Progressive "ISSUE" Platform

A revamp in the allocation of funds equitably with Pullen Park will save Chavis Park & Bring Business And JobsTo Southeast Raleigh

When dealing with issues i.e., infrastructure and job creation, I think it prudent to look at the impact City Council's current system of distribution of funds verses that of City Council Candidate Lent Carr's proposal plan of "equitable distribution of funds" for Chavis and Pullen Parks would have on the restoration initiative of new activity to our two largest City Parks, visitation, job creation and ultimately a revitalization shot to our City's economic growth prospects. 

One must not only view the number of visitors and amenities each park may possess; they would have to take a long view of the historical nature of both Chavis and

Pullen Parks. Certainly each park in question here has a long, but distinguishable historical foundation that should be viewed equitably and in their totality. That said, it would seem to me that Council in its' deliberating wisdom would pose the question respectfully as to what it would mean to invest equitably in both parks and exactly what such equality could do for the overall growth and exposure therefore. 

First of all it is a scientific fact that people are drawn to landmarks which holds some sort of historical significant. After injecting the proper funds into such projects, coupled with a strong marketing and advertising campaign, it is almost certain that each park will grow beyond measure. Of course with equitable funding. This process will inevitably produce new job creations for many of our citizenry, especially for those of the Southeast vicinity of Raleigh who statistically was hit the worst during our job market crisis and recession. Equally, by creating said jobs we could easily see a decrease in Southeast Raleigh's crime rate. This is not to mention the attraction and appeal it would have on business developers.

Now, as your change candidate, I plan to fight for policy of "equitable distribution of funding for Chavis and Pullen Park. Expansion of Park's amenities, job creation specifically designed for citizens of District C, and ultimately new developers' projects for this deserving segment of Raleigh, NC.

Remembering the historical nature of Chavis Park  

In its prime, Chavis Park boasted an Olympic-size pool that drew jazz-man Cab Calloway in a pair of red trunks.Forty years ago, the Southeast Raleigh park offered train rides and a World War II-era aircraft. The show "Teenage Frolic," Raleigh's answer to "American Bandstand," was often filmed there.But today, a visitor is hard-pressed to find a drinking fountain or a public restroom. No train. No plane. No Olympic pool. No money like Pullen Park, its older neighbor 2 miles west.

Neighbors in Southeast Raleigh resent how their park has fallen from a regional jewel to an afterthought. Chavis, they say, shows how Raleigh's central black neighborhoods lose out to an increasingly ritzy downtown and a border that keeps pushing north.Cab Calloway couldn't swim a lap in the modern Chavis pool without bumping his chest on the shallow end. But Raleigh has no plans to expand it for the next 23 to 25 years.

Meanwhile, the city is spending $8 million on an aquatics center in northeast Raleigh -- a 13-acre complex with 50-meter competition pool and a 6,800-square-foot outdoor leisure pool with swimming lanes.Northeast Raleigh has no pool at all and therefore the greatest need, the city explains. Those residents have the farthest to drive to find public swimming, said park planner David Shouse.

But Southeast Raleigh has been howling about Chavis Park since 1969, when the train didn't work and kids hurt their feet on broken glass on the pool bottom."Black people who came anywhere in North Carolina came to Chavis Park," said Lonnette Williams, community activist. "Now people don't come because there's not much out there."

The comparison with Pullen on Western Boulevard stings residents. Built in the 1880s, Raleigh's oldest park, Pullen still draws a huge regional crowd, especially schoolchildren in big yellow buses.Compare the money either approved or planned for each park out of Raleigh's last two park bonds in 2003 and 2007: $9.5 million for Pullen and $1.4 million for Chavis.

A review of budgets going back to 2000 shows that Pullen regularly gets more than $1 million a year, much of it for the palatial aquatic center, while Chavis hovers closer to $100,000.

