Name as it appears on the ballot: Anne S. Franklin
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: annefranklinforraleigh.com
Occupation & employer: Community Organizer, Self-Employed, Semi-Retired
Years lived in Raleigh: 48
1. Given the direction of Raleigh government, would you say things are on the right course? If not, what specific changes will you advocate for if elected?
Let’s get Raleigh back on track! We’ve become a great place to live, work, play and learn. That took collaborative, thoughtful, non-partisan leadership. Unfortunately, Raleigh is losing its way. We’ve slipped toward toxic partisanship. We are choking on growth. Just when we need citizen help the most, the Council does not listen.
Expand and refresh citizen participation. Involve citizens in the budget process early enough to make a difference in city wages, benefits, program support and taxes. Dramatically upgrade City communications. Get permanent affordable housing with every re-zoning or redevelopment, city-wide, and wherever possible, retain existing affordable housing stock.
2. If you are a candidate for a district seat, please identify your priorities for your district. If you are an at-large or mayoral candidate, please identify the three most pressing issues the city faces.
We face a housing affordability crisis, equity issues and a Council that does not listen. Our growth puts us at a tipping point. We can put up a fence or make room. I lean toward making room. We want to continue to be a place of hospitality, sound government, and opportunities for the future.
3. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective as a member of the city council and as an advocate for the issues that you believe are important?
I served three At-Large terms on the Raleigh City Council, including as Mayor Pro-Tem and as Chair of Real Estate, Comprehensive Planning, Law and Finance, and Intergovernmental Committees. That Council launched several “Firsts”: Recycling, Housing Bond, LGBTQ anti-discrimination code, Bicycle Task Force, Comprehensive Plan, Per Capital Funding for the Arts, Funding for Convention and Visitor Facilities, ambitious goals for engaging minority and women-owned businesses in city projects. We took a collaborative, non-partisan, citizen-engaged approach to get things done.
I have been a tireless advocate for transit, women’s rights and environmental protection: GoTriangle Board Chair, volunteer staff for successful Wake County Transit Referendum, NC Center for Women in Public Service Trainer/Recruiter, and Interim Chair, Partners for Environmental Justice.
4. U.S. metros are grappling with a housing shortage, especially a shortage of affordable housing. Raleigh is no different. Many believe that the best way to address this crisis is via dense infill development along public transportation corridors. Do you share this vision for Raleigh’s growth? Please explain.
I envision building whole new communities along corridors where there’s underused, auto-dependent land. These would feature a combo of density that fits + frequent transit + access to green space. Broad-brush plans for corridors would be replaced by citizen-advised plans that would put density where it can fit, yet protect neighborhood character.
5. In 2020, Raleigh citizens voted in favor of an $80 million affordable housing bond to assist with acquiring land and building near transit corridors, preserving existing inventory, down payment and homeowner repairs assistance, low-income housing tax credit financing, and more. The city also created a goal of adding 5,700 affordable units over 10 years and is on track to meet that goal. But it’s estimated that Raleigh has a deficit of some 20,000 units currently, and it’s clear much more work is needed. Should the city bring another affordable housing bond before voters? Why or why not? If yes, when, how much should the city ask for, and what should the bond fund?
First, I would pursue bold goals to get permanently affordable units built city-wide, with every re-zoning or re-development. All sectors will be engaged to help.Yes, to another bond. That would allow the City to be a strong partner in getting more housing built. I will lean on others to advise about the size and timing of a bond.
Meanwhile, the Council can amp up home ownership opportunities for city workers, use inspections to keep rental housing safe, and keep naturally-occurring affordable homes away from the bulldozers.
6. In neighborhoods across the city, ranch homes and other modest, more affordable single-family homes are being torn down and replaced with large (also single-family) McMansions that don’t provide more density. Does the city have any authority to regulate such teardowns? Should it regulate such teardowns and redevelopment?
The city can’t stop teardowns but, with an adopted neighborhood plan, it can regulate what gets built back.
7. One way Raleigh’s city council has attempted to address the city’s housing shortage is by allowing for more flexible housing options such as duplexes, triplexes, and quadraplexes in all neighborhoods in the city, eliminating certain zoning protections, and allowing apartments for zones along bus routes. Do you support this move to bring missing middle housing to the city and do you think it will be an effective policy for managing the city’s growth?
I welcome diverse housing options. Many of our most attractive neighborhoods include them. However, the broad-brush removal of R-4 and R-2 was too fast, too destabilizing, and done without citizen participation. Not good. Missing middle housing should be compatible in scale with its neighbors. This was not reflected in Council actions.
8. Raleigh’s city council has directed city staff to gather data on absentee investors who are buying up properties in the city. Would you support measures to limit investors from buying up homes as other U.S. cities are considering doing or further regulating whole house short-term rentals that some argue are detracting from the supply of homes available for full-time residents?
I’ll be interested in the data and would look to the City Attorney for legal options. The press could play a role by shining a light on foreign investors’ activities.
I am not opposed to short-term whole house rentals.
9. What role should the city play in ensuring that the longtime residents of rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in Southeast Raleigh and other areas of the city can continue to afford to live in those neighborhoods?
