Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 14

"It's all on camera."

-Greensboro Police Officer CN Jackson in the video below:

"It's all on camera," Officer Jackson said, but what good are the cameras when no one is allowed to see them?

The Greensboro City Council held a special meeting yesterday followed by a press conference and posted the meeting online in 3 parts.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

and a press conference afterwards.

But the video you see above is not to be found on the City of Greensboro YouTube Channel as of this posting. Why? Are they still afraid of the truth?

  I had to find it via Roch Smith jr who writes, Greensboro police body cam video shows officer attacking man and posted the video to his own Greensboro101 You Tube Channel.

 "GREENSBORO, NC — On June 16, 2016, two Greensboro police officers approached Dejuan Yourse while he was sitting on the porch of his mother’s house. The encounter resulted in Yourse being punched twice by Officer Travis Cole and Yourse being hogtied and arrested.

Today, the city of Greensboro released video of the encounter. Council members Tony Wilkins and Mike Barber were the only two representatives who voted against releasing the video."

 Now why wouldn't the City of Greensboro and the Greensboro Police Department not want to get out front, to be the first to tell the truth about what happened, instead of being the last?

Sure, all the politicians are saying all the right things on September 26 but where were they on June 16? Why weren't they calling for open records then? Why the delay? And why weren't those same politicians calling for open records when Roch Smith jr, Jeffery Sykes, Margaret Moffett, George Hartzman, myself and many others were calling for open records and faster responses a year ago?

It can only be, that just like in the case of the assault of Dejuan Yourse by Greensboro Police Officer, Travis Cole, the people who run our city have something to hide-- something they don't want you to know.

And when my law suit against the City of Greensboro goes to court I intend to find out what that something is.

This is part of an ongling series, Adding To Roch's Pile, which documents the efforts of Roch Smith jr, myself and others to force the City of Greensboro and our elected leaders to give us open and honest governance.

Update: 9:10 PM And why was Officer Cole promoted while under investigation? It's as if they planned to cover it up all along. From Triad City Beat:

"Greensboro Police Department records show that former Officer Travis B. Cole — who quit last month during investigations into his handling of an incident with Dejuan Yourse — was actually promoted while an internal investigation was ongoing."

Monday, September 26, 2016

Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 13

"Greensboro police Officer Travis Cole acted illegally when he assaulted Dejuan Yourse on June 17 and then was complicit in having Yourse falsely charged with the crimes of assault on an officer and resisting arrest."

-Greensboro News & Record, September 26,2016,   Lewis Pitts and Nelson Johnson: Ex-officer should face charges

Perhaps even more damming is the teaser to this article that was posted at Greensboro101,com:

Just in case you're having trouble with the small text on your tiny personal devices:

"GREENSBORO, NC — A deeper look reveals a culture of corruption and cover-up that is aided and enabled by the chief of police, the city manager, the city attorney, the District Attorney’s Office and an indifferent City Council. These are structural and institutional issues that must be addressed. ($$$ — fee may be required.)"

You see, it's not just about racism. Believe it or not there is a bigger issue than racism at play here.

Bigger than racism? You ask. But how could that be?

What is going on in Greensboro and most cities across the country is the thing that allows governments to get away with institutional racism, corruption, bribery, and corruption of every sort. Until this bigger problem is addressed here in Greensboro there is no hope in solving racism or any of the other issues that plagues our Democracy today.

I named this series, Adding To Roch's Pile, because public records advocate Roch Smith jr has compiled mounds of evidence that proves as Roch wrote, "A deeper look reveals a culture of corruption and cover-up that is aided and enabled by the chief of police, the city manager, the city attorney, the District Attorney’s Office and an indifferent City Council." and now we here at EzGreensboro.com along with the Greensboro News & Record and Yes Weekly have all joined Roch in his pursuit of open and honest governance.

It doesn't matter where you stand on any issue, you cannot know the truth until all the records have been made public.

