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Archive for August, 2011

Re: Babysitter for Eastern Guilford principal

The N&R (unposted) follows up the Rhino story on the hiring of a ‘contractor’ to help Eastern Guilford High School principal Gregg Slate monitor discipline problems.

Both publications look at the numbers and determine that —statistically speaking —- Eastern “falls in the middle” among GCS high schools in the number of reported incidents. But the bottom line is Superintendent Mo Green felt the need to address the problem, at the very least from a PR perspective.

And what would a good GCS story be without a little humor:

Monday evening, once Slate and other administrators split parents into four groups, Slate took his group to the school library. Eastern has vaunted “green” features, such as sensors that turn off lights when no one is in a room. The sensor in the library apparently can’t sense a dozen people in the middle of the library, and the lights kept going off. Slate was forced to repeatedly go to the corner of the room and wave his hands at the sensor.

Perhaps if GCS was a little less concerned with going green……

Update:The N&R reports GCS purchasing John Mann has resigned. Chief of Staff Nora Carr “declined to specifiy the reasons for Mann’s departure,” but added “the district is investigating the purchasing department and its practices.”

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Skip the Keynesian claptrap

Making sense of the Triad’s dire economic situation is not easy. Let’s start with Yes!Weekly’s Greensboro City Council candidate profile of Wayne Abraham, who notes that “funding to the Greensboro Partnership was cut by 10 percent, a move he sees as detrimental to attracting businesses.”

Yet in the N&R’s dire analysis of the Triad’s economic outlook, we read this:

Pat Danahy, president of the Greensboro Partnership, shares that concern, especially when someone tries to project when the area will regain lost jobs.

“If anybody claims they know that,” Danahy said, “they don’t have much credibility with me.”

In mind, that quote right there undermines Danahy’s credibility and certainly doesn’t recommend more funding for the Partnership. Today we read that the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce will launch a plan modeled on a similar plan in Atlanta where any company that hires one new employee will be listed in an advertisement in a business publication.

What interesting is the plan was recommended by conservative council council member Trudy Wade, yet is being panned in the N&R by liberal UNCG economics professor Andrew Brod as ‘cheerleading.’

So it’s clear we’re grasping straws here. What’s the answer? I tend to agree with JLF president John Hood, who took note of the Triad’s grim economic forecast. Best anybody can do, Hood says, is skip the “Keynesian claptrap.”

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Why I railed against G’boro’s DOE grant…

…Repeatedly.

Seattle. $20 million. 14 jobs. Three homes.

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More White Street landfill

I’ve heard people complain that the end of August is a slow news month. But what I can I say, the controversy surrounding the White Street landfill is the gift that keeps on giving.

I read with interest the letter via Ed Cone) from opponents’ attorney Chris Brook to Greensboro city attorney Tom Pollard regarding City Council member Nancy Vaughan’s eligibility to vote on Gate City’s contract to run the landfill. Brook makes the standard argument —- that Waste Industries —-a bidder on the contract who is represented by Vaughan’s husband — is no longer in competition with Gate City for the contract. Brook argues the RFP process “is fluid” and “has moved forward such that Councilwoman Vaughan no longer has a conflict.”

But Brook also makes another interesting argument —– that Gate City is claiming Waste Industries has a financial interest in keeping the city’s transfer station open. If the city closes its transfer station —- and Brook says there is no evidence that would happen even if White Street were reopened —– then Waste Industries ostensibly would have to pay higher rates at Republic Services’ transfer station. Thus Waste Industries’ financial interest in Gate City not getting the contract.

As for council member Trudy Wade’s statement about a city-operated landfill that is supposedly offensive to city workers —–Guarino and Tony Wilkins weigh in, but the bottom line is if the city did such a good job running the landfill, then why did they close it?

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Re: Williams QB dies

Lots of suffering out there in the wake of Hurricane Irene, but this jumped out at me.

I noted yesterday that Burlington Williams quarterback Harry Cohen was hospitalized Sunday following his outstanding performance in Friday night’s win over Southern Alamance. This morning we learn that Cohen has died. Neither the North Carolina Children’s Hospital not the Alamance-Burlington School system is releasing details about his condition.

