The following appears in the May 1, 2010 edition of The Roanoke Times.
Trinkle is the true leader in difficult times
As we head into Tuesday’s city council election and the rhetoric heats up, it is time to evaluate the impact your vote will have on the future of our community.
Which candidate has demonstrated the traits of a good leader? Will he lead in a collaborative and useful direction? Who has a track record of solving problems — not creating controversy? Who has the practical experience, intellectual bench-strength and creative vision to navigate the challenges in a progressive and positive manner?
If you’ve paid attention to the human quality of the candidates and the substance of their messages, there’s an obvious contrast. Dave Trinkle is the best choice for Roanoke City Council. He’s served the community as a physician, businessman and citizen.
On one thing we can all agree: We’re lucky to live in a democracy and have the opportunity to play an active role in our future.
It’s up to you to decide who has the experience and disposition to be an effective and positive leader — then go out and vote. I encourage you to use one of your three votes for Trinkle, who has the experience and has demonstrated the leadership that’s crucial during these difficult economic times.
The following appears in the May 1, 2010 edition of The Roanoke Times:Â http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/letters/wb/245294
Trinkle honors our past and our future
I’m sometimes accused of being change-avoidant. I’m not anti-change but think that community change should strive to learn lessons from and to honor our shared past. I think in David Trinkle we have a city councilman who does just that.
Trinkle has championed much change in our city over the last several years, first as a member of the school board and then as a member of city council.
My college-aged daughters see him as the candidate who understands and works for their generation by working to keep Roanoke the same family-friendly, child-oriented city they grew up in.
He also strives to help create a new climate where employers will want to locate their businesses to keep Roanoke fiscally healthy and to allow our amenities to grow so that it will be a city they can come home to when their education is complete.
He is a candidate who honors where Roanoke has been but is committed to making sure its future is bright. He is the candidate we need during these tough economic times when the choices are hard and options fewer. I encourage Roanoke citizens to vote for our future and to vote for Trinkle.
Below is the Candidate Question & Answer series published in the Roanoke Star Sentinel on April 8 and April 15.
1.) What is your party affiliation? Â democratic
2.) Who influenced you as a child? My dad. His active involvement in the community was and his grace at over-coming a disability was inspirational. It shaped me as a man, a father, a business owner, a citizen and as a leader.
3.) Who do you admire now? Many people â€“ but at this juncture in our cityâ€™s history, Iâ€™ll say Superintendent Rita Bishop and the Roanoke City School Board. They are facing huge challenges head on â€“ and are getting results. They understand the huge implications of the success of our schools â€“ both on the lives of our children and the vitality of our city.
4.) If elected, what are your top 3 priorities? Balancing the budget so we can be on track for future growth and opportunity. Supporting our most critical economic development driver â€“ the public school system. The best way to ensure a vibrant future for any community is to foster a creative environment and build a strong, educated workforce. Â Helping to lead our city out of this recession through progressive thinking and reasonable, positive growth.
5.) Why do you believe you are qualified for this position? I am interested in what other people have to say. I am interested in hearing every possible side of an argument so we can arrive at the best solution for everyone. I am involved and active in our community as a father of children ion the public schools, as a business owner, as a civic leader, and participant in arts and cultural activities.
6.) What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in life so far? I have worked hard my entire life to be certain I am giving back to my community as much as it has given me. I am proud of the volume, breadth and substance of my volunteer and public service â€“ to the Roanoke Region and beyond. That intense desire to give back is clearly reflected in my professional life as well â€“ as I passionately serve the medical and emotional needs of our aging population. Last, but certainly not least, is my family. I am humbled by the wonderful spirit and grace of my wife and three children. The love and happiness of our family is truly my greatest accomplishment.
7.) What is the last book you read? A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines — as part of the Big Read Roanoke Valley and Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan with my daughter!
8.) How would you try to balance the budget? Balancing a budget is about three things: managing costs, eliminating wasteful spending and sustainable revenue streams. First, we need to carefully evaluate current spending to be sure every dollar is yielding a maximum benefit to the citizens and businesses in the community. Are there projects/programs/initiatives currently being funded â€“ that are no longer appropriate considering the changes in the economic landscape? We need to consider both the long term and short-term impact of these expenditures and perhaps make some changes. Secondly, we need to adhere to strict fiscal accountability â€“ to make certain we are not wasting money unnecessarily. I also believe we need to evaluate the systems and structures throughout the city government and make sure they are efficient â€“ especially considering advances in technology. Lastly, we need to accept the realities that state funding will not likely return to the levels of the past. Therefore, we need to be creative in finding additional â€“ and sustainable — revenue streams for the city that do not apply un-due burden on our taxpayers.
I am committed to ensuring Roanokeâ€™s government is fiscally responsible - with a balanced approach to meeting current needs while still preparing for a positive future.Â We must pay close attention to public safety, infrastructure, and most importantly our schools so our city can offer a high quality of life to all of our citizens.Â Â As a father, educator, businessman and citizen â€“ I have always been a vocal about the idea that our schools are our most important economic engine and are the most important measure of our success as a whole.
9.) How will you attract new business to Roanoke? The advent of new technologies has changed the face of business, allowing the spirit of entrepreneurship to grow and small businesses to prosper. Furthermore, it has allowed business owners to choose their hometown based on quality of life more than ever before. This shift allows Roanoke â€“ with its vibrant arts and cultural scene, spectacular natural amenities and abundant outdoor and recreational opportunities — to move ahead of the competition. I am steadfast in my commitment to continuing the cityâ€™s progress in being a fun, livable city with a high quality of life. In addition, we must continue to create a more open and business friendly city hall to foster the relationship with new and exciting businesses.
10.) Would you vote yes or no on the 2% meal tax? As you already know, I voted in favor of a 2% meal tax increase for the next 2 years. The funds will be used to help public schools cover the shortfall created by the state levels cuts.
As a city resident and restaurant owner, you can imagine this was a very challenging decision. Â I share many of your frustrations and am concerned with the idea of additional support coming on the backs of one single industry — especially an industry so important to our quality of life, vibe and local labor force. While I ultimately supported the tax â€“ I vigorously proposed more sustainable options during the debate and wish we could have taken more time to discuss the overall idea and long term impact of the program.
However,Â I have learned a great deal through the successes and challenges of my first term. Â Most importantly, I have learned patience and better understand why we cannot always expect things to happen exactly as we might like.Â There are many considerations and implications to each decision â€“ and this must not be taken lightly.
Moving forward, I will continue to scrutinize the budget to find inefficiencies and other — more progressive — ways to support the schools after this two year period when the meals tax will automatically revert to current levels. If re-elected, I look forward to continuing as a member of the Joint Services Committee and playing a vital role â€“ in cooperation with the schools — to find innovative and sustainable ways to support public education.
After years full ofÂ anticipation, the Taubman Museum of Art opened with much fanfare a week ago. The project was envisioned over a decade ago, with the architectural team being assembled and working on the project for over eight years. This is a great example of a wild vision becoming a reality in our city with much support from the private sector (businesses and individuals) and some support from the public sector (local, state and federal allocations). It took a visionary team to put it together and see it through