Nancy McFarlane | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

Elections » Candidate Questionnaires

Nancy McFarlane

Candidate for Raleigh City Council District A


Name as it appears on the ballot: NANCY MCFARLANE
Full legal name, if different: NANCY LOUISE MCFARLANE
Date of birth: 07/20/1956
Home address: 8016 SELFRIDGE COURT, RALEIGH NC, 27615-4721
Mailing address, if different from home: 140 NORTHWAY COURT, RALEIGH NC, 27615
Occupation & employer: PRESIDENT, MEDPRO RX, INC.
Home phone: 919-847-2299
Work phone: 919-847-9001

1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing Raleigh? If elected, what are your top priorities in addressing those issues?

Planning for the anticipated growth. This involves planning with other municipalities and entities such as the Wake County School System. Sustainable growth is important, as is maintaining our quality of life.We need to change our way of thinking about limited natural resources, such as water. We need to be mindful of the balance between economic viability and protecting the things that make Raleigh desirable.

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 ran on a platform of having growth pay it's way. We did raise impact fees last year. I also ran on increased involvment with Wake County Schools. I wrote and passed a resolution that makes sure that we are informed about the impact on schools with every rezoning case that we consider. Our planning department also now notifies WCPSS as soon as they receive new cases. This gives the school system the ability to plan earlier for future growth areas.

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 ipractical problem solving than partisan ideology. I have spent years advocating for the issues that are important to me and the community. I bring a unique perspective as a small business owner and someone that has worked closely with the community on many issues. I have advocated for our schools for years and continue to do so on the City Council. We passed a resolution to support the school board races as they currently stand, rather than changing to an all at-large representation.

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 that the Dorothea Dix campus should become a park for future generations to come, even if it means Raleigh issuing bonds, which may result in a tax increase.

5. What are 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?

As chair of the Comprehensive Planning Committee, I will have responsibility to make sure that the imput we received from the public during our update of the Comprehensive Plan is considered and put into action through ordinance and code rewrite. I am also the liason to the Upper Neuse River Basin and have been involved in the ongoing effort to protect and improve Falls Lake.

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?

When we were experiencing the drought, I formed the Water Conservation Council. This was a coalition of local citizens, governments and business owners that worked together to address our water shortage as a community. Out of this group, I put together a group of experts to serve as an advisory council to the Raleigh City Council regarding water supply and drought issues. It is time for us to modernize our water utilities which now looks as water as an infinite resource. We need to understand that water is a limited natural resource and integrate our water, stormwater and sewer systems for a more comprehensive program.

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 enough water to pay down the debt on its existing systems, resulting in rate increases. How should Raleigh deal with water in the coming years?

We are moving to tiered rates and started an incentive program for low flow toilets. We need to look at other incentives for conserving stormwater on site. We need to integrate stormwater retention as a part of our conservation program. As I mentioned earlier, we need to stop looking at water solely as an enterprise system and treat it as a limited natural resource.

8. Crime and gang problems plague some parts of the city. Is there more the Council should be doing to go after them?

The City can always do more. We have applied and received federal money to for the police force. The police also have a gang suppression unit. Parks and Recreation is working to have more after school programs and we are working closely with the community to address the many issues that surround the problems of gangs.

9. Are new initiatives needed to address the city's fast-growing Hispanic population? If so, what do you recommend?

Yes, there need to be new initiatives, but many of these issues affect many areas of the population. Issues such as affordable housing and improved public transportation are important for the city as a whole.

10. Raleigh need better public transit services? (A lot better?) If yes, what specific steps do you advocate, and how would you pay for them?

We have started to make improvements such as the R Line and the new bus line to Wake Forest, but we still have a long way to go. We need to start by increasing and improving our bus system. This is also a regional issue that needs to be looked at broadly. I will support a referendum to support transit.

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?

We just increased impact fees, but that does not mean that we should not do more. Even in this recession, we are the fastest growing area in the country and we need to look at raising them again. We need to be mindful of the impacts on affordable houseing and not price working people out of the city.

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?

When we went to Charlotte to look at their new rail system, there was one thing that stuck with me. Charlotte has what they call "transit zoning". This requires developers to include a certain percentage of affordable housing at their developing transit zones. I think that we need to look at this, but we also need to look at ways to finance it. This may be a place to use TIF financing.

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?

The best thing is the 2 year public process involving citizen input and the fact that it lays out a blueprint for growth in transit corridors. The biggest complaint that I am hearing is that we need to pay attention to transitions between land use catagories. As is, I do not think it is ready to be addopted.

14. Public schools are a county, not city function. Should the city nonetheless act to assist the schools, and if so, in what ways?

Absolutely. The Resolution that I put forth requires the planning department to notify us of all impacts on schools when we are presented with requests for zoning changes. It also requires the planning department to notify WCPSS of new cases to give them the earliest notification for use in their planning. Our Parks and Recreation department has after school programs, but I would like to see us work more closely with the school system to develop more programs in those areas that need special attention. We also voted on a resolution to support the current system of electing School Board members by district. I am the liason to the school system to help with information between the two groups.

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?We try to accomidate different time schedules. The public hearing part of our council meetings is held in the evening. During the Comprehensive Plan update, we have had many meetings in the evening in different areas of the city. We even brought it back for 2 more public hearings after the planning department had considered it closed. We also depend on our CACs to both inform and gather information around the city. These meetings occur in the evening and provide invaluable information for us regarding citizen input on many issues.

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?

It probably is time to look at that. I don't know of any specific requests, or denial of requests, but I am interested in finding out more details.

Add a comment