Christopher N. McLaughlin

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: King George Drive (map)

Incumbent or challenger? Challenger

Age: 51

Campaign website: None

Occupation and employer: Executive director, The Open Door Program

Previous elective experience(including election campaigns): None

Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on city commissions and boards): Volunteered serving lunch with Good Shepherd’s Kitchen in Burlington, worked with homeless in Greensboro’s first Transition Housing for the Homeless program, sponsored food drives and worked with landlords and tenants in mediation

Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): High school diploma, Walter Hines Page Sr. High School

Party registration: Democratic (nonpartisan contest)

Where were you born? Greensboro

Paid consultants workingon your campaign: None

Campaign manager: None

Treasurer: Self

Do you favor or opposereopening the White Street Landfill for household waste, beyond the smallamount of sewer sludge currently accepted? Briefly explain your position.

The decision whether to openor keep closed, White Street Landfill, I think, has divided our city racially,economically and socially. Because I am not yet a member of the council, I donot have all the information available to the current members, although I thinkany future growth or development to the east side of town could be hindered bya fully operational landfill. And the people who live near the landfill wouldsuffer in terms of the real estate value of their greatest investment, theirhomes. I think more thought should be put into alternative methods for disposalof the waste.

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

Our city deserves a managerwho is qualified to make well thought-out decisions that will impact thecommunity in a positive way. He or she should not be micro-managed by the citycouncil, but he should involve the council in the decision-making process.Their knowledge of city government, I think, will enhance any decisions hemakes.

Should the city ofGreensboro place more or less emphasis on maintaining a healthy water and sewerfund to plan for future growth? Why or why not?

The city should mostdefinitely place more emphasis on the quality of our water and sewer. The fundis needed so that we can stay competitive with other cities who are trying toattract new business to their area. We need to keep the fund strong so that wecan maintain, and in the future, enhance the infrastructure of our water andsewer process.

The city’s tax base hasremained flat for the past two years in a row, and the foreclosure crisiscontinues unabated. As a member of city council, how would you balance the needto fund services such as police patrol, fire protection and park maintenancethat citizens care with the reality that the revenue picture remains bleak?

The council as a whole wouldhave to look carefully at what funds are available. It’s somewhat like a wirebalancing act when it comes to which services should get more or [less]funding. It’s obvious we need increased police patrol presence [as] the citygrows. And we also need increased fire protection force. I would suggestsoliciting and encouraging our citizens to volunteer in helping maintain ourparks in whatever capacity they can.

Do you believe that citystaff deserves council support to implement a program to spend federal grantmoney to improve the energy efficiency of residences and businesses, or doesthis program warrant additional oversight from council? Briefly explain yourposition.

I think that it’s importantfor city staff and the city council to always have an open line ofcommunication concerning any decisions about money being spent to enhance ourcommunity, especially federal funding. The oversight should not be imposedunless city staffers have serious issues with how the money should be spent.

How would you assess thevalue and effectiveness of Greensboro’s Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancyprogram, which is now prohibited by state law?

It was prohibited by statelaw, but I think it was effective in that it held all landlords accountable.The so-called slumlords make it difficult for the landlords and rental agenciesthat do comply with the rules and laws.

How should the impasse overmanagement and operation of the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market be resolved?

Although the council hasvoted and resolved this issue, it is my feeling that the farmers and vendorswho participate should always have a voice in any decision agreed upon.

What, if anything, should bedone to resolve racial tensions, and to enhance professionalism, integrity andfairness within the Greensboro Police Department?

All police personnel shouldbe required to go through a sensitivity course. Our city has such a large mixof races, ethnicities and religions. The Greensboro Police Department has theunenviable job of trying to maintain law, peace and order in an atmospherewhere there will always be racial tension. Professionalism, integrity andfairness should be prerequisites before hiring.

What would you change aboutGreensboro’s land use patterns if the decision were yours to make? Pleaseanswer the question in terms of places people live, work and shop, in terms ofthe modes of transportation people use to get from point to point and thevitality of neighborhoods and commercial corridors?

As our city grows andexpands, I would like to see more “close-knit” communities and essentialbusinesses, i.e. grocery stores, pharmacies, shopping centers, etc. closer tothese communities.

What is Greensboro’sgreatest asset? What is Greensboro’s most pressing problem?

Our citizens’ love ofcommunity and their willingness to aid each other in time of crises is ourgreatest asset. Although the city council can’t solve all of our problems andissues to everyone’s satisfaction, a more unified city council that is willingto work with each other and put personal feeling aside can accomplish greatthings for our city!

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