Dianne Bellamy-Small, District 1 candidate

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: 3211 Delmonte Drive, 27406Dianne Bellamy-Small_1.jpg

Incumbent or challenger? Incumbent

Age: 57

Campaign website or blog:

Occupation and employer: Trainer. ECAC/NCPIRC

Previous elective experience (including election campaigns): Currently serving third term on Greensboro City Council; candidate, Greensboro School Board; 24 years experience as an election official; survived 2007 recall election; president, NC Black Elected Municipal Officials

Civic and volunteer experience (including service on city commissions and boards): NC state youth advisor, NAACP; Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality, Baby Basics program; Greensboro Historical Museum, Real McCoy exhibit; Greensboro Public Schools, School Safety Task Force; Negro League Baseball Recognition, Greensboro Red Wings; Mayor’s Task Force on Drugs; Greensboro Education and Development Council Community Advisory Board, Challenge Greensboro, class leader; Friends of Vance Chavis Lifelong Learning Center; member, St. James Presbyterian Church

Education (highest degree attained and name of institution): Bachelor of arts, music/English, UNC-Chapel Hill; post-graduate studies at UNCG and Duke; Challenge Greensboro; Triad Leadership Network, political fellow, IOPL, fall 2004

Party registration: Democrat (nonpartisan race)

