Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sidney C. Gray's Position Paper

Candidate for 2007 Greenboro City Council Council – At Large

Position Paper

(Last updated: October 2, 2007)

Born: Greensboro, NC April 15, 1946

Education: Lindley, McIver on West Lee Street and Sternberger Elementary

Kiser Jr. High School

Greensboro Senior High Class of 1963

BA University of South Carolina

Married to Ricki Gray, a teacher with Greensboro Public Schools.

Three adult children



Phone: 336-275-0602

Why did I run for political office?

Mutual respect among people including religious and racial tolerance are Greensboro's trademarks and our inheritance. My goal is to preserve Greensboro as a cultural landmark with downtown as the epicenter. Ensuring quality education as the tool for more desirable jobs for future generations, frugality in government spending and decreasing urban sprawl pose great challenges for Greensboro.

The issues and my position:

1. Campaign Funding and political independence:

I will NOT accept any monetary donations for the office of Greensboro City Council at large. I am an independent person and will not place myself in a position to alter that independence. I will accept individual endorsements and referrals so that I may have the opportunity to listen and understand your concerns and then offer my solution. I will be available to speak with you by phone from 6:30 am until 9 pm - (336) 275-0602 or you may contact me at or visit my blog at

There are many creative people who should become political candidates but are hesitant to participate in the political process because of the monetary costs associated with a campaign. The citizen/voter should have access to the candidates' views on the issues so that an informed, intelligent and thoughtful decision can be made as to which candidate the voter supports.

I propose the following: Each candidate for political office can present a position paper to the correct City Department for free duplication. The City will make these position papers available without cost to its citizens in our libraries, parks and recreation departments as well as any City owned facility. The City of Greensboro will provide the position papers to our private and public media outlets for insertion and distribution in their publication at no charge to the candidate.

2. Urban Sprawl, Individual Property Rights and Development:

The exponential population growth is the single greatest challenge that we as a community face. These population increases challenge our basic values and natural resources. The solutions that we set in motion today will be our legacy. How do we balance our right of economic gain while slowing down urban sprawl? I support the revitalization, adaptive re-use and 'infill' of existing neighborhoods. I propose that the City of Greensboro in conjunction with surrounding communities continue to support and expand the Urban Greenway in all directions by a reallocation of current budgeted tax priorities or by an additional tax for the purchase of land to be held in trust for our heirs. This could be accomplished by an existing agency such as the Piedmont Land Conservancy or another sanctioned group. This public purchase of land will slow urban sprawl thus encouraging infill development while not infringing on individual property rights.

One needs only to look at China and India to propel us towards workable solutions that we choose rather than those that will be forced upon us by the government in the future.

3. Third party rezoning and eminent domain.

I do not support third party rezoning.

I do not support condemning an individual's property and selling it to a third party developer. This "legalized stealing" is extremely dangerous and is contrary to the individual entrepreneurial spirit. Eminent domain stymies creativity and individual initiative. BB&T Bank is to be commended for taking the lead in this area with respect to its lending policy of not loaning money to persons who have acquired their property through condemnation.

4. Crime:

There must be a zero tolerance for violent crime in our city. The police must have the tools to fight and defeat gangs and expunge this evil from our city. The communities that are experiencing gangs and other crimes must become a partner with the police department by the strengthening of our Community Neighborhood Associations and watch programs. I support the technology available to fight crime with the purchase of cameras. With the use of new technologies a police officer can be dispatched to criminal activity whether it be in the downtown or other neighborhoods. These new technologies provide for greater efficiency, substantial evidence in a court of law and are more cost effective for the taxpayer.

5. Downtown:

My mother and father built, owned and operated a store for over sixty years "across the tracks" on South Elm Street. I have investments in downtown. I am a founding member of the Old Greensborough Preservation Society and a former board member of Downtown Greensboro Inc. I believe in the revitalization and the reinvestment of the increased tax revenues that it has produced be earmarked for the downtown area. I would encourage an examination of the self imposed downtown Business Improvement District tax (BID) and reaffirmation should the stakeholders so choose.

I support totally free parking for four hours during the day in the parking decks for anyone who is not employed downtown. Using the UNCG system as an example, I support using the city owned land at the coliseum or other areas for minimal or free parking with a shuttle system for any downtown employee. I would support designated “delivery truck” parking areas from 8 am-10:30 am Monday-Friday. I support the future commercial development with a parking deck in the city owned lot in the 300 block of South Elm.

Proposed Civil Rights Museum:

I would encourage the donation of the Woolworth’s Building to the City of Greensboro as part of our Historical Museum System. The historical importance of what happened on February 1, 1960 warrants recognition that is inclusive for all of Greensboro. The creation of an entirely new museum veers away from the historical event that took place at the lunch counter and siphons off much needed money to bring this building up to current code. While I support applying for grant money with the National Trust Community Investment Corporation and other private sources, I have to respect the voters’ position in the last bond referendum and not allocate additional city revenues for this project. I do not believe that the museum as proposed will be self supporting and in the future the citizens of Greensboro will be asked on an annual basis for money to sustain this project.

6. ACC Hall of Fame:

I support the ACC Hall of Fame in the downtown area.

7. Let the Citizens Decide:

I believe the FedEx decision is a cause for concern. Global warming, enhanced noise and air pollution outweigh the Fed Ex Hub economic benefits. I will support measures that minimize the potential adverse effects on the community. Furthermore, I believe that the citizens should have had the opportunity to vote on this issue. Economic ventures that would affect the quality of life of the citizens in our community should always be included on a ballot either by governmental action or by the right of citizen petition.

8. Community Investment and Business Incentives:

I support continued placement of our tax money in those financial institutions which give back generously to our community.

I believe financial incentives for private companies are wrong. The Greensboro City Council can be the leader in putting a stop to this practice by passing a resolution calling on our representatives in the US Congress to pass a federal law prohibiting municipal taxpayer money from going to private businesses or individuals. Until this law is passed, we will be forced to continue negotiating with these companies. Small business deserves the same support from the City Council as large companies.

9. What else can we do as a community for our bicentennial celebration?

I propose that each citizen plant a tree or shrubbery. This can be accomplished at very little cost to the taxpayer by instructing the yard and maintenance staff to allow natural growth in designated areas in our parks. At the end of the first or second year the parks and recreation staff or a volunteer group will tag and identify each tree or shrub. At the end of this period our citizens will be given the opportunity to transplant one of the trees or shrubs in their own yards. This will extend the bicentennial celebration for several years and young citizens in our city can use this seedling as a lifetime marker in which they can return as they wish to view its growth. It is basically free and all can participate.

10. What can we do as a community that will promote world peace?

It takes money for Iran to support terrorism and pursue its nuclear ambitions. Your personal divestment in companies that do business with Iran can discourage the president of Iran by increasing the cost of the status quo to his regime. Through divesting in companies that deal with terrorist supporting regimes like Iran, we can make a difference. Upon your request I can provide you with a list of those companies that do business with Iran. We can use our money to help promote peace. We can support terror-free investing and prevent our money from being used against us.

I propose using similar tactics to encourage change in the Darfur region in the Sudan.

11. What can you do as a citizen?

Our responsibility as educated citizens is to think for our selves. Study and discuss the issues. Incorporate your individual thoughts and ideas in government policy by making your thoughts and ideas known to those who seek elective office.

Sidney C. Gray


Roch101 said...


Can you tell us more about what you would support regarding police cameras? Where do you envision these being placed, what will they be focused on and where do you draw the privacy line?

Sidney C. Gray said...

Rock: I would place the cameras with volunteers who are pre-approved by the police department in homes or locations in order to video only gang activity. The cameras shold remain as long as the community wants the cameras and innocent lives are being saved. As we have accepted in our airports in a post 911 world, I am glad to temporarily alter my privacy rights for my "right to life".