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Archive for April, 2012

Guilford school board dispute over Amendment One

Trust me — if you’re looking for excitement, Guilford County Board of Education meetings are not the place to be.

However, the N&R’s print version of Inside Scoop reports there were some fireworks when two board members walked out as fellow board member Paul Daniels expressed his support for Amendment One:

Daniels read a lengthy statement about his reasons for favoring a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

..Kris Cooke interrupted him and walked out with fellow member Jeff Belton.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t think this is the place for political speech. This is against everything I believe.”

Daniels chafed, saying he would never interrupt other members during their comments.

“It’s funny how the open-minded folks tend to be the most close-minded, tend to be the most intolerant,” he said.

Seems like every other local government body feels compelled to weigh in on Amendment One, so what’s wrong with a school board member doing so, especially considering the fact that fellow board member Deena Hayes has waxed philosophical at will on issues than may or may not related to education.

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Obama vs. Foxx on FOX

Rep. Virginia Foxx appears on FOX after President Obama publicly calls her out for comments she made about student loans.

Meanwhile, the Winston-Salem Journal takes it shot at Foxx, arguing if government adequately supporting public universities, then students wouldn’t have to borrow so much money.

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UNCG provost sends anti-Amendment One email

WGHP reports. UNCG initially refused to identify the employee until WGHP got a copy of the e-mail and discovered the sender was Provost David Perrin.

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G’boro economic development doings

Lots going on in this N&R article on the City of Greensboro’s rejection of $5 million in economic development bond money for three sites owned by high-powered developers.

For starters, note the money quote from Roy Carroll, who just a couple of weeks ago was defending himself in front of the City Council during the recent debate over the downtown noise ordinance:

Land Port asked for a nearly $3.5 million loan for grading and other improvements to 100 acres of Carroll’s property. The company also requested a $355,000 grant to make water line improvements.

On Thursday, Carroll said he was a little surprised by the city’s rejection and felt his land was sound. He said he is disappointed with the city and probably will stay out of the next round.

“With this council, I don’t think I’m going back and ask for any type of participation,” he said.

Good. Then there’s TDO Land Holding, partnered by D.H. Griffin and Arthur Samet, which was seeking $2.5 million to build a bridge in Triad Business Park. Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul:

The project is in the Kernersville city limits, so it won’t ever earn Greensboro tax revenue. But TDO has offered to give the city the $1.1 million in incentive money that Kernersville plans to pay the park.

Mayor Robbie Perkins –who’s heading to Israel on the city dime in order ‘to yield economic development opportunities for Greensboro’—– called the ‘scoring’ process by Assistant City Manager Andy Scott and Greensboro Economic Development Alliance president Dan Lynch ‘artificial numbers.’ But there’s no bigger economic development advocate than Dan Lynch, and if he says the sites have issues, then they have issues.

Carroll’s biggest issue, according to the N&R, is the roughly 100 acres is divided by two major streams, which would make it “difficult and expensive to develop under strict environmental guidelines.”

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GCS eating $500k in school lunches?

Seems to me this has been an ongoing problem with Guilford County Schools, and it appears to me a common problem in school systems around the country.

Like in Chapel Hill, where—lease tell me I’m reading this wrong—–staff members collectively owe $600.

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Re: UNCG cuts

N&R reports:

UNCG’s provost is recommending the university eliminate 42 academic programs as part of a review designed to free up resources.

Among the bachelor’s degree programs on that list are environmental biology, applied math, financial economics, and community youth sport development.

Provost David Perrin said no tenured faculty would lose their jobs. The university instead would try to reassign them.

But it’s unclear how many adjunct teachers would be let go. The university has not said how many personnel overall would be let go.

One professor questioned UNCG’s administrative bloat, putting Chancellor Linda Brady on the spot:

Deborah Bell, a professor in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, asked whether UNCG has fewer administrators now than it did in 2008.

Brady said UNCG has cut 65 midlevel administrators over the past couple of years but could not give an exact answer to Bell’s question.

Bell also questioned why more UNC schools have not conducted reviews on their campuses.

“Are the others perfect or just lost in the wilderness?” Bell asked.

Another professor was quoted as saying ‘morale at UNCG is considerably worse than it had been.’

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NYT pension problems

In this subscriber’s opinion, the New York Times has done an admirable job of covering the financial crisis at every level of government —federal, state, county, municipal. Which in turn makes you why the paper of record is in the tank for President Obama and his big-spending policies, but that’s another story.

The common theme I’ve noticed in just about every story is unsustainable employee pensions. Now look who’s finding out their pension plan is unsustainable. And the employees are fit to be tied.

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Obama vs. Foxx

Not quite the enthusiasm there was four years ago:

At the speech in Carmichael Arena, home to the women’s basketball team, students tried to generate chants of “O-bama” but couldn’t spark the energy of the full crowd. The roughly 40 minute speech ended with such loud applause Obama had to shout his final lines, but a brief chant of “four more years” didn’t gain widespread support.

Meanwhile the Winston-Salem Journal reports Obama called out Rep. Virginia Foxx for her comments on the G. Gordon Liddy Show that she had “very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt” because she worked her way through UNC in seven years.

The article says the president didn’t mention Foxx by name, yet –maybe I’m missing it— I don’t see where he directly quoted Foxx, either.

Ironically enough I agree with Democrats who would face Foxx in the general election that the days of working your way through school are pretty much over. I paid for half my college, earning a semester’s tuition (plus room and board) from summer jobs doing construction, lifeguarding, working in the grocery store, whatever. It’s a damn shame, and while people have lots of ideas about why college costs keep rising, nobody’s doing anything about it.

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Edwards trial —WTF?

I went down to the John Edwards trial in the hope of watching former aide Andrew Young provide the tawdry details of the former senator’s affair with Rielle Hunter. I am not assigned to cover the trial nor am I officially ‘credentialed,’ but I planned to contact CJ to get a credential so I could just walk in instead of waiting in line like everybody else.

Evidently that’s not the way it works, as I found out when the lady in line behind me began going off on how screwed she’d be if she couldn’t get in. When I asked her what’s up, she told me she was on assignment for the Washington Post. A few minutes none other than NBC’s Lisa Meyers walked up, and she was told she would have to wait in line like everyone else. Behind her was a court artist — from the angle of the N&R’s front-page illustration, it may have been Tim Rickard, but I don’t know.

After consulting with Judge Catherine Eagles, the clerk let us to take seats facing the jury, and we were explicitly directed by Judge Eagles not to make eye contact. Young testified throughout the day. Fascinating stuff. What struck me was his story of attending a trial lawyers’ conference in Asheville with Edwards, Hunter and Edwards’ best friend and law partner David Kirby. After dinner and drinks, they retreated to Edwards’ suite at the Grove Park Inn, where Young testified that Edwards and Hunter cuddled on the couch.

When they left the suite, Kirby turned to Young and asked “WTF?” (Young said it out on the stand), to which Young replied “he’s your friend, you know him better than I do.”

Better one man ask that question than the entire country, should Edwards have become president, or vice president for that matter.

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W-S council will vote on Amendment One resolution

The Winston-Salem City Council voted 6-0 to take up a resolution opposing Amendment One at its next meeting, which is the night before the May 8 primary. The council’s only Republican, Robert Clark, abstained from the vote —makes you wonder how he will vote on the resolution.

However, the council also voted 4-3 not to place a $100 million bond referendum on the ballot. Council member Wanda Merschel said she did not believe city taxpayers would vote for an additional tax increase.

Similar handwriting’s on the wall here in G’boro, which is why there’s talk of a ‘no-vote pac’ on the proposed downtown performing arts center.

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