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Archive for July, 2011

The sun doesn’t always shine

As National Solar Power ponders two sites– the Guilford County Prison Farm and the White Street landfill– for a solar farm, I’m at least glad to see commission Chairman Skip Alston ask an important question: Who’s going to buy the power?

Alston said he met with representatives from National Solar Power and suggested the White Street and prison farm sites.

“I have some concerns about the whole thing,” Alston said. “I wouldn’t want to just give them this property, they would need to pay fair market value or lease it at value. And they can’t do that if they don’t have someone to buy their power — Duke Energy or some other company.”

The company has said it has a buyer lined up for the solar energy it will create, but it would not disclose who.

Of course National Solar Power wouldn’t say —that part of the game companies play when they ask for incentives.

Keep in mind the sun doesn’t always shine here in North Carolina, which makes solar power — as JLF’s Daren Bakst puts it—- the widget nobody wants to buy, so the federal gov’t forces you to buy it.

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Gov’t magic trick

Reaction among High Point residents to the Uptowne vitalization plan is mixed. The plan calls for pedestrian friendliness, a lower speed limit and —you guessed it —–a traffic circle:

“Main Street is the main street in High Point,” said city resident Richard Dunston “It would be a bear during construction of a traffic circle, and real backed up at 25 mph.”

Alison Steer said she believes it would be an interesting magic trick.

“It would be great if they could just make it appear and the real estate was filled and make it just as they picture it immediately, but its going to take a lot of steps to get to that dream.”

Ah but gov’t is the master of the magic trick —-money just appears out of nowhere — or so they’d have you believe.

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Re: GCS Uncovered

Fair amount of buzz out there about the new blog GCS Uncovered, which is “dedicated to exposing the gross mismanagement of Guilford County Schools (GCS) in an effort to hold those at the helm responsible for the management of taxpayer dollars.”

In particular Ed Cone expresses concern about the blog’s “repeated attacks on GCS COO Andy LaRowe” by an anonymous writer.

I don’t think it’s any secret that the GCS facilities department has been in a state of disorganization for some time now, and from my perspective LaRowe has been slow correcting the ship. He did, however, sit with the Rhino —which has never been shy about criticizing GCS —- for a “lengthy interview in light of the controversy surrounding $1.4 million paid to contractor Dennis Cole —at the very least a gesture of transparency.

I’ve watched a lot of public meetings over the years and I’ve seen more than a few staff members appear as though they’re way in over their heads. But I try to step and remember they’re just average guys like you and me, working a difficult jon best as they know how. They’re not necessarily fair game as are politicians, who inject themselves into the public arena offering various and sundry promises about how they’re going to make everyone life better.

I remember watching a GCS staff member make a presentation to the board and frankly it seemed as though he had no idea what he was talking about. He stammered and shuffled his papers as board members asked questions, and he eventually just gave up, saying he’d back to them. I was seriously tempted to call him out by name, but I backed off. When I ran into him at church soon thereafter, I was glad I did.

Which is not to say staff members should not be held accountable. That’s the politicians’ jobs, and unfortunately they fall short when performing that duty.

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Bingham’s walk

Sen. Stan Bingham takes a walk, and the Senate votes to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of the Women’s Right to Know Act. I am glad the bill will become law, but I would rather have Sen. Bingham vote up or down, even if it meant the guv’s veto would stand.

The N&R’s Doug Clark calls the bill ‘obnoxious,’ and he bristles when a commenter brings up the voting record of another state senator we we all know and love.

I agree it’s ‘ancient history,’ so to speak, yet it provides valuable insight as we try to figure why we’re in the mess we’re in right now, especially when you consider President Obama’s role in debt ceiling negotiations, which in my view is pretty much the chief executive’s equivalent to voting ‘present.’

Again, I wonder exactly what did people think would happen when we elected him president?

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Guilford districts and the VRA

Seems like nobody —and I mean nobody —– is happy with the Senate bill that would draw Guilford County’s commission districts, so it makes you wonder just who was calling Sen. Phil Berger and complaining about Chairman Skip Alston’s map.

The irony is —-as Sen. Martin Nesbitt pointed out —any map drawn by the state would be challenged in court under the Voting Rights Act, just as some —-including Rep. Marcus Brandon —– are suggesting it’s time for the VRA to RIP.

