Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty: Part 2

Even if you've read How To Bring Greensboro Out of Poverty: Part 1, I recommend you read it again as I've edited the post to include more rules. As a matter of fact: 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.

And no, I'll not argue as to what the plan was previously as that is no longer the plan. This is in-fact a draft, a starting place for others to consider and amend as necessary.

Any economic plan needs to take into account what you have in terms of assets, what you have to work with that others might not have in abundance. What does Greensboro have plenty of?

*Unskilled labor.
*Empty commercial and industrial buildings.
*Infill properties.
*Water and sewer infrastructure.
*Excess water, aka 53% of the water from the Randleman Dam which is more water than Greensboro uses.
*North Carolina A&T University
*Guilford Technical Community College
*$272 Million Dollars in secret funding the City of Greensboro doesn't want you to know they have. Yes, I did say no incentives in Part 1 and I'm sticking to that rule. I'll explain more later.

Can you think of more? What kinds of businesses can be built around those kinds of assets? I can think of plenty, can you?

The beauty is: with the exception of the funding, all those things are in greatest supply in Greensboro's poorest neighborhoods. All the infrastructure is already in place, nothing new has to be built except businesses. Will the current infrastructure someday need to be expanded? That's the kind of problem City Councils should want to half to solve.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Nancy Cries RUCO

In a Facebook discussion with Cara Michelle Forest about a Heritage House refugee about to become homeless despite the fact that I personally made Mayor Vaughan aware of this person's situation via e-mail weeks ago (Parts 1 , 23 and 4) Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan cites the loss of RUCO, the Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy, as the reason for the conditions at Heritage House becoming as bad as they were but RUCO which was rendered illegal by the State Legislature in 2011 doesn't explain this 2007 letter from a Heritage House resident. Does it Mayor Vaughan?

"The exterior is nice-looking, and the rooms are not bad (it used to be hotel once). The tenants, however, are a different story. Since I've been here, I have encountered drunks, drug dealers, theives, and prostitutes (I only wish I were exaggerating!). Police officers have become a common sight for me, as fights (particularly domestic situations), confrontations, and robberies occur regularly. Then, there is an idiot that has decided that sounding the fire alarm at night when everyone is sleeping is "fun." Add to that the mentally challenged individual who not only vandalizes the laundry room, but urinates in the washer and dryers."

Would that not have been a RUCO violation? Nancy?

Got a screen grab of that Nancy, don't bother trying to pay them to take it down.

Nancy wants dearly to hide but in a

"Council member Nancy Vaughan had questioned whether RUCO might be less costly if it were converted into a complaint-only  process."

Don't bother to beg Ed Cone to take the link down, Nancy, I took screen grabs of that too. I long ago learned how you operate when you started deleting my questions from your Facebook page before you blocked me there for catching you at a lie. Then there was Jordan Green's report in July of that same year:

"A recent report that Greensboro Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan wants to explore the possibility of revising the city’s RUCO program — that’s an acronym for Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy — and go back to a complaint-driven system pricked my curiosity about whether the units at JT Hairston Memorial Apartments have a RUCO certificate and whether reports of bedbug infestation there would constitute a violation."

A complaint driven RUCO would not have been RUCO at all. Have no doubt, Then Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Barakat Vaughan was attempting to dismantle RUCO one brick at a time beginning with the very foundation, the piece most objected to by slumlords-- the ability of inspectors to inspect without first being called upon.

On August 10, 2010, Cara Michele Forest wrote: 

 "The worst part about the push to go to elimination of RUCO and self-report of violations is that it pits power and money (TREBIC, Greensboro Landlords Association) against poor people who are most likely to live in substandard housing and fear reporting housing code violations.  Power vs. poverty is an unfair fight. Too often, power wins. I’m hoping and praying that many advocates — and renters! — will step up and fight for the continuation of this successful program."

Yep, the Wayback machine... Michelle spoke to me for the first time in about a year just recently. (In an e-mail) She didn't want to get dragged back into politics, I suspect it will be at least a year before the beautiful young woman I first met over 30 years ago will speak to me again. Despite my well known adoration for her I have a long history of blowing it with Michelle, it's nothing new so after Michelle and I argued today about her intent to remain apolitical I'm dragging her back in kicking and screaming, like it or not.

