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Archive for August, 2011

Big Cat tells Newton no tats

….As he explains to Charlie Rose. Jerry Richardson and Jerry Jones show up at the 26-minute mark. Watch and interpret for yourselves, dear readers.

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W-S debates Bourbon Street ordinance

In comparison to G’boro’s landfill debate, I kinda made light of Winston-Salem’s debate over late-night downtown dining and drinking. Still, it’s a serious issue: that central planners who want to make downtown everything for everybody must deal with:

…(W)what started as a question about how late-night patrons should be allowed to dine and drink outside has morphed into a discussion about what type of downtown atmosphere is appropriate — and what to do when a restaurant or bar’s right to play music interferes with downtown residents who just want to get some rest.

…..David Poythress, who lives in Winston-Salem’s historic West End neighborhood, said legalizing late-night outdoor drinking and dining could deter people from moving downtown.

“You’re encouraging that party atmosphere that’s in violation of city ordinances,” Poythress said. “We’re not trying to create a Bourbon Street — we’re trying to create a family-friendly atmosphere.”

A little noise is part of the uh, downtown ambiance, is it not?

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Mayor Knight steals the spotlight

And not in a good way.

I also read with interest John Hammer’s account of Tuesday’s contentious Greensboro City Council briefing. Like Ed Cone, I was struck that the focus was not on council member Nancy Vaughan’s voting status on the White Street landfill contract —- which the N&R further explores today—– but on Mayor Bill Knight’s leadership skills, or lack thereof.

Ouch:

What followed Knight’s briefing was one of the best discussions this City Council has ever had. There was a lot of give and take; ideas on what to do about solid waste disposal were brought up and discussed. During this time Knight wandered away from the conference table to the clerk’s table and, at one point, rolled across the room in his chair to throw away a piece of trash. He spoke several times, but was not part of the discussion and said later that since this was not on the agenda he considered the meeting over.

Still, Hammer concludes that the City Council is “in a position where the only way they can put together a majority to use White Street Landfill is to offer the contract to Waste Industries, the company that Vaughan’s husband represents because Vaughan can’t vote on Waste Industries.” Any way you slice it, that’s a conflict of interest.

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The latest dirty word

Evidently more than a few people didn’t catch Greensboro resident Ed Philpott’s sarcasm in his recent letter to the editor “attacking” the Tea Party.

I’m not the brightest guy in the world, but I did happen to catch Philpott’s sarcasm. However, I had to read this LTE in today’s paper a couple of times to make sure the writer was serious:

Dorm. Imagine my shock in seeing such a dirty word printed on the front page (Aug. 18).

As student affairs professionals working in residence life, I and my colleagues, both at my institution and others across the country, work very hard to educate our students that “dorm” is an antiquated term that represents nothing more than a place to sleep and store belongings.

Our students live in residence halls —living, learning communities that are classroom extensions providing guidance for social interaction, educational and cultural programming, and a large amount of care and support for students. While the “D-word” may seem synonymous in appearance and close in definition, don’t let that fool you. The meaning is vastly different and, frankly, offensive to people like me who have made students as much “my business” as faculty across campus.

Please help me educate our society on the importance of resisting the use of this dirty word, thus garnering respect for the residential process and a group of professionals who work incredibly hard at helping provide your children with the best university experiences possible.

Alison Whitcomb
Winston-Salem

Far as I can tell, she’s dead serious. Then I guess Hell Dorm— where I spent my college years — is totally out of the question.

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G’boro council: Chaos reigns, part XXVIII

The N&R reports on yesterday’s Greensboro City Council work session:

The tension during Tuesday’s meeting was palpable.

The council members listened patiently to the two items actually on the agenda — an annual report by Downtown Greensboro Inc., and a preliminary discussion with the firm hired to conduct the search for a city attorney.

But the meeting ended in a free-for-all once those items were discussed and the landfill was brought back up — with council members sometimes talking over each other.

Now comes word that council member Nancy Vaughan is considering legal action if interim City Attorney Tom Pollard does not allow her to vote on the contract with Gate City Waste Services to operate the White Street landfill. So we could have a situation where a council member will be taking legal action against advice from the council’s own attorney. Great.

I’m sure that in Ms. Vaughan’s mind, she’s trying to do right thing. I also realize her husband, Sen. Don Vaughan, has the right to earn a living. But the fact that he represents one of the other companies bidding for the contract to operate White Street is their problem, not ours. Her participation in the vote will raise more questions than it will settle, and from this citizen’s point of view, she should not vote on this issue.

