The Rhinoceros Times
Vol. XXIII No. 5
© Copyright 2013 The Rhinoceros Times
Greensboro, North Carolina
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Gilbert Elects To Sue County by Scott D. Yost county editor
Photo by Elaine Hammer
The dome off Battleground Avenue that Danielle Bostian dubbed “the Alien Factory” being demolished this week. The dome actually covered a reservoir for treated water for the Greensboro water system and will be replaced with a smaller, less sci-fi looking reservoir.
More Facts Out On Jail Death by Scott D. Yost county editor
Though the events were kept remarkably quiet for over two years, now plenty of revelations are coming out regarding the death of Christopher Mason
(Continued on page 10) Armstrong, a 21-year-old inmate who died after being strapped into a restraining chair in the old Guilford County jail in Greensboro for extended periods of time during three days on and
Council looks at two-thirds bonds By Alex Jakubsen Staff Writer
Greensboro city staff claimed that the city will have a roughly $6 million budget gap next fiscal year at the Greensboro City Council’s first budget meeting of 2013, despite the fact that the city has been able to buy whatever it wanted and give away money throughout the past year. According to staff, who addressed the council at a Monday, Jan. 28 meeting in the plaza level conference room at city hall, the 2013-2014 budget is projected to have a gap of $6 million to $6.5 million, which would require a 2.5-cent tax increase to close. The city has not been tight with its money over the last year. In 2012, the city council voted to buy the old YWCA property for $1.67 million and wrote a check for the full amount and immediately paid
On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Guilford County Board of Elections Director George Gilbert let the Guilford County Board of Commissioners know that he meant business when it came to a request for a retroactive salary increase he made last month: On Jan. 30, Gilbert’s attorney, Seth Cohen of Smith, James, Rowlett & Cohen, filed a lawsuit of behalf of Gilbert in Guilford County
after Christmas Day, 2010. The county paid out $475,000 to settle the wrongful death suit brought by Armstrong’s family. An investigation by the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office found no criminal wrongdoing, but there are still plenty of questions surrounding the death and the large payout. The county hired Greensboro lawyer Bill Hill, an attorney with Frazier, Hill & Fury, to handle the case. Hill and Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne both said
this week that they believed it was in the best interest of the county to settle for $475,000 given the circumstances of Armstrong’s death. Detention officers who were handling Armstrong didn’t make required entries in the jail’s logbook as to when Armstrong was put in and taken out of the chair. Therefore, jail records indicate Armstrong was put in the restraining chair on Sunday morning, Dec. 26, 2010 and not (Continued on page 29)
Rhino Rumors From staff and wire reports
When the Muse came to work on Wednesday, she brought me a bouquet of five daffodils she picked in our yard. I double checked the calendar and it’s (Continued on page 38)
to have the building torn down. The council also regularly gives funding to various groups that ask for it. The council gave the Greensboro Performing Arts Center Task Force $200,500 from the general fund to help fund the second phase of the task force’s (Continued on page 33)
Inside this issue
High Point News............ 8 Entertainment Guide.....11 Uncle Orson Reviews... 12 Yost Column................ 13 Scott’s Night Out.......... 14 Rhino Real Estate........ 15 Puzzles........................ 23 Letters to the Editor..... 27 Editorial Cartoon.......... 38 under the hammer....... 39
Photo by John Hammer
Thursday is Guilford County Manager Brenda Jones Fox’s last day of work. So it was no surprise that shredder trucks spent much of Wednesday out in front of Fox’s office in the Old Guilford County Court House. Right before this photo was taken there were two shredder trucks in front of the building. Story on page 4
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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Tuesday, Feb. 5 the Greensboro City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposed Expert Service For ordinance that will affect all of the property in the Central Business District. But on Ask aboutPorsche our BMW Mercedes Tuesday, Jan. 29, if downtown property owners wanted to take a look at the ordinance Jaguar pre-purchase inspections! Volvo Audi VW to see how it would affect their property, it was not available on the city website. In two calls to the Department of Housing and Community Development, no one available in that department could find a copy. I was told that I had to wait for Zoning Administrator 2629 Randleman Road | www.kormanautoworks.com Mike Kirkman to get back because he knew where the ordinance was. The city manager’s office kindly directed me to the city clerk’s office where I was told the city was depending on Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) to publicize the www.kormanautoworks.com proposed ordinance. It may be on the DGI website somewhere, but I couldn’t find it 2629 Randleman Rd. and neither could City Councilmember Nancy Vaughan. Thanks to Vaughan it is now available on the city website. Downtown property owners I have talked to have not been informed of this ordinance. If they had, it seems councilmembers would be hearing from them. It’s all about aesthetics, and it is the aesthetics of Mayor Robbie Perkins and the city Planning and Community Development Department that count. The proposed ordinance states repeatedly that the planning and community development director makes the determination on whether a building is in compliance with the ordinance or not. Some people like quirky old buildings that are not perfect. Perkins – who recently moved his own company out of the downtown because of the expense and inconvenience mainly caused by difficulties parking – doesn’t appear to have much use for old buildings. What Perkins promotes are new buildings and strip shopping centers. It is his often-stated goal to have the downtown run like a shopping center. The planning department has in the past tried to do the same thing. As always with ordinances, the devil is in the details, and this one has a whole bunch of details. Peeling paint, cracked windows and loose bricks not repaired by the property owner can be fixed by the city and the bill sent to the property owner. Vaughan questioned whether the city would repair buildings up to historic standards. She noted that if an original window is removed and replaced it can destroy the historic significance of a structure and make the building ineligible for historic tax credits. Another note, the city charges homeowners $500 and more to cut their yards if the grass is overgrown. How much would the city charge property owners to fix a cracked window or to repaint a building? A great number of buildings in the downtown are out of compliance because this ordinance makes having boarded up or barred windows illegal. One building the city might want to take a look at is the new police headquarters. It appears to be out of compliance with this ordinance because of the bars on the basement windows. However, Assistant City Attorney Tom Carruthers, who wrote the ordinance, said that in his opinion the new police headquarters would not be out of compliance because the barred windows face the police parking lot. But he agreed that the city attorney’s office is not going out in the field to make the determination of whether buildings are in compliance or not. You can bet that whoever makes that decision for the city will find that the new police headquarters are in compliance. Some of the more notable buildings downtown are clearly out of compliance, but it doesn’t matter because the law
THERE IS A SOLUTION
(Continued on page 32)
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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Fox Leaves With Long Trail Of Scandals by Scott D. Yost county editor
There’s such a thing as going out with a whimper, but this is ridiculous. After being with Guilford County government for 41 years, and being county manager for the last four, Guilford County Manager Brenda Jones Fox exited with no fanfare – or even any public acknowledgment by anyone that she had worked for the county. Usually, when a department head steps down – especially a county manager – there are a lot of public goodbyes at meetings, and there are plenty of complimentary words about a job well done from commissioners and coworkers. But there was none of that for Fox’s retirement. Each month, Guilford County has a meeting of department heads, and the January meeting would have been the one when Fox could have said her goodbyes to department directors – however, Fox mysteriously cancelled that meeting. Then, on Thursday, Jan. 17, the commissioners held their last board meeting before Fox’s departure, and, at that meeting, not a single commissioner gave Fox a fond farewell or even so much as noted the fact that it was Fox’s final board meeting after working for Guilford County for over 40 years. And, when it came time at the end of that meeting for comments from the manager, Fox told the commissioners she had nothing to say. Also, every time a department head leaves, there’s a large going away party – often in the foyer of the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House, usually with coffee, brunch and desserts. However, in Fox’s case, nothing was planned. When one long-time county employee was asked if it was unusual for a departing manager or director not to have a party, she said, “It’s strange; it’s weird; it’s bizarre.” Two weeks ago, one administrative assistant did put together a small “surprise party” for Fox. It was held in the tiny manager’s conference room on second floor of the Old Court House. When one employee was asked to describe the event, she said: “It was lovely. The Costco cake was delicious. Unfortunately, the punch was non-alcoholic.” The departure of Fox is a key moment in what many hope will be an eventual return to sane, open and above-board county government. If Fox had retired in the middle of 2010, she would have left Guilford County government after four decades as a highly respected county manager. She was widely regarded as an excellent finance director before she was named manager in 2009. However, starting in September 2010, a continuous series of questionable, controversial, highly irresponsible – and perhaps even worse – moves came to be the dominant theme of Fox’s career.
The first clear public indication that something was terribly wrong in Fox’s administration came on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, when The Rhinoceros Times reported that Fox had secretly created a high-paying “construction czar” position, which by all indications she intended to fill with her long-time friend and political ally, former Commissioner Steve Arnold. The strange, unpublicized job description seemed written specifically for Arnold, and Arnold said he was qualified for the job and was interested in taking it. Arnold, who had served as a commissioner for two decades, was unemployed after the construction company he owned filed for bankruptcy. Arnold was denied the right
to declare personal bankruptcy by a judge who found Arnold had been fraudulent in his dealings with the court. When the heat from an outraged public got to be too much, Arnold announced he would not seek the construction czar job with the county. A couple of days after Arnold pulled out, Fox eliminated the newly created position. That incident got the questions about Fox rolling. Why was Fox creating a high-paying administrative job at a time when the county was cutting jobs left and right? And why did she create a new very powerful position in Guilford County government without informing the Board of Commissioners?
If Arnold had gotten the job, he and Fox would have held sway over county real estate deals worth many millions. Right on the heels of that scandal, Fox was at the center of an even bigger one, when, on Dec. 2, 2010, The Rhinoceros Times reported that Fox had, earlier that year, signed Guilford County into a secret contract that gave an unknown High Point real estate broker exclusive rights to locate property for purchase by the county. Guilford County has an entire department that handles property acquisition. Fox’s story is that Dian Brigman, a High Point real estate agent who Fox had never met before and knew nothing about, walked (Continued on page 10)
Manager Search Down To Few by Scott D. Yost county editor
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners may have found their man – or their woman. The next Guilford County manager may have been in the batch of seven candidates the board interviewed on Monday, Jan. 28 via a remote video conferencing system. The commissioners are searching for a replacement for Guilford County Manager Brenda Jones Fox, who’s retiring on Thursday, Jan. 31. The Board of Commissioners conducted the interviews in a five-hour closed meeting on the third floor of the Greensboro’s city hall in which the commissioners interviewed the seven candidates for about 30 to 45 minutes each. Every commissioner asked said that two or three of the candidates stood out above the rest. The commissioners also said they felt that most of the commissioners were in a good deal of agreement as to which two candidates made the best impression. When Commissioner Jeff Phillips was asked if the county might have a new manager selected soon, he gave a oneword response. “Absolutely,” Phillips said. Phillips added quickly that the commissioners weren’t going to rush the decision; however, he said, he was very pleased with what he saw in the first round of interviews, and he said he thought other commissioners were as well. Commissioner Alan Branson also said he was encouraged by the conversations with the applicants for the county’s top administrative job. The board now plans to bring in three candidates for face-to-face interviews. That may happen sometime in mid-February. The nine commissioners, who met from 1:30 p.m. until nearly 7 p.m. on Monday, interviewed the seven candidates over a Microsoft Lynx connection. The county commissioners used the conference room in Greensboro’s city hall because Guilford
County, despite spending exorbitant amounts on computer equipment in recent years, doesn’t have adequate videoconferencing capabilities. Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Linda Shaw, who had to leave the lengthy meeting about an hour early because she was feeling under the weather, said she thought the interviews had gone very well. “There are a couple of candidates that stand out,” Shaw said. Several commissioners said the board asked each candidate the same set of questions in order to compare them fairly. Commissioner Kay Cashion said the board used scoring sheets for each candidate. “We ranked their responses to each question on a scale of 1 to 5,” Cashion said. The commissioners turned in their score sheets to Assistant Manager Sharisse Fuller, who’s also the county’s human resources director – and who is, in addition, the person named by the Board of Commissioners to become the interim county manager on Friday, Feb. 1 after Fox leaves. The county’s Human Resources Department will tally the scores, and the ranking will be used to help determine the three finalists. Guilford County is still accepting resumes. However, the classified ad that the county is running states the county would give preference to candidates who applied before Monday, Jan. 7; and, with several appealing candidates now in the commissioners’ sights, that’s likely a moot point anyway. Earlier in January, the commissioners chose the seven candidates to interview after looking at 13 resumes brought to the county by Springsted Inc., the search firm hired to help find a new manager. After reviewing the resumes, several county commissioners seemed pessimistic about the way things were heading. However, the commissioners were much
more upbeat after the candidate interviews on Monday afternoon. The search for a new county manager narrowed in another way as well this week: Fuller said she will not under any circumstances be the next county manager. She said that once her term as interim manager runs out at the end of June – or whenever a new manager takes over and has learned all the ropes – she will retire from county government and do some private consulting work. Fuller said she never applied for the job and wouldn’t take it even if the board asked her to. She said the reason she hadn’t stated that firmly before is that she wanted the board to know she was committed to doing whatever it took to help the county make a smooth transition to a new manager. Many county employees said they had been betting that Fuller might end up as the new manager even though she didn’t apply for the job, because the board voted unanimously to make Fuller the acting manager, and because some commissioners seemed unimpressed with the resumes of the candidates for the job. In addition, four years ago, Fox didn’t apply for the manager’s job. She said explicitly that she didn’t want it – and yet the board still stopped in the middle of a search and made Fox county manager. Fuller said that, when she becomes interim manager on Feb. 1, she will name interim directors for departments with retiring directors. Fuller didn’t give any names but she did say she “will follow the county’s succession plan,” which likely means Fuller will name the second in command in each department with a retiring director. Several commissioners said Guilford County may have a new manager selected by the end of February, which would mean the board would come in ahead of schedule based on a March 1 goal that the Human Resources Department cited on a proposed timeline for the manager’s search.
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
City Says Duke Energy Not All-Powerful By Alex Jakubsen Staff Writer
The residents of Lindley Park are ready to defend their trees from Duke Energy – from their yards to the North Carolina General Assembly if necessary. The Tree Committee of the Greensboro City Council attended the regular meeting of the Lindley Park Neighborhood Association on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the Lindley Park Recreation Center to discuss how to respond to Duke Energy’s recent attempt to cut trees on Collier Drive. The Tree Committee was appointed to develop a stronger tree protection ordinance and includes Councilmembers Yvonne Johnson, Nancy Vaughan, Marikay Abuzuaiter and Nancy Hoffmann. North Carolina State Rep. Marcus Brown also attended the meeting. Last week Duke Energy distributed fliers to homes on Collier Drive in Lindley Park announcing that trees in the neighborhood would be pruned or cut down within three days. Duke had agreed to temporarily stop their regular line-clearing activities in Greensboro neighborhoods except in cases of emergencies and customer requests. The customer request in this case came from AT&T. Duke has since agreed not to proceed with the tree cutting until Feb. 11. Vaughan, the chair of the Tree Committee, said, “We have really let them know that in our opinion another utility is not a customer.” Vaughan said that Duke’s credibility had taken a huge hit from the incident. The councilmembers also addressed a letter from Duke Energy to City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan, which said that Duke Energy did not need to prove to property owners that they had a right to cut trees on their property before they started cutting. The letter essentially said that Duke Energy can go on to any property anytime they want and cut trees if they feel the trees interfere with power lines. That letter from Duke Energy had been in response to a memo from Shah-Khan citing Duke Energy’s own vegetative management plan on file with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which states that Duke Energy must provide proof of their legal right to work on someone’s property. The response was that Duke Energy only has to prove that they have a right to clear transmission lines, not the distribution lines that run through neighborhoods. According to Shah-Khan’s response, the city maintains that individuals have a right to challenge Duke Energy’s right to be on their property. Charlotte Oleynik, a resident of Lindley Park, said she had gotten an Asplundh crew to leave her property by insisting with strong language that they depart. Asplundh is Duke Energy’s subcontractor for line clearing, and has been criticized for sloppy and devastating pruning work. Vaughan recommended that residents insist that Asplundh crews leave their
property if they can’t produce written proof of their right to work there. She also recommended calling 911 if the crews don’t show a notice of easement and refused to leave. Johnson disputed that, saying residents shouldn’t call the police. Stephen Johnson suggested taking a statewide stand against Duke Energy with the League of Municipalities or the General Assembly. Brandon said that taking a statewide approach could be “one tool in the toolbox” for ensuring better long-term service from Duke Energy. The residents also discussed going after Asplundh directly. Joe Wood said, “What if you go a step below and, because their subcontractor is Asplundh, what if you adjoin a cease-anddesist order against Asplundh?” Vaughan said she was not sure if that was an option. Stacy Smith suggested attacking
Asplundh with a PR campaign involving posting pictures of their work every time they cut. “Why are we not turning up the heat on them?” she asked. Bill Eckerd pointed out that such a campaign could encourage Asplundh to improve their public image. “They could win with this,” he said. On the development of the tree ordinance itself Vaughan said she was caught off guard by the fact that Duke Energy would be involved. Duke Energy has representatives on a work team along with community members and city staff to present recommendations on how to improve the relationship between Duke Energy and the city. Vaughan has said she expected the group to disband after presenting its recommendations at the Jan. 15 council meeting. Those recommendations included a 30-day notice to residents before tree cutting, which Duke Energy clearly didn’t
think applied to Collier Drive. “I think that kind of escaped all of us at the moment that we were actually saying that it was OK for Duke to work on that,” Vaughan said. However, Vaughan said that ultimately it would be council that decides what goes into the ordinance. She said that at the end of the process the ordinance worked on by the Tree Committee and the one worked on by the work team would be compared. “Guess which one we are gonna like more?” she asked. Wood agreed that Duke should not have a say in what goes into the ordinance. “Duke has a right to comment on the final ordinance that you guys decide to adopt,” Wood said, adding, “Duke does not have a place at the table to help write the ordinance.” No representatives from Duke Energy were present at the meeting.
