Todd Paris Reports from the Livingstone College Candidates Forum

Posted on October 13, 2017

Todd Paris, Salisbury Attorney and Candidate for Salisbury City Council

♦ On Thursday October 12th, Livingstone College hosted a Salisbury City Council candidates Forum at the Harriet Tubman Theatre at 9:45 a.m.  It was well attended, yet, unfortunately not preserved on video. All candidates attended except 8 year incumbent hobbyist council member and self-ordained gavelist Brian Miller, conspicuous in his absence. No explanation was provided. Mayor Alexander showed up at the start and Professor Chris White announced she would be allowed to speak and leave due to a pressing family matter. While I am sure an accommodation would have been afforded the rest of us, the Mayor did manage to leave before any questions were asked.  Heaven forbid someone ask her about overages and such on the Customer Service Center or why she didn’t respond yet to Carolyn Logan’s challenge to take a polygraph test.

I was placed between David Post and Al Heggins and my name card was mislabeled “David Paris,” however that was probably the fault of my bad handwriting. The questions were cogent and relevant and once again the forum was well run. The questions concerned the $3M dollar per year Fibrant deficit and crime problems and solutions as well as a question on how we could try to keep Salisbury’s youth from continuing to flee Salisbury for more prosperous and far safer places. Council member Kenny Hardin sadly revealed that two of his sons already left Salisbury for places of brighter opportunity and suggested worthwhile ideas to try to stem the tide. A sizable contingent of Al Heggin’s students from RCCC attended to cheer her on.

It is very hard to report accurately while being a participant and I make no claim to impartiality. Both attending incumbents Hardin and Post did well and some of the newer challengers like Latasha Wilks and Ryan Evans (a current Livingstone student himself) really showed improved public speaking skills and scored obvious points. John Struzick had relevant information on the Fibrant debacle and had a much tighter, more fact filled presentation than last forum. Local realtor Rodney Queen spoke about himself being raised in poverty and showed a genuine emotional concern for the children in a city where almost one third live at or below the poverty level.

I am not really a morning person and was a little “off my game” in the early morning hours, but I focused on answering the questions presented.  I feel like I recovered later in the morning. I can’t claim to be a clear winner. Much thanks to the prosecutors and judges who held my cases open until after the forum and my clients who waited until just before the lunch break to have their cases completed.

While at the meeting PJ Ricks informed us of yet another forum and Terri L. Stevenson, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs handed out invitations to join Livingstone in their annual homecoming parade on Saturday October 28, 2017. It’s a great deal of fun and Frankie’s Chicken Shack’s family is rumored to be selling their famous dip chicken there. For those of us who miss “The Shack” and there are many, here’s your chance for a “fix.”

The real winners today were those college students who attended and took part in this learning experience. It was good to see Livingstone Student Ryan Evans stepping up to the plate and running for council. Good luck to him! I suggested to the students they do their research and “Google box” all the candidates and not allow anyone to tell them how to vote. After all, for four years Salisbury is their hometown.

Top Row: Todd Paris (R), Ryan Evans (M) Al Heggins (L) Bottom Row: Jessica Coates:

David Paris AKA Todd Paris:

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