Name as it appears on the ballot: Charles Reisinger
Full legal name, if different: Charles John Reisinger
Date of birth: December 6th 1974
Home address: 716 Brighton Rd, Raleigh NC 27610
Mailing address, if different from home: Same
Campaign Web site: www.chuckisgreat.com
Occupation & employer: Assistant Chief Engineer, Radio One Inc.
Home phone: 919-261-7944
1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing Raleigh? If elected, what are your top priorities in addressing those issues?
I think Urban Sprawl and poor planning have been the biggest issues. I believe the city has taken steps to counter some of the past issues with the new Comprehensive plan but more needs to be done to build up the city core and stop the outward sprawl that I feel consumes too many resources. I would listen to what the people of my district wanted me to do, it is not for me to decide which issues I want to address, it would be up to them.
2. What is there in your record as a public official or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be effective on the council? This might include career or community service; but please be specific about its relevance to this office.
I have no experience that would prove I would be effective on the Council. I feel that the same type of person keeps running and the same ego and agenda driven people keep getting elected. While I think a Council Member should have their own personal feelings on issues, as they are citizens like everyone else, they are there to do what the people in their districts ask them to do. I can listen to people and I can do what they ask me to do.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
Politically I am against big government. I believe the people know what is best for themselves. I think a strong local government is key to people being better represented on a national level. One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Jefferson, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” My campaign is based on that idea. While I have my own ideas and theories on how things should be done, it is not my job would not be to force those on others, my job would be to listen to what the people I represent want me to do.
4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
The job of an elected official is not to take principled stands, it is to do what the people they represent ask them to do. If you cannot do that then you are not meant for office and should probably resign your position.
5. What are the two or three most important program or policy initiatives you will champion if elected to the Raleigh Council? Or, to put it another way, how will your election change anything in Raleigh?
My biggest goals would be to slow down Urban Sprawl and to improve public transportation in Raleigh. Ultimately though if I were elected, I would work on the issues the people that voted me into office wanted me to handle, what is important to the people is what I would make a priority.
6. What can you point to in your record, on the Council or in community service, to demonstrate that you’ll be an effective city leader?
You already asked this question.
7. Recent droughts have underlined Raleigh’s water problems. Growth could cause the city to run out. On the other hand, the city isn’t selling enough water to pay down the debt on its existing systems, resulting in rate increases. How should Raleigh deal with water in the coming years?
I am against mandatory water restrictions. Once I pay for the water, it is mine to do with as I please. I am all for suggested restrictions, and personally I use as many low flow devices and can count the times I have used a sprinkler for my lawn on one hand. I think moving to a payment method based on actual usage with tiered rates would be best. Using less water means a lower bill, those that want to water their lawns pay more, people like me pay less, freedom of choice is a wonderful thing.
8. Crime and gang problems plague some parts of the city. Is there more the Council should be doing to go after them?
I don’t think the City Council has the power to go after anyone, I am not sure how effective the City Council would be as a Legion of Superheroes. I think they should listen to and support the efforts of the Police Department to go after gangs. I think the council should support programs that might help educate kids of the danger of gangs and gang violence.
9. Are new initiatives needed to address the city’s fast-growing Hispanic population? If so, what do you recommend?
As far as I know the Hispanic population is the same as the any other racial population and nothing special needs to be done. I think they get the same coupons and letters in the mail when they move as I did.
10. Does Raleigh need better public transit services? (A lot better?) If yes, what specific steps do you advocate, and how would you pay for them?
Public transportation in Raleigh needs a major upgrade. More buses and more incentive to ride them. Instead of wasting money on a regional rail to the Sprawl, concentrate on the areas where public transportation will work. Most Sprawlers don’t care about mass transit, they moved to the Sprawl to get away from the city and buses. Develop hubs in high density populated areas. Link those hubs with express buses, let those hubs service the major shopping and entertainment within a small radius. Keep bus stops clean and improve the benches. For some reason I see very little advertising at bus stops, seems like there is a revenue source there.
11. Raleigh’s development fees (impact and capacity fees) are the lowest in the region, meaning that current residents shoulder the lion’s share of the cost of growth, not developers or newcomers. Should these fees be increased, and if so, by how much?
Yes they should be increased. The cost of building a large scale housing development on new land should cover the costs of running sewer, water and other utilities. They should also pay an increased rate for the water used to establish new landscaping if the landscaping being done is not drought tolerant. They should pay the projected cost for any road work that would need to be done for the increased traffic. The costs should cover the cost for all new equipment (such as lawn mowers, trash and recycling trucks, etc) that would be used to care for the new area. They should cover the cost of any new employees the City would need to hire to service the area. Growth is needed, but growth does not need to mean increasing the footprint of City.
12. Raleigh’s never required developers to include affordable housing (however “affordable” might be defined) as a condition for approval of tall buildings or big subdivisions? Should it? If so, what rules should apply?
13. What’s the best thing about the proposed comprehensive plan for Raleigh? What’s the worst thing? As it stands, would you vote to adopt it or insist on changes first?
I think one of the best features that is talked about in the plan is traffic calming. I think there is a big problem in smaller residential neighborhoods of people speeding. It is an issue that has been getting some attention in the media but I think as the city grows and more people use side streets in an effort to avoid congested areas there will be an increased need to slow down the traffic in certain areas. I would vote to adopt it as it stands now, but this may change based on the feedback they are currently gathering.
14. Public schools are a county, not city function. Should the city nonetheless act to assist the schools, and if so, in what ways?
The city should do what the city is asked to do, not force itself into other areas.
15. Raleigh’s form of governmentstrong manager, weak council and mayorcombined with the fact that almost all city meetings are held during daytime hours, have the effect of limiting the extent to which average citizens can participate in government decisions. Is this a problem, in your view? If so, what changes should be made? Is this a priority for you?
Yes it is a major problem. I would like to see more meetings in the evening hours and the end to all closed door meetings. I think one of my biggest priorities would be to try and get the population to pay more attention to city politics, as that is where their vote and voice has the most meaning in their day to day lives.
16. Two years ago, the Indy asked every council candidate if s/he would support extending to same-sex partners the same benefits (e.g., health insurance) on the same basis that they are now offered to the spouses of city employees. Virtually everyone said yes, but to date nothing’s been done. Is it time?
Yes it is time.