Shea Ramirez | Candidate Questionnaires - Durham County | Indy Week

Elections » Candidate Questionnaires - Durham County

Shea Ramirez

Durham Mayor

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Shea Ramirez
Website: Thepeoplesmayor.net
Occupation: Self-Employed
Phone Number: (919)672-8626
Email Address: shearamirez@yahoo.com
Years Lived in Durham: 26 years


1) Durham residents, from the new group Durham for All to the demonstrators who tore down the Confederate monument on Main Street, are calling for more power to be placed in the hands of the people. In what ways do you think Durham can improve public participation in local government? How would you make room for that in city government?

I agree, more power should be placed in the hands of the people. I would do this with the use of town hall forums. This would give people the opportunity to discuss upcoming issues and solutions with city officials and know directly where the officials stand on certain issues. I also believe that the people have power through whom they vote into office. I would use the forum and other education methods to get people involved in the process to increase voter participation.


2) Because of state law, municipalities have a number of restrictions placed on them by the legislature: they can’t, for instance, be a sanctuary city, impose a city-wide minimum wage, enforce inclusionary zoning, or remove Confederate monuments. Under what circumstances should elected officials push back against the legislature?

I feel most of the issues are a reason to push back against legislature. I feel we can push back and still work to make changes on a local level. We should definitely push back on issues that divide, discriminate, or keep citizens from economical progression.


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

One major issue that would help improve relationships is stopping the gerrymandering of Durham areas. There are Durham residents who have lived here most of their lives, given to Durham, but are being pushed out and not part of the development of the new Durham. Could put more money and resources into the school systems, so all residents can feel optimistic about their children’s future. Lastly, stop the over policing of concentrated areas where African Americans live.


4) Durham’s public housing stock is aging, and there is limited money to redevelop units. What are your ideas for keeping residents of public housing in quality, affordable homes? Give residents a path to some type of ownership or savings to go toward homeownership. Give builders and developers incentives to come in and assist with developing these areas with the residents having a path to ownership. Get residents involved with the upkeep of neighborhoods and ensure that the city does its part with trash pickup and maintaining roads and streets. 5) While much of Durham has seen a renaissance during Mayor Bell’s tenure, the city’s poverty rate has also increased. What are your ideas for lowering Durham’s poverty rate, other than providing affordable housing? How can Durham’s renaissance be spread more equitably throughout the city?

Develop programs and partnerships with local universities, community colleges, and companies to have certifications and training programs based on local need and job fulfillment. Attendants could go right into job placement after completion. Also, increase education about entrepreneurship and business and family finances. Also, develop opportunities for residents to cultivate gifts and talents to convert into financial resources.


6) The Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project has moved into the engineering phase, although the Trump administration seems reticent to fund it. What are your thoughts on light rail? If completed, do you believe the project will be worth the community’s investment? Why or why not?

I feel that the city needs to continue to grow and progress. Our area continues to rate pretty high among best places to live, people are traveling here for healthcare, research, tech, and tourism. Our public transportation could be more accessible and the Light Rail would increase accessibility to the city and other surrounding cities. Better transportation (including the Light Rail) could decrease traffic, add to a more modern feel of Durham, and assist with controlling city growth.


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

I think that the city government is moderately on the right course. I feel that city government should be more accountable in governing over the areas of policing, affordable housing and economical equality amongst all residence. I would also advocate within these areas.


8) Please identify the three most pressing issues the city faces and how you will address them.

Durham is a great city, but has similar challenges as other cities. I feel that affordable housing, wages, policing, and the engagement of our youth are the biggest challenges facing Durham currently and over the next few years. I feel the items I proposed about colorations with entities to develop training programs to fit local need would assist with combating issue of affordable housing and wages. Giving more resources to schools and developing programs to cultivate gifts and talents of youth.


9) 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?

As someone who is a community leader, advocate and public servant. I have been totally invested and connected with the community I would serve. I have understanding of their day to day struggles, hopes and goals. Therefore I would govern the city with keeping the community involved in the success of our future progression.


10) 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?

The biggest accomplishment was the repurchasing of Fayette Place. Durham City Council approved the buy back after a private company fell through on the commitment of the property that was purchased in 2007. I think that city council could do a much better job by making local government presences known in the community. The city council needs to hold town hall meetings and forum. This will allow the community to stay in tune as to what is going on in local government.


11) 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 don’t usually tell anyone I identify as a certain label. I think no one total identifies with any one label and they further divide us and trap us into one frame of thinking. If I had to choose one, it would be progressive. I think the world and general dynamics are ever changing and we need to effectively and intelligently move forward.

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