Tina Forsberg; "Preface: We shall not all agree, but let us agree to disagree agreeably.
It’s that time again: Greensboro Municipal Election Day. Tuesday, November 5 is the date. 6:30am-7:30pm is the time. Your neighborhood polling location is the place. Not sure where that is? You can look up your districts and polling places here: https://www.ncsbe.gov/VoterLookup.aspx?Feature=voterinfo
As for the “Why?” allow me to offer the following:
•Greensboro has the highest taxes, highest unemployment, lowest household income of any of our NC peer cities, including Winston-Salem to our west and Raleigh to our East. The past two years have only entrenched that dubious standing.
•History shows less than 20% or less of our population will decide the make-up our Council. Local government, with its statutes and regulations, affects more of your day-to-day life than federal government, yet in last month’s Municipal Primary, turnout was 8.2%. EIGHT! Your vote is nowhere more powerful than in a municipal election. VOTE!
•Very little other than lip-service is paid to the city outside downtown. That must change.
•Too many of the Council’s representatives are in the real estate business. We need a change of perspective.
•There is NO ethical standard or requirement for those serving on our Council and it shows - the coming Performing Arts Center is the most glaring example. Whether you are ‘fer it’ or ‘agin it’, you cannot favor the way it was rammed-down, avoiding the voters. You and I must sign Conflict of Interest disclosures for every board upon which we serve. Shouldn’t our City Council have to ensure us they are not benefiting personally by their vote?
•The races, though non-partisan, are affected by the advice and viewpoint of the Council members. It pains me sometimes that party affiliation is a matter for personal choice rather than voting record. That is truly the case this year.
As to the “who?” It’s pretty simple, really.
It’s either Robbie Perkins for another round of the last two years, or it’s incumbent council woman, Nancy Vaughan, the once-Republican-then-Unaffiliated, now Democrat. So, what's a voter to do? From this week’s RhinoTimes:
“Vaughan and Perkins have similar voting records on many issues, but there are also significant differences on some major issues, and a tremendous difference in style. Vaughan has worked to shed light on what the council is doing and Perkins has worked to keep the public in the dark as much as possible.
We recommend you vote for light.”
Do your best, is my advice on the mayor’s race. Now for the Council, in order of importance, as I see it.
This race is probably the most important and most contested. Nancy Hoffman, incumbent Democrat, is quite possibly the most liberal member of the Council. Bill Knight is the fiscal conservative, pro-transparency candidate. He has arguably paid the price for it by not being re-elected mayor. But, he brings a non-real-estate, financially sane, job-growth perspective which we desperately need. Bill has generously agreed to serve again and he should be given that opportunity. He has shown he is fearless in his willingness to address the City’s real problems. Turnout is the key to achieving a victory for accountability and transparency here. The primary was a 5 to 4 win for Hoffman. Please turn-out your vote and your neighbors' to replace her with Bill Knight.
See map at bottom and contact all your friends in this district to get out to vote for Bill Knight. Basically Friendly Center-Starmount-Guilford College areas.
At Large - Lawyer
Chris Lawyer finished 4th in the primary. Simply put, Chris simply must beat out Marikay Abuzuaiter if we are to have any hope for a balanced Council. And, there are myriad good reasons to put him on the Council. He is a young professional and a family man who is in touch with every type of citizen in his duties at Cone’s Emergency Room. Chris is a fiscal conservative, a close friend of State Representative Jon Hardister, who convinced him to run. He is very well-versed in the challenges still facing Greensboro, and he has his finger on the City's pulse, if you will forgive the pun. He will bring a stabilizing element and a fresh demographic perspective to the Council. And, your option is Marikay Abuzuaiter, whose ideas of solving a problem with her substandard housing units is to sell them. Really, it's not difficult at all. We NEED Chris Lawyer. The difficulty may come in HOW to do that. More on that topic below.
