Southport Needs To Heal Divide Between Aldermen And Citizens, Says John Allen
Southport has grown by 25% in the last eight years to nearly four-thousand people. That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The City is governed by a six-member Board of Aldermen divided into two wards. John Allen, a candidate for one of two open seats in Ward Two, says he wants to heal the mistrust between citizens and local government.
John Allen served as Development Director for Winston-Salem, Economic Development Director for Mecklenburg County, and City Planner for Southport. That experience, he says, gives him the expertise to create a long-term plan. Allen says the current Board’s lack of transparency in their decisions around a new wastewater treatment plant have fomented public mistrust. To start healing the divide, he says he’d raise the three-minute time limit for citizens at public meetings.
"The elected officials need to take personal responsibility for doing things in a different way. It takes longer to involve the citizens. You have to put out more effort. You may have to have some town hall meetings above and beyond the regularly-scheduled Board of Aldermen meetings, in our case. It’s hard to make that effort, I guess, for people, once they get in, but I think it’s up to the voters, ultimately, to hold our feet to the fire and make us do it."
There are safety issues with the current pedestrian and transportation system, says Allen. He’d work to institute traffic calming devices, improve crosswalks, fill in gaps in the sidewalk system, and clearly define parking options.