David Williams, Ward 1 — Council Candidate Questions

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1. What skills do you bring to the table to help run the city more efficiently while delivering quality services to the residents of Ferguson?

My professional background is IT and Engineering.  By nature I am a problem solver.  I like to resolve situations with an amicable and reasonable solution.  I am also very conservative.  I don’t like to spend extra money if it is not needed.

2. In addition to the Consent Decree, Ferguson still has a class action lawsuit pending that represents over 11,000 people who were jailed by Ferguson since 2010. How do you view these court actions considering current criticisms that the enforcement of laws is lacking in Ferguson? Should police write traffic tickets with fines to those who break traffic laws?

If these individuals were unfairly jailed and the city made a monetary gain off these people, then the city should compensate said people.  If these individual were jailed with cause, no compensation should be granted.

Yes, I believe tickets should be given to people who break traffic laws.  I find myself going 35 mph on Elizabeth when the speed limit is only 25 mph.  After talking to residents about speeding traffic in front of their homes, I have made a conscious effort to slow down.

However, the tickets and fines don’t necessarily have to be paid with money.  They can be paid with trash clean up for the city or community service.  If you fine a person that is unable to pay their license will get suspended and they will become trapped in the court system as a debtor and it could take them years to recover.

3. Do you believe the city council has or has not fulfilled legal and ethical obligations to operate with full transparency? If not, what needs to be done?

For the most part all city council meetings and operations should be made public and fully transparent.  For the times that is has to be closed session a brief summary of events needs to made public so citizens are aware of what their government is doing.

4. Do you believe the city budget is equitable and accountable? Why or why not?

I can not fairly answer this question because I am not on council yet and not privileged to the budget information.

5. Describe an ethical dilemma you have faced. How did you resolve it?

I accidentally left Sam’s with several large can goods for my business that I forgot to pay for.  I could have easily just got in my car and drove off.  I actually went back in the store notified the cashier and paid for the extra merchandise.  I truly believe in Karma.  When you put out positive it comes back to you ten fold,  however you reap what you sew.  When you purposely do wrong it comes back around when you lease expect it. 

We are all human and not perfect but we should try to be kind and thoughtful to one another.  You get more flies with honey is the saying my mother would always tell me.

6. What are the three top priorities the city needs to work on now to improve the quality of life for residents?

Focus on under served youth to reduce crime

Strengthen community police relations

Strengthen tax base

Fix Infrastructure

7. How do you see yourself supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts as a council member? How have you been involved in DEI already?

I think Diversity is a good thing.  It is great to get an understanding or point of view that is different from your own.  You never know what a person has been through until you walk a mile in their shoes. 

Where I think Diversity is dangerous is when you promote an individual classified as a minority to fulfill a quota over a person that is much more qualified.

Diversity is great but at the same time it should not alienate others.

8. What are some of your ideas to improve the quality of housing in Ferguson for both multi-family and single-family homes?

Implement programs for first time home buyers.

Give tax credits for energy efficient upgrades like solar panels.

Enforce code violations so properties are held to a standard and peoples’ home values increase.

Increase funding for FNIP (Ferguson Neighborhood Improvement Program) to help home owners with exterior projects to beautify their most valuable asset (their home).

9. Do you support the abolishment of package liquor stores in Ferguson, leaving the current stores open but not allowing any new ones to open?

As long as the liquor store is following all state and federal guidelines they should be able to operate in the City of Ferguson.  Liquor stores provide a great source of tax revenue for the city;  However I do not think liquor stores should be in the vicinity of churches or schools.  The proper location of such establishments should be in a commercially zoned area.

10. Do you support amending the city’s Charter to give more power to the Mayor? Why or why not?

The current political structure of Ferguson is much different from other cities were the Mayor does have more power.  I do not think there should be an amendment to increase mayoral powers.  Having different branches of government with separate but equal powers prevents one person of group of people of having too much control and creating a dictatorship-type atmosphere.  This is one of the founding principles our forefathers created when establishing our country.

11. Should the council seek to have personal and real property taxes paid by residents and businesses as already stated in city ordinances? Why, or why not? Also, when should the council approve tax abatement?

I do not understand the first part of the question. Tax abatement or tax credits should be given when it makes sense.  If giving a big company tax credits and they bring high paying jobs to Ferguson makes sense.  When the city gets positive gain for giving tax credits is when tax abatement should be used.  If there is not a symbiotic or mutual benefit between the city and the business or home owner, tax abatement should not be given.

12. What kind of role should the council take to deter juvenile crime?

Focus on under served youth to reduce crime:

Athletic Programs

Tutorial Programs

Summer Camps                                       

Mentorship

13. Large scale development has been slowing down in Ferguson over the last few years. Why do you think that is and what ideas do you have to encourage more robust development in the commercial corridors?

Businesses locate to an area where the general population is educated enough to complete the job duties required.  Our children are being under educated.  A majority of them can not adequately read and write once they graduate from High School.  We need to support and do a better job of educating our young people, they truly are our future.  Investing in them now will pay dividends in the future. Giving tax incentives to companies to relocate to Ferguson but only if the City benefits as well.  It makes no sense to give a company a tax break for 10 years and they relocate after the 10th year.

14. Has any candidate, during this or any past local election cycle, accepted single donations of $10k or more from out of state entities that own apartment complexes in Ferguson and, if so, why?

I personally have not.  I can not speak on anybody else and have no knowledge of this. 

15. What are the main points you want voters to remember about you and your candidacy?

Trying to make Ferguson a prosperous and enjoyable community for everyone.

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