HIGH POINT — Policies, not payments.
That’s the goal of the One High High Point Commission, according to one of its key members: City Councilman Michael Holmes.
The commission is studying slavery reparations, but direct payments from the city will not be forthcoming as a part of this, he made clear at a recent council finance committee meeting.
Instead, reparations should constitute legislative action aimed at counteracting racial injustices and helping those in need on a fundamental level, he argued.
“None of these things are reparations in the sense of a federal transfer of payments. These are all targeted policies to undo (past) policies that have had a disparate negative effect,” Holmes said.
“I know we hear the word reparations and we have this visceral reaction to it, but that is not what we’re doing here,” he continued. “You can’t fix generations of that with a small transfer of payment. The city’s financial wherewithal — no matter what we did — it’s not going to move anybody out of poverty. We have to make systemic change.”
Holmes illustrated his point by citing particular policy areas.
“We have to have policies to correct (unjust) policies,” he said. “And this is what we’re doing here — improving transportation, improving homeownership, looking at ways to incentivize entrepreneurship. These are all policies that the city can participate in that will have a life-changing effect and a directional change of the city.”
Enhancing the city’s bus system, he said, is a specific example of something the council could do that would make a sustainable difference.
“If we look at where the majority of high-paying new jobs are in the city, right now, we don’t have bus service that runs to north High Point,” he said. “If you live in 27260 (south High Point) and you are underemployed and you don’t have proper transportation, the access to a job that could be two or three times what you’re earning right now is limited. So by expanding transportation routes, you give people access to greater earning potential.”
A past council in 2016 approved extended bus routes and longer hours of operation, but the overhaul has not been implemented by the city because of a persistent shortage of qualified drivers.
The commission is asking the council to give it an additional six months to complete its report and for $45,000 for research and other outside assistance.
“It’s going to take research. It’s going to take strength. It’s going to take courage. It’s going to take will, and it’s going to take an open mind,” Holmes said.
HIGH POINT — The latest donations have been received for the 2022 Christmas Cheer Fund totaling $2,685.
Today’s donors are:
• In Honor of Chase, EC, REN and Nicholas by Bob & Kathy Niebauer $40.
• Rebecca R. Smothers $100.
• In Loving Memory of Kitty and Stewart Hartley by Ann Hartley $100.
• In Memory of Debbie Sink by Her Cats $50.
• In Memory of Dr. Butch Farabow and Dr. Dan Mellinger by JoAnn & Bill Owings $200.
• St. George Greek Woman’s Club $100.
• Becke Jones $30.
• Becky Sink $100.
• In Memory of Alan, Greg, Joe, Paul, Ginger and Jayce by Anonymous $200.
• Joint Heirs Sunday School Class from Westchester Baptist Church $150.
• In Memory of Bud & Cory McInnis by Tim & Judy Ingram $25.
• In Memory of our Grandchildren: Noah, Saylor, Eleanor, Sloan and Coulter by Jim & Sue Horney $50.
• In Honor of John Stunda by John Campbell $50.
• David Thompson $100.
• In Memory of Alfred “Pony” Lea by Dan & Diane Lea Phillips $100.
• In Memory of Harold Ridge, Dick More, Mr. and Mrs. Rob Kennedy and Mr. and Mrs. Jim Ridge by Mary Ridge $100.
• In Honor of our grandson Xander by Jim & Pat O’Connor $50.
• Lewis Wheless $50.
• In Honor of my Parents, Lloyd & Margaret Harvell by Maria Harvell $50.
• In Memory of Fernand and Joann Schlaeppi by Martin Schlaeppi $200.
• In Memory of Judge Tom Jarrell by Mary Jarrell $50.
• In Memory of Owen Bertschi and Tom Foster by Their Scuzbucket Friday Mates $150.
• In Honor of Mario & Kelly DiFoggio by Capelli Salons Inc. $50.
• In Loving Memory of Jerry and Patrick Shaver by Chloe Shaver $25.
• In Memory of General William Ruffin Cox, Confederate States Army by Rusty Van Landingham $25.
