Big questions, wierd answers

OK, I have no idea how Margaret Banks framed the questions to our 13 at-large City Council candidates for today’s N&R.  But if it occured as presented, then there’s some real wierdness afoot.

There were two questions and answers presented so, I’d imagine, Margaret asked the first one thusly, “What ‘big idea’ should voters remember you for as they go to the polls.”  Some selected responses follow.

Robbie Perkins: Is tree preservation worth killing affordable housing in your community?”  That ‘big idea’ just came off as silly, Robbie.  Connect the dots for us, please.  Are you saying we can’t have both?

Donna Riechman:I really care about people being listened to.”  Me, too, Donna.  And what I just heard is that you have no idea, big or small.

Janet Wallace:We need to get those young executives involved in our community.”  Yep, that’s what we need.   But to accomplish it, city meetings will need to be relocated to Natty Greene’s.

Joe Rahenkamp:  When I’m elected, I will do a good job, and if you don’t like me, then vote me out next time.”  You can’t get voted out if you never get voted in – despite years of not really trying.

Joel Landau: I believe that we’re here to look out for one another and we’re here to treat each other with respect.”  With all of the great and big ideas that man has, this statement makes him sound like Rodney King.

Margaret’s second question was more individualized:

Joe Venable on our poor air quality: The loss of trees is mainly to blame. Trees are nature’s air filter.”  I suppose the advent of the automobile was a benign factor?

Bill Knight on development for East Greensboro: We can talk all we want, but we’ve got to do something.”  Agreed. But what?  Without specific ideas, ‘do something’ will translate into ‘do nothing’, again.

Sandra Groat on balancing the budget: Sometimes you have to spend money when you have money and not spend money when you don’t.“  Lose the “sometimes” and you will have a better shot at balancing that budget, Sandra.

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  1. Margaret Banks
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Hey, David. Lemme explain a little about the candidate forum last night: The moderator, UNCG political science teacher David Olsen (who taught me 20 years ago this semester!) asked questions about economic development, the Comp Plan, public safety, etc.

    The Big Idea was my way of trying to show who they are and what they believe in – through their own words. In once sense, I was trying to sum up their campaign. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t!

  2. Posted September 25, 2007 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    My “Big Idea” comment that MB wrote was in response to the question of what priorities we should have when granting incentatives. One of my responses is to require the companies to “invest” in Greensboro by having their young executives be involved in the United Way, United Way agencies, Action Greensboro, synerg, etc. One of the ways to retain our young people in Greensboro is to have them be involved in Greensboro to gain a sense of community and belonging. Additionally, it is good leadership training. Remember the study: Our Social Capital is Lacking.

  3. Posted September 25, 2007 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I’ll admit because of their silly answers I wanted to slap a couple of the candidates who attended last night’s forums but I held back.

    That said: While I know the LOWV had the best of intent the questions came from the audience and the candidates had far too little time to answer them.

    That said, Had it of gone on longer I would have screamed and begged for mercy.

    The good news is I gained lots of support for my plan to stop gangs and reduce crime.

  4. mc
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    glad to see someone taking the candidates to task on their answers. I was especially appalled at Robbie, Donna and Joseph R’s big ideas…I think we need creative leaders and those that appreciate what GSO has to offer and recognize what we may loose..including our tree canopy which does a lot for not only asthetics but also air quality control

  5. Posted September 29, 2007 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Robbie Perkins was making that either/or between tree preservation and affordable housing fifteen years ago when he was also saying, in the context of opposing watershed restrictions, that there was no proof that run off polluted our lakes. The cost differential between preserving and not preserving trees is a relatively small percentage of the total cost of a new home. Back in those days when talking about it the differential was said to be a couple of thousand dollars. I can see a couple saying, “well, I’d really like that $200,000 house if all the trees were gone and it was $190,000 instead.” I am sure that there are some people for whom that differential would matter, or make it harder to get a loan – so buy a cheaper house and let’s keep trees in the community. Yes, there is a personal liberty issue here, but there is also a public good issue here. Trees benefit the public good in innumerable ways. Their presence or absence impacts everybody. Is there some study that says people prefer neighborhoods with no trees? I think this is more about developer profit than consumer ability/preference/demand.

One Trackback

  1. By Piedmont Publius » Blog Archive » Big ideas on September 25, 2007 at 8:54 am

    [...] Hoggard weighs in on the candidates’ answers, but takes a pass on what I conside to bre the biggest idea of all, provided by Joseph Rahenkamp: “”Let people develop the way they want to. That’s free enterprise.” [...]