Chavis Park neighbors long for a larger pool to compare with the old Olympic-size model that was filled in decades ago. And they want one that swimmers can use year-round.But the city's plan calls only for more water features and a renovated bathhouse in the next seven years -- a $3.2 million project that represents about one-eighth the cost of the new northeast aquatic center and one-fourth of another planned for the Umstead area in Raleigh's northwest.

"We used to have an Olympic pool," says Lemuel Delany, 87, whose father filmed Calloway swimming there. "Now we have a baby pool."

Built in Jim Crow days

Built by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Chavis was the only park blacks could use in then-segregated Raleigh. Jim Crow may have picked the spot, but Wake County blacks flocked to it for picnics, swimming and summer fun. Calloway swung through on a show at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium, and he stayed with Delany -- his lawyer's nephew -- because Raleigh lacked hotels where black performers could stay.

The park still has its historic carousel with hand-carved animals, built early in the 20th century and added about 15 years after Pullen's merry-go-round. But in its first decades, Chavis also featured a train like Pullen's. The Chavis train chugged to a halt in the early 1970s, around the time that World War II airplane was deemed a hazard. By 1974, the city also tore down the Chavis stadium where John Baker Jr. played high school football. Baker, later an NFL lineman and North Carolina's first black sheriff since Reconstruction, would note that some of his finest football moments took place at Chavis.

"It was so important to us," said Councilman James West, who represented Southeast Raleigh until his recent resignation. "Just a sense of place. Just a sense of community. Just a sense of pride."

Crime rose in the neighborhood by the 1980s, and the park's image and use suffered.

The city still tells residents that Pullen draws more people and thus needs more money, Williams said. But use of Chavis would rise, she said, if Raleigh paid the park more attention.

Where's the water?

There is no drinking fountain at the playground at Chavis, nor a restroom. To use a toilet, a park visitor would have to pay for pool access -- provided the pool were open. Barring that, the closest restroom is a healthy walk uphill to the community center -- too far for a toddler.

Pullen, by contrast, has a drinking fountain in the center of the playground and another at the tennis courts.

Its carousel has a concession stand, and a paddle boat rental, and a kiddie boat ride. The famous train still chugs around the park.

The difference, Shouse, the park planner, said, is that Chavis was a segregated park when it drew a regional crowd. As society changed and Raleigh's blacks could attend any park, resources got spread around the city.

West, who voted to spend $8 million on the northeast pool, said he needs more facts and figures on Chavis before mapping a future.

But he still believes it has been left behind.

Pullen Park has its statue of Sheriff Andy Taylor and Opie, fishing poles in hand. Southeast Raleigh activist Octavia Rainey has a suggestion for Chavis Park: Why not a statue of Cab Calloway?

Better yet; as your City Council Hopeful, I say...why not have "equitable distribution of funding." This will not only kill two birds with one stone, it will kill several birds. So to speak. Therefore, I will fight for a "Equitable Distribution Of Fund Policy" if elected.


Reform City's Businesses' Discriminative Felony Questionnaire With An "Overhaul" Reforming Policy "Ban-The-Box" Initiative

More than 1.6 million people in North Carolina have criminal records.

City Council hopeful, Lent C. Carr, II, The Community Success Initiative, the Raleigh Second Chance Alliance, Congregations for Social Justice, and the N.C. Justice Center all say removing that question in this state/city is a critical step toward former offenders finding jobs and the economic security that may keep them from returning to prison.

The Community Success Initiative provides support for people coming out of prison and jail. Its founding director, Dennis Gaddy, said 22,000 to 26,000 people come out of North Carolina's prisons each year.

As of August, more than 6,700 people were under the supervision of the state Department of Correction on probation or parole in Wake County alone. In Durham County, nearly 4,000 people are on probation or parole, according to Durham Second Chance Alliance members. Thousands more have criminal convictions.