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Re: Butch Davis out at UNC

Update: AD Dick Baddour is out

I thought it was odd that with everything going on in his life, someone would take the time to correct an N&R article that “suggested that North Carolina football coach Butch Davis played a round of golf at Pinehurst on Monday morning” when in fact he did not.

That was the absolute least of Davis’ troubles. The N&R’s Ed Hardin —who was a real party-pooper after the NFL lockout was resolved —- goes off:

The decision to fire Davis was an admission that the school could no longer justify his presence at the head of the program. It might also mean that the school no longer wants to pursue a big-time college football program. We’ll see.

Carolina will play the 2011 season in the shadow of the giant Loudermilk Center for Student Excellence, a dubious addition to what was once a humble and stately football stadium completed amid the pine trees in 1927.

That was back when a run at big-time football didn’t come with a trail of NCAA investigators, cheating athletes and dirty football coaches.

UNC’s decision to cut down pine trees and build the $70 million end zone monstrosity, mockingly called the “death star” during last year’s construction phase, will forever stand as a reminder of the Tar Heels’ sloppy run at a national football championship.

I’d say pretty much all of Carolina’s runs at a national championship have been sloppy, dating back to the Dick Crumb era. As for the NFL, I just kinda sighed at first, but the ensuing feeding frenzy has fired me up.

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Guess who’s adding jobs…

…and the first two guesses don’t count.

Didn’t take long for Meck Deck’s new voice to weigh in.

Update: I would be remiss if I did not wish Jeff Taylor well as he moves onto other endeavors. I spend a fair amount of time in Charlotte, so I have feel for the Queen City. I’ll testify that he he said more than a few things that needed to be said.

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State taking over Guilford redistricting?

The N&R’s Mark Binker reports a bill is making its way through the Senate that would have the state draw commission districts in Guiford County. The news breaks the day before the commission’s public hearing on the map drawn by Chairman Skip Alston, which has generated a fair amount of controversy.

Listen below to hear Sen. Phil Berger tell Binker why the bill was brought up. Imagine this —Berger said he kept getting phone calls from citizens and other Guilford commissioners expressing concern that the map was gerrymandered.

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Island in a sea of liberalism

In this N&R letter to the editor, Greensboro resident Michael John Slane echoes my feelings on proposed incentives for Honda Aircraft:

I have read several News & Record articles telling us how much the president of Honda Aircraft just loves Greensboro. It’s easy to love when you’re getting unnecessary handouts from the city, county and state taxpayers.

…..The latest request is simply a form of extortion. They are going to expand here anyway because it just makes good business sense to do the final stage of manufacturing here on land they already own adjacent to their headquarters.

But note the rest of the letters on today’s LTE page lean left. Most interesting is Greensboro resident Spencer Andrews’ letter stating the ‘hippies were right,’proving his point by calling out “local elected officials are willing to ignore cries of injustice so they can dump garbage inside our own city for the benefit of a local company.”

Andrews of course is referring to the ongoing controversy surrounding the White Street landfill. Technically he’s right; one local company would benefit from the landfill reopening. But in my humble opinion —right or wrong—-that’s not why conservative City Council members want to reopen the landfill.

In expressing his disappointment at the council’s latest baby step to reopen the landfill, Ed Cone notes that Mayor Bill Knight and council member Danny Thompson “were elected to serve the entire city, and it’s abundantly clear that they are not doing any such thing.”

Which is exactly the point —– as stated by former council member Mike Barber when he raised the issue three years ago—-Knight and Thompson indeed serve all taxpayers, including the vast majority who are paying for the city to transfer trash to another county when G’boro already has a landfill with many years capacity.

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Bellamy-Small enters G’boro mayor’s race

The N&R reports Greensboro City Council member Dianne Bellamy-Small will run for mayor.

This is a surprise, not only because she’d “had not given any indication she was contemplating a bid for mayor,” but because she’d be opposing her buddy and fellow council member Robbie Perkins. One can also how imagine how Bellamy-Small would conduct a council meeting, considering the fact she apparently tossed her copy of Robert’s Rules of Order in the trash can a long time ago.

Remember just last week Bellamy-Small was involved in an interesting exchange with a citizen who dared question GTA costs. During another contentious discussion of council procedure, Bellamy-Small referred to someone — I couldn’t tell if it was Mayor Bill Knight or Interim City Attorney Tom Pollard —- as ‘Mr. Parliamentarian.’I don’t see where such a title exists, but even if it did, Bellamy-Small clearly was using it as a term of derision.

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