For me, this is really not a difficult decision.
The Greensboro mayoral race is shaping up to be a contest between George Hartzman, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. The voting records and political profiles for Robbie Perkins and Nancy Vaughan have been virtually indistinguishable over the last several years.
They both have supported the aquatic center and the performing arts center. They both maneuvered to block former Mayor Bill Knight and company when they sought to reopen the White Street Landfill. They both are supporting taxpayer funding of the civil rights museum as it is currently structured.
They both allowed taxes on Greensboro residents to increase when they refrained from adjusting the tax rate downward to compensate for the effect of the property tax revaluation. They have both voted for increases in water rates repeatedly. Each of them has fallen for the idol worship of downtown Greensboro that has commandeered so many tax dollars. Both, as far as I know, have supported taxpayer funding of the downtown greenway.
Both Robbie and Nancy have shamelessly sought the Simkins PAC endorsement repeatedly in the past; and have bowed obsequiously to meet its expectations on various issues. Both are aligned with the liberal Greensboro Partnership/Action Greensboro/Melderec crowd. They tend to support much of what that crowd expects and demands. They are both economic liberals. Their free-spending stance makes it much more difficult to offer Greensboro taxpayers a healthy tax cut. They are both responsible for the fact that our tax rate is much higher than we see in Raleigh, for instance.
We have seen various Republican/"conservative" players locally support both Robbie and Nancy at various times. Nancy started out as a Republican, and then she became unaffiliated. But she has now found her rightful home in the Democratic Party. She is a registered liberal Democrat-- just like her husband Don.
That Robbie Perkins is a Republican is a very apt reminder that being a Republican elected official doesn't really mean anything in particular.
Readers might ask how I could possibly vote for George Hartzman when he is a social liberal. Here is my rationale:
1. Both Robbie Perkins and Nancy Vaughan are flaming social liberals. They both support domestic partner benefits for city employees. They both enthusiastically supported the city council's motion against the state marriage amendment. And they both refused to support software filters on our public library computers to prevent patrons from accessing pornography in full view of minors. Neither of them offer an improvement over George on the social issues.
2. I do not expect that George Hartzman will ever be running for the General Assembly or Congress, where social liberals can do much more damage.
3. George is a strong fiscal conservative. He opposes the funding of frivolous projects that do not represent the core functions of municipal government. He recognizes that the city's spending habits have placed us at a disadvantage from the standpoint of job creation. Neither Robbie nor Nancy, by any stretch of the imagination, are fiscal conservatives.
4. George places much emphasis on ethics for council members. This would be a fairly novel concept for the current Greensboro City Council which operates a spoils system for its political supporters. George strenuously opposes the kind of corrupt machine government we have had for many years in Greensboro. Robbie and Nancy, by contrast, are inevitably part of our corrupt local machine politics-- both with their votes and their alliances.
5. George-- unlike Robbie and Nancy-- will not be a loyal soldier for the Simkins PAC and the Melderec crowd. Robbie and Nancy are both long-serving council members who have been part of the crowd that caused Greensboro's precipitous decline. They are both walking, living, breathing arguments for term limits.
6. A vote for George is a vote to repudiate Robbie and Nancy, and all they represent. George's political stance and platform are much better than theirs, hands down. While it is true that he is a social liberal, he is much better than his opponents on the other issues that matter most.
I will therefore vote for George without hesitation. And if he wins, he will be the best mayor Greensboro has had over the last twenty years, perhaps excepting Bill Knight.