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Rhino Times - 2017-09-28
Magazines / Newspapers | Government 2017-09-28 00:00:00
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    Vol. V No. 39 Greensboro, North Carolina www.rhinotimes.com Thursday, September 28, 2017 High Point Wanted Yes or No on Stadium, County Gave Strong Maybe John Hammer A Little About A Lot Of City Council Candidates plus Under The Hammer, Uncle Orson Reviews Everything AND MORE

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    2 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 28, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com THE WEEKLY Hammer by John Hammer I’ve spent the last couple of weeks immersed in city politics. Usually I’m swimming in politics, but lately it’s been hard to keep my head above water. The City Council election has moved so far left that candidates who would normally be considered liberal are running as the more conservative candidate in the race. The challenge to most incumbent Democrats is coming from the left, not from the right. It seemed like things should be going the other way. The Democrats suffered a big defeat in 2016. They are supposed to spend a couple of years licking their wounds. And I think the Hillary Clinton supporters may be doing just that. But the supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the left wing of the party, is energized and organized and they are running for office It took me a while to figure things out, but what has happened on the left is what happened on the right after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. On the right it was called the Tea Party Movement. It was the more City Council Race Takes Sharp Left conservative Republicans, joined by some who are so conservative they refuse to join the Republican Party. But the far right got organized, held meetings and ran a bunch of candidates for office. Following the 2008 election of Obama, the voters in the City Council elections of 2009 elected a Republican mayor, Bill Knight, and five Republican city councilmembers. In the mayoral election of 2011, two Republicans, Knight and Robbie Perkins, ran against each other. Compare that to today with District 5 City Councilmember Tony Wilkins as the lone Republican on the council. But if in 2009 the city reacted to the Obama election by electing an unprecedented six Republicans to the City Council, it would make sense for the city to react to the election of Trump with an extremely liberal City Council. As far as numbers go, the Democrats can only gain one seat on the City Council, but moderate Democrats can be replaced with far more liberal Democrats. It would be interesting to know if the Republicans were elected in 2009 because more Republicans turned out to vote than normal or if it was the same old voters deciding to give Republicans a try. It was probably some of both, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an analysis of that election based on the political party of the voters. As always, there were other issues at play. In 2009, the Cardinal area had just been annexed and the majority of new city voters out there were not happy about paying city taxes and went to the polls to vote against anyone who voted for annexation. But it does make sense if the city took an unprecedented turn to the right after the election of a liberal Democrat president, that electing a conservative Republican president should cause the city elections to tilt left. The organization now called Democracy Greensboro, which started as the Nov. 9th Ad Hoc Committee, would be the liberal version of Conservatives 4 Guilford County (C4GC), which was the local Tea Party organization, which may still exist on paper, but in the years following Obama’s election it had some political clout. Democracy Greensboro attracted over 100 people to a candidates’ forum at Smith High School on a Saturday afternoon. I’ve been to countless candidates’ forums, and attracting over 100 people to one is a tremendous turnout, particularly on a Saturday afternoon. And then Democracy Greensboro did something that is very much like the actions taken by C4GC: They graded the candidates more or less on how liberal they were, and the incumbents didn’t fare very well. After the forum, both District 4 City Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann and District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling wrote statements expressing concern about the Democracy Greensboro platform and method of grading candidates. C4GC made a lot of noise, but it wasn’t that effective at getting its own people elected. I think they had the same problem that Democracy Greensboro is going to have. The C4GC candidates were, for the most part, too far right and too strident for the establishment Republicans to support. Looking at the Democracy Greensboro candidates, they are going to run into the same problem. They might want to get in touch with some C4GC people and ask them what they would have done differently. Of course, if Democracy Greensboro can get its own people to the polls they can get a lot of candidates through the primaries. Then they will have the problem of Republicans and more moderate Democrats working against the Democracy Greensboro candidate and in favor of the more moderate Democratic candidate. But here is some free advice for Democracy Greensboro. If they concentrate on the at-large election – where coming in third in the general election is a win – they might be able to win that third seat. They would have to get their supporters to only vote for the Democracy Greensboro candidates in the race, because then they can increase the power of their votes, but it might work. If one Democracy Greensboro candidate was elected to the City Council then they wouldn’t have to come to meetings shouting and screaming and getting arrested because they would have a voice on the dais. Considering the current state of politics in the country, it seems entirely possible.

