Name: Terrance Hawes
Past political experience: N/A
How do you define equity and how does that translate into how you approach financial, programmatic, and policy decisions?
I define equity simply as individuals having direct access to resources needed for them to strive. That means we have to approach finance, programming, and policy decisions holistically through a just lens. When making decisions we have to look at who will be impacted and how and will it improve or worsen equity gaps in the City. The future of Spartanburg has to be one where everyone despite social class, gender, familial status, age, ethnicity, color, and sexual preference can enjoy living, working, and playing in.
What can the city do to make downtown a more welcoming environment for Black and Brown residents, visitors and entrepreneurs?
Perception is reality and unfortunately downtown is not reflective of our diverse city. The city can intentionally take time to learn what residents of color want to see downtown and work to implement feasible options that will diversify retail, entertainment, and food options. Also, the racial equity index, it shows white businesses’ sales receipts averaged 12 million compared to around $400,000 for businesses of color. That’s a significant gap and for the city to intentionally attract entrepreneurs of color rent incentives need to be offered.
As the city continues to attract economic development, what proactive steps can the city take to protect neighborhoods from gentrification?
Developer accountability, redevelopment without dislocation, and making sure community residents are able to have an amplified voice in the direction of development are key. City officials can be more intentional with vocalizing and signing deals with developers ensuring long-term residents are not displaced or driven out due to increased property taxes and fees. Also, the disproportionate gaps in education, wages, and healthcare resources need to be better offered to residents to prepare them to be able to enjoy and benefit from the redevelopment of their community.
List three steps the city can take to help combat gun violence.
A. Increase community, police, and government relationships.
B. Increase community programming for families that engage, expose, and offer them skills and opportunities that lead to
C. Invest in improving neighborhood conditions (Street lights, green spaces, homes, sidewalks, parks, and more).
Poor neighborhood conditions and community distrust in police and local government leads to higher crime areas.
Spartanburg has been a place immigrant and refugee communities have contributed to shaping since the 1950s. And Spartanburg attracts very high rates of foreign direct investment. How can Spartanburg leverage its strengths in a global future?
A diverse economic base is important for steady economic growth. With over 200 foreign-owned firms in the county including BMW and Toray, the diversity of trade, technology, wages, and culture are needed to attract and retain talent. With the amount of land still available for development in Spartanburg, the county can leverage its robust growth to attract more innovative firms equipping our community with the latest high-demand technology, workforce skills, and enhancing our cultural vibrancy. Spartanburg can also leverage its strengths by influencing existing and future foreign firms to make direct investments in the neighborhoods where their workers are coming from. Healthier happier residents create higher productiveness.
How should the city move forward with public transit and the development of complete streets and pedestrian safe zones within its footprints, and what opportunities do see for collaboration with the county outside of the city limits?
Pedestrian safe zones and transit improvements are needed and the city has to find funding whether it’s an added revenue stream, grants that are sustainable, or private partner relationships to make the improvements. We have residents that pay taxes but aren’t able to fully utilize the transit system for their work schedule. County wise I believe the city and county can work intentionally with employers for direct investments into transit for workers that live in city limits.
What measure(s) should the city put in place to continue combatting COVID-19, and should the city use its resources to help ease the burden on schools within the city limits?
It’s important the city encourages residents to social distance and wear masks as well as share consistent information regarding Covid-19 affects Spartanburg and adapts their event schedule, programming, and ordinances based on public and health safety data and concerns. Schools in Spartanburg County have received over 150 million total investment from the American Rescue Plan recently. If inner-city schools aren’t receiving direct investments the city should jump in to hold the school districts accountable and work to allocate resources to the schools in need.
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