Archives

2011 General Election Voter Guide

by YES! Weekly staff

Bill Knight (i)

Age: 73

Profession: Retired accountant Electoral experience: Mayor, 2009-present Website: knightformayor. com Civic involvement: Board of trustees, Greensboro Opera; parks and recreation commission (past); president (past), Hamilton Lakes Lions Club Key positions: • Favors reopening the White Street Landfill • Supports funding to train new police officers • Opposes tax and water rate increases Quote: “The city enjoys a pretty good financial position, or financial condition. While we hear about a lot of cities and counties, and certainly the national government, that are either just bankrupt or in red ink or in dire straits — and while we are maybe in an enviable position, we need to take every possible precaution to protect and hedge against that proverbial rainy day.” (candidate forum)

Robbie Perkins

Age: 55 Profession: Commercial real estate broker Electoral experience: Greensboro City Council, 1993-2005, 2007-present Website: robbieperkins.com Civic involvement: Board of directors, One Step Further; board of trustees, Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation; member, Heart of the Triad Steering Committee Key positions: • Opposes reopening of White Street Landfill • Favors regional solid waste solution with Greensboro as anchor tenant of Randolph County landfill • Supports investment in water and sewer infrastructure Quote: “[The Downtown Greenway] gives our citizens an opportunity to exercise. Importantly, it gives our developers an opportunity to link to the greenway to provide an additional amenity to spur economic development. $7 million of the $23 million cost of the greenway is being funded by the private sector.

The balance is a combination of transportation bonds and other city funding sources. We need to move it forward soon as possible because that will create economic development and jobs in center city.” (candidate forum)

Wayne Abraham

Age: 52 Profession: Home-care executive director Electoral experience: None Website: voteabraham.com Civic involvement: Chair, Greensboro Human Relations Commission (past); cofounder, Triad Health Project; Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina (past) Key positions: • Opposes reopening of White Street Landfill • Supports investments in roads, sidewalks, parks and public transportation • Implement the Sustainability Action Plan and use public land for community gardens Quote: “I hear lots of my fellow candidates say, ‘Government doesn’t create jobs.’ Not true. If we start rebuilding our city’s infrastructure we will be creating jobs. If we turn our city’s efforts towards a ‘Buy Local’ campaign we will be creating jobs. If we put into place the Sustainability Action Plan we will be creating jobs. And if we wisely invest our money into our own economic development partnership we will be creating jobs.” (Facebook post)

Marikay Abuzuaiter

Age: 57 Profession: Restaurant owner Electoral experience: None Website: Facebook Civic involvement: Greensboro Human Relations Commission; active in grassroots effort to keep White Street Landfill closed Key positions: • Opposes reopening of White Street Landfill • Implement the Sustainability Action Plan • Listen to residents Quote: “We have 20 percent poverty rate in Guilford County. Another item is that 35 percent of the students in our schools are living in poverty. We really need to address these conditions that our people are going through. I would certainly propose and hope that we bring our minds together and come to some solutions in order to create the jobs that will eventually solve all this.” (candidate forum)

Dianne Bellamy-Small

Age: 59 Profession: Nonprofit executive director Electoral experience: Greensboro City Council, 2003-present Website: bellamysmallforcouncil.com Civic involvement: Has served as a state youth advisor for NC NAACP; worked with Baby Basics program for the Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality; honored the Greensboro Red Wings, a Negro League baseball team Key positions: • Opposed to reopening White Street Landfill • Ensuring District 1 receives equitable services and infrastructure investment • Supports Greensboro Coliseum as economic development driver Quote: “There’s an African proverb that says, ‘The lion’s story will never be told so long as the hunter is telling it.’ My leadership style is one of get it done. You’ve got to have someone on council who is a grassroots-er, who gets out here in the community and who can very articulately talk about what’s happening. That’s me.” (candidate forum)

Yvonne Johnson

Age: 69 Profession: Nonprofit executive director Electoral experience: Greensboro City Council, 1993-2009 (mayor, 2007-2009) Website: yvonnejohnson4citycouncil.com Civic involvement: Board of directors, Golden Leaf Foundation; board member, Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau; board member, Malachi House Key positions: • Opposes reopening of White Street Landfill • Promotes diversity and inclusion • Enhance recreational activities and promote Greensboro as “Tournament Town” Quote: “I’ve read this [Sustainability Action Plan]. It is an excellent plan. I spoke in favor of this plan. And I would hope this council would take it and really study it. And we would talk about it. And if we want to begin at a certain point, fine. But if something’s going to save our city $20 million and it’s not going to cost us anywhere near that, it’s something I think we ought to pay attention to.” (candidate forum)

Chris Lawyer

Age: 33 Profession: Physician assistant Electoral experience: None Website: lawyerforcouncil. com Civic involvement: George Allen and Jon Hardister campaign volunteer, has supported ALS and muscular dystrophy causes Key positions: • Favors reopening White Street Landfill on temporary basis • Promote fiscal restraint • Improve dialogue and respect on council Quote: “If you take the issue and present your case for why you’re for it or against it and you allow comment — everybody, constituents and elected officials — it has to be respectful. People may not like the verdict, but if you listen to the concerns and you’ve talked about them in a respectful dialogue, that’s where you’ll have the greatest benefit.”

