Saturday, October 25, 2014

NC Treasurer Janet Cowell "Investors as contributors"

"The latest campaign finance reports for the race date back to June 30, [2008]. But in a report due to the North Carolina Board of Elections on Oct. 27, the Cowell campaign will report contributions totaling nearly $1 million.

Among her contributors are Robert Eubanks, founder of Chapel Hill-based Franklin Street Partners, and his wife, Mary, who donated $4,000 each; Dennis Dougherty of Durham-based Intersouth Partners, $1,000; and Broyhill Asset Management, a Lenior-based hedge fund, $500.

Those three contributors in the past have received investments from the pension system that Cowell would manage as treasurer. The fact that companies that benefit from pension investments are able to contribute to the campaigns of candidates for treasurer is an issue that has surfaced repeatedly during the eight-year term of outgoing Treasurer Richard Moore.

In previous finance statements, [Bill Daughtridge] also reported at least one contribution from an individual whose firm, Broyhill Asset Management, had received a pension system investment. Hunt Broyhill gave the Daughtridge campaign $1,000."
Broyhill Contributions;

Broyhill business with North Carolina's State Treasurer;

Hedged Strategy Advisors and Funds

Broyhill Fund $8,912,523
"Potential Pay to Play By Treasurer Janet Cowell & Erskine Bowles"

"The State Employees Association of North Carolina today announced the filing of a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower for possible breaches of the SEC’s “pay-to-play” rule involving State Treasurer Janet Cowell, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and his wife, JP Morgan Board of Directors member Crandall Bowles.

“This is the type of abuse we were afraid we would find when we investigated the fees associated with our retirement system,” said SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope...

In the complaint, SEANC alleges that Erskine and Crandall Bowles violated the pay-to-play rule when Cowell worked with Bowles and his firm, Carousel Capital, on investments through the N.C. Innovation Fund after Bowles hosted a fundraiser for her at his home.
Contributions to Janet Cowell from Carousel Capital;

2012....11/15/2011....GRIGG, CHARLES S....CAROUSEL CAPITAL
2012....11/10/2011....SCHWAB III, NELSON....CAROUSEL CAPITAL
2012....11/15/2011....SCHMIDLY, JASON C....CAROUSEL CAPITAL
2012....11/15/2011....HOBBS II, WILLIAM T....CAROUSEL CAPITAL
2008....06/25/2008....SCHWAB III, NELSON....CAROUSEL CAPITAL
2008....06/27/2008....SCHMIDLY, JASON C....CAROUSEL CAPITAL
2008....09/04/2008....BAILEY, BRIAN D....CAROUSEL CAPITAL
2008....06/27/2008....GRIGG, CHARLES....CAROUSEL CAPITAL
Cowell announced the creation of the fund in March 2010 in a press release with Bowles, who founded Carousel Capital and is listed as a senior advisor on its website, praising the idea.

Bowles’ son, Sam, was vice president of Carousel Capital at the time. Then in 2011, three months after the SEC’s rule took effect, Bowles and his wife Crandall hosted the fundraiser for Cowell. A few weeks after the fundraiser, Carousel Capital was selected by Cowell to help invest an undisclosed portion of the $230 million N.C. Innovation Fund, all of which came from the state retirement system.

The firm already managed other investments for the pension system as well.

The SEC’s rule clearly prohibits financial professionals or firms that manage state money from “coordinating or soliciting any person [to] make any contribution to an official or a government entity to which the adviser is providing or seeking to provide investment advisory services.” It also includes a “look back” period prohibiting contributions two years prior to any state investments and bars such professionals or firms from funneling payments through third parties to circumvent the rule.

SEANC filed a similar SEC complaint in April regarding possible violations of state and federal law surrounding investments made with the $90 billion Teachers and State Employees Retirement System."
A Reception Honoring North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell

"Hosts Mary Lou and Jim Babb, Steve Cordell, Sarah and Tony Lathrop, Kathryn and Jay Rivers, and John Wester cordially invite you to a reception honoring North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell.

Please contact Hannah Davis

Tuesday, October 9th
6:00 p.m.

Hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Peter A. Pappas
Pappas contribution;


Norris Tolson, Janet Cowell, Sam Taylor and Art Pappas

"Cowell told members that she welcomed their input and thoughts on the State’s private equity portfolio, noting there are limits on what North Carolina can do as far as investments. She said she plans to work with the 2009 General Assembly on how to expand North Carolina’s investments in private equity. Cowell also said she has plans for outreach efforts designed to increase investments in North Carolina -- particularly by large out-of-state funds."
Pappas Life Science Ventures III....Market Value....$11,865,541

Pappas Life Science Ventures II....Market Value....$926,729 

Pappas Life Science Ventures IV....Market Value....$6,807,357
BlackRock Contributors;

2012....10/30/2012....RUSSELL, SALLIE SHUPING....BLACKROCK
2012...05/17/2011....MCDONALD, EUGENE J....BLACKROCK
2010....06/28/2010....MCDONALD, EUGENE J....BLACKROCK
BlackRock business with North Carolina's State Treasurer;

BlackRock - Cars....Market Value....$29,379,317

BlackRock MSCI ACWI....Market Value....$3,875,210,423

BlackRock Emerging Markets....Market Value....$408,570,445

BlackRock Frontier Markets....Market Value....$178,960,322

BlackRock ACWI ex-U.S. IMI....Market Value....$612,378,958

BlackRock MSCI Canada Index....Market Value....$490,390,819

BlackRock EAFE IMI Index Fund....Market Value....$326,062,677
Castle Harlan business with North Carolina's State Treasurer;

Private Equity Investment Advisors (FY ending 2011)

Castle Harlan Partners IV 13,457,389
Castle Harlan Contributors;

2008....09/18/2008....WENDER, JUSTIN B....CASTLE HARLAN INC

2008....09/18/2008....PITTAWAY, DAVID B....CASTLE HARLAN INC

2008....09/18/2008.... WEISS, HOWARD....CASTLE HARLAN INC
Franklin Street Partners business with North Carolina's State Treasurer;

Hedged Strategy Advisors and Funds

Franklin Street Partners $357,092,227

Franklin Street Partners Contributors;

Hatteras Venture Partners business with North Carolina's State Treasurer;

Hatteras Venture Partners III....$7,878,087

Hatteras Venture Partners Contributors;

2008...06/03/2008...PERKINS, DAVID BRIEN...HATTERAS
2008...06/30/2008...PARROTT, JOSH...HATTERAS
2008...07/10/2008...PARROTT, JOSH...HATTERAS
Piedmont Investment Advisors business with North Carolina's State Treasurer;

Piedmont Strategic Core Large-Cap Active $634,979,315
Piedmont Investment Advisors and Morgan Stanley Contributors;

2012...12/01/2011...SATHER, MARTIN...MORGAN STANLEY
2008...09/26/2008...MORAN, DAVID...MORGAN STANLEY
Sterling Capital Management business with North Carolina's State Treasurer;

The Short-Term Investment Fund (“STIF”) comprises 99.35 percent of the Cash Management Program. The Bond Proceeds Fund, managed by Sterling Capital, accounts for 0.65 percent of the Program.

Sterling Small-Cap Value Small-Cap Active $201,132,522

Sterling Capital Management Contributors;

Wachovia/Wells Fargo business with North Carolina's State Treasurer;

STIF Summary of Brokers Utilized During Fiscal Year 2010 – 2011

Brokers are used to execute buy and sell orders on behalf of the fund...

...brokers used to facilitate trades of securities during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011

Wells Fargo securities

Raleigh, Wachovia Bank, NA $14,741,184.30

Wachovia repo 0.050% $350,000,000
Wachovia/Wells Fargo Contributors;

North Carolina State 401(k) plan; Galliard is owned by Wells Fargo
A Few Observations on Share Classes and Wells Fargo Stable Return Fund
Fund information
Fund sponsor and manager: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Advisor: Galliard Capital Management
From; NC District 59 Representative Jon Hardister To; NC Treasurer's Office "pertaining to 401(k) and 457 plans"

How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty: Part 8

Yesterday I e-mailed the Greensboro City Council and others with the following questions concerning this series How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty:

"Economic Development

Is this possible?

And if no, why not?