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, September 28, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 3 table of CONTENTS 2 WEEKLY HAMMER BY JOHN HAMMER 6 A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT OF CANDIDATES IN ONE OF THE MORE ATYPICAL CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS BY JOHN HAMMER 8 HIGH POINT WANTED YES OR NO ON STADIUM MONEY, COUNTY GAVE STRONG MAYBE BY SCOTT D. YOST 10 SHERIFF, DOGS AND CATS SEEING SIGNS OF NEW DIGS BY SCOTT D. YOST 12 FORMER COUNTY TAX DIRECTOR REMEMBERED FONDLY BY FRIENDS, FAMILY, COWORKERS BY SCOTT D. YOST 13 UNCLE ORSON BY ORSON SCOTT CARD 23 YOST COLUMN BY SCOTT D. YOST 25 ASK CAROLYN BY CAROLYN WOODRUFF 35 UNDER THE HAMMER BY JOHN HAMMER 4 RHINO SHORTS 17 REAL ESTATE 18 NYT CROSSWORD 19 CHILDREN’S SCHEDULE 21 SOUND OF THE BEEP 24, 27 PUZZLE ANSWERS 26 NEWS OF THE WEIRD 28 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 31 SUDOKU Cover: LoFi park, Greensboro’s newest, at the corner of Eugene and Smith streets. Photo by Anthony Council PUBLISHER Roy Carroll EDITOR-IN-CHIEF John Hammer managing editor ELAINE HAMMER county editor SCOTT D. YOST GENERAL MANAGER Joann Zollo creative director ANTHONY COUNCIL advertising consultant DONNA GOODWIN contributing editor ORSON SCOTT CARD 216 West Market Street, Greensboro NC 27401 P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro NC 27429 | (336) 763-4170 (336) 763-2585 fax | sales@rhinotimes.com | www.rhinotimes.com

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    4 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 28, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com RHINOSHORTS by John Hammer Today we are launching an all new and improved website. For the past couple of years we have had an electronic page-turn edition, but not a functioning website. The new rhinotimes.com site has all the bells and whistles of an actual website, and we know that some of the bells won’t ring and some of the whistles won’t blow. Please let us know if the website isn’t working properly. I’ve never known a website where right out of the box everything worked perfectly, but maybe this will be a first. We’d like to thank Clever Robot for creating a great looking website for us and for putting up with all the changing requests we made during its development. The page-turn edition is now a part of this website. So if you became addicted to that, have no fear – it’s only one click away. The first Schmoozefest of fall is Thursday, Sept. 28 from 6 to 8 at Lee’s Sports Bar at 2618 Lawndale Dr. in the shopping center across from Target. Free beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres will be available while supplies last for those who sign in and wear a name tag. People in High Point are so disappointed in the response from the Guilford County Board of Commissioners concerning funding for the proposed baseball stadium that discussions have been rekindled about High Point seceding from Guilford County and forming its own county. High Point is the ninth largest city in North Carolina, but the second largest city in Guilford County. If High Point were a county, it would be the 27th largest of the 100 counties in the state by population. The details would be tough to work out, but it’s an idea that has been kicked around forever. Around 1912, there was a real push to separate High Point from Guilford County, but it fell through. If High Point became its own county, it would make Guilford County much more streamlined. Guilford County would only have one courthouse, one jail, one register of deeds office and one of a lot of other things. I’d like to wish my mother, Hannah Hammer, a Happy 90th Birthday. The fact that Greensboro is even going after Amazon is evidence that we don’t know our place in the world. Greensboro is not a top tier city. It isn’t a second tier city, which would I think include Charlotte and Raleigh. Currently, I think Greensboro is in the same tier as Durham and Winston- Salem in the state and Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Greenville, South Carolina, in the region. Greensboro is a great city to live in and there are a lot of industries out there that would be a good fit; Amazon isn’t one of them. Going after Boeing and Amazon is a waste of time and money. Think about it for a moment. What if Amazon picked Greensboro? Where would the 50,000 new employees and their families live? How would they get to work? Where would they eat? Where would their kids go to school? There is no way Greensboro could handle that influx of people in a short period of time. So why kid ourselves? We couldn’t handle Amazon and we aren’t in that league. At least for now, the Carolina Plott Hound, a conservative website that aggregated state – news much like the Drudge Report does with national news – is no more. The Civitas Institute, which is funded by the Pope Foundation, owned the Carolina Plott Hound and pulled the plug on it last week. The reason for pulling the plug was that the Plott Hound had linked to a post from the Triad Conservative, written by Dr. Joe Guarino, which