Water authority woos supremes By Alex Jakubsen Staff Writer
An ongoing lawsuit against the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority (PTRWA) could raise water rates and generally hamper the ability of public bodies to provide water to residents. The PTRWA in January petitioned the North Carolina Supreme Court to hear the case in which lower courts have determined that hydroelectric power plants downstream of the Randleman Dam are entitled to damages because PTRWA is taking water from the Deep River basin and transferring it to the Haw River basin. The PTRWA began the application process for the Randleman Dam in 1988, finally receiving a permit for its construction in 2001, only to be sued seven years later by L&S Water Power Inc., Brooks Energy LLC, Deep River Hydro Inc., Hydrodyne Industries LLC, William Dean Brooks and Howard Bruce Cox for infringing on the companies’ “riparian rights” without compensation. Chip Hagan, the husband of North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, is part owner of Hydrodyne Industries. In April 2011, the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld a decision by Guilford County Superior Court that the hydroelectric power companies are entitled to compensation for loss of stream flow under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. Nine days before Superior Court Judge Calvin Murphy ruled in favor of the hydroelectric power companies and against the PTRWA, Sen. Hagan nominated Murphy to a lifetime position on the federal court. Sen. Hagan withdrew the nomination after the possible conflict
of interest was brought to light. Executive Director of the PTRWA Greg Flory said that, if allowed to stand, the decision by the Court of Appeals could have a broad effect. “It seems to change the way that North Carolina law has been decided in the past,” he said. The petition by the PTRWA includes arguments that the Court of Appeals decision is unconstitutional and a farreaching threat to the ability of public bodies to provide water to residents of North Carolina. The PTRWA attorneys noted in the petition that the hydro electric power companies are suing for loss of something that was not theirs in the first place. According to the North Carolina Constitution and the public trust doctrine, all navigable waters are owned by the state unless specifically sold to another party for a public use. So the owners of the power plants have the right to make use of water as it flows through their property, but they do not own it. So they would not be entitled, as the Court of Appeals found, to compensation for reduced water flow by the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment. That clause refers to private property, not rights of use. The petition also asserts that under North Carolina law regarding holding and diverting water, the diversion of water by a public agency like the PTRWA to supply water for citizens is considered a “superior riparian use.” According to the PTRWA, the Court of Appeals, in granting the power companies the right to damages, relied on case law that had been overridden by legislation. The petition also states that if the
decision of the Court of Appeals is not overturned, “It will needlessly increase the cost of water to the citizens of this state; it will deter or prohibit the development of future public water supplies for the benefit of the citizens of this State; and it will place regulation of these resources back more than one hundred years.” The petition also says that the plaintiffs did not challenge the Environmental Management Commission certificate the state granted the PTRWA for the redirection of water flow. And while the PTRWA is authorized by the state to redirect 30.5 million gallons of water from Deep River to the Haw River, they are currently only redirecting 12 million gallons of water. Flory said rather than restricting the flow of water, the Randleman Dam may be benefitting the plaintiffs. “Really, we would say at some points we’ve probably increased the flow at what would be a low period of flow for them.” The decision upheld by the Court of Appeals does not specify what damages the plaintiffs are entitled to, but allows them to be decided by a jury trial. Throughout the lawsuit, there has been concern that a victory by the hydroelectric power companies would invite lawsuits from other parties along the Deep River, which flows all the way to Wilmington, and lawsuits against other dam owners in North Carolina. Flory said that other rivers and streams that merge with the Deep River would make it difficult to argue they were effected from the Randleman Dam. “Our hope is, I guess, that would be a limiting factor,” Flory said.
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Grimsley Pool Has Winter Clearance Plenty Of Support by paul C. clark Staff Writer
At a Thursday, Jan. 24 meeting in the media center of Grimsley High School, representatives of the large community that uses Grimsley’s indoor pool opposed the destruction of the pool proposed by Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins and other members of the Greensboro City Council. Thursday’s meeting showed that support for repairing the pool goes beyond Grimsley students and their parents, although those were there in force among the 100 or so people present. But Guilford County Schools has only two indoor pools – the Grimsley pool, actually owned by the City of Greensboro, and one at Smith High School, owned by the school system. Both were built in 1976 as the result of an agreement between the city and the Greensboro city school system. Many of Guilford County’s 18 high schools use one or both of the pools. Guilford County Schools has maintained the Smith pool. The Grimsley pool was
closed on the afternoon of Dec. 7, 2011, after a windstorm sheared off part of the metal roof of the pool building – but the pool was maintained and useable, although unused, until four months ago, when the city ran out of water-purifying chemicals and stopped filtering the pool’s water. The meeting was organized by a group calling itself the Save Our Pool (SOP) community – led, or at least organized, by Don Gilchrist, president of the Greensboro Swimming Association and the parent of a Grimsley student. Gilchrist, however, was by no means the only person present influential in the swimming or Grimsley communities. There were several current or former Grimsley swim coaches, including retired 30-year head swimming coach Durante Griffin, who manages the Smith pool and managed the Grimsley pool until it was closed; current head swimming coach Angelo Kontoulas; and representatives of other programs that formerly used the (Continued on page 32)
Board Gets Serious On School Safety by paul C. clark Staff Writer
The Guilford County Board of Education on Monday, Jan 28 began a school board level review of the security of Guilford County’s 124 schools following the Dec. 14, 2012 mass killing that left 26 students and staff members dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The review began with the first meeting of the school board’s School Security Task Force, which includes school board Chairman Alan Duncan and school board members Nancy Routh, Darlene Garrett, Carlvena Foster and Amos Quick. Foster and Quick were not present for the first meeting. The school board has committees that serve little, if any, function, because their work, when it can be called that, doesn’t reach the school board. The School Security Task Force feels different, having an air of purposefulness. Its stated purpose is to gather information to bring to the school board so that the board can do a soup-tonuts review of things that affect security and could help prevent a Newtown-type tragedy. Duncan said the task force will start by gathering information about physical security at each school, emergency plans, mental health assessments of students, counseling and law enforcement needs
so that the school board can perform a “reasonable, careful, contemplative study” of what it takes to keep Guilford County students safe. Duncan said, “A good amount of information is going to have to be provided to allow us to do the work we have to do.” The school board first considered security in the wake of the Newtown shootings at a low-key Dec. 18, 2012 meeting at which Guilford County Schools Chief of Staff Nora Carr briefed the school board on steps Guilford County Schools has taken to beef up security at schools. Carr said that the administration of Guilford County School Superintendent Mo Green contacted all school administrators after the Connecticut shootings, asking them to check their security, to report any breaches or suspicious activity to the North Eugene Street headquarters, and to focus on “relationships of trust” – knowing who belongs in a school and who doesn’t, and having everyone in a school report any unrecognized people on school grounds. The Dec. 18 meeting seemed designed mostly to reassure parents of Guilford County students. The School Security Task Force, will be a larger effort to help alleviate a problem present in most school systems: that most schools were designed for a more innocent age. (Continued on page 30)
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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro HIGH POINT
MLK Saga Longer Than Proposed Streets by paul C. clark Staff Writer
High Point Mayor Bernita Sims’ proposal to name a High Point street for Martin Luther King Jr. may be, as Sims said on Tuesday, Jan. 29, “an issue whose time has come.” But it’s also an issue with a long and tangled history in High Point. Sims suggested naming a street after the civil rights leader at a Thursday, Jan. 10 High Point City Council work session, saying, “All of the communities that surround us have streets that are named after Dr. King ... I don’t know why we are discussing this in 2013.” The City Council is discussing the issue in 2013 because at least five efforts to name a street after King have failed in High Point – in 1991, 1992, 1993, 2001 and 2002. The closest proponents have come was a partial victory on a sixth occasion, in 1994, when East Kivett Drive was given an honorary designation as Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Drive, but not renamed. Sims on Jan. 10 said she had Kivett Drive in mind to rename for King. Councilmember Becky Smothers said she would support renaming for King the stretch of Kivett Drive between Business 85 and Centennial Street. Sims said this week she would bring the issue up at a City Council work session within a few weeks. The City Council does not have a work session on Thursday, Jan. 31, so the issue will probably be brought up at the Thursday, Feb. 7 work session. In the meantime, city staff has been scrambling to detangle the long history of unsuccessful efforts to name a street after King, and to determine to what degree the name “Kivett Drive” has historical significance. Sims said she would not limit her proposal to Kivett Drive – “No, I’ll take Main Street,” was how she put it – but as most of the staff research is being done on Kivett Drive, it seems to be her first choice. Sims said she wants the City Council to take the lead on the street renaming soon. “It’s probably going to take what it takes,” she said. “But I’m hoping we can do this sooner rather than later and move on to something else. But it depends on the council and their readiness to deal with it.” The City Council can propose renaming a street. So can the High Point Planning and Zoning Commission, and so can the public, if a group can get signatures from 66.67 percent of the property owners who would be affected by the renaming. According to High Point Development Services Administrator Bob Robbins, however, the City Council does not have the authority to rename a street, unless it changes High Point’s development ordinance. Robbins is the point man on the city staff to document the history of efforts to name a street for King. He has prepared a five-page history of such for the upcoming
work session. The document also includes relevant High Point ordinances and state laws. “The Planning and Zoning Commission has the authority under the Development Ordinance to make the final decision regarding any street name change,” Robbins wrote. “There is no appeal to the City Council.” Sims said the Planning and Zoning Commission was given final authority over street naming after earlier efforts to name streets after King. However, a zoning ordinance approved by the City Council in October 2002 details the way public petitions for name changes work and the findings the Planning and Zoning Commission must make to approve a street name change. It assumes that the Planning and Zoning Commission has the authority to do so. High Point City Clerk Lisa Vierling said she thinks the Planning and Zoning Commission has always had that authority.
She said, “To my knowledge, that’s the way it’s always been.” In 2002, there was an attempt by former Councilmember Ron Wilkins to get a zoning ordinance approved that would have given the City Council, not the Planning and Zoning Commission, authority to rename state roadways in High Point. The City Council killed the proposal on a 6-to3 vote on March 21, 2002. Wilkins tried to get the ordinance approved because many of the streets that had been proposed to be named for King are actually state roads, including the US 311 bypass; different sections of what was then called the Intermediate Loop (now East Hartley Drive, North College Drive and South College Drive); and Kivett Drive. Name changes of state roadways must be also be approved by the North Carolina Board of Transportation, which requires a local consensus – something that has been notably lacking in the various efforts to
name a street for King. The five attempts to name a street for King were: 1) In 1991, based on a citizen petition, the Street Naming Committee of the Planning and Zoning Commission considered naming one of five streets for King. In September 1991, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved renaming the entire Intermediate Loop Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. High Point University, and residents of North College Drive who had recently had to change their addresses, opposed the renaming. The state Board of Transportation denied the request, citing a lack of local consensus. 2) In mid-1992, two options were suggested as streets to be renamed for King: East Kivett Drive from Centennial Street and to Business 85 and Brentwood Street. The proposal was killed after objections from the descendants of William Larkin Kivett (1864-1915), the farmer whose 240(Continued on page 28)
Allen Jay Middle Runs Behind by paul C. clark Staff Writer
The Advantage Model Middle School, a magnet school that would be housed in the old Allen Jay Middle School in High Point, is yet another school construction project running behind schedule, and won’t open in August 2013 as planned. Guilford County School Superintendent Mo Green told the Guilford County Board of Education on Thursday, Jan. 24, “That school will be undergoing significant renovations such that it will not be open and available at the start of the 2013-2014 school year.” He said that Allen Jay Middle won’t be remodeled before January 2014, and perhaps later. Green on Thursday proposed opening the new magnet program at Welborn Middle Science and Technology Academy in August with 100 fifth graders and no sixth graders, then moving it to the renovated Allen Jay Middle building once renovations there are complete. Guilford County Schools ran into a buzz saw in December, when it asked for suggestions for names for the proposed magnet school. Many High Pointers, including High Point city councilmembers, were enraged by even the possibility of taking the Allen Jay name off the school. The Allen Jay neighborhood is a oncerural unincorporated area, similar to, say, Colfax. It has a long history, and for many years had its own all-grades school. For years, it was part of the old Guilford County school system before being absorbed into the High Point school system, and then, in 1992, into the consolidated Guilford
County Schools. Allen Jay may no longer have an allgrades school or a high school, but its residents are fiercely protective of the schools they have. The original Allen Jay School, the former Allen Jay High School, Allen Jay Middle School and Allen Jay Elementary School are all named after the Rev. Allen Jay (1831-1910) a prominent Ohio-born Quaker minister who moved to High Point for eight years in 1867, appointed by the church to minister to Quakers impoverished by the Civil War. Jay is credited with establishing or recreating schools throughout North Carolina, including the Springfield School of the Springfield Friends Meeting in High Point. The Springfield School was operated in various buildings until 1927, when it was sold to the old Guilford County school system, reportedly for $1, and merged into the new Allen Jay School. Jay is also credited with putting Guilford College back on a sound financial footing after the war. After throwing the name for the new magnet school open for nominations, the school board in December received six nominations – five to name the school “Allen Jay Preparatory Academy” and one to name it “Robert Utley KIPP Middle School.” The school board put out for comment until Feb. 7 a proposal to name the school “Allen Jay Middle School: A Preparatory Academy.” The school board originally planned to
open the magnet school at Allen Jay Middle in August 2012 with 100 fifth graders and 100 sixth graders. One hundred seventh graders and 100 eighth graders would have been phased in at the beginning of the next two years. The opening date had since slipped by a year, and is now indefinite. Green said he preferred to assume that the first 100 fifth graders would be at Welborn for a full year – and to be pleasantly surprised if they are able to move in sooner. That’s a rationally cautious approach, given delays in the construction of some other Guilford County schools Guilford County Schools has had mixed results running two programs in one school, and several school board members expressed concerns about launching one magnet program in the same building as another. Green said, “Concerns have certainly been raised as to whether we should open a program at Welborn, considering it’s a magnet program as well.” He said he and his staff believe the fifth-grade-only option would address the significant concerns about starting the program at Welborn. The Advantage Model Middle School, first proposed by Green two years ago, is an effort to copy the techniques of charter schools the school board so vocally opposes. Unlike most magnet schools, the Advantage Model Middle School wouldn’t have a curriculum focused on a particular subject. Exactly what the new magnet (Continued on page 37)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The Sound of the Beep What follows has been transcribed from the answering machine tape on our comment line 273-0898. We edit out what is required by the laws of the state, of good taste and of good sense. The limit on phone calls is one minute and each caller may make up to two calls per week. If you have something to say, call our comment line at 273-0898 and start talking at The Sound of the Beep. Fox 8 News used to have a segment they called “What’s Right with our Schools.” I think we also need a “What’s Wrong with our Schools.” And in today’s paper, there’s an article about a young man trying to raise money for his tuition at Howard University. In the article it states that his mother has taken a job as track coach at Kernodle to make extra money for his school costs. Then she is quoted as saying she knows nothing about track. Wouldn’t you think that a school board would review candidates for jobs to make sure they are qualified for the position? How can you coach when you know nothing of the sport you are coaching? Aren’t coaches supposed to teach about the sport? How can she teach what she admits to knowing nothing about? Makes you wonder about other teacher’s qualifications. Thank you. %%% Just reading the Jan. 17 edition of The Rhino. Just wanted to comment on the wonderful notice to the editor in this edition. If we could only get these letters to the people in Washington to let them know how the people feel. I enjoyed this edition very much. Thank you. %%% I need to give a big shout out to the Rockingham County DOT in Wentworth. You guys really stink. Because we live on dirt roads, we’re treated as second and third-class citizens. I pay your taxes, and salary, as well anybody else. And you can’t even do your job. You go hard on people who live on dirt roads or if somebody says something about you. Maybe they ought to privatize the DOT and save a lot of money. Gov. McCrory, are you listening? You’ve got to see this Wentworth. There’s a lot of good old boy club going on here. Thank you, and you have a great day. %%%
