Partnership With Aim Higher Now NC

Democracy Greensboro will be collaborating with Aim Higher Now NC until the November election to Get Out The Vote in opposition to all six proposed amendments to the N.C. Constitution. We will also be working with them to elect Anita Earls to the State Supreme Court.

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Public Transit Conversation

At the September 4th City Council meeting, public transportation was the main topic of discussion. One little known term introduced that evening was “last mile,” a transit term that refers to the difficulties people without transportation have getting from a bus stop to their home. Or in the case of “first mile,” getting to a bus stop or hub.

Car owners rarely think twice about how we get from here to there, whether it’s raining or blistering hot, or even if we might not get to work on time. But bus riders often have multiple obstacles getting from here to there, and some of those obstacles are downright dangerous. In 2016, over 7% of Greensboro households did not have access to any vehicles [Governing.com, a publication of eRepublic.com].

As Councilwoman Michelle Kennedy noted at that City Council meeting, public transportation is a critical component of economic justice. And as the problems associated with climate change will soon be too big to ignore, it is also a critical component of environmental sustainability which, unfortunately, is not discussed enough at City Council meetings. Still it was good to get more conversation going about mass transit.

If you’d like to watch the video footage related to the public transit discussion between Adam Fisher, Transportation Director, and City Council members: go to http://greensboro.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3723, click on “Play” and set the time stamp at 1:09:55.

Below is a transcription of some of that exchange.

MK [Michelle Kennedy]: “… and what are the last mile provisions that have been considered or are being considered to implement as part of that [larger plan].”
AF [Adam Fischer]: “That’s an excellent point and question. It’s something that we continue to explore. The last mile provisions, one is, yeah, on your own two feet in walking and that ties to our ultimate plan to hopefully build sidewalks everywhere that folks need to walk. And actually our number one priority on our sidewalk prioritization list, we actually have transit routes now that do not have sidewalks along them, so we’re trying to add one, and that’s the highest priority on our list, are major corridors, major transit routes, to add those sidewalks and then to spread those on out where people have to walk additional distances.”
MK: “But there’s something that’s got to come outside of GTA [Greensboro Transit Authority] that helps finish off that last mile provision, that doesn’t fall to y’all to do, that’s something falls into a different category.”
AF: “But we try to help with that by providing, transportation department does implement the sidewalk program and plans for that. There’s some of the private sector things coming around with the Lime bikes that folks can possibly ride out to the bus…the bus cannot go down every street in front of everybody’s doorways.”
YJ [Yvonne Johnson, Mayor Pro Tem]: “They have scooters. I saw scooters recently. Well that doesn’t help a mother with a little child walking a mile.”
MK:”…a lot of us [City Council members] have been having conversations about this. I see transit as a critical component of economic justice. And that we have some big responsibilities on our plates to figure out how supporting GTA and that connectivity marries into the economic justice goals and economic development goals that we set as a City Council…”

-Hester Petty

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City Council Work Session September 4th

Work Session: Cure Violence Presentation
The session started with a video of Gary Slutkin’s TED talk about his creation of the Cure Violence model. His model does not rely on the usual responses to violence: punishment; and the need to fix all societal ills (poverty, education, racism, etc). His model is based on the responses normally used to stop health epidemics: interrupt transmission; prevent further spread; and shift the norms within the community with education and activities.
http://cureviolence.org/

Folks involved in Durham’s Cure Violence initiative (Bull City United) offered up practical information. Durham’s Cure Violence program was initiated by County public health officials, approved by Durham County commissioners in 2016, and the program got started with $420,000 in County funds and a $30,000 grant. Neighborhood sites are chosen based on the number of shootings in a given square mile.

An office is then set up within that site staffed by 3-6 people, preferably one site manager, three interrupters and two contract workers. The interrupters come from the community. Most are in their mid to late 30s with 10 years or more jail time and so they understand how to intervene and prevent personal or community problems from erupting into gun play. The police are not involved in the program except to supply data re shootings to Bull City United. In the Durham Cure Violence sites there has been a 43% decrease in the number of people shot and a 12% reduction in shootings at a time when Durham has seen an overall 3.7% increase in shootings.
https://www.facebook.com/BullCityUnited32/

Skip Alston was present at the Work Session representing Guilford County commissioners who want to work in partnership with the Greensboro City Council towards the implementation of the Cure Violence model in Greensboro.

Work Session: Cure Violence Discussion
Discussions centered on costs and structure. Councilwoman Hightower thinks the City should be involved as partners with the County. Councilwoman Kennedy feels that the connection to the County Public Health Department is the key to the stability of financing for the program. Councilman Outling twice expressed his need for more research into other models by groups besides Cure Violence.

David Parrish, Greensboro City Manager will get discussions started with County staff, County Commissioners and City Council members.

Note: During the work session I became concerned that the backnforth between County and City regarding funding would stall the Cure Violence initiative. And Mr. Outling’s stubborn insistence that the Cure Violence model should not be the only model considered was mystifying to me given the good track record of Cure Violence in other cities.

CJ Brinson was present at the work session and he commented about Cure Violence later that day at the City Council meeting. His comments begin at 1:38 in the meeting video which can be watched here:
http://greensboro.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3723

-Hester Petty

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City Council Meeting Agenda

September 4, 2018
Melvin Municipal Building
300 W. Washington Street

Work Session 4pm
Plaza Level Conference Room

Public Session 5:30pm
Council Chamber

The work session agenda will include an update on the Cure Violence proposal and an update on Boards and Commissions.

The City Council meeting has no ceremonial or presentation items and no items that require a public hearing. During the Public Comment period, speakers from the floor will have five minutes to talk about any issue, concern, or idea related to the City of Greensboro. Speakers must sign up to speak before 6:15pm.

-Hester Petty

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