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‘What Have You Done for Me Lately?’

‘What Have You Done for Me Lately?’
February 11
00:00 2013

Those of you who are still election weary from last year may not be pleased that another round of contests will be decided this year.

Unfortunately, many don’t hold municipal elections in the same high regard as presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial ones. Lawmakers in Raleigh and Washington have the name recognition and spotlight, but when your trash isn’t being picked up and crime infects your street, it is City Hall that you turn to, not Capitol Hill.

All nine members of the City Council are up for reelection this year. Mayor Allen Joines formally announced Tuesday that he plans to seek a fourth term. Many of the other members of the Council have said informally that they too will run again. District I residents will also get their chance to pick former School Board Member Geneva Brown’s successor.

Don’t take these contests lightly.

Winston-Salem is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The men and women elected will lay down the foundation for the next 100 years. They will decide if the sun will shine on all of Winston-Salem or just parts of it. They will influence whether or not we have a police department that embraces racial profiling tactics such as targeted traffic checkpoints; they will determine if racial diversity and inclusion are truly city values or mere lip service.

Some elected officials have been in office for so long that residents vote for them simply out of habit and nothing more. How about thinking long and hard this go-round before making your choices? Ask yourself whether or not the candidate’s pretty words and promises have actually translated into something feasible. Take a critical look around your community and the city. Has anything changed in the last four years? Has the much-used word “Change” truly come to Winston-Salem?

In the months to come, there will be forums, town-halls and the like, all aimed at giving candidates an opportunity to win over voters. Use these occasions to ask the tough questions.

Long before the whole Super Bowl Nipple-Gate fiasco, Janet Jackson musically posed this question to her languid lover: “What have you done for me lately?”

That’s what you need to ask those whom you have supported in the past. If they don’t have an answer, even if they stall, you should give someone else a chance.

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