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Archive for December, 2009

How’d that therapy work out?

I don’t mean to make light of the fact that the son of former Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Barker apparently was soliciting the company of 13-year-old girls over the Internet.

But I can’t help but note that after his uh, strange shooting incident back in 1999, a judge had placed Brian Barker under psychiatric care.

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Re: Motion to move Eve Carson trial

I’m just now catching up with Demario Atwater’s request request to have his trial for the murder of UNC student Eve Carson moved out of state.

In the motion, Atwater’s attorneys argue that reader comments in Winston-Salem Journal coverage “continue to reveal a deep seated sentiment of hatred and bigotry in Winston-Salem, the seat of the upcoming trial in the Middle District of North Carolina.”

Bonus observation: I think they should hold the trial right there in Chapel Hill where — as everyone knows —- there is absolutely no trace of hatred and bigotry.

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Skip Alston’s in on the luxury hotel action

Speak of the devil, the N&R reports that the site for proposed taxpayer-funded downtown luxury hotel might shift, according to Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston, “who is the real estate broker for the project.”

Maybe I’ve missed it, but this is the first time I’ve heard Skip’s name associated with this project, although it makes sense because Bridget Chisholm is herself a former county commissioner and property developer.

After I praised the N&R for its somewhat skeptical view of the project, editorial page editor Allen Johnson says if if the site shifts from Lee and S. Elm, it would “an added bonus” is the project would still include the Ole Asheboro Neighborhood Association as a partner.

I’m confused —- if the N&R’s skepticism is based the ability to provide a sound business plan, then having a neighborhood association partnering in this deal would not be a bonus.

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This is economic development?

Yesterday’s N&R Sunday editorial expressed a fair amount of skepticism over the next boodoggle coming before the Greensboro City Council —- the proposed taxpayer-funded hotel on the corner of S. Elm and Lee streets, although the paper concludes that “if supporters of this project can present a plan that clearly benefits all parties, it may deserve the endorsement of city and county leaders.”

In my ongoing effort to be fair and balanced, I’ll also note the the N&R expressed support for the controversial College Hill development that would put a 750-unit student housing complex on the site of the former Newman Machine Co. Meanwhile, the Rhino’s John Hammer calls out the City Council, saying if it’s truly concerned about economic development, then they’ll lean on the Zoning Commission, which denied the rezoning request.

Hammer also makes the point about ‘infill development’ that I’ve been making for some time now.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Terrorist tries to blow up plane –N&R, A7

N&R editor John Robinson explains the decision —-made by national editor Janet Reddick —– to run Farouk Abdulmutallab’s attempted terrorist strike on A7 of the Dec. 26 edition.

Honestly, I understand Robinson’s defense that the news was all over the TV and the Internet. But —- those who know me will find this hard to believe —– since it was Christmas I abstained from both the television and the computer in order to pause and reflect on the true meaning of the holiday. My first exposure news was the nest day’s N&R print edition, and I nearly flipped passed it since it was buried inside. It’s only been since I’ve returned to the tube and the computer that I’ve realized what a big story this is.

And, to a degree, I also understand Reddick’s decision, as she explained it:

we truly are a local paper, we still don’t have any local connections, it hadn’t raised the terror alert level, no one was hurt, and we had it on the front in quick read.

And yesterday I was the local/national editor, and the local editor in me won out, with the local stories truly affecting peoples lives more …….

That would be a good defense if only the N&R truly did cover local news adequately.

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What’s up with GCS’ MWBE coordinator?

Let’s see —-Guilford County Schools MWBE coordinator Todd Baldwin allegedly solicits funds for the Aspire Foundation from contractors submitting bids for schools, resigns from the foundation’s board after a meeting with Superintendent Mo Green, who later suspends him and announces it a mere two weeks later when contractors storm the school board meeting.

What’s up with that?

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If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry

Hilarious letter to the editor in today’s N&R from a constituent trying to contact Sen. Kay Hagan about the Senate’s sleazy healthcare bill:

Since the absurdity of health care reform began, I’ve sent more than 20 e-mails to her office, which are always answered by form letter e-mail. I realized I was being ignored. I asked if my dog’s veterinary medicine and treatments would be covered and got the same answer as serious questions. She has apparently become a pure partisan who does as instructed.

I spent a good portion of yesterday reading Amity Shlaes’ The Forgotten Man. It’s downright eerie how we’re walking down the exact same path that led us into the Great Depression —- government doing the exact opposite of what it should be doing to turn the economy around. President Obama is a regular Herbert Hoover.

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Kotis, Carroll, and Perkins — yet another mess

Shout out to Triad Watch for exposing Greensboro City Council member Robbie Perkins’ text messages to high-powered developer Roy Carroll during council discussion of a lawsuit between Carroll and fellow high-powered developer Marty Kotis. I watched the discussion with interest, so I’ll weigh in.

Let’s start with the first question —- which council member Trudy Wade raised —- which is why the city is involved in this matter. The city is a co-defendant in Kotis’ lawsuit against Carroll over the so-called spite strip running along the developers’ adjoining property. Kotis claims spite strips violate city ordinances as is suing the city in order force them to enforce the ordinance.

The proposed sewer line —which brought the lawsuit to the attention of the council — is a separate but related matter. The city annexed Carroll’s property and, under state law, has two years to run a sewer line through an easement that runs through Kotis’ property. For some reason —perhaps related to negotiations with Kotis over the easement — the city has dragged its heels in running the sewer line —- a common problem for property owners after they’re annexed —- and now faces a six-month deadline under threat of a possible legal action by —you guessed it —–Roy Carroll.

But here’s the twist —- Kotis attorney Chuck Winfree told the council that they had no problem with the easement —- again, they’ve been negotiating with the city for a while —– and offered up a deal whereupon Kotis would let the city have the easement at no cost if the city would make Carroll’s spike strip “go away,” as he phrased it. Problem is the city just can’t go in and seize or condemn Carroll’s land because they have no use for it.

The matter was tabled until the Jan. 5 meeting, with the hope that both Kotis and Carroll will sign off on an agreement not to sue the city for failing to run the sewer line while Kotis’ lawsuit runs its legal course. Yet the city will remain a defendant in Kotis’ lawsuit until it adequately explains why it is not enforcing the ordinance against spite strips.

Just another mess in which city government all too often finds itself. Should be a surprise that Perkins —with Blackberry in hand — is in the middle of it all?

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Hagan defends the indefensible

Sen. Kay Hagan offers up her lame defense of Harry Reid’s sleazy tactics to secure votes for the healthcare bill, saying ” it was very important to our country in order to move forward with that legislation.”

Yeah, let’s talk about Harry Reid, who could be heard laughing and snickering as Senate Republicans gave their speeches on the floor during the bizarre 1a.m. test vote, then warns everyone else to tone down the political rhetoric because it’s the holidays. This is the guy our senator has decided to blindly follow, and I think it represents a sad state of affairs for North Carolina.

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Meanwhile, down Interstate 40

The City of Winston-Salem will use federal recovery zone bonds to get this —– renovate playgrounds and resurface city streets. Needless to say this is stuff the city should do anyway, but they’ve been to concerned with Billy Prim’s big playground off Peters Creek Parkway.

City finance director Denise Bell says “it’s a good deal for the city.” Okay, time for me to take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard.

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