Robert C. Clark
Residential address: 2815 Country Club Road,27104
Incumbent or challenger? Incumbent
Age: 58 (Oct. 18)
Campaign website or blog: None
Occupation and employer: President and owner,Leesona Industries
Previous elective experience(including election campaigns): Winston-Salem City Council, 2001-present
Endorsements: Winston-Salem Journal
Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on local government commissions and boards): NC Commission onVolunteerism; board of directors, RiverRun Film Festival; board of directors,Datamax Foundation; board of directors, Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce; boardof directors, Better Business Bureau (past); Crosby Scholars (past); activemember, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): MBA, University of Pennsylvania
Party registration: Republican
Where were you born? Hattiesburg, Miss.
What year did you move to Winston-Salem?1965
Paid consultants working oncampaign: None
Campaign manager: None
Articles about this candidate:
• Urban circulator, jobs and regional competition mark fault lines between candidates (link)
• A primary challenge in a quiet ward (link)
• Winston-Salem primary races shape up in East and West wards (link)
The majorityof Winston-Salem City Council declined to intervene in Kalvin Michael Smith’sfederal petition for a new trial although citizens have requested that the citytake responsibility for a flawed police investigation that arguably underminedthe judicial process leading to Smith’s conviction in the brutal beating ofJill Marker. What is your position in this matter?
Mr.Smith’s trial took place in our criminal justice system and any relief he wantsmust come from that same system. Regardless of what some citizens may want, thecity does not run the court system and has limited influence over it. The cityconducted a citizen’s review of the investigation and also had the policedepartment conduct a comprehensive review of the case as well. Both studieshave been given to the prosecution and defense teams.
Do you supportthe proposed Urban Circulator (streetcar or enhanced bus) that would connectBaptist Hospital and East Winston through downtown? Please explain why or whynot.
Idid not support the motion to conduct the current streetcar study. Previousstudies have shown that both the capital costs to build the system and theoperating costs to maintain the system are far in excess of the city’sfinancial ability. The current downtown bus route is the least used and mostsubsidized of all the city routes, confirming the lack of interest or need forsuch a system at this time. As the downtown develops such a circular route maybe needed but we are many years away from having the density to justify it.
City councilhas focused on revitalizing downtown over the past 10 years, most recentlyapproving the first entertainment district in the city. Should the citycontinue to promote intensification of shared commercial and residential usesin downtown or slow growth to protect existing businesses and homeowners?
Thecity should continue to partner with those individuals and companies that wantto invest in our downtown area. Many of these are existing businesses and someare new to our city. There is room for all who want to come to Winston-Salem.
While downtownis vibrant and beautiful, areas to the immediate north and east are uninviting,underdeveloped and lacking in pedestrian-scale retail amenities. What, ifanything, should be done to extend the vitality of downtown into outlyingareas?
Thereare a number of area business districts that have fallen on hard times inrecent years. The city currently has a program to assist these property ownersin revitalizing their areas. The program is a partnership requiring the ownersto invest their money along side the city. The best example of this program isthe King Shopping Center on the south side of town where a small city loan hassparked considerable private investment.
What roleshould city council play in the Business 40 improvement project, includingrecommendations for traffic alignment through downtown when the project iscompleted?
Thecity has been and continues to work with the state in planning for the BusinessI-40 improvements. Numerous meeting have been held with citizens to get theirinput on optimizing the entrance/exit layout and how best to conduct the workfrom a timing schedule. The bridges over the interstate and the roadbed are indire need of replacement and this project needs to be top priority for bothlocal and state elected officials.
What is yourposition on the use of incentives to promote economic development? If yousupport incentives, why? If not, what other tools does city government have forpromoting job growth?
Themost important work the city can do in retaining and expanding our businessbase is to efficiently administer those city services vital to our well being —police, fire, water, sewer, roads, parks, etc. For certain large-scale economicdevelopment projects city, county, and state involvement is needed to make ithappen. I have supported those projects that provide the city with a positiveprofitable return on our investment.
What is yourproudest achievement?
Myfamily. I have a wonderful wife, three great kids, a loveable seven-year-oldgolden retriever, and as of a few days ago, an 8-week-old retriever namedBelle.
What is yourfavorite way to unwind in Winston-Salem?
Mywife and I frequently dine at local restaurants and attend many cultural,sporting, and civic events around the city.