A grievance against High Point City Manager Strib Boynton has been filed by the city human relations director Al Heggins.
WGHP reports Heggins “apparently felt threatened during an alleged confrontation with Boynton last week” and “suffered an apparent panic attack following the confrontation and was taken to the hospital.”
The Rhino’s John Hammer shows us where progressives have gotten Greensboro:
While other cities around us were improving infrastructure and recruiting new industry in a time of economic boom, the Greensboro City Council was holding press conferences to say that the embattled city manager was not dishonest, or agreeing to subject themselves to lie detector tests to discover who had leaked a secret report the city manager had done about the Police Department.
And who knows how much the city spent defending the resultant lawsuits. To be fair, I think progressivism in just the norm in municipal government, which explains the groupthink where every city has to have a new downtown performing arts center. As for GPAC, which is close to a contract with the city, Hammer says when designing it, look at Gboro’s ugly ass city hall and don’t do that. Or the Aquatic Center.
Pretty incredible column from the N&R’s Doug Clark, who argues that “Progressive Greensboro” must “tune out the coarse discourse” and press ahead in the wake of the civil rights museum contract debacle:
All that said, I agree that the public discourse in Greensboro can be harsh and that even actions intended for the greater good are often twisted into something sinister (although it’s hardly as bad as “our motivations are questioned at every turn”).
From my perspective as a long-time High Point resident who has worked in Greensboro for the past 10 years, I see some peculiar characteristics here.
One is a persistent grievance mentality that goes back at least to the Klan-Nazi shootings in 1979 and is kept alive by allegations that a “culture of corruption” and pervasive racism infect the city police department.
Another is a distrust by many residents of institutional Greensboro, and not just government but also the private-sector movers and shakers. The city is blessed with a number of well-funded foundations that have invested untold millions into progressive development, without which Greensboro would be a far bleaker place. Yet, critics see these institutions as somehow controlling or manipulative. Related to that is the suspicion that any new project is meant to benefit the few at the expense of the many. This is the most puzzling form of the Greensboro syndrome.
Maybe my perspective is skewed, but it seems to me that ‘Progressive Greensboro’ —-with a lot of help from the progressive local paper of record —- pretty much gets whatever it wants. The only instance I can think of lately where the City Council has stood up to a request for public money is the $300,000 loan for the ‘Watcha Cookin’ sitcom, but that was a reversal of course after city staff did a little homework for a change.
Remember the museum loan was approved after political pressure from the progressive element (read: stare Senate candidate Skip Alston) was applied, and the unsigned contract was uncovered only after the council’s lone conservative member, Tony Wilkins, asked for a copy. And the city is pressing ahead with the downtown performing arts center—- how the operations and cost will play out is still far from certain in spite of the memorandum of understanding the council will consider next week.
All in all, I’d say ‘Progressive Greensboro’ is doing just fine, thank you.
The Board of Education —unlike their Guilford County counterparts—- take a pass on a lawsuit over teacher tenure. Instead, theu will let teachers decide for themselves whether or not to step up for new four-year contracts:
Instead of the board identifying its top 25 percent of teachers to receive the contract offers, it will allow all those eligible to ask for the contracts. Eligible teachers are those who have taught at least three consecutive years with the district, have reached career status – commonly called tenure – and demonstrate proficiency on the state’s teacher evaluation instrument. In Forsyth County, about 2,500 teachers are eligible for consideration so the district must offer about 625 of the four-year contracts.
If more than 25 percent of eligible teachers ask for contracts, the board will convene a committee to determine who gets the contract offers. If fewer than 25 percent step forward, the remaining contracts will be offered to eligible employees through a lottery.
Again, more questions than answers at this point. It will be interesting to see if the 25 percent of eligible teachers step up and ask for a new contract.
Greensboro City Council names Terry Wood interim city attorney while the council searches for a permanent replacement for Mujeeb Shah-Khan, resigned last week over the unsigned civil rights museum contract.
Wood has a long history with Gboro, working in the legal department for 24 years and served as city attorney after being lured out of retirement when the city couldn’t find a suitable replacement for Linda Miles.
I also seem to remember— correct me if I’m wrong— Wood being pressed into service in some legal capacity following the resignation of J. Rita Danish. Remember her?
Again —Shah-Khan was aware of the risk of proceeding with the museum loan without a signed contract. Certainly he didn’t think his job would be one of them, but if he did he evidently thought it he could get away with it. Why he –and former City Manager Denise Turner Roth, for that matter —consciously took such a risk is the lingering question.
