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Editorial: Sitting this one out?

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If we thought for even a minute that the Greensboro readers of YES! Weekly had a hand in the apparent boycott of the city’s municipal primary elections last week, we would use this space to admonish those who declined to participate – just about 93 percent of eligible voters – in their inalienable right to decide who will run in the election that will most directly influence their lives for the next two years.

And all it takes is a little math to see that there must have been some of our readers who did not keep up their end of the deal.

Anyway, you missed a pretty good one, as primaries go.

There was some great subtext, as Dianne Bellamy-Small successfully defended her District 1 incumbency after surviving a recall election this summer.

Real conflict was established in what might be called a political catfight in District 5, where incumbent Sandy Carmany finished second to former Guilford County Commissioner Trudy Wade.

And a longshot came in when Mary Rakestraw, a former Guilford County commissioner who leveraged ongoing personnel issues in the Greensboro Police Department and the ongoing saga of the former Chief David Wray into a mobilizing force, dominated the at-large race, besting seasoned politicos Sandra Anderson Groat and Robbie Perkins and a trio of first-timers.

The at-large race, when looked at as a litmus test for the mood of the electorate, uncovers a surprising revelation: that the voters, those who bothered to show up, shared Rakestraw’s dissatisfaction with City Manager Mitch Johnson and the way he handled the Chief Wray situation and its aftermath.

Government transparency is as fine an issue as any on which to hang our collective hat. In fact, we rely on it to do our jobs. And if that’s what gets people to the polls, then so be it. We feel there are other pressing issues in Greensboro that are equally worthy of our attention though.

Real estate, for example, is a driving force in the city, an industry unto itself that employs thousands and generates millions; it figures heavily in Greensboro’s future in regards to tax base, property values, blight and the ongoing battle between infill and sprawl. There are transparency concerns here as well.

And while the Wray affair may at some level be considered a public safety issue, there is the separate matter of the officers themselves, the job they need to do and the equipment they need to do it.

But maybe the single biggest problem in the Gate City has nothing to do with our police force or the shape and patterns of our future growth. Maybe our biggest problem is not our government, but our governed, particularly that bothersome 93 percent of eligible voters who sat this one out.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration.

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