Name as it appears on the ballot: Del Mattioli
Full legal name, if different: Beatrice Delphine Robinson Mattioli
Date of birth: 4/6/62
Campaign website: www.delmattioliforcitycouncil.com
Occupation & employer: CEO, Mattioli and Associates LLC
Do you have a Facebook page? Committee to Elect Del Mattioli
1. Describe your past leadership roles, both in career and community. How will these experiences help you serve on Council? Please be specific about how these roles correspond to a city council member's responsibilities.
My past leadership roles in my career include being named a top sales representative for New York Life Insurance, more importantly I was the first African American female to receive that accolade and their first female network leader. Before retiring from New York Life, I founded my own company Mattioli and Associates to extend the skills I had acquired over 30 years to more importantly help families here in Durham. These specific accomplishments correspond to a City Council member's responsibilities by exhibiting my ability to communicate to a broad audience of people in addition to my ability to manger and produce results. A City Council member needs to be someone who understands the greater needs of the residents of Durham and that is outlined through my sales record and commitment to helping families meet their needs, I have needs placed before me and I find sensible solutions to help every individual. Moreover, my experiences as a network leader highlight my ability to work with a wide range of individuals across varying agencies. As a Councilmember, you need to possess this skill to be able to effectively communicate and collaborate to find viable solutions that extend into the greater community and help all residents. In regards to community leadership, I was elected to serve as Vice Chair for the Durham Workforce Development Board, which has given me an invaluable perspective on the needs of our residents in terms of workforce development and training. Furthermore, I have reached out into the community and helped sponsor financial forums for women, elders, and youth in terms of financial planning, budgeting, and savings. Teaching our residents valuable lessons such as financial planning empowers them and that is important as a Councilmember, to be an educator, to uplift fellow residents and help them understand how policies directly affect them both today and twenty years down the road.
2. How do you define yourself politically? How have you demonstrated this political philosophy in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
My political philosophy is socially liberal and fiscally conservative. It affects my platform by closely following the ideals of the Democratic community while having a balanced financial understanding of the role of City government. My commitment is outlined through my commitment to families and their access to jobs, affordable housing, development of strong communities, and community safety. In terms of being fiscally conservative, this is outlined through my vision of creating a balanced economic climate for businesses and promoting small business innovation, growth, and stability.
3. List the three most important issues facing Durham, in order of priority. If elected, how will you address these issues? Please be specific.
My top priorities are job creation and training, building strong neighborhoods, public and community safety. First and foremost, I would address the need for job creation and workforce training by partnering with the Durham Workforce Development Board to ensure that they possess the proper resources needed to continue providing the valuable resource of developmental skills to residents. In regards to job creation I envision continuing to work with the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce to evaluate economic developments and their impact on the larger community. More specifically, I have learned of other cities plans of creating "desired development zones" where within these zones you can provide incentives for affordable housing, mix use developments, and or commercial developments. Within this process you offer incentives to companies who hire and train local residents and who also provide what are deemed as "wrap around" services such as bus vouchers and child care making the development good for Durham and families. I also aspire to work with our already established business community and in particular our small business community to address their needs and concerns. I must note that while I am an advocate for financial growth I am a firm advocate for a balanced economic climate and feel it is necessary for Durham's business infrastructure to happily coexist with new development. Secondly, I would address the need to continue building strong neighborhoods. I believe all residents should have access to affordable housing and would work tirelessly with organizations such as the Durham Housing Authority to guarantee they continue serving as the "safety net" to our residents and the InterNeighborhood Council to ensure our neighborhoods are remaining strong and vibrant. It is important that these organizations continue receiving grants and Durham overall continues to work hard in moving towards more homeownership. Finally, I would address the recent increase in violent crimes across Durham. It is important to continue evaluating why these crimes are occurring and work with the Durham Police Department to ensure they have access to the necessary tools to combat the crime rate. Furthermore, I envision a plan where the Durham Police Department partners with community non-profits and faith based organizations to provide positive outlets to our youth and residents. It is vital that we work across agencies to ensure that Durham remains strong for residents and families.
4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
A principled stand that I might be willing to take that may cost me popularity points would be issues pertaining to business development. In this election specifically, I took an initial stand on the 751 Development after the State Legislator passed Senate Bill 315 overruling the current Council's previous decisions. My position was in favor of this development in order to create jobs yet I was also mindful of the environmental impact. I wish to state that if elected, on business development I will take a stand but that stand will be fully informed on all aspects of the development and how it will largely impact Durham. If at the end of the deal it's not in the best interest of my fellow residents then I will not vote for it, however, if the development is going to maintain a promise to hire Durhamites and grant them job training here at home then I will support in good conscious a decision to develop. I understand that this may lose me popularity points with developers and those who feel that if even one job is created in Durham it is good for residents but I cannot support this line of thinking. It is important to me to establish trust with my constituency and to ensure that when job creation is promised, home job creation is what is granted.
5. The city's updated panhandling ordinance has been criticized for being too stringent. If you were to revisit the ordinance, how would you balance public safety with the needs of the homeless? As a follow up question, Durham is seven years into its 10-year plan to end homelessness. What are the pros and cons of the plan? What are the greatest obstacles to ending homelessness and how should the city overcome them?
If I were to revisit the ordinance, I would balance public safety with the needs of the homeless by agreeing with the proposed suggestion from the Durham Homeless Services Advisory Committee, which would allow the homeless to solicit from access ramps and grant them accessibility to the driver side. This compromise in my opinion maintains public safety for everyone on our medians while also balancing the needs of the homeless through granting them accessibility to drivers who wish to give but do not have a passenger in the car. It also allows for a greater number of residents to be reached from a safe standpoint, the bottom of an access ramp, and grants visibility to residents to show that the City of Durham still has work to do in regards to eliminating homelessness.
