Jay Ovittore, District 3 candidate
2411 Dellwood Drive
Incumbent or challenger? Challenger
Campaign website or blog: http://www.jayovittore.org/, Facebook group
Occupation and employer: Self-employed house painter and contractor
Previous elective experience (including election campaigns): Previously elected vice-chair of Guilford County Democratic Party and president of Guilford County Young Democrats; unsuccessful run for US Congress in North Carolina Congressional District 6 (Howard Coble’s seat), 2008
Civic and volunteer experience (including service on city commissions and boards): Member, Greensboro Human Relations Commission: chair of the Montgomery/Wells Housing Committee, member of the Education Committee, served on the Truth and Reconciliation Subcommittee; contributing editor and NC issues coordinator, Stopthecap.com
Education (highest degree attained and name of institution): High school graduate,
Party registration: Democrat (nonpartisan race)
What is the city and state of your birth?
Paid consultants working on your campaign: None
Your campaign manager(s): Self
Your treasurer: Self
Remarks from Sept. 8 candidate forum:
Introductory statement My name is Jay Ovittore. I am running for city council in District 3. I’m a human relations commissioner here in the city of Greensboro. I chair the fair housing committee for the Greensboro Human Relations Commission. I have sat on the RUCO Task Force. I have sat on the subcommittee that scripted the statement of regret for the truth and reconciliation process. I am here to help. District 3 needs a lot of help right now. There are three things for the city that I want to focus on. One, being open and transparent. I am going to hold constituent hours at Melvin Municipal Building three days a week, four hours a day. If you need more, I’ll do more. I’m doing this because I want to and it’s the right thing. And I want to encourage other candidates and other council members to do the same. The police department, I want to focus on getting us a better police department. We have a good police department; it can always be better. And I want to bring jobs here. I want to focus on small businesses. I own a small business myself. We give incentives to folks like Dell and FedEx; we need to give incentives to folks like Mary’s Frame Shop, to hire two more people. Www.jayovittore.org. How would you deal with the issue of dilapidated, unsafe housing and absentee landlords? I sit on the RUCO Task Force, which reports to the RUCO Board…. We’ve reduced substandard housing in Greensboro by 80 percent in the first five years of the program, and we will continue to do that keeping RUCO in place. I sit as the fair housing chair for the Greensboro Human Relations Commission, and these are the problems I deal with on a daily basis. I myself — for full disclosure — have a RUCO complaint against my landlord right now for problems that haven’t been fixed over a period of eight months. Even the folks who are in the know have problems with this. And let me just point out that 98 percent of your landlords are good landlords. You have a few, a small percent, that own a lot of property that are letting it get rundown. And as long as we let our engineering and inspections department do their job, we will fix this problem. And that will raise everybody’s property values in this room. The city staff came up with a plan to mitigate noise from the Urban Loop. Should the city adopt these rules? I believe the city should adopt these rules. We need to put a barrier up between the Urban Loop and the houses that are there. Some cities have been fortunate enough to be able to put up brick barriers to reduce noise. The Urban Loop was in development well before those houses and those properties were built. The developers knew it was coming; they decided to put it up anyway. I think if anybody has a problem with the Urban Loop, they should go to the developers and yell and scream, because they’re the ones that put the people through the wringer. Bottom line. There are certain places such as New Garden Road and Horse Pen Creek Road where sprawl as occurred and not urban infill, which is what many council people and candidates support. How will you address urban infill and limit the continued sprawl of northwest Greensboro? I am a firm supporter of urban infill development. I believe that annexing properties out in the county that don’t pay for themselves in the long run — if the projected tax value doesn’t pay for the schools, libraries and firehouses, the police, the parks that need to be put into these neighborhoods — that’s what our sprawl problem is. We keep annexing property. Some are smart, and some are not. We just have to look at what we’re annexing, and what we’re not. The jobs are closer to downtown, but the one problem that my opponent has not addressed is that your folks like teachers, firefighters and policemen, your service workers, they’re getting pushed