City Council Election Focus: Mary Ann Baldwin

August, 22, 2007 , by Barden

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On October 9th, Raleigh residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on the two at-large City Council seats. There are currently six candidates in the race. Each believes they will best represent the needs of the fast-growing capital city. In the first of this series, I sat down with candidate Mary Ann Baldwin.

“Communication,” Baldwin said, is why she is running when I asked what motivated her to seek a seat on the City Council. She offered to take a stroll from her downtown office after work to grab a cup of coffee at nearby Morning Times and share some of her thoughts on the issues voters will face in the October election. She said there needed to be greater communication between city and state officials as well as an open conversation with the citizens of Raleigh.

Baldwin cited one of the most glaring examples of the need for improved communication as the recent zoning law passed in near secrecy by the General Assembly (by one of Wake’s own legislators!) that barred the city from zoning property within a certain footage of state property. How could this have crept up on the city council? Wasn’t the one who proposed the measure in the Senate one of the City Council’s own?

Mary Ann Baldwin is like many of Raleigh’s residents: a new-comer. She hails from both New York and Rhode Island, and along with her husband and daughter relocated to North Raleigh almost a decade ago.  Not enjoying the commute to her job as Director of Marketing at Stewart Engineering (she is in full support of a multi-modal transit hub), the family relocated downtown. Baldwin’s commitment to developing downtown is far more than a slogan, it’s a commitment she lives with everyday.

I asked Baldwin her feelings on the removal of certain cultural icons of downtown Raleigh (read: King’s Barricade) to make way for executive suites and high dollar high-rises and if there was any room for balance between development and maintaining a cultural identity. She said there was and praises some of the local developers for not practicing a model of development similar to cities, where entire populations and businesses were shoved aside, examples included Progress Energy’s insistence that Clyde Cooper’s BBQ remain on Davie Street, and Greg Hatem’s respect of the African American character and contributions of the businesses on Wilmington and Hargett Streets.

She heaped praise on the youth involvement in the development of city, she said beyond encouraging an expanding nightlife, they were “creative minds bringing energy and excitement through festivals and the arts”. Baldwin included the upcoming multi-faceted SPARKCON in her estimate and said of the artists: “They’re doing things I could never think of, and I think it’s great!” No stranger to the scene, she served many years on the board of Raleigh’s annual Artsplosure.

My conversation with Mary Ann Baldwin was a positive one, and I believe she represents much in the changing character of our fair city. She will bring fresh ideas to the debate and if she wins, to the proverbial table.








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  • RaleighRob
    08/22 02:02 PM

    Great interview.  It’s good to get as much information about each candidate to make this decision when October gets here.  Amazing six people are running for these two seats, yet other seats are being unopposed.  I look forward to your interviews with the other candidates.

    One question, did Baldwin ever mention which way she leans on the North Hills East/Kane issue on TIF?  With the council currently split on that issue 4-4, I think it’s an important issue to raise.

  • Mark
    08/22 03:35 PM

    In an article in last week’s Independent, John Kane’s preposterous parking deck proposal: Tax cuts for Raleigh’s rich?  Bob Geary wrote that he had asked all the council members and candidates about this issue, and that Mary Ann Baldwin is currently undecided. 

    I agree with RaleighRob that this is an important issue, and I hope that Mary Ann will come and take part in this discussion.

  • Barden
    08/22 03:40 PM

    I knew she was undecided going into it. I told her I would do a follow up closer to the election. Maybe then, if not before, she’ll move out of the undecided column.

  • Georgia
    08/24 04:20 AM

    I read a different POV at BTB. There is a lot of development money in her campaign. Were you aware of that at the time of the interview? I have concerns.

  • Barden
    08/24 02:08 PM

    Yes. I was aware of that. My purpose of the interview was a “get-to-know” piece, not a means of putting any one on the spot.

    The same consideration will be given to the other candidates if they choose to accept an interview.

  • Georgia
    08/30 08:04 PM

    I hope you will interview all the other at-large candidates. There has been much interesting civic work among them. And they have NOT raised most of their money from the real estate community like this candidate. If we are concerned about New Raleigh, we need to be proactive on Oct 9. Every reader of this blog needs to be at the polls and with knowledge of the candidates in mind. Think about who will vote for what in the future CC meetings, and make sure we have a council who is paying attention to needs of the citizens.

  • David
    08/30 09:04 PM

    Georgia, you are so right.  Next week we will be offering some more resources on deciphering the gauntlet that is local elections.  For one, ensuring that folks who want to vote, know what they need to do to do so.  If you have any personal contact with any candidates or other election information, please send it to admin (at) newraleigh.com Thanks!

  • David Williams
    08/31 07:49 PM

    My name is David Williams, and I’m one of the at-large candidates for Raleigh city council.  I would welcome an interview.  Unlike a number of other candidates in this race I have taken a strong position against John Kane’s request for a municipal subsidy of his parking deck, and am also inclined against the use of Tax Increment Financing.  Raleigh has a good credit rating and has had no problem accessing capital markets.  Additionally, TIFs carry a higher interest rate than general obligation bonds, and to date I just don’t see a strong case to be made for their use.  I invite all to check out my website at http://www.WilliamsforRaleigh.com to read more about me and my positions on the issues.

    David Williams
    At-Large Candidate for Raleigh City Council

  • Georgia
    08/31 10:30 PM

    I would suggest you take a look Paul Anderson as well.

    http://www.andersonatlarge.com

  • Barden
    09/03 08:08 PM

    Georgia,

    I have emailed Anderson’s campaign regarding a doing a piece on him and his vision for Raleigh. I have yet to receive a reply.

  • Barden
    09/03 08:10 PM

    David,

    Please contact me at my email address, barden.culbreth (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Barden
    09/04 02:43 AM

    UPDATE. Interiews with Stephenson and Anderson are forthcoming.

  • CityDweller
    09/19 03:17 AM

    Have y’all seen this?  Warning:  in extremely poor taste.  But OUCH! it’s funny.

    http://maryannbaldwin.blogspot.com/

  • Mark
    09/19 01:11 PM

    I agree that this is in extremely poor taste.

  • erin
    09/19 02:13 PM

    ahahhaahha, wow, that is hilarious.  i like my eastern BBQ with a side of sprawl, ahahahah!  seriously, though, i hope mary ann is more forthcoming tonight with an opinion on the john kane develope-rama.

  • Betsy
    09/22 01:39 PM

    I would not expect Mary-Ann to be forthcoming on that issue at all.  If she does say that she is opposed to a taxpayer subsidy for John Kane’s parking deck, she will phrase it in such a way that she can go back on it after the election. 

    The fact is, she was hand-picked by the development community for just this purpose, as well as to defeat a meaningful increase in impact fees.

  • erin
    10/02 03:59 PM

    i swear i just saw a huge mary ann baldwin banner on wral.com

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