East Ward candidate Scales promises action, accessibility

by Keith Barber

East Ward candidate Scales promises action, accessibilityIn Winston-Salem, city-appointed boards and committees help drive policy, and if one ward of the city is underrepresented on these bodies, its constituents are denied the benefits that should be shared by all, said Donald Scales, a Democratic candidate to represent the city’s East Ward. One large plank of Scales’ platform is to bring a strong East Ward voice to the Winston-Salem City Council. If elected, Scales said he will represent all 28,000 residents in the ward by fighting for greater economic opportunities for his constituents.

“If I’m elected and I can get in on some of the committees that are formed to help with this type of situation to build up the community,” Scales said. “East Winston is about to turn into a blighted community. We have a problem with gang violence as well as drugs. My main concern is bringing in economic development.” Big box stores like Costco and Wal-Mart would bring jobs and investment to East Winston, Scales said. The key is for the city to offer the right kind of incentives to corporations, both large and small. Scales said incumbent Democrat Joycelyn Johnson has not done her part to ensure the economic vitality of the East Ward. In addition, Scales said residents are frustrated with Johnson’s inaccessibility. “The council members should avail themselves to make themselves accessible anytime there’s a need,” Scales said. As he sees it, public safety issues are directly linked to the lack of job opportunities for East Ward residents. As long as crime is a major problem in the ward, it will be hard to convince businesses to invest in the community, Scales said. “In East Winston, the crime is pretty heavy,” he said. “At least once a week, I can hear shooting over in the Maryland Avenue development. We’ve had several break-ins in my neighborhood.” There’s also a big problem with drug and gang activity off Old Greensboro Road, Scales added. He said he supports the efforts of Winston-Salem Police Chief Scott Cunningham, and believes the department’s new deployment plan has made a dent in the city’s crime rate but much work needs to be done. Scales said he supports the use of Tasers by the police department and a citywide curfew for juveniles. However, he said, the best way to deter crime is give people good jobs. “There are no jobs, and there’s little sufficient training for jobs,” Scales said. “A lot of the people who don’t have jobs become discouraged and unproductive and it leads to crime.” Layoffs at Reynolds American, Hanesbrands and Dell Inc., have adversely impacted the city’s East Ward. Scales cited the Experiment in Self-Reliance, a 45-year-old nonprofit agency whose mission is to eliminate poverty and homelessness, as a good example of how the city can address the economic issues in East Winston. In addition, the current recession has also led to a proliferation of abandoned and foreclosed homes in the East Ward, Scales said. “We’re tearing down and boarding up, but we’re not rebuilding,” he said. Providing affordable housing for all city residents would be at the top of Scales priority list if elected, he said. Scales said he’s sensed an underlying anger among East Ward residents while campaigning in his neighborhood. If elected, he plans on giving his constituents hope by getting them involved on civic boards and committees. It is hope for a better East Winston that is the driving force behind Scales’ campaign. “East Winston is a historical community and we want to carry it back to that status,” he said.