Entire series here:


Rarely does the Greensboro City Council respond to my e-mails. Often I'm told they simply haven't time to respond to but a few of the most important e-mails. Personally I don't know what is currently more important to a city that has a poverty rate of over 21%, the second hungriest population in the nation, the highest unemployment in the state and rising homelessness but maybe we're being attacked by terrorists or something I'm not aware of. Then again, it's Saturday and it's only been a day so perhaps they'll get back to me this time.

In Part 9 I'll give you their answer. While we wait why not take the time to read NC GS 159-30. Investment of Idle Funds and see if you can think of any reasons why my approach to economic development couldn't be made to work. And if they don't give me an answer I'll continue with more ideas we could have pursued had they given a damn.

PS. Just in case you're wondering what GS 139-31 (b.) was referring to. It means the money must be insured. That brings up yet another interesting question: The City of Greensboro's "rainy day fund" lost $1 Million Dollars in 2013. If state law requires that municipal investments be insured then how is it that Greensboro lost a Million Dollars?

Friday, October 24, 2014

George Hartzman, presented to Guilford County's School Board, 10/23/2014

"I teach financial ethics.  In 2012, I became a whistleblower against Wells Fargo, after participating in profit skimming via limited transparency that provided little to no value to investors paying the fees, like Guilford County School employees invested in North Carolina's 457 and 401(k) retirement plans.

In the fall of 2013, I looked at Greensboro's 457 retirement plan to see if the City's employees were being overcharged for administration and investment management, and I found the City's 2,781 participants  pay about 57% more than they should.

I wrote about it in April for Yes Weekly.

The cost for each Greensboro participant could be about $114 per year, instead of more than twice what they pay now.

North Carolina's 266,000 401(k) and 457 plan participants, which includes Guilford County School employees, pay about $164 each on $8.8 billion dollars.

In 2013, North Carolina replaced the Mid Cap index fund with  managers that cost about five times more.  They replaced the International Index Fund with managers that charge more than three times more.

North Carolina's employees should be paying less than $100 per year, or a difference of 40% to save about $17 million per year, which would go into Guilford County School employee pockets.

Lowering costs employees pay in these plans can create higher levels of economic impact after retirement, as more money would be  available to be spent locally.

Let's get it for them.

As fiduciaries for Guilford County School employees, please forward the inquiries emailed to the School Board today on North Carolina's 401(k) and 457 plans to the North Carolina Treasurer's office.  It could mean tens of thousands per teacher."

UNCG's Proposed New Rules

Today the News & Record's John Newsom writes in his article UNCG spells out proposed changes to second job rules, in which he writes:

"The biggest change would be to set up limited exemptions to disclosure of external paid activities.

Rank-and-file university staff members must get permission to take second jobs. Those jobs must be done outside normal UNCG work hours.

Professors and administrators, however, must tell UNCG if they’re getting paid for outside work. They’re allowed to do some of that work in their own offices or labs as long as it doesn’t interfere with their regular duties. They’re also allowed a reasonable use of university equipment.

Universities, including UNCG, usually give much greater latitude to faculty and administrators who want to do extra paid work."

That's all fine and dandy but the Brady Bunch seems to be forgetting that many of their staff positions are being held by employees who are working their way towards becoming faculty and have until now been encouraged to use UNCG equipment to pursue these "outside interests" any time of day just as faculty is encouraged to do so. Just like is done on every university campus in the world today. And is it not true that some of these "staff positions" are actually involved in instruction of students as well? The lines still seem quite blurry to me.

Wonder why the Brady Bunch left that part out?

So that begs the question: Can UNCG legally fire 3 employees for violating rules that WERE NOT IN PLACE at the time the 3 were fired?

I think we all know the answer to that question and the real reason Dr Linda Brady is "retiring".

Okay, professors and faculty, everyone is looking at you now. You've got your protections, will you stand up for those who make your jobs possible or will you turn your backs on them as so many of you have done in the past? You're going to need staff's support at some point in the future, don't abandon them now.

Hey folks, think what you want of me, I've been there I know how these things work. Most people will abandon you when they get the deal they want unless they're pushed into staying in the game. It's the nature of the human beast. It's the very tool the Elites have used to control the masses for thousands of years. Being educated doesn't make them immune to greed and personal survival instincts.

Upon Further Review: 1/4 Cent Sales Tax Increase

Within the realm of public choice theory (politics without the romance) is the proposition of: Focused benefit and diffused costs.

