This format of TQT is going to be a little different. I decided the other day that, rather than secure an interview for this week, I would follow my inspiration from the NAACP forum the other day and ask the questions they perhaps should have asked. I heard one participant complain he didn’t have enough time to elaborate on the questions presented – well, here’s your chance. You can take all the space you want to answer. The same questions can be asked of everyone on the ballot, whether for Mayor or City Council.
I look at it this way: these questions should be on everyone’s lips anyway.
- From personal experience, I can tell you the building industry has been decimated in Salisbury. We’ve had a few opportunities to redevelop various properties in the city but nothing has come to fruition. While I’d prefer private investment, the question really is how do we get people building again?
- And speaking of building, we hear a lot about how to redevelop downtown. But the city is far more than just downtown; neighborhoods are important as well. If you were to assign a percentage of importance that redeveloping downtown merits when compared to the overall picture, what would it be and why?
- In the last few years we’ve seen a number of national chain businesses open in Salisbury; some examples are Hobby Lobby, Longhorn Steak House, Party City, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Yet there’s always been a group talking about “shop local” even if it means less selection at a higher price. What are your thoughts on the local vs. chain controversy?
- We’ve already heard the contention about crime statistics in this campaign. Do you think the police department has the optimum amount of resources and manpower?
- If not, where will we get the funding to pay for them?
- The subject of annexation came up at a recent forum. In my (admittedly limited) experience with the topic, my recollection is that extending city services comes with the requirement of being annexed into the city. Yet we also want to avoid the “pipestem” annexations which have given the city a very irregular shape. What incentives would you recommend to “fill in” the city’s footprint and eliminate pockets of non-incorporated land surrounded by the city?
- More and more, the state of Maryland is dictating how local governments operate: to me, a prime example is the Tier Map demanded from counties thanks to last year’s septic bill. How much interference are you willing to tolerate in city affairs from bureaucrats in Annapolis?
- As a follow-up, do you see yourself as an activist for the city at the state level or will you just concentrate on what you believe you can control within the city limits?
- City finances are always in a state of flux, and one bad revenue year can mean drastic cuts the next. But let’s say your economic plans are a success and the city is suddenly flush with cash. What do you do with the surplus?
- Finally, we hear a lot about transparency in government and communications with the citizens. I know one candidate is a member of the “new media,” for better or worse. But how would you use technology to assist in creating a more informed citizenry?
These are ten questions I’d like to have answered by those running to represent me, the citizens in Salisbury’s other City Council district, and the city’s chief executive.
Next week I promise to get back to a regular format, with a guest to be announced.
Update: My guest next Tuesday will be editor and creator of the Brenner Brief, as well as founder of the PolitiGal Network, Sara Marie Brenner.