And when governments take authoritarian positions on public records they invite incidents like the rioting and looting that took place in Charlotte last week.

I mean, face it folks, without condoning the rioting and looting, one must admit that happy, sober people don't destroy their own neighborhoods. Rioting and looting are cause by systemic problems and if the problem isn't government then what is it?

Well the problem could be a lot of things and I'm sure my critics have lots of suggestions but the only way to prove anyone right is to eliminate the variables. And the first variable we should eliminate is the failure of governments to make public records public.

The City of Greensboro staff posts dozens of press releases and stories online every day, they can't post public records to the Internet as well?

Not even if it saves the taxpayers thousands of dollars per month:

"UNC’s public records website states that the approximate cost to the University was $7,930 for each media request that was filed.
And we are currently paying for an open records website our City Council has decided not to use? What's up with that?

And why will not one single member of the Greensboro City Council speak publicly about this problem?

Greensboro, we have a problem. And you, dear readers, need to be up in arms about it before the riots and looting comes here.

If you haven't read the rest of this
series, Adding To Roch's Pile, I highly recommend you do so. Please continue reading Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 14.

Home Sales = Bursting Real Estate Bubble

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 12

As Roch Smith jr wrote in Greensboro’s new secrecy: Sinister and hostile:

"In 2009, there was a slew of firings, resignations and early retirements after a period where the city tried to massage its official story about the reasons for firing then-police chief David Wray by limiting access to public information. The official narrative fell apart under the relentless pursuit of the truth by bloggers and alternative media. Within a year, gone were the city manager, the city attorney and the city’s public relations officer."

It appears Greensboro may well again be on the same path under Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan who first ran for the mayor's office on a platform of transparency.

As I noted previously in my series, Adding To Roch's Pile, I'm no longer running for Mayor of Greensboro but my lawsuit against the City of Greensboro for failing to properly handle public records-- a search for truth-- continues. 

Since these things will be a part of the discovery process for my lawsuit against the City of Greensboro anyway I decided to submit another public records request to start the ball rolling.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Socrata:

"Socrata is a company that provides cloud-based data visualization and analysis tools for opening government data. Originally called Blist, Socrata was founded in February 2007. Socrata targets non-technical Internet users who want to view and share government, healthcare, energy, education, or environment data. Its products are issued under a proprietary, closed, exclusive license."

I don't know just how long the Greensboro Open Records website has been online or why it has never been put to use but I first discovered it over a year ago.

Now Roch Smith Jr is going to find this to be very interesting because City Attorney Thomas Carruthers told Roch that certain information Roch was looking for was unavailable because it was in the cloud when in-fact: the purpose of the cloud is to make the information public and available 24/7/365.

Thomas Carruthers has problems with the truth.

And don't you really think it sad that taxpayer dollars are being spent each and every month to host a Greensboro Open Records website that has almost nothing on it and hasn't been updated in almost a year-- perhaps longer?

I don't know but my guess is these things will reflect poorly in the mind of the judge.

Now there are plenty of reasons for putting public records online but probably the biggest reason to put public records online is cost. According to this 2015 article in The Daily Tarheel:
"UNC’s public records website states that the approximate cost to the University was $7,930 for each media request that was filed.

To assess cost, UNC calculates the total time spent by University personnel to gather the records and the amount of time that Public Records Office staff processes the requests. That is multiplied by an hourly rate of $22, or the average salary of Public Records Office staff other than Stabile."

Just so you know, City Attorney Thomas Carruthers quoted me $40.00 an hour vs the $22 noted in the article concerning UNC. Either way, open, online storage of public records would save taxpayers huge sums of money every year if our governing bodies are telling us the truth about the cost of retrieving and processing public records requests.

So why is the City of Greensboro paying for cloud services and an open data website that isn't in use? I can't honestly answer that question but I can speculate several different reasons and none of them reflect well on Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan, City Manager Jim Westmoreland or the City of Greensboro.

