City leaders engage in heated debate on Greensboro redistricting law

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Greensboro Citizens for Fair Election held a news conference Thursday afternoon in support of House Bill 236, which is now law, asking city council members to stop their lawsuit.

Thursday a hearing is scheduled to file a motion for a temporary restraining order.

Republican Party activist Marcus Kindley led the conference followed by comments from former city councilman Jim Kee, Lake Jeanette resident Lynn Benzy, former Guilford County commissioner and chairman Skip Alston and former NC House Representative Earl Jones.

Jones said Mayor Nancy Vaughan and council members should stop wasting taxpayers' hard-earned money and stop wasting their time on a law that is fair and balanced.

“This bill that [Trudy Wade] put in place benefits and is more fair and equal to the citizens in Greensboro than the present bill that we have in place now that I wrote,” Jones said.

To date, the city has spent $25,000 on lobbyists not including attorney fees. The city has not yet been billed to determine the total cost spent in filling the case.

“This is not a battle that we choose certainly we would choose to spend our money differently but a message that we got is that we should not roll over,” said Mayor Vaughan.

Skip Alston and Earl Jones argued the new plan and redistricting will allow better representation of a diverse city with more African-American representatives and that too many council members are from the northwest area of town.

Mayor Vaughan said that Greensboro is 42 percent African-American and 48 percent minority.

Vaughan said while she can’t force anyone to run for office, the current system allows for more votes and more opportunity for residents to choose who they think best represents them.

“Everybody right now can exercise their vote to vote for five people; this bill takes it away where they can vote for one person and a non-voting mayor,” Vaughan said.

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