Name: Paul Battle
Biography: Paul Battle is a Portsmouth native who has worked in several departments within the city, including the police and sheriff’s office. His accomplishments include helping to create the “Drug Elimination Grant,” which added 15 additional police officers to the city’s police department. He currently provides services for people with intellectual disabilities through Tranquility Manor Inc.
1. Why should residents elect you to City Council?
Residents should elect me to City Council because, I believe that I have a wide variety of experience. During my employment with the City of Portsmouth I worked in the Recreation Department, Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, Community Service Board, and Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
Nevertheless, when I attended Norfolk State University a couple of my colleagues and I wrote the first grant for Portsmouth Community Service Board, which still provides services for individuals with disabilities currently. While at the Police Department I was among the first to work in police community relations. During my tenure with the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority I wrote the main portion to the Hope 6 Grant, which dealt with the demolition and revitalization of Jeffrey Wilson and Ida Barbour. This revitalization took citizens who previously had zero taxation status and added over 300 families to the tax base for the city. This grant also allowed approximately 280 became 1st time home buyers. I worked with Grant Team that wrote the empowerment zone Grant. It funded the infrastructure for Victory Crossing added multiple businesses to the tax base.
In addition, I am presently the business owner of Tranquility Manor Inc. located in Portsmouth, Virginia. I provide services for people with intellectual disabilities, employs 40 to 48 people. I have worked over 30 years with Mr. Tyrone Hines providing and funding youth sports programs all over the City of Portsmouth. I also had the honor of being the President of Cavalier Manor Little League for 6 years. As a citizen of Portsmouth, their is no other individual that donates and contributes their own personal income than I have over the years to organizations and committees in the City of Portsmouth.
2. What is the most pressing issue facing your community, and how would you address that issue?
The most pressing issue facing my community, is the impact of the tolls. I would like to propose a plan with my colleagues if elected to refer thru immanent domain or legislative decision to have the company that owns the right to operating the tunnel sale the rights to the City of Portsmouth. We can drop the cost of tolls and increase the cost for the commercial vehicles using the tunnel. In addition we can increase the tax for 2 years retroactively. We will recoup the influx of businesses that were lost due to the tunnel tolls going into effect. The increase will be shared by the other surrounding cities. When the bonds are paid off we will have an influx to the City Treasurer that could provide needed funds for other city departments and the retirement system for the City of Portsmouth.
Also, we need to support our public education system because it is moving in the right direction. We currently have 14 out of 19 accredited schools and I will continue to support funding and allowing the school board to follow through with the progress they are making.
3. Where do you stand on raising taxes to balance your locality’s budget?
At this point I don’t favor raising taxes, unless it’s temporary to help us through a difficult period. To tackle the problem such as the tolls, we need to hold the budget where it is and not be overzealous.
4. What’s your plan to reduce crime?
My plan to reduce crime is to support the Sheriff and the Police Department in their efforts to work with the community to forge a bond. This bond should be conducive to crime prevention and decreasing crime in high crime areas.
5. What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?
We need to deal with rising sea levels, by studying the impact on the cities in Hampton Roads area and installing those drainage and water removal systems that are adequate and most conducive to implementation of the studies performed. We must be active regionally in this discussion and be open to solutions, communicate, be active and willing to work with other surrounding cities.
6. What businesses and industries would you try to attract to your community?
If I am elected as Portsmouth City Councilman, I will do my very best to attract financial organizations, commercial businesses, retail industries and tourist attractions. Taking advantage of these businesses and industries will ensure to increase the tax base for the city of Portsmouth ultimately benefiting and improving the quality of life for the citizens of Portsmouth.