The Election Guide 2008 Part 2: Local Races

by Jordan Green

Forsyth County Commission

District B (3 seats)

Republican Richard V. Linville, incumbent Political CV: Has served on commission since 1980 On the record: What he hopes to do in his next term: “We’ve in the last year been discussing ways to reduce demolition waste. That’s been done some places in the state and country. There’s a place over near High Point that recycles some construction waste materials. In Forsyth County and primarily in Winston-Salem there’s some recycling of normal household garbage waste; this reduction of construction waste is relatively new. It’s now just being created. I think that’s important. We’ll be trying to provide some traditional-type things — schools, emergency services — and do all these things in the most conservative manner possible.” (Source: Sept. 28 interview) Republican Gloria D. Whisenhunt, incumbent Political CV: Commission chairwoman; has served on commission since 1996; Heart of the Triad Steering Committee; Forsyth County School Board, 1990-1996; Forsyth County Emergency Management Advisory Council, 1997-2005; Forsyth County Airport Authority, 1997-2005; and vice chair, Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation Endorsement: Forsyth County Association of Educators PAC contributions: NC Association of Educators, NC Realtors PAC On the record: On accomplishments she’s most proud of: “I’m proud that we have held the property tax at a reasonable rate while at the same time building new schools for our young people. I’m proud of the services we provide for all our citizens. And I’m proud that we stood on the prayer issue and continue to allow minister to pray in Jesus’ name in our commissioner meetings.” (Source: Sept. 28 interview) Republican Dave Plyler Political CV: Former Forsyth County commissioner, 1994-2006 Endorsement: Forsyth County Association of Educators PAC contributions: NC Association of Educators, Piedmont Stone Center On the record: On incentives: “There are a lot of different incentives you can give, and I’m in favor of that because every county in the state competes for jobs. I was president of the North Carolina Association of Commissioners, and Gloria Whisenhunt went with me. We asked all the counties to agree to not give incentives. Those that wouldn’t do it were on the borderline of Virginia and South Carolina because they had to compete with those states’ incentives. The North Carolina Association of Commissioners said, ‘Incentives are here, and that’s the way it’s going to be.” (Source: Sept. 28 interview) Democrat John Gladman Website: Professional: Assistant director of social services, Salvation Army On the record: On transparency: “The bond was decided at a Thursday night briefing, it never came to the citizens to speak on. Transparency is a concern. I am concerned about the transparency of our local government educating citizens about what’s going on. We have not done that very well. That’s something that I would like to do if I’m lucky enough to get elected. We work for the citizens, and that should not be forgotten.” (Source: Sept. 28 interview) Democrat Nancy N. Young Website: Professional: Nonprofit consultant Endorsement: Forsyth County Association of Educators On the record: Basic platform: “We must be sure that our young people receive the best education possible and that we prepare them for the jobs of the future. Then, we must also be concerned that adults have the education and training they need for the jobs that will be available. Additionally, we must be sure that those jobs are in Forsyth County. Since I spent most of my life in Belews Creek, I am also concerned about preserving our rural environment. We must protect our farms and undeveloped areas, while allowing our urban areas to grow and grow in a way that does not increase urban sprawl.” (Source: Candidate website) Democrat James Ziglar Website: Political CV: Former Forsyth County commissioner, 1976-1988, including five years as chairman Endorsements: NC Sen. Linda Garrou, NC Rep. Larry Womble, Commissioner Ted Kaplan, and Winston-Salem City Council members Evelyn Terry and Molly Leight On the record: On tax fairness: “The times are really tough now and the economy is just not doing that well. Forsyth County has felt and is continuing to feel rumblings of job loss…. That’s one of the reasons for making sure that the tax rate is fair, and do our dead level best to make sure there’s not waste in the budget. We really need to try to provide fair and equitable government for people right now.” (Source: Sept. 28 interview) Libertarian Richard N. Norman Professional: Computer consultant On the record: Top priority: “Stopping runaway county spending on corporate welfare: It makes no sense to spend taxpayer money to attract new businesses while taxing and regulating old ones out of business. I will work to promote a business friendly environment to encourage business growth in the county.” (Source: Candidate website)

Guilford County Commission

At-large (2 seats)

