N.C. A&T and the City of Greensboro are in negotiations over a potential partnership to rehab 89-year-old War Memorial Stadium:
“This discussion has been going on for years. It isn’t something new,” Greensboro City Councilman Jamal Fox said. “We’re still in discussions, but I plan to make something happen, and I’m committed to seeing this through.”
The stadium complex, constructed in 1926, sits on Yanceyville Street at the edge of A&T’s campus. The Greensboro Grasshoppers — during those days, named the Hornets, then the Bats — played in the stadium until 2005. Various tournaments are held there, but A&T’s baseball team uses the complex most often, Fox said.
The current negotiations are only the latest stage in years of discussions between the city and the university about the stadium.
City Manager Jim Westmoreland says if negotiations with A&T fall through —a March 6 deadline has been set– then the city “will continue to seek opportunities to improve the stadium through other potential partnerships.” Good luck with that —not a lot has panned out since Gboro’s minor league baseball team moved uptown a decade ago.
…From the Winston-Salem Journal:
Price tag for Central Library could rise to $31 million
Original price tag is $28 million, but the extra $3 million “would just get the county closer to the vision of the designer,” according to Forsyth County Deputy Manager Damon Sanders-Pratt.
Note Commissioner Walter Marshall’s comment that he “didn’t think the $28 million would do what they said it would do.”
The Greensboro City Council unanimously voted to oppose Sen. Trudy Wade’s bill that restructuring the council. Tony Wilkins, initially the lone council member who expressed support for Wade’s bill, joined the rest of the council in opposing the bill:
“I’ve said from the beginning there are some things I support about the bill and some things I don’t,” Wilkins said after the vote. “I support a referendum on it. I’m not going to sit up here and say that people shouldn’t have the right to vote on this. They should.”
Wilkins said he supports the portion of the bill that cuts the City Council from nine members to seven and a mayor who is elected at-large. He also supports those seven members coming from districts and doing away with the two at-large members who now serve on the board.
He opposes granting the mayor, who would otherwise vote only in the case of a tie, the power to veto actions of the council.
The council will hold a public meeting on Wade’s bill on March 3.
…Of financial ruin, as the Enterprise reports:
Debt service on a $2 million loan that funded renovations and improvements to its N. Main Street headquarters nearly overwhelmed the organization in 2013.
The crisis was averted, expenses have been cut and revenues are growing to the point the chamber is “profitable,” according to its leaders.
“We want the community to see the High Point Chamber is back,” said Chief Operating Officer Rachel Moss Gauldin. “We have gotten through the recovery, and now we’re focused on doing what we do best. We feel like the community has confidence in us and so does the bank. The loan has not been an issue.”
Chamber’s first priority back from the brink? Renaming two city streets.
N&R reports fired UNCG employee Lyda Carpen jas reached a settlement with the university:
Carpen, one of the “UNCG 3,” will get about $29,000 in salary and $9,000 in legal bills paid under a settlement she has reached with the university after she appealed her firing.
Seth Cohen, Carpen’s attorney, confirmed Friday afternoon that Carpen and UNC-Greensboro Chancellor Linda Brady signed the agreement earlier in the day.
Three former university employees faced felony charges for allegedly falsifying time sheets.
Carpen, who was the manager and graphic artist in the University Relations Department, was fired and arrested in September for, UNCG said, using university equipment for freelance jobs.
With the settlement, a public hearing with the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings in Raleigh will be avoided, meaning we probably have heard the last of Paul Mason, the controversial vice chancellor in the middle of controversy surrounding the firing of Carpen and two photographers from University Relations. Mason worked his last day at UNCG Feb. 6.
Wilkins tried to explain to his fellow members of the City Council what was going on. He said, “I believe this is punitive because we have been a very progressive city.” He noted that Greensboro has the highest tax rate of any sizable city in North Carolina and had cut the budget for public safety.
Wilkins said, “We need to understand who is in charge. If we continue to be fiscally irresponsible what do you think is going to happen?”
Wilkins, unlike the other eight members of the City Council, seems to understand basic politics.
Wilkins is right when he says one reason this is coming down from the state is because the City Council is seen as way too liberal, and this new seven-district system should increase the chances that more conservatives get elected to the council. But another is that the City Council, to outsiders, is seen as completely dysfunctional, and the idea is that any change would be an improvement.
It’s interesting that this question of state power is being raised here in Gboro while down the road the City of Wilson is anxiously waiting the FCC’s vote on preempting N.C.’s law restricting on municipal broadband.
You can talk about not-elected federal government officials wielding their power over state law all you want, but the answer will be that the state shouldn’t have passed a (what I don’t think is an unreasonable) in the first place.
Check out New York University of Law’s report (PDF) on the debate surrounding municipal broadband. The report profiles Wilson and Chattanooga, which joined in on the petition to the FCC to overturn Tennessee’s law—the report gives plenty of reason to be skeptical about Chattanooga’s broadband system, even though it’s making a profit line.