Stay tuned for Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 13 and if you haven't already done so, catch up on the entire series,
Adding To Roch's Pile.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 11

"The result is that Greensboro has become a city where police secretly seize assets, where the city attempts to keep secret the bills it pays, and where records that would illuminate the intentions and motivations shaping public policy are kept away from the public. City council is complicit in its silence and that doesn’t bode well. !"

-Roch Smith jr in Yes Weekly,  Greensboro tightens its grip on public information

My apologies to Roch and the rest of the folks at Yes Weekly for not seeing and pointing to Roch's article sooner. I highly recommend everyone read it all.

I got a letter from the court yesterday saying that the court had granted the City of Greensboro 30 more days to respond to my lawsuit. You may view it in 3 parts here, and here . Sorry about the sideways thing.

I got 2 e-mails today telling me that yet more public information requests are waiting for me to pick up. Things are moving at a fever pitch downtown as the City Attorney knows full well he had better have all our public information requests filled before we walk into a courtroom. He never imagined that someone with a FAKE HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA might figure out how to file a lawsuit against the City of Greensboro without spending $100,000 or more on attorney fees. After all, there is no way in hell the City can justify a year of waiting. The following is a photo of the log the City  keeps of who is picking up PIRTs. Look at how many in just the last few days

Eric Robert was last seen in Spain so that's probably why he hasn't picked up his copy but trust me, he knows what is going on here. (Personally "I've never been to Spain but I kinda like the music,,," --Hoyt Axton, performed by 3 Dog Night)  Who has a pack of rabid dogs now, Mr hot shot City Freaking Out Attorney? Your ass is in a sling and everyone knows I'm the one stretching it farther and farther back to slingshot you to hell and beyond.

Now will all those PIRTs be complete? Will they be scrubbed of incriminating evidence? I can't answer that question but I'm damned sure going to ask what the judge might have to say about it. It could be, if he has a mind to, that he might order a forensic investigation of city servers.

Damn, I bet that would get expensive. Probably cost a lot more than the $4,000 City Attorney Tom Carruthers tried to charge me for the public records I never got concerning the South Elm Redevelopment Project. By the way, those records weren't included in this law suit.

Even if the judge drops the suit based on the fact that all the PIRTs in the suit have been filled I still get my money back. I cannot lose. But let's see the City explain spending over $100,000 to keep those records hidden from attorneys for Eric Robert when they only wanted $4,000 to give the same records to me?

Can you say, "Does not compute."

I got a second e-mail today from the city:

"On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 1:11 PM, Carter, Katherine <Katherine.Carter@greensboro-nc.gov> wrote:
Dear Billy,

Thank you for your public records request (PIRT 6009) regarding the Lawson System manual and/or user documents.

The requested information (“Lawson system manual and/or user docs”) is considered “confidential information” pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 132-1.2(1)(d), as the Lawson system manuals/user documents were “designated or indicated as ‘confidential’…at the time of its initial disclosure to the public agency.” 

Please find the attached copy of the “Legal Notice” provided from a Lawson user manual for your review.


Katherine Carter, Public Records Administrator
Communications and Marketing Department - 336-373-3282
City of Greensboro
PO Box 3136, Greensboro, NC 27402-3136
www.greensboro-nc.gov "

You know, you try to work with these people....

My original request was for "all receipts and bills pertaining to the Lawson software system as is used by the City of Greensboro." but after discussing it with Roch and Ms Carter I decided the request was too broad so after telling Roch what I am looking for I modified the request to make it smaller.

My reply:
"Then why don't we revert to my much larger, massive, original request that no one wanted to do in the first place. After all, I did modify my request to make your jobs so much easier.