was blatantly anti- Semitic. Guarino, who was once a community columnist for the News & Record, has posted anti-Semitic pieces on his own blog site, but when this one was brought to the attention of Civitas, the decision was made to shut the whole site down. That is unfortunate for North Carolina conservatives because the Plott Hound was a good source for news in the state. The News & Record ran a lengthy article about the problems created by the closing of Cotswold Avenue because of the construction of the Urban Loop. Cotswold Avenue was a temporary road built to connect Lawndale Drive to Battleground Avenue; closing it forces that traffic on to Cotswold Terrace and recreates what became a huge political issue in the 1980s. The article ignored the real question. Everyone knew the Urban Loop was going to be built and close down Cotswald Avenue, so why hadn’t the city done something to prepare for it? The City Council talks about planning and future transportation needs all the time; this was a problem that everyone knew was coming. Bike lanes and sidewalks are fine, but the overwhelming majority of human travel in Greensboro is done by private automobile. How could the Greensboro Department of Transportation do nothing about this foreseeable problem? There was one other part of the article that I found fascinating: “Cut through traffic involves the misuse of neighborhood streets by motorists …” I found out I “misuse” streets all the time because I don’t take the main thoroughfares. I thought the streets were for motorists to use. I had no idea that I wasn’t supposed to drive into a neighborhood unless my destination was in that neighborhood. In fact, I have already complained to several city councilmembers because most of the traffic on the street where I live is not by residents of the street but by people who mistakenly think the streets are for transportation and don’t realize that the street is for the sole convenience of the residents of that street. If this is indeed the case that people are not supposed to drive down streets where they don’t live or to visit someone who does live there, the Greensboro Police Department is going to have an enormous enforcement problem. I (continued on page 31)

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, September 28, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 5

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    6 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 28, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com A Little About A Lot Of Candidates In One Of The More Atypical City Council Elections by John Hammer In the City Council primary, early voting is underway and the primary is Tuesday, Oct. 10. This has been a different kind of election from the getgo. There are 38 names on the ballot but only 33 candidates – which means five candidates paid their filing fee and filled out the forms to run but then dropped out too late to get their names removed from the ballot. First, the five candidates who dropped out are District 1 Charles Patton, District 2 Felecia Angus and Tim Vincent, District 3 Payton McGarry and District 4 Andrew Belford. So if you want your vote to count, you’d be better off not voting for any of them. It will be interesting to see how many votes each receives because its an indication of how many votes you can get simply because your name is on the ballot. Also District 1 City Council candidate Devin King has to be placed in the not really running category. He hasn’t officially pulled out but he has yet to fill out his campaign finance paperwork and doesn’t return phone calls, so he may still be officially running, but he isn’t running. So that really leaves 32. District 4 is the most heavily effected by the dropouts because there is a primary with three names on the ballot, but with Andrew Belford dropping out you only have two – City Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann and Gary Kenton – left in the race. So the primary is kind of like a poll. Hoffmann and Kenton will find out how well they are actually doing with the voters and which precincts they need to work on. Hoffmann will also get a good idea of how to spend the over $60,000 she has raised. What makes this race intriguing is that Hoffmann, who defeated Republican Mary Rakestraw to win the district seat, is now being challenged from the left by Kenton. But that is the state of this election. No one has dropped out in the mayor’s race and those who follow city elections have predicted every possible combination ending up running in the general election. Some think that Mayor Nancy Vaughan is a sure bet to win the primary. Other’s say that there is a strong anybody-but- Vaughan movement among voters and the two challengers – Diane Moffett with her support in east Greensboro and John Brown as the only Republican in the race – will eliminate Vaughan in the primary. Some say it will be Vaughan and Brown in the general and others Vaughan and Moffett Moffett, who is the pastor at Saint James Presbyterian Church, reportedly has the support of east Greensboro despite