Rob’s S.A.F.E. Plan
To address the critical challenges our city is facing now, and in the future, we must have a plan that addresses community security, citizen and business appreciation, quality of life, and spending. That’s why I have developed the S.A.F.E. program.
S.A.F.E. focuses on four priorities essential to the health and welfare of the Central District: Safety, Appreciation, Fun, and Efficiency.
No matter where you go in the district, public safety is always on the top of everyone’s mind. Making sure that our kids are safe in their classrooms, business owners feel secure about opening and operating in the city, and homebuyers know that the Central District is a good place to start a family and/or career is vital to our long-term prosperity.
Student, teacher, and staff safety have always been a high priority for me. That’s why I’m proposing that all early development and elementary schools in Newport News have a certified, well trained law enforcement professional as a Resource Officer. Until Washington DC and Richmond get their acts together to address laws impacting the safety of our schools and community, we must do what is necessarily to ensure the health and well-being of all students and staff members of the Newport News Public Schools.
Properly addressing the mental health challenges of our kids and strengthening family engagement is critical to the reduction of disruptive incidents our teachers and administrators face every day. A teacher’s focus is to educate, nurture, and develop our kids, not play classroom cop. To allow our teachers to do what they love to do, I will work with my colleagues on the Newport News School Board to properly staff every school in our district with Family Engagement Specialists and Mental Health Counselors.
I have always been a proponent of being proactive rather than reactive when it comes to public safety. As a 25-year law enforcement professional and President of the Newport News Police Foundation, I appreciate that crime prevention is more cost effective, and in the long run more successful than showing up after the fact to investigate a crime. But we need to have the best, brightest, and most committed public servants to protect the citizens and property of the city. I will work with the City Council, City Manager, NNPD, NNSO, and Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to make Newport News the most desirable locality for individuals looking to start, and continue, their journey as dedicated, well trained, and compassionate public safety professionals.
What business or corporation should not be focused on providing the best customer service experience possible? Some people may find that to be a curious question on a political campaign website, but I view every citizen, business owner, and community partner as a customer of Newport News. Each one of them contributes to the community and play a vital role in the future success of the city. Every time a customer approaches us about an issue, concern, plan, proposal, or question we should start at “Yes, how can I help” and not “No, I’m sorry.”
If a citizen has a question or issue with a city service or has a property concern, we should be there to help.
If a prospective or established business, no matter how big or small, has a plan to open or expand their business, we should be there to help make that happen.
If a community partner or non-profit organization has an evidenced-based program that can help the community, we should help make it a reality.
As your council representative, I will work closely with the City Manager to make sure that our team values and shows appreciation to EVERY customer of the city.
Who doesn’t want to have fun in their hometown? Amenities that positively impact quality of life are important to attracting and retaining individuals and families to our community.
I will discuss with my council colleagues about working with our partners in City Center, Port Warwick, and Tech Center to develop an Entertainment District in the Central District. Dining, dancing, music, entertainment, and outdoor activities have proven to attract young professionals that are looking to begin their careers and families.
To provide opportunities for our young and seasoned athletes to practice and play, and to tap into the 45-billion-dollar travel sports industry, we need to invest in new sports complexes. An expansion and enhancement of Riverview Farm Park into a true multi-sport venue would bring millions of dollars from tourism to the city. It would also provide a much-needed asset to our hometown athletic teams and clubs.
The City of Newport News is a billion-dollar corporation that provides services to approximately 186,000 citizens, 30,000 visitors, and hundreds of businesses every day. Most of the revenue for the city’s operating budget is generated through property and business taxes. The city council needs to be intentionally effective and efficient when deciding how your tax money is being utilized.
Currently, nearly half of our operating budget is dedicated to public safety and schools. I would like to increase our investment in the future of our children and their safety, but that needs to happen organically, and not through arbitrary tax increases. Attracting new businesses to our community will help relieve the tax burden on the citizens. Also, stronger investments in schools will reduce spending for public safety which can be reinvested in other services provided to the community. (Community Centers, Sport Complexes, Neighborhood Pools, and Parks)