As expected the City Council District 2 town hall meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Greensboro History Museum, covered a lot of territory, moved at a good pace and included good discussions of issues important to the constituents of the district.
About 40 people attended the meeting, more than have attended some City Council town hall meetings. The meeting started with a forum on the new police chief the city is in the process of hiring. District 2 Councilmember Goldie Wells explained that she had heard from a number of people that they could not attend the police chief community meetings during the day, so she invited Assistant City Manager Trey Davis to hold one at her meeting.
One theme that came up whatever question Davis had asked was that the chief had to be more in touch with the community. Another theme that was repeated was that the Police Department needed to be better trained to handle the mentally ill.
One woman, when discussing the qualities that a new police chief should have, said, “Seen, heard and action. He should be seen, go and hear people and then take action.”
There was also a presentation on participatory budgeting, where people in each of the five City Council districts get to decide how $100,000 will be spent. In 2015, in the entire City of Greensboro, 1,100 people voted. In 2017, 1,200 people voted, and this is the third year where people can vote online from their phones. With voting still open they have already doubled the number of votes cast in 2017.
Only one project that was approved by the voters in the 2017 voting has been completed. People had a number of questions about how the voting process worked, and this year each online voter can vote for up to $100,000 in projects.
Several people said they had never heard of the participatory budget, which has been heavily promoted and advertised by the city.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who was in attendance along with Councilmembers Yvonne Johnson and Sharon Hightower, asked, “How do we get in touch with you.”
Vaughan noted that the city had done everything it could think of to promote the fact that glass should no longer be placed in the recycling bins, and still many people said they had no idea of the change.
She asked for ideas on how to get the word out to people.
There didn’t appear to be a good answer. One woman suggested putting flyers at churches and added that someone would have to be there to explain the flyers.
It is a problem that keeps coming up: With all the diverse methods of communication, it has become more difficult to get in touch with people.
Wells ended the meeting by quickly going through a long list of city projects recently completed or underway in District 2.