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The latest left-wing agenda is to abolish the penny and the nickel as put forward this morning on National Public Radio. This is, of course, a subtle attempt to increase taxes everywhere. Just think about it. If there were no pennies and nickels, then the sales tax will have to be included in the overall price. In other words, it will become a stealth tax, and the politicians can raise it easily without any political opposition, because the merchant will be blamed for an increase in price rather than the government and the pols. That’s the latest subtle left-wing scheme to increase your taxes. Abolish the penny and nickel so that it will be impossible to add tax to any item, because it won’t work out to within the exact 10-cent parameter. Therefore, the sales tax is included so they can raise it at whim. They’re devious and Machiavellian all right. %%% I just watched the local news and wonder why the media think we only have winter weather if there is frozen precipitation. The weather person told us that temperatures today would struggle to get above freezing. The wind chill is 22, and the low tonight will be 18. And, then, said we might have some winter weather this coming Friday. %%% Several years ago the media went to great lengths to degrade and whatever you might want to call it, a young singer who lip-synced her song on Saturday Night Live. However, now we hear that Beyonce and the Marines Corp Band lip-synced their music for the inauguration. But we hear nothing from the media about that. Yet they went to great lengths to castigate the young girl who lip-synced the song on something as minor as Saturday Night Live. Does anybody else see a change here? %%% For all you Democrats that’s got as much as a ninth-grade education, they swore in a man for president that you voted in, that says we have no spending problems even though we’re spending a trillion dollars a year more than we’ve got. And he says he’s getting tired of hearing it. He’s also not concerned about the oil. If he was, he would open up the drilling on federal lands and in the Gulf. Even though we got all that trouble in the Far East and knows it. He don’t care if you pay $9 a gallon. It’s immaterial. He also has not done one thing about the people that killed in Benghazi. The reason he hadn’t, when (Continued on page 12)
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in off the street on a cold call and got an exclusive contract that allowed Brigman, now deceased, a 5 percent commission on every building or piece of property the county bought, whether Brigman played any role in finding it or not. Fox never informed David Grantham, the county’s property management director at the time, of the secret deal she signed with Brigman, nor did Fox tell the commissioners – many of whom only learned of the contract when they read about it in the Dec. 2, 2010 Rhino Times. Brigman didn’t have any history or expertise in acquiring commercial real estate or in working with governments – but she did just happen to be Arnold’s friend and former employee. Since the contract called for Brigman to get a 5 percent commission on all of the county’s real estate deals, and the county was embarking on a 10-year capital improvement plan worth roughly $1 billion in property purchases and renovations, this deal could have been worth tens of millions of dollars if it hadn’t been discovered and killed. It was highly suspicious that a cold-calling real estate broker could get a meeting with Fox in the first place. Some high-ranking local government officials have been unable to get a return phone call from Fox, and the same goes for representatives of Moses Cone Health System, which is the largest private sector employer in Guilford County and the City of Greensboro. Three years ago, high-ranking Cone officials said they couldn’t get Fox to return their phone calls to negotiate a very important contract that covered health care for thousands of indigent county residents. Yet, supposedly, a cold-calling unknown real estate agent walking in off the street got a meeting with Fox and convinced the manager to sign away all of the county’s real estate acquisition rights in a secret deal. Brigman’s exclusive contract even stated that she could bring completed, “turnkey” buildings to the county – which meant Brigman could have also been paid a percentage on any curtains, furnishings, paint jobs or anything else the county spent on new county buildings. In 2010, Fox pushed forward for the county to purchase one building for use by Emergency Services that Brigman had “found.” County officials had actually found the location months before Brigman came on the scene, and Fox and other county officials had toured the building at that time. However, the commissioners, facing an outraged community, refused to purchase the building and pay Brigman the roughly $250,000 in commission she stood to make on that one deal alone. The board also voted to nullify the real estate contract. Several commissioners called the secret deal “a mistake” by Fox. On Thursday, Dec. 24, 2010, The
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Rhinoceros Times revealed many disturbing details regarding actions by Fox and Arnold in the county’s purchase of a building at 325 E. Russell Ave. in High Point. The commissioners had voted to construct a new Department of Social Services building on the governmental campus in downtown High Point, on land the county already owned. However, Arnold objected loudly and repeatedly, even months after the board voted to construct the building, and after an architect had already begun work on the design. Arnold offered to drive around High Point himself and look for a better location. Arnold convinced the board’s two High Point commissioners to consider buying the Russell Avenue building, and they did. The two commissioners went along with Arnold, which then meant the majority of the board went along with the wishes of the three High Point area commissioners on the High Point project. The building belonged to Arnold’s friend and former business associate Wayne McDonald and the real estate agent who showed commissioners the property was Brigman, who was working for McDonald at that time. The county bought the giant vacant building and it’s the only known Guilford County purchase of a building in modern history in which no appraisal of the property was conducted before the purchase. Grantham told The Rhinoceros Times that Fox and Arnold instructed him not to negotiate a lower cost, as he always had in the past whenever the county purchased property. Instead, Grantham said, Fox and Arnold told him that McDonald’s asking price was fair. McDonald also got a lucrative contract to renovate the building. That contract was never put out for bids – unlike almost every other major renovation contract Guilford County has entered into. Grantham also said that Fox and Arnold instructed him to pay McDonald even though the project had not been finished as promised. Social services staff now complain constantly that the building purchased from McDonald is inappropriate for their needs. They also complain that the roof leaks, and that noise travels so easily through the building that employees in the building are told not to wear high heels because of the loud clicking sound when they walk. The building has also had problems with ants, rats and other pests. In May 2011, The Rhinoceros Times reported on something Fox had done while she was finance director for the county in late 2007 and early 2008. After conducting a competitive bid process for a $5 million loan for the county to purchase the BB&T building in downtown Greensboro, Fox secretly allowed Wachovia Bank to raise its bid after the bid process was closed and Wachovia’s low bid had won. That inexplicable move cost the county about $200,000 in additional interest on the loan.
As more and more scandalous information about Fox came out, Fox sent all county department heads a memo called a “Code of Conduct” – which Commissioner Bill Bencini said should instead be referred to as a “Code of Silence.” The memo stated that county employees and department heads with any concerns should address them only to the manager’s office and not to county commissioners. Last year, it became known that Fox’s actions were the focus of an investigation of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. In more recent scandals, Fox stopped paying rent on one of the Sheriff’s Department’s satellite offices because, she said, the owner of the building owed back taxes to the county. Fox isn’t the tax director and she does not have a legal right to stop the county from paying its bills. Sheriff BJ Barnes, whose department has the duty of evicting those who don’t pay rent, began get notices that his department’s rent was past due. Fox, with the help of Arnold and former Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, also alienated City of Greensboro leaders and brought about the end of water and sewer contracts, parking agreements and other city-county deals that had been in place for decades. Fox also went behind the commissioners’ backs in a strange attempt to have Guilford County open and run a NC Division of Motor Vehicles license tag agency. The commissioners unanimously voted down
Gilbert (Continued from page 1) Superior Court. That suit names the nine Guilford County commissioners individually as defendants – in their official capacity as commissioners – and it argues that the commissioners are not in compliance with the state law because they refuse to pay Gilbert the salary he is entitled to by statute. The lawsuit states: “Defendants have a statutory duty to comply with N.C.G.S. 165-35(c), that is, defendants have a statutory duty to pay the Guilford County Director of Elections a salary in an amount recommended by the Guilford County Board of Elections and approved by the Board of Commissioners which is commensurate with the salary paid to directors of elections in counties similarly situated and similar in population and number of registered voters.” It adds, “The salary for Guilford County Director of Elections George Gilbert is not commensurate with the salary paid to directors of elections in counties similarly situated and similar in population and number of registered voters.” On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Guilford County Mark Payne sent Cohen a terse, twoparagraph letter stating that, in the opinion of the county, it was “not appropriate” for the county to give Gilbert the retroactive raise Gilbert requested.
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
the idea after the plan was revealed in The Rhinoceros Times. However, that was only after countless man-hours had gone into the effort, and it meant county citizens had to wait months longer before a new much-needed DMV tag office opened in the county. On her way out of Guilford County government, Fox implemented a $61,000 retirement bonus for herself along with big bonuses for other longtime employees. The language that granted the bonuses was buried in the items the commissioners approved without realizing it and, when the board found out they had approved the bonuses, they voted to rescind them. Fox then threatened to sue the county. It should also be kept in mind that those lists are only the things that citizens are aware of. It has been Fox’s policy to run the county with as much secrecy as possible, so there are no doubt other things that would have been major controversies if they had been discovered. Hopefully, the new Board of Commissioners will hold the next manager accountable, unlike the previous board, which kept Fox as manager no matter what she did. With the exception of a few commissioners who were in the minority, the Guilford County commissioners simply made excuses for Fox and looked the other way through one scandal after another. They provided no oversight of Fox, in direct violation of the oath they swore to uphold when they became commissioners.
On Jan 30, right after the lawsuit had been filed, Cohen told The Rhinoceros Times, “Mr. Gilbert is disappointed at the response from the county commissioners.” Cohen said the retroactive salary increase request – which totaled less than $45,000 – was “more than reasonable,” and he said that, by failing to honor the request the commissioners were not in compliance with state law. Cohen added that now the court can determine the fair compensation for Gilbert. After the suit was filed Wednesday afternoon, Gilbert said there were greater issues involved than just his salary. “The statute has been on the books at least 50 years and it’s never been tested,” Gilbert said. “I think it is important for the court to go on record on this.” Gilbert said that, in other counties – such as Durham and Buncombe – the boards of commissioners have taken action to fairly compensate their election directors in accordance with the statute. He said that, on the other hand, in Guilford County, the Board of Commissioners had not. The suit calls for Gilbert to “recover his damages in an amount to be determined at trial.” Gilbert and Cohen put the county on notice last month with a hand-delivered (Continued on page 37)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Uncle Orson Reviews Everything Argo, Silver Linings, Boneyards, Parody Art by orson scott card
This year is the first time I actually got to vote in the SAG Awards – the voting by members of the Screen Actors Guild for the best performances by individuals and ensembles of actors. That’s because my single off-camera line in the movie of Ender’s Game – a pure vanity bit just so the author of the book has a sort of cameo in the film – won me the right to pay the dues and become a member of the actors’ union. Even though I have no delusions about my future as an actor, an old theater student like me can’t pass up a legitimate opportunity to get my union card. Now, when I direct local amateur plays and musicals, I can legitimately claim that I’m a “professional” actor leading the company. But, unlike some others with a similar claim, I won’t be joining my actors on stage – my inability to reliably memorize dialogue keeps me directing and writing, while others do the acting! Anyway, this year’s acting awards are in – and I’m happy to observe that members of the acting union are just as prone to swoon over certain kinds of glamour, and misjudge the difficulty and quality of acting performances. It certainly was refreshing to hear some genuinely surprised and humble actors respond to receiving some of the awards. When Ben Affleck’s film Argo – which he acted in and also directed – won the “best ensemble” award, it was clear that he really hadn’t thought his film would win. But as an actor-director, Affleck had been extraordinarily generous with his fellow actors, keeping his own role in perfect proportion and giving actor after actor his or her “moments.” The result was a company that truly deserved an award for ensemble acting – a film about many different people instead of a story shaped to show off one or two high-priced stars. Argo would be a credible best-picture winner. While this film about the rescue of six Americans from the Iranian hostage crisis did bend history a little, mostly to soup up the barely-made-it getaway sequence near the end, it was far truer to history than, say, Game Change – and far more generous to the real people it portrayed. In fact, that’s one of the pleasures of Argo. While it recognizes that America had a history of messing with Iran in ways that Iranians had a right to resent deeply, it does not make the CIA or the US government the bad guys or a joke. Rather, Argo treats everyone fairly, making nobody perfect but also making nobody absurdly bad or stupid. Everybody’s doing their best to do what they think is the Right Thing. One reason Argo is especially popular with actors, of course, is that it’s a movie about Hollywood, as well as being about
historical events. The F-word involved in a running gag about the name of the fake movie that the CIA is pretending to make will offend some, but I’m afraid I found it irresistibly funny. It’s not often that I actually like the use of rough language in a film, but this is one of the rare exceptions. For a long time after Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won their writing Oscar for shamelessly ripping off the climax of Ordinary People in Good Will Hunting, it looked like it was Matt Damon who was having the great career, as Affleck kept scoring tabloid covers while starring in bad movies. But with his small role in He’s Just Not That Into You, he started playing a new kind of character: Not a romantic lead, not an action hero, but something relatively rare in Hollywood films: A nice guy. A decent, reliable person. A grown-up. How many people write movies about people like that? But Ben Affleck can play them. More to the point, he can direct movies about them, and help other actors to play them as well. This is a rare talent. Most actors and directors are drawn to bizarre characters. Certainly Oscars are likely to go to actors playing people suffering from melodramatic angst. That’s not to say you can’t have a great movie about melodramatic angst. For instance, Silver Linings Playbook is in many ways a remake of the brilliant A Woman Under the Influence – a person gets out of a mental institution and the audience sees that the family he or she returns to is at least as insane. There are plenty of “mad scenes” – oh, how actors love those! But it’s not the mad scenes that make Bradley Cooper’s and Jennifer Lawrence’s performances so unforgettably good. Anybody can rant and yell. What’s hard is to make a character real and vulnerable, what’s hard is to show them taking responsibility and growing up, because that’s all about restraint and control. So even actors voting for the SAG award sometimes miss the point. Jennifer Lawrence won (and gave a marvelously endearing and restrained acceptance speech, unlike Claire Danes’ sadly selfsatisfied one) for a portrayal full of rage and crying. But her character works because of the slyness, the vulnerability, the hunger, the joy. Few actors can play these. If Silver Linings Playbook had won the acting ensemble award, it would have been a perfectly credible choice, though unlike Argo this is definitely a star-centered movie. From Robert De Niro as Bradley Cooper’s dad to Chris Tucker as a fellow lunatic to Anupam Kher as Cooper’s sports-mad shrink, the supporting roles are given a chance to shine. The heart of the movie, though, is the very
much unflamboyant Jacki Weaver as the mom. She is the one who actually drives the plot, first by getting her son out of the mental institution, then by manipulating events to help him get over his obsession with the wife who betrayed him. Her luminous performance probably won’t win the Oscar any more than it won the SAG award – but Jacki Weaver provides the foundation on which all the other performances rest. The leading actors are terrific – but she is the bright background that sets them off to such good effect. Silver Linings Playbook tries to deal honestly with mental illness, but in the end it can’t quite make up its mind. Is Cooper’s character truly bipolar and obsessive? Or is he a person with manageable problems who is pushed over the edge by the outlandish provocations of his unfaithful wife? The first half of the movie asserts the former; the second half, the latter. It is true that in other countries, good results are often obtained by guiding bipolar people into a normal home life and providing them with stable relationships. However, good results are rarely obtained by providing them with an even crazier person to take care of.
