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Archive for May, 2011

Voter approval for state COPs?

Civitas has a couple of reasons why certificates of participation are certified losers. Thus Civitas concludes that the bill requiring voter approval before issuing COPs is a win for taxpayers.

The AP write-up notes the bill wouldn’t affect local governments. The General Assembly hasn’t been afraid to lean on local governments so far this session; seems to me if there was an issue to keep leaning, this is it.

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Will HP council fire city mgr?

Some interpret High Point City Manager Strib Boynton’s recent actions as an effort to strong-arm the City Council into supporting him in the ongoing battle over Deputy Fire Chief Martha Younts’ sex discrimination claims.

Boynton’s handing out of his contract to council members and the media could have been interpreted as a threat to resign. But there’s also that other possibility —he could be fired:

A second document, not immediately released publicly, made Boynton’s intent clear: He was reminding the City Council what it would cost the City Council to fire him. Boynton had that document prepared and gave it to Smothers between the meetings, and Smothers said she distributed it to the other councilmembers. The document details exactly what it would cost the city to fire Boynton, as of this week.

The second document makes it more likely that, rather than threatening to resign, Boynton took last Thursday’s vote as a vote of no confidence, and was defending himself in case the 6-to-3 margin held for any upcoming motion to fire him.

Younts’ attorney continues to insist that she has no interest in suing the city —the closed sessoin meeting with the council was merely “to bring the city manager’s behavior to his bosses’ (i.e. City Council) attention – period.”

But again—- what is the end game here? Removing Boynton from office? If that doesn’t happen —- and I don’t see it happening —then what?

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Re: QC riot

I couldn’t help but take note of the largest mass arrest in recent Queen City memory.

With this ugly incident in mind, Meck Deck predicts Charlotte’s precious transit center will be closed during DNC ’12. Too big a security risk, given nobody’s really in charge down there.

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Memorial Day roundup

*My Memorial Day reading;

*Everyone in Winston-Salem is excited about the youth expression wall in Winston Square Park —-except nearby residents;

*Did High Point City Manager Strib Boynton strong arm the City Council by threatening to resign if they met with Deputy Fire Chief Martha Younts regarding her sex discrimination claims?

*Rep. Virginia Foxx sponsors legislation that would prevent medical schools from using federal funds to teach abortion procedures;

*Evidently it wasn’t da bear strolling through downtown Greensboro yesterday, but
one of his buddies;

*The N&R notes the irony behind the standoff between Guilford County commissioners and Sheriff BJ Barnes over additional officers for the new $100 million jail, reassuring themselves that “surely Guilford County isn’t that upside down”;

*Waste Industries —one of the finalists for the White Street landfill contract —places a full-page ad in today’s N&R, while opponents pass the hat. Only problem is where to place the counter ad —in the “communist rag” N&R or the Rhino, which “has printed so many lies?”

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The Bear comes to Fisher Park

Just pulled up from church when my neighbor flagged us down to tell us he had just seen da bear crossing the street into another neighbor’s back yard. Apparently he passed through a hole in the fence into Green Hill Cemetery, with animal control officers in hot pursuit.

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Re: Violence at Eastern Guilford High School

Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but the N&R has pretty much ignored problems at Eastern Guilford High School, leaving the Rhino to report on parents’ efforts to address the issues, not to mention Guilford County Schools Chief of Staff Nora Carr’s efforts to muzzle the media.

Eastern parents have made three attempts to get GCS’ attention, and Carr wasn’t happy to see reporters show up. Carr was the master spinmeister when she and Superintendent Mo Green were down at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, but you still have to wonder she’s trying to hide.

Another problem is you’re getting different version of exactly what’s going on at Eastern. As the Rhino pointed out last week, Sheriff B.J. Barnes “has repeatedly accused Guilford County Schools of underreporting crime in the schools,”prompting the sheriff’s office to issue its own its own press release publicizing fights at Eastern.

Yet Eastern’s school resource officer —-Deputy Desi Williams —- backed up Regional Superintendent Monica Wallace when she said she saw nothing unusual when she spent two days there.

Remember failure to report crime was an issue that eventually cost Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools attorney Drew Davis his job.

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WSFCS board backs partisan bill

Imagine this — the nonpartisan-Republican-controlled Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education approves a resolution supporting Rep. Dale Folwell’s bill that would make the board partisan again.

Note that new board member John Davenport Jr. voted against the resolution, saying he “didn’t want anything to do with changing it back (to a partisan elections).” That the board is nonpartisan is the reason Davenport is on the board. Yet he bucks his GOP brethren on this resolution.

Remember also it is just a resolution.

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GCS salaries

It’s summer, and that means it’s time for the Rhino’s annual list of local government salaries.

First up: Guilford County Schools. The top 10:

Green, Mo Superintendent $250,000

Ozment, Sharon Chief Financial Ofcr $155,873

Folger, Elizabeth Chief Academic Ofcr $155,873

Carr, Nora Chief of Staff $150,000

Young, Terrence Chief Info Ofcr $149,040

Zhang, Gongshu Accountability Ofcr $149,040

Modest, John Regional Superintendent $146,001

Morrison, Shirley Chief HR Ofcr $146,001

Kidd, Angelo Regional Superintendent $146,001

Martin, Phyllis Regional Superintendent $140,001

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Re: Cary Allred trial

The jury trial of former state Rep. Cary Allred got under way this week. Yesterday the arresting officer testified.

Allred was making the scene in Burlington last summer, which included stops at La Fiesta and Ruby Tuesday. Burlington police Staff Sgt. Chris Gaddis pulled Allred on the way to City, where he testified Allred had “glassy eyes, strong odor of alcohol, mood swings, swaying and poor performance on field sobriety tests.”

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Guilford sheriff: No jailers, no jail

A couple of weeks ago the Rhino reported on the battle between Guilford County commissioners and Sheriff B.J. Barnes over funding for guards to staff the new $100 million county jail.

Yesterday Barnes said if commissioners don’t fund new jailers, then he might not be able to open the jail.

To support his case, Barnes submitted reports of the type of behavior that goes on inside the county jail:

* An inmate attempting suicide by bashing his head against his cell while flooding it with water.
* An inmate found sleeping inside a hole he cut in his own mattress, an overpowering stench greeting the guards who retrieved him from it. It is the fourth mattress he has destroyed.
* Two inmates in a fight that had to be broken up by guards.
* An inmate who must be kept under armed guard in the crowded infirmary.

“That’s a normal day in the life of a detention officer in Guilford County,” Barnes said.

That’s why there are actually fewer guards this year — 23 lost to resignation and one to termination, according to Barnes. He said the stress of doing the job in the currently understaffed and crowded jail is bad for his guards and bad for prisoners. His staff describes fecal matter smeared on walls, electric lights pulled out of solid concrete slabs by prisoners on drugs, and violence that can explode at any moment.

I noted how crazy it seems –as Scott Yost wrote —– that “some commissioners have even suggested looking into the idea of not moving inmates to the new jail until the economy picks up and the county has more money,” which in turn “would look way too much like the people running Guilford County have no idea what they’re doing.”

Now the sheriff is more or less making the same suggestion. Remember —no matter where you stand on the issue —- the voters approved the new jail, and once again they’re caught in the middle.

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May 2011
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