Do you know where you’re going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you?
Where are you going to?
Do you know?- “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)”
On Election Night, President Barrack Obama earned a second term. Pot and gay marriage are legal in more states. The governor’s mansion and the General Assembly in North Carolina are all Republican, save one good friend of mine and a few others sprinkled here and there. We elected other local folks to our school board, our executive cabinet and our county commission.
We are also still dealing with the aftermath of another storm that shifts the political climate, along with does major, possibly irreparable damage to communities. This tests local governments and shows how much a community really needs a backbone.
My friend Kaid Benfield has laid out a good set of mandates for the federal and state governments as far as planning goes.
I want to take it further, as we are now back into the city council cycle in Greensboro and we are dealing with a new regime in the state government. Don’t believe me? I had a front row seat to the last campaign and I am already hearing chatter about who is going to run next and how. Also, with the election of Trudy Wade in our fifth district to the state house, we have a wide open seat that represents one of our wealthiest areas. This area is also an attractive area for our newcomers and this person, whomever it is, needs to be focused on the future.
So what are my mandates for the next four years? Here’s a start
–Real talk around commuter rail and light rail in all of our major cities and connecting our major cities. Governor-Elect McCrory opened the Blue Lynx line in Charlotte, working with city leaders of all stripes to get that done. I want him to keep the efforts going by Governor Perdue and others to maintain federal high-speed rail funding. I also want funding to go to adding a third train from Charlotte to Raleigh that leaves at midnight and arrives in Greensboro at approximately 1:30 AM. The Piedmont train is almost always on time. The Carolinian has issues due to it’s leaving the state and going all the way to New York. Get this train to an on-time schedule, and use this to build on an already established commuter rail system that’s gaining ridership at a rate higher than any line in the country.
–Keep our university system affordable. Do not let the passing of Bill Friday give you permission to completely dismantle what is already a great system and a revenue generating system even with the lack of income from students. Don’t build up physical campuses at the expense of having good research faculty, good and caring teaching faculty and students, and students who finish in a timely manner without debt. We will fail in North Carolina without proper higher education, that doesn’t choke students with debt.
–Continue to increase pedestrian, bike and other inner-city infrastructure– We have a lot of good bones here in Greensboro and in other towns and cities across the state and the nation. The General Assembly needs to revoke the privilege to allow cities NOT to demand that landlords be accountable for their houses. Far too many renters, many who have already suffered from foreclosures, are struggling with being able to stay in homes that have toxic issues. Also, we need a decent water and sewer system on the east side. Part of the excuse for not investing in this area is this issue of water/sewer and we need that covered, so that we can deal with the very reall inequity that still exists in East Greensboro. Similar areas in Raleigh and Charlotte, with lower-incomes and browner people, still have lots of mainstream business and retail opportunities. We need to do what we can (save adding the road into NC A&T’s farm), to get the East side at parity. Also, we can support another performing arts center, concentrated in the downtown area, if we work to make sure our transportation and also the groups who need to use it for their own personal economies and wellbeing (dancers, actors, singers, other local artists),know it’s theirs.
-Finally, lets keep grassroots efforts moving. I’m looking forward to this film and discussion on next Wednesday on the film Fixing the Future. A lot of people organizing this event I consider friends, colleagues and fellow foot soliders into what makes Greensboro great. I know of two active Better Block projects run by friends in Memphis and Durham. The folks here in Greensboro represent co-op businesses, environmental groups and others concerned with giving back to their own community. Oh, and we’ve done very well with having food trucks here in Greensboro, thanks to grassroots and mainstream support. As my friend Rosetta Thurman has stated, we cannot afford four more years of leadership by proxy.
Let’s do this people! What are some other things on your wishlist for this next election cycle and the next four years.