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it happened he was more interested in getting reelected. If he can demonize the Republicans enough to get the Democrats to take back over the House, you better find you another country to live in. %%% I was reading in the News & Record an article written by Robbie Perkins about voter ID. He said he’s concerned about the poor disabled minorities not being able to vote. Funny, he’s concerning about an ID to vote when he’s not concerned when he wants the people to pay for an art center. He knows that very few poor people would ever go to the art center. He also talks about hotel and motel taxes, paying millions for the art center. Every time he wants something built for him, this bunch, is going to use the money from the hotelmotel taxes. If he’s really concerned about minorities or disabled and the poor, why not use the millions he gets in the hotelmotel taxes help these people? Also, pay taxes like other poor people. And that would help, too. Thank you. Bye now. %%% I was just reading the Beep. I noticed there were several people writing in about anti-gun laws, taking the guns out of people’s hands and stuff. And just look at Australia, about what happened when they confiscated all of the legal guns. You’ll see what the crime rate did after that. And, also, concerning the second inauguration
This is fiction, of course, and so you can always say, “This time things worked out despite the unorthodox ‘treatment.’” But the filmmakers are asserting a higher level of reality for this story, and so I guess I wanted to see Cooper’s character a little less out-of-control – angry rather than crazy – at the beginning, or a little less fully-in-control at the end. But let’s give this film credit for dealing with issues of madness with far more sense and greater adherence to reality than is normal in storytelling. Most of the time madness is a plot contrivance or a macguffin; here at least the attempt is made to tell the truth. Surely we can allow Silver Linings Playbook as much leeway with reality as we give, say, Argo. Other contenders for the Best Ensemble SAG award were also worthy. Les Miserables did a gorgeous job of making even chorus parts individual and real, and this is a great movie that looks even better on home video than it does on the big screen, for Anne Hathaway’s performance is not over the top when her face is not eight feet high on the screen. (Continued on page 30)
day, all you Democrats out there, so-called responsible, intellectual people that think they did the right thing, you’ve got four more years of heading down the slippery slope and more than likely we’re going to fall right off a cliff, or be pushed off a cliff, right back into another recession. %%% Hello, Guilford County taxpayers. When you get your next tax bill, take a close look. You’re going to see there’s a new fee or tax, although the county calls it a fee. It’s still a tax. It’s on each vehicle you own. Now, keep in mind, you’re already being taxed for your cars under your property tax, but there’s a new and additional fee, $5 per vehicle, that you will now be paying. Nobody’s quite sure what it’s for. I have heard rumors that it’s going to the PART system, which doesn’t get enough use to support itself. But this is just another one of the examples of municipal government that is trying to find a way to keep raising more money so it can waste more money. Expect more of these so-called fees in the near future. %%% Concerning the 21-year-old female driver that lost her life, she did, indeed, commit a crime when she ran from the police. And the police had no idea it was a 21-year-old female. For all they knew, it may have been a drug dealer, or some kind of a thug, as you say. And anyway he backed off and came up on the wreck later. So, he didn’t scare her into wrecking.
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Polsi Yost Live And aspdfds Unredacted by Scott D. Yost county editor
The Surface, Microsoft’s first tablet, feels like a Mercedes-Benz to me, people! The full-size keyboard built right into the cover makes work easy, the very smart kickstand makes watching a movie or Skyping a friend a delight, the less than a pound-and-a-half weight makes a great alternative to a laptop, and the many other features make it fun for work and play. Now, that’s a wowser!
“If I was traveling through Greensboro, I’d eat at Undercurrent in a second. The food is well-sourced and well-prepared. The people there know that a restaurant experience is about making a diner feel fed and taken care of. It’s not about the chef’s ego, but about a chef who knows how to cook.” Kim Severson, New York Times Atlanta bureau chief, Garden & Gun columnist, and author of several cookbooks including Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life.
Oprah Winfrey, from her “Favorite things of 2012” Look, I have to warn you: I’m not going to write anything about Manti Te’o and his imaginary dead girlfriend this week And, please, don’t give me that look. It’s not because I don’t want to. Trust me, I do. But I just think we need to move on as a nation. I mean, as much as we would all like to go on and on about it until the chickens come home, we can’t just spend the next 50 years simply fixated on Te’o and Lennay, God rest her soul. So, for the good of the nation, let’s move on to other things … Hey, is it just me? Or are you also starting to think that – despite all the songs to the contrary – maybe it’s actually Taylor Swift who has the problem and not the 342 billion boyfriends she’s had failed relationships with over the past year. Taylor, your music is great, but maybe you’re the one with the emotional defect. Perhaps some introspection on your part is what’s needed.
undercurrentrestaurant.com (336) 370-1266
Everyone has been talking about the movie Argo, so I finally went and saw it, and let me tell you something – it is terrible. Here’s the problem with that movie: The acting is fine and the dialogue is fine; the problem is with the story, which is just completely unbelievable. You’re telling me that we’re supposed to believe that some guy is trying to get hostages out of Iran, so he and his associates pose as a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a sci-fi film, and the Iranians are all like, sure, OK, it’s a film crew; and they are fooled like the guards in Hogan’s Heros. (I mean, if I were old enough to know what Hogan’s Heros was.) First of all, who ever heard of there ever being a Canadian film? I mean, sure, there’s probably like a documentary about Gordon Lightfoot that somebody made one time, but, come on, how am I supposed to sit through Argo and buy into this plot. Next time, let’s put a little thought into what you are doing before you ask me to shell out 9 bucks for a movie ticket. Come on people – in the future let’s try and have movie plots that could be at least somewhat based in reality. In that regard, Argo reminds me of another film I saw last year – one that’s also pretty good except for one giant fatal plot hole in logic. It’s a movie called Big Miracle. It was kind of a cute and sweet movie, if you are a kid I guess, but here’s the big flaw in that movie: In the film, there are these whales that are supposedly trapped under the ice and they can’t breathe, so all the people – the Eskimos and the oil drillers and the TV news people and the village people – were trying to save the whales. So, what’s wrong with this motion picture? Uh, hello? Whales are fish, so you don’t have to save them from being under the ice, because, the last time I checked, fish can breathe underwater! You know, the Guilford County commissioners keep saying the county is broke and it doesn’t have any money and that’s why they have to keep raising taxes – yet, somehow, every time a rich, international multimillion dollar company asks for a handout, the commissioners give it to them without fail and without batting an eye. Speaking of Guilford County and money, the county (read: you and I) just paid out the largest amount ever for a lawsuit – about a half-million dollars for the settlement of a suit resulting from the death of an inmate in the Guilford County jail in 2010. Now, I’m not saying the county is being less than forthcoming with the information it’s providing regarding the case, but below is an actual picture of an actual page of what the county sent me in response to a public records request. It’s the timeline on the Incident Report leading up to the death of the inmate. (Continued on page 14)
All bottles half price all day. 200 North Davie Street Greensboro N.C. | 389.1010
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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(Continued from page 13)
Scott’s Night Out Boy did everyone have a fantastic time at the Zac Brown concert at the Greensboro Coliseum Saturday night. Above, Molly (left) gets a kiss on the check from Austin in her little black dress in the Schiffman’s Diamond Club in the Coliseum right before the show. Zac Brown, lower right (photo by Michael Strider), really blew away the crowd at the sold-out Coliseum, and when Zac and the band went into Bob Marley’s “One Love,” I really just wanted to head straight for the islands and well… – Scott D. Yost.
OK, let’s move on to less depressing and less weighty things. Over the years, I’ve often questioned Oprah’s advice. For instance, she highly praised the movie Beloved – a movie that she, by the way, starred in and helped produce – but I consider it to be one of the worst movies of all time. Literally 90 seconds into Beloved, I had no idea at all what was going on, and it was all downhill after those first 90 seconds. That’s not a joke or anything: There were the opening credits, and then, in the first minute and a half of the movie, I was completely and utterly lost. My girlfriend at the time made me sit through the rest of it, but I, to this day, have no clue what Beloved was about; however, Oprah couldn’t praise that movie enough. Then, a few years ago, Oprah’s Book Club selected A Million Little Pieces as a must-read book – only it turns out that James Frey, the writer of that “true memoir,” made it all up. And, then, not long ago, to top it all off, Oprah gave a glowing endorsement of the Microsoft Surface tablet. Now, I haven’t used a Surface yet, but I don’t know anyone who likes it. I’ve seen a lot of commercials for it and the only thing the commercials tell you about the Surface is that it has a kickstand that makes a cool clicking sound when you snap it in and out of place. If you go to the Microsoft store to buy a Surface and you ask questions like “What can it do?” then the Microsoft employee is like, “Hey, look, it’s got a cool kickstand on it.” And you are like, “Can it run Windows apps? And how many apps are currently available for the Surface? Is it easy to use?” And they say, “Hey, did I mention the really cool kickstand? It makes a really neat clicking sound.” It reminds me of that Andy Griffith episode when Andy is trying to get Barney to go on a blind date, and Barney is asking, “Well, what does she look like?” and Andy is going, “Man, I’ll tell ya, Barn – her cooking is to die for!” And Barney is like, “Yeah, but Andy, what does she look like?” and Andy says, “That girl has a wonderful sense of humor – I mean, the best. She’s a riot.” Anyway, back to Oprah and the Surface tablets. Recently, like I said, Oprah had yet another recommendation that seemed weird to a lot of people: Oprah tweeted how crazy she was about her new Surface. She tweeted: “Gotta say love that SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. #FavoriteThings.” OK, here’s the only problem: Oprah tweeted it from her iPad. Below her tweet, it said “via Twitter for iPad.” Steven Baker, a random internet person, summed it up nicely in a tweet. “@Oprah How much more would Microsoft have had to pay you to get you to post that tweet from a Surface instead of an iPad?”
OK. OK, you win. I can’t really stand it any longer either to tell you the truth. Let’s talk about Manti Te’o. The good of the country be damned. The urge is simply too powerful; resistance is futile. You know how, at NBA and NHL games, they have a “Kiss Cam,” and, during a timeout, the camera operators show couples in the audience on the giant screen, and the crowd will cheer on that couple – trying to get them to kiss. Well, the NBA’s Cavaliers, no kidding, have now brought out the “Manti Te’o Kiss Cam,” which is just like the Kiss Cam, only it shows guys sitting next to empty seats. And at an NHL Dallas Stars game last week, the Jumbotron had a message welcoming Te’o’s girlfriend to the game while zooming in on an empty seat. But the real Te’o fun has been on Twitter and the internet. Here are a few of my favorites. Phil Taylor wrote, “At least my girlfriend, Halle Berry, is real. It’s just the relationship that’s imaginary. #MantiTeo” Mike Sita, whoever he is, had this gem: “NoSuch Dame.” Or how about this one from Stephen Pazian – “Manti Te’o: ‘I don’t always date imaginary girls ... but when I do, they die.’” Jennifer Murchison had this: “The greatest trick Manti Te’o’s girlfriend ever pulled was convincing the world she doesn’t exist.” (If you haven’t seen The Usual Suspects, please do so and then come join us in the world of the culturally literate.) From Joe Lametta: “Even fake women end up costing you millions ...” Kevin A. Jenkins: “The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and Lennay Kekua walk into a bar ...” Oh my, this is fun! Why is this so much fun? I have no idea. I can’t explain it; I just know that it is. If I had to guess, I think I’d say it’s because, on the one hand it feels sinful because, well, you know, she died of leukemia and here we all are joking about it. But on the other hand, she was fake, so joke away ... Paul Booth had this post: “Manti Te’o’s girlfriend is Miss January in the 2013 Mayan Calendar.” Todd Harmon also had a pretty good one. “What do Manti Te’o’s ‘girlfriend’ and Obama have in common? Neither have been able to produce a birth certificate.” OK, since we just got a Republican jab in there, let’s work in a Democratic one to be fair. This one is from Jerkstoremike. “Karl Rove is reporting that Manti Te’o’s girlfriend still might be real.” Another internet person had this description of what’s on Te’o’s girlfriend’s tombstone: “Lennay Kekua, Never-Now.” Wow, for a column with no Manti Te’o stuff in it, there’s quite a bit of Manti Te’o stuff. Anyway, we probably shouldn’t be making fun of this situation. As Seth Meyers puts it: “These Te’o jokes are all very funny but let’s all try and remember that a person who never existed is dead.”
PAGE CJ16 The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
JANUARY 2013 | CAROLINA JOURNAL
Parting Hot Thursday, JanuaryS 31, 2013
Chairman Parker Hails Returntoto the ‘Normalcy’ for Dems (a CJ Parody) Letters Editor By seymour Green Time for a new party Political Correspondent Dear Editor, RALEIGH While have hope for the Republican tateI still Democratic Party Chairman Party David in Guilford and attorNorth Parker, County a Statesville Carolina, I have completely given up hopea ney, said he sees no need to seek for the GOP nationally. second term, taking credit for what he At aa time when our rebound” nation is threatened calls “substantial for key by the mostof lawless and traitorous members the party near thepresident end of in history, the Republican Party in his our tenure. Congress is headed up byinterview two very weak In an exclusive with and cowardly men – John Boehner and Carolina Journal, Parker discounted the Mitch McConnell. Neither theseparty men significant electoral lossesof his has the courage, let alone the intelligence, suffered in November, and the bad to stand upresulting to a man who is systematically publicity from a sexual hadestroying our economy our society. rassment charge that aand former male I’m sure thatmade if andagainst when Obama prays, employee the party’s he must surely thank his god for blessing male executive director. him with two such ineptsaid, menhis to negotiate Instead, Parker behindagainst. the-scenes efforts have helped rebuild high hopes both Boehner and theI had reputations of that six disgraced demoMcConnell would be replaced as GOP crats. leaders“These in the new Congress, but, whenbeen that individuals have didn’t happen, it simply became a matter of through some tough times, but thanks time before the Republicans starting caving to my influence and advice, they will into Democrats on everything from the oncethe again be influential and respected contrived “fiscal cliff” crisis to raising the North Carolinians. Rebuilding their debt ceiling, with amnesty and gun control reputations is key to rebuilding the probably being next on Democratic Party,” heObama’s said. hit list. If a new party were to emerge from the shambles The sixof the current Republican Party (such as a constitution party or conservative Mike Easley, who party),•I Former would beGov. the first to join. Granted, took a felony plea on campaign finance it might take several years for such a new violations involving reparty to become viable improperly nationally. But, porting campaign flights: “I helped him
then again, given the incompetence of the current GOP leadership, a new, truly conservative party might take off like a rocket. For the sake of our beleaguered country, I hope and pray we have the chance to find out soon. Larry Holmquist
vote. In 2014, we can do the right thing by voting her out of office and replace her with someone who will represent all the people. Steven M. Shelton Mike Easley
Seeking a fairer tax
Dear Editor, When the FairTax Act of 2013 (H.R. 25) is enacted, the FairTax will be the only Dear Editor, tax you pay. Kay Hagan has done very little for her federalMcQueen Lanny Beverly You Campbell won’t have Wilson to calculate Perdue or report the constituents. She seems focused on those special groups. Her recent decision to allow tax; the retailer you buy from will do that, an illegal immigrant to stay in this country just like state sales taxes. The IRS and 72,000 pages of tax code for another year knowing she had broken the law proves her inability to represent all will go away. The government won’t have to know of the voters who voted her into office. whether you’re rich or poor; will send As an elected representative, she is to State Democratic Party Chairman David Parker feels the engineering of theit“substanevery household enough to pay the tax is at represent all of her constituents in a fair and tial rebound” of the financial prospects and reputations of in-trouble Democrats his lasting legacy thefailed once-dominant (CJ file photos) theparty. poverty level. honest manner. Shetohas miserably atstate It will treat everyone the same; everyone this aspect of her job and needs to be sent get hisforlaw license restored in Deceming pay a reworked something. retirement scheme. home good in 2014. She clearly caved will ber, even though he still has not paid Her new annual The company yougovernment work for willpension not pay in to a group on illegal immigrants who $95,000 of a $100,000 fine his campaign jumped from $37,171 to $80,597. She seem to think it is fine to break any law taxes. Its costs will go down. oweswish the State Board of Elections. Mike was verykeep thankful.” You’ll your full paycheck. they to break. told me people have already forgotten • Ruffin Poole, a top to to Mike Companies will bring jobsaide back the In America, we are a nation of laws and it about that fine.” Easley, who took a felony plea on coris not fair to those persons who have waited US and sell more overseas. • Former first lady Easley, ruption charges: will “After Ruffin out The economy grow and got benefit for very long periods to getMary here through fired from a $170,000-a-year job at N.C. of federal prison in April, I helped him the legal process. Some have waited as everyone. StateasUniversity she obtained a buy newinformation, Raleigh home down the Foramore visit www.fairtax. long 10 years tothat become citizens ofas this result of her husband’s intervention: “I street from his old boss, Mike Easley. great country. This action by Sen. Hagan org. guidedthat hershe though a successful I’m still working on getting his law liPierce proves will do anything tosettleget a John ment with N.C. State officials involv- cense restored, and I hear he’s becom-
Vote no for Hagen
ing a lobbyist.” Term limits aren’t answer • McQueen Campbell, the forDear Editor, mer chairman of the N.C. State Board respectwho to your opinion regarding ofWith Trustees, stepped down after term limits expressed in your back page his role was revealed in both Mary editorial on Jan. 24, I offer the following Easley’s hiring and in providing Mike viewpoint. Easley with illegal campaign flights: Having in Tampa from 1980 to “He won’tlived be flying politicians around 2005, the voters of Florida approved term for awhile, but I hooked him up with limitsfootball a decade or basketball so ago. When term the and coaching limits expired, many politicians were hired staff at State. They like free flights, too, as lobbyists. Why?to Who wouldn’t want and these appear be legal. McQueen an experienced representative with inside say’s he’s happy as long as he is flying knowledge and contacts? Others who someone important. ” opted not to return to private life ran for • Lanny Wilson, a major Demoother offices. cratic fundraiser who was involved In my opinion term limits will only work but not charged in the scheme that sent if lobbyists are outlawed. Fat chance. Poole to prison and helped the Easleys Thomas Morris get a sweetheart deal on coastal property: “I called in some favors and got the [state Department of TransportaPunish the pols tion] board to name a Wilmington Dear Editor, bridge after Wilson. Lanny told me he North to Carolina eugenics again.” program is The beginning feel important was developed and passed into law by • Gov. Bev Perdue: “Even though specific identifiable elected officials. people might think she doesn’t like The eugenics program administrators me because I refused to step down as knowingly and willingly accepted the party chairman when she asked me to, assignment to direct the program. Review we are actually good buddies. I helped of state records will clearly identify the her come up with some excuses for not responsible elected officials and program sending her unspent campaign funds administrators. to the Democratic Party. She is sitting Any financial compensation to eugenics on about $1.2 million that she can use victims should not be paid by the state. for a variety of things. She said she owes me(Continued big time.”on page 28) CJ
An Investment Plan For N.C.’s Economic Recovery The ongoing debate in Washington and the upcoming national campaigns for president and Congress will offer plenty of opportunities for pro-growth politicians to craft, explain, and sell reforms of the federal budget, federal taxation, federal regulation, and federal agencies and programs. In the new book Our Best Foot Forward: An Investment Plan for North Carolina’s Economic Recovery, John Locke Foundation President John Hood tells North Carolina’s policymakers and citizens that economic policy is not the exclusive domain of presidents, federal lawmakers, or the Federal Reserve. John Hood States and localities can play critical roles in economic policy — for good or for ill. We invite you to read and share this plan for our state’s recovery with your family, friends, and co-workers. Go to http://johnlocke.org for more information.