Winston-Salem voters will likely be asked this fall to decide whether the city should issue $107.5 million to $182.5 million in bonds to pay for what city leaders are describing as long-deferred maintenance and other improvements.
Counting a separate $17.5 million bond issue planned for upgrading the Benton Convention Center, the whole package would be worth $125 million to $200 million and require a tax increase of between 1.5 and 3.5 cents on the city’s tax rate, which currently stands at 53 cents for every $100 of taxable property.
A $200 million bond package “would boost transportation spending to $76.7 million and provide $30 million for road widening, $16.6 million for street repaving and $18.3 million for an upgrade to the old Union Station building, a former train station the city bought in 2012.”
Union Station would serve as the hub for an upgraded city transportation system which would include —you guessed it —- a proposed streetcar line.
N&R reports Greensboro City Council member Tony Wilkins “has asked for an investigation into whether any crimes were committed when city staff members issued a $750,000 check to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan tells the N&R she thinks cutting the check without a signed contract “was just stupid. I don’t think it was criminal.”
Again, it all comes down to the “risk” former City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan said he was aware of when cutting the check without a contract. So far we have not heard directly from city finance director Rick Lusk, who signed off on the loan “(a)s long as everyone understands the risk of not having a signed agreement and circumventing the internal control system.”
The Rhino reports:
The risk was that Roth, Vigue and Shah-Khan were giving away the $750,000, the first installment of a $1.5 million forgivable loan, without complying with the Sept. 3, 2013 vote by the City Council that approved the loan. The City Council vote required the loan to be issued at 2 percent interest, secured by the civil rights museum’s property and paid out only with numerous conditions, none of which were enforceable without a contract.
The loan was indeed forgivable —on the condition that the civil rights museum match the loan. But the lack of a signed contract effectively turns the loan into a grant.
Not sure where pursuing a criminal investigation will lead. Shah-Khan has paid the price with his job, and good luck getting former City Manager Denise Turner-Roth to cooperate now that she’s safely ensconced in D.C.
As to whether the unsigned contract was stupidity or criminality –that’s the thing with mid-size city politics —stupidity often begats criminality.
4pm on a Friday.
Not hard to speculate that City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan — who signed off on the unsigned contract for the International Civil Rights Museum loan—– is the subject of the emergency meeting.
Update: N&R reports Shah-Khan resigns. He said he knew the risks of proceeding with the loan without a signed contract. I’m not sure he expected this.
Shah-Khan tells the N&R “Greensboro was a difficult city to work in because the public ‘discourse is course….We are good public servants and yet our motivations are questioned at every turn.’”
That’s part of being a public servant.
The City of Winston-Salem has set time and places for its gun buyback:
Winston-Salem City Council Member James Taylor said he was pleased that one of the events would be in his ward. Waughtown Baptist Church is in Southeast Ward, which Taylor represents on the council.
“I think getting one gun off the street that an owner does not want is beneficial because we don’t want that gun used in a crime in our city,” Taylor said.
Taylor acknowledged that some people criticize gun-buyback programs as not being effective because criminals are not likely to turn in their guns. But Taylor said that the program can get rid of unwanted guns that could be stolen and later used in a crime.
Where to start? How about here— ‘gun buybacks popular but ineffective.’ Criminals probably cannot believe their good fortune.
By now you’ve probably read that the Greensboro Zoning Commission by an —8-1 vote – approved a rezoning that paves the way for a Trader Joe’s on the corner of Friendly Avenue and Hobbs Road.
There has been considerable neighborhood opposition to the rezoning, but I can’t help but notice that over last few days there had been at least one N&R letter to the editor supporting Trader Joe’s. The latest from Greensboro resident Randal Romie:
To me, the redesign of the proposed development is very attractive, though I wonder how a 4- to 5-foot-high berm with a 6-foot wall on top fits into a “natural landscape area.” I would suggest that approach only with a lot of new landscaping and a determined effort to protect the root systems of the existing trees.
It seems that the win-win in this situation is that Greensboro gets a Trader Joe’s, and quite possibly, not on the proposed property. While this may be an obvious statement, I know of some, and believe there are many, who are tired of driving to Winston-Salem and Charlotte to shop and save money on healthy products from Trader Joe’s. Wherever — we want Trader Joe’s!
Somehow I have a feeling this is it for this piece of property —should the City Council deny the rezoning at its March 18 meeting, there will be no Trader Joe’s in Greensboro. West Gboro residents will just have to settle for the proposed Walmart grocery down at Quaker Village.