Tammy Lightfoot | Candidate Questionnaires - Durham County | Indy Week
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Tammy Lightfoot 


Name as it appears on the ballot:Tammy Lightfoot
Party affiliation, if any: none
Campaign website : 2015electtammylightfoot.com
Occupation & employer: Personnel Manager- Walmart
Years lived in Durham: Two

1) Given the current direction of Durham city government, would you say things are generally on the right course? If not, what specific, major changes you will advocate if elected?

2) Please identify the three most pressing issues the city faces and how you will address them.

3) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective as a member of Council? If you’ve identified specific issues above, what in your record has prepared you to be an effective advocate for them?

4) Please give one specific example of something you think City Council has done wrong or that you would have rather done differently in the last year. Also, please tell us the single best thing the city’s done during that span.

5) How do you identify yourself to others in terms of your political philosophy? For example, do you tell people you’re a conservative, a moderate, a progressive, a libertarian?

6) The INDY’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. If elected, how will your service in office help further that goal?

Please address, in detail, the following major issues in Durham:

7) Do you believe that there is a disconnect between the citizens of Durham and the city’s police force? If so, how would you go about remedying that disconnect? On a similar note, to what degree would you say you that Chief Jose Lopez has your full faith and confidence?

There is a trust issue between the community and the police department. Residents do not believe that the police officers are going to do anything about their complaints. Many times they are fearful about coming forward with information because they feel like the person they complained about might find out that they gave information to the police department and seek retaliation. Real or imagined, citizens should not have to worry about making complaints or have any fear that their identity will not be protected by the police department . I would like to look into how the citizens complaints are being handled . I believe that chief Lopez has a lot to deal with and I'm sure he's doing what he can with the resources that he has. I would like to see him do more press conferences and talk to the community when shootings occur , to let the public know what he is doing about the situation.

8) A report by the U.S. Department of Justice early this year concluded that black males between 15 and 34 in Durham are six times more likely to die from homicide than all other Durham residents. What steps should local government and police take to address this problem? Does the city have its priorities in order when it comes to dealing with violent crime in low-income neighborhoods, at a time when there’s so much focus on downtown development?

The first priority should be getting the guns out of the wrong hands. If there is gang activity in Durham, then we need to use all resources that are available in getting this issue under control. There seems to be a complacency and acceptance that Durham is a violent city and that's just the way it is. I do not believe that enough is being done to get the violence under control. I think it's great that downtown is prospering, but I do not think it will continue to prosper if the violence is not controlled. We will not attract new businesses if we cannot provide safe areas for opportunities to build.

9) Do you think that support for saving the old Carpenter Chevrolet Building downtown justifies the anticipated $80.9 million cost to renovate it for a new police headquarters? Do you see any alternatives that could have been explored? And do you think the city has enough substations where they’re most needed?

Any time we can use existing structures instead of having to build new ones is a good thing. However, if it is going to take $80 million to renovate, maybe another building should be picked or a new one built. I don't think we have enough substations.

10) There’s little doubt that Durham, as a whole, is prospering. But there’s also little doubt that this prosperity is distributed unevenly. What should Council be doing to address inequality?

Neighborhoods need to be cleaned up and the crime rate brought under control before we can ask businesses to move in. While the Council has an obligation to meet the needs of each community, I do not believe that they should be held responsible for businesses not wanting to go in high crime areas.

11) In that vein, what more should the city be doing to address the need for affordable housing?

The city needs to take a look and all of the boarded-up houses and address the issue. These houses are sitting idle with nobody in them. They could be sold to citizens as part of a revitalization project.

12) As downtown grows, some degree of gentrification seems inevitable. What steps do you believe the city should be taking to revitalize neighborhoods with out them lose their character?

New businesses in areas that are being revamped need to reflect the needs of the neighborhood. If there are too many big businesses in one area, it can cause a hardship on the community due to high traffic and noise levels. Consideration as to whether or not the community can support the new businesses needs to be taken into consideration as well.

13) What role should the city play in the development or redevelopment of commercial real estate? Do you believe the city should award incentives to private developers, and under what circumstances?

Only if the city is having a hard time getting businesses to go into certain areas should there be a incentive offered to a company.

14) The Bull City Connector recently underwent route changes. Do you think the results are fair and efficient? If not, how could the Connector’s routes be changed to best serve the needs of residents most likely to use it?

I understand the need for more simplicity on the route of the connector, but it will affect a great deal of Durham citizens who do not have any other transportation and depend on the connector.

15) Do you believe the downtown Loop is outdated? If so, what would you like to see done with it?

No I do not think that the downtown loop is outdated.

16) What are your initial thoughts on a proposed mixed-use development in North Durham, with a shopping center to be anchored by a Publix? Do you see, as some North Durham residents have expressed, opportunities to “fix” problems in the area of Guess and Latta roads with this development? (If so, what features would you like to see in the developer’s plan?) Or are you more inclined to side with residents who believe that such a development would change the character of the neighborhood in undesirable ways?

This area is zoned for housing. The community has stated that they want it to stay a residential area. The question has been asked several times; Rather than build right next to a year-round school, why can't Publix renovate one of the many empty existing storefronts in the area? It does not seem sensible to tear down the environment to put up new structures and rezone areas meant for residents, when you have empty structures already in place and zoned for business that could be renovated and used.

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