Randy Stagner | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Randy Stagner

Raleigh - Mayor and City Council


Name as it appears on the ballot: Randy Stagner

Party affiliation, if any: Unaffiliated

Campaign website: www.RandyStagner.com

Occupation & Employer: Colonel, US Army (retired)/National Security Consultant

Years lived in NC: 15 years

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

Yes, Raleigh is on the right course. This is not just my opinion, but that of numerous organizations and publications that put Raleigh at or near the top of all "best" city lists.

If you are a candidate for a district seat, please identity your priorities for improvements in the district if you're elected.

I am a candidate for the District A seat of Raleigh City Council. My priorities are public safety, transit, and water quality. These are essential to our great quality of life which is the major driver of our successful economy. Our quality of life attracts and retains a quality workforce which in turn attracts a variety of business interests. These business interests underwrite our tax base in Raleigh, allowing us to have the lowest city tax rate in the Triangle and one of the lowest in the State. Specific to District A, we have several properties which are "turn key" ready for business. I would seek to create more sustainable communities of business, retail and residential—like North Hills.

What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective as a member of City Council? If you've identified specific issues above, what in your record has prepared you to be an effective advocate for them?

I am a retired Army Special Operations colonel. I have led hundreds to thousands of highly-trained professionals, been responsible for multi-million dollar budgets and supervised property and equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But more importantly, I've worked with people from disparate organizations and countries in the pursuit of common goals. I worked with the Departments of State and Defense, the US Agency for International Development and the Intelligence Community to counter ideological support for terrorism. I worked with British, French, Italian, and German militaries to implement a UN-mandated peace in Bosnia. If I can get Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Muslims to play 'nice' in Bosnia, it shouldn't be much more difficult to get Republicans, Democrats and Independents to do the same on the city council.

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

I believe that government should provide services to the community it serves. I also believe that citizens of that community should pay for those services. I am a progressive.

The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. If elected, how will your service in office help further that goal?

I seek to serve my neighbors, my community. If we empower a few at the expense of the whole, the community is poorer for it. I will ensure that, as we grow, all of Raleigh benefits from positive growth.

Please address the following major issues in Raleigh:

Is the city's debt load too high? Or does the fact that Raleigh retains its AAA bond rating indicate that the debt load is manageable for our city our size?

Our debt load is the envy of not only other North Carolina cities, but also major cities throughout the Southeast.

Is the property tax rate too high? Too low? Or about right?

Our property tax rate is about right for the services received. I've knocked on about 500 doors so far in District A—few complain about our property tax rate and none complain about our city services.

The proposed Clarence Lightner Public Safety Center is stalled. Should it be built? If not, what should be done to meet the city's facility needs for police, fire and emergency operations?

All seem to agree that the Public Safety Center should be built, but I've yet to find two people who agree on the final concept of such a structure. I will review the assumptions that went into the proposed PSC against the after action review of our emergency services response to the April tornadoes. As a professional military officer, I do not believe that the emergency operations center should be located on top of such a structure. However, I will keep an open mind until its case is made.

What other major capital projects, if any, do you want the city to undertake in the coming years?

Develop "smarter" traffic movement (timing of lights, speeds, etc.), build greensways to be a viable part of a multi-modal solution to our transportation needs, implement better bus transportation (routes, shelters), develop light/commuter rail in cooperation with local, state and federal organizations, and build additional water capacity (but with low environmental impact solutions).

Do you support the transit plan for Raleigh and Wake County developed by Triangle Transit and the committee of Wake mayors? Do you support taking the 1/2-cent sales tax for transit to Wake County voters in the next two years? If it's on the ballot, do you expect to support or oppose its passage?

In general, I agree with the transit plan. That said, there should be more detailed discussion. The 1/2-cent sales tax for transit should go before the voters. I would most likely support its passage as it stands now.

Raleigh has two bond issues on the ballot in October, one for transportation projects and the second for affordable housing. Do you favor or oppose their passage?

I favor their passage. They provide strategic investment in our quality of life and Raleigh will still have the lowest tax rate in the Triangle.

With the state hospital closing, what is your vision for the 306-acre Dorothea Dix tract? Should it all be a destination park someday? Should development be allowed on part or all of it.

There should be planned development around the park, but Dix should be Raleigh's Central Park.

Regarding the health insurance benefit provided to city employees, should elective abortions be included or excluded for coverage? Please explain your answer.

All legal medical procedures should be included.

Regarding health insurance and other benefits provided to city employees, should the partners of LGBT employees be offered the same access to benefits as married spouses?

Partners of LGBT employees should be offered the same benefits provided to other unmarried partners of city employees.

To learn about other candidates' stances on the issues, read their 2011 Candidate Questionnaires.

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