I live in District 2. My section of District 2 is in the far northeast corner of the city. For the past several years Jamal Fox needed directions to find us for every new election. To say the residents of our community are a bit "disenfranchised" would be an understatement. This election in some parts may have been already decided. Jamal Fox recommended Tim Vincent to fill out his term when he resigned. The council instead appointed former council member Goldie Wells who stated she had no plans to run. Mr. Vincent filed. Ms. Wells decided to also file. Mr. Vincent appears to have "compliantly" withdrawn. Old guard still in place. Still, the race for this seat is being contested by three candidates.
Ms. Wells is a retired Educational Administrator. She is a former Greensboro City Council member and a member of several civic organizations that include the NAACP, League of Women Voters and the Concerned Citizens of Northeast Greensboro. As of the 35 day campaign finance filing period (9-5-2017) she has reported raising $2,645 with a significant $500 contribution from Reverend Otis Lockett Jr. Ms. Wells has contributed to date $125 of her own money.
Ms. Wells states that her experience as a former council member and her experience in community leadership are her most important assets. She believes that racial divide is Greensboro's most significant obstacle. She states that the best way to accomplish a "living wage" in Greensboro is to attract big development and large companies that bring jobs and advance development. She believes the most pressing issue facing council is city growth. Regarding community/police relations, she advocates for identifying the causes of a "deep seated problem" and the underlying issues that cause it.
I would like to hear more from Ms. Wells as to how she proposes to address these issues. Jobs have been an issue for years in Greensboro. Development has not. It is the "type" of development that is the problem. I also would like to hear how she would suggest attracting "big companies". Her statement of "identifying underlying issues" that caused a "deep seated" problem in police relations is also an issue I would like to hear more about, especially if she is objective when identifying those causes.
Mr. Kee is a Developer, Builder and also is involved in Property Management. He lists his experiences as former Greensboro Council member and serves on several civic organizations including the Board of Adjustments, Human Relations Commission and Co-Chair of the Concerned Citizens of Northeast Greensboro. As of 8-31-2017, he has reported raising $1,600 in campaign funds with cash on hand of $559.09. He does not have any individual contributions listed in the on line report.
Mr. Kee identifies Greensboro's biggest obstacle as "not maximizing the talent Greensboro has". He states that achieving a living wage can be accomplished by designating all of east Greensboro as an "empowerment zone" allowing state and federal funding for economic development. He states that tax incentives would be granted for companies that locate and operate in east Greensboro. Mr. Kee states that Greensboro's most pressing issues are jobs, expanding the tax base and Greensboro Police Departments relations. He states that improving police relations can be accomplished by establishing police/community groups and providing economic incentives for neighborhoods that reduce crime.
I would like to hear more about the details of the "empowerment zone" and also where the funds for neighborhood incentives for reducing crime would come from. Participatory budget?
Mr. Brinson lists his occupation as Minister and Community Organizer. As of 9-5-2017, he reports raising $730 with contributions from 3 individuals. He is a member of the Community Partners Board. The experience he possesses that he believes would be beneficial in service on Greensboro city Council is his focus on social issues and police brutality. He states that Greensboro's greatest obstacle is the city's failure "to face the past and accept the Truth and Reconciliation report". He believes the way to achieve a living wage in Greensboro is to move away from big development and stop public sector jobs from privatization. Mr. Brinson says that Greensboro's most pressing need is jobs, training and wages. Mr. Brinson believes that the relationship with the police department would improve if "70% of the police department wasn't white and 70% of the police department wasn't hired from outside the city".
Mr. Brinson and I share some common acquaintances including Lamar Gibson from the Transparency group. I was able to meet and speak with Mr. Brinson briefly last evening at our neighborhood forum. He was polite and after sharing some small talk we briefly communicated about a few police issues. Mr. Brinson started our conversation by voluntarily admitting that he was a "big social justice person". We spoke briefly about the work of the Community Partners Board and their beliefs. He considers Lindy Perry-Garnette as "being courageous" in violating her signed "confidentiality agreement" stating that he believed it was the right thing to do. When confronted (mildly) about some of the agitators that associates with his group (one in particular) as causing credibility issues when parading out front, he defended them (especially the one) as being worthy of forgiveness. Mr. Brinson appears to believe the Greensboro Police Department is corrupt, mentioning the Jose Charles case as evidence. When asked about "complete" transparency and the demands for it regarding the Dejuan Yourse case not including the demand to release the Body Worn Camera video of Yourse's mother profusely thanking the police for stopping her son from breaking in AGAIN, the subject was changed.
I believe Mr. Brinson to be a man devoted to his beliefs and a pleasant person to talk to. I am concerned about the sources that he has received his perceived "facts" from. Candidly, I do not believe Mr. Brinson is a supporter of the police department and that social justice is the centerpiece of his campaign. He did ask me what I believed "common ground" would be to agree but we were not able to discuss that at length. I would welcome further conversation with him to help him understand police issues, especially the need to recruit outside the city as well as the issues in trying to attain the percentage representation he desires in police officer diversity. His platform can be read at cjbrinson.org. His campaign Facebook page is "Movement Campaign for C.J. Brinson". He associates with the Beloved Community Center. He is actively advocating for At Large candidate Irving Allen (also a BCC member) and on at least one campaign poster advocating for "radical leadership, radical change". Simply put, Mr. Brinson has publicized his intentions and stances possibly more than any other candidate. Voters do not have to look hard to see his platform.
What I would like to hear more about from Mr. Brinson are his solutions or plans to achieve these platform goals? I also have concerns with some of his relationships with people that could lead him astray or portray a negative public view of his campaign.
next: District 3