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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Charlotte City Council District 4

Charlotte has a council-manager form of government with a mayor and 11 council members elected every two years in November, and a professional city manager to run the day-to-day operations. The mayor and four council members are elected at-large by a city-wide vote. Seven council members are elected from districts by voters who reside in each district.The Charlotte City Council responsibilities are: Police, Fire, Water and Sewer services for the entire County; Garbage, Transportation, Infrastructure, Zoning, Land Use, Planning and Economic Development for the City of Charlotte.

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  • Candidate picture

    Richmond V. Baker
    (Dem)

  • Gabriel (Gabe) Cartagena
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Charlene Henderson El
    (Dem)

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    Renee Perkins Johnson
    (Dem)

  • Brandon Pierce
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Charles Robinson
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Sean Thompson
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

What is your experience, including your 3 most important political/civic accomplishments in the last 5 years?

What is your district's most pressing issue and what steps will you take in response to it?

What are your ideas for addressing adequate affordable housing? How will you work with NCGA to obtain adequate funding to finance your objectives?

As Charlotte keeps growing, what components of the city infrastructure most need attention? How would you address them?

What plans do you have to improve public safety in Charlotte, beyond extra police officers?

How can the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools improve their support of each other?

What should Charlotte be doing to attract new jobs, particularly for young people and those with less than a college degree?

Will you urge your supporters/constituents to support or reject the proposed 0.25% sales tax increase? Why?

Position/philosophy statement I believe that everyone wants a safe,clean and affordable place to call home with great schools.
Current occupation Computer Scientist/Engineer at Microsoft Corp
Age 48
Campaign Phone (980) 477-1669
Twitter @Richmond_Baker
University City Partners Board of directors Chair of P&D NCSSM Board of Trustees to represent North Carolina's 12th Founder of Mallard Creek Initiative Community group Mallard Creek HS PTSA Pres
The most pressing issues for not just my district but for Charlotte are 2-fold, Safety and Quality K-12 Education. work with the rest of city council to see if we can improve the pay for both Police officers and Teachers in Charlotte NC. I would like to get to 60k Starting.
1. Get starting teacher pay to 60k per year. Quality teachers produce quality students, citizens, employees who earn a quality wage, this helps with affordability issue in charlotte. 2. Incentivize developers 3. Use land that’s owned by GOV to build mixed income housing. 4. Encourage roommates 5. Encourage stable Marriage
Help pass the 1/4 cent county tax to help with the Arts and Parks because we need more of each. Make city more walkable this will help with some of our health-related problems and general connectivity related issues. Improve the Street grid, connecting all roads so that we have more ways to get from point A to point B when one Work with the state to repair aging bridges.
Get starting teacher pay up to 60k per year. Quality teachers produce quality students, citizens, employees who earn a quality wage, this helps with the Saftey issue in charlotte.

CMPD we are severely understaffed CLT/Meck 1Mil has = 2,000 officers. CLT/Meck at 8Mil would have =16,000 officers.

NYC at 1Mil would have 5,000 officers. NYC at 8Mill has = 40,000 officers.
Work together on increasing teacher pay in Charlotte, get starting teacher pay up to 60k per year. Quality teachers produce quality students, quality students become quality citizens and quality employees, quality employees earn a quality wage, this takes care of the safety issue in charlotte and the K-12 issue in charlotte and the affordability issue in charlotte.

https://RichmondBaker.com
1. Make charlotte one of the Safest Cities in the country, (officers starting pay 60k and enough officers to cover all areas and the extraordinary events) 2. Improved K-12 Education (Get starting teachers pay to 60k) 3. Expand the Mayors Youth Employment Program.
While this is a County issue and I am running for city council, I would urge folks to support the 1/4 cent sales tax increase so that we can have a way to support the arts and our much needed parks in the county particularly in district 4.

Let's keep this in perspective: This is a sales tax, it only applies when you purchase something, and we are talking about one quarter of one penny.

How much will the sales and use tax cost? The additional 0.25% sales and use tax will be twenty-five cents ($0.25) for every $100 purchase, most would agree that this is not a lot of money.

Meck county is growing by 100 residents per day /CLT by 60 per day and we need to ensure that we are addressing all the current and future needs of our residents.

Some view this as either this or that funding this is not in lew of affordable housing, teachers, police officers. The Human Mind has creative and logical side lets help develop the creative side to help with complex problems.

