Name as it appears on the ballot: Larry D. Hudson II
Full legal name, if different:
Date of birth: July 4, 1979
Home address: 5537 Roan Mountain Pl Raleigh, NC 27613
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site: www.electlarryhudsonmayor.com
Occupation & employer: CLP Resources / Recruiter
Home phone: 919/ 598-8019
Work phone: 919/ 571-2611
1) What do you believe are the most important issues facing Raleigh? If elected, what are your top priorities in addressing those issues?
I would like to follow through with our commitment with supplying city streets to the city of Raleigh that are more traffic friendly. Assigning completion and start dates for such projects as the bypass and extension of Falls of the Neuse Road and widening of Leesville road. I would also seek input from the Army Corp of Engineers regarding viable new sources of water. Involving our other city leaders will assure that a good plan will be in place not just for Raleigh and its citizens but for the entire Triangle. Cutting spending, the 2009 Adopted Budget that went into effect on July 1, 2009 reveals the levels to which improvements to downtown is costing the city. From the budget in 2008 to the current budget debt servicing has been increased 71% to 200 million dollars. We cannot sustain a year over year increase of our debt while managing our resources, planning for growth, and instituting transit plans. Our total budget was for 697 million dollars this year.
2) What is there in your record as a public official or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be effective on the council? This might include career or community service; but please be specific about its relevance to this office.
I work for CLP Resources as a Recruiter which has taught me many things. I know that through sound working relationships, where ideas are exchanged, is a platform for success. I have worked on many national panels through my corporation to establish best working practices and setting new initiatives. These initiatives included customer loyalty and worker retention. Through our efforts as a company we succeeded by seeing an increase in customer retention from 40% to 60%. Worker retention also increased by 40%. I have also attended Leadership Schools such as The Chancellor's Leadership School at East Carolina University, Woodrow Wilson Leadership School, and I have also obtained the rank of Eagle Scout as a youth.
3) How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I am an activist, who is always eager to see things through to the end. This has helped me to achieve my Eagle Scout rank and has gotten me noticed with in my company. I was nominated by CLP in 2008 as the Recruiter of the year. I know that as I continue with this campaign my fellow citizens will see a youthful candidate that is willing to set agenda's and see them through to their full and final completion.
4) Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
Debt, I will not tolerate a mounting spending policy that sees only one portion of Raleigh obtaining funds for improvements while expecting all of us to pay the price. I would like to see less capital improvement projects being financed through bonds and increases in taxes. We as citizens should be rewarded for living in Raleigh, by lower taxes and properly funded amenities.
5) What is the two or three most important program or policy initiatives you will champion if elected to the Raleigh Council? Or, to put it another way, how will your election change anything in Raleigh?
I will institute a change in how we deal with our city streets and roads. The 2009 city budget decreased the amount we are willing to spend on servicing damaged and cracked road surfaces. We will have safe streets for our automobiles. I will pay down our debt and put more money into savings. The City's most recent budget seen increases in debt servicing by 72% over the previous year. The 2008 Budget seen a 52% increase over the 2007 budget in debt servicing. We currently spend nearly 271 million dollars on our debt alone.
6) What can you point to in your record, on the Council or in community service, to demonstrate that you'll be an effective city leader?
Obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout has been the most important achievement I have made thus far. Besides obtaining my degree and being involved with leadership committees I place this far above. The Scouting programs teach you the responsibility of good and responsible leadership. They teach you to involve everyone in the decision making process, to discover a workable solution to any situation. By committee for its members and not by single authority keeping a transparency at the highest levels.
7) Recent droughts have underlined Raleigh's water problems. Growth could cause the city to run out. On the other hand, the city isn't selling enoughwater to pay down the debt on its existing systems, resulting in rate increases. How should Raleigh deal with water in the coming years?
Conservation is key to this valuable resource. Securing additional sources of water and easing restrictions will allow the city to recoup some of the costs. We need to continue to speak with the Army Corps of Engineers in regards to keeping more water behind our damns thus allowing us greater access. We must also foster growth in key sections of towns where potable and waste water is easily tapped into there-by cutting the cost to deliver these services.
8) Crime and gang problems plague some parts of the city. Is there more the Council should be doing to go after them?
I believe that the City Council can make improvements to these areas by giving the Raleigh City Police Department what it needs. We need to hire more officers to offset or slow the Departments attrition rates. We can do this by restructuring incentives such as modified duty, retirement age, and increased starting wages. I don't propose that we raise taxes on the other hand we must slow spending in other areas in order to accommodate these increases. I would also like to see more officers living near these areas.
9) Are new initiatives needed to address the city's fast-growing Hispanic population? If so, what do you recommend?
