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Archive for December 5th, 2012

Re: Dix Hill land deal

At least that’s what my mother called the Dorthea Dix mental hospital when I was growing up in Raleigh. On more than a few occasions she threatened to send me there.

Commissioner of Agriculture and Guilford County resident Steve Troxler was (along with Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry) one of two Council of State no votes against leasing the Dix property to the City of Raleigh for a park. Sen. Phil Berger says he will “begin evaluating legal options to terminate this ill-conceived lease and reclaim this land on behalf of its real owners: the people of North Carolina.”

The N&R’s Doug Clark says Berger’s complaints come too late:

Easy, there. The state will get up to $68 million over 75 years. The recipients are not “a chosen few,” but the public. The city of Raleigh will manage the park, but it will still belong to the state and be open to all. If that would be the object of legal action, well, it’s unnecessary. The people of North Carolina will have greater access to the property under Raleigh’s management than they ever had when it formed the grounds of a mental hospital.

Berger may be upset that he dropped the ball when he had a chance to prevent today’s action. A bill to require legislative approval for “any conveyance” of Dix property passed the House 115-0 but sat in a Senate committee.

This looks like a good use for the land. If anyone had a better idea, there was plenty of time to express it.

But based on land’s appraised value, the state could have gotten at least &86 million in one shot plus future property tax revenue. But the real joke is Gov. Perdue’s statement that she would like the money from the lease to go toward mental health services. Attorney General Roy Cooper –who voted for the lease —was quick to note the money “would not even begin to dent” the problems North Carolina faces in mental health treatment.

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Northern Guilford: Poor sportsmanship?

I’ve noticed the heat Northern Guilford football coach Johnny Roscoe has taken over the past few days for supposedly running up the score in the Nighthawks’ 64-26 victory over Charlotte Catholic in the state 3-AA championship game.

In today’s N&R sports section, Richard Losee writes (unposted):

..I was appalled that Coach Johnny Roscoe would run a trick play with his team miles ahead and less than one minute remaining.

Greensboro should be proud of Northern Guilford and totally ashamed of their classless coach.

Losee is from Charlotte, as is Bill Sheehan, who says that while Northern’s players got an ‘A’ for the game, Roscoe gets “an ‘F’ for the teaching of integrity for a lifetime.”

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GPAC bond referendum —for now

Last night the Greensboro City Council voted 7-2 to pursue a November bond referendum for a proposed downtown performing arts center. But Mayor Robbie Perkins made sure to inform everyone that any council member who voted on the affirmative side could later make a motion to reconsider the vote. Perkins knows a bond referendum isn’t likely to pass, so he will do everything he can to ram this through via limited obligation bonds.

What struck me about the discussion was the way citizens who were officially in opposition to the PAC weren’t actually in opposition to idea itself. Many gave credit to PAC boosters for their hard work and complimented the center’s design. They just expressed their desire to vote on whether or not public funds should be used. What a concept.

A couple of things jumped at me when watching boosters speak in favor of the PAC. First of all, I am very, very skeptical of the millions in private funds boosters say would go toward the center. Second, they could have spared everyone their bright yellow ‘arts creates jobs’ buttons, which —as JLF president John Hood recently explained—is balderdash.

The motion to pursue a bond referendum was the last one made by council member Trudy Wade, who will depart for the state Senate. The council narrowly voted to replace Wade with local blogger Tony Wilkins. Perkins and council members Yvonne Johnson, Dianne Bellamy-Small and Nancy Hoffman voted against Wilkins, citing —as the N&R puts it — ‘bad behavior’ on his blog.

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