Sieber sees little change with new city council
Greensboro residents reelected six of nine leaders ‘— one mayor and eight council members ‘— who have steered policy for the last two years, but one local observer said the personnel change would little impact the city’s direction.
‘“I think on the local level there are some indications of voters desiring some change,’” said Hal Sieber, former editor of The Carolina Peacemaker. ‘“But it’s pretty moderate.’”
One shakeup displaced longtime councilman Don Vaughan with the ascendance of newcomer Sandra Anderson, who garnered the most votes in the at-large race. Vaughan, a lawyer, served on the council for 14 years; Anderson is a builder of affordable housing who served on the planning board and raised more than $25,000 in her bid to win a seat.
Another new face belongs to Mike Barber, who won the District 4 race against Janet Wallace by an almost two-to-one margin. Barber, who will take the district seat soon to be vacated by at-large councilwoman Florence Gatten, is not a newcomer to local politics. The lawyer served a four-year term on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners that ended in 2004.
Across town in District 2, Goldie Wells also dashed her opponent, civil rights activist Ed Whitfield. The two battled for the seat formerly held by Claudette Burroughs-White, who endorsed Wells.
‘“The race in District 2 probably indicated voter interest in having someone with broad experience serving the community in a volunteer capacity represent them,’” Sieber said. ‘“It might be said that she was slightly more conservative than her opponent.’”
A close race in District 1 indicates lingering instability following the departure of Earl Jones after his 18-year tenure on the council ended in 2001. Incumbent Diane Bellamy-Small, who was first elected in 2003, edged her challenger Luther Falls by 50 votes.
The occupational make-up of the city council remained largely unchanged. Realtor Robbie Perkins and lawyer Vaughan left the council, only to be replaced by builder Anderson and lawyer Barber. Wells is an educator and has been a longtime community activist and volunteer.
‘“There have always been realtors who run for office,’” Sieber said. ‘“It’s natural for realtors to appear on city council.’”
Although little changed in city government, Sieber said he expects the new members to continue the progress made by the last council.
‘“I would hope to see the diversity of the community, the voice of the people and efforts to increase equality and opportunity continue to be strong or stronger during the next few years,’” Sieber said.
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