The Winston-Salem Journal editorializes:
The public legacy of Winston-Salem’s only Medal of Honor winner will now be preserved if the city sells the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum to Wake Forest University. City officials and Wake Forest officials deserve credit for hearing the public loud and clear on this important issue.
…As we’ve said before, selling the coliseum, as well as Bowman Gray Stadium, makes sense. City officials estimate the value to the city over 20 years would be $30 million when considering the elimination of operating deficits and repairs along with the income from the sales…..
Lot of talk about Greenboro envy down Interstate 40 –W-S had to have a downtown baseball stadium of its own, but unlike Gboro, put the taxpayers on the hook. Now Gboro leaders can look west and figure out a way to somehow privatize its coliseum. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there hasn’t been a lot of talk about that lately with the proposed downtown PAC and all.
Speaking of which —surprise (or not) —- private commitments toward the PAC to take the burden off taxpayers have never been ‘firm.’
The International Civil Rights Museum’s numbers have just been crunched. Problem is the report won’t be ready until mid-late June, a little late in Greensboro’s budget season.
Mayor Robbie Perkins says he needs to see three years’ worth of numbers before he’ll fully support the museum’s request for $1.5 million over three years but Sit-In Movement Inc. chair and former Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston says the numbers are there for the viewing:
Perkins was adamant Friday when told of the time crunch, saying city officials couldn’t begin considering the $500,000 request until the Sit-in Movement’s audits are submitted for review.
Alston said that if the audit came late, perhaps the council could consider un-audited financial reports as the basis for approving a museum grant that would be contingent on submitting the full-blown audits soon thereafter.
Many nonprofits, including the Greensboro Children’s Museum and the Greensboro Science Center, do independent audits each year to assure donors of efficiency and to guide managers in making sound financial decisions.
The civil rights museum’s functions have been audited annually under requirements of the tax-credit financing, just not the Sit-in Movement, said John Swaine, the museum’s chief financial officer.
Problem is there appears to be a lot of creative accounting going on considering the fact that you’ve got a lot of LLCs working under the same roof with a nonprofit in order to take advantage of tax-credit financing.
As for busing school kids in from all 100 counties — with Gboro paying for it —I’m having trouble seeing how that help the museum’s bottom line.
On Monday, the foundation will meet to review whether the city’s proposed sale agreement aligns with the terms under which the foundation gave the property to the city Nov. 28, 1969, according to Scott Weirman, the foundation president. A covenant signed by the city and the foundation that year aimed to safeguard the land as a resource for public use.
Don’t see the foundation standing in the way, but as I say over and over again, nothing surprises me.
The N&R reports on last night’s marathon discussion and debate by the Greensboro City Council on development for the rundown Bessemer Center shopping center on the east side of town.
The article notes the council went back and forth for four hours, and that should tell you pretty much what you need to know. In a nutshell, they were trying to decide whether to go with a bid from the Renaissance Community, under which the city would continue to own the shopping center and assist with establishing a co-op grocery store, which neighborhood residents insist is essential considering the fact that Phillips Avenue is a so-called ‘food desert.’
The other bid was from former Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston, who told the council that —with a little help from the city, mind you — his group would go in and not only renovate the shopping center but fill it up as well. Alston’s bid did not necessarily exclude the co-op.
The council not only was split over which group to work with, but was also confused about the dollars involved. At one point Alston returned to the podium and told the council he did not mind if the they rejected his bid, but he did not want them to do so based on inaccurate figures.
I’m no expert on Robert’s Rules of Order, but I’ve watched enough government meetings to have a basic understanding, and Mayor Robbie Perkins pretty much broke every rule —I’m not saying that to cut on Perkins— as big a target as he is now— because he admitted as much later on. Best example is citizens who were not principals in either deal were allowed to speak after the public hearing was closed.
After all that, the council –you guessed it– tabled the issue until its June 4 meeting. While I hate to see so much debate and discussion come to no resolution, this was the best course of action.
In light of the criminal investigation into allegations of passing a worthless check, it looks like the High Point mayor’s fate rests in the hands of North Carolina Attorney General’s Office:
City Attorney JoAnne Carlyle said a sitting council member cannot be removed from office if they are indicted or charged with a crime. She said the North Carolina Constitution bars anyone convicted of a felony from holding office.
Sims has given no indication that she is contemplating resigning, but revelations about the case have turned attention to the city’s procedure for how a possible vacancy would be filled.