The John Locke Foundation, 200 W. Morgan St. Suite 200, Raleigh, NC, 27601 919-828-3876 • JohnLocke.org • CarolinaJournal.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Letters (Continued from page 27) Victim compensation should be obtained through civil lawsuits against the responsible elected officials and program administrators and their estates. If the state pays compensation to eugenics victims, people that objected to the program and current state residents will be punished for actions that they had no control over. The eugenics program was an offshoot of Margaret Sanger’s radical birth control and population control concepts. Donald M. Wojek
History repeating? Dear Editor, There were many Nazi sympathizers in the 1930s. Not being able to see into the future, onlookers championed Adolf Hitler and his movement. The citizens of Germany enjoyed a renewal of pride and prosperity after the humiliating defeat of the Great War and were caught in the Great Depression (that was global) in the 1920s. Germany welcomed the bright promises of Hitler’s Nazi Party. Never mind those uncomfortable rumors of lies, hate and marginalization of Jews, Gypsies, the infirm, homosexuals and mental patients. Don’t fret about the “Poland” thing, or those odd “smells” coming from across the hill. Our Fuhrer knows best and he will lead us to comfort and prosperity and “fairness” for all … Any of this sound familiar? Yeah, me too. Tom Elder
Best part of country gone Dear Editor, Every time Obama speaks, he always mentions the middle class. For the Democrats that voted him back in, that buy gas to go to work: I don’t think he cares one bit about you or he would be drilling for oil, and would have signed the Keystone Pipeline in his first term. I hope I’m wrong, but the Middle East, where our oil comes from, it could be cut off at any time. With Iran building a nuclear bomb and Obama destroying ours, the best part of this country has already passed, I’m sorry to say. Anonymous
Press didn’t do its job Dear Editor, On Sept. 11, 2012, we had an attack on our embassy in Libya. Prior to this, we had 20 incidents. On one occasion they blew a 12-foot hole in the wall. The British pulled all of their people out as well as the Red Cross because their lives were in danger. Our ambassador pleaded for extra help but that request was turned down. This is no ordinary location. The terrorists are all around this area, and you would think on 9/11 you would take special
precaution to protect our people. The terrorists thought that date had special significance and they attacked. Our people escaped to an annex for protection, but they did not get far. We even had an ex-Navy Seal call for help and he was told to stand down (do nothing). He disobeyed that order and went to try and rescue the ambassador. He again called for help and was told again to do nothing. He again refused the order and went in to help and called a strike on their location with a laser, which put his life in danger. No help came and four were killed: the ambassador, two ex-Navy Seals and one other. Now the story that you have not been told: There was a Predator (unmanned drone) flying overhead with a camera onboard beaming live video to the situation room in the White House. This was in the
MLK (Continued from page 8) acre property, at what is now 2406 Kivett Dr., gave its name to the street. In a June 22, 1992, letter to the city, Marvin Kivett Jr., the grandson of William Larkin Kivett, said his grandfather was one of the largest and most progressive farmers in the area, and listed the extensive High Point community involvement of other members of his family. Marvin Kivett Jr. wrote, “Kivett Drive has been in existence for nearly 90 years, so if the Planning and Development Commission feels that a Martin Luther King Boulevard is necessary, then certainly it can find a street to rename that will not destroy a part of the city’s history.” The letter was also signed by other prominent High Point citizens, including longtime City Councilmember and now Guilford County Commissioner Bill Bencini Jr. 3) In April 1994, the Planning and Zoning Commission passed a resolution recommending to the City Council that the US 311 bypass be given an honorary designation in memory of King. In May 1994, the City Council proposed separating the bypass into three sections that would be given honorary names for King, jazz musician John Coltrane and prominent High Point furniture store owner Sanders Dallas. The state Board of Transportation rejected the proposal because it did not meet the state criteria for honorary street names. 4) In 2000, Wilkins proposed renaming all of North and South Centennial Street for King, a proposal Wilkins changed to North and South College Drive in 2001. This is the proposal most people in High Point remember. As Robbins put it mildly, “The proposal generated much community debate.” High Point University and Christ United Methodist Church, which is at 1300 N. College Dr., opposed the proposal. The Planning and Zoning Commission on Sept. 25, 2001, voted 5 to 4 to approve
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middle of the day in DC. I know you remember the pictures of the situation room when Bin Laden was killed, with our president, head of the CIA Panetta and State Department head Hillary watching. You might be thinking: Why no pictures of the situation room this time? We also had F-16 jets that could have responded. We had a C-130 gunship with Gatling gun and howitzer that can totally destroy a target on hand, and also Special Forces that could have responded. This attack went on for seven hours. You would think, during almost a full workday in that room, the president would have responded to protect and try to save their lives. I might add this. This attack happened while a heated battle for the White House was in the last days. Everyone scattered
for cover and you could not get a comment from anyone in the White House. The president later said he had given the order to do all that was possible to protect our people. That order was given way too late to make a difference. It is now four months after this tragedy and the news media has refused to cover it. I know that they were trying to suppress the story prior to the election, but how can they have no curiosity and have no sense of responsibility to the public. They are destroying their credibility. We have men and women fighting on foreign battlefields, some being wounded and some giving the ultimate sacrifice – their lives – for our freedom in hopes that our press would do their job and inform the public of those most important issues. Anonymous
the name change, then reconsidered its vote and defeated it by a second, 7-to-2 vote. 5) In February 2002, the Black Leadership Roundtable of High Point, of which Sims is a member, proposed naming College Drive from Eastchester Drive to Surrett Drive for King. Sims said, “Then, the buzz saw kicked in.” The Planning and Zoning Commission killed the proposal by an unspecified vote on April 23, 2002. That’s where the issue stood until this year, when Sims made it one of her first initiatives as mayor. If Sims gets a street renamed for King, it will be an honor long ago granted by many other cities in the United States. But it will also be proof by Sims that she can put together a voting majority – and on an issue that still has opposition in High Point. If Sims fails, she will lose political capital. Sims’ chances are probably better if she picks a recently named street, or one without historical resonance, to rename. That’s where the current research on the history of High Point street names comes in. Larry Cates, a librarian at the Heritage Research Center at the High Point Public Library, has been researching the history of Kivett Drive since Sims’ Jan. 10 proposal. Cates wrote Vierling on Jan. 11 that William Larkin Kivett was killed in a dynamite explosion in 1915 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Cates wrote, “I suspect this is the gentleman referred to in the controversy, since the first appearance of the street name is in the 1924 directory.” On Jan. 14, Cates wrote Vierling that the Kivett farm was across the road from, and slightly east of the current Hickory Chapel Wesleyan Church, near where Kivett Drive runs into Hickory Chapel Road. He said that, at the time of William Larkin Kivett’s death, the road was referred to as Freeman Mill-High Point Road. Cates wrote, “It was probably called Kivett in High Point to begin with simply because it led to the Kivett farm.”
That’s exactly what the 1992 letter from Marvin Kivett Jr. disputed. That letter said Kivett Drive was named for the family, not the farm, and listed the work and civic accomplishments of numerous members of the family. In fact, if Kivett Drive was not named until 1924, it is unlikely that it was named for the farm alone. The children of William Larkin Kivett sold the farm to the Amos family for $11,560 in 1923. The High Point Enterprise reported the death by dynamite of William Larkin Kivett on Oct. 16, 1915. It was a great tragedy, and a great newspaper lead. The paper reported, “The accidental explosion of a quantity of dynamite this morning hurled the souls of W. L. Kivett and his 10-year-old son, Byrne Kivett, into eternity, and scattered their mortal remains over 75 yards of ground, marking one of the most horrible affairs in the history of the High Point community.” The history of Centennial Drive has also come into question during the long hunt for a street to name after King. According to Robbins, the name is on city maps dating back to 1910, and the street may have been named at the time of the US Centennial in 1876. Sims said that High Point needs to find a street to name for King, and it needs to be a major one. She said that King’s legacy is not merely to black people, given his Nobel Peace Prize, his opposition to the Vietnam War and his support of economic justice. “When you look at streets across the country, and around the world, everywhere where you see a street or facility named after Dr. King, it’s always a facility of prominence,” she said. “It’s one that basically acknowledges who he is and who he was. When you start looking at streets, the streets need to be of prominence. And they don’t need to be relegated to the African-American community, because Dr. King’s struggle and inroads he made for civil rights were not just for African Americans.”
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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Jail death (Continued from page 1) released until 30 hours later, shortly before he died of blood clots in his lungs. Hill, who has represented the Sheriff’s Department several times before, was apparently chosen to represent Guilford County because he specializes in law enforcement cases. Hill said one of the unfair claims some are now making is that the county attempted to keep the Armstrong case “secret” to avoid negative publicity. “The confidentiality clause in there is at the request of the family,” Hill said. “The family very much wanted to keep it confidential.” Both Hill and Payne said that, since a local government was involved, everyone was aware that public records laws were in effect and that the family’s wishes did not override those laws. Hill said Armstrong’s violent actions placed the county’s detention officers in a very tough predicament. “He was on suicide watch,” Hill said of Armstrong. Hill said that restraining an inmate in the chair is something the detention officers only do when absolutely necessary. “The chair is the maximum restraint,” Hill said. “It is the last resort and they don’t like doing it.” Hill also said it’s important to realize the difficult situation of the jail guards attempting to deal with someone who exhibited intent to harm himself, guards and inmates. “They have the hardest job in the world, period,” Hill said of detention officers. “The sheriff and his department are doing the best that they can.” According to Hill, the jail staff’s main mistake had to do with simple record keeping. “The issue is documentation,” he said. “The records weren’t kept as well as they should have been.” Hill added that the detention officers have an obligation to protect the safety of Armstrong, as well as to protect themselves and the inmates, and he added that, given Armstrong’s threatening behavior, the officers really had no choice but to restrain him in the chair. Payne, like Hill, said the $475,000 payment was reasonable given the facts of the case. “I can say that if you take all the circumstances together, it was fair for both parties,” Payne said. Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes admitted that the jail records weren’t kept properly, but he claims that’s the only mistake his staff made. In 2011, the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office looked into Armstrong’s death, based on information provided by the Sheriff’s Department, and decided not to prosecute anyone. On Thursday, June 23, 2011 Chief Assistant District Attorney Howard Neumann sent Barnes a letter that stated the District Attorney’s Office would not
session in fall 2012, and the confidentiality clause was part of the settlement. The Rhinoceros Times obtained a copy of the agreement. The document, labeled “Settlement Agreement and Release,” is dated Thursday, Nov. 1. It is signed by Terrell Williams, the administrator for Armstrong’s estate, by Hill, and by Fred DeVore, the Charlotte-based personal injury attorney who handled the case for Armstrong’s family. DeVore, who is with DeVore, Acton & Stafford, did not respond to a voice mail left by The Rhinoceros Times. In a follow up call, DeVore’s voicemail message The family of Christopher Armstrong, who died stated that he was out of town while in the Guilford County jail in December working on a trial for two 2010, was paid $475,000, in part because the weeks starting Monday, Jan. Guilford County jail staff did not keep adequate 28, and an email to DeVore records of the amount of time Armstrong spent garnered an auto reply with strapped in a restraining chair similar to this the identical message. The settlement agreement one. states: “TERRELL E. WILLIAMS, as Administrator file any charges on the matter. of the Estate of CHRISTOPHER MASON “I have reviewed the materials provided ARMSTRONG, asserts a claim for the [concerning Armstrong’s death]” Neumann wrongful death of Christopher Armstrong wrote. “These materials include Incident against the Guilford County Sheriff, and Supplemental Reports, Use of Force Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and the Reports, Isolation/Segregation Checklists, County of Guilford, North Carolina.” all Jail Records pertaining to inmate It also states that, with the $475,000 Armstrong, Report of Autopsy by Office payment by the county, the Armstrong estate of the Chief Medical Examiner, Jail Policy and family members, “hereby completely and Procedures for Use of Restraints, release, acquit and forever discharge Photographs and Surveillance Videos of the [Sic] THE GUILFORD COUNTY Holding Cell Area, handwritten notes of SHERIFF, THE GUILFORD COUNTY Det. Jones and other related materials. SHERIFF’S OFFICE and THE COUNTY “Based upon my review of these OF GUILFORD, NORTH CAROLINA materials I find no evidence of any criminal and their respective past, present, and wrongdoing associated with inmate future commissioners, board members, Armstrong’s death,” he wrote. “While elected and appointed officials [and all this is no doubt a tragic event I see no others in Guilford County government] criminal responsibility on behalf of anyone from all claims, demands, actions or involved.” causes of action whatsoever [related to the This week, Neumann explained the Armstrong case].” decision. One section in the agreement falls “There was no evidence of an intentional under the heading, “Mutual intent of all act to inflict injury,” he told The Rhinoceros Parties to keep the terms of the settlement Times. confidential.” The question on some people’s minds, It states that, for “the mutual best however, is whether Armstrong’s death interests of all Parties, the Parties agree – however unintentional – resulted from that the terms of this settlement shall, to negligence, which is also a type of crime. the extent permissible and allowable under Neumann also said it was difficult to North Carolina law, be kept private and specify any single reason for Armstrong’s confidential. To the extent permissible death. and allowable by North Carolina law, the “There was more than one factor of cause existence of this settlement agreement and of death,” Neumann said. the terms thereof shall not be disclosed to Payne said the 11 Guilford County any third parties. Specifically, the Parties, commissioners who agreed to settle the case their agents and their attorneys agree to not for $475,000 didn’t sign a confidentiality disclose the terms of said settlement except agreement, but they did consent in closed to the extent that it is necessary to disclose session to the settlement reached by Hill said terms in order to comply with the and the family. The terms were presented Public Records Laws of the State of North to the Board of Commissioners in a closed Carolina.”
