

4.) Given the recent creation of the community engagement board, what do you believe the role of citizens advisory councils should be? What features and levels of involvement do you want to see incorporated into the new structure?

I BECAME QUITE FAMILIAR WITH CAC'S DURING MY 7 YEARS ON THE PLANNING COMMISSION. THEY DO PLAY A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE IN CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT ESPECIALLY INVOLVING THE CREATION OF NCOD'S AND REZONING MATTERS. I DO FEEL THAT THEY NEED MORE STRUCTURE TO BE UNIFORM ACROSS THE CITY. IN MANY CAC'S THE PARTICIPATION IS EX TREMEL Y LOW. WE NEED TO GET MORE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THEIR CAC'S BECAUSE IT IS A GREAT WAY TO REALLY BECOME INFORMED IN WHAT IS GOING ON NOT ONLY IN YOUR AREA BUT ALSO THE ENTIRE CITY.

5) Thinking about the current direction of Raleigh city government, would you say things are generally on the right course? If not, what specific changes you will advocate if elected?

A RECENT CITY WIDE SURVEY SHOWED THAT 91 % OF THE CITIZENS POLLED SAID THAT RALEIGH IS HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND IS A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE. I TOT ALLY AGREE. AS A COUNCIL MEMBER I HAVE BEEN A BIG SUPPORTER OF OUR NEW ARTS PLAN, SIDEWALKS, AND PARK IMPROVEMENTS. THE UPCOMING PLANNING PROCESS OF DIX PARK IS CERTAINLY GOING TO BE AN EXCITING PROCESS AND

6) If you are a candidate for a district seat, please identity your priorities for improvements in the district if you're elected. If you are an at-large or mayoral candidate, please identify the three most pressing issues the city faces and how you will address them.

I BELIEVE THE MOST PRESSING ISSUES IN DISTRICT A IS MANAGING GROWTH, TRAFFIC, AND PROTECTION OF OUR EXISTING NEIGHBORHOODS.

7) What in your public or professional career shows your ability to be an effective member of the city council? If you've identified specific issues above, what in your record has prepared you to deal with them?

MY 2 YEARS ON CITY COUNCIL, 7 YEARS ON THE PLANNING COMMISSION (3 YEARS AS CHAIRMAN), 5 YEARS ON THE RALEIGH DURHAM AIRPORT AUTHORITY (2 YEARS AS CHAIRMAN), AND 40 YEARS IN PRIVATE BUSINESS HAS WELL PREPARED ME TO DEAL WITH COMPLEX BUDGETING ISSUES, PLANNING (I HAVE A DEGREE IN CIVIL ENGINEERING FROM NC STATE), AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES. ALSO, IN THOSE ROLES I HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF EXPERIENCE IN CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT. I WORK VERY HARD AT BEING A GOOD LISTENER.

8) Please give an example of an action by the city council in the past year that went wrong or should have been handled differently. Also, what was the city's biggest accomplishment during that period?

I CANNOT THINK OF A PARTICULAR ISSUE WHERE WE WENT TOTALLY WRONG. I KNOW WE MIGHT NOT ALWAYS GET IT RIGHT BUT WE WORK VERY HARD TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR ALL OF OUR CITIZENS. MOST PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH TIME WE TAKE TO STUDY UPCOMING MATTERS AND PREPARE FOR MEETINGS. BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: I WOULD PROBABLY SAY INCREASING OUR AFFORDABLE HOUSING GOALS.

9) How do you identify yourself to others in terms of your political philosophy? For example, do you tell people you're a conservative, a moderate, a progressive, a libertarian?

I PURPOSELY DON'T LABEL MYSELF. I MAKE MY DECISIONS BASED ON MY LIFETIME EXPERIENCE OF BEING A RALEIGH RESIDENT, A BUSINESS OWNER, HUSBAND AND FATHER, AND NEIGHBOR.

10) Now that the city is moving ahead with plans for the 306-acre Dorothea Dix Park, what are some specific features or focuses you'd work to see as part of final design?

THIS WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO HAVING SUCH A JEWEL THIS CLOSE TO OUR DOWNTOWN IS TRULY A BLESSING. THE DESIGN IS GOING TO BE ALL ABOUT CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT. IT IS GOING TO BE A PARK DESIGNED BASED ON COMMENTS FROM OUR CITIZENS. PUBLIC INPUT AND INVOLVEMENT ARE CRITICAL TO MAKING DIX PARK A SUCCESS. IT WILL BE DEVELOPED OVER A PERIOD OF MANY YEAR AND IN DIFFERENT PHASES.

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