RichmondBaker.com
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Position/philosophy statement I believe in equal work/equal pay, collaboration, empowerment and women's equality.
Current occupation Owner NDEMAND STUDIO VP, Safeguard Atone Validate Educate, Nonprofit
Age 51
Campaign Phone (704) 492-1533
Twitter @henderson_4th
YouTube video
Charlene Henderson is an American media proprietor, talk show host, activist, producer, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show N Demand On Air. Dubbed the "Queen of Morality Media” -giving a voice to the voiceless that was informational based for the communities. She has become one of the most influential women in the Queen City of Charlotte. In 2001, she opened the N Demand Salon, which has become a pillar of the Charlotte hair care community. 1. Current Vice President of Safeguard Atone Validate Educate, which was recognized by the Charlotte Observer as one of the most impactful organizations in Charlotte in 2018. 2. Current Member of Christian Workers #301 OES PHA. 3. Former Executive Committee Member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Political Caucus 4. Former Vice Chair of the Mecklenburg County Women’s Advisory Board

My greatest accomplishment is I have mentored and empowered hundreds of children and thousands of women over the last 2 decades.
The most pressing issue in District 4 is affordable housing. There are a lot of homeless families in the I 85 West Sugar Creek Corridor. I intend to partner with the Business Community to provide better paying jobs, through tax incentives and bonding programs. For example, there is a lot of property crime in the district that is directly related to unaffordable housing. I have obtained commitments from companies like Golden Corral on North Tryon that is willing to pay workers in District 4 a meaningful wage.

Economic Development • Tax incentives for existing employers • Create new infrastructure jobs • Quality and affordable housing

Neighborhoods • Resource sharing to instable neighborhoods • Revitalize and improve conditions along West Sugar Creek, Nevin Road, Derita, Tanglewood, Old Concord Road, and several other communities.

Transportation • Improve the transportation system to properly connect people to jobs and provide transit, pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Public Facilities

The roads near the I-85 corridor, especially on W. Sugar Creek, do not have adequate bike lanes, and there are far too many potholes. Additionally, the business district along W. Sugar Creek near the Mallard Creek intersection needs to be revitalized. Lastly, I would provide tax incentives for businesses who provide infrastructure jobs for District 4 residents.
My plan is for collaborative partnerships with faith-based organizations. I am going to issue a CALL TO ACTION for all faith based institutions to open their doors for character and spiritual development programs. Specifically, I want to use these places of worship to become havens of help and hope. The programs will range from character education development to vocation and career readiness. This will solve funding issues associated with funding for sites because the houses of worship could prioritize there parishioners.
By meeting weekly or monthly and providing an information sharing network. Great work is being done by these respective divisions, but we need to bring the village concept back where we are all working together. Social Services need to be working directly with CMS behavior modification techs. This is essential because these are the first responders, and they can stop the school-to-prison pipeline significantly if they are working together.
The main key is to pay a more meaningful wage. We need to implement a city-wide $15 an hour minimum wage. We need to get corporations to voluntarily sign a pledge to do so and provide tax incentives to all pledgers.
I will urge my supporters not to support this increase. 25% is a lot for low income families in District 4. We need to get corporations and the wealthy to pay more. Too many poor families are expected to do more with less, and the wealthy are expected to do less with more.
Position/philosophy statement Without a cause, there is no effect!
Current occupation Founder/Executive Director of Triumph Services, an organization that serves survivors of trauma.
Age 52
Campaign Phone (980) 216-4534
Expanded my nonprofit organization, Triumph Services, to Charlotte. Joined the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care Started NC's only support group for Loved Ones of Brain Injury Survivors LOBIS
We're one of the fastest growing region's in the area. I will work to create a Commumity Engagement Teams that includes representatives from all affected parties: City, County, CMS, UNCC, CDOT, neighborhood leaders to review development plans proactively and strategically
Collaboration! Working with County for additional tax incentives for landlords and developers for affordable housing and below market rates. Working with NCGA for changes to legistlature that allows inclusive zoning so that developers can be mandated to allot units for affordable housing. My strength is building relations
Transportation, utilities, traffic patterns. This is where the Community Engagement Teams would be effective, because the tough and strategic issues such as infrastructure, school capacity, traffic, police services could be considered. We have to be strategic and proactive in the development process and ask the tough questions upfront. No building first and asking questions afterward.
Because I'm an advocate for the formerly incarcerated and individuals with cognitive disability, I know how important appropriate mental health treatment is to breaking the cycle of crime and effective stewardship of public dollars. Investing in Mentorship programs, vocational training, liveable wages. More cameras, lighting in high crime areas & safe meeting areas for online sales transactions
Community Engagement Teams where all individuals are at the table. Routinely meeting to review proposed development projects and other issues that have over-arching effects. We have to collaborate in order to solve the problems that affect all of the entities.
More vocational training for high school students and youth. Working collaboratively with organizations such as NC Works, Urban League and other vocational training programs to develop a highly skilled workforce. Promoting partnerships between these organizations and large employers.
Charlotte is in a housing crisis, there is currently a deficit of 25,000-35,000 affordable housing units. Lake Arbor just closed, displacing approximately 177 displaced residents. We have homeless familes and homeless veterans living on the streets. We're number 50 of 50 in economic mobility. Of the 50 million projected from the tax increase, the Arts and Science Council would get about 49%. Parks and greenway projects would get 30%, and only 16% would be budgeted for teacher pay increases. While Arts are important to the culture, diversity and economy, there are greater priorities in the city such as affordable housing, economic mobility, gentrification, increased property tax rates.
Position/philosophy statement We can do this. More Community, Less Politics. #Progress
Current occupation Culture & Stewardship, Project Manager Coca-Cola Consolidated
Age 26
Campaign Phone (980) 222-4931
I typically don’t like this type of question because I don’t like to talk about me, me, me, but instead, my job is to represent the people. However, I understand that in order to represent the people, the people have to get to know me. My experience is as follows - I have been in the city of Charlotte & surrounding metro areas since age 9. I'm a byproduct of CMS (Ranson Middle School & Philip O Berry Academy of Technology HS). I recently graduated from UNCC in 2016. - I have been working for my current employer since the age of 15 where I started off as a high school paid intern. While working for Coca Cola I put myself through college and went on to raise a family in the University area. - I have been organizing & attending community outreach events for the last decade on a weekly basis. Some of the events include; serving at the Urban ministry, volunteering at Samaritan Feet shoe drives, building homes with Habitat, etc. My father taught me "whoever serves the city, wins the city".
My districts most pressing issue at the moment is growth and development. My district is predicted to be the fastest growing district by 2040. While this is a positive thing, it is also a major issue if not drastically prepared for. My solution to respond to this is as follows;

