Occupy Greensboro endorses Perkins, Johnson, Abraham and Abuzuaiter

The Occupy Greensboro Media Group endorses in tomorrow's Greensboro City Council election.

We feel, based on the candidates’ positions on economic inequality, local job creation, support for local small business development, records on human relations issues, position on the White Street Landfill, and other issues, that these candidates will best represent the positions of the Occupy Greensboro movement: addressing the gap between wealthy and poor; representing the voters and not the corporations; addressing social injustice; and improving civil rights for all residents of Greensboro.

For mayor: Robbie Perkins

For at large: Wayne Abraham, Marikay Abuzuaiter and Yvonne Johnson

For District 1: Dianne Bellamy-Small

For District 2: No choice

For District 3: Jay Ovittore (strong)

For District 4: Nancy Hoffmann

For District 5: Jorge Cornell (with reservations)

We aren’t really thrilled with either choice. Fiscal Conservative, former CPA Bill Knight has clearly proven to be in the pocket of developers and social conservatives in North West Greensboro. He has repeatedly represented their interests over those of the 99%. His key position appears to be in opposition of any raise in taxes or water rate hikes to off-set the declining City revenues (tax re-evaluation is next year and it does not look good). Meanwhile, under his watch we have lost first City Manager Mitchell Johnson and now Rashad Young. As a cost-cutting measure, Knight was in favor of re-opening the White Street landfill against the will of the residents of the neighborhood in which it was located.

Robbie Perkins, while a commercial real estate broker and long-time politician in Greensboro, has come down against the landfill and is a proponent of a regional solution to waste. He also favors investment in infrastructure and has supported regional public transportation. His rhetoric reflects the sentiment of many Occupiers’ “We want to try to create the kind of jobs that are going to be a living wage for people because it’s awfully hard to live off of minimum wage. You can’t work enough hours in the day to do that. So we’ve got to create the kind of jobs that are going to pay reasonable money so that you can support your families and keep a little bit for retirement.” (Campaign speech as quoted in Yes! Weekly 10/5/2011)

One correction: City Manager Mitchell Johnson was fired by the previous council before Knight was elected mayor, although Knight advocated as a private citizen for Johnson's termination.


Katei said...

Where I'm (uber)glad this made it to print, the Occupy GA never technically reached a consensus on supporting/endorsing candidates.

Above is a draft sent around to see where occupiers stood. The candidates chosen weren't called into question via the draft. Rather, the lack of consensus rests with the decision to publicly endorse.

The promise of Occupy has yet to fully form, as such some felt it best to stay out of the election whereas some feel we should support the choices present...for now.

Speaking for myself, as an occupier (and one who helped with research for the candidate guide) the Occupy movement is in its infancy. As it stands, Occupy Greensboro formed after the council candidacies were cemented.

Although I hope to impact "the game" far beyond elections, I realize that today is election day, and the change sought by occupiers will happen soon--but not by 7:00 this evening.

Greensboro is stuck with the city council for the next two years. Because the movement is so new, Occupy Greensboro is realistically stuck with the chosen players--this round only.

There are elements of Occupier desire to be found in this election:

Candidates who clearly favor a healthy downtown over those who clearly support shovel-ready urban sprawl.

Candidates who clearly support local business over those who support corporations.

Candidates who clearly want to engage our community--to put the citizens voice first (literally during council meetings) before demands of developers.

There is a solution, not yet present. But let's face it: present day is election day. Let's craft a council which will hear us... as Occupy & as Greensboro.

Jordan Green said...

Thanks for comment, Katei. As noted in a subsequent post, I'm aware that there is some dispute over my characterization of the recommendation by some members of the Occupy Greensboro Media Group to support certain candidates. I'm happy to see you address how that support is defined and who is doing the supporting, and I welcome anyone else from the Occupy movement to chime in.