07/15/12 — District 4: Clark v. Williams

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District 4: Clark v. Williams

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 15, 2012 1:50 AM

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Tondalayo Clark

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Charles Williams

District 4 Councilman Rev. Charles Williams will seek his fifth term on the Goldsboro City Council during the municipal election July 17, but is being challenged by educator Tondalayo Clark.

Williams received 668 votes -- 72.77 percent of votes cast -- in the May 8 District 4 primary with Ms. Clark receiving 132 votes. Starr Whitmore received 118 votes in the contest and was eliminated.

Ms. Clark said the main issue she sees facing her district is the dilapidation that has occurred over the last 20 years -- much of it under Williams' watch.

Asked if she felt Williams had not been a good steward to District 4 constituents during his 17 years representing them, Ms. Clark said the results were plain to see.

"The condition of the district speaks for itself," she said.

Ms. Clark, 46, said she was moved to run after observing the conditions the students she teaches were living in.

"As a teacher, it was looking through the eyes of my students that made me want to run," she said.

She has taught at Dillard Middle and Goldsboro High School, and currently at Mount Olive Middle, and said students continually tell her there's nothing for them to do -- either through employment or recreation.

She also was critical of the city's recent decision to alter its recycling program, which led to job losses at Wayne Opportunity Center.

"My vision is to empower the community among citizens so that we can bring down the crime rate," she said, adding she wants to have more recreation for young adults and to make the district safer for elders as well.

Williams, 69, said the council is in the midst of planning a replacement for the W.A. Foster Recreation Center and that he hopes an expansion of that center will result in more programs for youth, adults and seniors alike. He also said he would like the city to take up, once again, the rebuilding of the community center which burned down in 2004.

"I would like to see us build that community center downtown," he said. "I also would like to see us get back on this civic center and make that a reality."

Williams touted his accomplishments while in office, like renovating Historic City Hall and the City Hall Annex and beginning the Center Street Streetscape project, but added that he had worked together with his colleagues to bring those innovations.

"One person can't do it," he said. "You have to work as a team player."

Williams said he intends to continue helping the city make progress and wants to see the Streetscape completed and the full revitalization of Goldsboro Union Station.

He said reducing crime in the area is also a priority for him, and he said that he would like to see more neighborhoods using community watch programs.

"The police department would be happy to help set those up," he said. "That would be a deterrent to crime. Violent crimes, homicides -- that's getting to be a dilemma right here in the city of Goldsboro."

Williams has served as the pastor of White Oak Church since 1969.

Ms. Clark, if elected, would be the first black woman to serve on the City Council.