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N&R: Hagan versus Snyder

I happen to know Lexington attorney and U.S. Senate candidate James Snyder. He is indeed a fine man and conscientious conservative, but is he the candidate with the best shot at defeating incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan?

The N&R thinks so:

Snyder also criticizes excessive executive authority by President Obama; the Affordable Care Act, which he says replaced a system in need of repair with a program that’s too complex and wasteful; unrestricted free trade; too much federal intervention in education; and an unsustainable retirement system. He proposes to replace Social Security for newborn Americans with a $1,500 grant to be invested at birth, which could grow to appropriately $1 million by the time the individual reaches age 65.

These ideas haven’t given Snyder much traction against better-financed opponents. But, while Thom Tillis and Greg Brannon, who are leading in the polls, and other Republicans contend for ground on the farthest right edge of the party, Snyder offers creative solutions to the nation’s problems. He also has a personal manner that would never embarrass North Carolinians.

Fair enough, the N&R endorsed Snyder for lieutenant governor when he ran in 2004 against eventual winner Bev Perdue. But our local paper of record is and always has been in the tank for Hagan, so I can’t help but think they’re endorsing the candidate who has the least chance of defeating her in November.

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So a guy could bring 400 jobs tomorrow…

N&R reports on the ever-evolving $1 million economic development contest that council member Tony Wilkins described as a “mess.”

But more interesting was the unposted sidebar where council member and 6th District Congressional candidate Zack Matheny calls out county commissioners for Gboro’s lack of economic development:

And, Matheny said, a mostly conservative Guilford County Board of Commissioners is discouraging businesses that might ask for incentives.

A closer collaboration might change that, he said.

“I was with a guy last night who could bring 400 jobs here tomorrow,” Matheny said, but he won’t even talk to the county.”

I guess the question is if it were that simple, then —for the love of mite— why doesn’t Matheny’s guy just do it —bring 400 jobs here overnight —instead of complaining that county government is holding him back?

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Gboro’s MWBE quagmire

The Rhino’s Paul Clark says the City of Greensboro is getting sucked into Guilford County Schools’ MWBE quagmire:

It is a fact that there was discrimination against black people, and companies, in America. But another fact is that women, in American culture, rarely went into construction until recently. And why there would be a governmental interest in finding construction companies owned by, say, Samoans, is a mystery.

Contractors can show that they have made a good-faith effort to hire minorities, but that can be difficult. Councilmember Yvonne Johnson recently grilled the owner of a company that was chosen for a specialized project at the White Street Landfill. The project would have only two employees

Fellow council member Sharon Hightower so far has been the most vocal MWBE advocate. She held up a paving contract— not like the roads need it after this winter— because she wasn’t satisfied with Blythe Construction’s MWBE participation.

Hightower also questioned MWBE participation for a project whereupon the general contractor told her there weren’t that many companies who tackle water treatment plant incinerators —period— much less women and minority owned businesses.

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Meanwhile, in L.A.

Barely treading water:

The Los Angeles 2020 Commission presented a catalog of failings that it said were a unique burden to the city: widespread poverty and job stagnation, huge municipal pension obligations, a struggling port and tourism industry and paralyzing traffic that would not be eased even with a continuing multibillion-dollar mass transit initiative.

The mayor’s answer? Move the Late Show to L.A. when Stephen Colbert takes over.

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Grievance against HP city manager resolved

High Point Enterprise reports the grievance filed against HP City Manager Strib Boynton by human relations director Al Heggins as been resolved.

But —you guessed it —state personnel laws prevent personnel matters from public discussion:

City Council members said they were authorized to say nothing about the matter publicly other than that it had been “resolved.” Council has held multiple closed sessions to discuss personnel matters since the grievance was brought.

By law, any council vote in connection with the case would have to be taken publicly, in open session. Council has not taken any public action to date on the matter.

The employment status of Boynton and Heggins remains unchanged, according to the city.

