Michelle Kennedy earned the highest rating among voters who attended Democracy Greensboro’s candidate/platform conference at Smith High School on Sept. 16, with 126 voters giving her an average rating of 4.5 out of a total highest score of 5.0.

Voters were asked to score the candidates based on how responsive they were to the progressive political action committee’s platform.

The highest ratings in the at-large race went to four challengers, including Kennedy, who currently serve on the human relations commission and have taken a critical stance towards city council’s handling of police body-camera video in the Jose Charles matter. The exception is Yvonne Johnson, an incumbent, who has broken ranks with her fellow council members by expressing disapproval of police conduct in their arrest of Charles.

Voters at the Democracy Greensboro conference gave Irving Allen a 4.4, Lindy Perry-Garnette a 4.1, Yvonne Johnson a 4.0 and Dave Wils a 3.9.

The remaining ratings follow: Dianne Bellamy-Small: 3.6; Sylvine Hill, 3.6; Marikay Abuzuaiter, 3.1; Tijuana Hayes, 3.0, Jodi Bennett-Bradshaw, 2.8; and Andy Nelson, 1.9.

The 135 voters who rated mayoral candidates gave the Rev. Diane Moffett a 4.3. Billy Jones, who is running as a write-in candidate in the general election, received a 2.4. Incumbent Nancy Vaughan and John T. Brown did not attend.

The 23 voters who participated in the balloting in the District 4 breakout session gave challenger Gary Kenton a 4.3. Incumbent Nancy Hoffmann, who insulted the political action committee’s graphics and disparaged its platform as “incendiary,” received a 2.3.

In District 3, 17 voters gave challenger Craig Martin a rating of 4.9, while Antuan Marsh, another challenger, received a rating of 2.6. Incumbent Justin Outling did not attend.

In District 2, 12 voters gave challenger CJ Brinson a rating of 4.8, while Jim Kee, also a challenger, received a 3.6. Incumbent Goldie Wells did not attend.

District 1 challenger Paula Ritter-Lipscomb received a rating of 3.2 from 12 voters, while District 5 challenger Tammi Thurm received a 5.0 rating from nine voters. Sharon Hightower and Tony Wilkins, respectively the incumbents in district 1 and 5 did not attend the event.

Members of Democracy Greensboro said the group will discuss whether to release endorsements at its next meeting on Thursday. The ratings would likely play an important role in determining any endorsements.

Thursday is also the first day of early voting in Greensboro, along with High Point.


  1. When I read through “Greensboro 2017 Voter Guide” put together by the League of Women Voters, NR, Greensboro Voters’ Alliance, and Democracy North Carolina, I can find interesting points made by all the candidates. For examples, Nancy Hoffman says “Citizens need and deserve safe housing and the opportunity for a job”. Salvatore Leone says, “We need to make sure who we give to (ie incentives to set up shop here in GSO) is not a payback but a good deal for jobs.” Tony Wilkins, talking about young people not staying here, says, “Our biggest export is brains.” Justin Outling says that a pressing issue is to “ensure that all citizens have equal opportunity to participate in projects.” Andy Nelson writes that police-community relations could be improved with “quicker transparent response and appropriate and fast discipline”. M.A.Bakie says “Diversity should be the engine powering our local, regional and global growth”. Nancy Vaughan says, “We are a City divided by race.” And so on. All pretty good points.

    When I consider the performance of the current mayor and council members, I think back to the manner in which the Vo family was treated after the police shooting of their mentally ill family member, the long delay before they acted, and the stark inability of the council to acknowledge the family as it entered the Council Chamber just minutes after finally being allowed to watch the body-cam video of their family member, Chieu Di Thi Vo, being shot to death. In my view, all candidates and incumbents should answer the question: If elected or re-elected, do you accept your duty to watch police body-cam videos that show residents of your district and your city being shot to death? If you don’t welcome this duty, then what will you do to avoid it?

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