I can wait.... Roch's idea would have saved me lots of time and effort just as it would have saved the City of Greensboro lots of time and effort.... I've published 4 fucking books, authored thousands upon thousands of articles, published thousands of poems and hundreds of short stories, do those people think I do not know and understand copyright law?
They take me for stupid because I never went to law school or college. That was their mistake in the first place but now I have them struggling to stay out of court.

I'm looking for information, not planning on distributing the book.

Roch replied too:

"It's posted on the web.


You can even find the page they sent you about "confidentiality" by searching for "strict confidence."

My reply to Roch:

"Fine, let them keep working their asses off, I can double check with the receipts they eventually turn up. They do this shit to themselves, let's give them more rope."

Well, my job just got easier.

I also got a 3rd e-mail from Ms Carter today:

"Dear Billy,

Thank you for your request (PIRT 5872) for public records containing the word “Kotis.”

The City is still working on the final portion of your request, however we do have some records that are ready to release to you at this time.  Due to the size of the file, these records have been saved onto a disc which you may pick up at the City Information Desk on the plaza level of the Melvin Municipal Office Building between 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Emails that were duplicative or were not responsive to your request have been excluded from the response.  The records protected by NCGS 132-6, and 160A-168 have also been withheld.  Pertaining to the emails marked as redacted, the emails are public records however, pursuant to NCGS 132-1.13 the attachment is available for public inspection at the City offices but not for release in electronic format. 

We have also contacted the Mayor and Council members regarding your request, and we will release those emails, to the extent they exist and are otherwise appropriate for release in the near future.

I hope this information is helpful.


Katherine Carter, Public Records Administrator
Communications and Marketing Department - 336-373-3282
City of Greensboro
PO Box 3136, Greensboro, NC 27402-3136"

Well, if the file is too big to e-mail even though they haven't finished going through it all to make all the redactions and stuff then "Kotis" must be a pretty popular subject downtown. Especially when you consider that I only asked for 6 months of e-mails. What if I had asked for all of them?

People, I couldn't write better comedy if I tried. And believe me, I've tried.

Continue reading,  Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 12 and as always, please share this post and the entire Adding To Roch's Pile series with your friends.

A Conversation With A Judge

On October September 22, I got a letter in the mail telling me that the Guilford County Clerk of Court's office had granted to City of Greensboro a 30 day extension to reply to my lawsuit so I posted to the Facebook group, Greater Greensboro Politics about it.

Surprisingly, Magistrate Judge M Brett Moore replied to my comment. I couldn't disagree so I replied and snapped a screen grab of our conversation thus far:

Judge Moore is correct: there is a lot I need to know that I don't know. But as I pointed out, the City is now dumping public information requests on myself and others at record speed. Obviously they never wanted to before.

I violated some rules there at Greater Greensboro Politics in telling people that Judge Moore is a judge in High Point, despite the fact that anyone could get it from his Facebook page, so I doubt I'll be a member there much longer. Thus saving the screen grabs became even more important. It's okay, since announcing yesterday that I no longer intend to become Mayor of Greensboro I see no real need for the Greater Greensboro Politics group and have already left the group Greensboro and Guilford County Politics etc... The hatred, racism, prejudice and veiled threats would eventually cause me to react in ways I'd rather not do.

Unlike my youth, I now have the ability to see it coming and walk away before I do irreparable physical damage which, to be honest, usually meant I got my ass kicked. But hey, they knew I was there and that's what counted.

I was also told by Ms Carter that after a year of complaints they are finally talking about hiring a full time public records administrator.... again.

Wonder if we can get them to talk about putting those records on the Internet?

And you know what else we need to know? What is Guilford County Clerk of Court, Lisa Johnson-Tomkins involvement with a trial that involves her mother-- Yvonne Johnson, a member of the Greensboro City Council? And can we expect the Guilford County Clerk of Court to help to hide evidence or tamper in some other way just as she helped to hide assets when her father was on trial?

The idea that some people are better than others makes me fume and yet Greensboro's status quo, conservative and liberal alike are full of it. Well guess what people, none of you got where you are all on your own. And most of you with plenty got it at the expense of someone else.

