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2021 Wilmington Election: Mayor & City Council

Table of Contents

VOTE IN WILMINGTON’S ELECTION

Election Day is November 2
Early Voting is Oct. 14 – Oct. 30

Pick the Winners!

All Wilmington voters may vote for 1 candidate for Mayor and up to 3 candidates for City Council. The election is nonpartisan, with no party labels. The candidate for Mayor and 3 candidates for City Council with the most votes will win. The Mayor serves for 2 years; Council members serve 4 years. The Mayor presides at Council meetings. The Mayor and the other Council members appoint the City Manager, adopt ordinances, and oversee the functions listed in the box below.

CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR

Bill Saffo

Website: BillSaffoForMayor.com
Background: Lifelong resident of Wilmington and elected to city council in 2003 and have been Mayor since July 2006.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?

Continue to support for our police department to make our city safe; implement the citizens new land development code with more walkability and protection of our environment; create  affordable housing opportunities and continue to create jobs.

How will you use your position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?

First and foremost I support a citizens review board for our police department allowing citizens to review policies and procedures. In addition I believe transparency with the use of body cameras and audio recordings of interaction while on duty.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?

I have supported 17.8 million dollars in housing funds in the past 10 years for Wilmington. I have voted for an additional 5.2 million dollars in this year’s budget which is the largest amount in city history.

Recorded Transcript

Harper Peterson

Website: ElectHarper.com
Background: Long-time Wilmington resident. Business owner. Husband, father of 5, grandfather of 2. ILM City Council: 1995-99. Mayor 01-03. NC State Senate 18-20. NC League of Conservation Voters Senator of the Year: 2020. Founding member: Cape Fear River Watch.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?

Racial and social equity; Responsible growth and development; Addressing climate change and sustainability; More transparency, accountability and accessibility of city government; Include action plans, benchmarks, and timelines for all initiatives

How will you use your position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?

I support the formation of a Citizens’ Review Board, with subpoena power, in coordination w/an independent ombudsman, to review complaints about controversial police actions against Wilmington community members. Independent oversight is vital.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?

There are many local, state, and federal tools, but the most productive will be to truly incentivize the development community, energize and expand our land trust, engage and partner with surrounding towns and counties, and implement a living wage.

Recorded Transcript

CANDIDATES FOR CITY COUNCIL

Clifford D. Barnett, Sr.

Website: BarnettForCityCouncil.com
Background: Pastor 41 yrs., NHC Community Resilience Task Force, S.E. Dropout Prevention Coalition, NHC Smart Start, Audit Committee, Evaluations Committee, Ad Hoc Capital Improvements Committee, Current Wilmington City Councilman.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?

Affordable Housing: Ensure that every member of our community has access to housing, regardless of income. COVID-19: Proactively explore viable, sustainable solutions to issues relating to COVID-19 that affects families, jobs and public health.

How will you use your position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?

I would advocate for using the budget to fund our community and equip police for any emergencies we face. I support funding for first responders, social and mental health workers i.e., so officers have an opportunity to do the job that they do best.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?

The city recently adopted changes to allow additional housing throughout the city. Going forward, we must continuously monitor effectiveness of the approaches in place, and work to better understand our community’s unique economy and housing market.

Recorded Transcript

Paul Lawler

Website: ElectPaulLawler.com
Background: A North Carolina native with an accounting degree from NC State University. I bring the perspective of having lived in Charlotte, Raleigh, Chicago and Washington to the challenges before Wilmington.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?

Wilmington needs more jobs and opportunities for her residents. Too many have limited career options. Wilmington and the area is growing very rapidly. We need to be sure that growth works for us. Addressing these will fix a host of issues.

How will you use your position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?

Wilmington’s Police Chief is making tremendous progress in assuring transparency and accountability for the WPD. I will support his initiatives.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?

Several initiatives are under way to help. But much more is needed. We need to add a grassroots effort to encourage people who can afford to buy a house to consider buying a house and a strong jobs strategy so that more can afford housing.

Recorded Transcript

Jonathan Uzcategui

Website: UzcateguiForCityCouncil.com
Background:
As an American Citizen born and raised in Venezuela, I have been a member of the community in Wilmington, NC for over 20 years. I own 3 small businesses within Wilmington and look forward to giving back to my community.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?

Law & Order: We must ensure our community is safe and capable of thriving. Small business Focused: I will ensure that the backbone of our community is protected and looked out for. Strategic Planning: Our city needs strategic planning for our growth

How will you use your position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?

The Wilmington PD currently has accountability and transparency laws on the books. We must support our officers and ensure they have the right tools and training for the job.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?

The city of Wilmington needs to use strategic planning to ensure affordable housing is available to those who need it.

Recorded Transcript

Luke Waddell

Website: LukeForWilmington.com
Background:
As a small business owner, I work every day to ensure my company is sustainable and profitable, my clients are secure, our processes are streamlined and that our teams have the tools to craft solutions resulting in long term success.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?

