Name as it appears on the ballot: Zeke Bridges
Full legal name, if different: Ulmer Zack Bridges, III
Date of birth: June of 1977
Home address: 107 Draymore Way, Cary, NC 27519
Campaign Web site:www.BridgesForCary.org
>Occupation & employer: Attorney/Co-Owner; Western Wake Law Group
What do you believe are the most important issues facing Cary? If elected, what are your top priorities in addressing those issues?
As a resident of Cary, I have quickly grown to love and appreciate the incredible quality of life that this town has and continues to offer. I understand it is not by accident that we enjoy a high quality of life in Cary. It is due to careful planning and we must continue that planning as we look to the future. I will focus on 4 important issues that I believe can improve what is already a wonderful town: the economy, public safety, growth and infrastructure, and our overall fiscal policy.
Explain how—or if—Cary should continue to grow in Chatham County. How do the needs of Cary residents in Chatham County differ from those in Wake? How do you plan to address them?
All sides should be respected and my goal would be for Cary to be a good neighbor, especially to those counties and cities that are contiguous with our borders. The Joint Cary-Chatham committee that has met 19 times now and worked very hard on ensuring everyone (property and business owners, Chatham County citizens and Town of Cary citizens) is represented. This committee remains, in my opinion, an appropriate forum for all sides to be heard. Additionally, I support the Jordan Lake Rules since we need to protect this natural resource for our generation and those to come. This will be a priority for me if I am elected.
Tell voters about your vision for a revitalized downtown Cary. What should it include—and what should it avoid? What other cities are good models for your vision? And finally, how should Cary pay for it?
Many years ago as a young attorney, I began my professional career in downtown Cary on West Chatham Street. A few months later I was married and my wife and I lived across the street, so I have a special place in my heart for downtown Cary and would love to see it revitalized. I believe the costs of not doing so will in the long run outweigh the costs of action today.
In your analysis of Cary's operating and capital budgets, what expenditures should take priority? What expenditures should be reduced? Should any items be eliminated entirely? Justify your priorities.
Public safety must remain the top priority; Where there exists overlap or redundancy in the budget, cuts can and should be made; When analyzing budgetary items I pledge to ensure Cary's citizens have the highest level of service at the lowest possible taxpayer costs.
The median home price in Cary is $257,000, according to CNN Money. (By comparison, Durham's is $158,000 and Raleigh's is $170,000) How should Cary ensure there is adequate affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents?
Cary has several adequate housing rehabilitation programs in place and we should continue to support them. I believe it is important that our senior housing developments also have our support.
Would you support placing a half-cent transit tax on the 2012 ballot? Why or why not?
No, our citizens are taxed enough and current economic downturn is not the time to add new taxes.
What sort of relationship do you think the Town of Cary should have with the Wake County school system? Do you believe that, in the future, western Wake County municipalities should form their own school system, either by a formal breakaway or through the creation of a sub-district?
While the Town Council has no authority over the WCPSS, a great working relationship with the WCPSS should continue and I will encourage, where I can, an avenue where partisanship is taken out of our school system. The education and best interests of our children should be the top priority in any discussion about schools.
Earlier this year, after public protest the federal government withdrew its plan to site an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office, which would have included temporary detention facilities, in Cary. In retrospect, how could that issue have been handled differently, internally among planning staff and elected officials, with the federal government and with the public?
The public (especially those neighborhoods closest to the proposed site) should have been informed about the ICE site proposal, been provided the pertinent information much sooner and been given more detailed information in the end. I have been told that changes are coming in how the Town and the planning department will address similar issues in the future and I am glad to see that, a change is needed because we cannot have a recurrence of this horrible situation.
What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective leader? Please be specific about your public and community service background.
In addition to the desire to give back, Cary needs a reasonable voice in the At Large seat on the Town Council. The At Large seat needs someone who has the education, has run several businesses, works in the real world, has started a law practice from the ground up and continues to practice law and manage that practice and understands what it means to make payroll and critically look at budgets on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Please visit my website at www.BridgesForCary.org and my personal and campaign pages on Facebook for more information. Thank you.
How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I am a conservative, a conservationist and a true independent thinker.
Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
I stand by my principles and will do so while I am campaigning and after I am elected. I am not a one issue candidate, I don't have a hidden agenda and my campaign is not funded by any particular group or organization. I am not running to be popular but running to serve and I pledge to represent all of Cary fairly and with respect.
The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
Through owning a business in Cary, I have found that thoroughly listening to each point of view and being patient are the best ways to find middle ground so progress can be made. My servant mentality and desire to improve our community, combined with my passion and commitment to progress will allow me to remain unbiased in conflict and make reasoned and sound decisions. I believe this type of diplomacy is the best way to represent each of Cary's citizens and maintain a just community.
To learn about other candidates' stances on the issues, read their 2011 Candidate Questionnaires.