Local Politics

Fayetteville candidates

Posted September 21, 2015
Updated October 21, 2015

Mayor

Valencia "Val" Applewhite

Fayetteville mayoral candidate Valencia ApplewhiteAge: 54
Occupation: Real estate broker
How long lived in Fayetteville: 15 years
Political experience: Member of Fayetteville City Council 2007-13

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities in office?

Grow and diversify our local economy by leveraging our local talent graduating from our universities and separating from Fort Bragg and Pope Field to attract new commercial investments and industry. Simultaneously continue to advocate for small, local and minority businesses by fully funding the Hire Fayetteville First: Job Creation Policy and supporting the city's new Economic and Business Department. Fayetteville has been challenged with dealing with an increase youth violence and crime. Specifically, I will seek to establish a Fayetteville Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative as an additional tool to reduce crime in our community. While continuing to support the Continuum of Care, seek best practices from around the country that have made significant progress in reducing veteran and overall homelessness.

Overall crime is down in Fayetteville, but violent crime was up in the first six months of 2015, and the perception persists that Fayetteville is a dangerous city. What do you hope to do to change that?

Any comprehensive solution to crime reduction must address the social issues that plague cities. Poverty, unemployment/underemployment, drug use and neighborhood revitalization and investments are key factors that must be addressed. These issues require long- and short-term solutions and must be accomplished in a comprehensive and systematic approach across multiple agencies and levels of government. As a first step, I would establish a Fayetteville/Cumberland County Youth Violence/Crime Prevention Collaborative, mobilizing businesses, academia, nonprofit, philanthropic and faith-based groups and local, state and federal governments to develop an initial strategy and funding. Long term, this plan would require youth violence/crime prevention and reduction efforts be embedded in every relevant city department’s mission and reflected in its budget, programs and outcomes. This would include re-prioritizing resources to fund evidence-based programs and defunding programs that are not effective. The Parks and Recreation Department would provide long-term management and oversight of this initiative. If the City Council moves forward with a Parks and Recreation Bond, additional funding could be included to support this collaborative. Most important, it would be a living document that reflects diverse community needs, with community ownership and participation with the goal of being sustained by future City Councils.

The city has made improving the homeless situation one of its top priorities, but a 40-bed facility remains in limbo amid neighborhood opposition. How would you turn talking about helping the homeless into action?

The 2014 Analysis and Needs Assessment, Cumberland County Community Development Department, Continuum of Care on Homelessness provided by Karen Dash Consulting provides a gap analysis in our community. The report made many recommendations. I believe the city could be immediately impactful by assisting the Continuum of Care through the establishment of a Day Resource Center or One Stop Shop for basic or wrap-around services and referrals. The project would require a central case manager to support homeless people in progressing forward through services. Partnering with a nonprofit by providing real estate and other grant opportunities could make this critical need a reality.

Should the Market House be removed from the city seal? Why or why not? If so, what would you like to see on a new seal?

As one of the most diverse cities in the country, we have the opportunity to show real leadership in how we deal with issues regarding race and history. As an African-American woman, I understand the painful legacy of slavery. While we cannot erase our history, we certainly don’t have to use a symbol such as the Market House that divides so many in our community as our seal. A great alternative could be to have the community work together on a collaborative effort to create a seal that reflects who we are – a diverse All America City that embraces that is respectful of each other’s pasts.

Nat Robertson

Age: 52
Occupation: Physician laboratory representative
How long lived in Fayetteville: 39 years
Political experience: Mayor since 2013, four terms on Fayetteville City Council (elected in 1989-95 and 1999-2001)

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities in office?

Further reduction of crime, bringing more and better-paying jobs to Fayetteville and improving the quality of life for all of our residents.

Overall crime is down in Fayetteville, but violent crime was up in the first six months of 2015, and the perception persists that Fayetteville is a dangerous city. What do you hope to do to change that?