People-Wilmington’s greatest asset is its people. Public Safety-The surge in crime is unacceptable. We can do better, we must do better. Prosperity-We need fiscally responsible candidates who will fight for our community. Places-Responsible Growth

How will you use your position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?

We have a crime problem in our City. Violent crime is on the rise. We must take decisive action to support our law enforcement and first responders, prosecute criminals and continue a zero tolerance policy for bad actors within Police Department.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?

Wilmington is growing. Sustainable and Responsible growth are the keys to the future of Wilmington. By reducing the massive regulations on infill development and adaptive re-use, we can create workforce housing in our city.

Recorded Transcript

Philip White

Website: Philip4Wilmington.com
Background:
I have served on the New Hanover County Long-Term Healthcare CAC as well as I currently serve on the NHC Parks Conservancy Board of Directors. Professionally, I have spent just under the past decade working as a Business Analyst/Sales Manager.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?

Protecting and expanding our green spaces. Increasing Affordable Housing. Developing a Comprehensive model to treat addiction, and to work to lessen the stigmas associated with being a person in Recovery.

How will you use your position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?

By asking questions, having difficult conversations, and then by taking the necessary actions.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?

I believe that our city should be looking at all of our options when it comes to increasing the amount of affordable housing in our city.  One or two options will never yield the sort of results that we need. We must look at every viable option.

Recorded Transcript

Charlie Rivenbark

Website: RivenbarkForCityCouncil.com
Background:
A lifelong resident of the city of Wilmington, I served in the U.S. Army and a tour of duty in Viet Nam as an infantry platoon leader. I presently serve on the Wilmington City Council.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?

I believe that affordable and workforce housing, transportation infrastructure implementation and continued reduction of crime.

How will you use your position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?

The City has a new Police Chief who has committed the WPD to full transparency on all levels. Our department has ample diversity and inclusion and the quality of our force and new hires is better than ever.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?

The city has just adopted a complete rewrite of our Land Development Code (LDC) and incentives are built in that will encourage developers to provide set asides for greater density at prices that will reach down to 40, 50 and 60% of AMI.

Recorded Transcript

Angelica (Angie) Ulmer

Background: Volunteering with various groups and activism work. I have a history of service in this town. Providing a voice for the citizens that feel unheard is another way to serve my community and home.

My top 2 or 3 priorities if elected?

Clear water and stronger representation. Everyone should be able to drink the water they pay for. A citizens’ review board will allow for oversight that comes from the people of the community.

How will you use your position to ensure community transparency and accountability for the Police Department?

The citizens review board would have budget approval and subpoena power. This would allow for community transparency and accountability for the Police Department.

What policies should the city pursue to improve the affordability of housing?

Scrutinize exclusionary family housing zoning. I support a tax roll back in insufficiently funded districts. Reallocation of funds to allow for affordable housing assistance. Vote for who? Angie U. November 2.

Recorded Transcript

Joel (JB) Brookins

Website: BrookinsForCityCouncil.com

No response from candidate

More Information

3  GOOD REASONS FOR YOU TO VOTE FOR WHO WILL BE THE CITY’S NEXT MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEMBERS:  

  1. Your one vote can make a big difference in who wins a local election. How just one person voted − or didn’t vote − determined the winners in elections in 39 North Carolina cities in 2019. Your vote matters!
  2. The City Council makes decisions that affect nearly every part of your life − affordable housing, police conduct, new jobs, parks, road repair, water rates, zoning for a new grocery store (or landfill). But you decide who wins!
  3. Listen to what other voters say about why they’re voting . . .
    1. “. . . too many of my ancestors died for me not to be using my right to vote.” – Kristen Marion
    2. “. . . I want someone in city hall fighting for issues important to our community.” – Robert Dawkins
    3. “. . . city elections can be very close, so my one vote could have a big impact.” – Angelica Robles
    4. “. . . it’s not just about who’s president. Who runs local government also affects me.” – Austin Padilla
    5. “. . . not voting would be giving my power away; we must use every tool we have to be heard.” – Rena McNeil

ABOUT THIS 2021 VOTER GUIDE

THIS 2021 VOTER GUIDE FOR WILMINGTON is produced by Democracy NC and Common Cause, which are not affiliated with any party or candidate. This Guide provides the candidates’ unedited responses to questions and vital information about the voting process. Candidates had word limits; the complete questions and responses are available at NCVoterGuide.org. A digital edition of this Guide is at NCVoter.org/voter-guides. For questions about voting, call the County Board of Elections at 910-798-7330 or the Hotline: 888-687-8683.

What’s the City Council Do?

