Bonner Gaylord | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Bonner Gaylord 

Candidate for Raleigh City Council District E

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Name as it appears on the ballot: Bonner Gaylord
Full legal name, if different: Bonner Gardner Gaylord
Date of birth: 10/13/1977
Home address: 3710 Rolston Dr. Raleigh, NC 27609
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site:
Occupation & employer: General Manager of North Hills, Kane Realty Corporation
Home phone: None
Work phone: (919) 833-7755

What do you believe are the most important issues facing Raleigh? If elected, what are your top priorities in addressing those issues?

It is my hope to be elected to the City Council in order to dutifully serve the citizens of Raleigh with a focus on three areas. I hope to shine a bright light on the issues of growth management, job creation, and vibrant, safe, and healthy neighborhoods all of which are equally high priorities.

What is there in your record as a public official or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be effective on the council? This might include career or community service; but please be specific about its relevance to this office.

I am currently the General Manager of North Hills with responsibility for the performance of all aspects of the property. This means I deal with trash, public safety, events, marketing efforts, legal issues, citizen relationships, site transportation, energy efficiency efforts, and so forth on a daily basis. The issues that I deal with professionally are very similar to issues that we deal with city-wide.

Further experience:

  • Raleigh Planning Commission, Raleigh City Council
  • Past Chairman, Young Leaders Group, Urban Land Institute (ULI)
  • Past Executive Committee Member, ULI Triangle District Council
  • Graduate, ULI Partnership Forum
  • Board of Directors Member, Speaker's Bureau Volunteer, Land Selection and Acquisition Committee Member, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County

How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I am unaffiliated and would define myself as an independent. This is manifested in my campaign platform in that my views are somewhat bifurcated between conservatism and progressivism. I am fiscally conservative and believe that the free market system is the best way to create opportunity, and also believe that the best way to provide long-term opportunity in our city is to take a progressive approach to transportation, growth, and the environment.

Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

Many feel that the only way to solve traffic problems is to widen roads. Often, I believe that widening roads provides a near-term Band-Aid, but in the longer term just allows more room for more and more cars. It has been proven that “Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt.” I believe there are better, more effective ways to solve our traffic issues (such as public transportation and complete streets) that provide more efficient solutions in the long-term.

What are the two or three most important program or policy initiatives you will champion if elected to the Raleigh Council? Or, to put it another way, how will your election change anything in Raleigh?

I would like to provide leadership on job creation. By keeping taxes low, implementing business-friendly processes, and making it easy to attract outside investment, the City of Raleigh can create jobs for our citizens and the many people who are moving to our beautiful area.

With the smart application of resources, we can grow in the most intelligent and appropriate areas. Raleigh needs a more advanced road network including complete streets, we need to provide more transportation choices to get cars off our overcrowded roads, and we need to work more closely with neighboring municipalities to plan for our future growth.

Growing up in Raleigh and now raising a family here, I have a deep desire to build and maintain vibrant, safe, and healthy neighborhoods. In order to keep our quality of life and property values high, we need safe, walkable communities, with greenways, parks, and gathering places that are usable amenities.

What can you point to in your record, on the Council or in community service, to demonstrate that you'll be an effective city leader?

My planning commission record shows effective leadership. In the words of Mitchell Silver, the planning director for the city of Raleigh, ““Bonner Gaylord made an immediate impact as soon as he joined the City’s Planning Commission… He is a refreshing presence on the Planning Commission. His comments are consistently thoughtful and insightful. His real world experience has brought a great deal of value to the Planning Commission and more importantly to the City of Raleigh.His straightforward style and his attention to details have earned him the respect of city staff, his fellow commission members, the development community and the general public.”

Recent droughts have underlined Raleigh's water problems. Growth could cause the city to run out. On the other hand, the city isn't selling enough water to pay down the debt on its existing systems, resulting in rate increases. How should Raleigh deal with water in the coming years?

Raleigh needs to expand its water capacity and continue to encourage conservation. I look forward to engaging on this issue as a member of the Raleigh City Council.

Crime and gang problems plague some parts of the city. Is there more the Council should be doing to go after them?

We must pay particular attention to these issues to ensure that we are doing everything possible to stop crime. I believe that by providing education and opportunity, we can often stop these problems before they start. After school programs and other educational initiatives, as well as strict enforcement of the law within the community have proven to be successful in other municipalities. I am hope to work closely as an advocate of our Police Department to uncover and implement best practices.

Are new initiatives needed to address the city's fast-growing Hispanic population? If so, what do you recommend?

I am not aware of any initiatives that are needed, but look forward to listening to and analyzing the needs of the Hispanic Community.

Does Raleigh need better public transit services? (A lot better?) If yes, what specific steps do you advocate, and how would you pay for them?

Yes. The city needs a lot better public transit. We need expanded bus service, express bus service, and light rail. From a logistical standpoint, the expansions should happen concurrently but with bus expansions coming online first, then express bus expansions, then light rail. Additionally, the city should change it’s streets and sidewalks handbook to require itself, developers, and the state DOT to comply with complete streets paradigms when building new roads. The specific payment plans will need to be on a case by case basis.

Raleigh's development fees (impact and capacity fees) are the lowest in the region, meaning that current residents shoulder the lion's share of the cost of growth, not developers or newcomers. Should these fees be increased, and if so, by how much?

Raleigh just increased impact fees by 72% and then 60% in the past few years. The current economic climate is not the time to consider raising taxes or fees.

Raleigh's never required developers to include affordable housing (however "affordable" might be defined) as a condition for approval of tall buildings or big subdivisions? Should it? If so, what rules should apply?

Raleigh should provide incentives to provide for affordable housing units. Incentives such as density bonuses, expedited review, and fee waivers will provide developers with strong economic motivation to provide affordable and workforce housing.

What's the best thing about the proposed comprehensive plan for Raleigh? What's the worst thing? As it stands, would you vote to adopt it or insist on changes first?

The best thing about the proposed comprehensive plan is that it is very thorough in its constraint of sprawl. The worst thing about it is that it will take more time to actually implement. I would vote for it and have voted for it as a member of the Raleigh Planning Commission.

Public schools are a county, not city function. Should the city nonetheless act to assist the schools, and if so, in what ways?

The city should work in partnership with the county on many issues, with schools being a major one. The city should be working together with schools to address transportation issues around schools (including provisions for pedestrian and bicycle access), allow cross-utilization of resources and facilities, and share information to best care for the needs of all our citizens.

Raleigh's form of government—strong manager, weak council and mayor—combined with the fact that almost all city meetings are held during daytime hours, have the effect of limiting the extent to which average citizens can participate in government decisions. Is this a problem, in your view? If so, what changes should be made? Is this a priority for you?

Frankly, this issue is one that concerns me greatly, but not one for which I have a solution. I am open to alternative schedules as well as alternative means of governance and look forward to learning more about this issue.

Two years ago, the Indy asked every council candidate if s/he would support extending to same-sex partners the same benefits (e.g., health insurance) on the same basis that they are now offered to the spouses of city employees. Virtually everyone said yes, but to date nothing's been done. Is it time?

I believe that all citizens should have equal access to benefits. I need to become more educated on this specific issue relative to the city of Raleigh in order to understand how to actually accomplish this goal.

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