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Luther T. Falls Jr., District 1 candidate

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: 1603 Lansdown Ave., 27401

Incumbent or challenger: Challenger

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Date of birth: 55

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Campaign website or blog: None

Occupation and employer: Life and health insurance agent, Western-Southern Life Assurance Co.

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Previous elective experience: Ran unsuccessfully for seat in 2005 and 2007

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Civic volunteer experience (including service on city commissions and boards):. Secretary and marketing director, Watchful Network Inc.; Wiley Community Panel (a partnership between Wiley Elementary and Degussa-Stockhausen; founding member, St. Stephen United Church of Christ; secretary of board of trustees and assistant superintendent of Sunday School, St. Stephen United Church of Christ; past chairman, Greensboro Community Resource Board; Alpha Phi Fraternity Inc.

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Education (highest degree attained and name of institution): MBA in marketing and international business, Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh

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Party registration: Democrat (nonpartisan race)

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What is the city and state of your birth? Greensboro

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Paid consultants working on your campaign: None

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Your campaign manager(s): Kassinda Ross

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Your treasurer: Kassinda Ross

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Remarks from Sept. 8 candidate forum: Introductory statement Good evening, everyone. And I’d like to thank the group that had this forum. It’s very beneficial and informative. My name is Luther Falls Jr. I’m a candidate for the Greensboro City Council District 1. In addition to being a native of District 1, being born and raised in the area, I feel that I would like to serve the district that has done so much to help me reach what I’ve accomplished now. I have the credentials, I have the education and training, I have work experience. I’ve also been very active in the community in a number of fronts. And I’m very well known, in that the people of District 1 have a lot of confidence in me, as has been demonstrated in some of my previous campaign efforts. I feel that we have to have economic development and jobs, and I’ve been actively engaged in that since I returned home in ’94, primarily through our Watchful Network, Incorporated organization, which is a small business network that I and a couple of my business partners founded. We work consistently with the city in trying to make sure that small business owners are supported and new businesses are developed. We also partner with programs put on by A&T. And crime and public safety is also a very important issue. I work very actively with Chief [Tim] Bellamy and our police department, but that’s a neighborhood initiative that everybody has to come together to work with. And also I’m very interested in youth activities…. 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? First of all the commitment needs to be made to make sure the business distribution is equitable, which would include east Greensboro. And the advantages of doing business in Greensboro, as opposed to just looking at the disadvantages of doing business in Greensboro, need to be evaluated on a balanced basis. There are a lot of assets. We have people that want to work. We have the property and the real estate that’s available. And we have some existing programs in the city now that people may or may not be aware of, such as the targeted loan pool…. So we need to capitalize on those existing programs and look at some new programs. And a person such as myself who has existing business relationship with small businesses as well as the larger business community can be a key person in the dialogue to discuss opportunities for businesses to come into the district. And we need to have somebody who can do that effectively and work well with other people to successfully evaluate those opportunities…. 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? I visit with the community often. And our seniors are a key element of our community. And there’s no reason in the world why they should have to live in fear. The community needs to come together as a whole and say that we will not tolerate certain types of activities. And once the community comes together and does that, the partnership with the police department will become stronger, to be able to help with prevention. And a lot of things won’t occur at all because the community will not be tolerating that. In addition to that, when something does occur and the police are called they will respond as efficiently as they do in other parts of the city to address the problem when something does occur. And the community will have confidence and trust that the police will come and respond to address the problems that need to be addressed. So it all boils down to a partnership between the local community and the police when there is a situation that does occur. Do you favor maintaining funding for the Greensboro Police Department’s gang enforcement unit? Why or why not? Yes, I strongly support continuing funding for the Greensboro Police Department gang unit because that is a major, major issue in our community. A lot of people don’t want to acknowledge it and did not want to acknowledge it for several years, but we have a major gang problem. A lot of it is based on our geographic location in the country and in the region…. We need to aggressively try to get a handle on this situation because if you look at major cities, how it has not been addressed in many places, and it’s continued to become rampant. And I personally, along with some associates of mine, have gone out to engage some of the leadership of the gangs. And we participated in an event on Sept. 29 [SIC] in Hickory Trails where there was an incident recently with a homicide of a young man because we feel very open to going out and trying to address these young men and young ladies, trying to give them some options for education, trying to give them some options for employment so that they will go in a more positive direction. And I think in partnership with the police department and the gang unit, I think we can work on that. 