Three people who should run for City Council

I generally post my N&R column early in the morning of the day it shows up in print but just didn’t have the time yesterday.  So, to the paper’s print subscribers, this post is yesterday’s news.

Over the past several weeks I have had a whole slew of people call, email, and otherwise communicate their desire for me to enter this year’s city council race.  I will tell you what I have told them…

The stars seem to be in alignment for a successful campaign for me this time around.  My city-wide name recognition has grown through continued community involvement and my N&R column.   Jinni doesn’t have cancer, the kids are older and require less dadtaxi service, and business is good – meaning I can afford to run.

But that last point – ‘business is good’ – is where the rub resides.  It’s almost too good.  I hardly have the time to run a razor over my face every day.  Twelve-hour work days are pretty much the norm and I am now up to eight employees who need to get paid every two weeks.  From where will the time come?  I have to wonder what part of my life will suffer most should I decide to layer-on the demands of a campaign, then, hopefully, serving on the council.

Anyway…. Until I make a final decision I thought it might be good to stir the pot and throw some names out there for the at-large race.  My tongue was almost sticking through my cheek with some of my suggestions in yesterdays column.  But it was fun to think about as I contemplate my future plans…



Three at-large seats on the Greensboro City Council are up for grabs this year.  So who’s it going to be?

Sandra Anderson Groat has said she’ll run for a second term, but the other incumbenets have taken themselves out of that race, leaving two vacancies.

The at-large ball got rolling once Keith Holliday decided to step aside after a distinguished career as councilman and then four-term mayor.  With that announcement last month, things really started changing on the future makeup of our council with subsequent press conferences.

As a part of her announcement as a candidate for mayor of Greensboro, Yvonne Johnson explained why she was stepping up in very simple terms.  “I believe it is my time�, said the long-time at-large councilwoman.  She’s probably right.

Then, last week, Florence Gatten announced she will not seek either another at-large term or the mayor’s job.

So, in light of the citywide offices that have opened up, who else believe it is their time besides Yvonne Johnson?  Which of you out there thinks you can do the job of leading Greensboro into its next 200 years better than those currently holding the office.

I think I can, but don’t yet know if I will. 

To do it well, the job requires a lot of time away from a person’s real job.  Time being money and all, the demands and low compensation of serving in a locally elected public office usually translate into a severe loss of income for the servants and their families.  After years of struggling, my family is finally finding sound financial footing and I’m just not sure I’m ready to make the sacrifices required.

You’ll know my decision when you no longer have the pleasure of reading this column on these pages.  Strangely, the N&R doesn’t allow their regular paid columnists to also be candidates for public office.  Go figure.

So, who else?  Here are my picks for who ought to run for the at-large positions.

Milton Kern: This charismatic downtown developer has been mentioned as a possible candidate for mayor, but this writer thinks Kern ought to first test the waters with an at-large run.  That is, if he actually wants to win a seat on the council.

Facing off against the very popular Johnson for the mayor’s seat will be a hard row to hoe for anyone to undertake, much less a political newcomer who’s name recognition doesn’t reach very far out of the Central Business District.

I have witnessed Kern ‘holding court’ at various downtown establishments and he is not afraid to say what he thinks.  As an added bonus, Kern might be successful in relocating all council briefing sessions to a table at Natty Greene’s.

Jim Melvin:  Many people believe he runs the city from behind some black curtain anyway, so he might as well take a seat.  I recommend him for an at-large spot and not as a candidate for mayor mainly because he’s already done that in the 1970’s and I doubt he’d consider double dipping.

Also, I have a selfish reason for promoting Melvin’s name.  We need someone who has vast experience in building baseball stadiums on the council to champion War Memorial Stadium.  Jim Melvin is the man for the job.

Julianne Malveaux:  I know she just rolled into town as the new president of Bennett College, but she has already made a polarizing name for herself in local political circles.

With the departure of Florence Gatten, our city council would not be complete without someone who speaks her mind without regard to the consequences.  Malveaux would fit that bill like few others.

The above picks are just my first cut.  Others will surely come to mind as Greensboro enters one of the most interesting municipal elections in recent history.

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