The agreement obligated all parties to a standard and vague response if asked about the matter. “If, otherwise, asked by a third party to disclose any of the terms of the settlement,” the agreement states, “the Parties agree that they, their agents and attorneys shall respond with a neutral comment, to wit: ‘The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all Parties,’ and nothing more. No Party, agent or attorney shall intentionally publicize the terms of this settlement.” On Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, The Rhinoceros Times submitted a request to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and the Guilford County attorney’s office for jail reports and other documents related to Armstrong’s death and the ensuing settlement. That request was answered on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The Rhinoceros Times reported the story on Thursday, Jan. 24. Payne said there was always an understanding by everyone involved that the confidentiality clause did not supersede public records law. County officials were very closemouthed before the story became public. However, since then, the sheriff, the commissioners, former commissioners and other county officials have been very vocal on the matter. Barnes said some of his political adversaries want to see someone in the Sheriff’s Department “take a fall” for the incident. Former Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said someone should pay a price. “No one has been fired, or reprimanded or held accountable,” Alston said. Alston said the county was lucky the family was willing to settle. “I wonder if the family got enough money,” he said. “They lost a son.” Alston also said he had no political vendetta against Barnes. “I like BJ, but wrong is wrong,” he said. Several commissioners said the Board of Commissioners grilled Barnes in a twohour closed session in November after the payment to Armstrong’s family had been made. Payne said that, now that the case is closed, he didn’t think the public comments made by county officials could damage the county. According to Barnes, his department has made changes to assure that this type of thing never happens again. For instance, he said, in the new jail, cameras will remain constantly trained on the restraint chairs. Barnes said the cameras are there to protect inmates and detention officers in the event that questions regarding the use the chair arise in the future. According to Barnes, though the death was tragic, his officers had very limited options given Armstrong’s violent behavior. Barnes said even padded rooms aren’t a solution when someone is truly intent on (Continued on page 33)
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Uncle Orson (Continued from page 12)
In fact, Les Miserables looks better and better to me, despite the Santa Claus absurdity, as I see it again. Unlike Lord of the Rings, whose falseness to Tolkien’s original becomes less and less bearable with each re-seeing, Les Miserables, as a movie, is more faithful to Victor Hugo’s original novel than the stage production – while still leaving out the voluminous overwriting that is typical of 19th-century fiction, both literary and popular. Hugh Jackman’s transformations are not just makeup – like Ben Affleck, he is capable of playing far more than suffering and rage. As with Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman is at his best when playing the grownup, responsible portion of his role; this is the hardest thing to do as an actor, and Jackman is brilliant at it. That the performers in Les Miserables achieve brilliant reality while singing only makes their achievement all the more remarkable (as also that of their director, Tom Hooper). I’m afraid that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has no chance of awards, though it, too, brought together an ensemble of wonderful actors in well-balanced parts. Was it the best picture of the year? No; but it was very good, and is worth seeing more than once; the exuberant performance of Dev Patel is one of the most likeable ever on screen. I wish Daniel Day Lewis weren’t such a cold actor, and didn’t look so mask-like in every clip of Lincoln that I’ve seen; I wish Steven Spielberg’s track record of storytelling dishonesty didn’t make me assume that Lincoln butchers both history a Lincoln’s known character in order to fake up some false dilemma. It’s hard for me to work up any desire to see the movie or Daniel Day Lewis’ performance. I probably will, though, before Oscar time. After all, maybe it’s the Spielberg of Empire of the Sun who directed Lincoln, instead of the Spielberg of all his other movies. Meanwhile, as I think back over the year’s movies, I still keep coming back to Looper as the most brilliantly written script, and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World as my most emotionally satisfying experience in the theater this year. So many admirable films; so many really crappy ones; but they all got made, didn’t they! That’s an award in itself, that somehow a script, however weak or strong, got the right people attached to it, got the money behind it, and made its way into the theaters, for good or ill. Though there are bound to be some absolutely brilliant projects that just can’t get made, because Hollywood is such a ludicrously nonsensical place to do business, there are thousands and thousands of truly hideous projects that the Hollywood sieve has prevented us from being afflicted with. Though some of those make it through, too. Cloud Atlas. I rest my case.
I’ve already reviewed Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Retrieval Artist series, with its powerful combination of science fiction, mystery and character-centered storytelling. She has another series that began with Diving into the Wreck. From the title alone, I had assumed (wrongly) that this was some kind of underwater story. Having had my fill of underwater stories when I novelized The Abyss, I didn’t look at this other series until I picked up Boneyards. That was a mistake. Boneyards, well into the series, requires the reader to play catch-up to an off-putting degree. I soon realized that I needed to back up and read the immediate predecessor, City of Ruins, first. Good choice. The premise of this series is that a woman known mostly as “Boss” heads a crew of space divers. No water involved – and no gravity. But like salvage divers in ocean waters, these space divers, wearing suits in order to survive, plunge into and explore the hulks of long-lost, abandoned and wrecked spaceships. Especially they relish exploring the relics of the ancient, semi-legendary Fleet, which 5,000 years ago had made its way
Safety (Continued from page 7) Some county schools, including Northern and the new Eastern Guilford high schools – built to replace the school’s old building that was destroyed by arson in 2006 – were designed with security in mind. As long as all the exit doors are closed, visitors can enter only through the front doors and must walk past the administrative office to access the rest of the school. Other schools, including older, sprawling high schools, allow access through many doors. Although newer schools are built with security more in mind, they are also built to meet modern fire codes – which, ironically, require more exit doors, decreasing security. “The fire code side at this point is completely inconsistent,” Duncan said. “At many schools, the door count is very high. There’s a logical reason for it, but the point is that it creates many points of ingress and egress.” All Guilford County high schools and middle schools have police officers or sheriff’s deputies, called school resource officers (SROs) assigned to the school. A debate is raging nationally over whether or not schools need armed guards. Sandy Hook Elementary did not have an SRO, although one responded from a nearby middle school after the shootings. Columbine High School in Colorado, where two students killed 12 students and one teacher in 1999, had an SRO, but, according to news reports, he was off campus when the shootings started.. Guilford County Schools has 28 high schools, 15 of which are regular high schools and 13 of which are smaller
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through the region of the galaxy where humans live. The Fleet was itself piloted by humans – people so much like the ordinary run of people that they could interbreed, though a few small differences have evolved. Now long gone, the Fleet had a technology that Boss and her crew can’t understand. But the contemporary Empire wants very much to recover the Stealth Tech that the ancient Fleet had, which is far superior to anything available today. This is the situation in which City of Ruins begins. Boss has been engaged to explore, not a space wreck, but an underground ruin where some kind of ancient technology occasionally erupts with fatal effect on surface habitations. Having read City of Ruins, I was then able to read Boneyards with far more pleasure. Boneyards, however, is a book marred by a couple of mistakes. For one thing, the titular Boneyards – a vast collection of ancient ships protected by the Fleet’s shielding – isn’t even mentioned until near the end of the book, and is not even penetrated by our heroes at book’s end. The serious mistake, however, is the needlessly convoluted structure that seeks
to simultaneously keep us emotionally involved in a present story while withholding from the most vital information from a 20-year-old story whose puzzles don’t unravel until near the end. This despite the fact that the entire story is known to one of the main characters, nicknamed “Squishy,” from the start. If Rusch had chosen to tell us Squishy’s story in time order, everything else would have been clearer and much more enjoyable to read. But such are the decisions writers make, and then have to live with. This is nowhere near as damaging to the book as the decision to tell Hunger Games in first person present tense, which added nothing to a good story, but made the sequels increasingly awkward to write. The combination of first person and present tense is so false and contrived that one never really gets used to it the way readers can eventually accommodate either first person or present tense. One conjures up the image of a hero dictating the story in highly literary language while actually going through the adventures. (Continued on next page))
academies, 22 middle schools and 68 elementary schools. With elementary schools outnumbering high schools and middle schools combined, adding SROs at all elementary schools would greatly increase the cost of the SRO program. Some local officials have opposed the SRO program, including Quick and Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis, who have proposed replacing sworn officers as SROs with security guards at a lower cost. Both Greensboro and Guilford County use security guards rather than law enforcement officers in their own buildings. Duncan said the school board would consider adding more SROs to Guilford County schools. “There are going to be limitations,” he said. “I think we all recognize that there are going to be limitations on what we can do.” The Guilford County Schools Facilities Department has a $75 million priority list for school upgrades that would be funded primarily by $71.5 million that had been proposed to be spent building a high school in western Guilford County. The school board recently voted not to build the high school. Security cameras are one of the items on the list. Routh mentioned the cameras and other technological fixes. “There are repairs needed on some of the lighting on some of the schools,” she said. “So we already have some basic things we know have to be done that are maybe on a maintenance list somewhere.” Routh cited the Eastern fire as the greatest school emergency during her tenure on the school board. She said that Eastern’s
emergency plan worked very well, because all students were evacuated without injury, but that parents and others trying to get to students clogged nearby streets and prevented some emergency vehicles from arriving quickly. Routh said that, in future emergencies, police or sheriff’s deputies should set up larger controlled perimeters. Carr, who has researched school emergency responses, said similar traffic jams happened at Columbine and the sites of other school shootings. “The traffic tends to get snarled up as well, and that happened at Newtown, and tends to happen at other places where they have these mass shootings,” said Carr, who called the traffic jams a very human response. “When people are scared, and this has happened quite a few times, they tend to literally leave their car and start running.” In recent years, Guilford County Schools, like Greensboro and High Point, has been coordinating emergency management plans for such crises with Guilford County, a process Carr said would intensify. Task force members said the school board will also review its resources and methods for identifying students with mental health problems who could prove threats Duncan said, “I think all of us have been feeling that the trend has been that there has been less and less support for mental health.” Duncan said that the school board’s security review will take, in addition to the task force meetings, more than a few school board meetings. He said that most of the school board meetings will be public, but some dealing with specific security measures will be closed.
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Uncle Orson (Continued from previous page) Or else one has to imagine that the hero would, after the fact, choose to tell the story in a ridiculously literary way – though the character has no particular literary bent. But Kristine Kathryn Rusch would never do that. Oh, wait. Unlike the Retrieval Artist series, these books do use a weird present tense, which is constantly annoying and adds absolutely nothing. Why? Rusch knows better than this, and has proven it many times over. I guess sometimes writers have to succumb to the temptation to prove they can “play with the big boys.” Unfortunately, the “big boys” – i.e., the academic-literary crowd that love weird tense-and-voice combinations – are idiots, who love to make their work harder to understand, under the illusion that if your work can’t be understood without study, people will study it. Wrong. Volunteer readers have no obligation to study needlessly difficult work. The only people who enjoy difficulty for its own sake are elitists whose pleasure in the book derives largely from feeling superior to people who don’t like reading needlessly difficult fiction. In other words, such techniques are really a sort of initiation hazing. If you claim to admire such techniques, you’re In The Club. That the club exists only in order to exclude people who choose not to waste time on the hazing rituals seems
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unnoticed. Rusch is such a good storyteller that despite the hazing, despite the out-of-order storytelling, these are well worth reading. That’s because Rusch is just too good a writer to surrender completely to college literary training – she still fulfills the duty of the storyteller to provide vicarious memories that illuminate the lives of the readers. What can I say? When a story has real substance and the storyteller has a powerful talent, even their bad choices can’t stop readers from receiving and enjoying their fiction. In Rusch’s case, while the pieces of the story in Boneyards are told out of order, each piece is so intrinsically interesting that readers are able to hold the whole thing in memory until the puzzle is complete. The result is that I stayed up late to finish both books, and felt well rewarded for having done so. Rusch remains one of the best sci-fi writers working today – and since she’s still young, or at least younger than me, I look forward to many more works from her. Especially if she stops attaching these useless literary fobs to her work and instead continues to make the stories themselves ever deeper and richer – as few writers are capable of doing, but Rusch most definitely is.
I suppose most people don’t know the work of the French academic painter Bouguereau (BOO-guh-ROE). But enough
do, especially within the art world, that it’s worth parodying. The point with parody is that you have to be very familiar with the original work even to know that a joke is being told. When you’re making fun of something unavoidable in the culture, like certain ads or corporate logos, then you can count on everybody recognizing what you’re mocking. But parodies of fairly obscure works have to be presented to people who love the original – who else would recognize the source? The website Bouguereau Remastered deals with this problem by using, as a kind of table of contents, a set of original images – the Bouguereau masterworks themselves. http://www.bouguereau.net/wings/ When you click on an image, you are then taken to a series of parodies, each more outlandish than the ones before. For instance, when you click on the famous painting Douleur d’amour, which depicts a nude woman bent over a pedestal, grieving, as a baby Cupid weeps beside her, the parodies progress like this: First, someone has Photoshopped in a baby Bacchus from another masterwork, drinking from what seems to be a jug of moonshine. Another way to deal with grief, presumably. Then you get the woman and Cupid dressed in denims; then in a tennis outfit, so now she seems to be exhausted after winning her match (she has a medal).
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The next parody has her upright, singing into a microphone; the pedestal has become an amp and speaker. Then there are two Christmas versions, with her and the baby dressed in Santa outfits. The next has her in a snowstorm; then the pedestal becomes a clothes-drier (apparently she’s waiting to get dressed until her clothes are dry). Then it’s a television and she’s holding a rabbit-ears antenna. Another has her grieving over a Gulf gas pump with a sign saying, “No gas today.” She is transformed into a turtle in one parody; in another, she is concentrationcamp thin. Then she’s a cow. Then soldiers are discovering the Cupid weeping inside a cupboard as they hold up a picture, showing that they’re searching for the nude woman. Then there are versions with cowboy outfits, or with her as a Terminator-style robot with skin covering only parts of her machinery. She’s a lizard, or a flagwrapped patriotic woman with an eagle in place of the baby. And that’s a partial list of parodies of only one of the Bouguereau originals. You can easily amuse yourself for half an hour at this site. But the people who created these parodies must have spent far longer than that in creating them! Apparently they thought it was worth the work. And some of them are amusing enough that I think they’re certainly worth the click!
Ban Bars (Continued from page 2) doesn’t apply to them. They include the L. Richardson Preyer Federal Courthouse, the Old Guilford County Court House, and the new Guilford County jail. The AT&T building on Eugene Street appears to be out of compliance and the ordinance could be interpreted so that even West Market Street United Methodist Church, which has bars across its entrance, is out of compliance. But, of course, the city is not going to find West Market Street United Methodist Church out of compliance. However, walking around the downtown there are countless small businesses and office buildings that are out of compliance. On Commerce Street between West Market Street and West Friendly Avenue there are two office buildings – one with boarded up windows and one with barred windows – that are out of compliance, and that is one small block. Until I walked around looking for them I had no idea how many boarded up and barred windows there were in the downtown. It is so common to with basement windows have some kind of covering or bars that I hadn’t noticed. The Greensboro Police Department, as well as dealing with their own building, might want to weigh in on taking all the bars off windows in the downtown. DGI is supporting this ordinance because DGI’s vision of the downtown appears to fall right in line with Perkins’ vision of a strip shopping center. Will DGI start reimbursing downtown property owners when the bars and boards are removed and their buildings are repeatedly broken into? It might shock the Planning and Community Development Department and DGI to learn that the bars are there for a reason. A bunch of downtown property owners didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Wow, wouldn’t bars look great on basement windows?” Bars to keep people from breaking in are not only common in downtown Greensboro, but are common throughout the world. In Norway and Sweden, where basement windows are covered up with snow nine months out of the year, bars might not be so common. But in some countries they can be found on virtually every window. Many windows are boarded up for the same reason. It makes it more difficult to break into the building. The regulation – which is totally about how things look not about functionality – is based on the opinion that bricked up windows are beautiful and boarded up windows are ugly. There are actually some attractive boarded up windows in the downtown and some ugly bricked up windows, but bricks are good and boards are bad according to this proposed ordinance. If a property owner decided to fill the window space in a brick building with a solid slab of marble, or lapis lazuli, or with hand painted ceramic tile – despite the fact that some people consider these materials to be beautiful – it would be illegal in downtown Greensboro if the proposed ordinance passes. Diamondstudded gold and silver bars on a basement
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window would also be illegal, regardless of the cost. What everybody knows but is not saying publicly is this is all got started because of two buildings that drive Perkins and his buddies crazy. One is the building that houses Glitters at the corner of West Washington and South Elm streets that has boarded up windows on the second floor. The building is owned by Sidney Gray, and he has been a thorn in the side of people who seem to think it is their place in life to tell downtown property owners what to do with their property. Gray doesn’t like being told what to do and is one of the many downtown property owners trying to figure out how to get out of DGI, or at least how to quite paying for it. The other building is the old Cascade Saloon building between the railroad tracks on South Elm Street. This building is owned by the family of Ross Strange, who is an attorney, and so far through legal maneuvering and good fortune he has managed to keep this building from being torn down. The city is determined to tear down the building and this ordinance will give them even more clout. The problem is that it is a historic building and nothing can be rebuilt on that site if it is torn down because it is between the railroad tracks and reportedly doesn’t meet the setbacks on either side. The city has been threatening to tear it down for years, but this is a case where if the city wanted to spend a little economic development money it could buy the building and sell it to someone who will renovate it. The city would not make money on the building, but when has the city ever made money on property? The city bought the Coliseum Inn and has done nothing with the property. The city bought the Canada Dry building for far more than its appraised value, but the wife of the News & Record editor owned a big portion of it, so the city councilmembers didn’t consider it a total loss. They thought they were buying good will, or better said good press, with taxpayer dollars. The city bought the old YWCA at above asking price because Perkins wanted the land for the Greensboro Performing Arts Center. Greensboro has plenty of money, and it would make far more sense to go ahead and buy the Cascade building than to punish every downtown property owner with these oppressive new regulations or to tear down a historic building on property where nothing could be built. Also the city staff doesn’t seem to be aware of the current economic situation, although Perkins, whose home is being foreclosed on and who ran up a tremendous debt to the Internal Revenue Service, should understand. In this economy some buildings have cracked windows and peeling paint, not because the owners are deadbeats or don’t care about their buildings, but because they are short of cash. Being fined by the city is not going to help get the building repaired or help the owner pay for fixing up the building. Because of the drop in real estate values many property owners are upside down on
their buildings, meaning they owe more than the current value, so selling is really not an option. In other words, a lot of small businesses are just struggling to keep their doors open, and their buildings don’t look as good as they might because they don’t have any spare cash lying around to fix them up. But if it is a good idea to have property owners fix every cracked window and have everything freshly painted, why is this ordinance only for the downtown. If Perkins thinks this ordinance is such a good idea for property values, it seems only fair that the strip shopping centers and buildings that he owns all over the city should have to comply, as well as every other building in the city. Why should only the downtown benefit from this helpful ordinance? This City Council, in part because of a lack of business experience on the council, is on the path to turn downtown Greensboro back into the ghost town it was 20 years ago. At The Rhino our sales people used to park out in front of the building on a regular basis because they don’t stay in the office long and The Rhino Times parking lot on two one-way streets is ridiculously hard to get to from the west. But nobody from our office parks on the street anymore, even to run in the office for a minute, because the parking police are much more diligent and tickets are $15.
