"There was little palpable tension between candidates in the forum, though organizers did have to admonish Pickett not to debate other candidates or ask aggressive questions of them."
The passage, while designed to make Thessa Pickett look bad, also points out the problem with the forum: If candidates cannot ask aggressive questions of their opponents then how can voters know the truth?
And so we have it, The event, held at Bethel AME Church, billed as a Quality Community Gathering and Candidate Forum and run by the Rev. Nelson Johnson of the Beloved Community Center, who helped to organize the event, was designed from the beginning to favor Greensboro's incumbents.
While Johnson may say publicly he wants change he wants nothing more than power and lots of it. And being he already has control over Jamal Fox and the rest of Council he's not going to risk loosing control on a political unknown like Thessa Pickett or any of the other outsiders running for Greensboro City Council.
All of these forums are the same. They're all designed in one way or another to favor the incumbents. The truth is never allowed to be brought to the surface and anyone who attempts to do so is out of order. Try harder and the Greensboro Police will escort you out of the building where you'll end up in jail with Zack Methany...
Oh yeah, that's right, Zack didn't go to jail...
You see, our elites are treated differently. And Thessa Pickett, Devin King, Curt Collins, Marc
Ridgill, Dianne Bellamy-Small and Sylvine Hill are not among Greensboro's elites. And unless they suddenly become very wealthy they won't be.
So what are my predictions? And remember: these are only predictions and for the most part I hope I'm wrong.
*Marikay Abuziwater will narrowly hold on to her at large seat.
*The battle between Thessa Pickett and Jamal Fox is too close to call.
*Mike Barber has bought so many votes he hasn't even bothered to run. His efforts to keep the salaries of non profit employees funded by the city secret from the taxpayers paid off well for him.
*Same goes for Nancy Hoffmann. Is she even being challenged?
*Tony Wilkins has no challenger and only votes fiscally conservative because he knows he is assured every spending resolution will pass without his vote-- a smoke screen. After all, there are no conservatives when it comes to spending other people's money and it's time my local conservative friends figured it out.
*Sharon Hightower has the support of Nelson Johnson, the Pulpit Forum, the Simkins PAC and Greensboro developers as she has now done their bidding for 2 years only throwing up MWBA participation as a smoke screen to suck in minority votes the way Tony plays the conservatives.
*Justin Outling wins via the virtue of having more money to buy more yard signs and thus be recognized by more voters who will never recognize his face despite the fact that Mr Outling has to be sued to get him to pay his bills.
*Yvonne Johnson will hold on to her seat as she and her husband Walter know too many dirty secrets about too many of East Greensboro's power brokers to ever be let down by them.
*And sadly, Mayor Nancy Barakat "Grasshopper" Vaughan will keep all us ants down for at least 2 more years as we were too busy fighting among ourselves to ever unite against her.