Yes, we need to hire more bi-lingual officers that can ease the fears of Hispanics who report crimes. This will greatly increase the Raleigh City's Police Department's success in resolving crimes that may plague our Spanish speaking communities. Crime will be the issue because most Hispanics do not report it due to the fears of deportation and general lack of communication. We need to ease those fears.
10) Does Raleigh need better public transit services? (A lot better?) If yes, what specific steps do you advocate, and how would you pay for them?
Raleigh needs to provide transportation services that are more efficient and connects with the most riders. Ever increasing ridership numbers will be a key indicator of when the city needs to make more clear objectives in building a service such as light rail. Light rail should not be an option until this pinnacle and only until the city has justifiable numbers to support this. Most of our residents who use bus services in the triangle will be the likely source of people who will use rail travel. It is currently estimated that only 1.5% of drivers would make the switch from car to mass transit. We in the triangle love our cars and the mobility it provides us. Thus we should make light rail a 20 year plan and not an 8 year plan.
11) Raleigh's development fees (impact and capacity fees) are the lowest in the region, meaning that current residents shoulder the lion's share of the cost of growth, not developers or newcomers. Should these fees be increased, and if so, by how much?
I believe that our current residents do shoulder the lion's share of the cost. Developers increase the cost of new homes to offset these costs. Second, as these fees are paid up front, we do not have residual income to maintain this new infrastructure. Because of this I am in favor of reviewing these fees and their full affect on our Developers and citizens. Besides if we increase fees, water rates, and taxes we will not be able to capture new growth to increase our revenue's. I feel that newcomers will favor other cities, besides Raleigh, in our region thereby encouraging more urban sprawl.
12) Raleigh's never required developers to include affordable housing (however "affordable" might be defined) as a condition for approval of tall buildings or big subdivisions? Should it? If so, what rules should apply?
I do not believe that the City should require that a developer include an allotment for affordable housing. Developers have been more keenly aware of the buying habits in the Triangle. With developments such as Brier Creek and Wakefield where a homebuyer had several options to choose from: Townhouses, condominiums, and single-family homes. I believe that is already in the best interest of the developer to build affordable homes with-in the confines of median home values with-in a particular area of the city. These homes sell quicker and are usually with-in the budgets of the home buyer.
13)What's the best thing about the proposed comprehensive plan for Raleigh? What's the worst thing? As it stands, would you vote to adopt it or insist on changes first?
Growth centers were chosen, exactly seven of them. Identifying these centers are important in helping the City of Raleigh grow in a controlled manner. It also helps the City in its plans for public transit. I would be reluctant to say that I would vote for it as it stands. I believe we need more input from the community on how they would like their neighborhoods to appear. For example our citizens that reside with-in the Cameron Village and University Park areas are now faced with the reality that they may soon see high-rise condos next to their single-family homes. Raleigh is "The City of Oaks" for a reason. We all like the small town charm living in a big city. I also would like to avoid a separated skyline much as you see in Atlanta Georgia where Buckhead, to the north is dotted with towers. This plan gives the City Council more authority to approve these taller buildings. We all remember the Soleil Center, a 42 story tower that was to be built near Crabtree Valley Mall. Beautiful as the design is, the city approved it with-out considering the input from the residents of the community.
14) Public schools are a county, not city function. Should the city nonetheless act to assist the schools, and if so, in what ways?
We should assist the public school system by helping them to select locations for new schools, providing a plan to accommodate them, and sharing growth projections with-in the city. The city has not been involved enough in the planning stages for new schools. This is evident in with the new Sycamore Creek Elementary on Leesville Road where neighbors have to endure the effects of a narrow road. Even before the school was built the traffic was already horrific. By building a close relationship with the Wake County School Board the City Council will be better enabled to serve its community in helping to alleviate over-crowding. Re-assignments are a hardship that our friends and families should not have to go through. I champion a working relationship to avoid future re-assignments.
15) Raleigh's form of government—strong manager, weak council and mayor—combined with the fact that almost all city meetings are held during daytime hours, have the effect of limiting the extent to which average citizens can participate in government decisions. Is this a problem, in your view? If so, what changes should be made? Is this a priority for you?
I believe that citizens should have every opportunity to take part in the decisions of their elected officials. Current Council meetings are 4 times monthly, 2 sessions in one day occurring at 1:00PM and 7:00PM. Both are currently opened to the public. Session's should be accessible to everyone and not be held in closed session. I will not support a decision for a closed session for any issue. I believe in transparency.
16) Two years ago, the Indy asked every council candidate if s/he would support extending to same-sex partners the same benefits (e.g., health insurance) on the same basis that they are now offered to the spouses of city employees. Virtually everyone said yes, but to date nothing's been done. Is it time?
I feel that from a cost stand point the city may be incapable of handling any new expenses. I hope that this is not the reason the City Council has not moved to make that decision. I would be in support of bringing a resolution to the issue.