Farad Ali | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Farad Ali 

Candidate for Durham City Council

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Name as it appears on the ballot: Farad Ali
Full legal name, if different:
Date of birth: January 30, 1967
Home address: 1111 North Mangum Street, Durham, NC 27701
Mailing address, if different from home: Post Office Box 2271, Durham, NC 27702
Campaign Web site: www.faradali.com
Occupation & employer: Vice President, NC Institute of Minority Economic Development
Home phone: 919.687.2958
Work phone: 919.956.8889
E-mail: info@faradali.com

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

  • Responsible Community Economic Development
  • As Durham encounters growth and economic development, I believe that it is important to measure, not only the positive economic impact, but to develop a plan to measure the impact of development of the entire structure of the city. This includes workforce, neighborhoods, roads, and the like. Also I believe that there can be greater collaboration of city services to support the economic development.

  • Parity in Neighborhood Revitalization
  • I celebrate Durham’s diverse and distinct neighborhoods throughout the city. I think that safe and well maintain neighborhoods are critical to Durham’s pride. Our ability to support neighborhood pride by providing city supportive services equality throughout the city should be the norm.

  • Accountability of Government
  • Leaders in city government are public servants. The public looks to government to provide services, information, and structure. If the integrity of the city government is in question, the city leaders must be held accountable. I believe the trust will be built as the city government becomes increasingly transparent.

2) 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 have banking experience working with individuals, communities, and corporations focused improving the financial health of my constituents. Additionally, I work at a non-profit working with individuals, communities, and corporations focused on economic parity and shared wealth for historically underutilized businesses. With a decade of banking experience and several years as a not-for-profit executive working to promote responsible community, economic, and business development, I know that my business and financial experience will add a unique and critical value to the council composition, particularly since our city is experiencing significant growth. I also serve on numerous boards that require demonstration of leadership and collaboration, like the NC Deferred Compensation Board, the Center for Community Self-Help, the Sustainable Jobs Fund Board, the Durham YMCA Advisory Board, and the Community Reinvestment Act of North Carolina Board. I also believe my experience growing up in Durham will add greatly to my ability to understand and serve our citizens well.

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

My political philosophy is that politicians are servants and should be competent and courageous to serve. I believe as a city council member that I will serve at the pleasure of the people in Durham. Currently, I serve the state of North Carolina as a Trustee on the NC Deferred Compensation Board, I serve the city as Vice Chair of the Parrish Street Advocacy Committee, and I serve minorities, women, veterans, and other historically underserved populations as an executive of a statewide non-profit. My current platform discusses responsibility, parity, and accountability.

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

I believe that responsible community economic development requires collaboration between developers, communities, and city government. In the past, issues concerning these matters have polarized citizens.

5) Last year, the city withheld testing data that showed that the city’s drinking water failed to meet federal health standards. What can the city council do to increase transparency in city administration and prevent future breaches of the public’s trust?

I believe that the city council should determine what went wrong with the process, change the process and maybe the people in the process, and commit to the citizens for stronger oversight and have a zero tolerance for bad behavior by city administrators.

6) What specific policy solutions would you advocate to abate Durham’s problems with violent crime?

I believe that Durham’s problems with violent crimes have negatively affected the perception of the city. Changing the reality and the perception demands a collaborative effort of city services, across departments, to abate the problem. Forging connections in city services like the police department, housing, parks and recreation, and workforce development, building collaboration and finding solutions that all departments can share to insure the success of abating crime and building communities.

7) Durham’s south side is experiencing rapid growth. What impact do you expect that growth to have on the city? What are your plans for handling that development?

I believe the rapid growth on the city’s south side has positively impacted the economics and tax base of the city, but we need to continue to focus on the impact of rapid growth, like increase traffic, safe streets, and communities losing their community identity. It is important that city council listens to the voices of the communities most impacted by the growth and support solutions that will provide community confidence.

8) Private developers are in the process of revitalizing Durham’s Tobacco District, just as city crews are putting the finishing touches on the downtown streetscape. What kinds of policies should the council implement to ensure that downtown becomes a thriving commercial and residential neighborhood?

Private investment has followed public investment in Durham’s Tobacco District. The council should determine if the implementation of additional policies are needed to ensure that downtown becomes a thriving commercial and residential neighborhood.

9) What are Durham’s most pressing capital improvement needs? Please be specific.

The citizens have spoken on this issue. Quality street improvements are needed throughout the city, from paving dirt roads to repairing bumpy streets.

10) What steps can the council take to promote strong town-gown relations, especially regarding infrastructure improvements in the neighborhoods adjacent to Duke University?

I believe that the council should promote strong town-gown relations throughout the city. Each neighborhood is equally important and city council should have a neighborhood strategy with each community to promote strong town-gown relations and infrastructure improvements.

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