Shipley looks to restore balance to city council

by Keith Barber

Ted Shipley has a clear strategy for challeng- ing Winston-Salem City Councilman Dan Besse to represent the city’s Southwest Ward. The Republican candidate believes he can inspire more voters to vote in the Nov. 3 general election because of his broad appeal to residents of the Southwest Ward. “I’ll appeal to conservatives and moderates of all age groups,” Shipley said. “When Mr. Besse ran for lieutenant governor this last time, he real ly showed his true stripes, his true philosophy.” Shipley said Besse’s liberal leanings became evident in his race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor last year. Besse finished fourth in the May 6 primary. “He said things that he normally doesn’t say in Winston-Salem,” Shipley noted. “When he gets in the other 99 counties, he turns into a very liberal person. His support among moderates has dwindled.” The key for Shipley, 31, is effectively introducing himself to both Republican and Democratic voters and ensuring a higher voter turnout than in the 2005 municipal elections, he said. Only 11 percent of the electorate in Forsyth County voted in the 2005 general election. “This is going to be the most heated race with respect to the magnitude of the get-outthe- vote effort,” Shipley said. The candidate said he is not overlooking the fact that he faces a challenger for the Republican nomination, Donald T. Shaw. In 2005, Shaw lost to Dan Besse in the general election by more than 1,100 votes. But Shipley has focused his campaign efforts on differentiating himself from Besse, and the other Democratic members of city council. “[City council] thinks there’s a government solution to everything — it’s always government,” Shipley said. “Sometimes there’s a community solution. That’s one reason I’ve been bothered by city council and whenever there’s a problem, [they] believe that greater regulation is always the way to approach things.” Shipley cited the council’s recent passage of the tree ordinance as an example of taking a regulatory approach to an environmental issue versus a community approach. Under the adopted ordinance — called the “Besse Compromise” — developers have to conserve either 10 or 12 percent of the total area of any new development for green space. Shipley said he supported one of the original tree ordinance proposals authored by the planning board that gave an exemption for school-owned property. “I’m a big advocate of personal property rights, especially someone’s real property,” Shipley said. “I’m here to help restore balance to a city council that is 7 to 1, Democrat to Republican.” Robert Clark, who represents the city’s West Ward, is currently the only Republican on the council. Shipley said he also wants to help restore accountability to the council. He attributed the controversy over the downtown ballpark to a lack of due diligence on the council’s behalf. “They went into a public-private partnership with a [limited liability corporation],” Shipley said. “LLCs don’t have any assets. You have to get both those [corporation] members give a personal guarantee or collateral pledge, so at least we have something to fall back on. In this case, we had nothing.” A Winston-Salem native, Shipley works as a lawyer for the Spilman Thomas & Battle lawfirm. An opponent of forced annexation, Shipley’s vision of Winston-Salem’s future includes lowering taxes on businesses and individuals to foster greater economic development. Shipley said he would also work to improve the city’s infrastructure, protect jobs in the medical field, and make the city council responsive to citizen concerns. “I’m going to be able to represent not just the people Dan represents but people of all political persuasions,” he said.