Greensboro's District 4; perhaps the most confusing district in the city. Similar to District 3, District 4 contains the largest population of people that earn more than the city's median income, business owners and even active neighborhoods that will organize to "defend their turf". Yet, with all of these citizens that have been active in local issues and with more business expertise than three quarters of the city combined we get only two candidates. The incumbent ran unopposed last election even though a significant percentage of District 4's electorate stated a desire to vote for anyone else. Why the apathy? As in District 3, local politics has yet to adversely affect them. And even though the majority of this district is registered Democrat, my observation is that their political philosophy is not "extreme". Therefore, they vote for Nancy or they stay home.
There are two candidates for the District 4 Greensboro City council seat.
Ms. Hoffman is a three term incumbent. She is a retired corporate management executive. She lists her civic involvement as serving on many committees including Co-Chair of the GCAMP, Preservation Greensboro and the Chamber of Commerce Advisory Committee. As of the 35 day campaign financial report (9-5-2017) she reports raising $61,830.00. Ms. Hoffman raised approximately $50,000 last election in which she ran unopposed yet still spent money on campaign advertising including at least two large billboards downtown. The "unusual" detail about Ms. Hoffman's campaign finance reports is that the block to list "occupation" for her individual contributors is largely left blank or listed as "attempted", concealing the sources where her contributions originate. Still, there are $8,500.00 listed as being contributed by those in the local development and real estate industry. Ms. Hoffman's Facebook page is Nancy Hoffman.
Ms. Hoffman's reported qualifications for this seat include 3 terms on Council, her accomplishments and productivity while serving on council, extensive corporate background, non profit board experience and positions on the HRC and Citizens Complaint Board. She states that Greensboro's greatest obstacle is that the council "has no vision of what we want this city to be therefore no plan to get there and in what time frame". She states that "she will continue to to take a leadership role" in this area. Regarding achieving a living wage, she states that the city should offer incentives ONLY to those companies that meet or exceed the county's median income of $45,000. However, she believes an exception should be made for east Greensboro where the requirement should be 80% ($36,000). She believes the city's most pressing issue is "infill development and funding for housing". Ms. Hoffman states that Neighborhood Oriented Policing should be utilized to improve relations with the community and police and that the Police Department should employ people on the force that are trained social workers.
Her response to the question of "greatest obstacle" is interesting. This statement is something most folks would hear from a challenger rather than a three term incumbent. She has been on the council for 6 years effectively meaning that she is a contributor to the "lack of vision" she mentions. I would like to hear her specify what accomplishments and productivity she is referring to.
Mr. Kenton is a retired Adjunct Professor and Community Activist. He lists his civic involvement as serving currently on the Guilford County and Greensboro planning boards. He is a member of the Board of Directors with the League of Women Voters and a founding member of Democracy Greensboro. He also states he is involved with Greensboro Operation Transparency. As of the 35 day campaign finance report, Mr. Kenton has raised $5,880.87 of which $2000 is a loan from himself. His Facebook page is Gary Kenton for City Council.
He states that his civic participation qualifies him for council but that his most important qualification is a lifetime of civic activism. When asked about Greensboro's greatest obstacle, Mr. Kenton wrote: "a traditional orientation to economic development has favored certain kinds of developer initiated projects and precluded a more universal perspective that would focus on smaller scale projects where relatively small investment can yield broader benefits". To achieve a living wage he supports the Guilford/Randolph megasite to attract larger employers but states more should be done to support small businesses. He states that Greensboro City Council should move more quickly to mandate businesses establish the $15 minimum wage with exceptions to businesses that demonstrate "hardship". He describes Greensboro's most pressing issue as "continued attacks by the NC General Assembly on local control". On improving police/community relations Mr. Kenton supports a citizen's review board with subpoena power and believes recommendations by the Beloved Community Center, Black Lives Matter and Greensboro Transparency are valuable in making Greensboro safer.
Where to begin? I would like to hear a translation of Mr. Kenton's "greatest obstacle". He seems to indicate that supporting small local businesses is the answer then advocates for the megasite. I would suggest to Mr. Kenton that most of Greensboro's small businesses are suffering "hardship" and that "attacks" by the NCGA are nothing he can control. Greensboro the city exists at the pleasure of the state. His support of the review board with subpoena power is pure folly and a great myth in our society. Civilians are not going to be granted subpoena power (nor should they be) and if they were, how do you enforce it? Even if you could compel a citizen to show, you cannot compel him to testify. Activists continue to advocate for this knowing it is not coming nor would it be the least bit effective.
So there are your choices District 4. My compliments to the candidates for running. To those in District 4 who would complain about a lack of options in one of if not the city's wealthiest district, don't bother complaining. The filing period is the same for everybody.
next: District 5