This issue is "important for a couple of reasons,"  "Right now the economic crisis we're in makes it difficult for people to find employment, especially those reformed offenders who only seek a second chance to become a productive citizen of our community. We need to remove the disability barriers that exist for that segment of our community, so that those persons seeking a change in their lives can find jobs and assist in the spurring of economic growth to Raleigh, North Carolina's bottom line." Said Lent Carr at a recent Youth Empowerment Summit held at one of his Campaign functions in Southeast Raleigh. 

Employers who invest in people with criminal histories are ultimately investing in the safety of the greater community by helping them secure legitimate employment, he said.

Those of us concerned citizens pushing for the change in Raleigh are only proposing that the question be removed from the initial application so that employers won't be immediately dissuaded by a criminal record before learning more about a job candidate's experience, skills and personality. A criminal background check would still be required before the applicant is hired, but making it to the interview phase would give the applicant a chance to explain the nature of the crime, how long ago it occurred, incarceration and rehabilitation efforts.

It is a fact that the ever present "Have You Been Convicted of a Felon" Box doesn't fairly give the reformed offender the chance to tell the purported employer "that he/she has changed course in their lives, and that they are not looking for a hand-me-out, but nothing more than a fair shake at living a crime free employed life.

It is my belief as your "change" candidate that removing this discriminative "felony box" will inevitably remove those ex-offenders from a potential future crime committed in our community, and the rewards for the greater base of Raleigh as a whole will be... less crime, fewer beat cops, more economic growth and lives we've invested in in the war on gangs, drugs and senseless homicides perpetrated at the expense of the lives of our youths; nominally known as: (Our Future). Therefore, if elected, I plan to push this reform initiative until passage and ratification has be won.

Criminal History: Working Through Challenges and Dispelling Myths

Managing Raleigh's Growth And Unemployment Rate

City Council Hopeful, Lent Carr believes we need to manage growth in a thoughtful, comprehensive way.  Raleigh must improve its roads, provide more transportation choices, and work closely with neighboring cities and towns to plan for our future growth in order to solve our transportation challenges. Moreover with the growth prospects ahead for our Capital City, I also believe that Raleigh City Council should find creative ways in "job creation" for its citizenry. I do not believe it is wise nor responsible to wait for the Federal Government to find a solution for our local job crisis. We must focus on the heaviest hit areas of job loss in Raleigh and provide a comprehensive, but responsible stimulus antidote in order to cure this unemployment disaster. It would be remiss for me as your candidate of change not to highlight the other part of this jobless rate concern in Raleigh, specifically Southeast Raleigh; when I received complaints from my constituent base regarding construction jobs that are viable and potential jobs for those persons who are legally citizens of this Country, be it blacks, whites or hispanics...I find it appalling that the powers that be would permit undocumented workers to secure these type jobs when they are legally not eligible to work in the Triangle, and whereas those persons legally eligible cannot find jobs in that career area due to the permitting "blind eyed" official's un-official ratification. Immigrant workers should be allowed to secure employment in Raleigh, only if they are legally documented. Taking this approach will inevitably boost our local economy and employment rates. Not to mention putting those persons displaced from their homes, ways of life and employment  back to work right here in Raleigh. In short, Carr believes that creating jobs and improving our local economy is a top priority. By keeping taxes low, implementing business-friendly processes, and making it easy to attract outside investment, the City of Raleigh can create jobs for our citizens and the many people who are moving to our beautiful area.   

Government of the people, for the people, by the people. A Statement From Lent Carr, City Council (District C) Candidate

“Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”.  -Abraham Lincoln-

My name is Lent Carr, and I'm running for Raleigh City Council
because I believe what we need in this pivotal time in our City's history is action now. We need to take action to create high‐quality job opportunities that will allow our children to raise the next generations here with an abundance of economic security. We need to take action to improve both our natural and designed environments by cleaning up the toxic messes left by our predecessors and then building a new economic base that coexists with our magnificent natural environment. We need to take action to expand our sales tax base through prosperity. It is through an expanded sales tax base that the City will be able to provide the essential public safety services of police and fire protection at the levels that keep us safe.

