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Annexed candidate touts infrastructure development

by Jordan Green

Annexed candidate touts infrastructure development

Danny Thompson, who lives in the Cardinal, became a resident of Greensboro last July, following a city council annexation vote. As a principal he opposes forced annexation, and he said some of the additions stretch the police department thin and divert resources from where they’re most needed, but his is anything but a protest candidacy. The 46-year-old home healthcare operator and Republican supports infrastructure investment, tree canopy requirements and downtown design standards. “I think we have the ability to make us an epicenter of trade and distribution on the east coast,” he said. “If we are progressive enough in our forward thinking and in our investment in infrastructure, if we have a wi-fi grid along the Highway 68 corridor, if we have a refrigerated warehouse for FTD florists — anywhere in the United States is only a two-day truck drive from Greensboro — we can really move forward. “The main thing,” he continued, “is to make sure there’s no more zoning for housing, so you don’t have problems with people saying, ‘Oh, we didn’t know we were going to be in a noise cone.’” Thompson is one of 11 candidates in the at-large race for city council. His party affiliation is an untrustworthy guide to his platform. The candidate said he applauds the Land Development Ordinance draft rewrite and the proposed Downtown Design & Compatibility Manual. “It is a city,” he said. “I see what they did in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s beautiful. What we’re talking about is not cookie-cutter or telling people how much square footage of window you need to have in your building. It’s more preventing someone from coming in and building something really garish.” Developer backlash against a proposal to require new housing starts to include a minimum of one tree also strike the candidate as an overreaction. “A tree in a yard – that’s a good thing,” he said. “Why would you not want a tree in a yard?” Thompson is also promoting the idea of incentives for small businesses. “There would be certain criteria: Maybe you’ve been in business for five or more years, you employ a certain number of people,” Thompson said. “Businesses typically plateau at a certain point. Everyone wants to reach the next plateau. You need capital to open a new location in Reidsville or to hire someone to do marketing.” The candidate continued by saying a business owner might obtain a commercial loan or a federal loan through the Small Business Administration, then bring their paperwork to the city, which would in turn assist the business with paying down a small percentage of the debt in installments tied to performance. Thompson’s public safety platform includes funding for the Greensboro Police Department’s gang enforcement unit and equipping police officers with handheld computers so late-night club-goers could instantly notify the police of impending trouble. As someone who favors zero-based budgeting, Thompson said he would like to explore the possibility of selling the naming rights to the Greensboro Coliseum, which he said could produce $500,000-$600,000 in annual revenue. Also tilting against party stereotype, Thompson said he would like to see more ethnic and religious diversity on the city’s boards and commissions, and more representation of gays and lesbians. “Greensboro is as plain as black and white,” he said. “We do not have Asians and Latinos, Indians and Pakistanis, Muslims and Buddhists on our boards and commissions.”

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