When looking at the crime statistics, there is no way that any crime prevention techniques can stop assaults or murders. We can and have had an impact on the overall crime rate, including property crimes, car thefts, break-ins and robberies. In fact, since taking office in 2013, Fayetteville will see another double-digit reduction in the overall crime rate, making Fayetteville as competitive as any larger North Carolina city. I take personal responsibility for keeping our residents safe. Under my administration, we hosted a Safe Streets Symposium with participants from all over North Carolina. We have opened a new West Fayetteville substation, put cameras in every patrol car, installed almost 100 closed-circuit cameras across the city, funded an additional 47 officers, added red light cameras to dangerous intersections, boosted citizen involvement and promoted peaceful interactions between the residents and our officers. Recognizing how serious I am to making Fayetteville a safer place, Gov. Pat McCrory appointed me to the Governors Crime Commission, and we have been recognized by the White House and the Department of Justice for our positive momentum.

The city has made improving the homeless situation on of its top priorities, but a 40-bed facility remains in limbo amid neighborhood opposition. How would you turn talking about helping the homeless into action?

Make no mistake on my position; I believe we should have approved the special-use permit for the Hillsboro Street homeless shelter. I am proud to have partnered with Council member Arp to have brought the homeless issue to the City Council for consideration, and the Council has made it a Strategic Goal. In our 2015-2016 budget, we have allotted funding to get the conversation started on planning and help for those in need. Following our lead, the County Commissioners have also adopted homelessness as a goal to address. We have taken some of that money and funded an online portal for those organizations helping the homeless, through the Continuum of Care. I am proud to have joined with Col. Elizabeth Goolsby with the Veterans Administration to address how our veterans and their families can find short-term and permanent housing. We have also partnered with the faith-based community on several initiatives, including the Hope Center to help those in immediate need.

Should the Market House be removed from the city seal? Why or why not? If so, what would you like to see on a new seal?

I was on the City Council in the early 1990s when we instituted the script Fayetteville logo as an alternative to the Market House logo. At that time, we put the script logo on city cars, water towers, buildings and letterhead. However, the Market House reflects many thoughts of Fayetteville’s history in so many ways. The ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the signing of the University of North Carolina Charter, the State House and Capitol along with being the location of Marquis de Lafayette’s last speech before leaving the country. Not belittling the fact that some property and slavery sales took place at the same location, I don’t believe we should try to erase our history but instead learn by it and our mistakes so that we may continue to celebrate our diversity. We are not Baltimore or Charleston; we are Fayetteville, the best, most diverse and unique city in the country. We as a community are not divisive or racist, and if someone is having those thoughts, perhaps they should look inward and work on their own prejudice. As we have always done since 1762 in this great city, we should continue to heal and bring all races and cultures together to be a better place to raise our families.

City Council District 2

Len Brown

No information provided

Kirk deViere

Fayetteville council candidate Kirk deViereAge: 45
Occupation: Owner, 219 Group, marketing/advertising agency
How long lived in Fayetteville: 15 years
Political Experience: None

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities in office?

A more peaceful city. Workforce and job creation. Neighborhood revitalization.

Overall crime is down in Fayetteville, but violent crime was up in the first six months of 2015, and the perception persists that Fayetteville is a dangerous city. What do you hope to do to change that?

There is no silver bullet to reducing crime. It will take a community effort to reduce all areas of crime. There are social and economic factors that influence the crime rates. We need to understand the causes of the spike in violent crimes as well as the trends so the City Council can make data-driven decisions in the resourcing of our police department and other agencies that directly impact crime rates. We also need to continue involving the neighborhoods through the community watch program so that they take ownership of their streets and work with the police officers to make them more peaceful. We have to continue to look at the drug use and gang activity as key factors in violent crimes. We also have to provide activities for our youth to keep them off the street. Employment is a critical factor, and we need more jobs available for those that are unemployed.

The city has made improving the homeless situation on of its top priorities, but a 40-bed facility remains in limbo amid neighborhood opposition. How would you turn talking about helping the homeless into action?

