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Archive for January 27th, 2010

Government shell game

It should come as no surprise that Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston tried to strong-arm Mayor Bill Knight and Greensboro City Council members Nancy Vaughan and Danny Thompson on the taxpayer-financed downtown hotel, as Yes!Weekly’s Jordan Green reports. The fact that the council apparently will not make a motion to rescind the bonds might lead people to believe it worked.

I guess the possibility remains open that this deal never goes down. Heaven knows there have been a lot of those in Greensboro, most notably (in my opinion) the original private development of the Canada Dry property next to the Greensboro Coliseum. The city now owns the property, where it sits looking just like it did 10 years ago.

That might sound like I want the project to fail at any cost, but I’m just stating the fact that all this knashing of teeth will be over something that never comes to pass. And who knows where the so-called “federal stimulus bonds” where end up.

Which is why it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. As Meck Deck’s Jeff Taylor wrote about the controversy surrounding the Charlotte police force, this hotel deal is not “some quick gotcha moment.” The city has yearned to develop Lee Street and Elm for years, and they were vulnerable to developers with slick pitches about how to use all that good fed stimulus money. That vulnerability was Bridget Chisholm’s introduction to the market, even if Skip was able to squire her later.

Jeff also talks about “core competencies” of city government, and how we need to know that management of those core competencies are in “competent, judicious hands.” There’s no evidence of that here. The fact that John Hammer evoked ‘Mitch-management’ when describing the situation should scare everyone. I give council member Zack Matheny all credit for asking the right questions, but the bottom line is somebody screwed up somewhere, yet no one is being held accountable, just like always.

But what’s scariest is the way our local government has been rendered helpless, all for the sake of the ‘federal stimulus.’ And that’s what I’m thinking about as I sit here and listen to President Obama pitching his government shell game.

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Crazy sluts and Buddhist monks

Oh yeah, there’s another book coming out about John Edwards’ rather complicated personal life:

According to Young, Hunter called him in May 2007 to say she was pregnant. Young says that when he informed Edwards, the senator told him to “handle it,” to which he replied: “I can’t handle this one.” Young writes that Edward unloaded on Hunter as a “crazy slut,” said they had an “open relationship,” and put his paternity chances at “one in three.” Young says that Edwards asked him for help persuading Hunter to have an abortion. Young writes that Hunter believed the baby to be “some kind of golden child, the reincarnated spirit of a Buddhist monk who was going to help save the world.”

Don’t get me wrong —- part of my pro-life stance is the belief that any child, no matter the circumstances into which they were born, can grow up and make positive change in the world.

But the ‘reincarnated spirit of Buddhist monk?’

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G’boro budget: Something’s gotta give

Certainly Greensboro’s not the only city facing a huge budget deficit. But fortunately for us, we’ve elected a mayor and a new City Council who’ve promised to go over the budget with a fine-toothed comb and eliminate waste.

No, you didn’t miss the slight tone of sarcasm there. But let’s see what Mayor Bill Knight and the council can do, especially since they’re now supposedly wise to city staff’s shenanigans. It’s still not going to be easy, because —-you guessed it —– City Manager Rashad Young doesn’t want to cut services or lay off employees. So something’s gotta give.

As for the downtown hotel mess, I strongly suggest that the council not wait for other parties to squelch the deal. If indeed they were misled to the point where Assistant City Manager Andy Scott offered up his resignation, then someone needs to step up and make a motion to rescind the bonds.

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Yippee —Palin’s no longer No.1

‘Game Change’ —- with its tawdry details of North Carolina’s disgraced former senator John Edwards —–will debut on this week’s NYT bestseller list at the No.1 spot.

palin

‘Game Change’ replaces Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Committed,’ which replaced Sarah Palin’s ‘Going Rogue’ last week.

The Times seemed all too happy about that, managing to get in a little dig on Palin’s intellect by suggesting she’s not as well-read as one of the entertainment industry’s brilliant minds:

Is Palin the only woman in America who hasn’t read “Eat, Pray, Love” — or just isn’t talking about it? Quite possibly. A British edition of the book comes emblazoned with an endorsement from no less than Britney Spears, who said: “It’s a good read. I can’t get away from it.”

If the Times is going to jab at Palin like this, the least they could do is review her book.

Update: Oops.

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Warning— economic stimulius might cause dirty air

High Point-area transportation officials met yesterday and determined that construction of the new I-85 bridge over the Yadkin River —if it gets fed stimulus funding —– won’t violate air quality standards.

Maybe it’s me, but the fact that they even had that conversation shows how screwed up things are right now.

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