David Knight Will Challenge Incumbent Mendell in District E

The Oxford Road sidewalk was a turning point, David Knight says.

Five years ago, when he lived in Five Points, he ran along that road, and like many in his neighborhood, he thought that replacing the well-worn dirt path next to it was a no-brainer.

But in January, Raleigh City Council member Stef Mendell convinced her colleagues to kill the sidewalk project, though it was several years and $20,000 in the making, citing the complaints of a few residents.

Mendell has since reversed course, and the sidewalk is back on track, but Knight’s mind was made up: A vague feeling that he should do more for his community had turned into a very real desire to take Mendell’s seat.

But when he disclosed his plans to his boss at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, a nonprofit business incubator under the N.C. Department of Commerce, he was told he’d have to give up his job as director of the Outdoor Recreation Industries Office, which pays six figures, to run for city council, a part-time gig that pays about $17,000 a year.

He plans to resign on Wednesday, Knight told the INDY last week.

“It’s unfortunate, and I think I could have done both,” Knight says. “I had to choose, and I’ve chosen to run.”

There’s nothing in state law that requires such a choice. State employees can run for political office so long as they don’t use their employer’s time or public funds. ...

“For a long time, I have believed that Raleigh was on the right track,” Knight says. “Now, it seems we have lost that strong leadership, and the city’s not moving forward.”

He argues that Mendell is part of a council clique that caters to a vocal minority while overlooking the bigger picture—and decisions like the Oxford Road sidewalk display a tendency to disregard the opinions of the city’s staff.

Downtown development, Knight says, should focus on multimodal connectivity that gives residents a variety of transportation options, with sidewalks being the most basic element.
— Leigh Tauss - Indy Week
Brent Woodcox