We can’t see any acceptable rationale to support Trudy Wade’s plan to reshape the Greensboro City Council.
District 5 representative Tony Wilkins tried his best to sell the plan in the face of overwhelming opposition at a press conference last week, and he may have scored some points when he mentioned the $300 million in projects downtown versus folks in the suburbs having to wait a decade for a park. But he immediately cut himself off at the knees when he once again shouted down District 1’s Sharon Hightower.
Hightower and Zack Matheny took exception to Wilkins describing the allocation of public funds as being dependent on council coalitions. We don’t think staff operates that way. Obviously the health of the center city has been a priority across multiple councils for a decade or more, and the economic development and infrastructure needs across East Greensboro are hard to ignore.
Wilkins could have said, “Sharon please let me finish,” as opposed to barking at her and pointing his finger in her direction.
But the sound and the fury are emblematic of the problems Greensboro faces. It’s a house divided against itself. Matheny did his level best to point out the need for the city to focus on making economic progress in the face of Raleigh and Charlotte casting a shadow over the Triad, described as an economic development vacuum recently by one regional planner.
Other council members noted the progressive nature of the city in decrying Wade’s plan to limit representation to one district rep and a neutered mayor.
Coalitions are important and we’ve watched at-large reps form different strategic partnerships with district interests to advance a wide array of public priorities.
Devolving to a pure district system creates the potential for permanent division in a city that has an incredible need to come together. !
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