Bits & pieces
July 17, 2012 21 Comments
1. The old Andy Griffith Show has a passionate following in this part of the country. But the death of the show’s namesake unleashed a tornado of sentimentality that was a bit difficult to understand. It was almost as if many Carolinians tend to confuse the fictional Andy Taylor with the real life Andy Griffith. For the record, Andy Taylor was a southern sheriff who exuded decency, morality, ethics and small town values. Andy Griffith, on the other hand, was an actor–a North Carolina native who “went Hollywood” and became a partisan liberal Democrat. His political legacy included helping deliver the state of North Carolina for folks like Mike Easley and Barack Obama. You cannot support such candidates and credibly represent decency, morality, ethics and small town values.
2. The city of Greensboro hosted yet another SuperJam event. Even Allen Johnson at the News and Record is raising questions about the wisdom of sponsoring a show at the Coliseum that creates such an epidemic of public disorder that a large swath of the police department must be paid overtime to control the damages. This year, $83,000 in police expenses were generated; and approximately 200 arrests ensued. Police Chief Ken Miller is reduced to boasting that his department prevented any maimings from taking place this year–in spite of the obvious magnitude of the police blotter.
3. Meanwhile, an orgy of violence broke out in Center City Park the night of July 4th. This was at the conclusion of the city’s Independence Day festivities. The disorder spilled over into a couple of nearby businesses and forced them to shut down. The city had sponsored a “musical block party” downtown the previous night that would have tended to attract many young people. Only several weeks prior, a young man had been shot at the Greensboro Youth Carnival held at the Coliseum. The trick to enjoying Greensboro public events safely is to attend during the morning hours, before noon, before the barbarians come out.
4. The city’s historic tendency to shortchange law enforcement and public safety at the expense of other priorities is at the root of such problems. Police Officers, according to such thinking, are the enemy. The local political culture requires that they be weakened– and race is not the only reason.
5. If we are unable to afford a top-notch police department, it is not because we are insufficiently taxed. Some interesting data was recently published. Local property taxes for a $150,000 home in Greensboro are nearly $800 higher than comparable taxes for a $150,000 home in Raleigh. Wow.
6. While our fair city’s official policy on the matter of crime and public disorder is benign neglect, paradoxically there is acute political interest in the economics of trash disposal. Senator Don Vaughan– Councilwoman Nancy’s husband– has represented Waste Industries in the past. Last week, John Hammer reported in the Rhino that city taxpayers subsidized Waste Industries to the tune of $202,000 over the last year when the company used Greensboro’s trash transfer station. It costs taxpayers much more to dispose of Waste Industries’ trash than the private company actually pays the city. Ms. Vaughan, of course, has been fighting to continue the current arrangement to use Republic Services to remove waste from the city’s transfer station. Hmmm…
7. And it thus appears that we are experiencing an outbreak of the political equivalent of insider trading in the city of Greensboro. George Hartzman over at Triad Watch reports that an “LLC connected to Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann” recently bought property downtown. City Council members routinely vote on matters that have the effect of bolstering the value of downtown real estate. This happens with considerable regularity. Precisely when would this become an ethical conflict for Ms. Hoffmann when she votes in favor of such measures?
8. Let’s not even talk about Robbie…
9. At the state capital, former House Speaker Harold Brubaker from Randolph County resigned to become a lobbyist. Republicans also had tried to pass legislation that would give the governor the ability to appoint more state personnel– apparently trying to pad the potential for patronage jobs in the event Pat McCrory is elected. Republicans in Raleigh need to be very careful that they are not exceeding the graces extended to them by the electorate.
10. There will be more to say about the Republican run-off elections… soon.
Dr. Joe Guarino is a Guardian columnist.