Trolley pubs in Raleigh? A blight on the city.
Red light cameras? A money-making business.
Hillsborough Street roundabouts? A public nuisance.
George Knott, upright bassist, Raleigh native and political novice, is running to be Raleigh’s next mayor not because he wants to, but because he wants someone to talk about the issues he cares about. And his atypical website (www.george4raleigh.com) reflects it.
“I didn’t want to be mayor, but I didn’t want any of them to be my mayor,” Knott said.
“And I would hate to be the mayor,” the 41-year-old added. “But I will absolutely be the mayor if I am elected. I know I won’t be, but I am just trying to be the mayoral candidate I want to see.”
Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced in March she would not seek a fifth term. Besides Knott, the announced candidates are:
- Mary-Ann Baldwin, former Raleigh council member and VP of Holt Brothers, www.maryannforraleigh.com
- Zainab Baloch, former Raleigh council candidate and community activist, www.reclaimraleigh.com
- Charles Francis, former mayoral candidate and Raleigh attorney, www.francisforraleigh.com
- Caroline Sullivan, former Wake County commissioner and executive director of the N.C. Business Committee for Education, www.carolineforraleigh.com
Knott’s platform — named “18 steps to the Raleigh Mambo” — include such ideas as a citywide ban on leaf blowers, removal of the Hillsborough Street roundabouts, a tree preservation tax credit and a “roll back” of lax guidelines in city zoning and land-use rules.
“I am 100% serious,” Knott said. “Though I should say that I know it’s completely unrealistic and if I am elected I know I can’t do anything of the things I want to do.”
“I don’t want to give anybody false hope that I can do anything in my platform,” he added. “But I think it’s important to know that none of the candidates can do what they are promising in their platforms.”
Knott stands behind his platform and wrote it with a humorous flair, in part, so others would read the entire thing. He plans to actively campaign though he’s not accepting any donations.
“It’s so tacky to raise tens of thousands of dollars when there are places like the LGBT Center, there are homeless shelters, there are nonprofits [and] all sorts of places that could really use that money,” he said. “And to take money from people and turn it into yard signs? Just seems like the most rotten thing you can do.”
He’s gotten angry with the current council members over development and other issues, and he said he doesn’t understand when his friends aren’t angry. No one, he said, is paying attention.
And while he considers the trolley pub to be a “blight on the city” it doesn’t appear he’s completely anti-trolley. He’s in favor of ripping out the bicycle lanes in downtown and getting rid of the free downtown bus and bringing back Raleigh’s electric trolley as part of his transportation plan.
The other two parts of his transportation platform include no left turns on Wade Avenue and a light-rail transit system throughout Raleigh and Wake County set to end at “rail-worthy BBQ restaurants.”
“I want what is best not for Raleigh, but for Raleigh’s people,” Knott said. “If you want what is best for Raleigh, sure, fill up downtown with high rises. I don’t care about Raleigh. I care about the people of Raleigh.”
Filing for the Oct. 8 election begins at noon July 5 and ends at noon July 19.