Rodger | Indy Week

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Re: “Two races could flip the Raleigh City Council's approach to growth

I want to make it clear I have not endorsed any specific community group. Furthermore, Community Scale is not actively supporting my campaign. I know several of its members; they happen to be neighbors of mine. Furthermore, in the course of my campaign I spend a lot of time visiting with people and groups of people. Thus, some folks who belong to Community Scale may also decide to support my campaign. I assume that's because they're dissatisfied with their current representation. However, that's very different from a group that organizes solely around getting a candidate elected. Part of my platform is to make sure we restore representative government to the city of Raleigh so that ALL citizens are represented and not just those who have resources. When citizens bring issues that are important to them to the council I think it's important we respect the fact people have taken their valuable time to participate in the political process. We should encourage, not discourage, that because representative democracy only works when as many people as possible actively participate in their government. Currently, citizen participation is being marginalized by often ignored input and advice from groups like the Citizens Advisory Councils (CACs). I think that's wrong. As an elected representative it's my job to ensure ALL people's needs are represented, and not just those few who happen to have the resources to make themselves be heard. Specific to Community SCALE, I know several of its members and I know they're involved in neighborhood issues that are important to them. However, I have not paid particular attention to exactly what they're advocating for and thus I have not taken a position as to the merit of their argument. That will come after I'm elected and after the entire city council has gone through the normal process of evaluating requests from citizens and/or citizen groups. In terms of downzoning 140 neighbors against their will, this is the first I've heard of it. Property rights issues need to be dealt with in the most respectful and deferential manner. Nobody as far I as can tell is going to get something like this shoved down their throats. But again, I have not spent any time looking at Community Scale's specific issues so cannot comment on the merit of their position. I do believe, however, we should applaud the fact citizens are willing to come together in a neighborly fashion to address issues that are important to them. Any group of people. Take for example Horseshoe Farm Park. It was generously given to us, the citizens of Raleigh, with the express intention of keeping it as a nature park. Then all of a sudden, because of backroom politics by a few developers and my opponent, there was talk of building a giant gym right in the middle of the park. If it hadn't been for concerned citizens' willingness to make their voices heard and to ensure the issues involving Horseshoe Farm Park were given the full benefit of a public discussion, that park would not exist as a nature park today. I think that's a very good thing and I'm glad citizens acted and stood up to protect Horseshoe Farm Park. The same can be said for Durant Nature Park. Currently there is a discussion about clear-cutting over 10 acres of a mature wooded area to build an asphalt parking lot. However, no clear need for this has been established and very little discussion has taken place whether or not this truly reflects the needs of ALL citizens or just a few. Fortunately, citizens organized to speak up about this and that in turn will cause the city to become more accountable for its decisions. Again, I think that's a good thing. The founders of our country expressly embedded many checks and balances into our political processes because they recognized it's sometimes very easy for the needs of the few to override the concerns of the many. We truly have the best form of representative democracy on earth. But it only works when all of us stand up to be counted and participate to let our voices be heard. No one small group should get some form of publicly funded benefit if it's injurious to many others. If that is called community activism then I welcome it. Sincerely, Rodger Koopman Candidate, Raleigh City Council District B

Posted by Rodger on 09/04/2007 at 5:49 PM

Re: “John Kane's preposterous parking deck proposal

I'm on the side of the mayor on this one. If we're going to provide incentives for development it should be targeted at other parts of the city that have more urgent needs. North Hills is nicely done and I applaud John Kane for his contributions to our community. But when I'm on the council I will oppose this particular subsidy. Unlike my opponent, it is for this and many other reasons I get neither money nor endorsements from the development and real estate lobbyists and political action committees. Rodger Koopman Candidate Raleigh City Council District B

Posted by Rodger on 08/19/2007 at 12:07 PM

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