the fact that she lived in Jamestown and was registered to vote in Jamestown until the day she filed to run for mayor of Greensboro. Moffett has an apartment in Greensboro that is her official voting address, which is legal but strange. Will voters in Greensboro elect a mayor who officially moved to Greensboro the same day she filed to run for mayor and still has a house in Jamestown? Brown is the only Republican in the mayor’s race, which is supposed to bring him support from Republicans. Although he claims to have lived in Greensboro for 30 years, he filed to vote in Greensboro in September 2015, just in time to vote in the City Council primary in October. From 2000 through 2014, Brown voted in Randolph County. Vaughan wins the name recognition category hands down and won reelection in 2015 with 88 percent of the vote. In 2013, she handily defeated the incumbent mayor, Robbie Perkins, in a hard-fought and somewhat messy election. In a normal year she would be a heavy favorite to win the primary, but then again the mayor of Charlotte was just defeated in the primary, so this doesn’t appear to be a normal year. This entire election has taken a sharp turn to the left. Those who thought that the right would be emboldened by President Donald Trump’s win in 2016 were wrong. Only six of the 38 candidates who filed are Republicans, and one of those – M.A. Bakie, who is running at large – registered Republican after he filed. However, the far left is well represented. Democracy Greensboro – one of the many organizations spawned by Nelson Johnson of the Beloved Community Center and formerly of the Communist Workers’ Party – came up with a platform that, despite what News & Record columnist Susan Ladd wrote, is about as far left as it gets in local politics. Democracy Greensboro held a candidates’ forum and then graded the candidates on how well they followed the platform in their answers. One way to look at the grading system is the higher the grade the farther left the candidate. District 3 Councilmember Justin Outling and District 4 Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann, who are both Democrats, objected to the platform and the grading system. The question in the election is going to be: Can the far left get voters to the polls? Voter turnout in the primary is usually between 5 percent and 10 percent. In the general election it is usually between 10 percent and 20 percent. So it doesn’t take many voters to make a difference. With so many candidates from the left running, you would expect a higher vote turnout from that segment of the population. The question is: Will it be enough? Having 15 candidates in the atlarge race gives the incumbents – Yvonne Johnson, Mike Barber and Marikay Abuzuaiter – a big advantage on name recognition alone. Johnson was first elected in 1993 and has been on the City Council all but two years ever since, including one term as mayor. Barber is running for this third term this time around and served for two terms before taking a break. He also served one term on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners with a year as chairman. Abuzuaiter ran twice before being elected in 2011 and is running for her fourth term. It takes more money than anyone in this race has to buy the kind of name recognition those three have. The odds are that all three will make it through the primary, which leaves the other 12 candidates (continued on next page)

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, September 28, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 7 council (continued from previous page) running for three spots on the ballot in the general election. In the atlarge race, the primary reduces the number of candidates to six, and then the top three voter-getters in the general election are elected to the City Council. The primary is a rare race, where finishing 6th is winning. The only other candidate with citywide name recognition is Guilford County Board of Education member T. Dianne Bellamy-Small, who served as the District 1 councilmember for 10 years but lost to Sharon Hightower in 2013 and again in 2015. In 2016, Bellamy-Small was elected to the school board, but she wants to get back on the City Council. Bellamy- Small may get through the primary on name recognition, but while a councilmember she was not popular outside her own district, and then again twice the voters in District 1 chose someone else to represent them. Four members of the Greensboro Human Relations Commission are running in the at-large race. Irving Allen, Michelle Kennedy, Lindy Perry- Garnette and Dave Wils. Kennedy, the director of the Interactive Resource Center, a day shelter for the homeless, has raised the most money and received the most publicity, but not all of it good. When the suggestion was made that the downtown was not the best place for homeless services, Kennedy not only opposed the idea but attacked the volunteer who suggested it. Irving Allen is a community organizer and a leader of Black Lives Matter Gate City. Lindy Perry-Garnette, who is the director of the YWCA, was forced to