Focused benefit and diffused costs is an observation regarding special interests through politico enablers. The special interest, be it the education establishment or any other special interest, want to acquire a focused benefit upon themselves through a small incremental price extracted from a diffused group.

The insidious mechanics are as follows:

(1) the special interest desires additional funding for their particular constituents making up the aggregate special interest,

(2) the special interest knows that a small incremental price (tax) increase will not be rationally opposed by any one individual in a large diffused group,

(3) the special interest is highly organized and knows the unorganized/diffused group, that the price is to be extracted from, is not organized,

(4) the special interest then recruits politicos to champion the additional funding, with the implicit assumption that the constituents of the special interest will become constituents of the sponsoring politico,

(5) the politico sees an opportunity for a political constituency building exercise through other people’s money (the unorganized/diffused group),

(6) the special interest, with resources supplied by its constituents, mount a very focused campaign for the increased funding while the diffused group has zero resources and a diffused constituency that is highly unlikely to form a focused campaign against the increased funding.

The insidious stratagem of the special interest depends heavily upon: A small incremental price (tax) increase that will not be rationally opposed by any one individual in a large diffused group. An example might help. Jane Goodfellow, one of many price payers (taxpayers) is not going to expend one hundred hours of research to fully understand the issue, spend many evenings attending multiple meetings and become fully aware of the issue proposed by the special interest. Jane Goodfellow’s rational position is to forgo the research and meetings and merely pay the increased price (tax) as the increased price (tax) is a smaller price than the price of the research and meetings.

Moreover, the special interest knows the chances are remote that many Jane Goodfellow(s) will organize themselves together around a particular and small incremental price (tax) increase as the Goodfellow(s) are diffused with no organization.

Insidious to say the least.

An additional observation is the rational choice by individual constituents of the special interest. What rational choice? The individual constituent is in effect campaigning to raise his or her individual price (tax). That is, the individual constituent of the special interest faces the same price (tax) increase as the unorganized/diffused group. However, it is rational for the individual constituent of the special interest to support a price (tax) increase upon themselves if the benefits flowing to such individual constituent is greater than the price (tax) increase experienced by the individual constituent.

Therefore, in the particular case of ¼ cent sales tax increase, the aggregated ¼ cent sales tax increase, across millions of dollars of taxable purchases (conceivably billions of dollars of taxable purchases), becomes a very large number of aggregated additional tax collected. The large sum collected is then dispersed to the small focused benefit group of which the constituent is a part. As long as the benefit bestowed is perceived to be larger than the self imposed price (tax) increase experience by the individual constituent of the special interest, then it is totally rational to support a price (tax) increase upon oneself as the price (tax) is less than benefit bestowed.

The rational choice by the individual constituent of the special interest, to increase price (tax) upon themselves, explains a nagging question of why someone feverously supports a price (tax) increase that they themselves will experience. How so? In the main, the outward political position of the individual constituent of the special interest supporting a price (tax) increase, that they themselves will experience, is that such increased price (tax) will create/facilitate some altruistic endeavor. Meanwhile, the inward focused benefit being greater than the individual’s price (tax) is a motivating factor, if not an overriding factor.

Even more insidious, huh?

Welcome to public choice theory, politics without the romance.






Thursday, October 23, 2014

On the 1/4 Cent Sales Tax Increase

Last night I recieved the following e-mail:

"Avid reader and fan of yours. I would like to read a story on your website about the county sales tax increase and how it is being pushed to our citizens as a education tax. We both know these increases will be to the general fund not education and it is our elected officials that decided to defund our schools to fund pet projects like the arts center or the pool. I dunno about you but Lindley park pool was just fine as a kid growing up. Who even would want to swim indoors in a pool in the summer in that new joint. Anyways, I would really appreciate your consideration on writing the story and I look forward to reading it."

My first instinct was, hey, I'm a liberal at heart, I'm in favor of more money for our schools, I'm not going to write against or even question 1/4 of a cent... But then I realized that's their plan.

You see: I remember when sales tax across the entire state of North Carolina was just 4 cents on the Dollar. How much is sales tax now?

"The North Carolina (NC) state sales tax rate is currently 4.75%. Depending on local municipalities, the total tax rate can be as high as 7.25%.

