Campaign mailers don't typically make claims to fairness. And a city council candidate who also happens to be the leader of the North Carolina Latin Kings would seem to be a ripe target for a conservative incumbent with strong appeal to her conservative constituents. And there's nothing particularly newsworthy about Jorge Cornell complaining about being misrepresented.
That said, for District 5 voters interested in discerning between facts and campaign rhetoric, it's worth noting that Cornell strongly disputes a number of claims.
The mailer states, "That's right, [Wade's] opponent is the self-proclaimed gang leader of the North Carolina Latin Kings."
Cornell said he has never said he was a gang leader. To the contrary, he has always insisted that his group is not a "gang."
The next sentence reads, "He has even bragged about being arrested 18 times."
Although technically accurate, Cornell contends the statement misleads voters through omission.
"That is true: I have bragged about being arrested 18 times," Cornell said. "But how many times have I been convicted? Zero. I have no felony convictions in the state of North Carolina."
The statement references arrests with felony charges. Cornell has been convicted of at least one misdemeanor in North Carolina.
The mailer characterizes Cornell as being in support of "higher taxes."
"I never said I wanted to see higher taxes," Cornell said. "I'm against higher taxes."
The mailer characterizes Cornell as being in support "increased water and sewer rates."
Cornell said he has never advocated for increased water and sewer rates.
The mailer charges Cornell with having "no plan for positive economic development." That seems like a matter of opinion that could be applied to any given candidate with whom the person making the charge holds a philosophical disagreement.
The mailer contends that Cornell has an "adversarial relationship with our police and community watch groups."
"Yes, I do have my issues with the police department," Cornell said. "And no, I never said I wasn't willing to work with community watch groups."
I have reached out to Wade for comment about the charges in her campaign mailer, but as yet have not heard back from her.
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A well-funded incumbent with strong constituent relationships would seem to have little to worry about from a challenger running a shoe-string campaign that leads a group that has been labeled as a street gang by law enforcement and has been subject to widespread and generally unflattering media coverage.
It's more likely that the mailer is geared towards boosting turnout among conservative voters in District 5 to create a coattail effect to enhance the reelection prospects of Mayor Bill Knight and at-large Councilman Danny Thompson, who could have real trouble.
The mailer compares the slate advocated by Cornell with the team favored by Wade. It accurately quotes Cornell as saying in a YES! Weekly blog post: "I feel I have a better chance at winning District 5 then at large. It gives us an opportunity to get five reasonable people on council. With Robbie Perkins as mayor; Yvonne Johnson, Marikay Abuzuaiter and Wayne Abraham, they got the at-large seats; if we could get District 5, we could have a beautiful city."
In contrast, the mailer states that "Trudy wants to work with city council members that share her positive vision for the future of Greensboro," listing Knight for mayor, Thompson and Chris Lawyer for at large, Zack Matheny for District 3 and Mary Rakestraw for District 4.