resign from the Police Citizens Review Board after she released information about a police body-worn cam video. Before viewing the video she had signed a confidentiality agreement not to release any information about it. Wils is a high school teacher who spoke at the most recent Democratic National Convention. Although the City Council races are nominally nonpartisan, there is a lot of partisanship on the City Council and in the races. Forums have been held for only Democrats and for only Republicans – that’s not very nonpartisan. In the at-large race, there are three Republicans – Dan Jackson, James Ingram and Bakie. Jackson, a Greensboro native who is retired from the US Postal Service, has raised and spent some money. Ingram and Bakie, according to the last campaign finance report, are both in the $1,000 range. Having no name recognition, coupled with very little money, makes winning a citywide race extremely unlikely. The other candidates in the atlarge race are Jodi Bennett-Bradshaw, Tijuana Hayes and Sylvine Hill. Hayes and Hill both pledged to raise less than $1,000, which pretty much eliminates them from a 15-person race, although Hill does have some name recognition from running two years ago. District 1 has the record for the least money raised in a year when over $300,000 has been raised by all the candidates combined. District 1 City Councilmember Sharon Hightower is running for her third term and, according to the last finance report, had $34 in her campaign account. Paula Ritter-Lipscomb has pledged to raise less than $1,000, making it difficult to beat an incumbent and, as noted, King hasn’t filed anything. District 2 is also unusual this year. The incumbent is District 2 City Councilmember Goldie Wells, who was appointed in July to fill the unexpired term of Jamal Fox, who moved to Portland, Oregon. So Wells is an incumbent but just barely. She is facing former District 2 City Councilmember Jim Kee and C.J. Brinson. Kee lost to Jamal Fox in 2013, and until Wells got in the race it looked like he was the clear frontrunner, but Wells, who served as the District 2 councilmember from 2005 to 2009 is a powerful political force in District 2 and the incumbent. C.J. Brinson is a youth pastor at Faith Christian Church and a community organizer for the Beloved Community Center. He is also involved in Black Lives Matter, so it would be a decided swing to the left for Brinson to win, but in this election that could happen. District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling is running for his second term after being appointed to fill the seat left vacant when Zack Matheny accepted the job as president of Downtown Greensboro Inc. Outling is the first Democrat to ever represent District 3 and won pretty handily over a Republican challenger in 2015. Now it seems, like everyone else, he is being challenged from the left. Antuan Marsh and Craig Martin both line up to the left of Outling and neither has raised much money, which is what it usually takes to defeat an incumbent. Outling is one of the more conservative members of the City Council that only has one Republican, (continued on page 9)

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    8 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 28, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com High Point Wanted Yes or No on Baseball Stadium Money, County Gave Strong Maybe by Scott D. Yost The Guilford County Board of Commissioners did an impersonation of the Magic 8 Ball when, to the question of whether the county would help fund High Point’s downtown baseball stadium project, the commissioners answered, “Reply Hazy – Try Again Later.” While that’s not a “no,” that answer still greatly frustrated High Point officials who didn’t want to see any delay regarding the $135 million downtown revitalization effort that is on a very strict timeline. High Point leaders hope that the centerpiece of the project – a $30 million baseball stadium – will be open by spring 2019 so the city can honor its commitment to the Bridgeport Bluefish, the Connecticut baseball team High Point has secured to play in the stadium. High Point officials want the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to direct about $11.1 million of anticipated tax revenues over the next 20 years to stadium loan repayment. That revenue would be generated from projected property value increases in a 649-acre section of downtown High Point. At the Thursday, Sept. 21 meeting, the commissioners held a public hearing to consider that request. Proponents and opponents spoke for 25 minutes each. Despite many fervent pleas by project backers for the board to approve an interlocal city/county agreement to provide county financing, the commissioners voted 8 to 1 to put off the decision for 60 to 90 days. The no vote was cast by Commissioner Carlvena Foster, a strong supporter of the project and one of three commissioners who represent High Point on the board. Foster told her fellow commissioners at the meeting that the project had to move forward quickly and that High Point needed a vote that