Cohen rushed rushed for 241 yards and passed for 107 yards Friday night.

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N&R says delay landfill vote

In yesterday’s editorial, the N&R describes the vote to proceed with a contract to operate the White Street landfill as “rushed and flawed,” ultimately concluding that the decision should be delayed until after the election, with the landfill serving as the “signature issue in the council campaign, which should be viewed, at least in part, as a referendum on the landfill.”

I wish it were that simple. Although Mayor Bill Knight is facing a tough reelection campaign, the possibility still exists that the council’s conservative bloc could hold steady. Anyone think landfill opponents would accept such a defeat so graciously?

The N&R also needs to be careful what it wishes for —it might get it. Making the landfill the signature issue would make for a campaign like Greensboro hasn’t seen in a while. I personally wouldn’t mind, but it would shock the sensibilities of those around here whose idea of local politics is council bowing down to city staff on every issue.

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Re: Gibson Guitar raid

Yesterday a buddy of mine told about the feds raiding Gibson Guitar Co., and this morning Locker Room’s George Leef passes along the story:

Putting aside the presumably misguided motivation to enforce another sovereign nation’s laws, why would a homegrown American company be the target of the Department of Justice in the first place?

It’s worth pointing out that Henry E. Juszkiewicz, Gibson’s Chief Executive Officer, is a donor to a couple of Republican politicians. According to the Open Secrets database, Juszkiewicz donated $2000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN07) last year, as well as $1500 each to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Juszkiewicz also has donated $10,000 to the Consumer Electronics Association, a PAC that contributed $92.5k to Republican candidates last year, as opposed to $72k to Democrats. (The CEA did, however, contribute more to Democrats in the 2008 election cycle.)

When warrants as ridiculous such as these are issued and executed, there appears no other reason than because the company or individual at hand is being targeted, not because there is any sort of wrongdoing. As a company, Gibson is a legendary. They’ve done nothing wrong, except, apparently, deigning to have a Republican CEO.

This is your federal gov’t at work.

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Stan Kowalewski: Everything but the kitchen sink

And probably that, too. The N&R reports that the controversial former Oak Ridge Military Academy basketball coach —-who’s facing a huge fine from the SEC —- is stripping his Greensboro home:

Neighbors in the upscale Henson Farm neighborhood say Kowalewski held several weekend “estate sales” during the past month or so, apparently in connection with moving his family recently to Pawleys Island, S.C.

The most recent sale took place Saturday. The people running it said only moveable household furnishings such as dressers were for sale.

“It’s a problem because I have seen kitchen cabinets and all kinds of stuff that you would normally associate with an existing house being taken out,” said Peter Heineman, who lives near Kowalewski and serves on the neighborhood association’s board.

“It’s one of the better properties in the neighborhood, then they leave us with the burden of disposing of a house that’s been compromised.”

Remember the purchase of the home represented an “investment” for Kowalewski’s clients, who stand to lose millions.

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Guilford will take redistricting to DOJ

The High Point Enterprise reports:

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners will take its protests over a state redistricting plan to federal justice officials.

On a party line vote, the board voted 7-3 Thursday to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to kill the state plan which draws eight new commissioner districts and allows one at-large representative, thus reducing the size of the board of commissioners from 11 to nine members. Board Chairman Skip Alston was to travel Friday to Washington, D.C., to deliver the board’s resolution to the U.S. Attorney General’s office. The civil rights division must approve the plan under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect minority voting rights.

The resolution claims the Republican-dominated General Assembly violated the voting rights of black voters by “stacking” them into Districts 7 and 8, each with more than60 percent black voters, to “dilute” their voting power.

Maybe I missed it, but I have not seen this in the N&R, which is focusing on incentives for Honda Aircraft.

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Guilford commissioners approve Honda incentives

By a 7-4 vote.

But incentives from Piedmont Triad International Airport are still problematic:

Honda executive Tom Fromdahl said the company is seriously considering PTI but faced an obstacle in the $8 million cost of site preparation there. Incentives would help offset that, Fromdahl said, noting the company already has invested $170 million in its existing PTI facility and employs about 550 full-time and contract workers there.

Stay tuned —– the airport authority wants this bad, so it will be interesting where they find the money.

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