We must revisit the outdated "10-Year Plan to End Homelessness." We must create a viable plan that is aggressive but yet realistic and have short, immediate goals as well as long-term goals. This plan must address permanent housing, as statistics show a greater success when permanent housing is provided first followed by the services needed by the individual. We must develop benchmarks in each homeless segment –- men, woman, families and veterans – so we can address the different needs of each population. The city must allocate resources to this plan and collaborate with organizations already providing the types of services needed so there is not a duplication of effort. The City Council needs to review ordinances on the placement of shelters based on the overall growth plan for the city. Additionally, we need to collaborate with other municipalities in the county as well as the county to ensure there is a county wide integrated plan.

Should the Market House be removed from the city seal? Why or why not? If so, what would you like to see on a new seal?

The Human Relations Commission is currently surveying citizens about the city’s seal. This community conversation is important, and I would defer any decision until their report.

City Council District 3

Mitch Colvin

Fayetteville City Councilman Mitch ColvinAge: 42
Occupation: President of Colvin Funeral Home and Crematory
How long lived in Fayetteville: Life-long resident
Political experience: Member of Fayetteville City Council since 2013

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities in office?

Job creation, economic improvement and development and enhancment of amenities

Overall crime is down in Fayetteville, but violent crime was up in the first six months of 2015, and the perception persists that Fayetteville is a dangerous city. What do you hope to do to change that?

As a community, we have failed to tell our story. We have allowed only the negativity that exists in every U.S. city to define us. Fayetteville is much more than this. During this first term on council, I have advocated to increase and improve the favorability marketing of our city. We need a professionally crafted marketing campaign to change the paradigm.

The city has made improving the homeless situation one of its top priorities, but a 40-bed facility remains in limbo amid neighborhood opposition. How would you turn talking about helping the homeless into action?

We need to first get serious and allocate the resources to deal with the problem. Next, we should utilize some of the same practices of other communities that have successfully addressed this major issue. Unfortunately, this is not only a local issue. The same problems exist nationally with our veterans for instance. Our uniqueness as a veteran community should enable us to receive some additional federal resources to assist with this specific issue as well.

Should the Market House be removed from the city seal? Why or why not? If so, what would you like to see on a new seal?

The emblem should be a symbol that represents our community abroad, I am not sure that we should advocate for an area with this level of sensitivity to be used in that manner. If it offends one citizen, that's one too many. It should be replaced.

Michael Dobs

Fayetteville council candidate Michael DobsAge: 50
Occupation: U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School operations/process improvement specialist
How long lived in Fayetteville: 25 years
Political experience: None

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities in office?

Make city decisions based on data. I will use data to educate and reorganize if needed to meet citizens' needs and achieve city goals without raising taxes. I have and will continue to work with Fayetteville’s strategic performance analytics team and develop metrics for every city department. I will then work with the analytics team and develop useful managerial dashboards to inform staff on productivity and provide an invaluable budgeting/funding tools. Identification of true production will alleviate waste and provide information used for adjustments. My educational background and experience as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt process improvement specialist will bring new knowledge and a different way of thinking that does not exist on the Fayetteville City Council. Identify, use and develop programs that assist neighborhoods. The community voice is very important. I will meet with neighborhoods regularly, work to build crime watch groups and identify issues. I will then develop ordinances to support, not take away from, tax-paying homeowners. Work closely with Chief Medlock and provide the police department what they need to be successful. Making Fayetteville a safe place to work and play will attract new businesses and provide new opportunities for all.

Overall crime is down in Fayetteville, but violent crime was up in the first six months of 2015, and the perception persists that Fayetteville is a dangerous city. What do you hope to do to change that?