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It makes doing business downtown really difficult. If your business is anywhere else in the city you don’t have to worry about parking tickets, but downtown you do. I talk to people all the time who do not want to come downtown because they don’t want to get another ticket. A $15 ticket is not just a real deterrent for improper parking, it is a deterrent for coming downtown. When I started The Rhino 21 years ago, a parking ticket was $3. Now it has increased by 500 percent. Even gas hasn’t gone up 500 percent. Finally, this ordinance is simply part of the Downtown Design & Compatibility Manual that the city tried to force on downtown property owners a couple of years ago. The design manual would have codified in law the aesthetic tastes of the city planning department. A number of downtown property owners got together, hired attorney Henry Isaacson to represent us and defeated the manual. Now the planning department, with the support of a new mayor, is trying to bring back the design manual one piece at a time. If this passes there is no telling what part of the design manual will be dredged up next by the staff at the bequest of Perkins or some councilmember. The staff is only too happy to put regulation on top of regulation. The only protection property owners have is the City Council, and in this case it may turn out to be no protection at all.
Pool (Continued from page 7) Grimsley pool, including Triad Masters Swimming and the Greensboro Swimming Association youth swim league. There were also parents and students from Page High School, which uses the pool. Those at the meeting made clear that the opposition to tearing down the pool comes not merely from Grimsley athletic supporters but from many people and organizations that have regularly used the pool. Numerous people said that two generations of their family have used the pool for scout swimming training, private birthday parties, water aerobics, and, of course, competitive swimming. “It’s been a part of my life since I was itty-bitty,” said a mother of two Grimsley students. “It would be a shame to make it close.” Kontoulas, who called the meeting the “Second Annual Save the Grimsley Pool Meeting,” said, “I think the public out there is really not in tune with how much this facility is really used.” An expensive study by Sutton-Kennerly & Associates Consulting Engineers Inc., reported to the City of Greensboro that the entire structure of the pool and surrounding building was compromised by ongoing subsidence, or sinking, because of a weak or unknown base of materials under the foundation. According to members of Save Our Pool, Sutton-Kennerly raised the possibility of unknown dangers under the pool – a creek
or river, Grimsley student escape tunnels, dwarf mines or the like. Save Our Pool is relying on a new boring study by S&ME Inc. environmental engineers of Raleigh. S&ME bored through the foundation and found what you’d expect to find under a pool: “compacted and uncompacted fill materials placed during the construction of the pool” – or, in plain English, dirt. As Gilchrist put it, “The soil boring report that came out didn’t report that there was any alluvium or any flow of water under the pool.” S&ME reported that its tests indicate that the dirt would not settle appreciably more under the load of the pool and its enclosing building. Save Our Pool supporters argue that means that the Grimsley pool could be repaired cheaply and put back into service quickly. The group’s plan: drive some compacted-stone piers to support the southeast corner of the pool, which has sunk by four inches since 1976, patch up the walls, repair the roof and reopen the pool. Gilchrist said that could be done for less than $1 million. S&ME reported that the settling had reached a state of balance – that the company did not expect significant additional settling. One answer that has been given to the call to repair the Grimsley pool has been that high schools and other groups should use (Continued on next page)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Jail death (Continued from page 29) harming themselves. “Even with the padded cells where the walls are rubber, he could run into the wall and break his neck,” Barnes said. When asked about the use of straightjackets in the jail, Barnes said jail staff hasn’t used that method of restraint since they began using the restraining chairs instead. Former Commissioner Mike Winstead said that, when he was told about the incident, he wondered if one option might have been for jail medical staff to use tranquilizers to keep Armstrong under control, rather than keeping him confined in the chair for so long.
Pool (Continued from previous page) the new, $18.1 million Greensboro Aquatic Center at the Greensboro Coliseum, funded with $12 million dollars in bonds approved by Greensboro voters and $6.1 million in certificates of participation approved by the Greensboro City Council after promised private investment in the Aquatic Center failed to materialize. Many people were angered by the bait and switch the City Council pulled to get the bonds passed to build the Aquatic Center. What became the Aquatic Center was put on the ballot under the parks and recreation banner for a community pool. Many voters thought that meant a new, improved Lindley Pool run by the Parks and Recreation Department, not a competitive swimming facility run by Coliseum Manager Matt Brown. Supporters of the Grimsley pool said the result was inevitable – that, although some local programs are held at the Aquatic Center, its primary goal is to bring events, and people, from out of town to spend money. They said high school competitions and practices and the other events held at the Grimsley pool aren’t high on Brown’s list “The Aquatic Center has been a success, much greater than expected, but that just means it’s harder to get into,” one Save
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Barnes said tranquilizers are a tool detention officers have at their disposal, but he added that a doctor must sign off on all drugs administered to inmates, and there’s a lot of red tape associated with that. Barnes also commented that this was a good illustration as to why in the past he has requested that the commissioner fund a position for a mental health nurse for the county’s jails. The sheriff said that, despite repeated requests, the board had failed to provide the position. Barnes said he believed that, if the case had gone to court, and 12 members of a jury had heard all the facts, including Armstrong’s behavior leading up the his confinement in the chair, the jury likely would not have found the county to be at
Our Pools member said. “So we need this pool.” One speaker criticized what he called the Aquatic Center’s “diving with the stars thing” he said resulted in high school teams being ejected from the Aquatic Center for weeks. A Fox TV show based on a German TV show and titled Stars in Danger: The High Dive was filmed at the Aquatic Center in December 2012. It brought D-list celebrities from all over the country to take place in an event described on the Aquatic Center website as, “the ultimate test for eight celebrities who stepped to the edge and took a flying leap (or momentous belly flop) into diving history.” Sutton-Kennerly came up with several possible plans for the Grimsley pool, including $375,000 to tear it down and several near-$5 million plans to rebuild it. Gilchrist said his group wasn’t disparaging Sutton-Kennerly. “We don’t have any criticism of the integrity of this engineering firm,” he said. “They did what they were told by the City Council. The City Council told them to go out and tell them what they would have to do to make this facility perfect. I think it’s our opinion that what the City Council should have asked an engineering firm to do is find out what it would take to reopen this pool and make it safe.”
fault. The sheriff said his department has been the target of over 44 lawsuits since 2001 – with 40 of those inmate related – and, in only four of those cases, he said, has the county paid out any money. Still, Barnes said, he understands the board’s decision to settle. “I don’t fault the commissioners,” he said. “They have to do what’s best for the county – I’ve got no problem with that.” Barnes also said he respects the opinion of the outside counsel that the county hired. “Bill Hill is an excellent attorney,” Barnes said. Barnes said Hill examined the probable outcomes and the potential risks of a court loss and – weighing all the financial and legal considerations – Hill came to the conclusion that the best course of action was to settle the matter for $475,000. Aside from the documentation issue
(Continued from page 1)
work, and had already given the task force $50,000. The council also voted earlier this month to sponsor the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation New Balance Nationals Outdoor track meet with $200,000. The 2012-2013 fiscal year had an estimated gap of about $4 million at the beginning of the budget process. Staff also presented several unfunded items that council has shown interest in, and suggested the use of two-thirds bonds. Staff said that the city could borrow up to $9 million in two-thirds bonds available in fiscal year 2013-2014 and another $9 million in the fiscal year 2015-2016. Two-thirds bonds do not require voter approval. According to Mayor Robbie Perkins, “Two-thirds bonds are bonds that we are retiring, but we can reissue them without voter approval, and that is where the criticism will come.” Councilmember Tony Wilkins said he would vote no on the use of two-thirds bonds. Councilmember Nancy Vaughan
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and the question of how long Armstrong was confined to the chair, there were other issues as well. For instance, the jail’s oxygen tank wasn’t ready and charged when needed after Armstrong collapsed, and nurses appear not to have responded promptly to pleas from jail staff. In addition to the suit against Guilford County, the family also brought legal action against Prison Health Services (PHS), which now operates in the county’s jails under the name Corizon. One source familiar with the legal negotiations said PHS/Corizon paid out a much higher amount to the family than Guilford County did. Payne said he couldn’t comment on the PHS/Corizon case. He said that, after some initial discussions in mediation, the county and PHS handled the matter separately. “They had their own lawsuit to deal with,” Payne said.
clarified with staff that the city’s two-thirds bond capacity was not related to the $20 million in user fees and hotel-motel tax that the city may consider for the Greensboro Performing Arts Center (GPAC). The most contentious issue discussed at the meeting was the Florida Street extension, a roughly $3 million project to extend Florida Street from Lee Street to McConnell Road. Perkins has advocated the project as a way to increase accessibility to the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering; however, Councilmember Jim Kee said he was opposed to the project, which would cut through a portion of the North Carolina A&T State University Farm. “I think those funds can be better used in other parts of Greensboro,” Kee said. Kee said there were a lot of additional costs to the proposed Nealtown connector, and that the money that would be spent on the Florida Street extension could be used there. He cited the fact that the city would need to remove an old landfill, likely paying to have the garbage shipped to Republic Service’s Uwharrie landfill. (Continued on page 36)
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Call Melissa @ 336-544-1952 Fax: 336-273-0821 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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TWO LADY’S CLEANING
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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4-6 lines 4 weeks, $35 Add a border block to your line ad for $4 more or special header for 50¢/week
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Place your ad online: www.rhinotimes.com
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Council (Continued from page 33) “Those citizens need to be considered as well. They’ve been waiting a long time for the Nealtown connector,” Kee said. Kee also pointed out that A&T had not officially come out in favor of the project, although they had been accommodating to the city. “They are trying to be good corporate citizens and find a way to help us with this road that quite frankly we don’t need,” Kee said. Vaughan said she was not comfortable with the Florida Street extension either. “I just don’t think that it’s the best investment
of that $3.2 million,” she said. Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, who voted against the project at the Dec. 23 meeting of the Greensboro Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, agreed, saying, “I am very, very cautious because this has not even gone to the A&T board of trustees.” Perkins said that it’s a problem that the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering only has one entrance, and that people coming off McConnell Road have to drive through rundown neighborhoods to reach it. Perkins said, “I just think it is something
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
that long term is gonna need to be done. If ya’ll don’t want to do it, great. But we need to look at something that is equal or better.” Councilmember Dianne Bellamy-Small agreed with Perkins on the importance of the Florida Street extension, and accused Kee of trying to “cannibalize” one part of east Greensboro for another. Perkins suggested bringing more stake holders like the A&T board of trustees to the table. Assistant City Manager Andy Scott also gave a presentation on encouraging businesses to come to Greensboro and
focused on shovel-ready sites, which the council has been discussing throughout the year. Scott suggested buying and grading land at Reedy Fork along US 29. He said not having a site ready had deterred businesses from coming to Greensboro. “The most frequent response we hear when we get bumped from a list is that we don’t have the right size site in the right place ready to go.” Perkins said that if the city wanted to take that approach, then they needed to be prepared to give the land away to (Continued on next page)
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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Gilbert (Continued from page 10) letter on Thursday, Dec. 20, which requested that Guilford County pay Gilbert a lump sum of $42,103. The letter stated that Gilbert considered that a “reasonable resolution to this unfortunate problem.” That amount, according to the letter, is the total of a cash settlement of $35,298 in suggested back pay combined with adjustments to Gilbert’s 401(k) plan and related benefits he would have been entitled to if his salary had been at a fair level for the last three years. Gilbert, who has announced he’s retiring on March 1, currently makes $99,319 a
Allen Jay (Continued from page 8) school would teach isn’t quite clear. Guilford County Schools Chief Academic Officer Beth Folger said the school would combine the programs and methods of the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) charter schools, the Ron Clark Academy private school in Atlanta and the Mastery Charter Schools chain. Those schools, all successful, strict charter and private schools, were the marketing hooks to sell the still-vague concept for a retooled Allen Jay Middle, which has been closed since the rebuilt Union Hill Elementary School opened in August 2009. The school system had been teaching Union Hill’s students at Allen Jay Middle during construction. Guilford County Schools has no agreements with the Ron Clark Academy or the charter schools to run the new magnet school at Allen Jay Middle. Guilford County Schools seems to have no reluctance to throw those schools’ names around, although they are trademarked. The school board does everything it can to kill the proliferation of, and funding for, new charter schools in Guilford County, but is trying to copy them while saddling the schools with the high overhead and administrative overkill of a traditional public school system. Still, magnet schools in traditional public school systems get federal grants, bringing in money that, in the case of Allen Jay, will be useful in rebooting a closed school. After Guilford County voters approved $457 million in school bonds in May 2008, the school board proposed giving Allen Jay $12.1 million for renovation of the existing school, excluding its historic rock gym, for continued use as a middle school. The Guilford County Schools Facilities Department has since put repairing the Allen Jay Rock Gym on a list of maintenance priorities for $1.9 million. School board member Ed Price – although like many High Pointers he badly wants the gym repaired – said there were contractors in High Point used to dealing with historic buildings who can do the job for much
year as the county’s elections director. Gilbert said this lawsuit will have implications not just for him but also for future elections directors in Guilford County as well as elections directors in other parts of the state. According to Gilbert, state law has been set up to “insulate” elections directors so that they cannot be coerced and are not subject to political pressures by local governments or by the NC General Assembly. He said he isn’t alleging any attempt here by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to do anything like that, but he added that the county is required by
less, and the proposed renovations are now awaiting new cost estimates. Green told the school board his administrators considered it critical to get a vote from the school board Thursday night – and that they had, in fact, already begun advertising the new magnet school ahead of the Guilford County Schools magnet fair on Saturday, Jan. 26. Construction has not yet begun at Allen Jay Middle and school board member Carlvena Foster, who represents part of High Point, said she wants to see it start soon, “and we don’t end up behind the 8-ball like we have at other schools.” McNair Elementary School on Yanceyville Road is expected to open during the first week of February 2012, after a long delay. Most of the concerns expressed by school board members were over the presence of two programs at Welborn. Foster compared it to Triangle Lake Elementary in High Point, where a Montessori school and a neighborhood school in the same building drew complaints from Montessori parents, resulting in the neighborhood kids being bused to Colfax Elementary. School Board Chairman Alan Duncan, however, said Guilford County Schools has successfully run two schools in one building during construction several times. Duncan said, “We’re not looking at a) a continuous situation, and they are b) going to be separate schools both in the short and the long term.” Administrators said the Advantage Model Middle School students would have a separate entrance at Welborn. As often happens, Price grew tired of bickering over the recommendation. Price said, “I want to make a motion to do whatever that is.” Duncan, as he often does, restated the motion, in this case to open the new magnet school at Welborn with 100 fifth-grade students. Foster seconded the motion. “However you want to word it,” Price said. “I left my Magic 8 Ball in the car.” The motion passed on a unanimous 10to-0 vote. School board member Amos Quick was absent.
