Learn more about where Mark stands on the various issues that most concern Matthews residents.
Transparency, by definition, is being able to see through something, not just observing its outer layer. A citizen needs to have easy and immediate access to the inner workings of our government….with the stress on “easy and immediate”. Everything that happens inside must be known to all of us on the outside. I feel that there is more work to be done in order for the true definition of transparency to be practiced in our town government.
We… all of us… must work together to insure that we, as a town, take every action allowed to us by state and federal law, to maintain a clean and healthy environment for all of our citizens.
The goal of walkability, in my opinion, is that every resident should be able to safely and comfortably walk between any two points within the Matthews town limits.
Within our abilities as a municipality, we should work closely and collaboratively with all education sources… the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system, private schools, charter schools and those that home school… to do all that we can to provide the highest level of education possible in a safe and productive learning environment.
As a military veteran myself, there is a special place in my heart for the men and women who have served and are serving in our armed forces. I am currently a proud member of the Hooks-Orr American Legion Post 235 for Matthews in which I have served as its Commander. I fully support all veterans groups in Matthews and I support the efforts of the Matthews Veterans Advisory Committee to honor our veterans and to provide information to the citizens regarding veteran activities.
Planning and Development
This is, perhaps, the most important area of concern for Matthews. I believe that developers and special interests have been given preference in matters of rezoning and planning at the expense of our citizens. I am not an advocate of high density housing or of the philosophy of in-fill. The integrity of neighborhoods must be maintained. Growth in inevitable, but it must be managed in a responsible manner that benefits all of the citizens of Matthews.
When the word “diversity” is spoken, it commonly applies to cultural diversity. But, diversity should be welcomed and encouraged in many other areas as well. Diversity should be considered in downtown businesses, in arts and entertainment, housing, park planning and much more. Variety is important in all aspects of life. It enriches us all.
Parks and Recreation
I am a strong advocate for parks and recreational facilities. I believe the wellbeing of a town is reflected in its parks. As our population grows and becomes more diversified our parks and recreation need to provide conveniently located environments for all of the citizens of Matthews to enjoy, regardless of their age, gender or physical limitations… and, of course, our pets as well. Our parks should always promote family and neighborhood socialization, provide facilities to accommodate popular activities as well as providing a venue for major events.
The town should be a driver in attracting new businesses by providing fertile ground in which they can flourish. In order to accomplish this, the town should act as a referee and not as a player. That is, the town should provide an environment for growth without showing preferential treatment to favored developers or providing taxpayer monies to private organizations with questionable connections to elected town officials. We need to encourage businesses with good paying jobs to come to Matthews so that we are a place where our citizens work, not just a place where they live to work elsewhere.
Protecting our past while building our future is key to the long term attractiveness for Matthews. The town should work closely with historic preservation groups to protect and preserve what is left of our precious history, our historical places and buildings that we can.
Interacting with State Legislators
There have been, and will be, many bills and regulations authored that have, and will have, an impact on our ability to govern ourselves. Over the past few years there has been a movement by the state legislature to remove or reduce the ability for municipalities to self-govern. I believe that our elected officials should be a strong and persistent advocate for our ability to govern ourselves. We should maintain a close relationship with our state legislature and municipality groups to make our concerns known and to be forceful in expressing those concerns.
Police & Fire Departments
These two very important agencies are our first lines of defense against physical harm, either from others or from the forces of nature. The police and fire departments should be our primary budgetary consideration. We, as a people and as a government, should be willing and eager to provide these two agencies with the maximum amount of financial resources that our budget will allow. Our very lives depend on them. It is the least that we can do to serve those that serve us.
After the police and fire departments, the most impactful agency on our citizenry is the public works department. It provides the quality that we expect and demand in our roads, but is also responsible for the beautification of our roadways and provides the safety needed in our pedestrian crossings and traffic control and much more. There is not a moment goes by in a day in the life of our citizens that they are not touched in some way by the mission of the public works department. It should be provided with all of the financial resources that we can muster.
Trees & Appearance
We are to be good stewards of our environment, both as individuals and collectively as a town. To do this we need strong and enforceable tree ordinances with meaningful financial penalties. Our tree canopy not only needs to be maintained, but it needs to grow. Through the guidance of advisory committees of citizens knowledgeable in indigenous species, we need to encourage our citizens to plant wisely, to not plant invasive species and to provide a habitat for the wildlife in our town both large and small. Our parks and recreation department should be an example to everyone by abiding by these guidelines.
Personally, I take public transportation on a daily basis to and from work. I am an advocate for increasing public transportation access by working with the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) to provide more buses to and from Matthews, routing a light rail service to Matthews and assist our town in developing a Matthews Area Transit System (MATS) that will provide bus service in Matthews between areas of concentrated population and businesses within the area.
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech, the right to assemble and having a free, open and robust press are all essential to a successful and vibrant democracy. I became a candidate for Commissioner, in part, because I felt that there was, and still is, a need to be vigilant to ensure that this precious right is maintained and strengthened.