Friday, February 1, 2008

Thursday Night Candidates Forum

This past Thursday evening at the Dumas Center for Artistic & Cultural Development, a candidates forum was held to discuss some of the important issues facing Roanoke. All seven candidates seeking the nomination were in attendance.

While each candidate answered the same six questions, I hope the audience was able to distinguish between the various visions that we each have for the future of Roanoke. Schools were discussed at great length, with different proposals for how to improve our education system in the city.

It's important to know that City Council serves two functions with regard to our schools: 1) It appoints a school board, which should be comprised of the very best and brightest that Roanoke has to offer, and 2) City Council funds the schools.

Schools are the foundation of any community, and are directly linked to the economic and cultural success of the city. We cannot grown economically unless outside businesses and people trust that they can move/live in Roanoke and that the city can provide a high quality of education to our children, regardless of race, socioeconomic background or other social factors.

It's difficult for me, personally and publicly, to tell people that I will work to increase teacher pay, or implement strategies to increase our graduation rate -- though these are important, noble and necessary goals. As a member of Council, these aren't promises that can be fulfilled by Council. But we can appoint School Board members who are qualified and committed, and who can work to put in place policies that will achieve these worthy goals.

It's my goal to always be genuine with voters. I can and will commit to increasing the funding formula for our schools -- this formula is outdated and needs to be changed. I promise that I will work tirelessly to see this change occur for the better.

As I have said many times to folks all over Roanoke: Good schools bring more and better jobs and build great communities.

I'll always be straight with the citizens of Roanoke.


Valerie said...

I have asked several candidates their positions on Countryside Golf Course purchased by the City in 2005 for development.

Lea, Fitzpatrick, and Cranwell have responded. There has been no response from Mayor Harris after several inquiries. I would like your response and I will post it on my blog as I have the others word for word.

We live right in the middle of this Northwest City asset. I hope you have followed the City's venture with citizen's tax dollars into the real estate market. The mortgage on the property has cost the taxpayers $500,000 in interest only (6.25% for 15 years at Carter Bank).

This is our park, our pride, our diverse PUBLIC amenity here in Northwest City. The lack of recreational opportunity in Northwest City has been recognized yet the City just wants to develop it for tax base to fund activities elsewhere.

Visit the

I look forward to your response.
Valerie Garner, NW District Leader

Court Rosen, for Roanoke City Council 2008 said...

Valerie, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I don't yet know enough about the details of Countryside to make an informed response. I do think that recreational opportunities are one of Roanoke's greatest assets, and will certainly study and learn more about Countryside Golf Course. I'll look forward to discussing this further with you in the future.