law to compensate him fairly. “The statue is there for that purpose and for the county to just say, ‘we’re not going to abide by it,’ is unacceptable,” Gilbert said. He said that, while other counties increased pay for elections directors to meet the requirements of the statute, Guilford County hasn’t increased his pay in years. “That left me behind,” Gilbert said. He called the county’s written response to his request “very perfunctory.” Commissioner Alan Branson said that everyone wants to make more money but the economy right now calls for fiscal restraint. “In the real world, a lot of people have had to take pay cuts,” Branson said. Branson said that, many workers are happy to just have jobs right now. He said some people can’t afford to keep the lights on. “I, for one, too, would like to have a raise,” Branson said. Commissioner Hank Henning said he was reluctant to comment on the situation because he hadn’t had a chance to speak with the county attorney about the lawsuit. However, Henning did say that his position on the matter of a retroactive raise for Gilbert is no secret. “I don’t support it,” Henning said. Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Linda Shaw said she had hoped Gilbert wouldn’t take this step. “I’m disappointed,” Shaw said of Gilbert’s lawsuit. Shaw said that the county gave out equity raises last year and Gilbert was one of the recipients, but Cohen has emphasized repeatedly that this is unrelated to the equity matter. Instead, Cohen notes, Gilbert has a special status among department directors, since, unlike other county department heads, state law has a specific statute regarding the pay of elections directors. Commissioner Ray Trapp said there seemed to be a lot of agreement on the Board of Commissioners that the county shouldn’t grant the pay increase request for Gilbert. “For me, I didn’t think it was in the best interest of the county,” Trapp said. The statute Cohen refers to in the lawsuit relates specifically to the pay of county elections directors in the state. The lawsuit lays out the facts on which Gilbert claims insufficient compensation. The suit states that, of the seven most populous counties in North Carolina, Guilford County ranks in first, second and third in various levels of ballot complexity, and it also points out that, since 2006, Gilbert has had more years of service than any of the directors in six counties in that group. Despite that, the suit states, Gilbert’s salary ranked fourth of the seven, and last year his salary was only $12 a year more than the director in the fifth county.
In 2012, the salaries for the seven directors are as follows: Mecklenburg, $112,227; Wake, $110,230; Buncombe, $104,111; Guilford, $95,719; Cumberland, $95,707; Forsyth, $90,126; and Durham, $80,000. The suit also points out that, since 2006, Gilbert’s average salary increase has been 1.5 percent, while the average increase for the directors in the other counties in the group was 4.5 percent. The Guilford County Board of Elections, which has the responsibility of recommending salary increases to the board, has repeatedly recommended salary increases, lump sum bonuses and increases in travel expenses for Gilbert. However, the commissioners’ increases for Gilbert have not kept up with those recommendations. Trapp said that he had never been named a defendant in a lawsuit before. “We’re really earning our 20 grand,” he said – referring to the roughly $20,000 annual salary the nine commissioners each get for serving on the board. Trapp was one of four new commissioners who just took office in early December. “It’s been very eventful,” Trapp said of the first month and a half as a commissioner.
(Continued from previous page)
developers to compete with the incentives of other cities. Councilmember Zack Matheny, who has advocated acquiring shovel-ready sites for months, said, “Robbie, I’ll give it away.” Matheny also suggested partnering with Piedmont Triad International Airport to prepare sites. The council also discussed the fact that Greensboro has one of the highest property tax rates in North Carolina. Wilkins suggested that the council look at reducing the tax rate. However, Perkins said the budget may be too tight. The council also heard a presentation on salary compression in city departments, which refers to the salary of managers being too close to or below the salaries of people working under them. Director of Human Resources Connie Hammond said the problem would cost a total of $672,153 to correct completely. However, Hammond recommended addressing “the most egregious of the egregious” issues first, by adjusting salaries in the Police and Fire departments as well as supervisors in other departments. Hammond said that would cost $182,175 to address, and would fund one-third of the most serious compression problems. She did not say whether fixing the “compression” caused by the fact that Coliseum Manager Matt Brown is paid $212,332, while his boss City Manager Denise Roth makes $175,000, would be fixed – or how
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Under (Continued from next page) lives by closing all the subways, including the ones in Washington, DC. It would inconvenience a few million people but it would save more than one life.
,,, The Stupid Party is at it again. The Republican Party suffered a disastrous defeat in 2012. The Republicans were running against a president who had presided over a recovery so weak it seems like a recession. Unemployment, even according to the president, is at an unacceptable level. But it wasn’t just the presidential race. North Carolina is one of the few states where Republicans made any gains. The Republicans lost ground in the Senate and have less of a majority in the House. It was a bad year for Republicans, yet the Republican Party reelected Reince Priebus as chairman of the Republican National Committee. It seems like after suffering a stunning defeat in 2012 that the Republican Party would want to see if someone new could do a better job, but that’s not how the Republican Party works. They don’t call it the Stupid Party for nothing.
,,, Many people who have been active in politics their entire lives – meaning not that they have run for office but that they read newspapers and watch the news on television, go to political events, contribute to candidates and generally keep up with what is happening politically – have told
me that since the election they can’t watch the news anymore. Almost three months after the election they are still so upset by the choice that the country made they can’t stand to watch what is going on. These are, of course, all conservatives, and they will be a huge problem for Republicans in 2014 and 2016 if the Republican Party can’t give them some reason to get active again. I understand the problem. I rarely watch the news because I know first hand how terribly inaccurate television news is, but I have to force myself to read the news because it’s my job. It is difficult because it doesn’t matter what anyone reports: Obama, who I think is the worst president in my lifetime, is going to be president for 1,450 more days. For four years conservatives had hope that the majority of the country would see what they see when they look at our president, which is a charlatan. Books were written about how misleading Obama’s book – which they used to call an autobiography – is. Articles were written about how his own economic advisers said he didn’t understand economics. His lack of experience showed in his interaction with foreign dignitaries. His insults to Israel and Great Britain were particularly obvious. He put $1 trillion into the economy and most of it went to the government, not to business, and the economy floundered. His idea evidently was not to help out private industry – with the notable exception of private industry dependent on union labor – but to make sure that the government
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
didn’t have to be cut. Around here the local governments have faired very well during the recession. Greensboro for a while implemented a rolling hiring freeze, which meant that for three months they wouldn’t fill a position. This was considered a horrible burden for other city employees who had to fill in for three months, assuming that the person who left did something. But that is long gone and the city is back adding employees like it was before the recession. It was merely a hiccup for local government, while small businesses by the score went
(Continued from page 1)
still January and yet we have daffodils blooming. Since we have a shady yard I’m figuring other folks have had daffodils for weeks. --I can’t believe that the News & Record put the infamous Rhino Times vault on the front page of the paper. But there it was on Wednesday, big as life. For 11 or 12 years, our office was upstairs and that was our bank vault. We had some memorable parties in that vault and a few that no one seems to remember all that well. We can’t wait to see what the new owners do with it. But I would like to add that when it was our vault it was shiny and looked like it had just come out of the box. I don’t know where all that rust came from.
out of business. Obama seemed to many to be antibusiness, and in some cases anti-American. Many conservatives said they thought this was the most important election of their lives and they believed that. They said they didn’t know if the country could survive another four years of Obama and remain the country we know and love. Now they are unengaged from political activity waiting to see what will happen next. The Republicans should win big in 2015, but they won’t if half of their team is not in the game.
--Here is a question that some clever person should be able to answer: What percentage of Segways have been sold to the government? Guilford County has them so their security guards don’t have to walk between buildings. The Greensboro Police Department has them as do the Greensboro parking enforcement officers, and the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department wants them. But if they are so useful, how come Lincoln Financial doesn’t have a fleet so employees don’t have to walk down to the printing facility or from building to building in the downtown. In Greensboro, other than a few privately owned Segways used in parades and such, almost all the ones around here seem to be owned by some unit of local government, which in this economy may be the only folks with $7,000 to spend on transportation with a top speed of 12 mph.
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
The senators who finally got Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify had a lot of fun speechifying instead of asking questions. Sen. Rand Paul made his point that Hillary Clinton should have been fired, but why didn’t any senator ask her the question that should have been at the top of the list – why didn’t she know what happened in Benghazi, if not while it was going on, shortly after? The ambassador and three other State Department employees were killed, but most of the State Department employees who were there were still alive on Sept. 12 and are alive today. Does Hillary Clinton not know how to use a telephone? Why didn’t she simply call one of the survivors and ask what happened? If she had she would have known that it was not a spontaneous attack caused by a video or by people out walking around who decided they wanted to kill Americans. Hillary Clinton may not know that few people bring mortars and heavy machine guns to spontaneous rallies or take them on walks, even in the Middle East, but if she had simply talked to some of the survivors she would have known that it was not a spontaneous demonstration. Rand was right that Hillary Clinton should have been fired for dereliction of duty for not reading the emails from her ambassador in Libya, but what was worse is that, according to what Clinton has said, she took no action to find out what did happen at the US compound in Benghazi and at the CIA compound where the exNavy Seals were killed. For what possible reason did it take weeks for the US government to find out what happened? Why wasn’t the compound sealed off? Why did it take weeks for the State Department to send the FBI to the scene to investigate? Hillary Clinton has learned a lot from her husband, former President William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, the only elected president in this country’s history to be impeached. Bill Clinton stood before the American people and said, “But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.” Only because “that woman” Monica Lewinsky saved the blue dress with semen stains on it do we know that speech was a lie. We also know that Bill Clinton practiced to make it sound truthful. He did have sexual relations with that woman and he certainly didn’t tell her to go out and tell the world that they were having sex. He also didn’t tell her to tell his secretary that she needed to see him to have sex with him. Bill Clinton did commit perjury based on the evidence supplied by the blue dress, but he is now one of the most respected
Thursday, January 31, 2013
members of the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton sounded remarkably like her husband when she said, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?” The fact that no senator had the gumption to tell her exactly why it does matter is appalling. That a cabinet secretary would be allowed to say something that incredibly offensive to a Senate committee and the American people is disturbing. If what Hillary Clinton said is true then there should be no murder investigations because what difference does it make who killed someone? They are dead whether the killer is found or not. There certainly should be no Senate committees calling people in to testify about anything, because what difference does it make? What’s done is done. Hillary Clinton is such a fake and a fraud it is embarrassing that she has served as secretary of state. If it doesn’t matter what happened, why investigate anything ever? For the record, one reason it matters is to make certain that it doesn’t happen again. The next time an ambassador is begging for more security someone in the secretary of state’s office should at least read his emails. But it makes a huge difference whether this was a spontaneous uprising or a carefully planned terrorist attack by al Qaeda. It makes a difference for all the other embassies in the world. The spontaneous uprising fits in with the Obama world picture, but not with reality. It is more difficult for Obama to convince the American people that he has won the war against al Qaeda if al Qaeda is attacking American installations and killing American ambassadors. Chris Stevens was Hillary Clinton’s employee. She should want to know what happened to him. Why was he left behind apparently alive, and what happened to him after the other Americans left and he was taken to the hospital? If a friend is killed, few of us say – No, don’t tell me how he died, because it doesn’t matter. But we are supposed to believe that is what Hillary Clinton says. She doesn’t care how people, who were killed because of her incompetence, died. She doesn’t care who has attacked Americans in the past because you can’t do anything about it. According to Hillary Clinton’s philosophy the US could just get rid of the CIA and the FBI because primarily what they do is find out what happened. I suppose Hillary Clinton would also say that it didn’t matter whether or not while he was president of the United States her husband, Bill Clinton, had sex with a White House intern and lied about it. It may not have mattered to Hillary Clinton that her husband was taking advantage of a young White House intern, but it mattered to the
majority of the House of Representatives who voted to impeach him. What has Hillary Clinton done as secretary of state? She would say that it doesn’t matter because whatever she has done is over. But it matters to some Americans. Has she accomplished anything other than having flown all over the world? What are her accomplishments? She managed to get one of her ambassadors killed by not bothering to read his pleas for more help, but she was probably too busy flying from plush hotel to plush hotel to bother with reading emails and the other mundane duties of being secretary of state. Secretary of State John Kerry is a lucky man because he has some tiny shoes to fill. If he can manage to keep all his ambassadors alive he will have been far more successful than Hillary Clinton. What would be wonderful if is this were the last the American people heard from Hillary Clinton, but that isn’t likely. The Clintons are like bad pennies; they just keep turning up.
,,, It appears that The New York Times might be able to win some prize for being the least introspective organization in the world. An article on Sunday about Vice President Joe Biden states, “in a few short months, the motor-tongued, muscle-carloving heartbeat-away hell raiser has been transformed from gaffe-prone amusement to someone whose star shines as brightly as his teeth.” If that is true, it is only because the ultraliberal New York Times, followed by the rest of the mainstream media, has worked overtime to make it true. Vice President Dan Quayle was handed a flashcard with potato misspelled on it and “corrected” a child to misspell the word. How many of us, if up in front of a room full of people and cameras and handed a card with a misspelled word on it would question the spelling on the card? But the media has had a field day with it. The incident could have been laughed off as a silly mistake, like Biden thinking he was in North Carolina instead of Virginia; or forgetting what century he lived in; or making fun of an Indian at a convenience store; or saying that the president was worried about one three-letter word, J-OB-S. Quayle can’t spell and Biden can’t count. I have never seen ruder, more boorish behavior by a politician, even on the local level, than Biden during the vice presidential debate. We had a gang leader – now in the federal penitentiary serving a lengthy sentence – run for City Council and he behaved much more civilly than Biden did in the vice presidential debate. Yet some news analysts said, in their opinion, Biden had won the debate. If you can win a vice presidential debate simply by shouting and refusing to allow the other candidate to answer a question we have entered a whole new realm of
By John Hammer politics. Many people thought Biden was insane, and in fact several people asked me if something had happened to him because he didn’t act like a normal human being. His behavior was aberrant, but the news media simply reported that he was on the “offensive” and wanted to show off his wide knowledge. It wasn’t true, but most people are easily swayed. The media has decided that anything Biden does is cute and funny. He can say incredibly rude and stupid stuff and it just Joe being Joe. Even the emperor himself, President Barack Hussein Obama, doesn’t get the pass that Biden gets. And then The New York Times has the gall to write that Biden has been “transformed.” The New York Times and company have transformed him. If they presented Biden the way he is, people would know that he is a not very bright, rude, boorish, dishonest snob, but people think he is cute because what they know about Biden is what is reported. The New York Times is free to report whatever it wants about people, but to act like this is something Biden has accomplished on his own should be beneath them. But unfortunately it is not.
,,, A statement that rivals Hillary Clintons in outrageousness is Obama’s statement about gun control legislation: “If it saves only one life, it is worth it.” That is so stupid it is hard to believe that Obama’s speechwriters allowed him to utter that phrase. Lowering the national speed limit to 45 mph would save thousands of lives. Putting a trauma center in every little town in this country and in every neighborhood in cities would likewise save thousands of lives. One of the major causes of death in homes is falls, particularly in the bathroom. Ladders and bathtubs have no constitutional protection. So if Obama outlawed ladders and bathtubs thousands of lives could be saved. For older people, taking a shower is particularly dangerous. Outlawing showers and forcing everyone in the country to take baths would save lives. Over 800 people die every year from drowning, many of them in swimming pools. Once again swimming pools have no constitutional protection, so Obama could just outlaw swimming pools and safe hundreds of lives. Obama could also save lives by putting up fences around every body of water in the country. It would be ugly and expensive, but it would save lives. People die every year surfing. Obama is from Hawaii, so it might be tough for him, but if he wants to save just one life, then he should simply outlaw surfing. Lately several people have died from being pushed on to the subway tracks in New York. Obama could easily save those (Continued on previous page)
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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Council looks at two-thirds bonds, Gilbert elects to sue county, More facts out on jail death