County and local taxes in most areas bring the sales tax rate to 6.75% – 7% in most counties but some can be as high as 8 or 8.25%."

How much is sales tax here in Guilford County?

"The current total local sales tax rate in Guilford County, NC is 6.750%. The December 2013 total local sales tax rate was also 6.750%."

1/4 cent will push us to 7 cents on the Dollar.  I'm not going to tell you not to vote for the increase but there are some questions I'd like to see answered BEFORE I vote yes.

1. In a recent letter to the editor of the News & Record, Gene Lemonds pointed out how too much money is being spent outside the classrooms-- how are we to know this 1/4 cent increase will be spent where it should be spent educating our children?

2. As my letter writer points out, how are we to know the County won't spend the money elsewhere? Are there any guarantees? Seems there's always money for special projects that generate huge profits for connected developers but when it comes time fund our schools we always need another tax increase. Can you say misapproiation of funds?

3. How did we get from 4 cents to 6.75 cents on the Dollar? Wait, I can answer that one. We got there 1/4 of a cent at a time with most of those increases being designated to go towards education. After all, no one ever votes against 1/4 cent for education. I guess a better question would be, where does it end?

4. I hate to be the bad guy and I want our children to all have the quality education that was deprived me by the then Greensboro City Schools but I have to ask, has money for education become the illicit drug on which our system mainlines?

Until I know the answers to those questions I'm afraid I'll be voting against the 1/4 cent increase.

Hartzman on "UNCG records still under wraps"

"Nearly a month after the controversial arrests of three former UNCG employees, university officials still haven’t made public key documents in the case.

Why would some who know 
refuse to release public non-privileged documents related to the case?

Administrators, including Chancellor Linda Brady, have said they want to release more information about photographers Chris English and David Wilson and their boss, Lyda Carpen.

Did the fired employees qualify for unemployment?

If not, they are probably in some serious financial jeopardy.

They were fired Sept. 24 for allegedly working freelance jobs on UNCG time, then charged with a combined 22 felonies for falsifying time sheets.

How many UNCG salaried employees do the same thing only different
with what seems like a computer program?

Brady and others have said they can’t say more without violating personnel laws.

If an evening UNCG event covered by photographer employees 
is on UNCG time, what exactly is UNCG time
for employees with what sounds like a relatively variable schedule?

The News & Record, however, maintains that some information involving the university’s actions is a matter of public record and is being withheld by the university contrary to state statute.

What’s more, UNCG officials could invoke a little-known state law and make the documents public anyway by claiming the release is “essential to maintaining the integrity” of the university.

Is UNCG administrative staff involved in a cover up?

"...we believe it is using the personnel exception under the state public records law to shield records that can’t legally be construed as personnel records,” Gauger said.

On Tuesday, UNCG attorney Imogene Cathey asked the News & Record to delay publication of this article by one day to give officials more time to respond.

Is a call for delay essentially a call for Prior Restraint 
by a publicly owned entity?

...“It’s important to note that the employees are able to speak freely, but we are bound by laws of confidentiality.”

Has anyone at the News and Record talked to the employees?

...UNCG has defended the felony charges against Carpen, English and Wilson. On Friday, Brady called their alleged actions an “egregious misuse of university resources.”

Without providing the public records
to justify the defense of her statement.

Trust me?

Brady announced her retirement Monday, denying that the decision was related.


...What could these employees have done to justify criminal charges?

And who started the investigation in the first place?

UNCG has failed to provided documents that could clarify those questions, including:

• A “departmental review” of University Relations conducted by Paul Mason, whom Brady hired April 1 as associate vice chancellor of marketing and strategic communication.

Brady + Mason = temporal proximity/causation of termination?

Wilson, one of the photographers, had filed a complaint with UNCG’s human resources department about Mason.

...Mason is listed as the complaining witness in the arrest warrants for the three...


Has the complaint been produced?

...State law requires the university to black out confidential information in this document rather than withhold it...

UNCG wants a blanket information blackout
contrary to public records law?

Something smells on this one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UNCG Takes Public Record Lessons From City Of Greensboro

Today the News & Record is reporting that UNCG is dragging their feet and refusing to provide public records pertaining to the firings and subsequent criminal charges against Chris English and David Wilson and Lyda Carpen:

"They were fired Sept. 24 for allegedly working freelance jobs on UNCG time, then charged with a combined 22 felonies for falsifying time sheets.

