10/03/07 — Candidates for mayor, council speak out at NAACP forum

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Candidates for mayor, council speak out at NAACP forum

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on October 3, 2007 1:57 PM

Candidates for Goldsboro's mayoral and city hall races answered prepared questions at Goldsboro Public Library Tuesday night, in a session sponsored by the local chapter of the NAACP.

Mayor Al King had to leave after a few questions, but voiced his opinions on Goldsboro's future direction along with opponents G.L. Minchew and D.A. Stuart.

King said water is Goldsboro's first issue.

"No. 1 for me is water, for many years we've taken water for granted," King said. "I'm glad to say that our citizens are complying (with mandatory water conservation measures)."

King said other issues for him included continuation of the city's master plan, and getting citizens involved, naming Central Heights as an example of good citizen involvement.

Minchew said a primary goal of his is eliminating blight at Goldsboro's gateways.

"We need to get the beautification back up in Goldsboro," Minchew said. "When you're coming into the town, the most important thing is when you hit the area, everything is beautiful, the trees are trimmed and the grass is cut."

Mayor candidate Stuart said forced annexation is his primary issue. He opposes it.

"Forced annexation should be disregarded," Stuart said. "We spent a lot of money on that right now. Our police department is short by 20 law enforcement officers."

All of the candidates were asked what the school system should do about increased segregation of the schools.

District 2 candidate Bob Waller said that the current situation does not serve students well.

"It's unfair to these youngsters to be in the situation right now," Waller said. "We're in 2007 now, we're not back in the 1950s -- I would hope that the community and the businesses would come together and say 'Folks, you've got to fix it.'"

District 6 candidate Jackie Warrick said that city schools are suffering from the quality of education.

"We need to try to work with the present administration and get a fair education for all the kids," Warrick said. "It is definitely hurting us economically, because we're not putting out the caliber of students that businesses want."

District 3 candidate Donnie Chatman said he thinks opportunities like Goldsboro High School's new School of Engineering are the way to fix city schools.

"Students from all over the county are applying for a seat in that (the School of Engineering)," Chatman said. "More along the lines of magnet schools for our inner city schools that are segregated."

District 1 candidate Frankie Lewis said she also wanted schools to be reintegrated.

"I don't want our schools to be segregated anymore," Lewis said. "If we join hands with the school board, which has oversight of the system, and then we have to have parental and community involvement."

Susan Farfour, a write-in candidate, said she was a Golds-boro High School graduate in the 1980s, and thinks city schools have gotten a bad rap.

"Some of the city schools have gotten a stigma that we need to work towards eliminating," Farfour said. "(Goldsboro High School) was a top-notch school -- there were teachers that were bringing kids into (the school) from other districts."

District 3 candidate Jerry Broadhurst said the answer may be as simple as redrawing district lines.

"To bring that back, it needs to be rezoned," Broadhurst said. "They messed that up when they allowed parents" to choose what school their students would attend.

District 1 candidate Michael Headen said open discussions are the answer to desegregating the district.

"Goldsboro is due for an open frank discussion about racism, it exists," Headen said. "If we want to bring back the greatness of our inner city schools, we've got to roll up our sleeves -- we cannot hide our own prejudices."

District 2 candidate L.J. Stanley said he doesn't believe in the term "inner city schools." He said money for technology is one of the most important factors in keeping young people well educated.

"Everyone should have the same opportunities," Stanley said. "We've got tremendous technology -- we need to have the money to furnish it, so our schools will have the same thing that every other city has."