“If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves,” – Emily Dickinson.
When cruise ships arrive in Norfolk, you won’t see much of a welcome or even signs in the park to show tourists how to find our locally-owned shops and restaurants.
Sure, this is a “little thing,” but I’ve always said the little things matter. If you do the small things well, the big things often turn out much better. It all comes down to attention to detail and care.
I believe Norfolk has so much potential, and that’s why I’m running for mayor – to help our city reach its great potential. I know how to set a vision, and follow through by having excellent employees, great processes and accountability. I roll up my sleeves, work hard and follow through on things.
Twenty-three years ago, I ran for sheriff on a promise to turn around our jail and give citizens full access to walk inside our jail at anytime – real transparency. I followed through, and transformed the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office into one of the best places to work in Hampton Roads, according to Inside Business.
You might wonder how a jail could be such a great place to work. It’s simple really – I take care of our employees and appreciate them. I also hold them accountable in a straightforward manner, and make sure they offer great customer service to any citizen who calls the Sheriff’s Office. It’s all about the little things.
I’m ready to bring this culture of appreciating our public employees, accountability, and great customer service to Norfolk City Hall. Think about how much more our employees will do for Norfolk if they feel appreciated.
Taking care of our employees is one of the “big things.” Our teachers need to feel safe in the classroom, and valued. It’s not all about money, although we do need to offer competitive pay to attract and retain the best. Chesapeake and Virginia Beach teachers make on average $7,000 more year, according to the Virginia Department of Education. I look forward to meeting consistently with the newly-elected school board to hold them accountable for achieving results.
We also need to take care of our public safety officers. They should receive their increment raises, and we need to make sure our departments are fully staffed. Currently, NPD is about 100 officers short on the streets, which makes it difficult to do proactive, community policing. The Norfolk Police Union has endorsed me, and I’m the only candidate with a law enforcement background and understanding of what it means to make Norfolk safe. If we don’t have a safe city, nothing else matters – families and businesses won’t choose Norfolk.
Another simple, yet profound change, is bringing real transparency to the city. I’ve always said we have so many talented, creative people in Norfolk, and I want their voices to be heard. The city has so many boards and commissions, and it’s time to listen to these citizens who are giving of their time to make Norfolk better.
For example, small business owners downtown have asked for more free parking options to help them compete with the likes of Town Center in Virginia Beach. I’m the only candidate who has proposed to make parking free downtown on nights and weekends. This wildly popular idea will more than pay for itself with additional tax revenue from more people shopping and dining downtown. The parking incentive will also encourage more entrepreneurs to open up a small business downtown.
One thing that sets me apart is I’m the only candidate who will keep a full-time schedule as mayor. I’ll retire as sheriff and be available to serve Norfolk citizens every day. Both of my opponents would have their own companies to manage, in addition to being mayor. While the city manager will run the day-to-day of the city, I look forward to being out in the community to meet with citizens and business leaders alike. I will be accessible.
I believe that if we take care of the “little things,” Norfolk will reach its great potential. We’ll be a city where people want to live due to our safe neighborhoods and great schools. We’ll be a place where visitors rave about the charming, welcoming experience they had in our mermaid city.
If you want a mayor who will help move great ideas forward – small & big – and cut the red tape, I hope you’ll vote for me, Bob McCabe, this Tuesday May the 3rd!