1. Shifting how we solve the affordable housing crisis. More details on this will be on the Affordable Housing question. 2. We are going to re-think how we go about the Transportation building in my district. More details on this when we get to the infrastructure question. 3. We have to plan for sustainability right now despite the growth. This means we need to start planting and growing urban forests and food gardens while we have the means. We also need to start thinking of ways to incentive our developers to use renewable resources. An example of this is allowing developers to create denser units or tax credits if they agree to install solar panels for same cost while building new buildings
There’s simply no way to build our way out of this problem. Real solutions must involve supporting a range of affordable housing options — especially building pathways to homeownership. Some of the things we plan to do are as follows: Support innovative affordable housing solutions, from tiny homes to shared equity. Ensure that our zoning ordinances allow for diverse housing options across the city. Expand down payment assistance programs and financial literacy support through a public-private partnership. Explore creation of a public-private land trust to buy land before it gets too expensive. The NCGA should be focused on helping to fund down payment assistance programs. But the best thing NCGA can do for us is to recruit companies with high paying jobs to come to our city. Again, the end goal should not be a forever cycle of the government building affordable units, the end goal should be raising our citizen's wages while decreasing our building costs to make housing affordable.
Transportation is a big deal that is not being addressed in a manner that benefits the people who need it the most. I am strongly advocating that we invert and flip our current process of building from the Center City first and connecting outward. If we want to uplift our citizens we should flip it and instead start to build transportation hubs in the furthest points of the city and branch inward. This radical approach will cost more money and time but the result is it will lift up more citizens. It’s also time to start investing in technological solutions that will keep our resident’s safe as they are accessing transportation. Examples include cameras, panic buttons, etc. We have so much technology at our hands, let’s start utilizing it in our infrastructure designs. Another component that needs attention is Traffic. We need to start solving our traffic problems with a more holistic approach and continue to invest in 5g technology to accelerate the market for V2V technology.
This is a community approach. Fortunately, our community is fed up & ready to take the responsibility to secure our neighborhoods. We need leadership to hold the culprits of the violence accountable & teach our youth to handle conflict without violence. My plans include: Creating neighborhood leadership coalitions to identify solutions to the specific crime problems each faces. We also need to double the city’s investment in JumpStart Safety Micro-Grant from $500,000 to $1 million per year, with a substantial amount spent in District 4. These grants support community organizations working in conflict resolution, family stabilization, and crime-fighting. I plan to advocate that CMPD invest in foot patrol officers within neighborhoods to build relationships between the officers and people they serve. In order to do this, we are going to need to fund additional officer positions, with a focus on recruiting heavily in diverse and minority communities.
The thing that all three of those government functions have in common is that they serve the community. If we want them to improve their support of each other, they have to improve their ability to allow the community to be a part of the decision-making process. This means we need complete transparency in their process and the community should not be an afterthought, we should be the only thought.
I have long advocated for the Charlotte City Council to return it’s focus back to recruiting jobs. I think they have been doing a great job recruiting corporations but that is only 1/2 of the equation. Our city council should be recruiting the launch of new small businesses & working to expand and grow current small businesses. Small business is the backbone of our economy and typically makes up 2/3 of our net new jobs. In Charlotte, we have to do a better job of letting the businesses we recruit be small business. This helps our youth in particular those with less than a college degree by giving them more employee options. The more employment options we have the more power and control we have & this directly leads to better bargaining positions. From a policy standpoint, we can attract new jobs by investing resources into our citizens, particularly the employed to make sure that they are enhancing their skillsets because companies will move to Charlotte based on our skilled workforce.
