Name as it appears on the ballot: Ricky Scott
Party affiliation: Democratic
Campaign website: www.scottforraleighcitycouncil.com
Occupation & employer: Community Advocate, Disabled
Years lived in Raleigh: 40 years
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?
Generally, I do believe that Raleigh is trending in the right direction, however, it can do better and it can be more proactive rather than reactive in its approach to confronting the major issues and problems that we face as a community. While I do realize the nature of our type of city governance, it is my view that Council can be more questioning of staff recommendations.
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.
For District C, I believe that the following are the major priorities: economically affordable housing, reliable and comprehensive transportation, economic growth and gentrification and community public safety and accountability.
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?
To be effective as a member of city council and an advocate for issues of concern, I do believe that my experience as a community advocate has given me the skills, understanding and knowledge necessary to build relations with others, respect for others and the ability to compromise to achieve a commun goal. On all state and local organizations where I have served, these attributes were essential to not only my success but also to the success of these organizations. On the key issues of housing, transportation and economic growth, I have been a longtime advocate working to improve access and opportunity for individuals with and without disabilities.
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?Yes, I do believe that it was a wise decision to delay a bond issue from this year until next year because it is essential to gain the support of as many voters as possible. Since off year elections tend to have lower voter turnout than even year elections such as state and national elections where voter turnout is higher.
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? Assuming that there is a bond on the ballot next year, The bond should be comprehensive covering housing, transportation and infrastructure. It is time to take bold action and I do believe that a compelling case can be made for a bond in the amount of 500 million dollars. Other actions that can be taken include the following: establishing a taskforce of stakeholders, affordable housing developers to develop solutions, expand homeownership programs, eliminate unnecessary regulations that add to the cost of a home, property tax freeze for seniors among others.
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 of Raleigh should play a leading and proactive role in ensuring that long-term residents can remain in their neighborhoods. We can do this by enacting a property tax freeze for seniors, improving transportation and encouraging job development with higher incomes for those living in the area. This can help with increasing training for higher-income jobs for others.
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 suspect that it is rather effective. To the extent possible that it restricts new development. This approach should be evaluated on a periodic basis. In addition, it should be assessed to determine how can it be utilized to impact positively affordable housing. We must ensure that it is not exclusionary.
8) If you could change anything about the city’s unified development ordinance, what would it be and why?
No, however, it is important that the council and city staff regularly assess its impact to determine whether or not it is meeting the objectives and whether or not there are unintended effects which adversely impact the community.
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.
It is one way that can be utilized. However, I do understand the reasoning behind this process. It does raise concern in that the individual property owner does have property rights but they are not absolute in that the property owner does not have the right to build on his/her property without consideration of it on the character of the neighborhood and a host of other factors. Therefore, requiring the petition is an effort to gain the support of neighbors and addressing any concerns. In short, there is equilibrium that must be attained. This process is one that requires ongoing review and assessment so that adjustments can be made whenever necessary.
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?
The city should give much consideration to automobile traffic concerns and parking because, with such development, increased automobile traffic congestion and the need for more parking spaces.
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?
Yes, developers desire to build there, as a result, the city is in a strong negotiation position. Thus, it can negotiate from a position of strength setting forth clear and concise issues of public interest and expectations of developers with a willingness to engage in reasonable compromise. It is important that developers become more willing to understand that they need to become partners with the city to promote a real balance between their private interest of profit maximization with the public interest.
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 do believe that the city is moving in the right direction concerning alternative transportation for downtown. Concerning scooter companies, it is important that the city has a set of clear regulations related to where they can be operated as well as safety.
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?
No, I am not too concerned whether the ordinance and regulations conflict with state law. I am assuming that the city’s legal team researched that question. Such policies need to undergo regular evaluation and reassessment to determine their effectiveness in achieving policy goals. It is one way to regulate which is why the policy should undergo continuous review and reassessment.
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?
Yes, I do believe that the CAC system is an excellent way to engage the citizens with local government.
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?
No, I do not support the lease agreement with Wake Stone, as a result, I believe that the city should join a lawsuit over the RDU Airport Authority’s quarry lease with Wake Stone. As one of the four owners of the property, any lease agreement must receive prior approval before coming into effect.
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?
While I cannot comment on the reported incivility on the Council by Mayor McFarlane, as a potential council member, I do know it is important to respect those on the Council regardless of policy differences. It is important to keep in mind, that there will sometimes exist competing and conflicting interests. However, it is the success of our city that we all desire. Additionally, it is equally important to work in a collaborative way through compromise to move Raleigh forward.
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?
Yes, the city needs a community police oversight board. It should consist of community stakeholders who understand the nature of policing and who have also undergone extensive training on such matters. The powers of this board should include the following: investigatory, subpoena and disciplinary. The city should consider all of its options with respect to the state law that blocks access to certain police personnel records.
18) If there are other issues you want to discuss, please do so here.
One issue that I believe needs to be addressed concerns the democratic process in our city. To improve that process, I believe it is time to review the size of our districts. Our city has grown rapidly yet, we still have the same number of districts and council members. It is my view that our districts need to be smaller so we can have more council members to represent our citizens. Also, their terms need to be increased from two years to four years with staggered elections. Rather than an even number of council members, we need an odd number so that decisions can be made with a majority vote.