This interview is part of a series of posts designed help us all learn a little bit about who’s running for city council in Fayetteville on November 2.
We sent two rounds of questions to all of the candidates and we’ll post one interview each weekday in the order that we received them beginning with Round 1.
Keep in mind that you’ll only be able to vote for the candidates who are running in your ward and that only two wards (Ward 2 and Ward 4) have contested seats.
In Ward 1, nobody filed to run against Adella Gray. In Ward 3, only Justin Tennant filed for the open seat.
For a ward map and more information on all the candidates, visit our 2010 City Council Election page.
Adam Fire Cat – Ward 2, Position 1
Fayetteville Flyer: If you make it to the council, you’ll be forced to take sides on incredibly controversial issues. You’ll also have to make important decisions that have direct impacts on certain individuals or groups. Are you ready for that kind of pressure?
Adam Fire Cat: I am. As with any decision the council may make, the magnitude of its effects on others can cause any of us to become despised among the masses. No matter how a controversial decision I make may go down though, I am ready to be disliked. This is not to say that I won’t care what others think, but I will do what I think is correct regardless of popularity.
FF: We’ve come to learn that the city council meeting agendas are far more in depth than what is handed out to the audience. It’s not uncommon for a full agenda to include over 300 pages. Will you have time to absorb that much information twice each month?
AFC: At the rate I go through books these days, that should pose no challenge. The real challenge is the material itself, and those people it affects.
FF: The paid parking issue is almost 12 months old. Why do you think those in opposition waited until the program was implemented to formally voice their opinions? Did they have to see it to believe it or did the city (or media) not do enough to inform us of what was coming?
AFC: I had to think about that one for a while, and I think it comes down to apathy and high expectations.
I personally ran the petition for referendum through a few of the businesses on Dickson, all within the 30-day time period allotted. You have to gain signatures from a certain percentage of all the voters that voted in the last mayoral race (3986 after all is said and done), which should have been relatively east to gain. Yes, there would have had to be an effort, but I had been convinced by employees and a few business owners that there was a chance of success. So I paid for them myself, and gave them to those that would have it. Some businesses didn’t want it, and in fact, took the view that this would be a great thing for business.
Nonetheless, I’d check on the petitions during the course of the week, and about two weeks in I knew that it wasn’t likely to happen. Many of those I handed out couldn’t get over two pages filled. One place never let the employees know they had one, so it was nearly void of human contact. Another lost theirs altogether. There were pages ripped out of some for one reason or another. And as advertising goes, I don’t think any of them did anything, save maybe the Green Room and You Know? Uno’s!!. Needless to say, nothing came of it.
Now here we are at a revenue shortage for these same businesses, and they have their meeting with the city. They leave less than satisfied. Then they had their own meeting at Common Grounds, where I usually sit to drink the black death we call “coffee”. I joined the meeting, but didn’t announce myself at any point in time. In fact, I don’t think that any of them even knew who I was, which is just as well. They had quite a few choice words about a variety of city officials/politicians that I dare not utter on this Rated PG-13 response. Many of those business owners wanted to know what steps they could take to bring these things to a public vote. But that time had passed them by.
Now do I say “Ha! I was right! See?!” Hell no. This situation reminds me of myself, actually. It took me losing something important before I became politically active. Before then, I had my political points of view, but I was happy keeping them to myself. Life’s too short to stress at every other thing that pisses you off, politics or otherwise. After losing everything, though, I could no longer let these things go unchallenged. And maybe that’s what people in general need to put that spirit in their eye – the one that says “This will not stand, and we will not submit!” I will say this for the business owners on Dickson, from what I listened to: They will remember what’s being done about this, and they will remember in November.
FF: If the Walton Arts Center decides not to build its new facility in Fayetteville, will the world really end?
AFC: No, it won’t. I’d actually be more interested to see how we’ll go on about our business without that proverbial carrot dangling over our heads. We can argue all day about how much money the current facility brings in, but we should also remember that art itself is not the sole dominion of the WAC. Also, the city cannot afford to foot the bill for a new facility, and I quite frankly don’t like the fact that it was brought up as a possible option at all. If the WAC absolutely has to open a new facility elsewhere, let it go. The art scene in Fayetteville won’t simply up and evaporate.
FF: We’ve seen you at city council meetings before. Is there anything the council has done in the past that you were totally against? Anything you were really proud of?
AFC: My stress against: The entire paid parking program for one. Additions to the original parking ordinance (which have now resulted in more congested side streets) for another.
My approval for: Removing the ordinance on fireworks, which didn’t allow sales or use within city limits. Now we not only make out with the tax money for this, but the sky was lit up in a glorious display for the first time in what might as well have been an eternity. My only regret in this manner is that it took them so long to realize its value.