Since last I wrote I have participated in a forum (League of Women Voters) , been written about in a Joe Killian article on the At Large Council races, gotten a favorable review in the Rhino Times and one attempting to make me look like a "dubious" statement maker in a Susan Ladd column. When running for office there is certainly going to be good with bad but both is better than "none". My competitors have also been written about as well and I am sure the publicity will continue leading up to November 3rd. There are more forums and meetings to attend and certainly more blogs to write. With all of these opportunities there is also more chances to listen to incumbents and learn more about their positions and especially their capabilities; maybe even their true concerns for their constituents.
For instance, in my neighborhood we had a meeting with our City Councilman Jamal Fox this past week. It was the second meeting in as many weeks and I decided to attend this one due to the "strange" answers some of my fellow residents had reported from meeting one. Mr. Fox seems to be a nice person but answered a few questions that had me scratching my head.
He did not appear to have a grasp of where the city limits are. When questioned about rumblings that the Greensboro Housing Authority had purchased or was trying to purchase land for a public housing unit on Hicone Road between McKnight Mill Road and Rankin Road, Mr. Fox indicated that was in the county and the council had no say over that. That land is in the city.
Mr. Fox also indicated that the Council has no say over where the Greensboro Housing Authority builds or maintains its' units as they are a Federal agency. Nope. Housing authorities fall under the umbrella of several government entities including federal, state and local for the rules and regulations they operate under but are a separate entity. HUD provides federal funding and governs the rules regarding those funds. The state also has jurisdiction over funding and housing rules and regulations. However, when it comes to zoning, inspections, approval of building sites and even the donation of land for building sites (which is the way most lands are obtained) , the city and county have jurisdiction over those issues. The rumors are that the city is attempting to get Smith and Ray Warren homes sold to UNC-G and A&T Universities and converted into much more curb appealing student housing. Both of those properties are within close eye view of two major roads leading into the Council's precious downtown projects. Those folks would be relocated to the Hicone Road location to the tune of about 220 units. In this location there is no library, no recreation center, no bus service and only one grocery store. The schools in this area have already been taxed and the Reedy Fork development is only 700 houses into a 3500 house project. We haven't even mentioned the beating that home values have already taken in Reedy Fork due to the school system's perceived lack of success in dealing with discipline problems at Northeast High School.
So is Mr. Fox really this "uninformed"? I didn't get this impression. The impression I got was that this was still in the planning stages and he didn't want to cause alarm within the area until we are closer to this being a reality. In other words, we don't want the secret to get out. Once again, this is one of the problems that occur when you have an 8-1 super majority on the City Council. It's easier to "hide" things. The placement of this public housing unit on Hicone Road absolutely is a City Council matter; and the citizens that live in this area have a right to have at least a say in the placement of it.
Examples such as this lends credibility to the redistricting plan. Currently, the strong voting block that is East Greensboro has direct control and affect on 6 of the 9 City Council seats; Districts 1 and 2, all 3 at Large and the Mayor. That's 66% control for the political leaders of 25% of Greensboro. If left unchecked, the direction Greensboro is headed will not deviate from its' current course. Reedy Fork community is located in the extreme northeast corner of the city limits. We were not even included in the latest Impact Survey. We are a forgotten community that shares much more in common with the proposed residents of the new District 8 and certainly more geographically in sync. And we are certainly not the only section of Greensboro that would significantly benefit from new districts, new representation and a break from the status quo that threatens to doom Greensboro to continued economic stagnation.
In the meantime, there are alternatives. Though this election contains a limited amount of candidates there are options for change. Even if you live in District 4 or 5 where your representative is running unopposed please give careful consideration to the At Large race. New blood is needed. The super majority needs desperately to be adjusted. Leadership qualities should exist in every sitting council member; currently there are too many followers with no individual vision for the city that just follow the wishes of the council's "pied pipers".
Once again, the choice is yours.