Sunday, July 14, 2024

Election 2017: Wilmington City Council candidate Clifford Barnett

Port City Daily photo/COURTESY OF NHC
Clifford Barnett

Editors note: Port City Daily reached out to all nine Wilmington City Council candidates for responses to the same eight questions. A full list of the candidates, with links, is available at the end of this article

With all the growth happening in the Port City of Wilmington and the announcement of new major developments, what do you think is the best way to accommodate the new residents, without paving over every bit of green space in the city?

It is critical to preserve green space in the City, but we also need affordable and available housing, a nationwide issue. Therefore, we need to work with developers on the denser housing which includes green space. Multi-family housing is one way, but other tightly space homes, duplexes, townhomes, etc. contribute to the City’s ability to maintain green spaces.

How can the City of Wilmington help alleviate traffic concerns, specifically on major roadways that are already overburdened?

I believe in solutions with mass transit, although we need an improved system and I recognize everyone will not be able or interested in mass transit. I also believe in mixed- use development as long as it is truly mixed uses of residential and commercial/office uses. It helps contain traffic to have essential services and commercial uses mixed with residential since people do not have to drive far or use thoroughfares as much.

What are your goals you hope to achieve if elected to office?

I will work to bring more jobs and affordable housing to our area. There are concrete things that we know that we can do now to encourage economic growth in our area such as incentives, which I support. However, I would also like to collaborate with business leaders in our area and work together to explore anything and everything we can do to bring more and better jobs to the city. I will address infrastructure concerns and ensure that the city is keeping up with current needs while building for a strong future. I would also like to communicate with citizens directly to find where city services issues need to be addressed and target those areas to ensure city resources are being used effectively.

What are your three biggest concerns with the City of Wilmington, and how do you plan to address them?

Wilmington’s growth has not improved everyone’s lives equally. We must offer all citizens opportunity for success as part of Wilmington’s progress. I will work with the rest of Council and other organizations to provide opportunities for more citizens.

Crime and drug use remain problems that I face every day and that the City must face. Since I am so aware of the problem, I see that we cannot arrest our way out of the situation and I know that improved opportunity will help. I will work with such organizations as LINC to support individuals in their own efforts to become productive.

Wilmington’s pace of development has grown without enough focus on transportation and quality of life. I support WAVE Transit, walking and biking paths, and the building of safer, well designed roadways to improve our congestion. Growth must also provide affordable, available housing and I will work with other members of Council to look at ordinances that support those goals.

What is your opinion on the Opioid epidemic? How can city leaders not only address the issue (because it has been talked about at length) but take some sort of action against the crisis?

Wilmington is now considered the city with the worst per capita Opioid problem in the country. We MUST work hard with every organization, the Chamber of Commerce, UNCE and CFCC and the County to solve this problem as it will damage our ability to develop economically and in the region. The city has received a state grant so that some funds are available to address the problem. I think it is critical to involve the medical community and address the prescribing of these drugs and I do not see that has happened yet locally. Much of the current crisis is caused by the prescribed use of opioids, although the problem has been in the community for decades, just not out in the open.

What do you do professionally, would there be any conflict of interest with you serving the City of Wilmington?

I am a Pastor and there will be no conflict of interest.

What previous experience do you have in serving the public if any?

J.C. Virgo Prep Academy Board of Advisors, Vice-President of the New Hanover County Smart Start, Bridges to Success and the Southeastern Dropout Prevention Coalition

Given the concerns with GenX, do you think it is time to reevaluate how the CFPUA Board is appointed?

That question would deserve more study, but I have a concern about the earlier decision of the City to be part of this authority and I share the concern with many others that CFPUA has not handled the GenX problem pro-actively. I do think it is time to look at how the Board is appointed, not who appoints which is the City and County elected officials. Perhaps there could be more emphasis on membership that represents community concerns over special interests. I think City residents’ interests are not always well represented versus the desire to extend service in areas outside the City.

You can find the full list of Wilmington City Council candidate interviews below:

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