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Matheny leaving Gboro council seat (for DGI)

Statement released by Greensboro City Council member Zack Matheny regarding his future plans:

A few months ago, I expressed interest in leading Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) and have interviewed to become the organization’s next President and CEO. Due to the nature of the discussions and my desire to avoid any perceived conflicts of interest, as of today, I plan to resign from City Council at the June 16 meeting.

I don’t think Matheny would be taking this step if the DGI job weren’t a lock. Expect an announcement on that front soon.

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Melissa Harris-Perry–the gift that keeps on giving…

Bust just for the heck of it, I’ll assume the Wake Forest University law professor is only kidding when she suggests media suspend coverage of all men’s sports for one year in order to build the fan base for women’s sports. (Harris-Perry apparently hasn’t thought about numbers of women—Cowboys fans especially— who would be pissed off if there were no NFL on the tube.)

But you never know with someone who would ask the U.S. attorney general to quack like a duck.

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SB 36 unintended consequences?

If incumbent Greensboro City Council find themselves scrambling to file for the upcoming election as Sen. Trudy Wade’s SB 36 bogs down in the General Assembly, then what about potential challengers, especially those who’ve never been through an election before?

Another good point from EZ Greensboro—what about the money?

challengers generally start as early as possible. When George Hartzman ran against Mayor Vaughan and Mayor Perkins he started a year before either one of them.

Add to that the fact that Senator Wade’s SB 36 has also served to mobilize incumbent supporters earlier than they would normally jump into the fray and the incumbent advantage grows even bigger. Who doesn’t believe incumbents’ campaign contributions won’t rise because of SB 36?

Couple of things here—first of all, note that potential big contributors to incumbent City Council members running for reelection—from whatever district — are –I suspect— part of the same crowd that bemoans money in politics, except of course when it’s their guy or gal in the mix.

And if the true goal of Sen. Wade’s bill is to get more business people in city politics, then money should not be an issue.

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W-S crime down….

According to Police Chief Barry Rountree:

Violent crimes — which include rape, robbery and aggravated assault — are down 25.9 percent overall from the same period in 2014. Reports of aggravated assaults decreased to eight in 2015 from 17 during the same period the previous year, and reports of rape remain unchanged from the year before at three.

However, the number of robberies increased from six to nine, according to the report.

“We did have an increase in robbery and burglary, but overall crime is down,” Rountree said. “I don’t have a specific answer as to why there are increases in these two categories. I can say we are working to reduce these two areas also.”

Meanwhile the Greensboro Police Department released its 2014 Professional Standards Report. Lots of numbers, but best I can tell based on the N&R write-up, the cops blew the whistle on themselves more than the public.

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GCS budget–who’s taking whom to school?

Headline in N&R print edition story on last night’s public hearing on the Guilford County Schools budget at last night’s Board of Commissioners meeting:

Commissioners taken to school at hearing on budget

Stories of out-of-date textbooks, malfunctioning HVAC units and crowded classrooms dominated the discussion Thursday over what Guilford County should spend its money on in the upcoming budget.

Dozens of speakers packed a public hearing before the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to urge the board to direct more funding to Guilford County Schools.

Commissioner Jeff Phillips said “there are so many folks across the county that do great work on behalf of our citizens…. I just want to thank them regardless of whether or not we fund or how much we fund as a board.”

Given the difference between GCS’ request and the proposed allocation in County Manager Marty Lawing’s budget is $27 million —and Republicans control the board, we’ll see who will be driving the school bus school come July 1.

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N&R layoffs

N&R lays off nine employees in the news, advertising and administration divisions “due to continuing softness in national advertising,” according to publisher Jeff “Grits” Gauger. Longtime N&R subscribers will note some familiar names among those laid off, including one who reportedly was “just months from retiring.”

I’ve been caught in print media downsizing myself, so I certainly sympathize with the employees who went to work on Wednesday–just like any other day — and were out of a job before the day was done. But anyone who’s been reading the N&R lately knows they’ve taken a decidedly liberal turn—-North Carolina’s evil Republicans are pretty much responsible for any woe you can conjure up. No political gloating here—just noting that in the real world difficult decisions affecting the few must be made for the benefit of the majority.

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GCS board fills District 1 seat—finally(??)