If crime is the No. 1 priority, then the City Council needs to make it a priority and provide Chief Medlock what he needs to decrease crime. I spend my free time partnering with Fayetteville’s Crime Prevention team and assist them with developing and assisting neighborhood crime watch groups. I provide the crime watch groups with personalized crime mapping that focuses their efforts. Community policing is one of Chief Medlock’s priorities, and I provide the neighborhood voice for this. I also volunteer when needed for the Fayetteville Police Department and recently spent a week serving as an assessor for the Police Sergeant Selection Board. I understand how the police department operates because I spend time with "Fayetteville’s Finest." We must truly support not only in words but also with action. I will work with Fayetteville’s award-winning strategic performance analytics team and develop measurements for all city department goals that includes Chief Medlock’s policing goals. Low crime rates are an important factor when trying to attract new businesses and homebuyers. We must track and analyze all crime data on a continual basis and make adjustments to meet our goals. Managerial dashboard metrics are an immediate need used to track all departmental data and make informed decisions.

The city has made improving the homeless situation one of its top priorities, but a 40-bed facility remains in limbo amid neighborhood opposition. How would you turn talking about helping the homeless into action?

Homelessness is a symptom of many problems. In order to provide homelessness solutions, we must first identify the problems. The homeless population varies, and we are quick to judge them. We have experts in our community that work with the homeless every day. I would develop a homelessness working group that truly identifies the amount of homeless, their needs and their desires. Once we define our homeless program, I will assign measurements, objectives and goals.

Should the Market House be removed from the city seal? Why or why not? If so, what would you like to see on a new seal?

I feel that Fayetteville has an identify crisis. Many Fayetteville leaders have tried to compare Fayetteville to many other large cities because they fail to understand who and what Fayetteville is. Without an identity, it is hard to provide vision. I am proud to say that I am from Fayetteville and consider myself Fayetteville. If changing Fayetteville’s seal is something our citizens want, then put it to a vote. If change is needed, I will work hard to identify and develop a wave of enthusiasm for "Being Fayetteville." As a true "All American City," Fayetteville’s seal should reflect what our city is and does.

City Council District 4

Wilson Lacy

No information provided

Chalmers "Chet" McDougald

Fayetteville CIty Councilman Chalmers McDougaldAge: 65
Occupation: Pastor
How long lived in Fayetteville: 47 years
Political experience: City Council member since 2013

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities in office?

Economic Development across all business types and sizes, making available good training and work opportunities for every citizen that wants to work and jobs, job development and job creation. Place-making, or the creation of areas within the city to work, recreate, attract tourism and enjoy life. Public safety.

Overall crime is down in Fayetteville, but violent crime was up in the first six months of 2015, and the perception persists that Fayetteville is a dangerous city. What do you hope to do to change that?

I intend to work in coordination with our public safety officials, behavioral help professionals and other community resources to identify what can be done. It is also important we continue to involve our community partners who may be able to alert public safety officials to potential criminal activity. I remain open to other resources to help us reduce or eliminate violent crime.

The city has made improving the homeless situation one of its top priorities, but a 40-bed facility remains in limbo amid neighborhood opposition. How would you turn talking about helping the homeless into action?

Homelessness is a concern in our city and is a priority for City Council. We will need to work in coordination with all aspects of our communities to help alleviate the problem. Education of the homeless on budgeting and home maintenance are just two of the areas we can help educate the homeless population on the pride and productivity of home ownership. We must move beyond just shelters, especially as a permanent place of residence. Making available affordable housing is another way I will continue to work with council to provide homes for the homeless. I also believe we could start a rehabilitation of existing housing in older neighbors as a way to increase home ownership of the homeless. I am willing and open to new ideas on best practices for helping the homeless to improve their living opportunities.

Should the Market House be removed from the city seal? Why or why not? If so, what would you like to see on a new seal?

I believe it is time to move forward in our city by removing the Market House from the city seal. Fayetteville is a diverse city. We are home to the largest military base in America. The logo needs to reflect positive strength of diversity. I certainly think the strength of the military presence in our city should be reflected on the seal and/or the dogwood. I remain open to what others think as we prepare to move our city forward.