I can't be Mayor of Greensboro. I can't reside over a city that is falling apart. Greensboro is in far worse shape economically than Charlotte and look what is happening in Charlotte. I wrote Gate City Bomber knowing these same kinds of things are coming to Greensboro someday soon-- no mayor will be able to handle it and I'm not going to be the one who gets stuck with the blame. Let Nancy Barakat Vaughan have the seat, she helped create this mess.

I may be crazy but I'm no fool. I'm winning my battles and moving on. Time to go pen a poem or something.

Former City of Greensboro Assistant Manager Mary Vigue used her position to personally profit via Say Yes to Education and Say Yes Guilford


Oct. 19, 2015  

GUILFORD COUNTY, NC, Oct. 19 – Say Yes to Education Guilford, the non-profit partnership that has committed to provide Guilford County Schools’ students with access to college and other post-secondary scholarships, as well as support services in kindergarten through grade 12, today announced the appointment of Mary F. Vigue as the chapter’s Executive Director. Vigue served most recently as Assistant City Manager of the City of Greensboro.

...Say Yes also announced the hiring of Dr. Kristen Christman, most recently Director of the UNCG Guarantee with the University of North Carolina Greensboro, to serve as the Scholarship Director for Say Yes Guilford. Dr. Christman will be charged with establishing the paperwork, processes and structures for Say Yes Guilford scholarship awards – whose initial recipients will be members of the high school graduating class of 2016."

"Any officer, department head or employee who has financial interest, direct or indirect, in any proposed contract with the city or in a proposed sale of any land, material, supplies, or services to the city or to a contractor supplying the city, shall make known that interest and shall refrain from ...participating in the making of such contract or sale.

Any officer, department head, or employee who willfully conceals such a financial interest or willfully violates the requirements of this Section shall be guilty of malfeasance in office or position and shall forfeit his office or position.

Violation of this Section with the knowledge expressed or implied of the person or corporation contracting with or making a sale to the city shall render the contract void."

Sec. 4.131. - Conflict of interest: Greensboro Code of Ordinances, City Charter

Mary appears to have applied for the job before July 27, 2015,
meaning she had a direct financial interest in the contract;

Mary Vigue advocated for Say Yes to Education 
as a City Assistant Manager and an applicant for the job at the same time
meaning the City Conflict of interest policy was violated
by at least Mary Vigue, and Jim Westmoreland if he was aware

And then, after Mary applied for the job 
and before it was announced that she would run Say Yes Guilford,
she arranged a 1$ lease for herself and her new gig
as an acting City of Greensboro employee;

And the following persons knew it;

All while Mary worked on the Say Yes Operating Committee
as a representative of the City of Greensboro
in violation of the City Charter Conflict of Interest Policy;

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ponzi needs a new town; Jul 25, 2016 4:59 AM; "Say Yes to Education" program could mean free college for Louisville students"

Going to college for free could soon be a reality for some students in low-income families.

A meeting is planned Monday afternoon  to explain the "Say Yes To Education" program being discussed.  The program has worked in other cities, and Louisville is being considered.

...The "Say Yes To Education" program is a non-profit that works with school districts and local governments to provide money for full-tuition scholarships.

Remember when Greensboro was told about full-tuition scholarships? 

That means every is penny paid, plus the resources to help kids get to college. Families in need are given a priority.

...Each city must fund an endowment made up of public and private dollars.  JCPS says it will need about $100 million in funding to support all of the scholarships..."

...George Weiss promised 112 Philadelphia sixth graders that if they graduated from high school, he’d pay their college tuition. But he didn’t just offer money, he also offered support so that the students were ready to make the most of that opportunity.

That program has grown into “Say Yes,” a national foundation that helps entire communities - like Buffalo, Syracuse, and Guilford County, N.C.  - give every child in the community meaningful support toward college.