At this present time, we have so many other priorities in our city and county that this does not seem like a wise move. I have a problem funding a sales increase for something like this when our 2019 numbers show we have about 1400 homeless individuals on any given night in Mecklenburg county. I am not saying we need a tax increase right now, but if we did, I am saying it should be used on things that uplift our citizens.
Current occupation Contractor
Age 47
Campaign Email electcrobinson@gmail.com
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Position/philosophy statement I'm running to build a Charlotte I would like to raise my children in.
Current occupation Financial Crimes Analyst III
Age 34
Campaign Email Thompson4clt@gmail.com
Campaign Phone (704) 277-9794
Twitter @Thompson4Clt
My experience is rooted in being a community and student organizer. My three most important accomplishments are getting same day voter registration passed in the state of North Carolina, Registering over 3,500 voters in the Charlotte metro area in 2016, and recruiting 500 citizens into the political process.
The most pressing issue for District 4 is the development around the LYNX Blue Line light rail. I will advocate for development projects to have a higher percentage of units priced at the area average median income. This will help alleviate some of the issues with Affordable Housing, Economic Mobility, and Transporation that we have in Charlotte. While this development is taking place I will also fight against the gentrification efforts that taking place in neighborhoods in my district like Hidden Valley.
Affordable Housing is the number one issue affecting families in Charlotte. I will make sure that seniors and other effected citizens are educated about programs to help them stay in their homes. I will seek changes that can be implemented in the zoning and permitting process to promote more mixed-use and mixed-income development projects. I will seek to increase funding for Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing opportunities. We have an excellent Mecklenburg NCGA delegation. I would open dialogue with our delegation to make sure affordable housing funding in Charlotte is a top priority.
Transportation is becoming a bigger problem in our city everyday. We are experiencing longer commute times and more congestion. We must do more to meet our current transportation needs while building our transportation infrastructure for the future. I will advocate for the completion of projects and initiatives such as Vision Zero, the North Bridge, and the Cross Charlotte Trail. I will advocate to advance the conversation to build the LYNX’s Red and Silver light rail lines and the Gateway Station transportation hub. I will advocate for more sidewalk construction and pedestrian friendly streets. I will advocate for more bike lanes to be placed throughout the city.
Public Safety is a growing concern in our community. There has been a growing fear within our community associated with the increase in criminal activity. We must work together as a city to strengthen the relationship between our law enforcement officers and the community that they serve. I will look to expand and promote the new CMPD Crisis Intervention Team. I will propose to give the Citizens Review Board more disciplinary enforcement options. I will advocate for more community led engagement initiatives like Cops and Barbers and a youth summit for at risk teens.
We need to have more sessions where leaders of all 3 bodies come together to talk and formulate how we can support each other. We need to create a single vision and mission statement for all government bodies in Charlotte. Funding CMS, CMS teachers, and CMS students must be a top priority for all bodies. The community's future and growth depends on a well educated workforce.
It is no secret that Charlotte is ranked 5oth of 50th in upward mobility of all major US cities. At the same time, Charlotte is experiencing a boom in job creation and construction projects. Some say there are two Charlottes, one that is prosperous and building while the other lags behind in opportunity and investment. I will advocate to increase funding for workforce development programs like Project Piece 2.0 that include vocational career training. I will work with our business and non-profit community to create more public-private partnerships. I will seek to recruit businesses to Charlotte that are committed to hiring people from within our community.
I will not support the sales tax increase. The majority of the tax increase is going to offset decreasing contributions in the private sector. The citizens of Mecklenburg County should not have to supplement the private sector. I would be in favor of this proposal if the money went to funding arts programs within CMS.