Tony Wilkins has admirably followed Trudy Wade’s tradition of not shying away from 8 to 1 votes where taxpayer interests were concerned. He deserves a chance at a full term, voter-endorsed second chance at bat. I heartily recommend Tony - family man, small business owner, fiscal conservative - over his opponent.
At Large Strategy ----> Don’t vote for all three!
Your ballot will allow you to vote for up to three At Large candidates. I recommend you don’t do it, especially of you are inclined to cast one of those three votes for either Holder or Barber. Remember, history shows we’ll be incredibly lucky to get even 20% turnout. Every vote, therefore, has tremendous impact.
Our friends at Conservatives for Guilford County have recommended a vote for Lawyer, Brown and Holder. RhinoTimes advises against Ben Holder for reasons with which I am inclined to agree. Additionally, Holder could be a spoiler for Lawyer. As could Barber, who is no fiscal conservative, by the way. It's darned-near impossible to obtain real occupancy and revenue numbers to see the actual impact of all the spending supported by Barber when he was on Council before. That Aquatic Center's booking record is as opaque as a pool of mud, so before you tout that as an example of Barber's can-do ability, ask yourself: why do you believe it? Are they booking swim lessons and practices over there? or, are all those 'booked dates' actually putting heads on hotel pillows and butts in restaurant chairs? Barber is a very nice man - I really like him. But, taxpayers need a reliable representative on the Council and, aside from allowing city payroll to attrit by 100 or so employees several years back, he hasn't proved to me that is one.
Aside from that, there is this: Both Lawyer and Holder - non-Democrats - will pull Democrat votes. Chris (Republican) is adept at pulling Democrat voters his way, just due to his no-nonsense focus on jobs and to the fact he brings the younger demographic some representation. Holder (Unaffiliated) can be a little wacky and will pull some of the wacky-vote, which tends to be more Democrat, imho. Chris Lawyer must beat Abuzuaiter. Let the Democrat voters water down their votes. Make yours count even more by voting only for Lawyer, At Large, or for Lawyer and Brown. Every vote cast will impact that 3rd place slot. (Johnson and Barber will take the top two no matter how you vote.)
I genuinely like incumbent Zack Matheny. He’s a neighbor and I’d consider him a friend. However, I support his challenger, Wendell Roth, for District 3, mostly because of Zack’s voting record. Wendell has the advantage of having no voting record; I understand that. But, Zack openly tells us he supports more government - see his enthusiastic embrace of regionalism, which, though it may offer some additional opportunity, serves also to usher in more taxation without representation. At the end of the day, he voted with those who kept the Performing Arts Center decision from the voters who will be paying for it for generations to come. I just cannot vote for more of that kind of governance.
Zack has the added disadvantage (to me) of being another Council member in the real estate business. Wendell possesses other business experience, including turning around a failing one and starting one of his own, neither of them real estate. Greensboro needs another “flavor” of entrepreneur on the Council. Wendell Roth is that kind of creative, energetic and positive fiscal conservative. Wendell has my vote, though Zack will have my support if he wins, as expected.
At Large - Brown
Jean Brown finished sixth in the At Large Primary. If you feel you must vote for more than one At Large candidate, vote for Jean. She is a very nice woman, devoted to lower taxes, who will vote with the other conservatives if elected, which is highly unlikely at this point.
Districts 1 and 2 will go either liberal or liberaler. If you are in District 1, support Sharon Hightower. If you are in District 2, find another hobby after that soap opera ends.
Link to Sample Ballot is here:
Whatever your thoughts on this subject, please don’t sit on the sidelines. Get out and vote.
Tina Forsberg's Disclaimer: These thoughts are purely personal and in no way reflect the thoughts of the Republican Party whom I am privileged to serve here in Guilford County and in the Sixth District. As I have often said, the Party choosing one of its members over another would be akin to choosing one of your kids over the other. Got it? These are just my thoughts...
...offered with my best intention and attention. I hope this helps.
Thanks for voting."