Brady and others have said they can’t say more without violating personnel laws.

The News & Record, however, maintains that some information involving the university’s actions is a matter of public record and is being withheld by the university contrary to state statute. What’s more, UNCG officials could invoke a little-known state law and make the documents public anyway by claiming the release is “essential to maintaining the integrity” of the university."

It would probably end there but the N&R also writes:

“The university is not disclosing the reporting individual’s name because we feel strongly that we need to protect employees’ ability to anonymously report misdeeds such as the misuse of state resources.”

State law, however, provides only two reasons for withholding such information: protecting the safety of a complaining witness or compromising a criminal investigation, neither of which Cathey mentioned.

UNCG has failed to make other documents public in a timely manner, including:

• Emails among administrators about what led to the firings and arrests.

• Details of previous alleged criminal activity by UNCG employees and the university’s response.

Amanda Martin, an attorney who specializes in public records laws, said transparency is crucial when there are allegations of wrongdoing by public employees.

“It is important for us to understand not only what took place — in this case allegations of misappropriation of government resources — but also how it has been handled from a managerial standpoint,” said Martin, an attorney for the N.C. Press Association and Stevens Martin Vaughn and Tadych.

“We want to know whether problems are systemic and whether they have been fixed,” Martin said."

Apparent the Brady Bunch seems to think they can pick and choose which laws they want to have enforced and when they want them enforced.

Rumor has it that just last year the City of Greensboro came under a grand jury investigation when Greensboro bloggers began complaining online about the way the City handled public information requests. I can't tell you for certain if that is true but I do know for a fact that Ms Sarah Heasley was hired by the City for her experience with public information requests while working at the Federal level and the City of Greensboro installed their online PIRT Tracking System just this year.

Perhaps a few e-mails and telephone calls to the NC Department of Justice from a few thousand UNCG staffers, students and alumni might speed up the process. Hey, the City of Greensboro picked up their pace.

My Apology To Chris Musselwhite

Let there be no mistake, people can say a lot of bad things about Billy Jones but if they tell you I'm afraid of admitting a mistake they're lying.

Getting me to believe I've made a mistake? Well that's another story altogether. Not only am I ill tempered, obstinate and sometimes mean but convincing me I'm wrong can be a real challenge. After all, I've had 2 ex wives and a mother who for my entire life have reminded me, "Billy Jones, you're always right!"

That was supposed to be a joke, get it?

That said, when it finally does sink in I'm man enough to admit it and my comments to Chris Musselwhite yesterday were simply over the line. As a friend of Chris' said in an e-mail to me:

"He threw a firecracker. You dropped a nuclear bomb. 

Trust me. My husband and I have been following your blog since everything broke, checking in multiple times a day but that post made me question that."
People who know me probably saw it coming.

I overreacted. I religiously see a therapist every week for the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that causes many of my over reactions. It's the reason I can't keep a job. The reason I fight so hard for people I don't even know. I'm a lot better now than I once was but Chris didn't deserve a nuclear bomb and if I'm going to do what I do I have to learn when and where to deploy my arsenal. Chris' remarks were not the time to deploy nor was Chris the correct target. My reply to Chris Musselwhite as seen at the bottom of my post Who Is Chris Musselwhite And Why His Opinion Matters was inappropriate and wrong. And it did nothing to further the cause of the UNCG3 and the rest of the Staff and Faculty of UNCG for which Mr Musselwhite and I have both been standing up for.

And for that, you all, including Chris Musselwhite, have my sincerest apology.

I only hope success still awaits you.

How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty: Part 7

In Part 6 of our series, How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty I introduced you to a native wonder plant called Duckweed. Today I'm going to introduce you to a second wonder plant native to North Carolina but first I'd like to address how the City of Greensboro could make these things happen if there were the political will to do so.

In Part 3 I brought up the fact that the City of Greensboro currently has $272 Million Dollars invested in stocks and bonds outside of Greensboro that should be invested in Greensboro. Allowing our own population to do without while building enormous wealth is simply unacceptable. Besides, all that money is under the control of Wall Street Banksters who are without a doubt stealing every penny they can get their hands on. Just last year Greensboro had $273 Million Dollars in that same said account.

