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Salisbury candidates see the future at forum

By Shelley Smith
ssmith@salisburypost.com
The South Ward and East Ward precincts of the Rowan County Democratic Party hosted a Salisbury City Council candidates forum Tuesday night at the Civic Center.
Following introductions, candidates were asked how they would describe Salisbury in 2019. Here are excerpts of their answers:
Maggie Blackwell:”I see jobs, partially augmented by fiber to the home.”
“A new generation in Salisbury. We’ve got to groom the next generation of leaders.”
Benjamin Johnson:”We need a cycle of new ideas. I’d really like to see opportunity open up via free markets, and keep taxes as low as possible.”
“Make (Salisbury) a favorable climate for all business and make this place a shining star.”
William (Pete) Kennedy:”Development taking place on Jake Alexander Boulevard, and development going all down I-85.”
“Taxes lowered because of fiber to the home.”
Mark N. Lewis:”Creative enterprise economy, small businesses and knowledge-based business.”
“Play to our strengths (cultural and historical).”
Susan Wear Kluttz:”Fiber to the home is going to make us a leader in technology in the nation.”
“I also see arts more developed and expanded, and a progressive and positive City Council.”
Paul B. Woodson, Jr.: “Our transportation will change. Hybrid cars, smaller busses, walkable neighborhoods. Small stores will come back into neighborhoods.”
Michael S. Young: “Historic preservation. Public safety will not be an issue. Diverse and booming economy. Lush parks and greenways. Neighborhood schools.”
“Working with communities outside of our county. Keep our small town character.”
William C. Peoples, Jr.:”I see Salisbury still facing problems we have now. The government works slowly.”
“Council needs to do something about the lack of things there are for young people to do.”
Brian Miller:”Level of trust and cooperation between city, county and school system.”
“Fiber to the home will attract new business.”
Carl C. Dangerfield:
“I hope we have leadership in place that is able to think quickly on their feet.”
“Growth through fiber to the home. Growth along the interstate, which is prime for development.”
Blake Jarman:
“I hope that downtown Salisbury has a historic mall – a large building with three stories of shopping. The visitor’s center needs to be closer to the highway.”
“I see a strengthened image of Salisbury, better race relations and more jobs.”
– Candidates took several other questions on topics including city and county cooperation, improving less desirable areas of the city, the importance of the Yadkin River bridge, and motivating young people to make a difference. Excerpts of their answers:
Woodson:”The Yadkin bridge was packed one Sunday afternoon. We’re all hoping for the stimulus package. It will put the interchange out of the way and would put people to work, becoming a huge stimulus to our county and surrounding counties.”
Kluttz:Kluttz said she and the chairman of the county commissioners have agreed for the two bodies to start having luncheon meetings again.”
“We’ve worked with other cities on the Yadkin River bridge. These problems are really a state problem and east coast problem. It could hurt Atlanta as much as it could hurt us here.”
Lewis:”Drug houses, nuisances, and so on, have been a problem that goes on with ages. The City Council used money to raise tides in different neighborhoods, building community centers, building more houses.”
“We need a housing commission. We have some rental houses in our community that don’t meet minimum standards.”
Kennedy:”I totally support the Yadkin River bridge.”
“Education is very important. My wife picks up our grandkids from school and helps them with their assignments every afternoon. Our problem is we don’t have parents in homes helping with homework. We need to make something happen to help parents.”
Johnson:”Families are so crucial to where we’re going to go. I will be honest, transparent and shoot straight with you.”
“I will bring diversity of thought to City Council. It’s important that we hear both sides of the story and that’s something we’re strongly missing.”
Blackwell:
“Our first big mission of the Neighborhood Leadership Alliance was tackling the boarded-up houses. We went out in our cars and took pictures. That is now the beginning of the housing commission which is about to take place.”
“Furniture on the porch and unmowed grass. That’s not their problem. They have bigger problems. I think we have some bigger fish to fry.”
Jarman:”Salisbury needs to be broken into smaller neighborhoods, smaller districts.
“We also need to tackle drug gangs. Too many people are getting hooked on drugs in downtown Salisbury.”
Dangerfield:
“This is straight from my heart: I want a city where my grandchildren can play, learn and rise to any level of success.
“We need to get parents involved in education process, and they need to want to do it for themselves.”
Miller:”I highly respect every candidate and what they’ve done to move the community forward.”
“You have a tough choice on Nov. 3. I believe I’ve got the qualifications to do the job.”
Peoples, Jr.:”I have fought for sidewalks. I am trying to mentor and get involved with the school system. I have worked with the Salisbury Police Department with issues.”
“There needs to be more visibility in the police department. There’s a lack of minorities in city government. I’ve fought to keep transit fare from raising $1.”
Young:”As a business person, downtown property owner and landlord, I strongly believe in the free market, but you have to ask yourself, ‘At whose expense?’ If it devalues a neighbor, the cost is too high.”
Candidate Charles A. Black was unable to attend the forum. Write-in candidate Rev. Sidney Roberts attended but was unable to participate.

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