Democrat Paul Gibson, incumbent Political CV: Currently serving second consecutive term as county commissioner; formerly served one term from 1984 to 1988; liaison to Guilford Center Board; chairs New Budget Process Committee and Jail Construction Advisor Committee; NC Sentencing and Advisory Committee Endorsement: Guilford County Association of Educators On the record: On how he would support a living wage: “I too would support a living wage for working families in Guilford County. I remember as a young boy, I grew up in what is now the parking lot of Hanes-Lineberry Funeral Homes. There was a family beside us. The father worked at the clothing department of at one of the department stores downtown. He supported his family. A man or woman working forty hours a week should be able to make a decent enough living to support his or her family. Margaret Arbuckle is exactly right: There is a direct correlation between poverty and success and school. We’ve got to do a better job of bringing everybody in Guilford County up to a higher level, a better standard of living in Guilford County. Guilford County ranks very, very low in terms of number of children who live in poverty. It’s incumbent upon us to find ways to improve that.” (Source: Sept. 25 candidate forum) Democrat John Parks, incumbent Political CV: Served on county commission from 1992 to 2000; reelected in 2004; chairs Audit Committee; liaison to Department of Social Services Board, Piedmont Triad Partnership, High Point Economic Development Corp. and High Point Transportation Advisory Committee Endorsement: Guilford County Association of Educators On the record: On how he would support a living wage: “We have with us Rep. Alma Adams at the state level, and I certainly would agree that we deal with economic incentives — it’s in our policy now — the living wage — and certainly reinforce that as we look at future companies coming to Guilford County.” (Source: Sept. 25 candidate forum) Republican Larry Proctor Website: Political CV: Chairman, Guilford County Planning Board On the record: On how he would support a living wage: “I don’t think there’s a good answer to this question unless you really research it. Some time, individually, I would research it. I would do my job as commissioner to represent the citizens of the county, including the children.” (Source: Sept. 25 candidate forum) Republican Wendell Sawyer Professional: Lawyer in Greensboro; served in NC Senate, 1985-86 On the record: On cutting taxes: “As the home mortgage crisis unfolds, some people are going to have difficulty in making their mortgage payments. When the county property tax increases, it merely aggravates the severity of the problem since the county bills the escrow accounts of the mortgage companies with the increased taxes and the mortgage companies simply increase the monthly mortgage payments of their customers to make up the shortfall. It is my belief that the county government should engage in this belt-tightening as well. Therefore, I think that the county board should decrease the property tax rate, not increase it or merely ‘hold the line.’ This could be accomplished by re-examining the budget from top to bottom and eliminating certain unnecessary expenditures including some administration costs.” (Source: YES! Weekly blog, May 3) Libertarian Paul Elledge Website: On the record: On criminal justice: “Too much crime fighting in Guilford County involves victimless crimes, namely the war on drugs. Rather than spending all of their time fighting real crime such as violence, theft, and fraud, our law-enforcement officers are apprehending and locking up people for such non-crimes as possessing half an ounce of marijuana. Entirely too much money and time are spent fighting this insane war, and too much jail space is used up on nonviolent drug offenders.” (Source: Candidate website) On corporate incentives: “No one, rich or poor, has a right to live at the expense of others, but it is especially egregious that these wealthy companies regularly receive public money at the expense of less fortunate taxpayers. As commissioner, I will never cast a vote in favor of giving corporations a handout.” (Source: Candidate website)

