Archive for the ‘City of Greensboro’ Category

New Greenway Tunnel Under Cone Vandalized

And this is news because?  The N&R has some blatantly editorial “reporting” in this article.  I hate graffiti as much as the next person but really, isn’t the point of a NEWSpaper to report the news, not comment on the quality of subjects being reported on?  Was it really necessary to describe the vandals as “imbeciles”?  Well, whatever.  In any case, they seem shocked, shocked that someone would graffiti up the new almost $2 MILLION tunnel under Cone.  I have no idea why they are shocked when the town is plenty full of graffiti.  What DOES surprise me is the idea that the graffiti was done by someone who holds a grudge against the project.  Sure.  But I’m also not sure I really believe how “widely popular” the project really is — especially once people find out the price tag.  Two million dollars for a tunnel indeed.

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2010 Elections Info Update

I have finally managed to get up all the information about the candidates for this year’s election.  Well, everyone’s name is up there now at least and as much information as I could reasonably find about them.  Please see the 2010 Elections page and do check back — I’ll continue to post updates as I see them and of course after the primary May 4.

Heads Need to Roll at Greensboro City Hall

The N&R article the other day describing how the city council managed to approve new projects downtown with federal government-subsidized bonds left me feeling uncomfortable about the whole thing.  Yesterday’s Rhino Times article, which cleared things right up, left me downright angry.

If you haven’t been following the story, there has been much talk recently of doling out the federal “stimulus” money for assorted projects around town.  This money would come in the form of subsidies for bond issues.  It’s all very confusing*.  So confusing, in fact, that apparently the city staffers who were pushing the council to make a decision before the clock ran out on December 15th really didn’t know what they were asking the council to do.

What is really egregious though, is that, when repeatedly pressed, city staffers insisted that the council was only approving the option for those projects and would still have to vote on them 2 or 3 more times before everything was finalized.  Well, they were lying then or they are lying now because it turns out that approving that list of projects meant approving the projects themselves.  If you tell someone that you are SURE of something, and you are not, then you are a liar.  City staff must not be allowed to get away with lying to the council and having no repercussions.  Someone (or some people) needs to go.

*As all the disbursements from the “stimulus” funds seem to be.

User Fees

Greensboro Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan’s comment regarding charging user fees for the “swim center” really got me thinking about the issue.

I love user fees,* toll roads, etc.  They’re great.

Florida, a well-known low-tax state, uses them all the time.  Parks and roads are the biggies but they probably use them for other things too.  It used to bother me that Florida’s Turnpike is a toll road.  It cost $13 for me to go to Orlando from where I used to live and $1.50 to drive up to the Wal-Mart!  But then I realized that it didn’t cost me anything if I didn’t go to Orlando.  And I could always take I-95 to the Wal-Mart, which is free, but takes longer.  So there’s your trade-off: are you willing to pay more to go faster or not?

Here in Greensboro, the library is run by the city, but residents of “surrounding counties” can get a library card — for free.  That’s not right.  We pay for it, but other people can use it for free.  Yes, just like the swim center.  And also like the Greensboro Cultural Center.  I’ve taken my children to several classes there, but never has there been a price differential for out of city residents.  Hm.

So, not only is the city spending our hard earned money on fluffy projects, we are subsidizing the use of these things by out of town residents.  That certainly doesn’t seem like a way to lower taxes!  Maybe that is why the city keeps forcibly annexing people!

*REAL user fees, not calling a hotel tax a “user fee” on a swimming pool!

A Way to Stop the Abuse of Power that is the new “Aquatic Center”

Apparently, the County Commissioners have to sign off on Greensboro’s plan to use hotel tax revenue to fund the fancy-pants swim center.  According to the N&R, Commissioner Skip Alston doesn’t see “any reason why the commissioners would oppose the decision” to use $7 million in anticipated hotel tax revenue for a Greensboro swim center.

Now that gives me an idea.  Let’s all contact our commissioners* and GIVE THEM A REASON to oppose using money we don’t even have to pay for this “natatorium” that the city is so offensively pushing through despite the opposition of the electorate.

*If you aren’t sure who yours is, go to the Guilford County Board of Elections website.

New City Council Lets Us Down on Swim Center

I was horrified to read in this morning’s N&R that the new city council has voted to go ahead with the overpriced, unnecessary, unwanted “natatorium” that the citizens have twice voted down.  On a 5-4 vote, they decided to use $7 million in anticipated hotel tax revenue to supplement the $12 million the voters already “approved” in bond money.*  Of her vote, Nancy Vaughan said, “I really like the idea of having this as a user fee.  It is kind of the ultimate user fee.”  Sorry, Nancy.  You’re completely wrong there.  A user fee is something that is paid for by a person who uses whatever is being paid for.  A hotel tax cannot be described in any legitimate way as a user fee for anything other than the hotel.  But I guess it makes her feel better about defying the will of the voters.  Wasn’t she one of the ones who ran on a campaign of making the city council more transparent and accountable to the voters?  Sigh.  Well, it is certainly the case that the taxes of Greensboro are going to continue going up and up and up.  NC used to be a low tax state, but no longer.  Don’t think the state can keep attracting (and retaining) transplants if we continue on this path.

*Please recall that the wording of the bond made it appear that swimming pools would be built under the aegis of the parks & rec department, not a fancy destination swim center under the coliseum.

Positive Economic Impact from a Fancy New Aquatic Center?

The N&R has an article out that asks “Would swim center be a boon for city?” but then doesn’t provide any figures to help answer that question.  They drop in a few numbers from the numerous other swim centers around the state (how many large swim meets can there really BE??) but there are absolutely no figures related to Greensboro, not even any mention of an easily manipulated “economic impact study”.

Of course, the truth is that the economic impact DOESN’T EVEN MATTER; Greensboro residents have TWICE voted no to a “natatorium”.  The new center was only approved when it was hidden inside a parks and recreation bond, the wording of which made it look like it would be multiple local swimming pools.  The fairest thing that the new city council could do is to scrap the project entirely* since we the voters have said multiple times that we don’t want it.

To the people who want to force their neighbors to pay for this: Get another bond on the ballot and see if you can get it to pass legitimately or find some private sponsors.

* Not put another bond on the ballot for $6-7 million as some are suggesting.