Residential address: 405 Wiley Ave., 27104
Incumbent or challenger? (Open seat)
Campaign website or blog: noahreynoldsforcitycouncil.com (link)
Occupation and employer: Self employed in real estate management and development
Previous elective experience(including election campaigns): None
Endorsement: NC Police Benevolent Association
Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on local government commissions and boards): Trustee, Z. Smith ReynoldsFoundation; treasurer in eighth grade; served on advisory panel first(2002-2004 or 2005); board, Children’s Home (serves onbuilding and grounds committee and programs and services committee, previously servedon finance committee); founding board member, New Winston Museum; volunteer, Creative Corridors Coalition
Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): MBA with dual concentration in finance andentrepreneurship, Wake Forest University
Party registration: Democrat
Where were you born? Winston-Salem
Paid consultants working oncampaign: None(as of July 22)
Campaign manager: None (as of July 22)
Articles about this candidate:
• Urban circulator, jobs and regional competition mark fault lines between candidates (link)’
• A new face in W-S Northwest Ward race (link)’
• Lawsuits, convictions and voting (link)’
• Winston-Salem City Council candidates in tight primaries come out swinging (link)
The majority of Winston-Salem City Council declined tointervene in Kalvin Michael Smith’s federal petition for a new trial althoughcitizens have requested that the city take responsibility for a flawed policeinvestigation that arguably undermined the judicial process leading to Smith’sconviction in the brutal beating of Jill Marker. What is your position on thismatter?
City council has a very limited set of powers, duties andobligations that end at the city limits. Each city must work with its county boardof commissioners, and also the state House and Senate as well as the federalHouse and Senate. I think that the city can try to be a moral compass orprovide informal support and guidance for certain issues, but at some point,this type of advocacy will undermine the ability of the city council to do thethings that it is legally charged to do by its citizens or may polarize thecitizens over an issue that is not within the normal roles of the city council.The case in question is a federal case even though it happened in the city. Thefact that some council members were supportive and some were not shows thatdiscussions were held and that the some of the issues that I mentioned above weremost likely discussed. In the end, the city council (as a city council)probably made the right call, even though individual persons on the council maynot have agreed. At the end of the day, the council must make its decision and asthe old saying goes, “If two people in a room always agree on the same things,then one of them is redundant!”
Do you support the proposed Urban Circulator (streetcar orenhanced bus) that would connect Baptist Hospital and East Winston throughdowntown? Please explain why or why not?
Yes I would support the Urban Circulator. First, community-basedtransportation by default will need to start with buses and trolleys as a truelight rail system would take at least a decade to fully develop and implement. Second,once Business 40 is shut down to replace the bridges, access to hospitals inthe urban core will be critical as Business 40 will no longer be available.Also, non-car-based community transportation solutions will reduce traffic andcongestion around the hospital. Overall, any community-based transportationasset that reduces traffic and congestion and increases access across all ofthe members of the community is a good thing. I am very familiar with the subwaysof New York and the buses and trains of the Northeast, and I enjoy visitingplaces where I do not need a car and often chooses to use public transportationbecause of the low cost per ride and predictability of arrival and departuretimes.
City council has focused on revitalizing downtown over thepast 10 years, most recently approving the first entertainment district in thecity. Should the city continue to promote intensification of shared commercialand residential uses in downtown or slow growth to protect existing businessesand homeowners?
The city has been “maintaining” for almost half a centuryand only in the past decade or so has the city begun to “envision” a new modernfuture for the city through the redevelopment of 4th Street and thecreation of the Arts District. In order for the urban core of the city tothrive, four things need to be in place at a minimum, (1) destinations for foodand entertainment and lodging for people to enjoy who are traveling fromoutside the city, (2) a core of residents who live and do their day to day shoppingin the urban core, (3) businesses and small shopkeepers who feel confident thatthey can operate in the urban core and where their employees feel welcome andexcited to work downtown, and (4) a travel and transportation infrastructure (includingparking) that make it convenient and enjoyable for visitors (1), residents (2),and the business community (3) to want to live, work and shop in the urban core.
While downtown is vibrant and beautiful, areas to theimmediate north and east are uninviting, underdeveloped and lacking inpedestrian-scale retail amenities. What, if anything, should be done to extendthe vitality of downtown into outlying areas?
Connectivity across the city can be improved throughtransportation connectivity such as a light rail from East to West and North toSouth like the MARTA in Atlanta or the new light rail in Charlotte. A trolley/busline can help out as well. The city could also look at offering incentives forlocal home based developers to invest in their own or neighboring communities.Food and shopping centers also need to be encouraged to open in all areas ofthe city. Safety, graffiti and petty crime need to be addressed by publicsafety. Most importantly, each area of the city needs to take pride in itsneighborhood and community and make sure that it looks good. Neighbors helping neighborscan go a long way and the city can put the conditions in place where this can beginto happen and support growth in these neighborhoods when it does happen.
What role should city council play in the Business 40improvement project, including recommendations for traffic alignment throughdowntown when the project is completed?
The Creative Corridors group has been looking at the bestways to improve the design and connectivity of the new bridges across Business 40(Green I-40) I have seen the plans and spoken with several persons on thegroups. The closing down of both lanes of Business 40 and the replacement ofthe bridges will be the major urbantransportation issue for Winston-Salem for the next five years! The impacton traffic, transportation and commerce in the urban core will be significant.Although the money is federal and state, the city has some funds and a voiceand a seat at the table. City council needs to take a lead role in public relationsand messaging about the changes and help to educate and engage the public aboutwhat this means for commuters, businesses, economic development, public safetyand access to hospitals. The city shouldhave an interactive web page now that shows maps and plans and allows a messageboard for comments.
What is your position on the use of incentives to promoteeconomic development? If you support incentives, why? If not, what other toolsdoes city government have for promoting job growth?
I do support incentives for economic development for tworeasons: First, this is the game that is played by our competitors (Greensboro,High Point, Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Charlotte). We need to becompetitive but also smart in the tax breaks that we can offer businesses tolocate to our city and bring jobs, We have had both a recent success (Caterpillar)and a recent failure (Dell). Second, economic incentives allow our community toleverage its own assets, both human and financial capital, to showcase ourcity. City government is in a better position than a private individual todiscuss the attractiveness of our city for new business and to have thefinancial resources (incentives) to be able to propose a competitive bid givenour competition from other cities, not just in North Carolina, but around theSoutheast. A robust public who engages their elected officials makes thisprocess even better.
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was when I came back toWinston-Salem in 2004 to assist my mother to take care of my father who was terminallyill and who passed away on Feb. 18, 2009. I interrupted my career plans andmade a decision to invest in my family and my home and to learn about both.Looking back now, I was there when my father and mother needed me and I gaineda new appreciation for home and family. In the process I also reconnected withmy community and made new friends and developed new relationships that I didnot have when I had left in 1991 to go to college out of state. I did the rightthing for me, to stand by my family, and in the process I rediscovered my childhoodhome that I now fondly call “the largest small town in America.”
What’s your favorite way to unwind in Winston-Salem?
I live close to Hanes Park, and I often enjoy running at thepark or walking over to the YMCA where I can lift weights, swim or play gameswith friends. I also enjoy walking around downtown Winston-Salem and seeing allof the neat places we have such as the West End in the neighborhood. I think Iam going to buy a bicycle and try this out next!