Our Housing and Neighborhoods staff could do door to door outreach in vulnerable neighborhoods. They would explain the process for modifying tax bills, offer access to home repair programs and be an info source for people who do not wish to sell. They could organize small groups of neighbors who want to help one another.
Inspections has a role here, too. Vulnerable renters who live in ill-repaired units face price gouging. Long-term, keeping our housing stock in good repair helps with affordability. Might a sign be posted when a property is not up to standard?
10. Public servants including police officers, firefighters, and teachers can’t afford to live in the city where they work. As a result, Raleigh loses good officers and teachers to other municipalities and is grappling with a current shortage of around 60 firefighters and more than 100 police officers. What can Raleigh leaders do to attract and retain the best officers and other public servants?
The answer has many parts. We have to recognize that workers today may not stay in place as long as was traditionally expected, for many reasons. We have to make sure that pay, benefits and working conditions are attractive. Simple measures, such as letting young officers or other personnel take their vehicle home or offering support for home ownership might help.
11. Do you support the city council’s decision to eliminate parking minimums for developers? Why or why not?
Yes. This is a case where the market and investors will decide what is feasible to support any particular project. Neighborhoods will weigh in. Historically, too much parking has been built. I tend toward maximums and collaborative use of space for cars.
12. In 2019, Raleigh’s city council voted to eliminate citizen advisory councils (CACs) without public notice or input. Do you feel this was the right decision? Do you support bringing back CACs? What do you think the council is doing right or wrong when it comes to community engagement post-CACs? Could you describe your vision for community engagement in Raleigh?
It was the wrong decision. The CAC’s should be expanded and refreshed. It’s not fair to starve something, then call it weak. I’m encouraged by very recent attention to community engagement and await results.
My vision for community engagement is expansive. Raleigh’s people are rich in experience and resources. Engage them, old and new, as our best resource for addressing the challenges that our growth is bringing. Use virtual and in-person gatherings and problem-solving sessions to get their help. Let’s dramatically upgrade city communications and provide support for people who step up to lead.
13. Following shooting deaths of Raleigh residents by RPD officers, the city council established a civilian-staffed police review board in 2020 that had no official power and fell apart soon after two of its members resigned. The council also established the ACORNS unit to address mental health crises, but data shows the unit rarely assists on calls related to suicides and involuntary mental health commitments, leaving most of those calls to police officers. Do you feel that the council has done enough, in partnership with the police chief, to reform the police force and address officer violence? Would you support cutting the department’s $124.5 million police budget?
No and No.
I support a citizen exploration of what public safety means to them and what that costs. We would need crime facts, response times and budget details. Might we make further use of trained civilians, in addition to ACORNS, for interventions and services that do not require an armed officer? Can we respond to protests without amplifying conflict? Do our communications work well? Should community policing be amplified? What do police on the street say they need the most? Can we do more to make sure that criminal activity does not find a home in any neighborhood?
14. Raleigh has made strides on transit in the last several years. Bus fare is free and construction of new Bus Rapid Transit routes is underway, bike lanes are expanding to areas across the city, and commuter rail will eventually connect Raleigh to Durham and Johnston Counties. Is the city doing a good job of managing its current transit systems, encouraging residents to use them, and planning for more future transit and connectivity? Should the city be investing more on bike, pedestrian, and other transit infrastructure?
I’ve worked decades to create public transit services that help today and support a dynamic future. We will remain persistent. Our people are counting on it.
Frequent and reliable bus service is fundamental to attracting riders. Hours of operation have been cut and there are management issues that affect driver recruitment and retention. The City should resolve these with its contractor.
Excellent future transit and connectivity depend on lots of attention to details. That means more shelters, more sidewalks, enhanced communication with drivers and riders, and keeping everything shipshape.
15. Downtown Raleigh has struggled to rebound following the COVID-19 pandemic with foot traffic still down and many storefronts and offices sitting vacant. The council has implemented a new social district to try to bring people downtown again. What more could or should the city council do to revitalize the urban core?
Focus on housing. Stop up-zoning for office towers outside the Fayetteville Street Corridor. We need mixed-income housing and retail related to residents, home enterprises and offices. Incorporate what will appeal to children and elders, ie: interactive shop windows, game tables. Break up big storefronts into units for small enterprises. Expect the Downtown Raleigh Alliance to incorporate a strong voice for residents. Collaborate with Wake County to provide a beautiful full-service public library in a prominent location. Add community gathering places, a full-service thrift store, maybe a dance hall, flower carts and more live art. Voila! a truly vibrant city.
16. Do you support Raleigh’s $275 million parks bond on the ballot this fall? Why or why not?
Yes! This is a “catch-up” bond for long-promised park improvements. Great cities have great parks.
17. If there is anything else you would like to address, please do so here.
I will support the City’s work on climate resiliency, to green up hot spots, move away from fossil fuels and enhance our stormwater infrastructure. I will support citizen-led efforts to address trashing, dumping, and flooding, which occur persistently in under-resourced neighborhoods. The city can do more to protect trees.
I am committed to recruiting and training a lot more people for civic leadership. I have a long history of doing that and look forward to the next round of work.
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