On this platform issue of grave proportion, Dr. 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 25 years in the Ministry and working with those less fortunate of our community, Dr. 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 Dr. Carr's reasoning with an attentive eye on the solutions rather than the problem itself. It is promised in this platform that Dr. 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 25 years, every day is still shocking for me—sometimes shocking in the enormity of thecrisis, 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.
DR. CARR'S BRIEF POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS:
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.
Over the preceding years prior to his City Council bid, Dr. Lent Carr has envisioned Raleigh, North Carolina taking a futuristic quantum leap into the future emerging technology of wind-energy systems technology for homes and businesses. As with any revolutionized move to improvement; he understood that if we (as a City) are to successfully embark upon such an ambitious and otherwise sustainable energy source, we as a Millennium generation would have go far back into our past to get there.
That's why he has committed to pushing viable initiatives (if elected) to launch a feasible study of the practicality and cost-effectiveness of switching to wind and solar power generation. Dr. Carr believes that our Elected City Council Officials must move collectively to ratify such a study in the 2011 Election Year for several reasons:
The back-to-the-future aspect is that wind has been generating power for Americans and others for centuries. Family farms across America wouldn’t have survived harsh conditions if not for windmills drawing water for crops from deep underground.
Today’s working windmills are very different. For one thing, they’re called wind turbines. And placed side by side, yesterday’s windmill would be dwarfed by today’s giant turbines.
City Council Hopeful, Lent Carr's working plan is to consider placing wind and solar power generating devices at locations where the general public would likely never see them — at the wastewater treatment facility, landfills or other city-owned properties.
In fact, SOLAR 2011 - The American Solar Energy Society's national solar conference - which is the longest-running educational event for solar energy professionals in the U.S., will be held in Raleigh, N.C. on May 17-21, 2011. The conference is expected to attract more than 5,000 people to downtown Raleigh, with participants traveling from across the United States and internationally. Raleigh, to its credit is already blazing a path that needs to be traveled by every other city and county government.
Now in its 40th year, the SOLAR 2011 program will be developed by solar energy experts in all topical areas - technology, buildings, policy, professional education, workforce development, and consumer education. Many sessions will offer continuing education credits for architects, installers, engineers, and more. There is no better way for City Council to begin or foster such an initiative to study renewable and sustainable energy than the National Solar Conference 2011!
There is no doubt that should this energy change go forward as proposed by Dr. Carr, there will be some equivocating by Members of Council on how to move forward on this initiative, but at the end of the day I believe a strong consensus will be in favor of making this economically friendly energy solution a reality right here in the great City of Raleigh.
My only concern is government’s inclination to clamp down too hard. In implementing the necessary rules for a major project i.e. the one espoused by Dr. Carr, I also believe that on their face (the rules) will be equitable.
When it comes to regulating renewable energy technology, we all need to understand that this is the future of energy generation, and we do not want to have it stifled at the outset.
Renewable energy is something that should be considered — and regulated — on a regional basis. There may come a time when traditional sources of electric power are restricted or simply unavailable. We’ve seen that in recent years, with rolling blackouts across Wake County during storm and wintry seasons.
Instead of worrying about blackouts, why not have a Central City grid, with wind and solar devices generating a steady supply of electricity to communities from North Raleigh to Southeast Raleigh?
The consistency of strong winds in several locations on the Central City delegated location would pretty much guarantee constant, reliable power.
That may be looking a little far into the future, but you get the idea — that the wind and sun provide ample opportunity for renewable energy.
Two things happened last year that point to the need for communities and regions to become more self-sufficient.
The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was a graphic illustration of how fragile is our reliance on fossil fuels. And the final stages of a prolonged recession showed Americans just how different — and difficult — our lives can become.
City and county officials should be looking at all the options for renewable energy. That will be our future.
"Southeast Raleigh politics heats up early""Next year's local political races are getting an early start in Raleigh.
Though filing for October's City Council elections doesn't open until summer, one Southeast Raleigh resident has launched his campaign for the District C seat held by Eugene Weeks.
Lent Carr, a longtime Christian minister, was upset when the council bypassed him and several other candidates and appointed Weeks to the seat this year. He also was outraged by City Manager Russell Allen's plan to reorganize top-level city staffers rather than hire a replacement for former Assistant City Manager Lawrence Wray, who retired Dec. 1. The plan is supposed to save public funds and is expected to have little resistance from the council. In an e-mail message announcing his candidacy, Carr compared Allen's plan to the Wake County school board majority's attempt to eliminate busing based on socioeconomic diversity in favor of neighborhood schools. Carr called Allen's move an "attack" on Southeast Raleigh, even though Allen shifted many of Wray's responsibilities to other staffers.
Carr also accused James West, who held the council seat for 11 years and has been a popular District C advocate, of "throwing Southeast Raleigh under the bus." West started the Southeast Raleigh Assembly and helped foster the popular African American Cultural Festival.