Report’s bottom line, from the executive summary:
State-level policy makers have important roles to play in the GONs context. The costs associated with building and maintaining a GON are significant, which raises the risk of financial default by local government, the diversion of resources from other priorities, or other negative outcomes (e.g., credit downgrades). States, which maintain ultimate responsibility for the financial health of the cities and towns in their borders, have strong interests in overseeing the process by which GONs proposals are vetted and approved. Well-established legal precedent supports such a close relationship between states and their political subdivisions.
Could that possibly be the case here in Gboro?
Gut reaction —who cares?— but apparently N&R ed page editor Allen Johnson does. In this week’s Rhino publishers column Carroll writes about his recent lunch with Johnson to talk over Sen. Trudy Wade’s bill restructuring the Greensboro City Council:
This Allen Johnson interview was nothing like I have seen before. I’m not saying it was so heated that I think Allen is ready for anger management counseling, but let’s just say it was very intense at times.
Allen tried to pin me down on everything from where I stood on global warming to the fact that he was sure I knew where Jimmy Hoffa was buried. Just kidding on the Jimmy Hoffa comment, but serious on the global warming comment. This was not the same “engagement of different ideas” discussion that I had signed up for. Nor was it anything like the discussions we had had in the past. The main thing that I took away from my discussion with Allen was his strong opposition, as far as I could tell, to all aspects of Wade’s bill.
I guess the question here is why does the N&R care so passionately about whether or not the Gboro council restructured? I’m not saying it’s not a major story that shouldn’t be well-covered, but let’s be honest here—you can just smell the contempt when you pick the paper up off the walkway in the morning. (Yes I still do that, though I often wonder why.)
The N&R’s never cared for Wade, but I think it’s obvious the powers that be down on E. Market have either decided —or had it decided for them — that the paper would take a radical left turn. Best example obviously is Susan Ladd’s ultra-lefty columns; even more recently Doug Clark defended President Obama’s arrogant and pompous ‘high horse’ remarks on Christianity at the National Prayer Breakfast.
GPD press release:
Ashleigh Morgan Kay and a juvenile accomplice are facing criminal charges in connection with yesterday’s robbery of a 56-year-old fiend of Kay’s.
Kay, 23, and a juvenile are each charged with Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury, and Conspiracy for yesterday’s attack on Buster Alexander Yancey Jr.
Yancey went to Kay’s residence at 1615 Grove Street at her request shortly before 1:00 pm on Feb. 10 to help the mother buy food. When Yancey arrived at her home, he was accosted by a young man with a baseball bat and robbed of $1,400 in cash. Kay then called GM 911 to report that her home was being burglarized.
Yancey was transported to Cone Hospital and treated for a non-life threatening injury to his head. He has since been released.
The juvenile was taken into custody on a secure custody order and is confined at the Guilford County Juvenile Detention Center until his hearing.
Kay is currently confined in the Greensboro Jail Central on a $40,000 secure bond.
You know the rest of old saying….
At last night’s meeting the Winston-Salem/Forsyth Board of Education voted to close Hanes and Lowrance middles schools following Winston-Salem Journal reports of contamination underneath the campus from a nearby manufacturing operation.
The vote was 7-2 — the two ‘no’ votes were David Singletary and Elisabeth Motsinger–an interesting vote considering the fact that Motsinger is an outspoken liberal:
“I’m really bothered by this,” Motsinger said. “By the time this move goes into place we will have gotten an enormous amount of good data. I feel the public has really been harmed with inaccurate reporting of science and an inaccurate understanding of what these levels are and the toxicity.
“In years to come, we will look back at this decision and will be a little bit surprised we made it.”
The vote to close the schools by March 2 is only the beginning, as Superintendent Beverly Emory begins work on the logistics surrounding the displacement of 1,100 students:
The disruption to students and their schedules is likely to be large. Everything from bus numbers to bell times will be changed. The district will need to keep students out of school for either a Friday or Monday near the move weekend to allow staffs time to get new classrooms ready. Emory said the challenges of such an unprecedented move were part of her recommendation to hold off, but the district has been preparing for this option.
“I needed to look at the logistics,” she said. “We’ll figure it out and make it happen with the least disruption to kids.”
Stay tuned — this “is just the first of many decisions the board will have to make concerning Hanes and Lowrance.”
Toward the end of N&R’s front-pager analyzing Sen. Trudy Wade’s plan to restructure the Greensboro City Council —which concludes that “four of the new districts proposed under Wade’s Senate Bill 36 would lean Democratic,” which would create a “more liberal-minded majority for this nonpartisan board”:
Not everyone is convinced.
Former state Rep. Marcus Brandon, a black Democrat who represented Guilford County, said African Americans don’t benefit from being packed into districts because it means their numbers are diluted elsewhere.
“We have more African Americans serving in the General Assembly than we ever had,” Brandon said. “That means nothing if you are staring down the barrel of a bunch of Republicans. That is the plan. It’s designed to neutralize.”
State Sen. Gladys Robinson, a black Democrat who represents Guilford County, said African Americans are better off working with like-minded people.
Providing more black precincts is “a good story on her part,” Robinson said of Wade.
“It’s not a good thing on the part of our community.”
Take those comments and interpret for yourselves, although I’ve always heard that only working with like-minded people rarely brings about effective change.