Peoples seeks seat at table

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 24, 2013

SALISBURY — A common fixture in the audience at Salisbury City Council meetings, William Peoples Jr. hopes to win a seat at the table.
Peoples, 58, has been a vocal critic of Salisbury leadership but also holds a key to the city, bestowed by former Mayor Susan Kluttz for what she called Peoples’ efforts to improve the city and hold elected officials accountable.
Among Peoples’ complaints are the lack of public transportation to Salisbury Community Park on Hurley School Road and what he says is a lack of diversity on Salisbury city staff.
If elected, Peoples said he hopes to make positive changes in the city and focus on improving Salisbury’s infrastructure and quality of life. He said he would push to clean up the ruins of Cannon Mills Plant No. 7, originally Kesler Manufacturing Co., a 12-acre blight in the middle of the Park Avenue neighborhood.
“When you think that it’s drug on this long, it’s ridiculous,” he said.
Peoples said the city should have cleaned up the Kesler site before the proposed school central office site.
“The school site contamination cleanup took priority over everything,” he said.
About to celebrate the first anniversary of his kidney transplant, Peoples said the surgery gave him a new perspective.
“Whatever I accomplished in the first part of my life, I have to do even more now, because this is a second-chance situation,” he said.
Retired from Reynolds Metals Co., Peoples earned a welding degree from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and serves on Project Safe, Rowan County Department of Social Services board, Salisbury Housing Advocacy Commission and Community Child Protection Team. He is first vice president and chairman of legal redress for the NAACP and a Rowan County jury commissioner.
He ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2009 and is one of 10 people in the race this year.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.