10/26/07 — Candidates square off at League of Women Voters debate

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Candidates square off at League of Women Voters debate

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on October 26, 2007 1:46 PM

The candidates who attended the League of Women Voters forum Thursday night all had one goal in common -- they want to better their community.

City council and mayoral candidates from Goldsboro, Fremont, Seven Springs and Walnut Creek, along with one sanitary board candidate, came out to speak about why they wanted to run and why voters should elect them.

Goldsboro City Council had the best turnout, with seven candidates making appearances.

Mayoral candidate D.A. Stuart was there to tell citizens that he was ready to be the mayor of Goldsboro.

"I knew I wanted to run for mayor four years ago," he said. "I have been talking with people all four years. I hear complaints and concerns. It seems like Goldsboro isn't going in the right direction."

He went on to say that he supports saving historic houses as well as restoration of the downtown Farmers Market. He also proposed competitive pay for employees, and addressed the issues of Stoney Creek Park and wasteful spending.

His opponent, incumbent Mayor Al King, sent his regrets. He attended the Wayne County Development Alliance's Industry of the Year banquet Thursday.

Those hoping to capture voters' interest in Goldsboro City Council's first, second and fifth districts were on hand to compare notes and views of what is ahead for the city in the coming years.

District 1 candidate Frankie Anna Lewis told citizens her experiences as a public service manager will make her a reasoned and determined city council member.

"I am tenacious yet patient. I am deliberate yet decisive," she said.

Her main concerns for her district and the city as a whole are public safety, service and economic revitalization.

"Crime and safety are major priorities," she said. "They can't be resolved by law enforcement alone. The community has to get involved."

Mrs. Lewis said she would like to create a "concierge government that asks, 'How can we help?'"

"I promise I will listen to and speak for you," she added.

Mrs. Lewis' opponent Michael Headen said that safety is also one of his concerns, and he wants to tackle the issues of drug and gang activity in the city if he is elected.

To do that, he said young people need somewhere else to go "besides the movies."

"So many of our teens turn to gang and drug activity," he said.

As a psychologist at O'Berry Center, Headen said his experience with communication and problem-solving will help him work with the city leadership and fellow council members as well as constituents to move Goldsboro forward.

"My background in psychology and substance abuse has taught me to listen," he said.

No matter what the concern, he is ready to jump in and help.

"I'm there to work. Roll up my sleeves and work. We have an opportunity to move forward," he said.

Both Headen and Mrs. Lewis are battling for the seat recently vacated by longtime council member Jimmy Bryant, who decided not to run for re-election.

District 2 candidates incumbent Bob Waller and challenger L.J. Stanley spoke about bettering the community, but with different perspectives.

Waller, an incumbent of the City Council, said he first came to Goldsboro in 1962 to be a teacher and a coach.

"I have a lot of stake in this community, and I love this community," he said. "I feel loyal to this community."

He said he wants to do the best to serve the citizens in his district and around the city, and that quality of life issues are important to him.

Stanley said he came to Goldsboro 10 years ago.

"I was so accepted when I got here, I couldn't leave," he said.

He is a businessman, he said, and wants to bring more recreation to Goldsboro like a zoo or amusement park.

Waller spoke about forced annexation, saying that the City Council needs to bring in more people inside the city limits to increase the city's growth.

"If you don't have growth, then you're going to die," he said.

He touched on the schools, saying that people around the community have been talking about the current school system situation for years, but that he is optimistic a solution is at hand.

"When I came here, Goldsboro High School was top five academically," he said. "I think it can be back that way."

Stanley also had something to say on the subject of schools.

"I'm tired of people calling the schools inner-city schools," he said. "They are our schools, not just inner-city schools."

He added that those on the current City Council are doing the best they can, but that he hopes to be able to add some new ideas and perspectives.

"I'm a team player. I have visions. But they are doing their best. I have nothing negative to say about the City Council," Stanley said.

District 5 candidate Chuck Allen and write-in candidate Susan Farfour agreed with each other on most topics.

Allen, the incumbent, said this will be his eighth year on the council, five of those having served as mayor pro-tempore.

He said he ran eight years ago because he thought changes were needed in the city.

And, he said, he hopes people can look around downtown and see the work that has already been done -- in part because of the teamwork of the current council.

He said he wants to keep that momentum going.

"We are all after one thing, and that's to make Goldsboro the best it can be," he said.

If elected, he hopes to continue the council's progress in revitalizing the downtown area.

"I love Goldsboro. I love Goldsboro for my family," he said.

Ms. Farfour said she agrees with the efforts the council has made downtown, but she wants people to have a choice of who will represent them. That is why she decided to throw her name into the mix as a write-in candidate.

She wants to bring in a "little different mix" and have some "gender diversity."

At first, Ms. Farfour wasn't sure it should be her, admitting that she has no experience in politics, but that didn't hold her back.

"Don't think I'm not committed because I am a write-in candidate," she said. "I want to do what I can to help Goldsboro grow in a positive way."

She came here in the late 1960s, when her father was a wing commander at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. She has been here ever since.

"I stayed in Goldsboro because I love living in Goldsboro," she said.

Her main goal, if elected, is to listen to her constituents and work to make their wishes a part of the city's future plans.

But Goldsboro was not the only city with candidates present to plead their cases.

Fremont mayor candidates Darron Flowers and Amy Price said they want to improve their community.

Mrs. Price wants to tackle crime in the town's neighborhoods, as well as add some new vision to the Fremont Council.

Her first priority would be to get to know the members of the board and then get to know the matters at hand, she said, which she believes are crime, safety and sewer.

Flowers said he wants to concentrate on Fremont's image.

"Image is everything. With image comes infrastructure, crime, attitude and pride. I want to talk about the positives of our town instead of the negatives," he said.

Walnut Creek Village Coun-cil candidate Jeff Wharton said his first priority would be to maintain public safety.

He said he still has a lot of learning to do, but believes his experience as chairman of the village's Crime Watch will help.

"I view myself as a servant," he said. "I hope to make a difference."

Robert Mozingo, an incumbent councilman, and Karen Mozingo, a mayoral candidate, in Seven Springs, hope to keep the history in their town and to keep its citizens safe.

Mozingo said it makes him proud that his wife cares enough about what the council does to run for mayor.

Northwestern Sanitary District candidate Wayne Aycock -- the only one of his contemporaries who attended the forum -- said he has "learned a lot of things" from his experience on the Wayne County Planning Board.

"I think a lot of it can be of use in the sanitary district," he said. "I felt like there was a need for someone with this kind of experience to help run the county."