SALISBURY – City voters will head to the polls Tuesday, deciding between District One candidates, incumbent Shanie Shields, community activist April Jackson and businesswoman Cynthia Polk, along with District Two candidates, incumbent Debbie Campbell and urban redevelopment activist Jake Day< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office">
The candidates were present at a forum this week, and the here’s a glimpse at one of the more general questions so readers can get a glimpse of their views.
Q: Give us a 90-second accounting of your platform, as well as your visions for the City of Salisbury in the next five and/or 10 years.
Campbell: First my mission for Salisbury prosperity is that we have the jobs here because we can’t have families that are working two and three jobs and can’t pay attention to their children because they can’t pay the bills. I run into people like that when I go door to door. I have seen the foreclosures and I have seen the vacancies in our communities. We certainly do not need more subsidized housing. We have EDUs, we don’t need to be using our EDUs to build more units of housing than we already have that are vacant and foreclosed.
We do need to increase our tax base. We need to have a place where people want to come and stay. We need to increase our curb appeal, like our parks, we need to take good care of our parks. We need to take care of the businesses that are already here. We need to find a way with the county to improve our schools because the things that businesses and their employees look at when they come or when they decide to stay is are the communities safe, do they have good schools, and what do your neighborhoods look like.
I think that Salisbury can be a wonderful place. I love it and my family has been here for seven generations and I know what it looks like when it is wonderful and we are back on our way, we have righted the ship …
Day: My vision for Salisbury is as a city that is the capital of the Eastern Shore, the cultural, transportation, the economic capital of the Eastern Shore … it starts with a vision but it cannot end there. It has to take a plan and then it has to take great people and a changed culture.
We have to have an open community, we have to restore partnership to our city government, we have to restore prosperity to Salisbury ultimately, that is the only way that we are ever going to restore pride to Salisbury, and when we have a place that we are proud of or a place that we know as our home that is when we have a competitive advantage over the Berlins, and the Cambridges and the Eastons and the Snow Hills.
Shields: Building partnerships for a positive change, and as I have said constantly, you have to bring the stakeholders to the table to prosper Salisbury and move Salisbury forward.
One of the projects I would like to see … is implementing some of these studies that we paid all this money for. One of these, the North Prong Study, which is between Isabella Street and Route 50, I would like to see a river walk on that side of town, which is in District 1. We have a beautiful river walk by the Holiday Inn … we need to cross over the Lake Street side and put a river walk so people can enjoy that side of the river. Not destroying the businesses as they have been told and scaring them half to death. I do not want to close businesses down but I think there is room for improvement on that side of town.
Jackson: My five-year plan is bringing in big and small businesses, bringing in tourists, which brings in jobs, bringing in higher-wage jobs, revitalization of the entire City of Salisbury, bringing the crime rate down and keeping it at a level that we can actually control and deal with…better housing, better education for our kids to make sure our youth are prepared for these high-tech jobs that we are going to bring here.
I am not going to say we are not going to do it. My plan is that we are going to bring these jobs here. I have no doubt in my mind that we cannot do this.
Higher paying jobs so we can pull the majority of our people of our population out of the slumps, so there may be prosperity here in Salisbury. I am looking to make Salisbury prosperous, not only Salisbury but making the people of Salisbury prosperous because when we are prosperous the City thrives, and that is what I am looking for, our City to thrive.
Polk: My campaign slogan is “A Candidate for the Rest of Us”, and I believe to create jobs is a top priority because everything is in our jobs. It makes for better housing, people buy cars and people go out to restaurants. It is just not our jobs but you have to have money that pays the rent, and then you can do extra things.
And how are you going to rely on us to do this? Well, the first thing will be to collaborate with the universities because they are constantly…being innovative about studies. UMBS was able to have someone that invented soy beans without the soil.
Also, take a look at enterprise zone. Enterprise zone gives small businesses a ten-year property tax break, and also a State income tax credit. I would like to expand that enterprise zone to more in District 1 and what I found out about the enterprise zone is with just $50,000 you could be able to utilize this provided if in that area.