July 9, 2013 05:09

Howard Hudson

Howard Hudson

Residential address: 470 N. Avalon Road, 27104

Incumbent or challenger? Challenger

Age: 68

Campaign website or blog: None

Occupation and employer: Retired associate general counsel, BB&T

Previous elective experience (including election campaigns): None

Civic and volunteer experience (including service on local government commissions and boards): Citizens’ Baseball Review Committee, 2009; active member, St. Leo Catholic Church; Kiwanis Club (past) and Rotary Club (past)

Education (highest degree attained and name of institution): JD, Wake Forest School of Law

Party registration: Republican

Where were you born? Dunn

What year did you move to Winston-Salem? 1997

Paid consultants working on campaign: [Incomplete]

Campaign manager: None

Treasurer: Self

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 City Council candidates in tight primaries come out swinging (link)

• Winston-Salem primary races shape up in East and West wards (link

• West Ward challenger sets up a Republican primary (link

The majority of Winston-Salem City Council declined to intervene in Kalvin Michael Smith’s federal petition for a new trial although citizens have requested that the city take responsibility for a flawed police investigation that arguably undermined the judicial process leading to Smith’s conviction in the brutal beating of Jill Marker. What is your position on this matter?

Court cases and the verdict or judgment rendered in any given case are not proper matters for city council action. If citizens believe an investigation is flawed or justice circumvented, they should discuss the matter with the lawyers involved in the case. Under our system of laws and judicial process, errors of substantial fact and/or law are reviewed by appellate courts, not by city councils acting as advocate, judge and jury.

Do you support the proposed Urban Circulator (streetcar or enhanced bus) that would connect Baptist Hospital and East Winston through downtown? Please explain why or why not.

No. A $179 million streetcar system covering four miles is a frivolous expenditure of hard earned tax dollars, and the city analysis supporting the proposed plan is economic and political tomfoolery.  

City council has focused on revitalizing downtown over the past 10 years, most recently approving the first entertainment district in the city. Should the city continue to promote intensification of shared commercial and residential uses in downtown or slow growth to protect existing businesses and homeowners?

I support establishment of the “entertainment district.” Most cities with a vibrant and growing downtown have areas designated for entertainment. Winston-Salem is a little late to the dance in this regard and finds itself closely surrounded by residential neighborhoods, churches and businesses that may be adversely affected by noise, lights and throngs of people. It’s important, therefore, that appropriate ordinances governing the “entertainment district” be promulgated and enforced for the benefit of all.

While downtown is vibrant and beautiful, areas to the immediate north and east are uninviting, underdeveloped and lacking in pedestrian-scale retail amenities. What, if anything, should be done to extend the vitality of downtown into outlying areas?

Economic development grants and loans properly evaluated and made with care to deserving citizens, who present solid business plans and seek to improve their neighborhoods, are a proper function of city government. In addition, federal agencies such as the Small Business Administration make financing available to new and expanding small businesses. None of these sources are a guarantee of success — it takes hard work, perseverance and a community willing to patronize neighborhood businesses and amenities to create a thriving community.

What role should city council play in the Business 40 improvement project, including recommendations for traffic alignment through downtown when the project is completed?

The city council should carefully review the city planning department’s recommendations pertaining to traffic flow downtown and its likely impact on businesses and residents, who will be directly affected by any re-alignment following completion of the Business 40 project. If necessary, changes should be recommended.

What is your position on the use of incentives to promote economic development? If you support incentives, why? If not, what other tools does city government have for promoting job growth?

To incentivize or not to incentivize when the whole world is competing for the same business and jobs opportunity? Incentives are like fire — it heats and burns at the same time. Properly structured incentives to attract new business, with strong, enforceable claw-back provisions, backed by security or letters of credit in the event of default, are an acceptable business risk and investment. Incentives requested by existing, profitable companies anchored in the community for decades, on the premise that moving to another city is an open option, should be shown the door — it’s simply greed and demonstrates the lack of loyalty of that business to its community and employees.

New business and existing business will be attracted to Winston-Salem if the city keeps its municipal taxes and fees low and reasonable, and, the city maintains and improves its infrastructure through very smart planning. In addition, Winston-Salem has wonderful existing assets that are magnets to new and existing businesses: two growing universities, a venerable college and a strong, expanding community college, two great regional hospitals, a super regional bank headquarters and a national bank center, and national manufacturing facilities, among others. Success in Winston-Salem breeds future success.

What is your proudest achievement?   

Generally, serving others in the practice of law for 37 years and, more specifically, serving as general counsel of United Carolina Bank.

What’s your favorite way to unwind in Winston-Salem?

Sharing a good meal and glass of wine with family and friends in any of our great restaurants.

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