One who intends to leave others better off for his having existed.

6/2/13

On George Hartzman's Simpkins PAC interview and the White Street Landfill with Skip Alston, Earl Jones, Alma Adams, Goldie Wells and Steve Bowden

On September 22, 2009, I attended an interview at 7:15pm with the Simkins PAC.
 
Attendance included Skip Alston, Earl Jones, Alma Adams, Goldie Wells, Steve Bowden and Diane Munden.
 
When contacted by Diane Munden for the interview, I immediately disclosed I was not seeking endorsements nor taking donations from PACs, Lobbyists or Special Interest Groups, which I have written and spoken of often. Diane said they wanted to do the interview anyway, so I agreed.
 
It was an amazing experience.
 
I didn't know how many people would be in the room beforehand, and I had no idea that I was going to be meeting those attending. After introductions, I was asked why I decided to run, which was initially over fiscal budgetary problems Greensboro faces going forward.
 
This immediately led to an extensive discussion of whether or not to reopen the White Street Landfill, about which we vehemently disagreed. I said we may be faced with a choice of temporarily reopening the landfill or having to cut hundreds of city jobs if revenues continue to decline. A repeated response involved asking if I would like to have the landfill in my neighborhood. I responded that many if not most of those living near the landfill moved there after it opened in 1940, and that I probably would not have bought my home if I was aware of a nearby existing landfill. I also tried to make the point that if we are faced with a budgetary choice, and we decide to keep the landfill closed, the lost jobs would most likely be city services helping members of the community not unlike the socioeconomic situations of those living around the landfill.
 
There was some discussion amongst the interviewers of which ethnicities have always ended up with the short end of the stick when times get tough, and to a point I agreed, but I said I felt the issue of the landfill isn’t one of race, but of a fiscal and budgetary choice we may very well have to face in the near future, in which there will be only the best of unfortunate choices involved. At one point, I asked what they thought was a way to fix the budget pressures I saw coming relative to White Street, but the question was lost in the conversation.
 
I remember talking about how the state confiscated $8 million from Greensboro’s beer and wine tax to balance the state budget, and the raids on rainy day funds plus the stimulus money the state used this year which will not be there next year, and that more state level budget cuts will be forthcoming before the end of the fiscal year while the impact of the cuts just passed have yet to be fully felt by the state's economy.
 
I was then informed that time had run out, and the interview ended cordially.
 
All in all, I will remember my interview with the Simkin’s PAC as one of the highlights of my time in Greensboro politics.
 
George Hartzman 

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