Jorge Cornell, at-large candidate
Residential address: 1309 Kirkman St., 27406
Incumbent or challenger? Challenger
Campaign website or blog: www.cornellforcouncil.wordpress.com
Occupation and employer: Unemployed
Previous elective experience (including election campaigns): None
Civic and volunteer experience (including service on city commissions and boards): Member, Guilford County Schools Safe Schools Committee; feeding the homeless; speaking engagements at Guilford College, NC A&T University and Beloved Community Center; Guilford County Coalition for Just Laws and Peace Among Street Organizations
Education (highest degree attained and name of institution): High school graduate, Ross High School, Brentwood, NY
Party registration: Unaffiliated
What is the city and state of your birth? Brooklyn, NY
If not Greensboro, what year did you move here? 2002
Paid consultants working on your campaign: None
Your campaign manager(s): Eric Ginsburg, Julia Carrington and Fahiym Hanna
Your treasurer: KatieYow
Remarks from Sept. 22 candidate forum:
How you guys doing tonight? I came here in 2002. I used to come out here and visit before 2002. My ex-wife, she has her parents out here. I kept coming out here. I thought it was a beautiful place to move to so I decided to move out here because I want a beautiful future for my daughters. So here I am now, in 2009, running for city council. I want to see change in the community. I want to hear the voice of the people get their voice back. One of my main goals is expanding opportunities for the youth. You know, even though the youth can’t vote, their voice still needs to be heard. And every day we’re losing programs for them. One of the things that we’re missing out on is a mental care that closed down, the 220 beds in the youth facility….
If elected, what would you do to ensure that there is balanced economic growth and development across the various segments of the city?
That’s a good question, but that’s not a strong point of mine. I think the most important thing we need to look at doing is expanding the bus routes, bringing light rail. These things will bring jobs to the community. And exactly what [fellow at-large candidate] Ryan [Shell] said, in District 2, we do need a supermarket. What we don’t need is a Harris Teeter. I heard someone earlier say, "Bring a Harris Teeter or a Lowes." We don’t need a Harris Teeter or a Lowes over there; we need a Food Lion or a Wal-Mart.
Members of the sitting council have recently clashed over the proper relationship between the council and the city manager. What, in your view, is the proper role of each of these important entities?
That’s a good question. First of all, number one, I agree with [District 5 candidate] Art Boyett. I believe the new city council that’s going to be elected should have been the one to hire the new city manager ’cause we the ones that got to work with him. That would have been one strong point that could have avoided any future confrontations. So that way the new city council could appoint the right man for the job. That’s all I got to say for that.
How would you have voted on the question of whether to fire the former city manager?
You know, what [fellow at-large candidate] Robbie Perkins said, he shouldn’t have been fired. It’s a shame that people who stand up for the rights of people of color that are being discriminated are being kicked around. When you stand up to the system, the system is telling you your voice cannot be heard, well this is the outcome. And I believe that if I’m the one that’s going to be sitting on the city council I believe that we can make this change. We got to stop allowing the system to stop kicking around people of color.
How would you improve relations between blacks and Latinos?
That is one of my strong points. [Questioner Bob Davis interjects: "I picked this one for you, Sir."] You know, that’s a good thing. I’ve been working on that for over 14 months, black and brown united. When I stepped out and I asked for black and brown to unite, it was never something that I was targeting the white community. It is the system because the system is what oppresses us. You look at our community and you look at the upper-class community, police drive through there, and if somebody’s jogging they wave at them. If I’m jogging, I’ve robbed somebody and I’m being tossed up against the car. Now, these are the things that we need to change, and this is the reason why black and brown need to unite, for the simple fact that if we come together we could break those chains of mental slavery and also commit to changes that we need to make in our community. That’s why I say that it is time for black and white to unite, one body, one mind, one soul, one heartbeat.
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?
Yes. And the reason why I support it is this might make our police officers better cops, more honest. And they won’t be able to hide as much dirt as they’ve been hiding. I know. I’ve been arrested 22 times in the past 18 months — all dismissed. So yeah, I definitely believe we should give subpoena power.
Would you be in favor of reopening the White Street Landfill to household waste?
No, I don’t believe that the White Street Landfill should be open. I think, most importantly, going to [District 2 candidate] Nettie Coad’s cookout, the community was there and the voice of the people already had spoken: They don’t want it. And I think we need to respect that and keep it closed.
Tonight, I want to be your voice. I want to be the voice of the people. I want to represent you on city council because it’s time to change. Your voices do need to be heard, not just when it comes down to the voting time. Because we all know we’re sitting here surrounded by true politicians out in your community looking for your vote. But then when they get into office they forget about you. But I’m going to be straight up with you: I’m not going to forget about you, I’m going to fight for you. When they’re sleeping, I’m out there spreading my literature to vote for me. I’m out there working hard for the people. If you vote for me, and I’m on your city council, I will represent the true people’s voice. Thank you.
Stories about this candidate:
Gang leader and candidate gets political education
Jorge Cornell called for gang peace… So why does he look like a marked man?
Blog posts about this candidate: