August 19, 2017
Greensboro News & Record
Profession: Former corporate management executive, textiles/home furnishings; former executive recruiter/consultant
Highest degree earned: Master's of Education
Civic involvement: Served on these boards: NC Touring Theatre, Reading Connections, YWCA, Music for a Great Space. Current board memberships: Preservation Greensboro, Green Hill, Public Art Endowment, Guilford College Board of Visitors, Institute of Political Leadership, Convention Visitors Bureau, and Chamber of Commerce Advisory Committee. Co-chair, GCAMP.
What experience qualifies you to serve on the City Council? Three terms (6) years of accomplishments and productivity on the City Council representing District 4. I bring to City Council my extensive corporate background; nonprofit board experience; City Human Relations Commission Chair and Citizens Complaint Review Committee Chair experience.
Name one area of responsibility that belongs to the Greensboro City Council and one that belongs to the County Commissioners. The Greensboro City Council is responsible for city services: “public safety” (police and fire protection) being of prime importance. The county commissioners are responsible for public health and Guilford County Schools.
Four initiatives were passed in the 2016 bond referendum — community & economic development, housing, parks & recreation and transportation. Which one do you think is most important and will you take the lead on it? What actions would you take? The total package is vital for Greensboro’s future. If force ranked, Community & Economic Development is my No. 1. Here we have the greatest opportunity to impact job growth. During my council service, I supported incentives/grants/loan investments resulting in projected 2,188 new jobs; 1,315 retained jobs. The Triad added 9,400 jobs, June 2016-2017. These numbers reflect my continuing laser focus on investments that support job growth.
What do you believe is the greatest obstacle to Greensboro’s success and what is your solution? No vision of what we want this city to be; therefore, no plan for how to get there and in what timeframe. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never arrive. I will continue to take a council leadership role in encouraging my colleagues to come together around longer term strategies and goals to move the city forward.
What specific plan do you have to bring living wage jobs to economically challenged areas of Greensboro?We offer incentives ONLY to companies that meet or exceed the county median income, $45,000. For East Greensboro, 80 percent of that, $36,000 is accepted. Council committed to get city hourly wage to $15/hour by 2020. This can be model for local businesses. We must invest in quality of life assets. Businesses demand a skilled labor force and want to relocate to cities with exceptional livability.
What is the most pressing issue the council will face in 2018? Infill development and repurposing of existing buildings in urban neighborhoods. This means change, always difficult. Equally pressing is funding for housing. Citizens need and deserve safe, affordable housing and the opportunity for a job. These critical issues go hand in hand.
What would you do to improve the relationship between Greensboro's City Council and the North Carolina Legislature? We need to focus on Greensboro, not Raleigh. We should not meddle in state legislative initiatives unless there is a direct, negative effect on Greensboro. We must maintain individual personal relationships with our delegation as well as council relationship with them; discuss legislative priorities with them; and refrain from passing “feel good” resolutions that challenge their authority.
What is the best way for the city to address the large and growing problem of food deserts and food insecurity in Greensboro? Having a job provides social and financial security. I will focus on job creation. Free food and meals are readily available through our civic generosity. Collect and utilize data on reasons for food insecurity to help develop intelligent solutions. I support organizations that grow and distribute fresh produce and educate on meal preparation and healthy diets. I was early supporter of the Renaissance Community Coop.
How would you improve police-community relations in Greensboro? We use a Neighborhood Oriented Policing model which reinforces positive relationships through engagement with neighborhoods. This builds trust with teams assigned geographically. There were 300,000 police interactions last year; only six were referred to the PCRB (Police Community Review Board). I suggested to the chief that we include people on the force who are trained as social workers. I favor improved, focused, best practices training.