Name: Charles Raley
Years living in area: 11
Family: Phyllis, wife; two sons, ages 33 and 30
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Education: B.A., University of Virginia, 1968; J.D. with honors, George Washington University, 1972
Current occupation/employer: Attorney in private practice
Previous employment: Attorney, federal private practice, 1972 to present, and partner in firms in Washington, D.C., and Virginia through 1999
Military history: Army ROTC, commissioned second lieutenant in 1968
Volunteer history: None listed
Public elected offices: None
Any unsuccessful political campaigns: No
Other political and government experience: Federal government contract administration and litigation, 1972 to present; Hilton Head Board of Zoning Appeals, July 2003 to June 2009, vice chairman in the last year
Endorsements received: Tom Crews, candidate for town mayor; Bill Harkins, Town Council, Ward 2; J.R. and Leslie Richardson of Coligny Plaza; Berry Edwards, founder, The Greenery; Jim Bradshaw, The Bradshaw Group.
S.C. Ethics Commission statement of economic interests: None disclosed
Campaign money raised: $1,798 from individual contributions, as of the candidate's last filing July 6
Top three campaign contributors over past six months (amount): $1,000 from Paul Barringer (Hilton Head); $500 from Berryman Edwards Jr. (Hilton Head); $99 from developer and investor James Bradshaw (Hilton Head); $99 from The Bradshaw Group (Hilton Head)
1. Why should people vote for you?
Ever since I conducted my Ward 5 survey in Oct. 2009 (95 percent of more than 500 residents approving airport runway extension,) I have openly expressed my position on community issues in messages to 1,000 Ward 5 residents and in letters to The Island Packet, and I have received overwhelming support to run for the council seat. In spite being in office for 10 years, many of my respondents have no idea of my opponent's identity or his positions.
2. What are the three most important issues you would address if elected and how would you address them?
We must create a sustainable economy by reversing our drastically declining visitor numbers. In the past 10 years, we have lost 500,000 visitors per year. Corporate visitors are virtually non-existent, yet they spend far more per capita ($3,000 per head, per week) than the routine tourist ($675 per head, per week.) Corporate visitors drive investments in our community and provide support for the Heritage, the Concourse d' Elegance, the arts and other events. Although neglect and delay for many years has rendered our airport an inadequate resource, it is our largest economic asset, and by extending the runway to a usable 5400 length as recommended by the experts, it can again become an economic engine to attract high end visitors to support investment and our events.
We need to ensure that our Island is effectively marketed as a visitor-friendly, world-class destination by finally exercising the town government's existing right and responsibility to oversee and audit the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce (our currently designated marketing representative) and its revenues, expenditures and activities. We have a wealth of marketing talent in island residents to establish a marketing oversight committee to identify areas of cost/benefit improvement.
We need to proactively streamline town government to ensure responsive, efficient, cost effective and imaginative efforts, including a complete overhaul of the Land Management Ordinance to create a flexible, attractive and modern community, while preserving our environment and fundamental quality of life. Too often, redevelopment ingenuity is stifled by a negative attitude and inflexible buffers and setbacks that deter investment and contribute to our aging commercial structures. We cannot hope to redevelop our tired and aging areas without this change.
3. What other issues do you see as important?
Stopping deficit spending to support the general fund by dipping into what had always been dedicated funds from specific taxes and fees (i.e., hospitality tax and beach preservation fees.)
Protecting our environment, property values and way of life, curtailing the current "brain drain" and dramatically aging community, where our educated youth see no opportunities and leave; and providing the energy and focus to recreate a community where we, young entrepreneurs and our children want to live, work, play and stay here.
Promoting the preservation and growth of the Heritage golf tournament, the Concours d'Elegance and similar events to encourage visitors and generate revenue.
Recognizing that we are at least a generation behind in telecommunications technology so that we must assist our service providers to make partnerships with larger providers for state-of-the art connectivity.
Promoting the merger of our arts and entertainment organizations and facilities for the efficient use of government accommodations tax grants to support their activities and improvements.
4. What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?
I have already entered into regular communications with a large number of Ward 5 residents to discuss positions and issues. Consequently, my e-mail address is well-known and my street address and telephone number are in the book. I intend to establish an individual website to keep my constituents informed of issues impacting the community and to receive their feedback. On a broader stage, town government must project a positive, open, friendly and helpful attitude to promote and encourage ingenuity and imagination for redevelopment investment.
5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give details.
6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.
7. Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?
Phyllis and I have been happily married for 42 years. We started coming here before there was direct U.S. 278 access to Interstate 95 and actually enjoyed the views during occasional waits for the swing bridge to close for access to the island. I remember the attraction of direct flights to and from D.C., even though you had to be weighed before boarding at the old A-frame terminal. We decided back then that this was where we wanted to retire. We have owned in Shipyard and two properties in Sea Pines. Our oldest son and his wife want to move their family here, and I am dedicated to trying to provide a sustainable economy so they and other young families will have opportunities here.