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by Jeff Sykes

Items from across the Triad and beyond

HIGH POINT MAYORAL RACE

The three men running for High Point mayor engaged in one final public forum Thursday night, less than two weeks before residents head to the polls.

Candidates Bill Bencini, Marcus Brandon and Jimmy Scott engaged in a public discussion at St Mary’s Episcopal Church in High Point. They discussed several topics that included job creation, downtown revitalization and increased transparency in government.

Bencini pointed to the impact of the furniture market of $5.39 million on the city’s economy. He said the twice-a-year event supports about 37,000 jobs. He stressed the need to encourage the use of space downtown for businesses as an alternative to building office parks outside the city, which he thinks is one of the city’s main problems.

“Those office parks are not particularly accessible to the folks in the core city who need employment,” he said.

Brandon said one of his first priorities would be balancing the city’s tax system. He said he had come to learn that the 27260 Zip code was one of the poorest in the state.

“When I represent you I represent the structural issues for your constituents,” Brandon said.

Scott touted his experience as a broadcaster and said it has put him “on the fringes” in the community.

“If you don’t have a relationship with the citizens, then you end up having what we had in High Point previously,” he said.

One topic all three candidates agreed on was the naming of a street in High Point after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.””a practice common in most major cities across the United States.

When asked whether they felt there was a racial divide in High Point, each candidate responded differently.

Bencini said he felt the petition by the city council asking former mayor Bernita Sims to resign contributed to the divide he thinks already exists in the city.

“All it did was drive another wedge,” he said. A wedge that was not called for, was not necessary, was not helpful.”

Brandon said he felt the divide was more along socioeconomic lines than racial ones.

“There’s a reason why you have the richest people per capita and the poorest people per capita living in the same city. Only policy can do that,” he said.

Scott said bridging the divide could only be accomplished by changing people’s attitudes as opposed to passing a law.

“I can’t go join the country club. Let’s face it,” he said.

TINY HOUSES FOR A BIG PROBLEM

Another tool in the fight against homelessness in Greensboro has surfaced, with a coalition being formed to explore the potential of micro-homes.

Tiny Houses Greensboro is a coalition of individuals and groups that formed recently among the community at the Interactive Resource Center. Resources for Artful Living (REAL) and Tiny Houses Greensboro came together and sponsored a workshop at which a tiny home prototype was built. The small home has been on display at the IRC parking lot.

A recent survey found that more than 870 people in Guilford County are living homeless either in shelters or makeshift camps. The city has partnered with several agencies and foundations to put an emphasis on “housing first.” REAL won a grant to hire a builder who led a Tiny Home Workshop this past weekend. About 25 volunteers turned out to help build the prototype.

Partnering agencies include the IRC, REAL, Center for Community Engaged Design at UNCG, members of the Greensboro Voice, and the IRC-TG Edible Community Garden Project.

The Tiny Houses Greensboro project is conducting an Indiegogo project, which ends on Nov. 29. So far the group has raised more than $2,000 toward its $5,000 goal. The money will go toward paying for a foundation, hardware and lumber, electrical and plumbing costs, and fixtures.

The group plans additional workdays on Nov. 15 and 16, with a fundraiser planned for Nov. 14 at Scuppernong Books. !

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