City Council District 6

Bill Crisp

Fayetteville City Councilman Bill CrispAge: 75
Occupation: Retired Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army, and retired from retail automotive sales in Northern Virginia
How long lived in Fayetteville: 12 years (also in late 1940s and 1968-72)
Political experience: Member of Fayetteville City Council since 2007

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities in office?

Safe neighborhoods (more police and better fire protection/more fire stations). Economic development/jobs and workforce development. Parks and recreational facilities to attract new residents.

Overall crime is down in Fayetteville, but violent crime was up in the first six months of 2015, and the perception persists that Fayetteville is a dangerous city. What do you hope to do to change that?

While more police is but part of the solution, we need to increase citizens' awareness that crime is everybody's business. Thus, citizens must "step-up" their personal involvement as the eyes and ears for our police. There is also a direct correlation between lack of jobs and crime.

The city has made improving the homeless situation one of its top priorities, but a 40-bed facility remains in limbo amid neighborhood opposition. How would you turn talking about helping the homeless into action?

Concerning the homeless, we must urgently formulate a plan to bring all the various factions/organizations helping the homeless together to consolidate our efforts. Collectively, we can accomplish our goal to make a huge dent in our homeless population. Our objective must be appropriate treatment for those in need, employment and, finally, affordable housing. I am advocating a homeless summit, perhaps even a czar.

Should the Market House be removed from the city seal? Why or why not? If so, what would you like to see on a new seal?

We cannot rewrite history. While this is not the original Market House, it still stands as the symbol where North Carolina ratified the U.S. Constitution. Every symbol of the past is probably repulsive to someone. Do we remove George Washington from the dollar? He owned slaves. If a "clear majority" of the citizens of Fayetteville express that the seal should be changed, I would not oppose them.

Richard Kimball

No information provided

City Council District 7

Larry Wright

No information provided

Jeffrey Zimmerman

Jeffrey Zimmerman, Fayetteville council candidateAge: 36
Occupation: Executive management, N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles
How long lived in Fayetteville: 18 years
Political experience: None

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities in office?

Creating solutions to keep the crime rate down by building relationships with community leaders and city leadership to include the police department. Improve the citizen involvement in reducing crime in our communities. Improving our great parks and recreation system by advocating for more public swimming pools in our city. Evaluating the process/hurdles to recruit and retain businesses here in the city in order to continue to improve the economy. These three priorities tie into each other, as I believe that, if the members of our communities have extracurricular activities such as public swimming pools and more job opportunities, then that will reduce the urge to commit crimes, as most crimes are crimes of opportunity. As a former police officer in this city, I believe it is very important to get the community involved in a proactive community watch system as well as giving our community members outlets participate in recreational activities.

Overall crime is down in Fayetteville, but violent crime was up in the first six months of 2015, and the perception persists that Fayetteville is a dangerous city. What do you hope to do to change that?

Yes, crime is down, but this is not enough. We as community and city leaders have to continue to evaluate the policies and procedures that we have in place to keep reducing the crime rate in our city. We need to build stronger relationships between the police department and our community leaders. I think that now, with the national perception of law enforcement being so negative, it is imperative to involve the community leadership to rally their members to take an active stance in reducing the crime rates.

The city has made improving the homeless situation one of its top priorities, but a 40-bed facility remains in limbo amid neighborhood opposition. How would you turn talking about helping the homeless into action?

I think that one solution could be to work with Fayetteville Tech Community College to create a job training program for the homeless in an effort to help them become gainfully employed. I also think that the 40-bed facility is a great start, but this would only be a start and that we would have to continue working with this issue. I think that providing job training and housing assistance can be a win-win for everyone.

Should the Market House be removed from the city seal? Why or why not? If so, what would you like to see on a new seal?

I think that the Market House should remain as the city seal because it has been the city seal for many years and serves a historical purpose.

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