night, but her motion to approve the funding died for lack of a second. When High Point officials exited the building, some were visibly upset and one told the Rhino Times that he didn’t want to make any comment at that time because, given his state of mind, he might say something he would regret. There has been great deal of frustration on both sides. The county commissioners have said they feel rushed, while some project proponents say the county commissioners have displayed unprecedented arrogance in the way High Point has been expected High Point to say “How high?” every time the commissioners say “Jump.” High Point officials say the county has been continually “moving the goalposts” throughout the process. County commissioners say they just want to have a complete understanding of all the facts before moving forward. Project backers also say that they’re extremely frustrated by the fact that the county has so far refused to participate while no county funds are at risk. They point out that only if the project is a success and property values in downtown High Point increase will county money go toward the project. If the property values don’t go up, no county money will be used since the proposed agreement only calls for the county to contribute a portion of the revenue generated by the added property values. Adding to High Point’s consternation is the fact that about $100 million in private money and developments has been promised. However, if the stadium isn’t built, that money and those downtown developments – including a planned apartment complex and hotel – will evaporate. High Point leaders took most of the commissioners around the blighted downtown area earlier this year and showed them what a wasteland that area now is and explained – in great detail, according to High Point officials – the project and the transformative nature of the undertaking. After the county commissioners voted to take more time on Sept. 21, High Point leaders decided to explore their options of going it alone. On Monday, Sept. 25, the High Point City Council went into closed session to regroup and start down a new path that doesn’t rely on the commissioners – though High Point still wants Guilford County to come on board once the commissioners make up their minds. At that meeting, after a short session behind closed doors, the City Council voted 8 to 1 to approve a three-part plan to move forward: The council allocated $5 million in city funds to begin on the initial phases of demolition and design for the project, directed staff to come up with alternative financing plans that do not rely on county funding and designated four members to a committee that will meet with a committee of commissioners to discuss county participation. High Point Mayor Bill Bencini said this week that High Point’s leaders had to be proactive and said that they can no longer sit around and wait on a decision from the county commissioners. “We are disappointed that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted to delay the High Point City project,” Bencini said, “and we will have to evaluate our options.” Bencini also said the Guilford County commissioners appeared to believe that High Point had a plan B in its back pocket – a secondary plan that didn’t require county financing. Though plans are now being made that don’t rely on the county, Bencini said county participation has always been a key element of the effort. “The idea that we were sitting on a plan B – well, that’s not the case,” Bencini said. “If there was a plan B, they have all been hiding it from me.” Bencini also addressed one concern that county commissioners have expressed often – that helping High Point fund this project with revenues from future increases in property values would open a “Pandora’s box,” and soon cities and towns across the county would be asking for similar arrangements for their projects. Bencini said that, if the county is presented with other surefire ventures such as this one – with $100 million in private investment promised before it starts – the commissioners should back those as well. “If they bring a project that’s 23 percent public and 77 percent private, and the developers and donors behind it will bring in millions and millions, then they should do that one too,” Bencini said. The High Point mayor was not at the commissioners’ Sept. 21 meeting but he did watch the proceedings in an overflow room in the countyowned BB&T building next to the Old Guilford County Court House where the commissioners meeting took place. Nearly a month ago, Bencini had made some strong remarks to Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips at a Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA) meeting and Bencini seemed to think last week that his presence at the commissioners meeting would not have helped matters. High Point Mayor Pro Tem Jay (continued on next page)

