Friday, March 2, 2012

Independent council candidate lays out his platform

Brandon Bushnell has bold ideas – see my interview with Brandon a few weeks ago:

Independent candidate for Roanoke City council – “Uniting the Star City”

Thursday March 8 at 7:00 p.m. at Roanoke at the Raleigh Court Child Development Center Bushnell along with incumbent Mayor David Bowers (D) and his challenter Mark Luca (R) will participate in a forum sponsored by the Greater Raleigh Court Civic League.

PRESS RELEASE: Roanoke, VA, March 1, 2012: The Roanoke City Registrar’s Office confirmed today that Brandon Bushnell filed the necessary paperwork to appear on the May 1, 2012 ballot as a candidate for Roanoke City Council.

“This is an exciting step in my bid to help save Roanoke City Schools from losing $4.7 million in funding beginning June 30 of this year,” Bushnell said. “I look forward to listening to the concerns of my fellow Roanokers during the campaign, engaging with the current incumbents, and working to build a better Roanoke for us all.”

Brandon’s Platform

Education: Funding the Future

The Roanoke Public School Board was forced to close five schools and cut nearly 200 jobs to cover state and local revenue shortfalls in the last few years. Schools that survived face larger class sizes and smaller budgets. Those school employees left have seen their benefits reduced and school functions outsourced to out-of-state companies.

Beginning June 30 of this year, our schools needlessly face losing over $4,000,000 in local funding–all because our incumbent council members lack the political will to continue a two-cents per dollar meal tax that has had no negative impact to local businesses.

Extending the meals tax is essential. It empowers our students by giving schools the resources they need. It allows us to retain and attract the best and brightest teachers by increasing salaries that have been stagnant for years. It promotes stable property values by offering prospective residents a quality education for their children. It is a common-sense priority.

Investing in Roanoke: End Frivolous Spending

The “Renewal of Roanoke” should not focus solely on façades while our infrastructural foundations crumble: our spending needs to be centered on strengthening middle and working class Roanokers rather than on the construction of an outdoor amphitheater and elaborate renovations while our city is already strong in both the performance venues and city amenities. Instead, let us invest wisely: focusing economic incentives on Roanoke’s small businesses rather than large out-of-town corporations like the failed Ukrop’s project. I believe that our spending emphasis should be on investing in our local small businesses, which create living-wage jobs for Roanokers. And let’s make use of the talent we have right here in the city by offering more contracts to our high-quality businesses even if it costs a little more.

Our police, firefighters, EMS workers put their lives on the line for us daily. They are underpaid and understaffed. We are losing these workers to different localities nearby that offer better pay and benefits. These people who are paid to protect our safety need raises, which they haven’t received, yet the City of Roanoke continues to spend $4.5 million + on Elmwood Park renovations-which is more important-our safety or a “nicer” park?

Community Development: We’re in this together!

By sharing resources and supporting homeowners, we can strengthen the efforts of neighborhood improvements throughout the city. That’s why I support programs to provide assistance in the form of grant-writing, the creation of a community tool-bank, and free local workshops from community do-it-yourself experts. And let’s get tough on landlords who pocket money before making code-mandated improvements for their tenants and have little incentive to do their part in supporting the character of the neighborhood.

Food Security: Sustainability in the City

Access to affordable, healthy food is a challenge to many in lower-income brackets across the nation. In Roanoke, we can address this disparity by expanding on the efforts of many great local non-profits such as the Roanoke Community Garden Association. By producing more food close to home and removing the rising cost of oil/transportation from the equation, we can make affordable and healthy foods available to every table in the city.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2012, Elections, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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Comments (1)

Bicycle Ben

March 3rd, 2012 at 2:13 AM    

I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks the $4.5 million for Elmwood Park would be better spent elsewhere. Part of that is because I think Elmwood Park is beautiful as it is right now, and that some of the proposed changes are for the worse.

I would like to see some of the money go toward “bridging the gap” between the Salem and Roanoke parts of the Roanoke River Greenway, because the Greenway provides a nice route for people who can’t afford a car to get around, by foot or bicycle.

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