Friday, July 31, 2015

Well, I did it!

     Filed!!  That's right, I declared my candidacy for the position of At Large City Council member.  I owe each one of my readers, Facebook friends, former colleagues and fellow church members who have listened to me express a desire to someday explore this the courage and confidence to do it.  This will not be an easy task as the time before election is short and overcoming the established name recognition of three incumbents in a little more than two months time definitely places me in the category of "underdog"; but it's not impossible.  In fact, it's not even improbable.  I didn't get in this race to lose.  Later this morning my 9 year old son and I will hop in the truck and head to Oak Island for a week with my parents, siblings, their families and my Aunt.  We go every year and the passing days make each one more precious.  This year's trip will include filling out campaign forms, practicing speeches, discussing positions with family and finalizing strategies.  When I return I will certainly be meeting with groups that have welcomed my candidacy, recruiting help and yes, soliciting donations.  Many of you have read this blog since its' inception back in February and I have more than likely picked up a few more curious individuals today if the site traffic is any indication.  I welcome all citizens of Greensboro to read and encourage those of you that have expressed your support to recommend this blog.  I intend to continue to write every week and do not intend to change my writing style one iota.  I anticipate questions in reference to some of the positions I have taken and welcome any and all conversation if any issues need to be clarified.  Together, we can get the message out to potential voters that an alternative candidate to the status quo is out there.  To start the ball rolling, I would like to take this opportunity to describe what that alternative looks like.
     First, I would like to thank Eric Ginsberg of Triad Weekly and Joe Killian of the Greensboro News and Record for reaching out to me within hours after I filed.  Both announced my candidacy in their publications and I especially appreciate the headline in the News and Record identifying me as a former Greensboro Police Officer.  Besides being a source of pride and accomplishment, I believe it is that very experience that sets me apart from every other candidate.  Those of you who read this blog know that I have not been the most complimentary of the media in general and the News and Record in particular.  But as I told Mr. Killian today it's nothing personal, I just disagree with most of the positions taken by reporters with regards to police officers.  On the issue of trust, I explained to Mr. Killian that "I trust you until I don't".  I understand perfectly the role that our media plays in assisting newer candidates in being heard and the consequences not of being criticized, but being ignored.  In a two month race being ignored would torpedo a run for office before it ever got off the ground.  Again, thanks to you both for the chance.
     For my newer readers and curiosity seekers I will provide the "cliff notes" version of me.  I have mentioned the status quo; here are the different experiences I bring.  I served 29 years as a Greensboro Police Officer in the capacities of street level officer; 15 total years in the field, 6 as a detective and 8 school years as the School Resource Officer at Grimsley High School.  This also means that I worked for the largest employer in our county.  I have experienced both from the outside as well as inside.  I am familiar with employee concerns and still have contacts inside the city that confide their concerns to me.  I have been inside more residences, businesses, churches and spoken personally and one on one to more citizens than every current sitting city council member combined!  Pulse of the city; I have seen and experienced it in a way only a police officer can.  With policing issues being a hot button topic nationwide, I can provide a perspective and a working knowledge to the council and citizens of Greensboro with regard to police tactics, criminal and officer safety procedures, critical incident management, Greensboro Coliseum safety operations and courtroom procedures.  I can tell you why they did that.  I can also provide assistance to citizens with not only police matters but with direction on where to go in the city for the assistance you need.  The biggest area of help that I can provide is to the city employee.  Often we tend to forget that officers, firemen and other city workers are citizens too.  They need a voice to stand up for them when opportunistic antagonists are on the warpath against them and no one defends them even when they do absolutely nothing wrong.
     I have witnessed the allocation of tax payer money for searches and studies when talented people with those capabilities reside within the city government.  I have seen the results of those searches and experienced the consequences of bad choices caused by good people being put in bad positions, having to make decisions and recommendations they have no experience or expertise to make.  I have worked for 5 City Managers and 6 Chiefs of Police, two who were hired from outside the department with negative results.  I have seen what a good city administrator looks like and have experienced working for the good, the bad and yes, the ugly.
     My experiences with the youth of this city gives me a perspective I gained from many conversations with school age children and young adults of what is going on in our neighborhoods.  My diverse experiences growing up in Guilford County helped teach me how to communicate with citizens from all walks of life regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or religion without fear of asking the "wrong" questions.  I have literally been everywhere in the city of Greensboro.  Through athletics, work experiences, networking in schools and participating in social organizations I have met and enjoyed our citizens for almost my entire 56 years in this city.  I believe I possess a perspective and a set of life experiences that uniquely distinguish me from current council members and would provide a resource for all citizens of Greensboro.
     In my opinion, elected officials should represent not preside over their constituents.  I see the current council as "unbalanced" in philosophy and political views.  Programs have beginnings and ends and cost money.  Philosophies cost nothing more than the time and effort to change.  If you believe the current status quo is operating under a fresh, working philosophy then changes will not occur on this City Council and the votes on issues will continue to be one sided.  If you believe that philosophies need refreshing from time to time and are tired of seeing a lone wolf fight a battle he cannot possibly win alone; send him some help.  This is our city; all 279,000 of us.  It's okay.  You can make a change.
     My name is Marc Ridgill; and I would love the opportunity to serve as your City Councilman.                    

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