Samantha Clattenburg seeks active role on city council
Samantha Clattenburg, city council candidate. Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce hosted a city candidate forum on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at the Grappone Conference Center.
(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
Samantha Clattenburg decided to run for city council because local government has a direct effect on residents’ lives.
“I like my privacy, but at the same time, I’m at a point in my life where if I have something to say about the city, I should stop complaining about it and do something about it actively,” she told the Monitor’s editorial board.
Clattenburg, a waitress at the Newell Post, is one of six candidates on the ballot for an at-large city council seat in the Nov. 5 election. The 40-year-old Wyman Street resident said she was motivated to run after the city council voted to accept a federal grant and purchase an armored BearCat vehicle.
“But there’s a lot going on in this town,” she said. “I’m not focusing on the BearCat in and of itself, because it’s a done deal.”
Clattenburg said she was not in favor of the upcoming redesign of Main Street, because she and other residents cannot afford to shop at the specialty stores downtown.
“I do view it as a freight train that’s coming in that I can’t really do much about,” she said. “But I think that it’s unfortunate that . . . Main Street in general is not inviting to somebody of lower-income middle bracket.”
Construction is scheduled to begin on Main Street next year to reduce traffic from four lanes to two lanes with a crossable median, widen sidewalks and improve accessibility. Clattenburg said she would rather focus on expanding the city’s tax base in undeveloped areas.
In Penacook, she would like to work to redevelop the former Allied Leather Tannery site.
“I’m not going to take a position on what should be done with the tannery, I just think that the citizens of Penacook feel kind of ignored,” she said.
Clattenburg said she did like one idea she heard from a resident: Find a developer to build a recreational facility, similar to a YMCA.
Her first priority for capital improvements is repaving city streets.
She would like to remove the extension of the Langley Parkway from the city’s capital plans. In place of that project, Clattenburg suggested designing a road that would extend from Exit 16 off Interstate 93 to Pleasant Street, crossing over Little Pond Road instead of the Penacook Street area.
“It would improve access to Penacook thereby helping Penacook grow, and I think it would also take . . . stress off of our newly paved Route 3,” she said.
On the possibility of a new downtown library, Clattenburg said she felt the library is now used more by residents to access the internet than to check out books. She said she was not certain that replacing the existing facility on Green Street is necessary. She would support a library presence at a new community center on the Heights, because she said it would provide resources for the low-income population that lives in apartments off Loudon Road.
While not familiar with plans to reduce Loudon Road from four lanes to two lanes with a center turning lane, Clattenburg said she felt that design would slow traffic and add to congestion.
Clattenburg said she did not know how the city could better address homelessness, but she does not feel the police should be spending time clearing homeless camps or enforcing a new ordinance that limits panhandling.
“How are you going to give somebody without an address a citation because they slept in the wrong land, they panhandled?” she said. “. . . It seems ludicrous to me. I think it’s actually going to cost the city money in having the police focus on homelessness when being homeless shouldn’t be a crime.”
She does not have concerns about the new women’s prison in Concord, and said she had positive experiences working with inmates of halfway houses during her 18 years as a waitress at Friendly’s on North Main Street.