The path that we are currently on has not led us to where we want to go. Our local businesses are closing and families are moving away because too many living wage jobs have disappeared. With every one of those families that moves away, there is a detrimental impact to the city's sales tax revenue base, resulting in City Hall’s shrinking ability to provide important services, such as public safety.

Raleigh needs a new approach. We begin on the premise that our city government exists to serve the public, not the other way around. Our interface with city government needs to be simplified, and geared toward treating citizens like good customers. Under my leadership, the city will greet appropriate new businesses that provide living wage jobs with welcoming and open arms, and treat existing businesses with appreciation for the contributions that they make to our local economy.

There is no question that our economic landscape has changed. The industries that built this fine city no longer provide the jobs that they once did. As we look toward the future we need to consider new possibilities, and those possibilities do abound if we can build consensus and seize the opportunities. Some of these new opportunities include the development of our newly proposed railway operations, wave generation of electricity, niche manufacturing, and the development of our green jobs' initiatives into the bustling jewel of the East Coast.

I’ve studied many of the key issues facing Southeast Raleigh. My decisions have been based on a careful analysis of all sides to find common ground. I will bring the same thoughtful process to City Hall. Many believe District C has divided into two political camps. "The Old Political Guard" and "The Future Political Guard." Of course such division has come about because as the younger generation believes; the old political guard leaders have left them behind and unprepared to adequately take over the reigns of Southeast Raleigh's politics.  I hope to be a bridge bringing both sides together for the good of our community. My goal is to encourage common sense governance, collective bargaining, consensus building and calm decision-making.

If you share my vision of a new Raleigh where families can flourish and City Hall works for the people, please cast your vote for Lent Carr for Raleigh City Council.

Taxes and Spending

In today’s struggling economy---when families are worried about their future---cutting wasteful spending and keeping our taxes low will be a top priority for me as your Candidate of Change.  City Council Hopeful, Lent Carr has developed  working proposals to cut spending where needed in our City Government, and has addressed tough budget challenges therein. Once Elected he plans to introduce these doable proposals as part of his overall budget revitalization initiative. I believe that when Americans has been forced to tighten their belts financially, their Government(S), Nationally and Locally, should lead by example.

Streamlining Government

Lent Carr believes that making government more efficient is important in today’s economy. He also believe we must cut through the red tape of the development process, examine all of our city departments for redundancy, and implement effective employee review processes. So long as it is proposed in the spirit of effecting a productive government sustainability, in contravention to a member's or members of government personal political ideologies or prejudices.  


Vibrant, Safe Neighborhoods

Living in the heart of the South side of Raleigh where crime is rampant, Lenoir Street, Lent Carr has a strong desire to build and maintain vibrant, safe, and healthy neighborhoods. In order to keep ---and improve---our quality of life and property values high, Raleigh needs safe, walkable communities with greenways, parks, and gathering places that are usable amenities.

Lent Carr On Poverty In Raleigh/Wake County & Remedial Solutions

On this platform issue of grave proportion, Lent Carr will explore the roots of economic prosperity and offer suggestions for finding the path out of extreme poverty for the City of Raleigh/Wake County's poorest citizens and offer remedial solutions alternatives for bringing down Raleigh's crime rate as a result of tackling one of the most overlooked issues of Southeast East Raleigh---POVERTY. For more than 26 years in the Ministry and working with those less fortunate of our community, Carr's foot work advocacy for this segment of our Municipality, his experience of having been raised in the Projects and extensive research has led him to an unyielding and keen understanding of what it means to be poor and left behind socio-economically right here in the United States of America, and exactly what it will take to end this inhumane cycle. The result of such experiences of understanding is this practical "platform issue" , which combines practical experience with acute professional analysis and a belief that ideas, if well thought through and based on sound thinking and historical experience, can play a central role in eradicating poverty in our time and in our  great City.

