Martin Bemberg, a 24-year-old language tutor and lifelong resident of the city said he plans to challenge Matthew Petty for the Ward 2, Position 2 City Council seat in the Nov. 6 general election.
Petty hasn’t made an official announcement, but has said on several occasions that he will seek a second term.
This is not the first time Bemberg has announced a council bid. He told the Flyer in April 2010 that he would run against Mark Kinion and Adam Fire Cat for the Position 1 seat, but backed off those plans before the filing period began. Kinion went on to defeat Cat with 77 percent of the votes, replacing outgoing Alderman Kyle Cook.
The filing period for City Council and other municipal candidates begins July 27.
Name: Martin Bemberg
Residency: 24 years (minus 6 months in Austin)
Employment: Private foreign language tutor
Education: Graduated from FHS in 2006, senior at University of Arkansas (Spanish/German)
Political Experience: None
What made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
I’ve been interested in politics from a very young age, and two years ago I considered running for this position, but decided it wasn’t the right time. I’m running for a lot of reasons. I love listening, I love learning, and of course I love my hometown, but it was only when I started to see people’s enthusiasm about my candidacy that I made the final decision to go for it. My whole life I’ve seen Fayetteville grow at an unprecedented rate, and we’re going to continue to grow. What some people seem to forget is that there is a wrong way to grow. I’m running because I want to make sure we grow in the right way.
Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 2? How would you describe that part of town?
I was born at the old Washington Regional hospital, on the corner of North Street and College Avenue. So I was born in Ward 2 and as long as I’ve lived in Fayetteville, I lived in Ward 2. I’d say Ward 2 is the cultural heart of Fayetteville – the mecca of arts and local commerce, the place you want to be.
Are there any recent citywide or Ward 2 council decisions you agree or disagree with?
It may not seem so recent, but paid parking in the Entertainment District has been a total disaster, and among other things has simply encouraged people to spend their time and money elsewhere. My priority is not elsewhere, it’s the neighborhood I grew up in.
I am in full support of the continuing expansion of our bike trails. I’d like to see more east/west expansions and some measures to make the trails safer at night.
Project Cleveland was a really tough issue, because I do think infill development – as recommended in the City Plan 2030 – can be a really good thing, but in the end I would have voted against it. To me, it comes down to protecting the property owners and preserving their neighborhood, something I would hope the council would do for me, were I in their position.