No word on whether Weeks will try to keep his seat."
Putting News & Observer's Story-line In Perspective
While it can reasonably be said that Dr. Carr was incensed and disappointed in the sole regard to the method utilized by council to "select" Weeks to District C's seat; it can equally be said that hundreds of voting citizens of Southeast Raleigh was likewise infuriated, and expressed the same with respect to council's selection process to ultimately seat now Councilman Weeks. Indeed Council's policy in replacing a former sitting Council Member is wrong-headed and convoluted to the overall fairness of submitting to the will of the people. Such policy should in the interest of justice be repealed. Dr. Carr has vowed; "if elected to District C, I will move to have City Council's egregious "prejudicing-selection-process-policy" repealed and reformed."
In a democracy it is the PEOPLE who Elect their respective representatives, not a panel of "Elected" Council Members who otherwise was elected by other Districts within the Municipality. I believe that when former Councilman James West announced his resignation from District C's post, there should have been some sort of special election remedy available whereby the VOTING PEOPLE of District C would been permitted to cast their individual vote to whom they would have desired to represent their best interests at council.
As I vividly recall, Mayor Charles Meeker also agreed with this process in which Dr. Carr espouses in selecting a replacement for an individual Council Member who resigns when he remarked on the day of the selection of Weeks to the Council, October 5, 2010: "The citizens of District C should be the ones making the appointment to replace James West as District C’s City Council member; however, according to the City of Raleigh Charter, the appointment must be made by the Raleigh City Council." See: City Council's Official Minutes. Certainly there should remain no ambiguity as to the legitimacy of this evinced argument, nor the flawed and otherwise unfairness such selection process has wrought upon District C's Election prospecting of choice and the deserving people of Southeast Raleigh.
A Brief Recap of Lent Carr's Opposition to City Manager Allen's Proposal To Eliminate Lawerence Wray's Recently Resigned Position
As your 2011 City Council candidate I would be remiss if I did not speak out on this potential "African- American- Achievement- Set- Back" for Southeast Raleigh. I cannot and will not blindingly ascribe to the non-sequitur notion evinced by City Manager Allen's reasoning in suggesting the elimination of this distinguished Southeast Raleigh's City Office position as was held by Lawerence Ray is primarily proposed in order to cut the City’s budget. The reasoning is quite axiomatic to me: "decrease the already limited City power in which the predominately Black Southeast Raleigh's citizenry possess."
It is equally disheartening to know that Democratic Mayor Charles Meeker has gone on record as saying he thought such elimination of said post is "reasonable!" Mr. Mayor, as a politician who have seemingly fought against the Board of Education's re-assignment policy recently, it baffles me how you can call this attack on Southeast Raleigh "reasonable" in any respect. In my view this move will of course strip Southeast Raleigh of 37 plus years of wheeling any meaningful power in the City Manager's Office, and secondly, will grant City Manager Allen a full dictatorship blessing from City Council should they ratify this slap in the face to District C.
Likewise, other council members have also gone on record in support of Allen's proposed agenda. However, it is to be expected of some of those Council Members, especially since they do not represent District C. But to my disbelief, former Council Member James West who served the people of Southeast Raleigh for 11 years came out in support of this new proposed model as well; stating" he supports Allen's efforts to consolidate staff positions. But West said Wray's work educating residents and getting them involved in government affairs should continue under the new model." By supporting Allen's new model to eliminate this position, I can only muster up one thought with respect to Mr. West: "he's thrown Southeast Raleigh under the bus."
Though it is expected that Council Member, Eugene Weeks, who presently represent District C following James West's resignation of said seat will be my opponent in the bid for District C's Council Post in 2011; I would pray he show some courage, intestinal fortitude and vision for the future of Southeast Raleigh's socio-economical advancement by standing up to Council and Allen, and vote NO to the proposed elimination of this important post held by Lawerence Ray. If there were ever a time in which he could exemplify his independent thinking and decision making leadership since taking office on the City Council's Panel, this is the time. It would be a disappointment if Weeks treated this issue like that of Chavis Parks.
I, like Bruce Lightner disagree with this proposed elimination, and could not in good conscientiousness support Mayor Meeker or any other Council Member for that matter in any of their future political plights should they ratify this wrong-headed proposal by Allen. This has been the overall stance in which my supporters and constituent base has taken on this matter. Therefore, I/We would vehemently urge council to vote "no" on such a proposal with respect to eliminating Lawrence Ray's recently retired Asst. City Manager position.
To follow Dr. Lent Carr's Bid for City Council follow the following link:
"VOTE LENT CARR RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT C 2011"
More than 1.6 million people in North Carolina have criminal records.
City Council hopeful, Dr. 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 Gadhdy, 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 Dr. 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.
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