Danny Thompson (i)

Age: 49 Profession: Home-care business owner Electoral experience: Greensboro City Council, 2009-present Website: vote4danny.com Civic involvement: Board, Summit Rotary Club; city council liaison to Greensboro Sports Commission; city council liaison to chamber of commerce board of directors Key positions: • Supports reopening the White Street Landfill on limited basis • Supports regional solid waste solution in long term with Greensboro as equity partner in regional landfill • Keep taxes and water rates low Quote: “Hopefully, by now everyone knows where I stand on the landfill. We researched it over the past two years by empirical data as well as the rational input as to what is best, how do you best use an asset that the city has, that the citizens have bought and paid for and permitted. I believe it should have been used for household waste. Of course, I also believe that if were going to not use that landfill, then we need an equity position in a regional solution.” (candidate forum)

Nancy Vaughan (i)

Age: 50 Profession: Community volunteer Electoral experience: Greensboro City Council, 1997-2001, 2009-present Website: electnancyvaughan.com Civic involvement: Board of directors, Reading Connections; board of trustees, Greensboro Day School; Greensboro Beautiful Key positions: • Opposes reopening of White Street Landfill • Highlight Greensboro’s cultural assets and quality of life • Supports funding for economic development and public safety Quote: “We are really at a crossroads right now as a city. We can dig our heels in and we can keep our extreme left and our extreme right. You know, if we want to be successful we have to come together and we have to be willing to make broad steps. And sometimes broad steps cost money. But you know, we have to consider everything because if we keep just doing business as usual we are going to stagnate.” (candidate forum)

Donnell (DJ) Hardy

Age: 35 Profession: Financial controller for local environmental company Electoral experience: None Website: donnellhardy.org Civic involvement: Treasurer, Greensboro Jaycees; deacon, St. James Presbyterian Church; board member, Ole Asheboro Neighborhood Association Key positions: • Opposed to reopening White Street Landfill • Ensuring District 1 receives equitable services and infrastructure investment • Favors establishing a venture capital fund to help local startup companies Quote: “The biggest difference is definitely going to be representation and responsiveness. As I alluded to earlier, I don’t think you can really represent someone if you don’t talk to them, not only as a district representative but as a representative of the city. Our campaign has been, I think, relatively a new way of learning about campaigning in District 1. We’ve been very responsive. We have a Twitter account, Facebook.

And we are going to every single person.” (candidate forum)

Jim Kee (i)

Age: 53 Profession: Real estate developer Electoral experience: Greensboro City Council, 2009-present Website: None Civic involvement: Concerned Citizens of Northeast Greensboro; council liaison to human relations commission, Heart of the Triad and Housing Development Partnership Key positions: • Opposes reopening of White Street Landfill • Emphasis on economic development and transportation infrastructure • Support for city manager and police chief’s handling of challenges in GPD Quote: “There are those — candidates that are running against me — that do not support the police department. I fully support the police department. They’ve asked me to dismantle the gang unit. Now, I personally think that we should have a gang unit.

You know, they’re saying the gang unit is harassing gangs. I call it ‘monitoring.’” m(campaign speech)

Clarence Bradley Hunt II

Age: 24 Profession: College student Electoral experience: None Website: None Civic involvement: Political affairs chair, Greensboro NAACP; Guilford County Community PAC; mentor, New Light At-Risk Intergenerational Outreach Program Key positions: • Opposes reopening of White Street Landfill • Establish citizens review board with subpoena power to improve police accountability • Favors increasing taxes to pay for needed services and infrastructure Quote: “I read an article and it said that the councilman was ready to throw in the towel. He said the inner council told him that the landfill would be opened and he was ready to throw in the towel. If you’re not wanting to fight [against] a landfill in your community, in your backyard, then what are you willing to fight for?” (candidate forum)

Zack Matheny (i)

