Sam Hershey for Raleigh City Council District A

Issues

I believe candidates should be upfront on where they stand on the issues. If I am missing a particular issue or you need more detail, please let me know.

Holistic Smart Growth

An approach to investing in infrastructure and expanding the local economy while limiting negative environmental impacts and increase employment opportunities.

  • Continued investment in community-wide plans:
    • Prioritize stormwater and sewage infrastructure upgrades.
    • Focus on road repair and adding sidewalks.
    • Traffic calming/reducing speeding particularly in neighborhoods and on cut through streets.
    • Develop green streets with protected bike lanes.
    • Open space preservation and park improvements.
  • Development/redevelopment
    • Ensure that we are allowing incremental development that doesn’t get ahead of what infrastructure can reasonably handle.
    • Focus on density downtown and in select areas outside the beltline.
    • Ensure that we are not preventing small business redevelopment projects with excessive regulation.
  • Affordable Housing: The most complex issue in the city should not be discussed in a vacuum nor can it be government alone solving this issue.
    • Support a $50 million dollar affordable housing bond.
    • Raise a minimum of $50 million dollars from the private sector. Charlotte did this in under a year.
    • Get banks to commit to a minimum of $50 million in low-interest loans for private developers that build low-income housing.
    • Put together a campaign to raise $20 million for rent assistance.
    • Use Community Benefit Agreements between communities and developers to get benefits for the community in return for community support. This will be handled directly by communities impacted by potential development.
    • Create a Raleigh Community Land Trust. Any properties owned or purchased by Raleigh should be done through the Land Trust.
    • Seek out developers willing to build affordable housing units.
    • Instead of single-family home developments, we should focus on high quality yet affordable townhomes, condominiums, and duplexes – fourplexes.
    • Upzoning while respecting established neighborhoods. It’s very important to get neighborhoods to buy into any upzoning on teardowns and this is where leadership in the city is vital.
    • Potential tax abatements for low-income seniors with the city being paid in full when the property is sold.

Fiscal Responsibility

As a small business owner, I understand the importance of spending efficiently. We need to review how effectively we are spending and how we prioritize projects.
  • Have the city-run an internal audit on the bidding process to determine how efficiently we are spending on projects.
  • Review the process for determining when to proceed on a project. Some potential projects have undergone multiple studies for over a decade without resolution.
  • Raise private money in place of bonds, when possible, as a way to keep from putting everything on the backs of taxpayers.

Global Warming/Environment

There is no question that summers are hotter every year and that severe weather is getting worse. We must do what we can at the city level. The right programs will lead to a cleaner environment, more local jobs and a high quality of life for all.

  • Rapid Expansion of Solar in Raleigh. Provide grant money to nonprofits for solar and solar tube lighting.
  • Incentivize commercial development and redevelopment to add solar.
  • Build solar canopies in parking lots: creates clean energy and provides shade for parked vehicles.
  • Solar on all city buildings that make sense.
  • Work with developers of both commercial and residential to strive for LEED certification.
  • Commission a study on local light rail and commuter train service.
  • Fully support expanding Bus Rapid Transit into District A.
  • Connect the greenways and add protected bike lanes on select roads. Study greenways/bike lanes running parallel to mass transit routes like light-rail or BRT.
  • Stop converting the bus fleet to compressed natural gas and move straight to electric buses.
  • Ban all single-use plastic bags and plastic straws: Some local grocery stores already don’t use plastic bags and some food establishments already have plans in place to get rid of plastic straws. (See Starbucks)
  • Raise Raleigh’s watershed protection fee by 1 cent to 2.5 cents/100 gallons to generate an additional $1.5 million/year. This will ensure abundant, clean drinking water.

Changes to City Council

We should always examine ways to improve the council.

  • Four-year terms with alternating elections.
  • Full-time positions and pay.
  • Term limits. 3 terms as a city council member and 3 terms as Mayor.
  • Consider creating more city council districts for better representation.
  • Sign up to speak at a city council meeting should be 24 hours in advance.
  • Constituents should be permitted to address city council members individually at a meeting.
  • More resolutions and ordinances supporting our values: For the Equal Rights Amendment, Equality regardless of Sexual Orientation/Gender, Access to affordable quality healthcare which includes family planning services, A Clean environment and Being against the RDU Quarry expansion for starters.

First Responders

I will work to fully fund these needs. It’s a must in a growing city.

  • Firefighters: As someone that has experienced being lowered out the window as a 7-year-old during a house fire, this has personal meaning to me.
    •  Add 60 additional firefighters to total numbers over the next four years to ensure 4 firefighters on every truck.
    • Pay competitive salaries.
    • Funds for consistent fire engine replacement and equipment upgrade.
  • Police: We must support these men and women and work to promote better relationships among the community.
    • Hire more officers. Staffing levels have not kept up with how fast the city has grown.
    • Pay competitive salaries to help with recruitment and retention.
    • Software and equipment upgrade for body cams so they turn on automatically when a gun is drawn if not active all the time.
    • Additional funds to replace outdated equipment and ensure special groups within the department are fully staffed.
    • Consider potential Review Board options. That includes defining what the goals would be and how it impacts Law Enforcement and the community.

RDU Quarry

I am 100% against the decision by the RDU Airport Authority to lease the Odd Fellows tract to a company for the purpose of a quarry.

  • The quarry deal represents government at its worst.
  • Raleigh City Council needs to assert its legal authority immediately.
  • The City of Raleigh needs to make an offer to buy the Odd Fellows Tract. At a premium, if necessary understanding the importance of RDU to our economic success and our quality of life.

Recent hot topic issues

  • Airbnb and short term rentals permitted at primary residences only. We want to actively discourage companies from buying residential properties with hopes of turning them into short term rental units.
  • Short term whole house rentals for up to 6 weeks are necessary given things like the World of Bluegrass festival, university’s spring and winter graduations,  and the ability of Raleigh to attract more conventions and festivals in the future.
  • Scooters: specified parking areas via geofencing or “scooter corrals.” Consider a dynamic cap on the number of scooters based on usage. Permit multiple companies to operate.

Supporting Local Business

  • Constantly review regulations to ensure we aren’t overburdening small business owners.
  • Against using tax incentives to lure more outside companies while small businesses don’t get assistance.
  • Business recruitment of companies that are socially responsible and match the values of our city.

Raleigh Baseball

  • Yes, please