Dhiren Shah: Mayor Hawkins, welcome to this interview. The election is only two months away. The negative campaigns have been on for the past couple of months. At this juncture, it is very important to focus as a Mayor and run for a second term. Can you tell me what inspired you to run for the second term?
Eldridge Hawkins: The housing project. The demolition of the Walter Alexander Complex and replacing it with two to three stories housing, development of the arts district, 18% to 0% transitional year budget and in 2012, a 0% increase, The reduction of crime 23% from 2007 to 2011. There is still a lot more left to do, and that’s why I am running again. We have a great administrative team. We are looking forward to redeveloping the Orange Memorial Hospital site and train station.
DS: In the beginning of your term, you appointed yourself as Fire Director, and then after there was resistance by the community and the council, you gave up that role. Also, people say that you were supposed to pay back the salary received as Fire Director. Can you elaborate on this matter?
EH: Everything I have done was by the boundaries of law. I was putting full time effort on a weekly basis. I felt that this was a full time job. I was secure with it, but I saw the push back from residents.