from the inner city out into to the suburbs. And in the suburbs they’re getting less bang for their buck, but they’re having to find new ways of transportation to get into where their jobs are. I think they’re all things we need to address. Name something that would not have happened without you. Time-Warner Cable. If you remember a few months back, Time-Warner Cable tried to implement a cap on how much bandwidth you can use on your internet. They would charge you more money than they’re charging you now, and they would cap it at a certain point — ten-, twenty-, thirty-gigabyte caps. I know this is getting very hairy, so bear with me. What that would do is they would essentially charge you an overage fee after you reached that cap. I put together a coalition of folks here in Greensboro, as well as folks in Rochester, New York, San Antonio, Texas and Austin, Texas — the four markets they were trying to do this in — and we got them to shelve that idea. The senator from New York, Charles Schumer, actually sat down with the CEO of Time-Warner and got them to shelve that. Part of that effort stemmed from here; it stemmed from me. I’ve already been fighting for you, saving you money in the long run. Your internet bill could have been two times more expensive than it is now. How would you improve public transportation for areas in the city without bus service? The one thing we always have to do with transportation is we have to fix the… ridership. If an area doesn’t have a bus route and there are only two or three people that may ride it, that will cost the city an immense amount of money to put a bus out there. I think expanding stuff like our HEAT service recently was a very good idea for our students that live outside the university area. I have been talking to Rep. Grier Martin out of Wake County. In the next five years we’re looking at a light-rail system from Greensboro to Raleigh. If you elect me to council, I will make sure we get that light-rail system.” What is your position on land use, zoning or future land-use planning? There’s a lot of discussion right now on the LDO — the land development ordinance. It’s been sold very badly by the department that’s running it. The way it was explained to me is on the old zoning maps if it said RS-7 that might be a residential with five units. It makes no sense whatsoever. And to the general public it makes no sense either.’ Under the new LDO it would say R-5, which makes total sense — residential 5. MU-7 — mixed use 7. It makes it easier for you to read, and for you to enact your protest petition — which I’m glad we have back. I look at the 2025 plan. I think we’re on target for a lot of those things that are in the plan. I also believe that things change. Times change. Money changes. The economy changes. So some of those things may change as well. I think the LDO in general is going to simplify the process for the everyday, average citizen. What is your vision for Greensboro concerning the following environmental issues: the expansion of the current recycling program with more types of materials and accessibility to recycling centers? I think we can always improve our recycling. We’re lucky enough to have enacted a — to be one of the Cool Cities. I think that’s done wonders for us. It’s right in our name: “Greens”-boro. We need to be a green city. Depending on what cost is involved in collecting different types of recycling from homes or businesses would [determine] whether or not I’d want to implement that or not. But I would want there to be a place for the common folk in the city to go to and say, “Okay, I’m separating my brown bottles from my green bottles, and my plastics.” And to be able to do that at a recycling center. Closing statement I’m not going to take the entire two minutes. I want to come here tonight and tell you without a doubt I will be available to you. My phone number is 790-4611. It rings at my house. You can call me. You can reach me by e-mail at email@example.com. You can check out my website — it has my full platform at www.jayovittore.org. I’m going to be accessible, something that a lot of our officials aren’t. I’m glad our mayor is as accessible as she is. If you’re going to elect me to be your District 3 representative, then I need to be there for you. That’s the bottom line. I run a small business, and I’m going to treat this part-time council job as a full-time job. And you have my word on that. Anyone who knows how I work knows I’m a pit bull for getting things done and making sure they’re done right. I’ve fought for you before. I’m going to fight for you again. Whether I win this race or not, thank you for coming tonight. I appreciate if you vote for me. Thank you.
Stories about this candidate:
Greensboro primary election endorsements
District 3 challenger runs as moderate
Candidate Ovittore: Can a painter-turned politician defeat the 6th district’s congressman for life?
Blog posts about this candidate: