T. Dianne Bellamy-Small
Greensboro City Council District Three

Mailing Address:
3211 Delmonte Drive
Greensboro, NC 27406
Phone: 336-373-2286
Email: Bellamy.small@greensboro-nc.gov
Campaign website: www.bellamysmallforcouncil.com

Question One. Economic studies have concluded that those metropolitan areas most welcoming, inclusive and supportive of their LGBT communities are more likely to attract and retain dynamic, high-paying business and young professionals. With this in mind, if you are elected would you seek to continue a commitment toward building Greensboro’s economic climate and influence by further supporting and welcoming LGBT citizens in our communities, and how would you do that?

I welcome and support inclusion of all citizens in our communities. Discrimination of any type is harmful to the positive growth of any community. With the hiring of our new human relations director, I feel the city will be on course to advocate for all citizens in Greensboro.

Question Two. During the past year, the issue of domestic partner benefits for same-sex partners of city employees has been a hot-button issue and one much debated over by those involved in city politics. If elected to your post in the Council/as Mayor, how would you seek to protect these benefits for working class LGBT couples?

My position has been that the policy of partner benefits not be for same sex partners only, but consider other domestic situations where the need for such benefits are requested.

Question Three. Currently, Greensboro city code prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Do you support expanding the city codes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender-identity? Do you support expanding these city codes to apply also to businesses with which the city contracts services?

The city’s current policies I believe are fair and well within state and federal law. Because of our MWBE program, the city consistently monitors any discrimination if a business is doing business with the city.

Question Four. Some citizens believe that Greensboro has become a place unwelcoming of and non-inclusive to minority citizens, such as those persons of minority races and ethnicities. How would you propose to address citizens concerns over the state of our city’s reputation for racial divisiveness and what steps would you take toward beginning to heal what many may still see as an open wound?

I have lived in the Triad all of my life and in Greensboro for almost 32 years. Greensboro is still dealing with its Southerness but it is not extreme in how it deals with diversity. Many people from other countries and all races live in Greensboro. The fact that Greensboro supports a commission on the status of women and a human relations department demonstrates some effort to deal with citizen discord. I feel we need to establish a more functional police review board. The Council needs to address fairly the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. The new Council with Administrative staff should go through undo racism soon after being elected.

Question Five. Would you support creating a domestic partner registry in the City of Greensboro, similar to those in effect in Chapel Hill and Carrboro that would give citizens legal recognition of their relationship for the purposes of housing, local taxes and other city services?

I do not feel this is necessary. I think that any citizens who feel they need to legalize their partnerships can do so through other legal means. I encourage any partners who are committed to establish appropriate legal paperwork needs for their personal needs and to be legally recognized in any areas needed.

_______________________________________

NOTE: All responses are un-edited and exact to the original words and responses from each candidate.

The Reverend Joe Venable, an At-Large candidate for the Greensboro City Council, sent me a letter in the past few days. Now that I have regular access to the internet at my new apartment, I’ve finally been able to get around to posting not only this information but other recent received questionnaire responses from other candidates, as well (see Greensboro LGBT Vote 2007 for more).

Rev. Venable’s letter notes that he feels it is in his best interest if he does not respond to my LGBT Issues Questionnaire. Although I do disagree with Rev. Venable regarding his views of sexual orientation, I do immensely respect the way in which he chose to respond, being respectful, honest, compassionate and straight-forward. This is definitely what I look for in a leader, even if I do disagree with him on one or two points.

His letter to me:

Rev. Joe Venable
1419 Rock Spring Street
Greensboro, NC 27405

Dear Matt,

After studying your questionnaire long and hard, I have decided that answering your questions would not reveal my feelings in a positive manner. Therefore, I feel the best way to answer you is with the following statement:

Though I believe homosexuality is morally wrong, homosexuality is not my fight. I am concerned with people who are homeless, hungry and without proper medical care, including those who have problems with prescriptions being filled.

If you fall into one of these categories, LGBT or not, you become part of my fight. I don’t like discrimination in any form, but I prefer (sic) not to champion the cause for gay rights.

Thank you for contacting me.

Shalom,

Joe Venable

I think the point I disagree with most in his letter is his belief that homosexuality is “morally wrong.” I think I could have some good dialogue with him on that point. Although we both could walk away from that (and most likely would walk away from it) holding the same views as before, it would still be a chance for both of us to understand either side just a bit better.

I do appreciate his words regarding equal treatment (I guess, as equal as he could be considering he thinks I really am not worthy of all equal rights) for LGBT people. Venable says, “I am concerned with people who are homeless, hungry and without proper medical care, including those who have problems with prescriptions being filled. If you fall into one of these categories, LGBT or not, you become part of my fight. I don’t like discrimination in any form, but I prefer (sic) not to champion the cause for gay rights.”

I appreciate that. I also disagree with him, but I do appreciate his letter.

It is too bad he couldn’t answer the questions though. This is just one less candidate for which citizens will have some accurate information on the issues.

We do have one bit of information for Rev. Venable, however. He answered conservative blogger Joe Guarino’s questionnaire. In response to the question on support for same-sex domestic partner benefits, Rev. Venable said he was not in favor.

Sidney C. Gray
Greensboro City Council At-Large

Mailing Address:
4224 Starmount Drive
Greensboro, NC 27410
Phone: 336-275-0602
Email:asidneyz@yahoo.com
Campaign website: sidneygray.blogspot.com

Question One. Economic studies have concluded that those metropolitan areas most welcoming, inclusive and supportive of their LGBT communities are more likely to attract and retain dynamic, high-paying business and young professionals. With this in mind, if you are elected would you seek to continue a commitment toward building Greensboro’s economic climate and influence by further supporting and welcoming LGBT citizens in our communities, and how would you do that?

I would like to see some more information as to your premise. I am not sure if there is a direct link to your premise and the LGBT community. I think that business and young professionals in general would be attracted to areas that are tolerant and welcoming to a diverse group of people. I support the non discriminatory policy that is currently in place as the tool that welcomes people to our city.

Question Two. During the past year, the issue of domestic partner benefits for same-sex partners of city employees has been a hot-button issue and one much debated over by those involved in city politics. If elected to your post in the Council/as Mayor, how would you seek to protect these benefits for working class LGBT couples?

We are a country of laws and I support the laws that are in place as a means of protecting the rights and benefits of all our citizens.

Question Three. Currently, Greensboro city code prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Do you support expanding the city codes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender-identity? Do you support expanding these city codes to apply also to businesses with which the city contracts services?

I feel that all jobs and city contracts should be awarded to the most qualified person or business. I do not believe in awarding contracts or giving preferential treatment to anyone based on the color of their skin, sexual orientation, gender or religion. It should be on merit only. Until we can become a non discriminatory society , I recommend that all applicants for jobs or bids for contracts be assigned a number with no reference to race, religion, sexual identity or gender.

Question Four. Some citizens believe that Greensboro has become a place unwelcoming of and non-inclusive to minority citizens, such as those persons of minority races and ethnicities. How would you propose to address citizens concerns over the state of our city’s reputation for racial divisiveness and what steps would you take toward beginning to heal what many may still see as an open wound?

I think you need to be more specific in your question. I suspect that you can find “some” citizens who believe in a multitude of things. I do believe that we need to have continuous dialogue among all our citizens. The best way that we can create a society that is based on one’s individual merit and not skin color is to begin to set a timetable that ends preferential treatment to one group based on his or her skin color. I believe that respect has to be earned and cannot be awarded by belonging to one group or another. Preferential treatment only aggravates existing myths.

Question Five. Would you support creating a domestic partner registry in the City of Greensboro, similar to those in effect in Chapel Hill and Carrboro that would give citizens legal recognition of their relationship for the purposes of housing, local taxes and other city services?

I am not familiar with Chapel Hill or Carrboro’s domestic partner registry. In general I would not be in favor of a “black book” that lists certain groups of people. I think this is very dangerous and discriminatory to those persons.

_______________________________________

NOTE: All responses are un-edited and exact to the original words and responses from each candidate.

Yvonne J. Johnson
Greensboro Mayor

Mailing Address:
4311 King Arthur Place
Greensboro, NC 27405
Phone: 336-275-5285
Email: yjohnson@onestopfurther.com
Campaign website: www.yvonnejohnsonformayor.com

Question One. Economic studies have concluded that those metropolitan areas most welcoming, inclusive and supportive of their LGBT communities are more likely to attract and retain dynamic, high-paying business and young professionals. With this in mind, if you are elected would you seek to continue a commitment toward building Greensboro’s economic climate and influence by further supporting and welcoming LGBT citizens in our communities, and how would you do that?

Absolutely! By being more inclusive, placing more LGBT on boards and commissions. To make sure LGBT are represented on special task force that are appointed by council.

Also making government business friendly so that if clubs or other facilities are on the drawing board that cater to LGBT, government should be helpful and cooperative.

Question Two. During the past year, the issue of domestic partner benefits for same-sex partners of city employees has been a hot-button issue and one much debated over by those involved in city politics. If elected to your post in the Council/as Mayor, how would you seek to protect these benefits for working class LGBT couples?

I supported benefits for same sex partner, and will continue my support. There has not been a lot of discussion or controversy by council members when this was introduced. Personally, I support benefits for all employees.

Question Three. Currently, Greensboro city code prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Do you support expanding the city codes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender-identity? Do you support expanding these city codes to apply also to businesses with which the city contracts services?

Yes to all questions.

Question Four. Some citizens believe that Greensboro has become a place unwelcoming of and non-inclusive to minority citizens, such as those persons of minority races and ethnicities. How would you propose to address citizens concerns over the state of our city’s reputation for racial divisiveness and what steps would you take toward beginning to heal what many may still see as an open wound?

I plan to use our colleges and universities to establish think tanks focusing on this issue. Using diverse students (including many ethic (sic) groups as well as LGBT) have a town hall meeting to discuss outcome and put in place plans to address the issue of social capital. Also including many people to may races and sexual preference on boards, commissions & special task forces.

Question Five. Would you support creating a domestic partner registry in the City of Greensboro, similar to those in effect in Chapel Hill and Carrboro that would give citizens legal recognition of their relationship for the purposes of housing, local taxes and other city services?

Yes.

_______________________________________

NOTE: All responses are un-edited and exact to the original words and responses from each candidate.

Another Greensboro City council candidate responds to conservative blogger Joe Guarino’s questionnaire. In responding to his question on domestic partner benefits, the Trudy Wade of District Five, keeps it short and sweet:

7. Do you support same-sex domestic partner benefits for city employees? No.

Wow… I think that is among the shortest answers I’ve seen.

Too bad she wasn’t willing to expand her thoughts a bit. Her maybe, future constituents deserve to know why she says “No,” not just that she says “No.”

Previous Posts: Greensboro 2007 Elections & the Domestic Partner Issue

Donna Reichmann
Greensboro City Council At-Large

Mailing Address:
5707 Kacey Meadows Drive
Greensboro, NC 27410
Phone: 336-632-4475
Email:Youcanleadtoo@aol.com
Campaign website: www.donnariechmann.com

Question One. Economic studies have concluded that those metropolitan areas most welcoming, inclusive and supportive of their LGBT communities are more likely to attract and retain dynamic, high-paying business and young professionals. With this in mind, if you are elected would you seek to continue a commitment toward building Greensboro’s economic climate and influence by further supporting and welcoming LGBT citizens in our communities, and how would you do that?

Greensboro needs to attract and retain dynamic, educated, successful young business professionals regardless of gender or sexual orientation. I believe we need to have a welcoming and inclusive environment, as well as a positive economic climate, to do that. I support fairness and equity in every regard. My sense is that Greensboro is pretty welcoming already and one of the reasons I chose to live here is because of tolerance for difference. Are we there yet? No, but I want to reach out to everyone (my motto is “A Voice for ALL the people) through community forums, and I support policies and actions that ensure equal chances for all.

Question Two. During the past year, the issue of domestic partner benefits for same-sex partners of city employees has been a hot-button issue and one much debated over by those involved in city politics. If elected to your post in the Council/as Mayor, how would you seek to protect these benefits for working class LGBT couples?

As a first-time candidate, I do not know the city policy on this and was unable to find it online. Philosophically, I support domestic partner benefits for same-sex partners, but I would have to thoroughly understand the economic impact and the policies currently in place before taking a stance.

Question Three. Currently, Greensboro city code prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Do you support expanding the city codes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender-identity? Do you support expanding these city codes to apply also to businesses with which the city contracts services?

I am pleased that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited. There

are a number of cities and states where this is not the case. In the context of civil rights,

we should not discriminate in employment based on gender-identity. As long as a person is qualified and can do the job, that’s what counts. If these codes come up for review, I am open to exploring the options.

Question Four. Some citizens believe that Greensboro has become a place unwelcoming of and non-inclusive to minority citizens, such as those persons of minority races and ethnicities. How would you propose to address citizens concerns over the state of our city’s reputation for racial divisiveness and what steps would you take toward beginning to heal what many may still see as an open wound?

We have a mixed history on race relations and inclusiveness of minorities. Of course, this is an issue in much of the US, but we have to solve it on a local level. We have to PRACTICE including all the people of Greensboro, in our schools, our government, our companies, our non-profits, etc. The mix is changing; we now have almost 100 languages in our schools, and as a city we need to embrace that reality. I support having a dialogue about this and the City Council taking a lead in opening that dialogue. When people feel that they are heard and they can be part of the solution, we will make progress.

Question Five. Would you support creating a domestic partner registry in the City of Greensboro, similar to those in effect in Chapel Hill and Carrboro that would give citizens legal recognition of their relationship for the purposes of housing, local taxes and other city services?

I lived in Chapel Hill for several years and this seemed to be a non-issue. If “domestic partner registry” is the equivalent of a civil union, I support it in the context of equal rights for all. I would have to understand the economic impact on the city before supporting the legal recognition, because City Council members have a fiduciary responsibility as well.

_______________________________________

NOTE: All responses are un-edited and exact to the original words and responses from each candidate.

1

Candidate Matheny on domestic partner benefits

In the continuing saga (past posts) of conservative Greensboro blogger Joe Guarino’s City Council candidate questionnaire, District 3 candidate Zack Matheny responds to Guarino’s question on domestic partner benefits in the City of Greensboro:

7. Do you support same-sex domestic partner benefits for city employees?
This is an issue that was already decided and amended in the City’s Policy dated January 1, 2007. Yes. I support same-sex domestic partner benefits in that our city should model the non-discriminatory behavior of many large and small companies. In today’s world, Greensboro needs to act like the big business we are, and a lot of companies, to offer benefits that do not discriminate to ensure we hire that best possible candidates.

Joe Guarino’s response is hilarious:

He supports same-sex domestic partner benefits, suggesting it would be discriminatory if we did not do so. He says we should emulate various private employers in this regard. Many Greensboro residents likely do not feel that the city was discriminating prior to the recent implementation of its new policy.

Not many people thought the city was discriminating?

How many times have we heard that throughout the history of America?

Not many people thought slavery was discrimination either. Not many people thought Jim Crow laws were discrimnation. In 1967, when the Supreme Court knowcked down inter-racial marriage laws, 70% of the American Public still thought the laws were appropriate and “not discrimination.” Almost 40 years after the landmark Loving v. Virginia decision, almost 40% of the American public continued to think bans on inter-racial marriage were perfectly fine and “not discrimination.”

Guarino’s idea of what is or is not discrimination is, sadly, way off-base. He needs a reality check and, perhaps, a history lesson.

I believe Matheny has said he will fill out my LGBT Issues Questionnaire. We’ll get a better response on these issues from that.

Previous Posts: Greensboro 2007 Elections & the Domestic Partner Issue

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Joel Landau
Greensboro City Council At-Large

Mailing Address:
6 Collwood Ct.
Greensboro, NC 27409
Phone: 336-854-2728
Email:JandBLandau@bellsouth.net
Campaign website: www.JoelLandau.com

Question One. Economic studies have concluded that those metropolitan areas most welcoming, inclusive and supportive of their LGBT communities are more likely to attract and retain dynamic, high-paying business and young professionals. With this in mind, if you are elected would you seek to continue a commitment toward building Greensboro’s economic climate and influence by further supporting and welcoming LGBT citizens in our communities, and how would you do that?

Yes I would support and welcome LGBT citizens. I would do this by affirming and insisting on tolerance in City government in all areas, including sexual orientation. I would encourage Churches and other private institutions to be welcoming and supportive of LGBT citizens. I would continue to attend LGBT events. Beyond this I would seek input and listen to members of the LGBT community. I welcome and would appreciate your thoughts on any of the issues raised in this questionnaire.

Question Two. During the past year, the issue of domestic partner benefits for same-sex partners of city employees has been a hot-button issue and one much debated over by those involved in city politics. If elected to your post in the Council/as Mayor, how would you seek to protect these benefits for working class LGBT couples?

I would affirm current City policy of providing domestic partner benefits. Providing domestic partner benefits was an issue during the 2005 campaign, and I supported it. I would gladly follow-up on any claims of non-compliance. As with question one, I would work to promote tolerance and support in the greater community

I think the best way to protect these benefits would be to elect progressive candidates such as myself to a majority on the City Council.

Question Three. Currently, Greensboro city code prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Do you support expanding the city codes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender-identity? Do you support expanding these city codes to apply also to businesses with which the city contracts services?

Yes, I support removing employment discrimination on any basis.

Yes, I support extending these city codes to City contractors. This would avoid the possibility of someone in City government using out-sourcing to a contractor as a way to avoid equal employment treatment.