Bonus observations: I find it fascinating to juxtapose Greensboro’s reasons for wanting to get rid of its garbage with Randolph County’s reasons for wanting G’boro’s garbage:

“The landfills still got the connotation of the old city dump,” said David Townsend, III., the county’s public works director and engineer. “People just don’t realize that these landfills are high-tech, run by very intelligent people and engineers. It’s monitored by the state. It’s monitored daily by the county.”

What I also find interesting is county staff is out front on this issue in Randolph, while the politicians are out front here in G’boro.

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2012 looms

More than a few people commented that yesterday’s earthquake was an indicator of things yet to come. I’ve always said 2011 would be a pivotal year —either things would begin to turn around or would totally turn to crap. With three-quarters of the year done, I think we know where we’re heading.

On that note, the N&R’s Doug Clark (unposted) sets the stage for a tumultuous 2012, which will climax in, of all places, the Queen City:

I expect next year to bring the most tumultuous presidential campaign since 1968. Charlotte be warned: The Democratic National Convention will not be a happy affair. President Barack Obama will survive a serious “Draft Hillary” movement to cruise to renomination, but left-wing protesters, upset at Obama’s lack of fortitude for liberal causes, willdo their best to mimic the Chicago disruptions that doomed the party’s chances of keeping Richard Nixon out of the White House 43 years ago.

On the other side, Clark concludes that state Republican legislators will “slash spending” and focus on their social agenda “while doing nothing to boost job growth.”

Whatever you think about the GOP’s social agenda, slashing spending —and thus keeping taxes low — is the best they can do to boost job growth.

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Meanwhile, in W-S…..

While the Greensboro City Council continues to duke it out over the White Street landfill, the Winston-Salem Journal editorializes on the need for more public input on the pressing issue of….sidewalk dining.

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Re: Vaughan’s landfill vote

Dr. Guarino breaks the news that Greensboro City Council member Nancy Vaughan will be allowed to vote on the contract with Gate City Services to operate the White Street landfill. Vaughan was not allowed to participate in other council votes and discussions because her husband, Sen. Don Vaughan, is an attorney representing one of the other companies that bid to operate the landfill. Ostensibly Nancy Vaughan’s conflict of interest disappears because Don Vaughan’s client is no longer in the running.

A couple of things going on here. For starters, prevailing opinion seems to be that Vaughan’s vote would deadlock the council 4-4, thus spiking the contract with Gate City Services. Vaughan also raises the possibility —for some reason never raised before —– that nearby residents could file a protest petition to keep the landfill from opening:

“Residents with adjacent property would have the opportunity to file for the protest petition. If that’s the case, in order to use IV and V they will have to have a super majority…. That means they need seven affirmative votes. Do you think there are seven council members who would vote for that?”

Vaughan also told Yes!Weekly that she supported the proposed Randolph County regional landfill, which the N&R endorsed on Sunday.

This is total chaos, which has pretty much been the norm for G’boro’s council for years now, contrary to what you read in the paper. For now, I’ll just point to a comment over at Ed Cone’s that kinda echoes my post on the subject. Basically things would be a easier if local governments just took care of their own garbage.

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Tea Party fears change

Why should we be surprised that’s the conclusion of a UNC sociologist?

Au contraire, the Tea Party is seeking the biggest change of all —– a drastic reduction of the bloated government bureaucracy that’s gotten us into this mess. That’s where the fear —- and the resultant fear-mongering —– come into play.

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‘Gotta have garbage coming in to pay the bills’

The N&R editorializes on the proposed Randolph County regional landfill:

Here’s the thing: The Randolph landfill won’t be built until late 2012 and probably wouldn’t resume taking trash until 2013. So Greensboro still has time for the smart compromise we first suggested in May — and that could address short-term fiscal needs as well as long-term landfill needs: Reopen White Street for the next three to five years, then move to Randolph County for the next 30.

Everybody sacrifices. Everybody wins.

There’s still a chance to stop being combative. And to get creative.

The Rhino’s John Hammer reports the White Street landfill’s permitted capacity is now 7.7 years under the plan the City Council passed Tuesday night, so I guess the creativity involves closing it again with two years’ capacity, which admittedly is nothing considering the fact that a previous council closed it with 50 years’ capacity.

What strikes me is the way Randolph County officials state the very reason —–“gotta have garbage coming in to pay the bills” —for opening a regional landfill as Greensboro officials cite for reopening the landfill. Similarly, nearby Randolph residents are concerned about the “possibility of smells, rodents and health risks”—– just like Greensboro residents who oppose reopening the landfill.

So it’s a bit more complicated than your average win-win situation.

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