Name as it appears on the ballot: Will Best
Full legal name, if different: William Groome Best
Date of birth: 11/21/1977
Home address: 6622 Narrow Valley Way Raleigh, NC 27615
Mailing address, if different from home: PO Box 26782 Raleigh, NC 27611
Campaign Web site: www.willforcitycouncil.com
Home phone: (919) 624-9265
Work phone: (919) 733-2850
1. If elected, what are your top priorities?
My top priority is to make the City of Raleigh the issue. There are a number of issues in Raleigh and I feel that growth, government, and representation are concerns that need to be addressed for the entire City of Raleigh. I feel that too much emphasis is directed at specific locations within Raleigh and not the entire city. I am 29 years old and I will bring a broader representation to a young city by attracting younger residents to the political process and the decisions made by government.
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.
I am a former employee of the City of Raleigh Planning Department and am experienced in GIS, tax incentives, and policy. I have been exposed to NC politics for a number of years in local and state government.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
Independent. I vote across party lines and feel that it is extremely important to examine candidates as well as policy that elected leaders will bring to our city.
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 will support employee benefits to domestic partners at the City of Raleigh.
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 an Independent or Unaffiliated candidate, I will bring a non-partisan vote to City Council. Although this political race is non-partisan, I feel many voters consider partisanship when casting their vote. Partisanship is not what is important when it comes to building a just community. Bringing residents together when making important decisions will make Raleigh a fair and genuine society. This can only be accomplished with an open mind and I will bring that if elected to city council.
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?
Yes. The current comprehensive plan has sections that are outdated. There are a number of resources at the City of Raleigh. I have maintained contacts at the Raleigh Planning department as well as other departments at the city and I feel this will allow for a productive discussion and revision of the comprehensive plan. I cannot make these decisions without consulting professionals and again, I feel there are well-qualified individuals at the City of Raleigh that can assist in the update of Raleighs long range planning goal.
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 oppose the request of TIF for the request at North Hills. The current development at North Hills is an excellent example of mixed-use and smart growth. This establishment is always bustling with consumers and I feel that Mr. Kane can use his knowledge and expertise to add on to the area without public funds. Mr. Kanes request has benefited the City of Raleigh in the fact that more people now know the details to tax increment financing. My experience in development zones and programs such as Article 3J tax credits tell me that public funds need to go to areas in need of infrastructure improvements and redevelopment.
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?
Yes, I support increasing impact fees. I would agree to increase these fees by no more than 35% during a fiscal year.
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?
Citizen involvement is crucial to local government and I have seen and heard a number of CAC leaders speak for and against proposed developments at council meetings. However, some presentations seem to turn into arguments rather than presenting solid facts and informed recommendations. The final decision should be left to city council and I feel that strengthening CACs too much will take away from policy decisions made by city council.
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?
The Go-Pass for government employees was a great step in creating an incentive for more people to use public transportation. Establishing this type of stimulation will bring more riders. Making public transportation more attractive to residents is a significant hurdle. I would like to examine bus stops and covered benches, mechanical concerns, and scheduling as an elected leader. I believe a rail system would be great for Raleigh and the surrounding areas, especially with access to RTP. A more extensive study of collaboration, environmental impact, and funding is needed to examine this option.
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?
Yes, I feel Raleigh should extend this option to domestic partners. I will support this if elected.