Phipps Campaign Focus Issues

  1. Police-Community relationships are not where they need to be because of mistrust over police shootings and immigration enforcement practices. To move Charlotte forward, this must change. We’re faced with a “double-whammy” where there’s significant mistrust in the African American and Latino communities.  Consequently, there’s less respect for authority and blurred misconceptions over law enforcement roles in dealing with immigration issues. Fear has become a reality by undermining safety by some in not reporting crimes proactively or even as a victim.  CMPD has been working tirelessly to promote more community-wide dialogue and transparency in operations since last fall’s civil unrest and recent anxiety over immigration enforcement. The council’s Community Safety Committee is laser-focused on ensuring that police operations benefit from best practices from the Justice Department’s 21st Century Police Task Force Recommendations.  Feedback from grass-roots activists is seriously considered to include all objective opinions and input to gain trust. I continue to seek ways to engage our Mecklenburg delegation on matters that are outside our policy control in areas, like enhancing Citizens Review Board practices.  More education on police roles and responsibilities is needed to inform a suspicious immigrant population. My work with the Camino Center affords me an opportunity to reach out to the Hispanic community in ways that demonstrate compassion and respect for law.  Meanwhile, crime is rising in tough corridors across Charlotte demanding a stronger police presence, and more effective policing strategies. I am committed to continuing to provide resources, time, and effort to meet these challenges.
  2. There’s too much housing fragility among so much affluence in our City.  The $1.2 billion Blue Line Extension (BLE) currently snaking its way through District4 is already spurring rapid growth and development along the line, especially for high-end market rate apartments. What’s invisible to many, however, are the sizeable number of trailer parks within a quarter mile walk from light rail stops along North Tryon. These units are no doubt “affordable” for many, but the quality of housing stock and living conditions are not what befits a community poised for breakout growth with state-of-the-art transportation options. There are also many low-cost substandard motels that serve as permanent housing options for residents seeking shelter. Fortunately, a few developers have seen the value in transforming trailer park rentals into quality affordable housing projects along the BLE, and in areas restricted by the affordable housing locational policy. As a strong proponent of the housing locational policy, I favor a re-review of the criteria and the unintended consequences of its implementation given the growth that Charlotte is experiencing, and the significant need for more affordable and workforce housing that is prevalent in the community.  We need to work closely with the NC Legislature to provide better financing tools and other options to incentivize housing developers to build more affordable workforce units.
  3. Good-paying jobs are still too hard to find for many, smothering efforts to allow movement out of poverty.  Last fall’s civil unrest brought this issue to the forefront along with concerns over police/community trust, and emphasis on expedited affordable housing. The $1 million council appropriated as part of the Letter to the Community to workforce training initiatives is an attempt to jump-start programs to prepare citizens for jobs in critical service sectors, like construction, and fiber optics cabling.  Adding to this effort, are proactive measures to increase apprenticeships with area businesses. Companies seeking to relocate to Charlotte by taking advantage of State and local incentives are routinely asked to hire locally, sponsor job fairs and specific training activities to boost employment prospects.  Close alliances with organizations focused on job training and workplace preparedness, like Central Piedmont Community College, Goodwill Industries, and the Urban League are also vital to these efforts.
  4. Stolen guns are fueling a steady increase in violent crime in Charlotte. While the right to bear arms is a fundamental privilege for law-abiding citizens under the U.S. Constitution, legal gun owners should do more to safeguard firearms against theft.  In 2016, nearly 700 guns were stolen from vehicles in all precincts covered by CMPD. So far for the first 5-months of 2017, gun larcenies from autos (LFA) are averaging 50-guns per month.  Thirty percent of these firearms are stolen in precincts patrolled by CMPD in District4.  These are alarming numbers!  With robberies and homicides at record levels here in Charlotte, the likelihood that property crime can escalate to more violent crime should concern us all.  Often, CMPD reports that a significant number of LFAs result from vehicles left unlocked making theft that much easier. Many firearms are left in vehicles overnight. In the case of actual break-ins, thieves are in and out in a matter of seconds. Whether open carry or concealed carry, guns are not allowed in certain places which invariably means that firearms must be stored in vehicles.  Such storage should be done in a way that promotes safety and securely protects the firearm from theft. I believe legal gun owners should be encouraged to secure their firearms with a locked gun safe that can be attached inside the vehicle as a deterrent to criminals. There are retailers who sell these portable devices made of 24-gauge steel with a 1,500 test-pound cable cord that could thwart a thief in a hurry. Many of these safes sell for less than a box of high caliber ammunition.  I am honored that CMPD adopted my crime-fighting strategy to reduce and prevent vehicle gun thefts through launch of its "Gun Safety Campaign" on August 23, 2017!  Please view these links for more information - https://streamable.com/mgqtz; http://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/spike-in-stolen-guns-fueling-violent-crime-police-say/617444066.

Paid for by the Committee to Elect GregPhipps City Council District Four
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