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, September 28, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 9 council (continued from page 7) and it would be a real turnaround for District 3 to elect a liberal Democrat. District 5 has two Republicans and two Democrats going into the primary, which makes it an incredibly unusual district in this election. City Councilmember Tony Wilkins is running for his third term after being appointed to finish out the term of state Sen. Trudy Wade when she was elected to the Senate. In 2015, Wilkins didn’t have an opponent; this year he has three. Tanner Lucas is the other Republican in the race and he has not been very visible on the campaign trail. Tammi Thurm, one of the two Democrats in the race, had at last count raised more money than Wilkins and is running a well-planned campaign. It is almost a given that Thurm and Wilkins will face each other in the general election. The other Democrat is Sal Leone, who likes to file to run for office. Leone is philosophically opposed to accepting campaign donations, which is one of the reasons he has never won and usually doesn’t receive many votes. He has run as both a Democrat and as a Republican. The election may be difficult to predict, but it is a safe bet that Leone will not be elected and will file to run for some office next year. stadium (continued from previous page) Wagner spoke passionately before the commissioners in favor of county funding for the stadium. He said the city leaders needed a vote, one way or another, at that meeting. “We need an answer tonight,” Wagner said. “That is not an artificial deadline we created to bully you or to pressure you. Our stadium must be ready for the first pitch in May of 2019 or we lose our team. All the development to come is contingent on the stadium. We need a yes or no tonight.” Some High Point officials are taking the county’s delay as a “no” vote by the board, even though nearly all of the commissioners have expressed a desire to get to yes in some form or fashion. At the sometimesheated meeting, Commissioner Skip Alston told the packed house of project supporters that it was to their advantage for the county to take more time. “You don’t want a vote tonight because you would get an overwhelming no, but I don’t want you to go away from here with a no vote,” he said. Alston said the commissioners needed time to digest what they had heard at the public hearing and to examine other information. “Respect us enough to give us time to dissect this,” he said. “I know that we can get there, and get a yes vote, because I know the members of this board.” This week, Alston said it didn’t help matters that some High Point officials have made veiled, and not so veiled, threats. At the meeting, Wagner pointed out that two years ago High Point, Greensboro and Guilford County joined together to form GCEDA and work together on development. “And we agreed to cooperate,” Wagner said. “There was some concern and consternation about that in High Point. But what I need you to understand is that this case is the first true test for regional economic cooperation in Guilford County since we did that. We have come to you in our time of need to ask for your cooperation. One day your turn will come and you will need our help. Voting no will have far-reaching and unanticipated consequences for this idea of regional cooperation. Yes means that regional cooperation is possible in Guilford County.” Alston didn’t like that talk about the far-reaching consequences for the county. “I was surprised they threatened us again,” Alston said. “You don’t have to threaten people.” Alston also said the hurry, hurry, hurry attitude from High Point hasn’t helped either. “We have to have time to process this thing,” Alston said. At the Sept. 21 meeting, Alston clearly didn’t appreciate the loud chorus of boos he heard when he made his motion for the county to hold off on a response. He said he was put off by the “disrespect” shown by the audience. (continued on page 11)

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    10 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 28, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com Sheriff, Dogs and Cats Seeing Signs of New Digs by Scott D. Yost Guilford County just took a big step forward on two major and long-awaited projects – building a new county animal shelter and conducting a massive renovation of the old county jail in downtown Greensboro to create an office for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department. On Thursday, Sept. 21, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners named the architects and revealed details for both projects, which the commissioners have been discussing for years. Guilford County has selected PNP Design Group to design the new animal shelter. That Greensborobased firm, which has worked with the county on many projects before, will begin with a needs assessment phase at a cost of $25,000. The total cost of the new shelter, likely to open in 2019, is expected to be about $9 million. For the renovation of the old jail, which will serve as the Sheriff’s Department’s main headquarters, the commissioners approved staff’s selection of Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce Architects – a Winston-Salem