Third time’s a charm (??) for the Guilford County Board of Education, which may have finally filled the District 1 seat:

The board voted 7-2 in favor of Keith McCullough’s appointment at a special called meeting Tuesday night. Vice Chairman Amos Quick and board member Deena Hayes-Greene voted for another candidate, Chevella Wilson. Board member Ed Price was absent.

“This is not a popularity contest. This is about making change in our community,” McCullough told the crowd, which included many of his former classmates, earlier in the meeting.

McCullough, 47, then gave his address and phone number to the crowd.

But the most interesting part of the meeting came toward the end, when “some in the audience also seemed surprised to learn” that the board will change structure next, going from 11 to nine members and becoming—gasp—partisan.

That’s your informed electorate for you. And when an audience member asked the board what they could do “help you guys out,” board member Jeff Belton replied “vote out Trudy Wade and the Republican majority in Raleigh.”

Got news for Mr. Belton — if people are just now finding out about the change in the school board, then I’ll bet when it happens nobody’s going to notice anything different. Does that make it right? That’s in the eye of the beholder.

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Pondering UNCG chancellors, past and future

Regular readers know that I’m not exactly sympatico with N&R columnist Susan Ladd. Well there’s a first time for everything—in her open letter to new UNCG chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., Ladd recounts an encounter with Gilliam’s predecessor:

Every time I shook hands with outgoing Chancellor Linda Brady, she already was looking ahead to the next person in line. Each time, I felt like I was part of a chore that needed to be endured and crossed off a to-do list.

My one encounter with Brady wasn’t exactly present, though under radically different circumstances—in the Spartan Club at the Greensboro Coliseum at halftime of UNCG’s game with Davidson, which featured a up and coming shooting guard named Steph Curry. (Btw I agree that Riley Curry’s presence at the postgame press conference was cute —the first time.) Brady was in the Spartan Club—remember this was her big kickoff toward the effort to boost UNCG athletics — and when she walked by me I said ‘Hey Chancellor Brady how’s it going?’ —and all I got was a sour look before continued making her way through the crowd.

OK, considering the fact that I was dressed down in my UNCG t-shirt, and maybe I’d had a beer given the festive atmosphere, Brady might not have known that I was a (distinguished) alumnus who paid $10k-plus (in 1980s dollars) for my education. Still, I was put off a bit and my opinion of Chancellor Brady would remain low given her controversial tenure.

But enough about that –she’s outta here next month–so now we move onto Franklin Gilliam. A little research into his time at UCLA reveals that he’s right up Ladd’s ally—-his work focused heavily on racial politics, which Ladd says “could be invaluable at this moment for our city and our state.”

We’ll see –one thing’s for sure –Gilliam will bring a different perspective to a university that has been lead by white females for several years now.

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Alcoa prevails in licensing lawsuit

Seems like it took a while for this one to wind its way through court —-CJ’s Don Carrington reports a federal judge has ruled in Alcoa’s favor in the lengthy legal battle with the state over efforts to relicense hydroelectric dams on the Yadkin River:

The state argued that if boats could navigate that segment of the river before statehood, then the land under the river would have been categorized as state-owned property, and Alcoa could not claim a property right to that land.

Alcoa continues to assert that the deeds it has to property all along the contested area are valid. But the company’s attempt to renew its federal license to operate the dams would have become more complicated had the state prevailed. Alcoa has operated the dams since 1917 and its license expired in 2008. The company is operating dams under a temporary license. It began the relicensing process in 2002, but in 2008 state officials began throwing obstacles in Alcoa’s way, the most recent being the state’s claim in court that the river was navigable more than 200 years ago.

Democratic Govs. Mike Easley and Bev Perdue and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory each have opposed the relicensing. They wanted the state to take over the dams and operate the hydroelectric facilities.

CJ notes the interesting speculation from Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, who posted on Twitter “(w)hat automaker would want to locate here when they see N.C.’s treatment of one of its global partners.”

Of course Burr is referring to Volvo, who decided to locate a plant in South Carolina in spite of all the positive vibes the Greensboro-Randolph megasite has sent —and will continue to send.

You can argue that Burr is stretching things a bit, but it’s still an issue worth pondering.

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Advertisement advertising the ad

League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad will run a full-page ad in tomorrow’s N&R signed by more than 1.000 citizens opposing Sen. Trudy Wade’s Senate bill restructuring the Greensboro City Council.

And–just to make sure you don’t miss it –who notices the ads anyway? —-the N&R runs an advertisement story advertising the ad.

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