Question Four. Some citizens believe that Greensboro has become a place unwelcoming of and non-inclusive to minority citizens, such as those persons of minority races and ethnicities. How would you propose to address citizens concerns over the state of our city’s reputation for racial divisiveness and what steps would you take toward beginning to heal what many may still see as an open wound?

The grievances of any group need to be listened to and addressed by City government, and I will do so. In the past 2 years I have sought and received input from people all over town, learning about the issues of concern to them. Once elected I will continue to listen and will do my best to bring people together, foster dialogue, and see that everyone is represented and heard. This is one of my main motivations for running.

I’ve been an active supporter of the Truth and Reconciliation Process. During the 2005 election campaign I called on City government to embrace the process, and have continued to do so. The first step in healing is often simple acknowledgment of someone’s complaint. Then we need to effectively respond.

Question Five. Would you support creating a domestic partner registry in the City of Greensboro, similar to those in effect in Chapel Hill and Carrboro that would give citizens legal recognition of their relationship for the purposes of housing, local taxes and other city services?

This sounds appealing to me, but frankly it’s the first I’ve heard of a domestic partner registry. I’d like more information on the specific criteria and ramifications. I’d appreciate any more info you could send me.

_______________________________________

NOTE: All responses are un-edited and exact to the original words and responses from each candidate.

3

Candidate declines LGBT questionnaire

I received an email today from City Council candidate Kevin Green, who is running for an At-Large position:

Thank you for the email regarding the questionnaire you are sending to all the candidates for this year’s elections. I commend your advocacy efforts on behalf of the LGBT community but I am going to have to respectfully decline from this process. I am a first time candidate and am trying to learn the ropes as I go along, all the time working a full time job, it is not an easy task! I have decided to participate in as many different forums and questionnaires as possible but at the same time I needed to be careful to not spread myself too thin.
With that in mind I will be answering the Gary Palmer/Replacements PAC questionnaire, which I hope will answer some or all your concerns on the issues effecting the LGBT community. Again, I applaud your efforts and hope you understand my stance of trying to cover as many of the issues as possible.

Of course, I’m disappointed he has declined, but I do understand the ‘spreading himself too thin’ position he’s in. At the same time, however, I know that my questionnaire would have provided the community a better way to see where he actually stands.

If the Replacements, Ltd. PAC does as it did the last time they put out a voter guide, they will release their results, in terms of their scoring and ranking of each candidate. My questionnaire would have been published in its entirety, allowing the community to actually read the words written down by each candidate.

I’ll contact Gary Palmer at Replacements to see if I can get a copy of Mr. Green’s returned questionnaire when he fills it out.

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So far I’ve posted four stories highlighting answers to a question on domestic partner benefits included in a candidate questionnaire distributed by conservative Greensboro blogger Joe Guarino. So far, I’ve reported on nine of the candidates’ responses.

Two more, Sandy Carmany and T. Dianne Bellamy-Small, both incumbents, have responded.

CarmanySandy Carmany (full responses):

7. Do you support same-sex domestic partner benefits for city employees?

No, and I do not support the provision of benefits to city employees’ domestic partners of the OPPOSITE gender either. The continued yearly growth in the cost to provide health insurance and other benefits for employees is one of the main factors forcing continued increases in the city budget. Those expensive benefits should be available only to those persons who have a legally recognized relationship with the employee in an effort to limit expenditures of city tax dollars.

Bellamy-SmallT. Dianne Bellamy-Small (full responses):

7. Do you support same-sex domestic partner benefits for City employees? Yes, if it is offered to others who have dependent needs like siblings, child with elderly parent, etc.

Carmany has agreed to take a look at my LGBT Issues questionnaire. I hope that her answers in my questionnaire will be more telling of her stance on LGBT equality and other issues important to LGBT citizens in Greensboro.

I’m disappointed in Carmany’s answer and have a sense that perhaps she doesn’t understand the full situation as it regards same-sex couples and the current legal state in which they find their relationships, families and lives. Opposite-sex couples always have the option of getting married and receiving important benefits in order to take care of their families and children. Same-sex couples never have this option in North Carolina. In order for these couples to receive these important health and economic benefits to take care of themselves and their children, the City of Greensboro needs to offer the domestic partner benefits.

This is a simple issue, really… One about building a community that is strong and healthy and allowing all Greensboro families to take care of each other, their children and the health and future well-being of their lives and, in turn, the greater community. When families are strong, communities are strong.

Previous Posts: Greensboro 2007 Elections & the Domestic Partner Issue

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