And while Nancy was working to undo RUCO at the local level hubby Don Vaughan, himself a former Greensboro City Councilman, State Lobbiest and then State Senator had already began work to dismantle RUCO at the State level. From Yes-Weekly, October 15, 2008:

"Despite the low premium on rhetoric, lawyer Don Vaughan took his place in line for the second round of speeches after a bluegrass band stopped playing and the registered guests had made a pass through the barbecue line and turned in their drink tickets. A business-friendly Democrat, the candidate for the state Senate seat being vacated by Kay Hagan was in familiar territory. Individuals employed by real-estate companies and law firms represented by the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition, or TREBIC, have donated at least $5,525 to Vaughan’s campaign. If the total seems unimpressive, then the increments — 33 checks averaging $167 — at least suggest a set of relationships marked by mutual ease and assurance.

 “Real estate is the beginning of economic development in Guilford County,” said the emcee, a Greensboro lawyer named Tom Terrell who argues zoning cases before the High Point City Council. A sign urging, “Stop the Jordan Lake Rules,” rested on an easel at the head of the candidate line to underscore TREBIC’s agenda. Requirements put forward by the state Environmental Management Commission to reduce upstream nitrogen pollution in the Haw River to clean up the Jordan Lake, which provides drinking water to a number Triangle communities, has been roundly opposed by developers, municipalities and manufacturers alike. The estimated cost of the cleanup to Greensboro is $70 million.

 Terrell introduced Vaughan at the TREBIC reception as “a real-estate attorney and former city council member.” Favored to win his race, Vaughan served seven terms on Greensboro City Council before losing a reelection bid in 2005. A busy law practice in which he has represented everyone from clients charged with driving while intoxicated to residents from neighborhoods such as Glenwood and Westridge lobbying to block infill development has won him supporters. A consummate insider, the candidate has served on the NC Banking Commission and the board of the state chamber of commerce. From 1993 through 2007, Vaughan acted as a lobbyist in Raleigh for a string of clients, including the National Solid Waste Management Association and what is now the Greensboro Partnership."

Don Vaughan went to Raleigh with 3 goals: eliminate RUCO, eliminate Protest Petitions and do away with the Jordan Lake Rules. Having achieved the first 2 he retired after 1 term in the State Senate figuring 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

You see, Nancy Barakat Vaughan has been the problem all along. TREBIC was the #1 opponent of RUCO. And when it was pointed out to Nancy Vaughan in October of 2011 that the City funded Greensboro Partnership was a dues paying TREBIC member that opposed RUCO Nancy said:

“...I’m very aware of what’s going on in the partnership and the chamber, and I support them 100 percent. This year, our funding was cut by 10 percent during our budget process. I advocated very strongly to restore that 10 percent. Unfortunately, I was not successful..."
Could it be Nancy has already decided to be a one term mayor having already done all the damage she set out to do just as Don accomplished all he planned to do in one term in Raleigh? One can't help but wonder if everything hasn't already been arranged.

When I first saw the screen grabs of Nancy and Michele's Facebook conversation I sent Nay-saying Nancy an e-mail that included the following:

"Also, progress was being made at Heritage House, crime was going down. Then command of the Southern Division was suddenly changed, the walking patrols ended and crime there skyrocketed again. Why was the command changed? Who wanted Heritage House to fail?

The city is rushing the process to take ownership and resell the property in hopes of beating an court orders stopping the sale. They're almost sure to pull that part off. And the lawsuits, the taxpayers pay them so the politicians lose nothing. But those in charge were so sure myself and others would fall for the slumlord story and take their side. They didn't know I already knew homeowners living in Heritage House. They didn't know Ben Holder's first Heritage House contact found Ben via me: http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-was-billy-jones-and-ed-cones.html was back in 2012. They didn't know that I knew before the first story hit the media that it was a land grab in the making.
And they didn't know I would leave all the dots behind so that they could be easily connected: http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/search/label/Heritage%20House
Oh, and we know this began under Robbie Perkins buy why go after him when Nancy is every bit as guilty and still in office? What's really sad is that Barber is going to slip away because Nancy won't open her mouth and Barber becomes the next crooked mayor.
Remember this Nancy: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9h2K8JxTQUjemsyVGJkdFI2ekd5SUdxZlhWMEZjUmVwME5V/edit?usp=sharing No, Michelle didn't send it to me, she's usually made at me. I've got the entire conversation. You can't block everyone like you block me from Facebook and the more you block the quilter you look."

Nancy Barakat Vaughan'r reply:

"I fully expected you to see my response to Michele, or I would have called her. After all your "Team" is a "friend".   