I think it appropriate to first look back into history trove's of unlimited thinking and possibilities in order to artfully present this argument of eradicating poverty in our backyard. Not long ago, on September 12, 1962 a man of limitless ideas walked on the magnificent stage and postured himself behind a huge oak finished podium at Rice University in Houston Texas and declared without any reservations of doubt and/or apathy: "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."  That man was none other than President John F. Kennedy; a man of vision and resolve. I, like President Kennedy believe that anything is possible when we build a strong consensus of our "will to do." The cynic says: "why move on such an ambitious issue?" I say: "why not!" If a man could dream and make that dream a reality of going to the moon, then certainly one could easily envision a City without extreme poverty. Kennedy made history in sending the first man to the moon, and at this pivotal time in our City's history we can all make history (as a National Model) by eradicating major poverty here in Raleigh, North Carolina.

 For those of you who say that poverty is a global shame, but there is no way to fix it, I say just view this issue with an open mind and follow Lent Carr's reasoning with an attentive eye on the solutions rather than the problem itself. It is promised in this platform that Carr's experience and wisdom on this issue will tell us something very different. For even if you do not agree with all of his prescriptions, it is impossible to deny that the needless deaths of so many people every year from extreme poverty does call for action on a global scale.

I am proposing herein that we can make those targets, and could actually cut by half the extreme poverty in Raleigh, in all its dimensions by the year 2015: that we can make those targets, and that we can see our way through a decade beyond, and actually end extreme poverty in the City within the coming 20 years. My proposition is that we are the first generation in history that can honestly make that claim. The fact that we can make it, in my view, also makes it unavoidable that we try. It is one thing for millions of people to be dying every year because they are too poor to stay alive; it is another thing for millions to be dying every year because they are too poor to be staying alive and for us to know it and not to act.

That, I think, is the real existential situation of our City, that there is no excuse. The deaths are on our  watch. The deaths are in our name. The deaths can stop.

The reason people die of extreme poverty is that they have nothing. They don't need a lot to stay alive, and they don't even need a lot to start the process of economic development. It would not require heroism on our part in order to help save those lives and help to promote economic development where it is not occurring now in Raleigh. It would just take having our eyes opened. It would take some attention. It would take a breakthrough in our country from doing nothing to doing something, because we really are, essentially, doing nothing right now. That is the sad, hard fact.

In the last few weeks, the President, though I support him on a host of his initiative, and our Congress has spoken a thousand times about economic freedom for the middle class and the wealthy without speaking once about poverty. That is what we have to change if we are going to address this challenge. It can be changed. Americans will want to change it. Americans don't know what we aren't doing and don't know what we could be doing. It is not that there is evil or uncaring in the land; it is a lack of understanding of the basic realities.

Why is that? I will speak for myself. There is no way in the world I would have understood anything without the chance to see and experience it myself. Because there is no way in the world I would have read in the news or media, or even in the professional journals that I read, the basic facts and contours of the situation. When one is chanced to see it or to have one's eyes opened and directed towards the problems, I think there is a lot of clarity that can result. That clarity can lead to action, and the action can lead to some stupendous results, not only in saving those lives, but, I daresay, in saving our own as well. Until we take up this challenge, pertinent segments of Raleigh/Wake County is going to be awfully insecure and unstable and unhappy to say the least.  Maybe it is sad to say that even after 26 years, every day is still shocking for me—sometimes shocking in the enormity of the crisis, sometimes shocking in the simplicity of the solutions. One has to work at it. Even more exciting, whatever poor neighborhood I happen to go to, the people know a tremendous amount about what they need and the realities of their lives, contrary to what we think. The people I speak to never strike me as asking for an hand-me-out---It is just that they need some help.

So let me describe for a few minutes why this paradoxical situation in the Raleigh exists, where, in the 21st
century, the United States is a $40,000 per capita economy, we have a billion people living in a degree of
affluence that was unimaginable even a quarter-century ago, we have much of the world achieving development, and yet we have a significant part of the world dying of poverty. That is the first question that needs to be addressed. We need a diagnosis. We need an understanding of what the challenge is.Then we need some practical ways ahead.

