Aug. 5, 2011 02:40

Clarence Easter

Clarence Easter

Residential address: Bellevue Street (map)

Incumbent or challenger? Challenger

Age: 37

Campaign website: Facebook (link)

Occupation and employer: Teacher assistant, Guilford County Schools

Previous elective experience (including election campaigns): Candidate, student body president, NC A&T University; candidate, homecoming court, Virginia State University; volunteer for multiple political campaigns, including Hillary Clinton for president (2008), Barack Obama for president (2008), Kay Hagan for US Senate (2008), Elaine Marshall for US Senate (2010), Marcus Brandon for NC House (2010), Gladys Robinson for NC Senate (2010) and Yvonne Johnson for mayor

Civic and volunteer experience (including service on city commissions and boards): Involved with civil rights, Boy Scouts and educational programs

Education (highest degree attained and name of institution): High school graduate, Parkview High School, South Hill, Va.

Party registration: Democratic (nonpartisan contest)

What is the city of your birth? Emporia, Va.

When did you move to Greensboro? 1997

Paid consultants working on your campaign: None

Campaign manager: Brian Mayo

Treasurer: Brian Mayo and self

Do you favor or oppose reopening the White Street Landfill for household waste, beyond the small amount of sewer sludge currently accepted? Briefly explain your position.

I oppose the reopening of the White Street Landfill. The landfill has served its purpose and has done its time. With time comes changes. Over the years, a lot of houses have accumulated and a lot of families have moved in that area. They should have the right to enjoy their homes. With the landfill come a lot of concerns, such as health-related issues, declining value of property or homes, noise, odor and annoying animals or insects. The city council members and the county commissioners should collaborate and seek other alternatives for the landfill.

Where do you stand on the “strong manager” form of city government and why?

I love the strong manager form of government. Even though it is a non-elected position, the city manager is the “enforcer” of the city government. Having the city manager creates a check-and-balance approach among city hall. Also, it delegates or designates specific functions and responsibilities among the city leaders. Without the city manager, there will be extra duties and shared responsibilities among the mayor and the members of council in order to successfully implement or execute policies based on the needs, the concerns, the interests and the operation of the city.

Should the city of Greensboro place more or less emphasis on maintaining a healthy water and sewer fund to plan for future growth? Why or why not?

The city should place more emphasis on maintaining a healthy water and sewer fund. As I mentioned (in a prior question), with time comes changes. The needs and interests (of the city) will not remain the same. As time goes on, the city is going to flourish. This will lead to things such as land expansion, population increases, and the attraction of new businesses and neighborhoods. We have to keep up with time in order to accommodate for changes and the successful operation of the city's future growth.

The city’s tax base has remained flat for the past two years in a row, and the foreclosure crisis continues unabated. As a member of city council, how would you balance the need to fund services such as police patrol, fire protection and park maintenance that citizens care about with the reality that the revenue picture remains bleak?

As a member of the city council, I would balance the need to support city services by avoiding to raise taxes and suggesting a proposal like a reform city policy to recoup a higher percentage of parking fines, prioritize the funding or spending of the city's services, increase the use of local companies to provide city services, avoid expanded and new regulations, identify significant personnel savings and the use of intergovernmental funds or grants.

Do you believe that city staff deserves council support to implement a program to spend federal grant money to improve the energy efficiency of residences and businesses, or does this program warrant additional oversight from council? Briefly explain your position.

I believe in collaboration and communication (among the city council and the city staff) in order to build great working relationships in the enhancement of the best possible decision-making solutions. Any information that is not provided or disclosed (whenever obtained) from either party do not build or establish trust. There should not be a need for additional programs or additional policies as long as there is a trustworthy relationship. New policies or new programs come into effect or existence when certain rights, privileges or authorities have been abused.

How would you assess the value and effectiveness of Greensboro’s Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy program, which is now prohibited by state law?

The RUCO was an effective policy of preventing substandard housing. It required that all rental houses pass inspection before being rented. It was a simple, direct way of informing prospective tenants that all conditions, violations or repairs have been met and it was safe to move in. Also, it kept the property owners and the tenants aware of certain violations or conditions (if applicable, before becoming worse) through random inspections.

How should the impasse over management and operation of the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market be resolved?

If a traditional way of conducting business is no longer effective then it should seek a new approach, a new philosophy or a new vision in order to implement a successful operational policy or growth on behalf of the company.

What, if anything, should be done to resolve racial tensions, and to enhance professionalism, integrity and fairness within the Greensboro Police Department?

Better communication, building a more trustworthy relationship among the community, the city leaders and the police staff; proper ongoing training in ethics, professionalism, application of laws and the use of certain techniques are some of the ways to resolve racial tensions and to promote fairness with in the police department. Also, more neighborhood gatherings would give the police officers a more positive outlook. Some people, especially children, have a negative impression about police officers because they only witness them in times of bad or dangerous situations. I would like for them to view them as positive community helpers so they would not be afraid to ask for help in desperate times.

What would you change about Greensboro’s land use patterns if the decision were yours to make? Please answer the question in terms of places people live, work and shop, in terms of the modes of transportation people use to get from point to point and the vitality of neighborhoods and commercial corridors?

I would change the land use pattern to make sure that there is enough land or space reserved for much needed businesses in certain or designated areas. For example, there are certain neighborhoods with the majority of the residents who do not have access to their own vehicles. These residents either walk or are transported by cabs or buses. On the other hand, there are no businesses (in a reasonable radius) such as grocery stores, drug stores, or clinics for their convenience. Likewise, if the city keep expanding; housing units keep multiplying; and the population keep increasing, there would also be a need for more schools.

What is Greensboro’s greatest asset? What is Greensboro’s most pressing problem?

Greensboro's greatest assets are the citizens and the city employees. Without the citizens and the city employees, there would not be a need for a city governing body. Everyone has a choice. The citizens have a choice. The citizens have a choice either to reside in Greensboro or not. On the contrary, just like the city employees have a choice to work for the city of Greensboro or seek to employment opportunities elsewhere.

Right now, Greensboro's most pressing problem is the city council. The city council is not working together to promote fairness and the best representation of the decision-making policies on the behalf of the city. I encourage all voters to please examine all of the candidates thoroughly and diligently cast your ballot accordingly so this will not happen again. Greensboro needs a city council that is willing to work and compromise in the best interest of the entire city.

Articles about this candidate:

2011 primary election endorsement & voter guide (link

At-large candidates in Greensboro municipal election struggle to differentiate themselves (link)   

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