News is breaking quickly on the corner of Lee and S. Elm streets, which the City of Greensboro wants to develop so badly. Ed Cone reports that high-powered developer Roy Carroll is flying Greensboro Mayor Yvonne Johnson, Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston and Community Foundation president Walker Sanders to Washington to talk to members of Congress about federal stimulus money, while the N&R follows up with possible interest from a Memphis consultant in building a $75 million hotel.
Of course the true anchor of any potential development is Guilford County Schools, which —if the trip goes well —– would get a new headquarters courtesy of the aforementioned stimulus money. Commenters over Cone’s are concerned about Carroll’s influence over elected officials looking at weighing downtown design guidelines— which Carroll has publicly spoken out against. By the same, token Carroll is going in his role as a board member of the Community Foundation, as is Walker Sanders — like he has no influence on elected officials —- so why shouldn’t he fly everyone free?
A couple of questions: How much would design guielines add to the cost of GCS’ new HQ, and why does anyone think a school adminstration building would attract development when the downtown baseball stadium hasn’t done so?Read full article » 1 Comment »
OK, for starters we might be able to see for ourselves if whatever Rielle Hunter had was worth John Edwards’ (tear shedding as I write this) heartache.
Of course we also wondered why aide Andrew Young stepped up and claimed the baby who reportedly is a dead ringer for Edwards. The fact that Young actually did it — and now wants to write a book about it — is a testimony to his own scumminess.
And Edwards wanted to be leader of the free world. The thought makes me shudder.Read full article » 1 Comment »
…Unless the jailed former speaker cooperates with federal prosecutors, that is:
The key to Black’s future rests in his own hands. If he wants out early, then he should cooperate meaningfully. If he doesn’t cooperate, then he can keep marking his calendar until March 2012.
Similarly, any talk of a transfer to a nearby prison should depend on the rules and Black’s behavior. Federal prison authorities have criteria that decide when to grant such a request. If Black meets these criteria, then he should receive consideration. If he does not, then the fact that he has friends in high places should make no difference.
We’re all for mercy, but mercy is not necessary in this case. Jim Black holds the keys to his release or his possible transfer in his own hands. He need only cooperate with prosecutors.
As for the sweetheart deal Black got settlement of his $1 million fine, I totally agree that it makes absolutely no sense. As a general rule, school systems don’t make good property managers. And Wake County Schools says it “didn’t want to get into the landlord business” when asked why it didn’t ask for Black’s Tryon road office, yet the system wants to get into the property brokering business by accepting property Black owns in Matthews.Read full article » No Comments »
I’ve been using the ‘pot of money’ slug all week, but —what can I say —- Triad government keeps finding them all over the place.
This time it’s Guilford County Schools — imagine that —– where Board of Education member Nancy Routh complains about possible elimination of the Public School Capital Building Fund, which provides state money for school construction:
School board member Nancy Routh said, “That has been cut this year, and, of course, when you take the lottery money that’s been cut, that doesn’t leave us any money coming from the state that can be used for capital projects.”
But Guilford County Schools has $123 million in the bank for capital projects as a result of school bonds issued in January and in earlier years, and another $350 million available in the form of voter approved, but not yet issued, school bonds.
OK, I’ve been critical of fellow board member Garth Hebert in the past, no so much for his views but for the way he states them. My problem has always been that Hebert needs to speak more forcefully at board meetings. To his credit, he speaks out in the local media, where his words indeed come across better in print. A perfect example is his views on Gov. Bev Perdue’s tax rally at Smith High School:
“She could have said, ‘Cut the expenses,’” Hebert said. “But everybody’s got their pet project and their pet money. I personally think, cut the expenses, and then after you do that, see what you have to do for revenue. And if you have to cut the schools, cut the schools. We may be crying, but I’ll tell you what, take a look at the total number of dollars, then count state spending on education. We have a $650 million budget.”