firm started by North Carolina State University graduates in 1965. That firm’s past projects include facilities on North Carolina State’s campus and the expansion of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University. The board approved $550,000 for the architectural phase of the old jail project. The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved both selections. Guilford County Animal Shelter staff, shelter volunteers and area animal lovers are eager to see the new shelter completed since the age and design of the county’s existing shelter at 4525 W. Wendover Ave. contribute to its problems. Likewise, Sheriff’s Department staff wants to move out of the county’s Otto Zenke building, which has been in bad shape for years. That building suffered a major structural blow from flooding during a massive rainstorm about eight years ago. Last summer, the commissioners decided to move the department’s administrative services into the old jail rather than build a new headquarters for the Sheriff’s Department. On Thursday, August 17, the county approved the purchase of land on Guilford College Road for the new shelter, which will be about a mile and a half from the existing shelter. Guilford County sent out a request for qualifications in late June and got a good response for both jobs. Unlike some government contracts for supplies and construction, architectural contracts don’t have to go to the lowest responsible bidder. The county can instead select the provider and then negotiate price. Former Guilford County Animal Services Director Drew Brinkley was a member of the committee to search for a shelter architect; however, he resigned from his job in late July, about a week before the committee made its final selection. At the Sept. 21 meeting, Guilford County Facilities, Parks and Property Management Director Robert McNiece spoke about PNP Design Group and its proposal for the shelter project. “They put together a good team of the various players,” he said. “They’re local and they do a lot of work for Guilford County.” McNiece said the first step of the process will be to determine the scope of needed services at the facility. That will provide information on capacity and space needs and offer a more concrete cost estimate for the project. “We will continue to work with them through design and construction [phases],” he told the board. McNiece also said the firm will partner with animal services experts due to the special nature of the shelter project. These days, just about any time the Guilford County Board of Commissioners hires an architect, the commissioners engage in a long drawn-out discussion about why the county doesn’t hire more black architects, and the board’s Sept. 21 meeting was no exception. For years, Guilford County Commissioner Carolyn Coleman has been trying to get the county to use more black-owned architectural firms and that’s been an ongoing battle with county staff, who say they have bent over backwards to meet that request. There was some positive movement on that front at the Sept. 21 meeting: Guilford County added two minority architectural firms to its “on-call” list of firms used for projects under $250,000. Those services include things like design plans for space alterations, engineering evaluations, inspection services and contract preparation assistance. Some oncall county contracts will be awarded to the Hispanic-owned Raymond Engineering firm in Raleigh, as well as to Alabi Architecture in Durham, a black-owned firm. Coleman said that getting minority architects on that list has taken too long. “I’ve been trying for three years to get one on the list so it’s moving very slowly – with all the work we’ve done, it’s been moving slowly,” she told McNiece. Coleman and Commissioner Skip Alston also both told staff that the county should review a staff requirement that architectural firms must have at least two architects in order do business with the county. They said that might be one thing that keeps some minority firms out of the mix. McNiece explained the reasoning for the requirement. “If something happens there is more than one person who knows something about it,” he said. “So there’s other people with some level of backup.” Alston pointed out that this wasn’t a policy adopted by the Board of Commissioners but was instead merely a decision made by staff. “We don’t have a policy that says we must do that,” Alston said. “It’s just a staff recommendation and some of us may feel like it’s unnecessary or it’s unfair.” Alston said the Board of Commissioners needs to revisit the constraint. “It’s not a policy and we shouldn’t say you ‘must’ do that,” he said. Commissioner Alan Branson said of the policies, efforts and practices that influence minority participation in architectural bids, “I sure wish we could get it figured out because this has been an ongoing topic for months on end. We don’t need to delay these projects; we need to move them forward.” Coleman said, “We’re not stopping anything.” “Well, you’re sure trying,” Branson said.

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