Sandra Anderson Groat, at-large candidate

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: 505 Daybreak Square N., 27455 Incumbent or challenger: Incumbent Age: 64 Campaign website or Occupation and employer: Construction consultant, Kelly & Co. Previous elective experience (including election campaigns): Serving second term as mayor pro tem Civic and volunteer experience (including service on city commissions and boards): Family Life Council, Senior Services of Guilford, Inasmuch, Homes 4 NC, Grace United Methodist Church Education (highest degree attained and name of institution): Coursework, Greensboro College Party registration: Democrat (nonpartisan race) What is the city and state of your birth? Sweetwater, Tenn. If not Greensboro, what year did you move here? 1966 Paid consultants working on your campaign: None Campaign manager(s): Martha Faw Treasurer: Art Winstead

Remarks from Sept. 22 candidate forum:


Introductory statement

Good evening. It’s nice to see everybody and to be here. And I’m here because I want you to vote for me. And I want you to ask your friends to vote for me. And I’m going to try to tell you a little bit about why. I still have the same motives for running for city council that I had two terms ago. I really want to make a difference in my community and to serve the citizens. And I’m in much more of a position now to do that than I have been before because I’ve learned — you know, a woman my age doesn’t like to say experience, but sometimes it is that. I’ve learned through my first two terms a lot about the issues facing our city. I feel like that I’m not finished working yet. And I want to be a part of the exciting things that are going to be happening. I want to see the new city manager go through his transition period. And I really think that we’re probably going into a new — I hope we’re going into a new time where we’re going to be getting some energy, getting our feet under the sand, and move forward.


Do you support continued funding for the Greensboro Police Department gang enforcement unit. If so, do you think it should possibly be restructured?

Yes, I do. I support continued support for the gang unit. Number one is because we have heard a whole lot less about gangs in our city since that unit started up. Now, as to whether it needs restructuring I don’t know. I really — I’ve read a little bit here and there — but it seems to be working efficiently to me.


Do you think that sprawl is a problem in Greensboro?

I do think that sprawl is a problem. Hindsight’s always great. You look back and see things that you could have done differently but you didn’t plan to do it. However, I think a lot of the sprawl we have in Greensboro and all over the country [inaudible] running away with real estate. I think it has to do with greed and “more is better.” And I think that we’re going to have to infill, and we’re going to have to live with that. But we don’t have to promote it. We need to backtrack and do better from now on in our planning.


The complaint review committee investigates complaints against police officers. Would you be in favor of giving this citizen panel subpoena authority to interview witnesses? Why or why not?

I like the review committee that we have right now and I think we need something, but I’m opposed to subpoena power simply because I think that is something for the courts; that is reserved for the court system. We have to have something that is set aside, and just don’t think that citizens should have subpoena power on a review board, any review board. I do think that we could probably use some more tweaking of this whole committee, and I don’t know that council has been as involved as it should be. We’ve pretty much left it to human relations commission, and you know they come down and tell us what they’re thinking. And I don’t think we’ve gotten as involved in that situation as we should be. But my answer is I really think we need a review board; I do not think it should have subpoena power.


Some residents have expressed concerns about the potential for conflicts of interest when individuals who have contributed to candidates’ campaigns bring business such as rezoning requests before city council. Would you be in favor of imposing a 12-month cooling-off period on campaign contributions before and after individuals bring business before city council?

Well, that would be terribly hard to monitor. I don’t know exactly how you could gather all that information. You know, I guess, somehow, there has to be some kind of trust of integrity of the council members… because I don’t think that you can take away certain rights that people have, is to have money donated for something someone believes and what they’re working toward. I just really don’t know how it would work. I can’t imagine working out something that complicated. It might be that something simpler would work and, you know, Ms. Vaughan’s been talking about the disclosure statement. That may be, when it’s law here – and I think it will be – that may be the way that this will work out. But then I also think that places a burden on some people whose spouse will not disclose – I just think there’s a whole lot of maybe work to be done in here. I hope we haven’t gotten so corrupt that we need to have somebody following us around all the time.


Closing statement

Thank you, very much. I would like to tell you about the city manager, and what happened. I met with the city manager on a regular basis every Friday morning for a year and publicly supported him. I was not coerced by anybody. But over a period of that year I really just had questions. I just couldn’t get a hundred percent behind him, not because of anything directly to do with the police department. But our city council was divided and a lot of that division was to do with him. And he was just a lightning rod there. And I really felt that there’s no way we’re going to get out of the mud and move forward if we don’t do something different. And I really think that after that occurred our council is doing better. I think they would agree that we’re doing better. And I’m really proud that I’ve been able to have a neutral position on council, and not being on a side.

Stories about this candidate:

Groat looks for fresh start with new manager

Blog posts about this candidate:

Sandra Anderson Groat needs the black vote

Yvonne Johnson leads political fundraising in Greensboro

Campaign notes: SynerG/Elon Law School forum

Campaign notes: Candidates at A&T

Campaign notes: Greensboro City Council at-large race

Nancy Vaughan leads at-large contest in Greensboro

Gay rights PAC makes endorsements for Greensboro council

Groat’s game plan GPD: Scarfone warned of arrest for violating sidewalk cafe