It's time to bring our boys back home where they belong.

Not only could the City of Greensboro invest in businesses as I've mentioned in this and previous parts of this series, the City of Greensboro could found for profit businesses as the major investor in publicly traded corporations then over time sell off the City owned shares at a profit. As I wrote in Part 2:

 "This entire series is to be considered an evolving plan and any post is subject to be edited with feedback from readers or as I gleen more information from other sources. After all, any economic plan so set in stone that it cannot change to reflect changes in markets and current economic conditions is doomed to failure from the onset."
That goes for my ideas as well. This is solely my opinion, Duckweed may not be the solution Greensboro wants or needs but it is established fact that economic development through real estate development is and always has been putting the cart before the horse. Empty industrial parks are a sign of failure and have even less potential than an empty field which can still be farmed and might still someday become an industrial park when the need arises. And for this City to keep investing in such pipe dreams while poverty remains above 21%, unemployment is the highest in the state if not the nation and Greensboro remains the second hungriest city in America is simply absurd and inexcusable.

One doesn't have to go through Wall Street to form a publicly traded corporation. Ever heard of over the counter stocks? They can be sold at banks, credit unions, brokers and all sorts of institutions across the country. I learned of this from Mrs Silo, Bessemer Elementary School, 6th grade half a century ago. Other than Gus who owned the Alpat Restaurant on Bessemer Avenue, she was the only Greek person I knew then. That was the same year I read all 20 volumes of the World Book Encyclopedia. Don't tell me I didn't know everything.

And then the gang violence started and school was no longer a safe place to be...

But I was supposed to be talking about another plant called Azolla, native to North Carolina and so common it's sold it pet supply stores as an aquarium plant called Fairy Moss or Mosquito Fern. Azolla caroliniana is the species that grows locally and as you can see from clicking on the first link it has many established uses including animal feed, mosquito control, compost, organic fertilizer, mulch, human consumption. Azolla also grows well on shaded bodies of water where Duckweed doesn't grow.

It's important that both these plants are great for animal feed and can be grown in places where traditional sources of animal feed cannot be grown but what is probably more important is the fact that one of the byproducts of successful farming of Duckweed and Azolla is fish. And the fish that eats these plants the best is Tilapia,  one of the most grown and most sought after fish in the world. 

And were you aware that the world's largest fish farms are located within sight of large toxic, leaking oil refineries? How safe is the food you are feeding your family and how do you know?

Seriously, Folks, Greensboro is currently under contract to buy 52% of the water from the Randelman Dam. That's more water than the City of Greensboro uses and that doesn't take into account our City owned lakes. We have a glut of water at a time when the world's food supplies are endangered, our citizens are the second hungriest in the nation and the highest unemployment in the state. And there's empty properties everywhere you look-- especially in the neighborhoods hit hardest. Do the math: Greensboro should be a major exporter of food, not an importer.

Duckweed and Azolla as an energy product could be piped out of Greensboro via Colonial Pipeline and hauled on trucks and trains. Duckweed and Azolla as food and feed could be grown almost anywhere there's a connection to City water and sunlight. Rain water is preferred but a back-up is needed and water is needed for cleaning. A packing and processing house and a mill would be needed. It's a big undertaking but it would spin off many smaller family owned businesses in Greensboro and beyond as more and more see the potential and get involved.

Or my uncle and I will just raise what we can in our backyards, having free feed for our chickens, fish, parakeets, finches, doves, hamsters, rabbits, worms, etc while the rest of you struggle on. We'll not go hungry, will you?

It's not about the fact that we don't have the assets we need, it's about how we use the assets we have and use them in a sustainable manner. We can be leaders or followers. For the entirety of my 58 years here in Greensboro we've been followers only to end up with over 21% poverty, the highest unemployment in the state and the 2nd hungriest population in America. It might be that my ideas aren't the best solutions but what's been tried so far damned sure hasn't worked.

When I see the status quo trotting out some ideas that aren't just more of the same ol' same ol' then I'll be ready to listen. Until then you might want to give my ideas some thought. 

In Part 8 I'll share an e-mail I sent to the Greensboro City Council.