What is the city and state of your birth? Winston-Salem

What year did you move here?1976

Paid consultants working on your campaign: None

Your campaign manager(s): Tim Vincent

Your treasurer: Self

TDBS transcript Remarks from Sept. 8 candidate forum: Introductory statement Thank you. My name is T. Dianne Bellamy-Small…. I am seeking reelection and I want to ask for your support. I’ve been on the council now for a total of three terms. I have seen a lot. There are a lot of issues that never get to the public forum: as it comes to homelessness, as it comes to economic parity in east Greensboro, as it comes to helping people live their daily lives. I spend a lot of time in my community and in the city. I think probably other than the mayor I probably spend as much time at functions and talking with people, assisting people. Many times when people come up to me, whether they live in District 1 or not, they have a concern. I’ll pull out my cell phone and say, “Here, let’s get it solved now.” So, I want to continue. There are some things that still need to be done. And we need some balance and experience on the council. So I hope that you will go to my website: Economic growth and development has not occurred in east Greensboro to the same extent as in other areas of the city. If elected, what would you do to ensure that there is balanced economic growth and development across the various quadrants of the city? There are several things that are going on in District 1 or in east Greensboro. A year and a half ago I started working on a parity plan for east Greensboro. And I notice that a lot of candidates have jumped on that bandwagon. One of the things that is very true is that there is some equity distribution problems. But now that we are talking about it we are in a position to begin to get developers to look at east Greensboro. Part of the problem is the infrastructure for large development. That’s why you don’t see some development on Elm-Eugene Street. It’s because the infrastructure is not sufficient for large developments. But we are in the process of doing that. Recently the council — I think it was last week. We voted for recovery zones, which means that dollars will now be put into areas where it appears the low wealth, poverty, crime — to help incentivize those areas for business to come in. The other part of that is neighborhoods. We have to get our neighborhoods to buy into, wanting this kind of development. You can’t just bring a Wendover Avenue into a neighborhood without considering: Is that what the neighbors want? I’ve been advocating for “live, work and play in east Greensboro” so that we have the same amenities in east Greensboro as you have in other parts of the city. Because of drug activity and crime in their neighborhoods many of the city’s elderly in east Greensboro fear for their safety and do not come out in the evening or move around their neighborhoods during the day as freely as they would like to. What would you do to increase the elderly’s sense of public safety? First of all, we do have community-based policing. It’s different from what we had whenever I was a Greensboro police officer. We have a good police department. But we have approximately 250,000 residents in Greensboro. We have approximately 500 uniformed police officers. You do the math, there. It’s got to be a cooperative effort between communities and the police. Crime does not decide that it wants to be in east Greensboro. In fact, I’ve seen statistics that say that larceny crimes are actually higher in west Greensboro than they are in east Greensboro, but they’re under-reported. So when you want to accept the stereotype that east Greensboro has more crime I would ask you to look — now, we have more violent crime, but look at the demographics of poor people, lot of people in close proximity. You’re going to have more disagreements. But we try through Human Relations, through the Commission on the Status of Women, through other support programs for domestic abuse, for alcohol abuse to try to address some of those problems that are just common with people. Do we have domestic violence in west Greensboro? Yes. If a boyfriend kills his girlfriend in east Greensboro, it hits the news. If a man beats his wife in west Greensboro, you never hear about it. So we all have a responsibility to look out for each other, as well as look out for ourselves as how you do things, how you carry yourself in your neighborhood. Crime does not pick on east Greensboro. It’s all over the city, and it’s all over the United States.   Do you favor maintaining funding for the Greensboro Police Department’s gang enforcement unit? Why or why not? I look at this way. It’s the flavor of the day. Two years ago everyone in North Carolina was wanting a gang unit. Ten years before that it was crack-cocaine. What we need to do is look at the resources and how they’re used. Do we need a gang unit, or do we need all of our police officers to have some expertise? For on the street and how to deal with gang issues? I would fund whatever’s necessary to help us deal with, whether it’s gangs, whether it’s drugs, whether it’s prostitution, whatever it is that we’re trying to figure out how to stop it or try to discourage it, because I don’t think we can stop some of these crimes because they’ve been going on ever since Biblical times. But it’s whatever we need to [inaudible] those resources for. So to lock up the resources in a gang unit, that’s not what we need to be putting the priority on. I would rather every police officer on the street be able to understand how to deal with a gang-related issue then only having a special unit that can only be there for certain times and certain days. One of the questions in a candidate survey sent out by the Triad Real Estate & Building Industries Coalition is, Do you think that sprawl is a problem in Greensboro? How did you answer this question, and what are your reasons for your answer? I think that sprawl is not exactly the problem. We have a bunch of satellite annexations that were either mandated or they were at the request of the persons who were developing the area. I think we also need to look at the fact that we pretty much built out west. So really the only growth-potential place is in eastern Greensboro and eastern Guilford County. We have a number of things that are on the plate to spur the kinds of parity of services and growth in east Greensboro. So we have to look at, what do you consider sprawl or do you consider the growth of the city? And which do you feel is for the good? We need, and people have said they want services, retail and those types of things to live, work and play in east Greensboro…. We also are going to have to go out to our Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas in order to achieve those goals. What is your vision for a strategic, sustainable solid waste management system for Greensboro? I was on the council in 2006 when this was revisited. I was not on the council in 2001, when the first decision to do this. I will not support opening the landfill for any reason. I understand that it costs us, but I believe the question was asked of one of the other groups of candidates: What’s the cost of human life and quality of life? Plus, if we have an active landfill in northeast Greensboro, we can kiss economic development goodbye because an active landfill will kill any possibility of growth that’s already started on Cone Boulevard with the stores and the shops that are in there. Plus, with the last transportation bond we put the money in there to do the Nealtown Connector, which would open up [inaudible] to provide other opportunities to provide development in that area. If we reopen that landfill, it would impact those residents and that part of Greensboro. It’s a moral issue. It’s been brought up that. It’s been brought up that it may be an environmental racism issue. We don’t want to talk about it that way, but if you look at the disproportionate number of landfills and those kind of undesirable things that are put in neighborhoods where you have poor people, not just black people, but poor people and black and brown people generally. And we should not follow that trend in Greensboro. If elected, what project would you like to have completed by the end of your first term? When I started working on the parity project, two staff members went to Raleigh to talk to a city planner in Raleigh who had done something similar. And what he said to me — initially, I thought we could handle three areas at one time. One of the things the land development ordinance is going to do is actually tell us how to do activity centers. And so whenever we presented the maps to this gentleman and said, “Three activity centers: East Lee Street, East Market Street and Cone Boulevard,” he said, “This is too big.” He said, “You’re gonna have to narrow it down to one.” And then he told me, he said, “This will take you three years just to get the public buy-in.” I told him at that time I had one year left on council. He said, “Then don’t start the project.” I’m running again because I have two more years of trying to help us at least see the kind of economic parity for east Greensboro and I would like to be around at least long enough to get that started. Would you support giving subpoena power to the Greensboro Police Department citizen review board? Why or why not? No. We have spent almost five years dealing with the citizen review board. The council a month ago approved a new plan for how we want to do the citizen review board. If we had subpoena power, first of all, we couldn’t administer because we’re not a judicial body. Secondly, the people who would wind up being subpoenaed are citizens who don’t want to come forward whenever they’re asked. Ask the police: One of the problems we’ve had with finding some of the shootings at A&T and stuff is because of this “don’t snitch,” don’t tell, even though there are witnesses who know who shot the young man the last time we had a gunshot. The police are obligated to come before the citizen review board and answer their questions…. We want citizens to feel comfortable about feeling that there’s a process. And there are two prongs of that process: You can go straight to the police department and complain or you can go to the citizen review committee. I think that the persons pushing for a police review board with subpoena power, one of them was on the council for 18 years. Why didn’t he get this pushed through whenever he was on the council? So my feeling is that we need to work with the system and do what we can to tweak it and look at the policy that we have put forward for that group.  Closing statement Thank you. Thank y’all for being here, because I know you could be doing something else this evening. I do ask for your vote, again. I’ve received from District 1 the vote of confidence three different times. I don’t consider myself a politician, but a servant-leader. An example of that is a concern about public-art benches that are at the beginning of the greenway that the voters voted to help fund. And I was very pleased when the mayor appointed me to be liaison to that committee, and I try to make every meeting. In fact, there’s a meeting this coming Friday, I think at 3:15, if anybody wants to come. I have gone out to that community this entire weekend at various times to see if I could see what the people were complaining about. I could have spent my holiday weekend at a pool or something, but I didn’t. I’ve ridden with our police department…. I rode with our public works department. I’ve ridden behind the garbage trucks to see how they pick up trash in District 1. And then I come back and try to help our district understand our relationship to government. Government cannot solve all of our problems. We have to help government do it. It is a tool that we afford because we pay taxes. I want to come back and finish what I started. I don’t expect to be on council forever; that’s not my goal. But I do believe that I have been a good contributor. I think I have been a good supporter of the council even though the council has not functioned as well as it should have. I’m excited about the new city manager. I think that we need to give this gentleman an opportunity to come in and get us on a different path than what we have been, and I want your vote. And I want you to pick up my annual report that tells you what we’ve been doing…. Thank you.

Stories about this candidate:

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Greensboro primary election endorsements

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Dianne Bellamy-Small’s bold blessing

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