Elections

Incumbent Kinsey faces two challengers for District 1 seat

August 31, 2017 05:12 PM

Charlotte City Council District 1 is one of the most diverse districts in the city, covering much of uptown, Dilworth and Eastover – and also neighborhoods Windsor Park, Sugar Creek and Belmont.

Patsy Kinsey, in her sixth term representing the district, faces two challengers in the Democratic primary: Larken Egleston and Robert Mitchell. No one else is running, which means the winner of the Sept. 12 primary is virtually guaranteed to win the seat.

▪ Kinsey, 76, is also a former mayor. She was appointed by council members in 2013 to finish the remainder of Anthony Foxx’s term after he became U.S. transportation secretary.

That year she was the city’s first mayor to participate in the Gay Pride Parade, and she’s been a strong advocate of the LGBT legal protections passed by City Council last year. Kinsey is also opposed to spending city money on a new soccer stadium in Elizabeth – a neighborhood she represents.

Kinsey said creating more affordable housing is one of her top priorities, should she be reelected.

Council member Patsy Kinsey.
Observer file photo mhames@charlotteobserver.com

She said the city did a good job of bringing affordable housing to Cherry, a fast-gentrifying neighborhood south of uptown. The city sold land to a low-income housing developer for apartments.

“We want to get ahead of gentrification,” she said.

Kinsey said the city can use the Cherry model for other areas. She said the city can work with the county and school board to use their surplus property for affordable housing. Kinsey also said she wants to continue efforts to make transit, walking and biking easier.

She said her experience is a valuable asset.

“I think there is a place for someone like myself who has the experience and institutional knowledge and steady leadership,” she said.

▪ Larken Egleston, 34, is running for office for the first time.

He said he thought he would wait and run when Kinsey retired, but changed his mind. He said he reconsidered when he felt “the job wasn’t being performed at the same level.”

Egleston, who works in sales for Republic National, an alcohol distributor, said he was upset over two recent votes. One was Kinsey’s vote against a rezoning for the Van Laningham estate, which would have allowed a neighborhood swim club in Plaza Midwood. The other was Kinsey’s vote not to use tourism tax dollars to improve Bojangles’ Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium. That would have allowed the city to use roughly $18 million for other projects, such as affordable housing.

Egleston said an important part of his platform is affordable housing and historic preservation. He said the city can help preserve historic or old buildings by allowing developers more flexibility in using other parts of the property.

Larken Egleston
Gambol Photography

“Let’s develop some of the less visible parts of the parcel,” he said. “There has to be some give and take. You have to prioritize what you want to save, and figure out ways to do that within the realities of the market.”

▪ Robert Mitchell is also running for the first time.

A 39-year-old tire salesman, Mitchell said he is running because “I want to b

e a representative of our community, for the black and brown community and for everyone else.”

He said he would like to find ways to require developers to include affordable housing when they build. Mitchell said the city could try other ways, such as tax incentives to encourage developers to build more low-income housing.

Robert Mitchell

He also said the city could work with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to better educate students about the opioid crisis.

“People aren’t talking about the heroin problem in our high schools,” he said.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs