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Chris Lawyer

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: Wild Partridge Court (map)

Incumbent or challenger? Challenger

Age: 33

Campaign website: lawyerforcouncil.com (link)

Endorsements: Mike Barber, Conservatives for Guilford County, Joe Guarino and Rhinoceros Times

Occupation and employer: Physician assistant, Moses Cone Health Services

Previous electiveexperience (including election campaigns): Volunteer for George Allen campaign for Virginia governor (1993) andfor US Senate (2006), volunteer for Jon Hardister’s NC House campaign (2010)

Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on city commissions and boards): Member, Societyof Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants; has supported ALS and musculardystrophy causes

Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): Master’sin physician assistant studies, King’s College

Party registration: Republican (nonpartisan contest)

What is the city of yourbirth? Martinsville, Va.

What year did you movehere? 2005

Paid consultants workingon your campaign: None

Campaign manager: Jon Hardister

Treasurer: Carolyn Hardister

Do you favor or oppose reopening the White Street Landfillfor household waste, beyond the small amount of sewer sludge currentlyaccepted? Briefly explain your position.

I believe that we will have to temporarily re-open thelandfill with the belief that we move aggressively to seek out a long-termregional solution. We have to be responsible with our efforts in re-opening thelandfill by using technology that will curb odor and rodent issues. This issueis more complex than just open versus close. This mentality of shortsightedness got us to the point where we are now. It is time for us to takeownership of our responsibility and save money. The transport cost will onlycontinue to rise. I do not feel that an urban area is a suitable place for alandfill long term. We also need to expand our recycling efforts to help cutdown on the overall waste that will be placed in any landfill.

Where do you stand on the “strong manager” form of citygovernment and why?

I feel that thestrong manager form of government is an effective model because it allows thecouncil to drive the goals and vision with an expert to effectively deliverthem within that framework. The strong manager model allows council to takeinto account the ideas of the citizens and construct those ideas into the cityvision. This allows the manager to integrate them into the overall city plan. Thecouncil and city manager have to realize that strong communication is the keyto this form of government.

Should the city of Greensboroplace more or less emphasis on maintaining a healthy water and sewer fund toplan for future growth? Why or why not?

Infrastructure is a necessity and key component of our citygovernment. There is no need for water rate increases if our budgets areresponsible and fiscally sound. Citizens should not carry the burden of rateincreases if we are not being fiscally responsible.

The city’s tax base has remained flat for the past two yearsin a row, and the foreclosure crisis continues unabated. As a member of citycouncil, how would you balance the need to fund services such as police patrol,fire protection and park maintenance that citizens care about with the realitythat the revenue picture remains bleak?

We have to realize that there are necessities and there arewants. We have to use taxpayer dollars responsibly. It is our responsibility totake care of our true necessities first and foremost. This concept is nodifferent than we all incorporate with our own budgets. Police, fire andinfrastructure are necessities within our government here in Greensboro. These areas are of utmostimportance.

Do you believe that city staff deserves council support toimplement a program to spend federal grant money to improve the energyefficiency of residences and businesses, or does this program warrantadditional oversight from council? Briefly explain your position.

I think that council should be a part of the discussion onhow to best utilize these funds and how they are appropriated.

How would you assess the value and effectiveness of Greensboro’s Rental UnitCertificate of Occupancy program, which is now prohibited by state law?

I can attest to thefact that RUCO is a program that attempted to raise the standard of housinghere in Greensboro.RUCO was proactive in attempting to identify problem structures before theybecame major issues. The problem that I will state is that this was not ascomprehensive as it should have been. There are landlords that did notparticipate in this program. Some of the greatest offenders of substandardproperties were allowed to still run housing that in no way is acceptable. Ihave driven around this city and looked at properties that seemingly wereuntouched by RUCO. These properties were well below acceptable standards ofliving. No citizen in any country should live in these conditions and they areright here in our city. If I can ride by these properties and identify codeviolations without stepping foot inside then we know what the interior must belike. We need to be very vigilant in having the code enforcement go on theoffensive to every substandard housing unit. We also need to enforce better inregards to properties with trash littering their yards. Furthermore, the vastmajority of landlords do an exceptional job of maintaining their properties,but there is a minority that have allowed properties to fall below anyone’sstandard of living.

How should the impasse over management and operation of theGreensboro Farmers Curb Market be resolved?

The city should find the best private group that will stickto the beliefs of a traditional farmers market. This is a stream of revenue forfarmers and should be managed with the local farmer in mind.

What, if anything, should be done to resolve racialtensions, and to enhance professionalism, integrity and fairness within theGreensboro Police Department?

This is an internal issue within the department. Thestandard for this department has to be set by the leadership. City council shouldensure that we are supporting this department in our budgets to make us asstrong as possible.

What would you change about Greensboro’s land use patterns if thedecision were yours to make? Please answer the question in terms of placespeople live, work and shop, in terms of the modes of transportation people useto get from point to point and the vitality of neighborhoods and commercialcorridors?

The bus system here in Greensboroneeds to be as efficient as possible. We should maintain the integrity ofneighborhoods based on citizens’ input as it pertains to development in andaround there area.

What is Greensboro’sgreatest asset? What is Greensboro’smost pressing problem?

Our greatest asset is our great citizens and abundantinfrastructure. I feel that our most pressing issue is reining in our budgetsto make them as responsible as possible. Along with this we need to create a businessenvironment that is conducive to small/large business through lower taxes andstreamlined regulations. Also maintaining sound infrastructure along withpublic safety would make our business climate more attractive as well.

Articles about this candidate:

2011 general election voter guide (link)

Taxes and spending: Where Greensboro City City Council candidates stand (link)

Danny Thompson’s specious landfill numbers (link)

Greensboro primary: at-large analysis (link)

Mayoral challenger Perkins swamps incumbent Knight (link)

2011 primary election endorsement & voter guide (link)

Wade, Knight make no apologies for landfill decision (link)   

At-large candidates in Greensboro municipal election struggle to differentiate themselves (link)

Candidate profile: Chris Lawyer (link)

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