District 4

Democrat Kirk Perkins, incumbent Political CV: Current chairman; serving first term; liaison to the Agricultural Advisory Board, Greensboro Transportation Advisory Committee and the Parks and Recreation Commission Endorsement: Guilford County Association of Educators PAC contribution: North Carolinians for Leadership in Government (developer Roy Carroll) On the record: On how he would support a living wage: “I support everybody having a living wage. There’s different definitions of that. I want to applaud Representative Adams for passing legislation to bring up our minimum wage. You know, a living wage is achieved really through the free market, by attracting the right companies and having our workforce educated the right way it will help everybody. We can’t legislate economics. It has to work out in the marketplace. You know, I think Riley Auto Parts has been a good example of where we attracted a company that is going to provide good jobs to people who are not extremely skilled. They’re going to have great benefits — you know, salary’s only one component of the scale — medical insurance, retirement, paid holidays, sick days — those are all things that come into play.” (Source: Sept. 25 candidate forum) Republican Eddie Souther Website: Professional: Building supply salesman On the record: On how he would support a living wage: “I think it’s very important that people make a decent living. A few things that we as county commissioners can do is to work the educational facilities of our county and the surrounding area, such as GTCC — our community college, one of the best in the state. This way we can actually give people vocational training. Some people don’t want to go to a university, don’t want to go to work in a business office, they want to be a plumber or a carpenter. Our area is a very service-oriented area. I think by doing this right here we can actually increase the wages in Guilford County…. It breaks your heart to see a kid that’s poor. Nobody wants to see a poor child, nobody wants to see a poor family. We want to see success, and I think the key to this right here is by giving them better education.” (Source: Sept. 25 candidate forum)

Guilford County School Board

At-large (1 seat)

Sandra Alexander Professional: University professor, business owner and retired teacher Endorsements: Guilford County Association of Educators PAC contributions: Teamsters Local 391 On the record: On school diversity: “My answer to that is that all children benefit from being educated in a diverse environment. Ideally, I would like to see our schools reflect the larger society. If students are going to have to work and operate in a diverse society as adults, they can best do so if they’re trained to do so while they’re young. And our schools are the very best place to do that. I too believe in the value of diversity training. I think Guilford County Schools have moved in a positive direction with regard to that, by hiring a diversity officer, and I think that person has made a great deal of difference in our schools. This is a world that’s going to be radically different from the one that we have experienced. Our students are going to be competing not just against folks from the other side of Guilford County, but with students from around the world, and the earlier they begin to experience competition with persons who are very different from themselves the better we all will be.” (Source: May 1 candidate forum) Michael McKinney Website: Political CV: Guilford County Planning Board; former board member, Triad Real Estate & Building Industry Coalition Endorsements: Outgoing at-large Guilford County School Board member Dot Kearns Campaign finance: Teamsters Local 391 On the record: On school diversity: “As a former diversity trainer for a national bank, absolutely they benefit. We’re living in a global society, and we are moving towards a global economy, and we need to be able to teach and equip our children to be prepared to deal with that global society. I think it’s important that our teachers, our staff, our administrators all attend a diversity training, if they have not done so, and I think we need to monitor to ensure that everyone, regardless of their differences are respected because of their differences. I remember hearing someone say, ‘We have to continue to work on our differences until differences make no differences.’ I have found that children from challenging socio-economic backgrounds are in need to exposure to a more diverse school environment.” (Source: May 1 candidate forum)

District 3

Darlene Garrett, incumbent Website: Political CV: Completing second term on school board; formerly employed by the Office of Consumer Protection at the NC Department of Justice Endorsement: Guilford County Association of Educators On the record: Basic platform: • Favors formulating a teachers advisory committee, engaging teachers in selection process for staff development, adding more teacher assistants to classrooms and increasing teacher supplemental pay • Favors reducing principals’ paperwork, reducing their time away from their schools and formulating a principals advisory committee • Favors expanding the Positive Behavior Support program to additional schools and improving the School Community Alternative Learning Environment, or SCALE, program (Source: Candidate website) Mike Stone Website: On the record: On the achievement gap: “A lot of students aren’t going to go to college — we know that — because of financial reasons or whatever the situation may be. Maybe they choose not to go to college. However, that doesn’t mean that Guilford County can’t provide them with a quality education. When I was in school, we had vocational and technical training. And why can’t we do that again? We’ve got GTCC, one of the premier community colleges, sitting at our back door. And we can’t send junior and senior kids that are struggling into those classrooms and make a difference in their life, to teach them an honorable trade so that they can be successful? We put money into the middle colleges to make sure that kids that are going to college — as taxpayers, we pay the first two years of their college education. Put that money where it’s going to do the most good. And that’s with the kids that are at risk.” (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

High Point City Council

At-large (2 seats)

