Name as it appears on the ballot: David Cox
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: dcoxforcouncil.com
Occupation & employer: Computer Scientist/ABB Corporation
Years lived in Raleigh: 19
1) Given the direction of Raleigh government, would you say things are on the right course? If not, for what specific changes will you advocate if elected?
2) If you are a candidate for a district seat, please identity your priorities for your district. If you are an at-large or mayoral candidate, please identify the three most pressing issues the city faces.
To understand and represent the community on Council
To support growth and development that meets the community’s values and goals.
To develop policies, ordinances, and decisions based on consensus and compromise.
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 take my constituents very seriously. They are my top priority. I listened to them and led efforts to eliminate assessments for road improvements. I listened again and adopted separated bike lanes for improvements to Old Wake Forest Road. I listened to them to find ways to mitigate impacts to their homes and properties caused by the Brentwood Sewer project – without impacting a wetland or damaging the environment. And, I listened to them when they demanded that we protect the City’s interests and protect the environment by opposing and supporting legal action against the Umstead quarry. These are just a few of the examples where I have effectively represented the citizens of Raleigh.
4) Most people agree that Raleigh faces a housing affordability crisis. Do you believe the council made a wise decision not to place a bond on this year’s ballot? Why or why not?
The Council made a very wise decision to wait until 2020 to place the bond on the ballot. Legally, the City cannot promote a bond. Bonds can only be promoted by a third party. Unfortunately, there was no third party to sponsor an affordability bond in 2019. Placing the bond on the 2020 ballot gives opportunity for the community to get behind that effort.
5) Assuming the council places a bond referendum on the 2020 ballot, how much money to do you believe the city should ask for? What do you believe it should fund? Outside of a bond, what steps should the city be taking to promote housing affordability in Raleigh?
One goal of a bond is to use the money to acquire land (known as land banking) that can be leveraged for future affordable housing in partnership with developers. Another goal is to preserve already existing affordable housing through tax credits and rehabilitation loads. A bond between 50 and 100 million is likely.
6) Discussions surrounding housing often turn on questions of protecting neighborhoods’ characters or promoting density in the city’s core—i.e., what kinds of new housing the city should add, and where? At the crossroads of this conversation is the rapid gentrification of Southeast Raleigh. What role should the city play in ensuring that the longtime residents of those neighborhoods can continue to afford to live there?
The City’s Comprehensive Plan identifies growth areas (i.e. areas for densification). I support growth in those areas. At the same time, I support a Raleigh that continues to have moderate to low density neighborhoods. We need a mix of housing rather than building everywhere in the city for high density apartments.
7) The city currently has twenty neighborhood conservation overlay districts, which can restrict new development. Do you believe this tool is being used effectively? How would you change the city’s approach to NCODs, if at all?
I support NCODs. Recent NCODs have actually preserved affordability by preventing subdivision of lots for the construction of McMansions.
8) If you could change anything about the city’s unified development ordinance, what would it be and why?
We sacrifice too many trees and too much green space for development. Raleigh has run out of land and is no longer expanding geographically. Clear cutting of lots should be a last resort and done only with good reason. More trees and green space should be a requirement. I would also find ways to encourage or mandate use of solar power and other clean sources of energy particularly on commercial properties.
9) Earlier this year, the council required homeowners who wish to build an accessory dwelling unit on their property to petition their neighbors through an overlay district process. So far, no neighborhoods have started the application process. Do you believe this is the right approach to ADUs, or do you believe they should be allowed by right? Please explain.
Yes. Democracy is great and allowing neighborhoods to pursue ADUs through community supported overlay districts is the right thing to do.
10) When considering new downtown development projects—e.g., John Kane’s proposed tower on Peace Street or new developments in the Warehouse District—how much consideration do you believe the council should give to automobile traffic and parking concerns?
We need to always assess the impacts of development on our infrastructure and determine if we have the infrastructure to support proposed development. If the infrastructure (such as roads and intersections) cannot handle the traffic, then another type of development should be considered.
11) Developers are eyeing at least three parcels on the outskirts of the downtown business district for twenty-plus-story buildings. Do you believe this area is an appropriate place to add height and density? What conditions should the city attach to such projects, if any?
Again, infrastructure impacts must be assessed.
12) What are your thoughts on the city’s approach to alternative transportation options downtown? Is the city handling issues such as regulating e-scooter companies and building protected bike lanes the right way? Why or why not?
I support the regulation of e-scooters and the construction of protected bike lanes. Downtown the construction of bike lanes is problematic. Business owners don’t want to lose on-street parking for fear of losing business or going out of business. This leaves limited numbers of places for building protected bike lanes. As with all problems that have competing goals, the solution will be a compromise.
13) Earlier this year, the city passed an ordinance banning whole-house rentals and regulating other short-term rentals. Are you concerned about claims that this ordinance might conflict with state law? Do you believe the city’s policy is the best way to regulate Airbnb and other short-term rentals? Why or why not?
The City has great attorneys. I am not concerned that the ordinance passed by Council conflicts with state law. Moreover, Council is now working on an ordinance to allow Whole house short-term rentals by allowing them for part of a year. Doing so allows people to participate in the “sharing” economy by renting a home when out of town and discourages the loss of housing stock through conversion to lodging.
14) Do you think Raleigh’s system of Citizens Advisory Councils is the best way of fostering engagement with local government? If not, how do you believe the CAC system should be reformed?
l fully support the Citizens Advisory Councils. It is an institution that has been successful since the 1970’s that fosters communication between citizens and their city government. We can improve how they operate by supporting them with the latest technology and resources. But, fundamentally, the CACs are successful and a model for the rest of the country. I do not see the need for nor do I support for any reform.
15) Four council members have called for the city to join a lawsuit over the RDU Airport Authority’s quarry lease with Wake Stone. Do you support RDU’s quarry lease? Do you believe this case is something the city should involve itself in? Why or why not?
Yes. Obviously, the City Council should protect its ability to control what happens with properties that it, and by extension the citizens, own. Moreover, the proposed 100+ acre quarry next to Umstead State Park and Crabtree Creek is the worst, preventable, man-made environmental disaster of our generation. We are morally bankrupt if we do not pursue legal action to stop it.
16) When Mayor McFarlane announced her decision not to seek reelection, she cited increasing incivility among council members. Do you agree with her assessment? If so, what would do to lower the temperature in city government and make the council more productive?
McFarlane’s assessment is way off the mark. Since the first of this year Council has approved 93% of all resolutions unanimously. Another 5% have been approved by split vote. Only 2% have been defeated. This remarkable record of success has been achieved by working together on the issues in the spirit of cooperation.
17) Do you believe the city needs a community police oversight board? If so, what should the board look like, and what powers should it have? Do you believe the city can or should challenge the state law that blocks access to certain police personnel records?
I support a community oversight board that has very clearly defined powers that ensure fairness and accuracy to citizens and police. The members of any such board must be well trained and be knowledgeable about police procedure, mental health, etc.
18) If there are other issues you want to discuss, please do so here.