Incumbent or challenger? Challenger
Endorsements: Carolina Peacemaker, Guilford County Community PAC, Occupy Greensboro Media Group, Replacements Limited PAC, Simkins PAC, Katie Southard and YES! Weekly
Occupation and employer: Managing director, Preston/Reffett, a nationalexecutive recruiting practice
Previous electiveexperience (including election campaigns): None
Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on city commissions and boards): Chair, Greensboro Human Relations Commission, chair ofcomplaint review committee (has served on commission since 2007); former boardpresident, Reading Connections, YWCA and Touring Theatre of North Carolina;board member, Music for a Great Space
Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): Masterin education, University of South Carolina
Party registration: Democrat (nonpartisan contest)
Where were you born? Rock Hill, SC
When did you move toGreensboro? 1997
Paid consultants workingon your campaign: None
Campaign manager: Lauren Jeffries
Treasurer: Margaret Rowlett
Do you favor or oppose reopening the White Street Landfillfor household waste, beyond the small amount of sewer sludge currentlyaccepted? Briefly explain your position.
The municipal solid waste issue has been handled poorly andclumsily; two years have been squandered considering this issue with noacceptable solution in sight and a lawsuit imposed upon the city to defend. Ifavor a regional approach for the long term. Such a decision will ensure that northeastGreensbororemains available over the next two decades for residential and businessexpansion and development.
Of particular concern is the council’s:
Rush to re-open White Street and expand it withoutlegally required public hearing and meaningful citizen dialogue and input
Willingness to give a 15-30 year contract toprivate company to operate
Unwillingness to consider and compare city staffproposal to operate the landfill along with private company proposals
Where do you stand on the “strong manager” form of city governmentand why?
I support a “strong manager” form of city government inwhich the council role is to provide vision, long-term strategy, and policydetermination. Professional city staff is charged with the day to day operationof city government, making appropriate recommendations to council, as well asundertaking the study and evaluation of policy decisions to develop options andimplementation details for council to review and adopt. This model has beeneffective in Greensborofor decades, and it was under this system that the city experienced strong,steady growth, prosperity, and a reputation for being a progressive city withgood quality of life attractive to new business development.
Should the city of Greensboroplace more or less emphasis on maintaining a healthy water and sewer fund toplan for future growth? Why or why not?
Greensboromust be diligent in maintaining a healthy water and sewer system to maintainour present infrastructure level and be prepared for future residential andbusiness growth. Our current water supply is probably adequate for the next 30years assuming conservative growth projections. However, our water and sewerinfrastructure are decaying (pipelines more than 100 years old) and will requirecontinuous upgrade and maintenance to meet future needs. That is why thisCouncil’s use of the $16 M from the MCI Constructors settlement should haveremained in the city’s reserve for future needs rather than returned to us in asmall water rate decrease. This is short-term rather than long-term thinkingand a bad policy decision.
The city’s tax base has remained flat for the past two yearsin a row, and the foreclosure crisis continues unabated. As a member of citycouncil, how would you balance the need to fund services such as police patrol,fire protection and park maintenance that citizens care about with the realitythat the revenue picture remains bleak?
We must always ensure that our city government is operatedat maximum financial efficiency and tax revenue deployed effectively. We shouldmeasure our tax rate against those of sister cities with whom we compete forbusiness and population to maintain balanced ratio comparisons. Theconversation should never be “no tax increase” versus “tax increase”. Insteadit must be a discussion around a competitive tax rate that allows us to makethe investments in Greensborothat will encourage existing businesses to expand and make new investment andnew ones to locate here. Ultimately there should be a dialogue with ourcitizenry around what services they are willing to pay for and consideressential to maintain our quality of life. Our objective should be to improvethe tax base over the next decade by attracting new business, growth inexisting business, and new job creation.
Do you believe that city staff deserves council support toimplement a program to spend federal grant money to improve the energyefficiency of residences and businesses, or does this program warrantadditional oversight from council? Briefly explain your position.
When the city has received a federal grant to improve theenergy efficiency of residences and business based on a proposal with specificguidelines for implementation, those guidelines should be followed byprofessional staff with measurable outcomes reported to city council.
How would you assess the value and effectiveness of Greensboro’s Rental UnitCertificate of Occupancy program, which is now prohibited by law?
I supported RUCO as did our city staff and director of theGreensboro Housing Coalition. RUCO even had significant landlord support. Yes,the NC General Assembly voted to eliminate RUCO, but our city council had theopportunity to go on record in support of the city’s successful use of RUCO toimprove its rental housing inventory and insure safe homes for Greensboro citizens, but they chose not to doso.
How should the impasse over management and operation of theGreensboro Farmers Curb Market be resolved?
The Council decision regarding how and who should operatethe Greensboro Framers Market should have been made decisively in a reasonabletime frame. Instead it became lengthy and divisive with the coliseum beingtossed into the mix at the eleventh hour. I support the final decision to haveGFMI, a non-profit, assume responsibility for the market’s operation.
What, if anything, should be done to resolve racialtensions, and to enhance professionalism, integrity and fairness within theGreensboro Police Department?
Our new chief of police, Ken Miller, was brought in from theoutside to provide leadership and be a change agent to ensure that we have aprofessional, disciplined police department where promotion is based on meritand clear, measurable standards of performance and where poor performance isdocumented and addressed with appropriate training and disciplinary action. Itrust Chief Miller to develop and carry out appropriate policies and proceduresand keep his boss, the city manager, fully informed.
What would you change about Greensboro’s land use patterns if thedecision were yours to make? Please answer the question in terms of placespeople live, work, and shop, in terms of the modes of transportation people useto get from point to point and the vitality of neighborhoods and commercialcorridors.
The future ideal would be a reduction in urban sprawl, bothresidential and commercial. Instead, we should maximize land utilization andsupport neighborhood/community re-development in our inner city and olderneighborhoods by revitalizing these existing neighborhoods to meet futurehousing needs, making them attractive and highly livable hubs of communityactivity and neighborhood esprit de corps. We must continue and expand redevelopment/revitalizationprojects such as Willow Oaks, South Elm Street, Southside, and look at opportunitiesfor properties such as the old Bessemer Shopping Center property.
We want to facilitate and encourage people being able toshop and enjoy amenities close to home, to reduce automobile use and encouragewalking, bicycling, use of motor-scooters, as well as offer easy access to goodpublic transportation that expands on the hub concept to improve and allowfaster traffic on north/south and east/west corridors.
What is Greensboro’sgreatest asset? What is Greensboro’smost pressing problem?
Our greatest strength is our diversity and quality of life whichmanifests itself in numerous and varied ways: a rich and colorful history of ethnic/religiousgroups and families who made Greensboro home, prospered and gave back to thecommunity; seven great institutions of higher education; strong private familyfoundations fully vested in making the city better and stronger; a flourishingcultural arts scene (music, art, theater); an active, talented creative class;outstanding recreation facilities; a world-class coliseum complex with multiplevenues; abundant open, green space; a strong business community, including anumber of highly-ranked public and private companies. All contribute to make Greensboro a vibrant,attractive city.
Greensboro’s most pressing problem is a City Council thatdoes not understand its major role and responsibility is to provide leadership,vision, and long-term strategy to enable the city to embrace the future and ensureGreensboro continues to listen to the people who have been pushed to the backand given no opportunity for dialogue.
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