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Archive for October, 2010

The circus is officially in town

The state NAACP is distributing a flier describing six current members of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth Board of Education as “new segregationists.” Board member Jeanie Metcalf is specifically compared to the late Alabama Governor George Wallace, who was known as the “Old Segregationist.”

Just so happens the flier accompanied a news release announcing the Rev. William Barber would be in Winston-Salem today for a rally sponsored by CHANGE.

If they’re not already, Winston-Salem residents should be aware this is a crucial election to decide who will be controlling their school system.

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N&R endorses Guilford sales tax hike

Today’s N&R lead editorial:

Asking for people to vote for higher taxes, especially in this economy, is like trying to sell beach towels at the North Pole.

Voters said no to a sales tax increase twice in 2008. But the proposed county quarter-cent sales tax is back and will appear on Tuesday’s ballot for the third time in two years.

It’s as tough a sell now as it was in 2008 — maybe even tougher — but it’s a good idea all the same.

The tax is needed to help pay debt obligations, approved by county voters, for more than $650 million in bond projects. Those projects include parks, school construction, expansion at GTCC and the new Guilford County jail.

They are all worthy expenditures. (And, incidentally, the county posted the projected tax increases each bond item would incur, if passed, on its website, before the 2008 election.) But they’ve been bought on credit. The bills are beginning to come due.

All I know is I’ve seen plenty of the ‘Quarter-Cent Makes Sense’ signs in public places, but not one in anybody’s yard.

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Mitch management, alive and well

Funny that I mention former Greensboro City Manager Mitchell Johnson just as the Rhino’s John Hammer writes that the new downtown ice rink— scheduled for a grand opening next month— is a prime example of “Mitch-management”:

None of the members of the Greensboro City Council contacted on Monday, Oct. 25 were aware that the city was going to fund an ice rink in the downtown this winter. In fact, at the Oct. 5 City Council meeting, Councilmember Zack Matheny specifically asked about the proposed temporary ice rink and was told that it would have to come back before the council before anything was done.

The next thing most councilmembers knew, some nosy reporter was calling them up asking them where the money was coming from to fund an ice rink in Festival Park.

Mayor Bill Knight, when asked if he knew about it, said, “I’m not sure. I knew something was coming up and I certainly support it as a private effort.”

Current City Manager Rashad Youbng told council member that if he could find $43,000 for the ice rink in an $18 million parks and rec budget, then he wasn’t doing his job. That’s indeed what city managers do, produce money when apparently there’s no money to be had.

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No surprise —HPE endorses Davis

No surprise that the High Point Enterprise endorses hometown boy Bruce Davis for the state Senate District 28 seat:

Davis is our choice in the Senate 28 race, not the least of reasons being his High Point address. Make no mistake, Davis is still a Democrat and will side on some issues with the party when we’d rather he not (and we will tell him so). But Davis can be the strong voice from High Point that has not echoed across the floor of the state Senate in nearly 20 years.

No mention of Davis’ tax issues. Meanwhile on the Congressional front, the N&R goes for Brad Miller in the 13th, Mel Watt (unposted) in the 12th and Howard Coble in the 6th.

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‘New day in G’boro law enforcement’

I noticed that both N&R editor John Robinson editorial writer Doug Clark bestowed praise upon the Greensboro Police Department under the leadership of new chief Ken Miller, with Clark pronouncing “a new day in law enforcement” here in the Gate City.

I also got that feeling as I watched Miller’s press conference announcing arrests in the murder of 7-year-old Malique Steens and his father.

But looking back over the controversy surrounding GPD over the last five-plus years, I can’t help but think that if the N&R had its way, Mitchell Johnson would still be city manager and, more than likely, Tim Bellamy would still be police chief.

We can only wonder now.

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Some perspective on G’boro ABC controversy

Update: Friday’s N&R reports fired ABC general manager Katie Alley wore out a shredder, hid a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label in her private restroom.

A valuable source passes along a little perspective on the Greensboro ABC Board in light of its recent problems.

A couple of names are dropped; my guess is most people won’t recognize one name, but everyone will recognize the other.

Read the rest of this entry »

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My neighbor Joe

I had no idea that High Point attorney and Superior Court Judge candidate Joe Floyd was my neighbor here in tony Fisher Park until I got today’s e-mail on the listserv asking neighbors to vote for him on Tuesday.

Floyd’s been back in the race after he withdrew following domestic violence charges. But now he has problems with his campaign Web site, which is listing “supporters” who aren’t really supporters.

One such “supporter” is Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes, who says “he has no intention to ask Floyd to take down his name, but added he has reservations about Floyd’s continued campaign because of the personal issues connected to the charges.”

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Plot thickens in G’boro ABC scandal

The state ABC Commission has released more information on the investigation of former general manager Katie Alley that “suggest Greensboro ABC Board Chairman Jesse ‘Skip’ Warren ordered his signature forged on at least one financial disclosure document and lied about signing such documents in front of a notary.”

From the N&R print edition:

The report also quotes Debbie DeVrand, a notary and inventory control specialist for the board, as saying no city of Greensboro ABC board member had appeared before her to have her notarize their signatures since she was appointed a notary in 2006.

…When told of a statement by Warren that he appeared before her to sign a disclosure document, DeVrand is quoted as saying “That’s a lie!”

Stay tuned.

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N&R endorses independent Davis in Senate District 28

Like Dr. Guarino, I was surprised to see the N&R endorse Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis, who’s running as an independent in the state Senate District 28 race.

Triadwatch unearthed the tax liens against Davis and his childcare business earlier, this month, but that doesn’t seem to bother the N&R, who simply says Davis “should clear that up as quickly as possible.” No kidding. I try to avoid political relativism, but just imagine the firestorm if Davis’ Republican opponent —Greensboro City Council member Trudy Wade —had tax liens against her that nearly forced her to close her veterinary practice.

Then there’s this logic:

Davis’ real opportunity is not only the chance to win this race without party support. It is to serve as an independent if he is elected. In a closely divided Senate, that could make him a power broker. It also could encourage others to follow the same course, breaking the partisan paralysis that often prevents progress. Davis could become an important player in the Senate if he pursues this course.

Does anyone really believe Davis will pursue that course, given he’s running as an independent only because mainstream Democrats snubbed him as Katie Dorsett’s successor?

An interesting endorsement in the heat of a very interesting race. In case you missed it the first time, here’s Davis’ campaign spot.

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No rest for the weary

After working around the clock to make arrests in the Steens murders, Greensboro Police Chief Ken Miller is now pursuing multiple charges of attempted murder against one Quinton Campbell related to an early-morning shooting in the heart of downtown.

Welcome to G’boro, Chief Miller.

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