Latimer Alexander, incumbent Political CV: Completing third term on council; liaison to High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau; textile executive On the record: On reinvigorating the job market in High Point: “High Point council in the six years that I’ve been on it, we’ve been very active in developing economic incentives to attract different kinds of industry to High Point. We have attracted many, many different companies. In addition to that we’ve also been working with our community partners in workforce development. We’re seeing a change from 20th century to 21st century jobs. Our citizens need the opportunity and resources to move themselves from a hands-on manufacturing to a more knowledge-based manufacturing and research-based economies.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum) Mary Lou Andrews Blakeney Professional: Retired registered nurse On the record: On reinvigorating the job market in High Point: “I would like to see more assistance given to the small-business operators, and maybe we can help grow them. That may be an opportunity. And retraining. If there’s one that goes out of business, let’s fund them. Second careers. There are people that are retired that should be able to go back and get education in another area.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum) Jason Cox Website: Professional: Computer network administrator, North State Communications On the record: On reinvigorating the job market in High Point: “One of my issues that I think is critical to bringing jobs to High Point is that we have the ability to brand our community. Our city website, I feel, doesn’t do a very good job of communicating the best that we have to offer. Finding ways to market ourselves better to, not only our constituents but making sure we’re showing the world the best we have to offer as we continue to attract those jobs here.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum) John Wesley Sneed II Professional: Hospitality sales, Clarion Greensboro On the record: On reinvigorating the job market in High Point: “You’ve just heard three different answers on how to reinvigorate the economy. I’ll go ahead and tell you that they’re all three correct. We need to do everything we can to bring every possible job to the city, not only for the upper level but the lower level. We have people in our city that are in all different economic situations, and we need to make sure we have opportunities for all of them.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidates forum)

Ward 2

Julius Clark Website: Political CV: Vice-chair, High Point Historic Preservation Commission On the record: What to do about boarded-up houses: “Change the ordinance that’s on the books. We need to hold the landlords and the realtors accountable because they’re the ones that are coming in to acquire the monies. And that’s all they seem to care about. We need to look at it a different way.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum) Tony L. Davis Professional: Team leader, paint department at Thomas Built Buses On the record: What to do about boarded-up houses: “I look at the boarded-up homes in Ward 2 as an opportunity. As you know, if you read the papers, my name has been in the paper several different times about the boarded up houses I’ve had to redo and live in myself. I’m going to lead by example. I’m going to take that house, roll up my sleeves and I’m going to do it…. I believe I’m the only one that lives in that ward in an area that needs to be revamped and is trying to do it on my own. I think that’s the key is looking at it as an opportunity to get out there and work, do it yourself, let the people in that area know that it can be done. And I think that solves some of the problem. Won’t solve all the problem, but it will be a good start. And I’m one of the ones that will take the initiative to step out there first, and put in my labor, put in my sweat, and make that neighborhood a better neighborhood.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum) Foster Douglas Professional: Business owner; former legal redress chair, High Point NAACP Trivia: Douglas has been a consumer of both the criminal and civil sides of the justice system. In October 2007, he was charged with misdemeanor assault on a female. A warrant alleged that Douglas pushed a woman away from a computer, causing her to hit a wall. The district attorney dropped the charge. In another case, Foster Douglas and Jerry Douglas sued the city of High Point in relation to their operation of the Comfort Zone nightclub. The lawsuit was dismissed as frivolous. “Astoundingly, when required by the rules to produce evidence to support [their] claims, the plaintiffs conceded they were without such evidence,” a federal judge wrote in 2003. “Not a scintilla of evidence was produced by the plaintiffs, [and] the court is constrained to find this complaint to be unreasonable, frivolous and without any foundation.” On the record: What to do about boarded-up houses: “I think there could be some kind of program set up within the community through the city that they could actually purchase these homes or force the landlords to do something with them so we could create homes for the homeless. I think that would be a good idea. I think it would lower the homeless rate, and give them somewhere to go and give them a new start. Because a lot of people are just one paycheck away from being homeless themselves. Once they find out that the city cares about them in that type of way then a lot of times it will build their self-esteem.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum) Pride Grimm Jr. Website: Professional: Former UPS supervisor On the record: What to do about boarded-up houses: “I would like to see some kind of coalition with the city, the realtors and the local church groups where they can — I’ve talked with many church leaders, and they would be really interested in being able to get these homes, renovate them, be able to put people in them that are worthy of having homes, put them in rent-free, let the churches eat the cost, fix their credit for a year, just pay their utilities and lead them on a path of home ownership. We can kill two birds with one stone there.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum) Jerry Mingo On the record: What to do about boarded-up houses: “I think first we need to first rid the community of slum landlords…. When the landlords come in they rent them to anybody. The problem we have in our neighborhoods is they don’t keep the properties up. The overgrown grass and just the general appearance hurt our neighborhood. We definitely need to [inaudible] demolition of [inaudible].” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum) Fitzgerald L. Waller Profession: Machine operator, Marsh Furniture On the record: What to do about boarded-up houses: “My stance on that is pretty much the same as everybody else’s. Once you get in touch with the owner, you allow them 30 to 60 days to fix it up, or level it. I think the city code is something to that effect. I think that we can have a neighborhood homeowners association in each neighborhood that would allow them as a group to purchase the property, and let them bring it up for code and let them profit from if it.” (Source: Sept. 29 interview)