As I’ve said many times, I’m constantly amazed at the personal problems politicians overcome. Sims will not resign, but —like Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins and his personal problems —- questions about her fitness to serve will linger and will ultimately be decided by voters.
A Winston-Salem City Council committee has passed a resolution supporting the sale of Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Bowman Gray Stadium to Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University, respectively.
Should the sale of Joel Coliseum go through — the full council is scheduled to vote during its May 20 meeting — it appears to be foregone conclusion that Wake Forest will bid the naming rights. However:
Wake Forest would name the main lobby as the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Lobby, according to city documents. A plaque by the same name and a portrait of Joel would be retained. The two areas immediately outside the entry and exit doors of the lobby, where veterans monuments stand, would be named the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Plaza.
The university would also be able to make changes.
Wake Forest “may with mutual agreement with the city, after a public input session soliciting input from veterans, descendants of Lawrence Joel and the public regarding the proposed change in design and display, agree to change the design or display of any of the memorials,” according to city documents.
City officials have said selling the coliseum and stadium would be worth $30 million to taxpayers over the next 20 years. Stay tuned, however.
A jury has convicted East Forsyth High School music teacher Winston Stevens Jr. on three counts of taking indecent liberties with a 16-year-old male student.
Text messages calling the victim his ‘stud muffin’ and ‘manly man’ certainly didn’t help, but his defense attorney did his best to discredit the timeline during which the victims say the alleged indecent liberties took place. But he had another card up his sleeve:
The student had testified that Stephens had gotten aroused during some of the alleged incidents, but Stephens and his wife, Sheryl Stephens, testified that Stephens has erectile dysfunction.
Stephens faces up to six years in prison following his conviction.
High Point Enterprise reports Mayor Bernita Sims is the subject of an SBI investigation for passing a bad check:
Sims’ sister, Annie Ponce, reported to High Point police on March 13 that Sims had given her a $7,000 check in November 2012 that was returned due to insufficient funds.
Police referred the matter to the SBI, where agents launched an investigation that concluded April 23. The SBI findings were delivered to the District Attorney, who asked that the Special Prosecutions Unit of the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office handle the case going forward, according to an SBI spokeswoman.
A bounced check involving an amount more than $2,000 is considered a felony under state law.
Police Chief Marty Sumner referred the case to state authorities in order to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. Sims declined to comment until the matter is resolved by authorities.
Great Winston-Salem Journal front-pager by Richard Craver on hospitals’ public relations campaign for survival:
Stung by a series of unusual setbacks at the General Assembly, the North Carolina hospital industry is launching a public relations campaign aimed, in part, at protecting revenues and staving off competition from lower cost surgery centers.
In a social media initiative targeted at lawmakers and their constituents, the N.C. Hospital Association says hospitals are “fighting for their economic survival.”
Obamacare isn’t helping, either. I just read Nick J. Tate’s Obamacare Survival Guide. Yeah you hear Dick Morris pitching it on conservative talk radio and how he warned us about Obamacare, but honestly Tate gives it a fair shake, and ‘bundled payments’ to hospitals is a perfect example.
Tate acknowledges that the pilot program where bundled payments from the federal government to hospitals has the admirable goal of reducing the number of costly stays and readmissions by allowing hospitals flexibility in spending on outpatient care.
But it’s not fee for service, and there are always surprises in treatment along the way. My guess is hospitals aren’t counting bundled payments as a boon.
Hospitals indeed want all the newly-insured under Obamacare as patients, but odds are it will be way more than they bargained. Common sense dictates that an increase in insured patients should equal more hospitals, right?
JLF’s John Hood weighs in on legislative efforts to regionalize Charlotte’s airport and Asheville’s water system:
I would also observe that many of the same people criticizing the Asheville water and Charlotte airport bills have for decades advocated regional authorities to deliver water and transportation services, as well as merged school systems to replace separate city and county systems, often arguing that state government should encourage or require such outcomes through state budgetary or regulatory policies.
I’d count the N&R as one of those critics, considering the local paper of record references those initiatives when putting N.C. cities on alert. Never mind the fact that the Triad is the capital of regionalism, with the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation, the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority and the Piedmont Triad International Airport Authority (in place since 1941 to be fair).
Any economic development initiative here in the Triad is based on regionalism. That’s all we seem hear in the Triad: regionalism, regionalism, regionalism. Now suddenly it’s not so cool. Wonder what’s changed?