Raleigh Mayor's Race Starts To Heat Up
Posted October 2, 2001 4:34 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — The upcoming election for mayor of Raleigh faded into the background after the events of September 11. But next Tuesday, voters will decide who will lead the capital city.
Mayor Paul Coble made three promises to Raleigh residents when he was sworn into office in 1999: pushing a bond issue that dealt with congestion on our roads, the need for more parkland and funding for affordable housing.
The bond issue passed and Coble believes residents are starting to see improvements in their neighborhoods. Coble said he has also kept his other promises by taking guns off the streets and encouraging economic development in southeast Raleigh.
Challenger Charles Meeker paints a different picture. He said the city has lost its way through bad planning.
"The main issue I'm talking about is how to help Raleigh grow better, not just bigger," he said. "We need a mayor who will be actively involved in development decisions, in directing where development goes and how intense it is."
Meeker said under Coble's watch, the city has allowed too much clear-cutting and too much sprawl. As mayor, Meeker says he would pursue the issues that he worked on during his eight years on the city council.
"I'm particularly proud of the changes to development standards," he said. "We got rid of billboards, adopted a landscaping ordinance and adopted a comprehensive plan to guide the city's growth."
Joel Cornette is a political newcomer, whose vision for Raleigh includes building a monorail and a system of canals through downtown Raleigh.
"The main reason I'm running for Mayor is I'd like to establish a vision for growth in Raleigh," he said.
Coble said this campaign is not about development. It is about the economy and what the mayor can do to keep it moving forward.
"When you now talk about people losing their jobs and a softening economy, now it's important to make sure we're keeping the tax rate low, keeping the burden low on people who are struggling to hang on to their homes," he said.
The election for Raleigh mayor and city council is one week from Tuesday.