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Archive for July, 2012

There goes the neighborhood

What say we forget local politics for awhile and escape to James Cameron’s New Zealand paradise:

Some of Mr. Cameron’s new neighbors seem to have an open mind. But most worry about his ability to inhabit this paradise without becoming the kind of disrupter he pilloried in “Avatar.” Will the millions he plunked down for the property increase everyone’s taxes? What about continued access to Lake Pounui for the eel researchers at Victoria University of Wellington? Mr. Cameron has already closed a little hall on his land that had been used for wedding receptions, thus severing the public from what locals now refer to as “his lake.”

…Asked if he might reopen that wedding hall, Mr. Cameron paused a bit, then said, “That’s going to be my workshop.”

Government mandate states that part of Cameron’s land must remain a working farm. Right now it’s a sheep and cattle farm —“long the staple of the New Zealand economy”—-but —you guessed it — Cameron and his family are on a plant-based diet.

We’re not politics here, so I’m not even going to bring it up.

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Bledsoe responds

Jerry Bledsoe –whose name came up in last week’s post on the alleged push polls in the Senate District 27 race —- responds:

I want to clarify something in Roch’s first comment. The statement he attributes to me is a quote from a police department news release, not my own words. I did not write about the controversy when it broke in the spring of 2006. The claims that black leaders had been recorded for nefarious purposes, as reported by the News & Record and News 2, were indeed false, as I detailed in parts 41-43 of my Cops in Black White series in the Rhino Times in the fall of 2007.

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Jeff Gauger breaks bad

N&R editor Jeff Gauger — who took heat for his awkward attempt at humor in the heat of the Amendment One debate — goes off (unposted) on John Hammer’s “schtick” of “one-sided keyboard attacks” when reporting on alleged push polling in the Senate District 27 race between Trudy Wade and Myra Slone.

As I said before, I’ll let Hammer answer for himself. As for my role, I inferred that Hammer had inside information that former N&R reporter Eric Townsend was one of the “mainly anonymous sources” when in fact he was named in one of Joe Killian’s stories. If I offended anyone with my choice of words, I apologize.

As for who’s behind the push polling, Gauger writes:

But Slone also suggested that a tea party group, Conservatives for Guilford County, was behind the polling.

That’s not proven, although we know –and reported last week —that tea partiers staffed phone banks Monday in Randolph County and July 10 in Guilford County.

We further know, based on dissemination of this information on multiple Facebook pages, that an out-of-state conservative activist group is training tea partiers across North Carolina on how to use phone banks. Push polling is a rotten, cowardly dirty campaign tactic.

Gauger complains that Hammer is connecting imaginary dots, but what do you call this? And if the N&R’s going to call out every “rotten, cowardly, dirty campaign tactic,” this election season, they’d better get busy, because they’re going to be a lot of them.

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Guns, cold medicine and lighter fluid

Whenever a horrible gun crime occurs, the left and its allies in the mainstream media start exploring whether or not tighter gun control laws would have prevented such a crime.

Personally I try to avoid the knee-jerk response from guns rights advocates about banning knives, blunt instruments, automobiles, etc. —anything that can kill.

Still, I can’t help but note today’s Sunday N&R front page. Above the fold, Travis Fain wonders why we don’t track guns like we track cold medicine.*

Below the fold, Susan Ladd probes the request for clemency from Janet Danahey, who killed four people with a can of lighter fluid.

*Good question — I don’t think we should be tracking cold medicine, either.

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How’d that gov’t resource work out?

President Obama’s ‘you didn’t build that’ speech isn’t going anywhere (see video). I think what struck me about the president’s comments weren’t about the roads and the bridges, but about how he was “always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.” That’s where I heard the contempt in his voice.

Honestly I get what the president is saying, and if you know anything about business here in the Triad knows a main strategy had been to establish resources for businesses owners as the area’s economy continues to transform. Still, I couldn’t help but think about one local business owner as he described his experience when seeking help from the federal government to export industrial furnaces:

Crafton said he went to commerce officials hoping to learn the best places to do business, but instead officials were asking him for the same information.

“They were saying ‘you tell us where you want to be, and we’ll pave the road,’” Crafton said. “But we didn’t even know those areas, and we didn’t know where to begin.

