Name as it appears on the ballot: Nancy McFarlane
Full legal name, if different: Nancy Louise McFarlane
Date of birth: July 20, 1956
Home address: 8016 Selfridge Court, Raleigh, NC 27615
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site: www.nancymcfarlane.com
Occupation & employer: Pharmacist, owner, MedPro Rx, Inc.
Home phone: 919-847-2299
Work phone: 919-847-9001
1. If elected, what are your top priorities?
My top priorities will be to maintain our quality of life while addressing our growth. Sustainable growth is key. While we continue to attract businesses and jobs to the area, we must be sure that we continue to protect our natural resources, plan with the county for schools and ensure that our children enjoy the same opportunities and rich environment that we have.
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.
In the past 2 years, there have been 2 very different zoning cases in our area. One, the rezoning of Wayward Farms, was a 56 acre parcel that the developer wanted to build a mixed use development the size of Crabtree Valley. I organized the neighbors and we started to challenge a plan that we felt was inappropriate for the neighborhood. We spent months talking to the developer, city planners, city council representatives, storm water experts and other officials. We went to city and county park planners to explore the potential of using part of this property to connect the greenway to the north and south of us. We had serious storm water, traffic, air and noise pollution concerns. Mayor Meeker asked that we go into mediation and that I represent the neighborhood concerns. We were unable to reach a compromise, but it was a great learning process. In the end, the council voted with the neighborhood, but the process was a detailed lesson in negotiations and the political process that goes into development. In contrast, there was another development across the street. I also worked with this developer and the result is a medical facility that is built into a gentle slope that retains the quality of the land. They saved over 75% of the existing trees and used the properties of the surrounding natural beauty to enhance the characteristics of the facility.
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 independent and more interested in practical problem solving than partisan ideology. I have spent years working for the things that I felt were important to me, and the community. I have been an advocate for our schools. I believe that a good public school system benefits everyone. Not only do we owe it to the children to provide the best education, but the entire community reaps the rewards. Business does better with a well educate work force, and attracts better employees if they are happy with the school. I think that the City Council needs to consider the impacts of the decisions that they make. Rezoning cases impact the schools and have a direct effect of redistricting. The City Council has taken an its not our problem, its the countys problem in the past. We need to address the problem as a whole. An Adequate Facilities Ordinance should be considered order to plan for growth, not just react to it.
4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
I think the Dorothea Dix campus should become a park for generations to come, even if it means Raleigh issuing Bonds, which may result in a tax increase to pay for it.
5. The Independents mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
As a pharmacist, I come from a background of helping people. You learn much about people and their lives. You see how decisions made by public officials impact their lives, and how important community is to a better life for us all. Because of this, I will be an independent voice for all the citizens of Raleigh, not just special interests. I also own a business. I understand how to develop a budget, plan for growth and succeed. I also know that how my business does relies on my employees. As they are happy and successful, so am I. To treat them right, encourage their well being, provide all that I can as an employer, ultimately benefits us all. As we build a city, we should remember that same principal. To build a sound foundation, provide the correct tools and positive environment creates a better place for us all.
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?
Most definitely. This is one of the most important issues that will come before council. The comprehensive plan will determine how Raleigh will grow and develop. We need to be sure that we plan with an eye to the future. We must be sure that we have a solid infrastructure in place while addressing issues such as rapid loss of open space and inflated land values. Twenty-seven acres a day are being developed in Wake County. We need to plan to protect our natural resources and protect open space. The limited amount of available land makes it all the more critical that we plan for the kind of growth that will protect out quality of life.
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?
I do not support John Kanes request. Tax Increment Financing can be a useful tool in the encouragement of development in economically challenged areas, but usually there are better financing mechanisms available to the city. We must be very careful if and when we ever use TIFs, and only do so after every other option has been explored.
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?
Impact feel need to be raised to a level that will better cover the monetary impact to the city of the development. Currently, the impact fees pay for less than 20% of the costs of new roads and parks. Our property tax dollars make up that difference. The impact fees need to be brought to a level that more accurately reflect the impact of the development on the cost of infrastructure. The city cannot afford to let what we have deteriorate. We need to not only keep up, but plan for the future. To raise the impact fees to the mayors suggested compromise of 35% would be a more appropriate number, and would prevent the need for a tax increase to pay for the upcoming Parks Bond, which is sorely needed.
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?
First, the recent decision to tell a CAC not to have a candidates forum is absurd. The City telling organizations that it charters to help foster communications between itself and citizens that they cannot ask candidates questions, but outside groups like homebuilders and developers can, is not a recipe to encourage participation. If anything, they could collectively sponsor forums that are filmed and put on public access TV as is done in Cary. Aside from that, CACs are an autonomous group and should remain so. The city should assist them with the financial resources and technology to increase their citizen membership and participation. The CACs were originally formed to provide a conduit from neighborhoods to City Council to facilitate civic engagement from all of our neighborhoods.
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?
We need a strong transportation system. When we look at the projected growth in this area (doubling in 20 years) we have to realize that we cannot continue to be dependent solely on cars. We need to overhaul our bus system. Public transportation should be viewed as a necessary and attractive alternative to vehicles. Our development patterns should be modeled around village and neighborhood centers. In order to accommodate the predicted explosion in growth and population, we need to plan for mass transit with higher density development along transportation corridors. We cannot keep getting further behind in this area.
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?
As a pharmacist, I understand the difficulties that people face without health insurance. Many people, married, single, no matter what sexual orientation, face the same problems. Providing benefits, such as health care, is an issue for many employers. I see people frequently that are trapped by a job because of benefits, or unable to work because of the fear of losing existing benefits. We need to address an equitable system for all people, where they have the same availability to decent health care and job protection, no matter who they are.