by Sam Hieb
Greensboro News & Record columnist ponders the halfway point of the current City Council four-year term. Remember four-year terms were approved by voters in 2015, at the suggestion of Trudy Wade a former council member who was a state senator until she lost her 2018 reelection bid.
The N&R has never liked Wade, and Johnson can’t pass up the chance to take shot:
The longer terms allow more time for leading and representing and demand less time for campaigning and fundraising. Longer terms also provide the chance for initiatives to gestate; voters get the chance to see ideas play out. Council members, theoretically, have a larger body of work on which to run — and on which to be judged.
They can thank Trudy Wade, of all people. When the meddlesome Wade, then a state senator, was trying to impose changes on the council from Raleigh, most of the things she wanted to do (shift exclusively to district representation, sap the mayor’s voting powers, etc.) were almost universally resisted.
Wade’s power play was rebuffed by the courts. But the council did like one of her ideas. It did have a hankering for longer terms.
So the idea was placed on the ballot in 2015 and more than 58 percent of voters approved it. (There is some cruel irony in this; even as Wade was crashing and burning in her failed 2018 re-election campaign, the council was blissfully cruising toward only the halfway point of its tenure.)
I’m not sure if I would describe Wade’s loss to challenger Michael Garrett–by 50-49 percent margin–as crash and burn. But whatever. Johnson points out the successes and the failures of this council, and honestly the successes—other than steel and concrete rising on the downtown Tanger Center–seem somewhat miniscule. But–as Johnson also points out–2021 is a lifetime away, given the presidential campaign we all must suffer through on the way.