But Mayor Vaughan failed to address any of my concerns just as she dodged Michelle's questions and has continued a long campaign of lies and deception that has gone on for years. I replied to Madam Mayor with the following:

"If this is how you want to play the game then have at it."

And I included a link to this post.

Have You Ever Been To Bismark, North Dakota?

I have. That's why I was shocked to see that Bismark, North Dakota, a town with a population of only 61, 941 people could be ranked as the 51st best place in America to live. And where did Greensboro come in? Number 91.

It's 180 miles from Greensboro to the nearest beach. It's over 1500 miles from Bismark to the nearest ocean. From Bismark to the closest point of Lake Superior-- the closest thing that resembles an ocean-- is 435 miles. The mountains are 2 hours away from Greensboro. The mountains are much farther away from Bismark.

Bismark is isolated with only 1 Interstate highway I94 passing through it. Greensboro has I40, 85, 73, 74, the loop whose number escapes me and more in the works.

The weather in Bismark can be horrid with the record Summer high at 114 F and the record Winter low at -45 F. Bismark's winters are long and summers are short. Greensboro's record high is 104 F, our winters are short and our record low is -8 F.

And don't even get me started on the wind chill. I once almost froze to death when a broken down tractor-trailer left me stranded just outside of Dickenson, North Dakota, a town not too far from Bismark. It was -40 with a wind chill factor of -70. And it was only Thanksgiving Day. Most years my family enjoys Thanksgiving dinner on our porch here in Greensboro.

Walmart is one of the largest, top 10 employers in Bismark. Walmart doesn't even make Greensboro's Top 20. But despite all that Bismark outranked Greensboro, North Carolina by 40 places. Just think how great a place to live Bismark would be if it were located where Greensboro, North Carolina is today. Why I've no doubt there would be Bismark on one list of greatest places to live and 100 other cities on the second list of great places to live.

Perhaps Greensboro should aspire to be more like Bismark, North Dakota? I vote we send a team there to explore Bismark ASAP. They've got something we need.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Was Steven Tanger Perpetuating A Hoax?

Remember Steven Tanger's promise to donate what was it, $10 Million Dollars to the Downtown Greensboro Performing Arts Center in exchange for naming the joint the Steven Tanger Center For The Performing Arts? It was $10 Million Dollars over 10 years, right? Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Well according to the National Center for Charitable Stastics that's going to be very hard to do considering that their latest data shows that Mr Tanger's foundation only has $171,536 in total assets. Don't take my word for it, click on the link, then go to the second page and read it for yourself.

I mean, I don't know, can Steven Tanger turn $171 thousand into $10 Million in 10 years? Maybe he can. Or maybe he and Walker Sanders worked out a plan to dump the costs of the project into the laps of Greensboro taxpayers after the Steven Tanger Center For The Performing Arts is built and the bills come due?

You decide?

I know I'd never sign a $10 Million Dollar contract with a man who couldn't actually show me the money, would you? And being that we now have more evidence that Sanders lied about his taxpayer funded trip to Bermuda in 2012... Well, you just can't trust that guy.

What Was Billy Jones' And Ed Cone's Involvement With Heritage House?

In the interest of full disclosure and to demonstrate how utterly clumsy Ben Holder has been in covering his tracks I'd like to explain the rolls Ed Cone and I previously played in the Heritage House Saga. While bit parts they are parts just the same and lots of tiny clues eventually add up to a story.

Sometime in late 2012 a woman e-mailed me saying she had learned from my blog that I was an admirer of Ben Holder's previous works and needed to get in touch with Ben badly.

Then, like now, I had no e-mail address that Ben responds to so I put her in touch with Ed Cone who I thought would know how to get in touch with Ben. She was very nervous that I included Ed in the chain.

Ben's very next post was his first post about the conditions at Heritage House.

Coincidence? I'm keeping the woman's name in confidence now just as I was then so you'll just have to wonder. But rest assured she never signed the petition to secure the warrant to search Heritage House.

Was Ed able to contact Ben or did Ed forward my message to someone else who then contacted Ben? Only Ed can answer that question. Or the person Ed might have forwarded the message to.

Ed, care to comment? True, 2012 was a long time ago, how long does my gmail keep old messages?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Why Did The Media Lie For Ben Holder?

News media reports dating back to 2012 like this Fox8 report Greensboro inspects crime ridden housing complex repeat the phrase:

"City leaders received a petition three weeks ago from residents in the Heritage House Community."