As a follow up I feel the pros to the City's 10-year plan to end homelessness are it one addresses the fact we no longer need to "manage" those who are homeless but rather help them enhance their situation, through the four step outline of granting affordable permanent housing, services for the temporarily homeless, adequate income and prevention. Secondly, I believe from a philosophical stance the fact that the plan reaches out to all aspects of the community and takes a larger stance on holding the community accountable is a pro. In addition, the cons to the plan include the fact it does not seem to take into account future population growth. Since the implementation of this plan homelessness has actually risen due to population growth and the other con which is an unforeseeable stagnant and now recovering national and state economy. In terms of obstacles, the most evident one in conjunction with the latter con is the lack of employment opportunities. Without stable incomes many residents and families have found themselves being forced into homelessness due to foreclosures. In order to overcome this obstacle, the City needs to continue working on job development and Workforce Development training, we must continue to educate our residents in areas that are in demand for employers while also teaching them how former skills are marketable. In addition, due to lack of employment and access to housing the rate of those who are homeless often supersedes the capacity that shelters and community organizations can provide services. This obstacle should be approached through community partnerships and development to create more accommodations for the homeless. A plan for this can include partnering with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and community churches to reach out to those needing housing, and solicit their help in building shelter within communities, which can be utilized as both a shelter and a community support area, two excellent models of this type of outreach are found in the Durham Rescue Mission and TROSA. Through providing a larger outlet of community support individuals can be inspired and may no longer turn to substance abuse and can seek proper attention for mental illness. Such thinking leads to the final obstacle to this plan which is the rate of addiction and mental illness found in the City. It has been cited that as of January 30, 2013 the Point in Time Count for Durham homeless was 759 people, of those 759 over 50 percent were found to be homeless with either a substance abuse problem or a mental illness. In order to resolve this problem first we need to collaborate with the Durham Police Department to end the cycle of drug abuse through cracking down on drug dealers and secondly we need to collaborate with mental health specialists to grant these residents the proper medical attention they need. Durham can eliminate homelessness if we continue to work together as a community and foster a communal approach with our already established organizations and government.
6. Neighborhood Improvement Services has embarked on the PRIP, the Proactive Rental Inspection Program. Assess the progress of PRIP. Also, do you think PRIP can adequately address the quality of rental housing in Durham?
The progress of PRIP is that it has allowed Neighborhood Improvement Services to be founded through careful evaluation from an advisory committee and has further continued to increase the quality of our neighborhoods. As an advocate for strong neighborhoods I believe that evaluation of our rental homes is necessary to protect both our renters and landlords. PRIP allows both of these things to happen by maintaining healthy environments for renters, through inspections of the property and also protects landlords from faulty complaints and law suits from tenants. I feel that PRIP can adequately address the quality of rental housing in Durham due to the outline of six zones that has been coordinated.
7. Durham's strategic plan calls for a well-focused annexation policy. In your opinion, what should Durham's annexation policy look like? What areas and developments could be annexed and why?
In my opinion, Durham's annexation plan should look like it currently does, as a voluntary and involuntary process. I believe the voluntary process allows residents to have more of an input in the developmental and planning decisions of their city; private landowner initiates the process and it is evaluated in terms of cost of extending resources, zoning, and public input all of which are important areas to be considered. In my opinion, the areas and developments that can be annexed in the future are those that are creating housing and jobs for residents here in Durham. Developments should be considered for annexation when their commitment to provide jobs and training to our City and county's unemployed residents is their number one priority, not hiring a majority of workers from other surrounding counties. This is because residential and commercial development increases the tax base further distributing the current concentrated tax burden onto a larger base of residents.
8. In 2011, Durham voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase for public transit. Assess the success of the transit improvements. What should the next priorities be?
The success of the transit improvements include the fact that a study conducted from D.A.T.A. from October 2010 to October 2011 found that boarding per hour in addition to total customer boarding increased, 8 percent per hour and 15 percent overall. While the total operating cost decreased by 11 percent. This information is beneficial in illustrating that Durham is headed in the right direction of providing affordable transportation to its residents. Meanwhile, the next priorities should indefinitely be to continue planning for newly developed corridor expansion. We need to continue developing our transit system to be as efficient in access and cost as it can be for residents while also moving forward with the proposed plans of instituting an express, commuter rail in addition to a light rail. The proposed improvements will not only be linking the triangle together but also providing much needed access to residents who need such services for jobs, access to medical treatment, and students seeking advanced degrees.
9. Over the last two-months, Durham's violent crime rate has increased nearly 8%. In July, there was a controversial incident in which a DPD officer shot and killed a man who was allegedly brandishing a knife. However, witness and police accounts of the incident are in dispute. Assess the level of professionalism and proficiency of DPD and recommend ways it can improve.
My assessment of the level of professionalism and proficiency of the DPD is that currently it is under poor leadership. With the current investigation underway of Chief Lopez, it is vital that we reach out to the Law Enforcement community in a manner that says we support their line of work but that they are also held accountable for misconduct. It is my opinion that all misconduct should be investigated fully at this point and those individuals who are found guilty should be let go, there are too many fine men and women serving this City to be subjected to a few individuals who wish to not abide by policy. In terms of ways professionalism and proficiency can improve is to first find new leadership. Individuals respond to the type of leadership they are granted and there have been too many questionable instances under the current leadership in terms of conduct. I also feel we should continue to evaluate the budget granted to the DPD to assess proficiency. With the recent increase in crime we cannot expect them to operate at the capacity needed with a former budget created when crime was low; to improve the outcomes we must remain in communication and address the needs of the department and allocate more funding when needed.