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 also agree that it depends on what your definition of sprawl is. I just feel that growth is and will be inevitable for the city of Greensboro. And I just feel that when those situations do occur it’s important that city officials communicate effectively prior to the annexation or the process being completed, letting people know that this is going to happen, answering their questions, trying to address their concerns to the best of their ability. And then when it happens, it’s going to be happening. Greensboro is a growing and a vibrant city with the new corporations that are coming in, particularly with FedEx next year. There’s going to be an economic boom that has been suppressed for a long time in Greensboro and Guilford County. So this is going to be happening, just communicating effectively to the people that it’s going to affect, and the city has to address the services that they need to have to do that. And it’s going to happen. What is your vision for a strategic, sustainable solid waste management system for Greensboro? I’m strongly opposed to reopening the White Street Landfill, and I really strongly feel that if this location were in any other part of the city we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. I attended a city council meeting when a young man from North Carolina A&T said in a very eloquent presentation, I thought, on environmental racism and how that affects people around the country where they have facilities such as this. I think we need to look at new and innovative technology that’s coming online as a possibility for handling some of this. I agree that we need to reduce our amount of waste, which will help with this as well. But I really feel strongly about this. I actually spent a lot of my childhood growing up in districts 1 and 2, playing basketball, hanging out in the Phillips Avenue area where this was occurring. And a lot of the seniors that were around when I was a young man are still there. They’re having all kinds of health problems that are manifesting now because of this landfill. So I strongly oppose opening this landfill. If elected, what project would you like to have completed by the end of your first term? I will continue, as I have done for 14 years now, to work to continue to support existing small businesses and to encourage development of additional small businesses, especially in District 1, which has been underserved for a number of years. I also will work diligently to make sure that the residents of District 1 get the city services, and whenever there’s a need that needs to be addressed, they feel confident that they have representation on the council that will fight to make sure that they get the same consideration that the residents in the north and the west and the other parts of the city get. Because their tax dollars are the same tax dollars going into the budget. And we need to manage that efficiently and make sure that that helps them get whatever they need because they should have the quality of life in District 1 as well. Would you support giving subpoena power to the Greensboro Police Department citizen review board? Why or why not? I think we need to evaluate the process that’s currently in place. If it’s performing effectively then we should continue it. If it’s not, it needs to be reviewed and evaluated. And I think it depends on what the citizens of the city want. And weighing all the advantages and disadvantages of having a citizen review board with subpoena power versus not having it. I would look at it entirely again and talk with the constituents about what they think we should have and make a decision from that. Closing statement I want to thank, again, the committee that put this event together. I think it’s very important that constituents get to hear directly from us. My name is Luther Falls Jr. I’m a candidate for Greensboro City Council in District 1. And I have a strong desire to serve the district where I was born and raised. I know the issues. People trust me and have confidence in me. I have the education and training as well as the experience and the relationships to be an outstanding member of the council. I can work very diligently on economic development and job creation, which is so key to our people in District 1. Also, I can work very effectively with crime and public safety in conjunction with the police department and Chief Bellamy’s team. And I can work very effectively in addressing youth and youth activities. I also feel that District 1 residents should be able to receive the same type of city services that anyone else in the city receives. We’ll have a small team to work with constituents when they have concerns, and follow-up will be key so we can do that in an effective manner so they’ll be happy with what we do on the council and the city as a whole. Thank you.’ 

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Stories about this candidate:

Falls would apply business outlook to D1

Blog posts about this candidate:

Nancy Vaughan leads at-large polling in Greensboro

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