The Mayor and other City Council members make a wide range of decisions affecting your life. They hire and supervise the city manager, who hires the police chief and other department heads, who all report to the manager. The Council sets policies and priorities and oversees the many functions of local government, including:

  • The Police & Fire Departments
  • Zoning & Building Code Enforcement
  • Economic & Community Development
  • Affordable Housing
  • Anti-Discrimination Ordinances
  • Recreation, Parks & Arts Programs
  • Tax Rates & the City Budget
  • Water, Waste Disposal & Recycling
  • Streets, Sidewalks & Road Repair
  • City Govt. Employee Wages & Benefits
  • Advisory Boards & Commissions

Resources for Voters

NCVoter.org – how to register, check your registration, vote by mail, locate a polling place, find a Hotline for questions.

NCSBE.gov – NC State Board of Elections website with same info as above; the State Board’s Hotline is 866-522-4723.

Vote411.org – League of Women Voters resource with candidate profiles in many cities, look up your polling place, etc.

NCVoterGuide.org – Local voter guides and loads of information about voting.

Have Your Say!

“When we all vote, we determine our future.” – Michelle Obama

The ballot box is the one place where we are all equal: One person, One vote. Your vote is a powerful way to express yourself. Vote in every election because your future matters! 

3 Ways to Vote

1. During early voting

Wilmington voters may vote early at any of the three Early Voting locations in Wilmington; see their addresses and hours listed below. Saturday and Sunday hours are offered. Voting early is especially good if you have moved or have not voted in several years because your registration may need to be updated. You can update a registration or register as a new voter during Early Voting by using same-day registration. Show the poll worker one of these with your name and current address: a utility bill, a bank or pay-roll statement, or any document from a government agency; or your NC driver’s license. The document may be a digital image on your cell-phone. Students living on campus may show their UNC-Wilmington ID and the name of the dorm where they live.

2. On Election Day, at your precinct

Election Day is Tuesday, November 2, 2021. On Election Day, go to your precinct’s polling place between 6:30 am and 7:30 pm. See a link and phone number below to help find your poll. If you’re in line by 7:30 pm, you will be able to vote. If you go to the wrong polling place in Wilmington and don’t have time to go to the correct poll, ask to use a provisional ballot. If you are properly registered, it will count.

3. Mail-in absentee voting

Any registered voter may vote by mail. First, submit a request for the absentee ballot, either by using the online form at demnc.co/mail or by completing and returning a paper form so it arrives at the board of elections at least 7 days before Election Day. The paper form is at demnc.co/request. Vote the ballot sent to you in the presence of two witnesses or a notary. Fill out and sign the envelope sent to you with the ballot and return to the elections office by Election Day at 5 pm. See demnc.co/mail for details. Follow the directions carefully.

7 Tips for Voting

  1. No photo ID is needed to vote in 2021. The poll worker will ask you to state your name and address and sign in.
  2. If you are not registered to vote or have moved, register at your current address at least 25 days before the election. See demnc.co/reg to register to vote online or to download a registration form. If you miss that deadline, you can use same-day registration to register and vote during Early Voting (but not on Election Day) − see #1 at left under “3 Ways To Vote” for how to use same-day registration.
  3. Newly registered voters may need to show a form of ID if there was a problem verifying their registration; they will need to show one of the non-photo IDs listed in #1 at left or any photo ID.
  4. Any voter may get help inside the poll from a near family member (not a cousin). Voters with a disability (including reading difficulty) may get help from anyone except their employer or union agent. Voters with a physical, mental or medical disability may vote in a vehicle at the polling location’s curb (“curbside voting”).
  5. You don’t lose your right to vote if you have an outstanding war-rant, traffic ticket, bankruptcy, civil fine, or misdemeanor. No elections official will ask you about outstanding fines, tickets, etc.
  6. You may take a list of your choices inside the polling place to help you remember, but do not show the list to others or leave it. You may view a list on your cellphone but don’t use the phone as a camera; taking pictures is prohibited inside the poll.
  7. If you mark the wrong choice by mistake, ask the elections official for a new ballot to replace a “spoiled” one.

Questions? Call 888-OUR-VOTE or 910-798-7330 or visit NCVoter.org

Where to Vote on Election Day, Nov. 2

Vote at your own precinct’s polling place on Election Day, November 2. If you don’t know your precinct, look it up at demnc.co/poll or call the elections office at 910-798-7330

Where to Vote Early, Oct. 14-Oct. 30

Good Choice: Take advantage of weekday and weekend hours to vote early at any of these three locations in Wilmington.

  • Northeast Library, David Paynter Room, 1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington 28405
  • Cape Fear Community College Health Sciences Bldg., 415 N. 2nd St., Wilmington 28401
  • New Hanover County Senior Resource Center, 2222 S. College Road, Wilmington 28403

Dates & Hours: Weekdays (Mon.-Fri.), Oct. 14-Oct. 29, 8 am-5 pm; Saturday, Oct. 23, 12 pm-5 pm; Sunday, Oct. 24, 12 pm-5 pm; and Saturday, Oct. 30, 8 am-3 pm
Sunday, Oct. 24, 12 pm-5 pm; and Saturday, Oct. 30, 8 am-3 pm

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