Meaningful support?

That's not what Susan Ladd etc... said

Now, they are interested in bringing their model to another city and Louisville is in the running to be selected...."

Jun 29, 2016; Louisville, Kentucky's Jefferson County Public Schools; "School district proposes partnership with non-profit Say Yes to Education"


So now Say Yes to Education has $15 million for both Guilford County

and Jefferson County Public Schools?


Gag order and censorship for Guilford County teachers by Say Yes to Education and Angela Jackson of Guilford County's Association of Educators


Say Yes to Education Red Flag; Mary Vigue; She is about to be in charge of more than $25 million for a 'non-profit' after shafting City of Greensboro employees out of investment fee cuts

Richard (Skip) Moore's misleading statements; "8 Things to Know About "Say Yes To Education"

Sunday, July 10, 2016; Oblivious Buffalo News Editorial Board "Say Yes is leading a vital improvement in the number of college-bound students"

Monday, July 11, 2016; Say Yes To Education-- The E-Mails, Part 5

Harriet Tubman On Say Yes To Education

Tuesday, July 5, 2016; Why did the Hartford Chapter of Say Yes close in June 2005?

Thursday, June 30, 2016; Say Yes to Education's amazing, quite unbelievable investment performance; This is a George Weiss special

Thursday, June 30, 2016; John Hammer on new Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras and Say Yes to Education

Wednesday, June 29, 2016; Please ask Greensboro's City Council, Guilford County's Commissioners and School Board a version of the following questions

Wednesday, June 29, 2016; New Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras' = Say Yes to Education, Say Yes Guilford and Say Yes Syracuse = Say Yes now owns Guilford County Schools

Wednesday, June 29, 2016; WEDNESDAY, JULY 29TH 2015; "The Say Yes to Education program has closed its Syracuse office"

Thursday, June 30, 2016; Say Yes To Education-- The E-mails: Part 1

Friday, July 1, 2016; Say Yes To Education-- The E-mails: Part 2


If Say Yes Guilford has $35 million,...

$832,000 Payoff; "Buffalo Public Schools award the contract to Say Yes for community program"

Say Yes to Education Correspondence

Say Yes to Education information request for Guilford County Schools

The salaries of some Yes to Education Executives, which just took Guilford County for more than $25 million

Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey; President at Say Yes to Education, Inc.; Professional Fundraising Organization

David Colin; Just Say Yes raises lots of questions

On Public Records requests

"City of Greensboro, mayor sued over access to public records" by Roch Smith Jr.




The City of Greensboro has prevented an information request concerning Say Yes to Education for more than 38 weeks


Per a City of Greensboro employee who was at the meeting and received information, this pirt request is incomplete.


Mayor Vaughan Openly And Willfully Violates Public Records Laws


Thank you for your public records request (4644).


City Council Violations Of Public Records Laws


Zack Matheny's Wyndham Text Messages


Where Are The E-mails Councilman Barber?


Mike Barber Destroys Public Records


Mike Barber's E-mails: Part 2


Zack Matheny violates the City Charter and his oath of office etc..., again, by discussing "Economic Development" in Greensboro's budget, while a candidate for DGI's top job


City of Greensboro Public Information Request on Say Yes to Education; "Say Yes to Education designee on the Operating Committee, Scholarship Board and Community Leadership Council"

As the City, on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, admitted a government employee is "a designee on the Operating Committee, Scholarship Board and Community Leadership Council and through the development of taskforces", please identify the employee for each committee and provide all documents and communications of said employee or employees with anyone with Say Yes to Education, Say Yes Guilford, anyone from Guilford County Schools concerning Say Yes, anyone from Guilford County's government concerning Say Yes, and any contacts with Mary Vigue and Donnie Turlington both before and after Vigue and Turlington's employment with the City, from January 1, 2015 to the present.

Please provide the information by electronic means.