Ward 6

John Faircloth, incumbent Political CV: Completing second term on council; former High Point police chief On the record: What to do about boarded-up houses: “I’m as guilty as anyone because I’m in the real estate business — we have had too much of this spreading out into the beautiful land and making large subdivisions and seeing the inner part of our city begin to deteriorate and become stale. We need to turn some of that back in and start to invest in those communities, and I’m certainly going to work to make that happen.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum) Jim Corey Website: Professional: Retired naval officer and political science professor On the record: Challenging the status quo: “I am running for council in Ward 6 because High Point is a wonderful city in which to live but it tends to live in the status quo. We are entering a new century and we have to think ahead. What is this city going to be like when we have to think about becoming a ‘green’ city. And I also believe in cleaning up our streets, which are a disgrace. And I also think we need to develop a business incubator so that we can help small businesses attract jobs, which we desperately need.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum)

Forsyth County bond

Education Website: Particulars: $62.1 million total for the purpose of providing funds for Forsyth Tech to acquire facilities from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools; improvement, renovation, equipping and furnishing of facilities to be used for community college purposes; for the acquisition, construction, expansion and replacement of facilities by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools for educational and administrative purposes Endorsements: Wade Boyles, Democratic candidate for NC House District 74; Gary Green, president of Forsyth Tech Opponents: NC Rep. Dale Folwell (R-House District 74) Guilford County bond 1/4-cent sales tax Website: Particulars: Would increase sales tax by 25 cents on a $100 purchase; proponents say that it is necessary to defray the costs of school construction after voters approved a $530 million bond in May and to avoid increasing property taxes. Endorsement: Citizens for a Better Guilford

Greensboro bonds

Transportation Website: Particulars: $134.1 million total, including $73.1 million for roadway improvements, $18.1 million for streetscape projects (South Elm-Eugene Street, Summit Avenue, and West Lee Street/High Point Road), $13.4 million for intersection improvement projects, $12.3 million for greenways ($7 million for downtown greenway), $9.3 million for sidewalk projects (Battleground Avenue, English Street, West Friendly Avenue, Holden Road, Wendover Avenue, Church Street, Lovett Street, College Road, Phillips Avenue, Pembroke Road, Walker Avenue, McConnell Road and Spring Garden Street), and $8.0 million for maintenance (street resurfacing, bridge repair and sidewalk repair) War Memorial Auditorium Website: Particulars: $50.5 million to remodel War Memorial Auditorium at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, including work on the main theater, grand lobby and back of the house Parks and recreation Website: Particulars: $20.0 million, including $12.0 million to build a regional swim center, $3.0 million for enhancements at Barber Park, $2.6 million for artificial turf installation at Hester Park, $1.0 million for the Gateway Gardens project, $435,750 to renovate the swimming pool at Grimsley High School, $310,575 for neighborhood park renovations, $213,675 for park swimming pool repairs, $200,000 to add a handicapped-accessible entrance at Smith Senior Center, $200,000 to build a restroom at Gillespie Golf Course, Housing Website: Particulars: $1.0 million; bond projects would be evaluated by the Community Resource Board and presented to the Greensboro City Council for approval; projects could include the Bessemer Center mixed-use housing project, Glenwood neighborhood housing acquisition, foreclosure assistance, housing with supportive services and workforce housing Endorsement: Greensboro Housing Coalition