Bits & pieces

It has been an interesting week or two:

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.

21 Responses to Bits & pieces

  1. Fred Gregory says:


    You got it right about Andy Griffith. It was pathetic, in his last days, watching him shill for Obamacare

    Good column on all points covered.

    One other comment on Lord Perkins and the city council ..Garbage in …Garbage out.. but costlier

  2. Tony Sharpe says:

    Andy Griffith was more than an actor. He was a television producer, a Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and a writer. He created the character Andy Taylor and gave that Southern Sheriff the decency, morality, ethics and small town values we all came to admire. I think it is difficult for you to understand why people loved Andy Griffith, because you lack those qualities yourself.

  3. Joe Guarino says:

    Sure looks that way Fred. Seems there is a lot of money to be made in the trash business, and council members are certainly in a position to help certain private interests.

    Thanks for your commets; and with respect to Mr. Griffith, he revealed himself, with his support of Obama, to be a socialist. Espousing socialism is a far cry from the town of Mayberry and Andy Taylor.

    The interesting thing about some of the commentary around the time of his death was that people seemed to conflate the fictional Taylor with Griffith. But they were two very different men. Griffith left “Mayberry” as a young man, and never looked back. The TV show employed a team of writers who animated the Taylor character. The character was not, by any means, Griffith’s alter ego.

  4. Troy Martin says:

    Now I may just be a simple small-town resident – I live in Pineola and grew up in Hayesville (actual small towns) – but I’m not certain that your big-city characterization of small-town North Carolina is completely accurate in regards to your comments about Mr. Griffith. Believe it or not, many of us vote Democrat. Maybe that’s just how you big-city folks see us – except it would be idiotic to group a whole segment of the population, wouldn’t it?

    I’m also fairly certain that the fictional Andy Taylor would find your accusatory, hyperbolic name calling to be rather off-putting. In other words, I don’t think Aunt Bee would be saving you a piece of pie.

    Interesting enough, I could find none of the following values in your statement: decency, morality, ethics and small town values.

  5. Joe Guarino says:

    Tony, I don’t think I know you personally. And I do not doubt that Griffith had some creative input into the show. But as I said, there was a team of writers who put those episodes together. Griffith undoubtedly drew from some typologies to which he was exposed when he was a child and teenager in Mount Airy. But once again, he left the small town and never looked back. He later embraced the San Francisco Democrats.

  6. Bob Grenier says:

    ” I think it is difficult for you to understand why people loved Andy Griffith, because you lack those qualities yourself.”

    I think it is difficult for you to understand that people loved the character. They loved and respected what Sheriff Andy Taylor represented for them.

    Andy Griffith was no Sheriff Taylor in real life. He never claimed to be so.

    Interestingly enough, I could not find in your statement anything that tells us that you understand that Andy Griffith was no Andy Taylor, despite ample evidence to that effect from Griffith himself over the years.

  7. Joe Guarino says:

    Troy, yes, many small town Carolinians vote Democrat for various reasons. But the early ’60’s small town Democrat was not in favor of undermining our nation’s defenses. He was not pro-abortion, and was not a proponent of the gay sociopolitical agenda. He was not inherently corrupt. Andy Taylor was not– in any way, shape or form– what Andy Griffith’s politics ultimately became.

    Embracing secularism, socialism, corruption and sexual liberationism was not Andy Taylor’s approach. But that is the state of the modern Democratic Party that folks like Obama and Easley have led– and that Andy Griffith embraced.

  8. Joe Guarino says:

    Bob, the funny thing is that they just don’t see it.

  9. Mick says:

    Bad form Joe. useless, silly, pointless attack on the deceased. yuck.

  10. Jay says:

    Joe, I know this is off topic but, I’m just curious, what do you believe the gay sociopolitical agenda is?

  11. Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus says:


    “I think it is difficult for you to understand why people loved Andy Griffith, because you lack those qualities yourself.”

    I think the difficulty here lies in your ability to distinguish between reality and make-believe.

  12. Bob Grenier says:

    “Bad form Joe. useless, silly, pointless attack on the deceased. yuck.”

    Leave it to you to totally miss the point.

  13. Joe Guarino says:

    Jay, here is your answer:

    Mick, the latter years of Griffith’s life were most notable for his political activities. He advocated a highly public profile to exert influence politically. He made a decision to expose himself in this manner. It is not beyond the realm of legitimate political commentary to discuss those activities in an honest, forthright fashion.

    My comments were motivated, in part, by the decision made by the mainstream media to canonize Griffith at the moment of his death. I somehow doubt the story would have been treated that way had he been a conservative Republican.

  14. Joe Guarino says:

    According to World Magazine, Griffith insisted Andy Taylor was merely a persona, and said the following:

    “I am not any favorite dad; I am not any kind of all-American person…I have many failings…I am a man like any other man.”

  15. Jay says:

    Joe, thank you for your answer. I read your article and I am prepared to accept your assertion that such an agenda exists. I don’t wish to hijack this thread but if you will continue to endulge my questions I would appreciate it. Is it fair to say that you believe homosexuality is a choice? Also, what do you think is the proper role of homosexuals in American society? If you wish to end this discussion I have no problem with that as this is not the best forum.

  16. Mick says:

    Joe, You miss my point… I dont care what your motivation is or was. If you wanted to “discuss” Griffith’s political activism you should have done so when he was alive. Doing so immediately after his death just sucks. Pretty simple for me.

    I think you are just plain ol wrong on this one. “I somehow doubt the story would have been treated that way had he been a conservative Republican.” His characters were truly loved by many. Most of which probably had no idea of his political leanings.

    Attempt to justify and rationalize your comments all you want but your comments were as I said … useless, silly and pointless.

  17. Joe Guarino says:

    I appreciate your opinion, Mick. But it is clear from the post-mortem commentary that many folks equated the fictional Andy Taylor with the real-life Andy Griffith; and that would be horribly mistaken.

    Jay, I think engaging in homosexual activity is a choice. Given the fact that homosexuality is not the central topic in this particular post, and we have had these discussions many times before, my preference would be to refrain from wading further into this topic at this time. But I appreciate your asking.

  18. Jay says:

    Joe, I totally understand. I’m sure it is clear that my opinions differ from yours so I appreciate your politeness and civility. These qualities are rarely found in discussions between liberals and conservatives (a failing of both groups) especially on the internet. And for the record I disagree with you about Andy Griffith but I don’t think your opinions and comments are unacceptable. Just because a person is dead he shouldn’t be off limits to criticism. Also, you are right that many people conflated Taylor with Griffith; the character and the actor were not one in the same. I admire both.

  19. John Gibson says:

    If the Dems have Andy Griffith, then I guess “conservatives” have Ted Nugent. I think I’ll take Andy.

  20. Joe Guarino says:

    The Dems will gladly take Andy Griffith as long as Mayberry does not come along with him.:)

  21. Bob Grenier says:

    Indeed, Democrats would have a hard time claiming that their values mirrored andy Taylor and Mayberry’s values, wouldn’t they?

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