By: Laura R. Linder from Greensboro
Nancy Hoffmann continues to defend her leadership and vote to rezone the property at Friendly Avenue and Hobbs Road. She refuses to acknowledge the legitimate anger that lingers over this issue. When negotiations took place regarding the Shops at Friendly Center, residents dropped their strong opposition because there was agreement with Starmount Corp. that Hobbs Road would be the boundary for further commercial development. Hoffmann says no such agreement was put in writing and that may be true. I believe, however, that elected officials have an obligation to honor “handshake” agreements with neighborhoods.
This wasn’t just a disagreement with district residents; it was a betrayal of trust. The local attorney for the developer of that property (Atlanta-based Halpern Enterprises) may think that more commercial property on West Friendly Avenue is just what Greensboro needs, but the people who live there clearly do not agree.
I urge people to read the Draft Friendly Avenue Area Plan that Hoffmann brags about. The plan reflects a view of residential property as untapped opportunities for development rather than as neighborhoods to be valued and protected, as illustrated by the recommendation “for how these new developments could best fit into the existing context of the surrounding neighborhoods.” Public comments tacked on to the end of the Draft Plan clearly show that Hoffmann is out of touch with area residents.
A violation of public trust takes place when an elected official advances the desires of special interests instead of the public interest. All candidates are obligated to give the Board of Elections a list of all the individuals who give money to their campaigns. Take a look at the parade of developers who bankroll Hoffmann’s campaign and decide if Gary Kenton wouldn’t make a better representative for District 4. He is an independent voice, beholden only to the people.