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Jorge Cornell

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: Pinecroft Road (map)

Incumbent or challenger? Challenger

Age: 35

Campaign website or blog: cornellforcouncil.wordpress.com (link)

Endorsements: Guilford County Community PAC and Occupy Greensboro Media Group

Occupation and employer: Executive director, Community United Staffing

Previous electiveexperience (including election campaigns): Candidate for city council at large in 2009

Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on city commissions and boards): Member, Guilford County Schools Safe SchoolsCommittee; feeding the homeless; speaking engagements at Guilford College, NCA&T University and Beloved Community Center; Guilford County Coalition forJust Laws and Peace Among Street Organizations

Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): Highschool graduate, Ross High School, Brentwood, NY

Party registration: Unaffiliated

Where were you born? Brooklyn, NY

When did you move toGreensboro? 2002

Paid consultants workingon your campaign: None

Campaign manager: Vonda Sampson

Treasurer: Katie Yow

Do you favor or oppose reopening theWhite Street Landfill for household waste, beyond the small amount of sewersludge currently accepted? Briefly explain your position.

Itotally oppose the re-opening of White Street Landfill. You cannot put a dollarsign on somebody’s life. The main reason I oppose the re-opening of thislandfill in the White Street neighborhood is that there’s no money in the worldthat is worth risking young people and families’ health. The value of lifeshould outweigh the value of a dollar.

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

Thecity manager should be answerable to city council. City managers are hired bythe city, not elected. Decisions about real policies and real issues should bemade by the people who are representing Greensboro’s citizens.

Should the city of Greensboro place moreor less emphasis on maintaining a healthy water and sewer fund to plan forfuture growth? Why or why not?

Iwant to maintain those funds so that they are available for our city’ssustainable growth. We also need to have them ready in case of naturaldisasters or emergencies. For example, in order to sustain our water supply,seeing as we are face near-constant drought conditions in our county and state.

The city’s tax base has remained flat forthe past two years in a row, and the foreclosure crisis continues unabated. Asa member of city council, how would you balance the need to fund services suchas police patrol, fire protection and park maintenance that citizens care aboutwith the reality that the revenue picture remains bleak?

Theseare all services we need to keep Greensboro’s people healthy and safe, which isvery important to me. But the “tax base” is made up of a lot of working peopleand families in this city who are already struggling with job security andforeclosure.

Do you believe that city staff deservescouncil support to implement a program to spend federal grant money to improvethe energy efficiency of residences and businesses, or does this programwarrant additional oversight from council? Briefly explain your position.

Ibelieve the city staff should oversee the implementation of the federal energygrant funds. I would hope that the city staff would also believe that the grantmoney should make it to the neighborhoods that need it the most for updatinghomes and saving money on their bills.

How would you assess the value andeffectiveness of Greensboro’s Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy program,which is now prohibited by state law?

Iadvocate for the standards it imposed on landlords to maintain livable housingspaces, and to keep neighborhoods from turning into slums. RUCO is valuable forthe people because it gives agency to the renter; usually for lower-incomefolks, housing is unstable and out of our hands. If RUCO could be actuallyimplemented there is great potential for it to be an effective tool in thehands of the city and renters to protect against slumlords and vacant housing,but we haven’t been able to see it come to fruition due to state legislation.

How should the impasse over managementand operation of the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market be resolved?

[Leave blank; council alreadyvoted in favor of the private group.]

What, if anything, should be done toresolve racial tensions, and to enhance professionalism, integrity and fairnesswithin the Greensboro Police Department?

Weneed a citizens review board with subpoena power, which would allow thecommunity to hold the police to a higher standard of accountability. We need toprovide a check on class and racial disparities between the citizens and thepolice, and we have to keep them honest, even the higher-ups. What’s mostimportant is that we ensure greater safety for the people. Keeping an eye onintegrity and honesty within the force is a good way to start.

What would you change about Greensboro’sland use patterns if the decision were yours to make? Please answer thequestion in terms of places people live, work and shop, in terms of the modesof transportation people use to get from point to point and the vitality ofneighborhoods and commercial corridors?

Peoplewith jobs but without cars in Greensboro have it rough. Not being able todepend on public transportation for late shifts puts a huge strain onlower-class folks’ job security. What we need is better infrastructure in placeto insure access to more affordable, efficient and sustainable transportation,like expanded bus routes and longer and safer bike lanes.

What is Greensboro’s greatest asset? Whatis Greensboro’s most pressing problem?

Greensboro’sgreatest asset is the people, because we have the potential to be a wholecommunity, and with that we have unity and strength and we’re building eachother up. The most pressing problem, right now and in the past, is our racialtensions, because we’re still divided, and we need to change this.

Articles about this candidate:

Wade, Knight make no apologies for landfill decision (link)’ 

Crawford officially withdraws from District 5 race (link)’ 

Candidate profile: Jorge Cornell (link)

Campaign season underway in Greensboro municipal elections (link)’ 

Latin Kings leader wants Trudy Wade’s seat (link)

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