The video states that Ben Holder started the petition but the text says it came from residents:

But as you can see by clicking on the 2012 Petition, not one of the signers lived at Heritage House, 310 West Meadowview Road. That's one of two instances in which warrants used to inspect Heritage House were based on fraudulent petitions and Ben Holder committed perjury. You see, our investigative team has audio recordings of Ben Holder admitting he never entered Heritage House. Not in 2012 and not in 2014.

This isn't just a problem for Ben Holder. A warrant based on a lie is not a valid warrant and the use of an invalid warrant makes the inspection unconstitutional. And if the inspection is unconstitutional then the citations issued cannot be enforced. Now homeowners and residents of Heritage House in 2012 and 2014 are free to sue the City of Greensboro not once but twice.

Hundreds of residents, possibly as many as a hundred different homeowners in the 2 inspections combined, Ben Holder, Nancy Vaughan, Mike Barber and Skip Alston are beginning to get too darned expensive for Greensboro to keep around.

It also points out very big problems with the City of Greensboro's petition process which will no doubt be declared unconstitutional before all of this is over with. You see, the City requires 5 residents sign the petition but the City does nothing to verify that the residents are real people, the addresses are where they really live or that the signatures actually belong to the people whose names are on the petition. Only Ben Holder appeared in person, the rest of the signatures could have been forged. People hollar IDs for voting? How about IDs for warrants that result in throwing people out of their homes and taking their property away from them forever?

There's also the issue of abuse. Ben never saw Heritage House. Was he hired to do this? Not the first time. I happen to know he was acting on behalf of a resident of Heritage House the first time-- a resident who was scared to come forward. But the issue of abuse remains.

If I wanted to I could start a petition to inspect Mayor Nancy Vaughan's home. All I need is 5 signatures and 5 addresses within the Greensboro City Limits. Once I fill out the form the Code Enforcement Department is bound by City Code to secure a warrant and inspect the Mayor's home. Yes, a waste of time and taxpayers' dollars but you can easily see how the system is just waiting to be abused and possibly already has.

Of course the first time around was all on Ben. It wasn't until Skip Alston started demanding he get repaid for having lost out on the Bessemer Shopping Center deal and threatening to withhold the Simkins PAC endorsement that Nancy, Mike and Yvonne Johnson gave in and offered up Heritage House as a means to make up for Skip's losses as Skip brokers the deals for the upcoming Rehabilitation, Conservation and Recondition of Meridian Event Center and Heritage House.

That's right, despite the fact that Meridian got it's own water meter just last month and has almost completely finished a $2.5 Million Dollar remodeling of their half of the building (I've been inside and seen it for myself) the City of Greensboro plans to take that as well.

If there was ever any doubt that this entire event hasn't been a land grab from the beginning it's all over with now.

Greensboro's Privatized Water Supply

In 1986 Greensboro and 9 other communities across the Piedmont Triad formed the PTRWA (Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority) and began the long and drawn out process of building the Randleman Reservoir amid much controversy known as the Dam Scam. Over time some of those communities dropped out of the project and others were added. Currently there are 6 member communities. But what they never told you was that the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority is in-fact a private corporation that is not controlled by Greensboro or any of the 5 other municipalities involved in its establishment. Document filings at the North Carolina Secretary of State website confirm what I'm saying is true.

And if what I'm saying isn't true will someone from the City of Greensboro or the PTRWA please provide me and my readers with documentation that proves otherwise? Mayor Vaughan? Tom Phillips? Jim Key? RecycleBill@gmail.com

That's right, there is nothing the Greensboro City Council can do should the Board of Directors of PTRWA decide they wish to sell Greensboro's and the Piedmont Triad's water supply to anyone they choose. Could this someday be our story too?

And to add insult to injury, Greensboro is currently under contract to buy 53% of the water the Randelman Reservoir produces. Which, by the way, is more water than Greensboro currently uses. Prove me wrong on that too, why don't you?

Again, we have a long history of corruption bleeding us dry. 85% of municipal water systems in the USA are still publicly owned but ours isn't one of them. Our communities couldn't afford to build it so they formed a private system of their own, sold bonds to finance the entire thing and created a board that answers to no one. If states like Minnesota and Michigan, both having some of the largest freshwater resources in the world, aren't immune, what makes you think we are?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why I Don't Do Partisan Politics Anymore

And even if NWO isn't Big Bro's true identity the lesson is still the same.