“In general, it reinforces my belief that there is an awful of inefficiencies and bureaucracy. A private industry trying to operate like that wouldn’t survive but about an hour and a half,” Crafton added.

Crafton said communication was a problem. “There is a fair amount of help if you know the right places to go to. The government surprisingly has a bunch of agencies. What isn’t surprising is they don’t talk to each other.”

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Wade calls for investigation into ‘push polls’

Greensboro City Council member and Senate District 27 candidate Trudy Wade is calling for an investigation into alleged ‘disreputable’ phone calls claiming opponent Myra Slone is behind on property taxes.

Nobody’s claiming responsibility for the calls — not the Guilford County GOP, not Conservatives for Guilford County, not Americans for Prosperity. But the Rhino’s John Hammer smells a rat and it just happens to be someone with connections to our local paper of record:

The story about the push poll appeared in The Inside Scoop blog on Tuesday, July 24, and then July 25 it was on the front page with one named source. Former News & Record reporter Eric Townsend, who now works for Elon University, reportedly told News & Record reporter Joe Killian he was push polled.

Townsend is the same reporter that, during the controversy surrounding former Greensboro Police Chief David Wray, reported that someone working for Wray had taped conversations with black community leaders without their knowledge. It was a big story and it caused a lot of controversy, but there was a problem with the story – it wasn’t true. No one was taped. The Greensboro Police Department cannot produce a single tape of any black community leader who was taped without their knowledge while Wray was chief.

…So Townsend can interpret things differently from other people. Who knows what he heard or didn’t hear on the phone.

The N&R’s Doug Clark says Wade is making a smart move by calling for an investigation, while one of his commenters adds he doubts an investigation will show anything.

While that’s probably what will happen, Hammer points out the damage has been done — with two front-page stories on the alleged push polls, Wade’s opponent got free publicity, courtesy of the local paper of record.

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Rhino delivers right on time

Ed Cone says see today’s Rhino to find out why the city’s new recycling contract is bad for Greensboro.

John Hammer delivers right on time:

(L)ast year the city paid ReCommunity $165,000 for recycling. If the contract that the staff recommended is approved then the city, instead of paying $165,000, would make a profit of over $800,000. So it’s a difference of about $1 million for the city, which is good news. The bad news is that the contract with ReCommunity goes back to 1998, which means that for years the city has been paying when it should have been profiting. And the City Council apparently wants to keep doing business with these same people.

ReCommunity also wants a 10-year contract so it can upgrade its recycling facility, which Hammer says is their problem, not Greensboro’s problem.

As for the easy solution to Greensboro’s waste disposal problems, we all know what that is —–reopen the White Street landfill. That issue was apparently settled during the last City Council election, but did anyone really believe that when they cast their vote?

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Changing the culture at UNC

Based on what we’ve read about UNC’s football program over the past year, it seems like there’s a lotta work to do in order to ‘change the culture.’ But in my humble opinion this is a good start:

Larry Fedora has spent less time talking about “changing the culture” at UNC than recent Tar Heel coaches.

But Fedora is definitely changing the dress code culture. For starters, he’s outlawed earrings at football functions and implemented a no caps while indoors policy.

“That’s just the way I was raised,” Fedora said Monday. “You didn’t wear a hat in the house. That’s not what a man does, and I sure as heck couldn’t get an earring. I’d have to moved out of the house.”

Never forget the time I sat behind the Florida State bench during a night game. The bling was downright blinding, and I couldn’t help but wonder why the players weren’t worried about getting an earlobe ripped up after a tackle.

For the record, let me state that I have never worn an earring.

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Headline of the day…

…From the Winston-Salem Journal on the Penn State scandal:

Big money sports turns colleges away from true misison

Heaven knows I’ve committed my share of typos over the years, but I just couldn’t help but note the irony.

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Forsyth’s updated Legacy Plan

Forsyth’s City-County Planning Board will hold a public hearing on its updated 2030 Legacy Plan. As you can probably imagine, it emphasizes high-density urban living:

A trend in Winston-Salem and around the country is urbanization.

“People around the country, especially the younger generation, are looking to live in a lively urban environment that is kind of more mixed use,” Norby said.

On a related note, I cut through the Greenway at Fisher Park on my way to last night’s Hoppers game. Checked out the pool area, the clubhouse and the rooftop bar area. Pretty swank, though whether or not I know ‘swank’ when I see it is questionable.

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