• In Memory of Rose Mary by Roger Payne $100.
• In Honor of Danny Davis by the Office Staff at Davis Furniture Industries $240.
• In Memory of John Newby by Frank & Nancy Newby $50.
• In Memory of Tom Newby and Nancy Harriss by Frank & Nancy Newby $25.
• In Memory of Linda Tysinger by Frank & Nancy Newby $25.
• J.D. Dobbins $100.
Today’s total: $2,685
Previous total: $33,814
Grand total: $36,499
Donations should be made out to the Christmas Cheer Fund and mailed to P.O. Box 5467, High Point, NC 27262. Lists of donors will be published in The Enterprise through Christmas Day. Donations also can be made online at Kiwanishighpoint.org. The fund, operated by the Kiwanis Club of High Point, will provide Christmas gifts for about 295 children identified through the Boys and Girls Clubs of High Point and local nonprofit D-Up.
HIGH POINT — City voters will have the chance to decide who serves as mayor and on council during a 2023 political campaign season that’s already gearing up nearly 10 months before Election Day.
This year will be the first election since 2019 for mayor and the eight seats on the High Point City Council. The elected officials voted 6-3 in 2018 to change the terms for mayor and all council members to four years instead of two years, reversing a decision voters made in a 2000 referendum to cut the terms to two years.
Any primaries, if necessary, would take place Oct. 10, and the general election will be Nov. 7. Formal candidate filing kicks off July 7 and takes place over two weeks.
But the 2023 municipal campaign season is already simmering.
In November, first-term Councilman Cyril Jefferson announced his intention to run for mayor. It will be his first bid for the city’s top elected office.
Current Mayor Jay Wagner hasn’t publicly announced whether he will seek another term.
Jefferson’s decision to run for mayor means that the race for his Ward 1 post will be for an open seat because state election law doesn’t permit candidates to run for more than one office in the same election cycle.
If the past three municipal elections are indicators, the races for mayor and council will draw a healthy number of candidates who will raise a significant amount of campaign contributions.
Four years ago the 21 candidates running for municipal office in High Point raised a record amount, about $165,000 in campaign donations. The previous record was $143,000 raised by 23 candidates during the 2017 races for mayor and council.
The amount raised in 2017, in turn, blew past the previous record of $118,000 raised by 24 candidates during the 2014 campaign, the last year that city’s elections were in an even-numbered year.
The escalating price tag for High Point elections fits with a pattern playing out across the country, said John Dinan, professor of political science at Wake Forest University.
“Local elections have been attracting more money and interest in the last several years,” Dinan told The High Point Enterprise. “That’s in part because local governments and office-holders became particularly salient during COVID, when so many important decisions about responding to COVID were made not just at the state level but at the local level.”
Greater amounts of money being raised for local races also reflects the general trend of campaigns at all levels becoming more expensive, Dinan said.
“Each election cycle seems to set new records for the amount of money spent on races for Congress and for governor and also for state legislature,” he said. “So it is in some ways not surprising that spending levels are increasing for local offices as well.”
Candidates for local office also are announcing their intentions earlier in the campaign cycle. In High Point, most candidates for municipal office historically have formally announced their campaigns in the spring or early summer just before the candidate filing period opened.
“Just as we see spending increasing on elections across the board — for Congress, for state offices and for local offices — it is also the case that we see candidates moving their announcement decisions even earlier at all of these levels,” Dinan said. “We are no longer surprised — in fact it is now to be expected — that candidates for Congress and governor and state legislature signal their decision to run a year before the filing period begins, and so it is not a surprise to see candidates for local office making increasingly early announcement decisions as well.”
The High Point mayoral and council elections are nonpartisan, meaning the party affiliation of the candidates doesn’t appear on the ballot. But that doesn’t mean the two major political parties will sit out the local elections.
Indeed, the Republican and Democratic parties in Guilford County typically endorse candidates running in the High Point contests. Volunteers for each party stand outside polling places in the fall handing out fliers bearing names of a slate of preferred candidates.
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