I’ll extend thanks to Hebert for clearing my conscience, because I was really having trouble mustering sympathy for the “pain” school systems are suffering in this economy.Read full article » 5 Comments »
High Point City Manager Strib Boynton says the city “tried to do what we could to maintain the jobs in High Point,” but Ciba will still shut down local operations sometime in 2010.Read full article » No Comments »
The N&R says the Greensboro City Council should continue to pursue the White Street landfill issue:
The city could be seen as breaking its word to northeast Greensboro by revisiting the landfill discussion. But which option serves the greater good?
And in attempts to bury this issue in hopes that it will go away, the council only keeps it alive.
It will continue to resurface until it is discussed honestly and completely on the basis of the facts and hard numbers, not myths and misperceptions.
Put all of the facts on the table, and revisit all of the options. Ask everything that needs asking, while there is time, especially the hardest questions.
Agreed. But the N&R says the council keeps the issue alive, when in fact it’s one council member, Mike Barber, who keeps the issue alive. When he’s gone — Barber says he’s not running for anything in the upcoming election —- who’s going to raise the issue? Perhpas Bill Knight —- should he defeat incumbent Yvonne Johnson in the mayor’s race.Read full article » No Comments »
An op-ed in today’s Winston-Salem Journal praises the brainstorm of “some level-headed legislators” known as HB 1050, or NC SAVE$ ENERGY. Note the dollar sign, but only as a warning to hold on to your wallet:
The program would be paid for initially by a small surcharge on utility bills that is projected to total $60 million each year. That money, which could be supplemented from other sources, would be awarded to nonprofit and for-profit contractors on a competitive basis through grants and loans. The contractors would perform services that include weatherizing buildings, installing appliance upgrades, and applying efficiency technology such as timers for lights and thermostats.
Lowering the jobless rate, cutting energy expenses and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions — in yet another low-cost government program!Read full article » No Comments »
We’re talking about a one-mile stretch of trail—-at a cost of $1.85 million — that Greensboro transportation planner Tyler Meyer describes as “a complicated project and it took longer than the city would have liked to deliver.”
Meanwhile, the Rhino’s John Hammer is all over Greensboro’s no-tax increase budget. One sentence sums it up:
It did seem like every time a councilmember asked about an issue they found a pot of money that the city staff was saving in case of an unexpected event.
Yet they constantly complain about not having any money.Read full article » 2 Comments »
Yet the (Federal Railroad Administration) has no estimates how much high-speed rail will ultimately cost, who will ride it, who will pay for it, and whether the benefits can justify the costs. A realistic review shows that high-speed rail will be extremely costly and will add little to American mobility or environmental quality.
…..Upgrading the nearly 400 miles of North Carolina tracks in the FRA plan to run trains at 110 mph would cost taxpayers more than $1.3 billion, or nearly $150 for every North Carolina resident. Subsidizing passenger trains over those routes will cost close to $25 million per year. Yet the average North Carolinian will take a round trip on such trains only once every 27 years.
Full disclosure: I’m taking Amtrak to the QC tomorrow for the first time since, well, I can’t remember. But it was less than 27 years ago.Read full article » No Comments »
The N&R editorializes on Greensboro City Council member Robbie Perkins’ plan to lend the state $30 million to help finish the Outer Loop, calling it a “risky proposition”:
A frank discussion with DOT leaders can’t hurt. Perkins notes, “Other cities in this state are lobbying for stuff all the time, and we’re not aggressive enough.” So maybe it’s time to get Raleigh’s attention.
But a bull can throw its weight around. One risk is that the state begins to demand local funds up front before proceeding with projects. Another is that cities influence DOT priorities by kicking in money, giving advantages to the wealthiest municipalities.
Fair enough, although I kept waiting for our local paper of record to show a little more curiosity as to why the city suddenly has $30 million from previous transportation bond projects lying around, even after voters just approved another $134 million last November. Yet the city cries and complains about not having any money, constantly waxing hopeful about the federal government bailing them out.
In my mind, this is Reason No. 1,324* to vote against bonds.
*OK, I made that number up. But you get the point.Read full article » No Comments »