The good news is that economic development is a reality. It works. Most of the world has escaped from
extreme poverty. When I talk about extreme poverty, I am talking about poverty that is so severe that
basic needs cannot be fulfilled. What are basic needs? Adequate daily nutritional intake, safe drinking water, basic sanitation, a livelihood that can support survival, that can give a chance for a child to make his or her way through school, access to essential health services in a health emergency, a disease spell. When those conditions are not met, that is extreme poverty.

Listen, two hundred years ago, everybody was in extreme poverty, aside from the few kings and queens and dukes and princes that we read of in the books and plays and histories. Everybody was in extreme poverty. Life was short. Public health didn't exist. Medicine was putting leeches on patients. Under-nutrition was chronic. Famines were regular. That was true in Europe, as well as anywhere else in the world. That has all changed over the last two centuries since the Industrial Revolution. We really did figure out a lot in this world about how to grow food more reliably, about how to harness energy, about how to make water and sanitation safe and available and reliable. The result has spread through almost all of the world. In fact, even with the poorest parts of the world, there has been some economic improvement compared to two centuries ago.

Now the question is; what do we do as-pertaining to a cure of this social disease plaguing segments of Raleigh? Whenever you are faced with a generational social issue such as poverty, I believe we should not spend much time looking back into history for the cause effect, but rather we should look forward to the present and future climates of resolutions. Nominally speaking, we must look to the generation who'll inevitably be affected by this generational poverty degradation---OUR YOUTH!

As a society, Americans believe in equal opportunity for all. Hard work should be rewarded, and a full-time job should afford enough income to support a family with dignity. Children should have more and better opportunities than their parents did, and race and ethnicity should not be major factors in determining the trajectory of a young person’s life. Yet about every 20 minutes in North Carolina, a child is born into poverty. A full-time, minimum-wage job today leaves a family well below the federal poverty level. Children are increasingly trapped in intergenerational poverty, and minority children are disproportionately likely to grow up poor, undereducated, unsafe, unhealthy and unemployed.

Child poverty is an epidemic, with long-term effects ranging from cognitive impairment to physical and emotional disability. If 1-in-5 children suffered from a single debilitating, life-limiting affliction, citizens would demand research into the cause, treatment for the symptoms and a cure for the ailment. The same attention must be paid to the poverty that is negatively affecting 20 percent of North Carolina’s children. The social and economic costs to the state of doing otherwise are staggering. Recent neuroscience and developmental research informs us that children’s brains are
constructed over time, and brain development is directly affected by environmental factors. Poverty often prevents families from investing the time and financial resources they would like in their children’s development, and the detrimental effects are literally built into the architecture of the children’s developing brains, limiting their long-term social, emotional, cognitive and physical health outcomes. Society must take advantage of the opportunities for positive intervention that begin at or before birth and continue throughout childhood, adolescence and even into early adulthood. The physical, environmental and economic health of a child’s neighborhood is also an important predictor for his or her long-term well-being. Poor schools, the presence of drugs, high crime and the lack of a viable business community all limit life opportunities for children in poor communities.

In order for Raleigh, North Carolina to maximize economic performance, every child’s full potential must be realized. Society must approach poverty as the structural issue it is, propelled by broad social and economic forces largely outside the control of poor families and children. This platform issue briefly lays out a framework of effective ways to reduce poverty in Raleigh, North Carolina: support families, strengthen communities and invest in children’s futures.


 A). Support families with decent wages; affordable, high-quality child care and housing; and access to tax credits and health insurance.
B). Strengthen Raleigh's Communities through increased access to traditional banking services, improved public and adult education, environmental clean-up efforts and strategic economic development investments to attract socially responsible businesses.
C). Invest in children’s futures through increased opportunities for asset creation, such as appropriate savings vehicles, affordable financial education for adults and children, greater support for small businesses and increased access to home-ownership.