Differentiating between the District 1 candidates

Aside from the prepared food tax issue — and whether it's an issue at all is debatable — and challenger Donnell "DJ" Hardy's campaign refrain that he will return phone calls if elected to represent District 1 on Greensboro City Council, it's difficult to draw significant distinctions between the candidates on the issues. (As to the latter point, I can attest that Bellamy-Small does not return my phone calls and is difficult to initiate a conversation with; others may find her to be more approachable, for all I know.)

Both candidates emphasize equitable allocation of resources to District 1. Hardy talks about a concept of urban renaissance and creating a venture capital fund to promote entrepreneurship. Hardy pledges to be a "balanced, fair and cooperative voice on a divided council." Bellamy-Small says she has consistently supported citywide interests, specifically noting incentives for economic development and expansion of the coliseum complex.

If any astute District 1 readers can point out distinctions I have overlooked, I would be happy to hear them.

Hardy is a polished and respected candidate, but Bellamy-Small has dispatched the likes of him in previous general election match-ups: Luther T. Falls Jr in 2009 and 2005, and Tonya Clinkscale in 2007.

In remarks at a candidate forum last week at Congregational United Church of Christ, Hardy sounded like a challenger, noting a deficiency.

“Another thing that we can do certainly is to build sidewalks," he said. "I have people outside my house who have to walk in the street. It’s a fairly well traversed street right off Benbow, and it’s unsafe. It’s certainly unsafe for children that are walking to school. It’s unsafe for people who are walking to the bus stop, which is not too far from my house. That shows me that there’s been a lack of priorities for a long time because my neighborhood has been there for 50 years. Where are the sidewalks?”

Bellamy-Small, not surprisingly, came across like an incumbent, charting progress.

“The new [police] chief has made it a priority to deal with break-ins," she said. "I am a strong proponent of community watch. We only have 750 uniformed police officers, and this city is now 255,000 people. Do the math. So we must help. You’ll see me push National Night Out. And this last National Night Out I went to 17 of the National Night Outs. Because I want to encourage the people in District 1 to feel empowered to stop crime in their neighborhood just as you would in your neighborhood. Crime does not know an address. There is crime in other parts of the city. Believe it or not, crime in Greensboro has been down for the last 18 months by almost 12 percent. So we are a safer city.”

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