Age: 38 Profession: Investor relations manager for a real estate investment and management company Electoral experience: Greensboro City Council, 2007-present Website: zackmathenyforcouncil.com Civic involvement: Can’t Wait for the Ballpark committee chair and Making Connections Around the Table host, Action Greensboro (past); Future Fund Steering Committee (past); Greensboro Zoning Commission (past) Key positions: • Proponent of Greensboro Aquatic Center and Natural Science Center • Lead effort to establish downtown teen curfew and other downtown public safety initiatives • Varied approach on solid waste, including regional solution Quote: “We’ve got to be down in [Randolph County Commission Commissioner] Darrell Frye’s office every day. We have to get that landfill in Randolph permitted as soon as possible. [NC Senate President Pro Tem] Phil Berger, if he doesn’t want the landfill in Rockingham County, he can help us with the permit in Randolph County. Recycling could build revenue for us. If we can free up the transfer station, we can expand that for recycling.” (interview)

Jay Ovittore

Age: 38

Profession: Sales for video game store Electoral experience: None Website: Facebook Civic involvement: Served on Greensboro Human Relations Commission; paid coordinator, Google Fiber initiative (past); lobbyist for municipal broadband (past) Key positions: • Opposes downtown teen curfew • Supports vigorous enforcement of rental housing ordinances and proactive inspection • Opposes reopening White Street Landfill Quote: “I am first and foremost a citizen of Greensboro. I am not owned and operated by real estate developers. I will not take money from real estate developers. I will not give them a larger seat at the table than any other person sitting in this room today.” (candidate forum)

Nancy Hoffmann

Age: 69 Profession: National executive recruiting executive Electoral experience: None Website: votehoffmann.com Civic involvement: Chair, Greensboro Human Relations Commission; board member, Music for a Great Space; former board president, Reading Connections Key positions: • Opposes reopening of White Street Landfill • Keep options open with regard to tax rate • Support for downtown vitality and culture Quote: “City council must work to protect your greatest investment: your home. That means protecting your home’s value with safe, stable, welcoming neighborhoods. Greensboro is a city of neighborhoods. We don’t want to lose that with the incursion of unwanted rezonings into residential neighborhoods.” (candidate forum)

Mary Rakestraw (i)

Age: 63 Profession: Retired real estate agent/broker Electoral experience: Greensboro City Council, 2007-present; Guilford County Commission, 1996-2004 Website: maryrakestraw.com Civic involvement: City council liaison to Piedmont Triad Council of Governments; Kiwanis Club of Greensboro; Guilford County Agricultural Advisory Board Key positions: • Favors reopening the White Street Landfill • Opposes tax and water rate increases • Asks the hard questions that you want asked even though you may not like the answers Quote: “I bring experience to this job. When I decided to run we were having serious problems with our police department and our city manager. And to say that we’ve resolved 100 percent with the police department? Not yet. But we’re almost there. I voted to keep your taxes down, to be a good steward of your money. And your water fees, so we could be competitive when we try to bring jobs into Greensboro.” (candidate forum)

Jorge Cornell

Age: 35 Profession: Staffing agency executive director/ community organizer Electoral experience: None Website: cornellforcouncil. wordpress.com Civic involvement: Guilford County Coalition for Just Laws and Peace Among Street Organizations; activist against unjust immigration laws and police harassment; creating employment opportunities for ex-felons Key positions: • Opposes reopening of White Street Landfill • Open up city’s small business loan program to ex-felons • Establish a citizens review board with subpoena power to hold police accountable Quote: “The power is in our hands. The power is when we go show up to these voting polls and vote. If you want money [to flow] into your neighborhood, you have to elect the right people into office — you just can’t turn your back. If you turn your back, then the rich [are] going to keep getting richer. The nice communities are going to keep looking prettier and our communities are going to look the same.” (interview)

Trudy Wade (i)

Age: 58 Profession: Veterinarian Electoral experience: Greensboro City Council, 2007-present; Guilford County Commission, 2000-2005 Website: trudywade.com Civic involvement: American Business Women’s Association, past president; Association of North Carolina Boards of Health, past director; Friends Home Board of Advisors, former member Key positions: • Favors reopening White Street Landfill • Opposed to increasing tax rates and water rates • Ensuring District 5 receives equitable services and capital investment Quote: “The problem with the landfill is our trash is costing us millions of dollars. There were conservative members of council that decided we needed to look at this issue for the people of Greensboro — all the people of Greensboro. Is there a way we could save money and with that money do things for economic development such as put in infrastructure, do things we really need in this city? Are we getting the best bang for our buck with paying all that money to transport our trash, which is our responsibility, not our responsibility to go stick it in somebody else’s backyard — our responsibility as citizens that we should take care of our own trash.”

(candidate forum)

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