City council elections to be held in October

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The city of Greensboro is holding city council elections. The primary election will be held on Oct. 10, with 15 candidates, including three incumbents, running for three at-large seats. Six of the 15 candidates will advance from the primary to the Nov. 7 general election.

“I know there’s a lot of people running,” said Associate Professor of Political Science Maria Rosales. “There have been many people unhappy with the incumbents for reasons around transparency, response(s) to police brutality (and) some use of money.

“This is a lot of candidates … compared to what I’m used to seeing on the ballot.”

The large number of candidates isn’t the only component that separates this election from previous elections.

“This election is distinct from the many that preceded it because there are a lot of community organizers and people who have been… in social justice work that are running for office,” said Aleks Babic, adjunct professor of political science and part-time lecturer for justice and policy studies.

Many of these candidates have highlighted issues such as transparency of the city council and police brutality as important in their campaigns.

“(The candidates are debating) transparency,” said Rosales. “A lot of people (have been) saying they don’t know how the city council makes their decisions. They feel like they do too much behind closed doors.”

Police brutality has also become a key issue in this campaign.

“There have been a couple of cases (of police brutality) that have been pretty high profile,” said Rosales. “At least one of which has made the national news, and a lot of people did not think that the city council responded well.”

However, paying close attention to the actions of the city council doesn’t seem to translate to the Guilford community.

“In my experience I would bet about 20 percent maybe 25 percent of students are following (the election) at all,” said Rosales.

Guilford sophomore and political science major Leo Gibson has not been following the election.

“I haven’t (been following the election),” said Gibson. “I’m just really busy with classes because I have a reading intensive major, so getting bogged down by all of that just makes it a struggle.”

Even though Gibson will not be voting, he has ideas on what the city council should work to improve.

“When I go down (into Greensboro), I don’t feel safe,” said Gibson. “I don’t ever see police officers. I don’t run into security guards or anything. It’s like a city that is unmonitored.”

Babic believes that voting is a way to make change on issues such as these.

“I think this election … is definitely a way in which we can directly shape our city,” said Babic. “We can have a direct impact with (what) is happening in the city even if we can’t necessarily do that in terms of what’s happening federally.”

Rosales expressed similar sentiments.

“(Elections) really affect our daily lives,” said Rosales. “From clean water to how our schools work to how our roads are maintained to whether or not someone comes and picks up the dead raccoon… it matters who’s on the city council, county and commissioner’s board, who’s president, all of the levels. I think it matters.”

Babic has hopes for the outcome of this election.

“Hopefully we will shape our city to look more like its people,” said Babic.

City council at-large candidate Andy Nelson agrees.

“At some point you need to have different faces and voices and ideas (on the council),” said Nelson to the Greensboro News & Record.

It’s the beginning of fall and the city of Greensboro will soon have new city council members with new ideas. Change is in the air for the city.