Heggins also filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has also been resolved.

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Zack Matheny’s campaign ad

Heard the 6th Congressional District candidate and Greensboro City Council member’s radio ad in the car; here’s his TV ad.

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New Dash stadium lease

Winston-Salem City Council unanimously approves a new financing deal for BB&T Ballpark, home of the Class-A Dash:

Under the deal’s provisions, the White Sox will pay $8 million to buy into the team. The new money will be used to pay off outstanding team loans as well as paying down part of a short-term $15 million construction loan that the team secured in 2009.

The team will use $2 million to reduce that debt to $13 million. The city will then pay off the short-term loan with new long-term financing. The team will pay the city $1.8 million annually, with the amount gradually increasing over 25 years to pay off that $13 million loan, plus $18 million in loans provided earlier.

The deal retains the city ownership of the ballpark, since the team’s $15 million construction loan had used the city-owned stadium as collateral.

While it’s a good thing that the stadium will no longer be collateralized, it’s uncertain how much the city will profit form the new deal. The earlier spin was the city would make $4 million(!) over the course of the deal, but now city officials are backing off that projection:

Although some city leaders had said recently that the city could actually net $4 million over the 25-year term of the new deal, Lisa Saunders, the city’s chief financial officer, sought to downplay that chance in a conversation last week.

“The $4 million is part of our projection, but the debt is a floating-rate debt,” Saunders said. “There are some projections about what the rate might be, but we don’t know what it might be for the next 25 years. The city’s intent was to break even and not make money one way or the other.”

…City Manager Lee Garrity said in an email that he sent to council members on Friday that under the existing agreement with the Dash, the city was projected to net about $1 million over 25 years – although Garrity, like Saunders, couched the figure in uncertainty by saying that too depended on actual interest rates.

“The city is not trying to make money off the team,” Garrity said.

Take into consideration the maintenance of the stadium over the course of 25 years, it seems to me that that city if anything will be losing money.

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Gboro officially in the saloon business

N&R report on the City of Greensboro’s official takeover of the Cascade Saloon via eminent domain holds out hope that the crumbling building “may get a new lease on life.”

But the report doesn’t mention that in addition to bids for a new roof and a “stabilization system,” the city will also take bids to demolish the building and grade the site. Brace yourselves, preservationists —that’s a very real scenario.

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Journal thinks buskers are cool

Winston-Salem Journal editorializes on downtown street performers:

Street performers, or “buskers,” usually possess talent and enthusiasm. As Sexton put it, such street musicians add character and variety to the urban tapestry in every city in America. Running across one can be an uplifting surprise; generally they’re cheerful and they’re not nags about money, preferring their open guitar cases to serve as tip jars. But their hours and volume – not to mention location – should be reasonable.

Not exactly a hip characterization of hipsters from Journal editorial writers—either a) they’re just now discovering buskers or b) they think we haven’t discovered buskers and need to prepare us should we encounter one while wandering the streets in downtown Winston-Salem. And of course what does the Journal support to help make peace with downtown residents complaining about the noise? You guessed it –a busker’s license.

This is just another problem with the New Urbanist vision where everyone masses together yet remain uniquely themselves.

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Welcome to journalism, professor

Pretty funny letter to the editor in the N&R:

On March 23, the News & Record published article titled “The Law and Voter Turnout” under my name. The article was derived from a piece posted on the UNC School of Government website two-and-a-half weeks earlier. In the version published by the newspaper, the News & Record chose to omit significant portions of the original, rewrite other parts, and substitute its own graphics. Those changes were made without my knowledge or permission.

Michael Crowell

Chapel Hill

The writer is a professor of public law and government at the UNC School of Government. His article was shortened because of the late addition of a quarter-page ad in the Ideas section.

I searched ‘Michael Crowell op-eds’ and all I got was the aforementioned article, which leads me to believe he’s not used to working with newspapers. In which case, welcome to journalism, professor.

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