Hat tip JoeyG

What Was Roch Smith Jr's Involvement With Heritage House

On Sunday, December 09, 2012, Roch Smith Jr posted Is Greensboro preparing to block media coverage of mass Fourth Amendment violations? In it he wrote:

" The City said in its press release that this action is in response to a petition by the building's residents, but they did not provide the wording of the petition or the names or the number of residents who signed it. A petition from your neighbors does not give the government permission to enter your home — not without your permission or a warrant."

"...a petition by the buildings residents..." that's what Roch wrote. But we now know from public information releases (PIRTs) that the previous petition, like the most recent petition, was spearheaded by Ben Holder and others of which none of them lived in Heritage House. Not nary a one.

Did the City of Greensboro lie to Roch Smith Jr or was Roch lying to cover up for his long time friend with whom telephone records will prove he talks to almost every day and has done so for years.

Roch and Ben have long been the best of friends. When Ben walked into Converge South several years ago with a copy of the report then City Manager Mitch Johnson had used to frame GPD Police Chief David Wray, Roch was the first person Ben showed the report to. Myself and others watched Ben walk in the door and go straight to Roch then the 2 of them scurried away to read the report.

Roch helps Ben edit his blog posts.

Did Ben lie to his best friend and confidant or has Roch been covering for Ben Holder, Nancy Vaughan and Mike Barber all along?

Roch also wrote in that same post:

"Media Blackout
While the City has sent out a press release inviting media to cover the raid and announcing that city officials will be available for interviews, they also have announced that the media will be confined to a staging area and no media will be allowed inside the complex where the searches will be occurring, assuring that the actions of inspectors and police will remain hidden from public scrutiny. What will the response of the inspectors and police be if they encounter a locked door, a hesitant tenant or a tenant ignorant of her rights? Due to the media blackout, we will not know. What will the response of the police be if they discover other illegal activity unrelated to building codes?"

But Roch Smith Jr, Greensboro's long time champion of citizens' rights and police oversight uttered nary a word this time even though conditions were exactly the same-- why?

What was Roch Smith Jr's involvement with Heritage House and why hasn't he opened his mouth? Roch, would you care to comment? Nancy? Mike? Ben?

And yes, Roch, I've already taken screen grabs. It's time you stopped accusing me of being a liar and started answering some questions as your credibility is now nil. I can forgive people but not as long as they continue to lie.

How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty: Part 1

Yesterday I posted Nancy Vaughan Has No Plan And No Clue in which I criticized the Mayor for failing to take action on Greensboro's homelessness, 21% poverty rate, top 10 rising poverty rate and highest unemployment rate in North Carolina. Today I will again present a plan that will save us.

While the Mayor is talking about solving problems all she's really doing is just talking: From Fox8:

"Greensboro city staff said a second poverty summit will take place before the end of the year."

You know, so Nancy can talk some more without getting anything done. In the meantime I'm going to present a plan over the course of the next week that we could already be working on beginning with some ground rules:

1. Zero incentives. Believe it or not there are means by which the City of Greensboro can and does invest in businesses that does not require incentives and rather than costing taxpayers money the means I'm planning on using already returns a profit to the City of Greensboro as well as the majority of cities across these united states.

2. Put the jobs where the poor people live. At best, putting jobs in areas far from where jobs are most needed only encourages people and their money to leave already depressed areas. This is by design as it provided the developers with constant cheap properties to develop. It is in-fact their solution to the old real estate adage, "They ain't making no more new land." Problem is: Rich developers' profits are the working classes losses.

3. Forget megasites, we need the farms. North Carolina already has 18 empty megasites. Nationwide there exists 180 empty megasites. The idea that spending $20 to $100 Million Dollars of State and local tax dollars to build 1 megasite to attract an automaker to North Carolina is ludicrous. Megasites are just another form of corporate welfare. States and cities buy the land, give it to developers, let the taxpayers foot the entire bill and the developers walk away with $Millions in profits even if not 1 job is ever produced. Megasites are simply another form of incentives to real estate developers.

4. Keep it local. Outside the corporate city limits of Greensboro is too far. Piedmont Triad International Airport is outside the Greensboro City limits and pays no taxes to the City of Greensboro-- think about it. My plan won't compete with other cities but instead will show them a better way to aspire to. For that reason we've no need for time and money wasting summits that drag on while never accomplishing anything. Funding other communities is simply not acceptable at a time when we cannot sustain ourselves.

5. Start a hard line process of culling the non profit development agencies from City funding beginning with the Greensboro Partnership, Action Greensboro and Downtown Greensboro Inc. Non profits simply drain money from the system. The argument that private corporations can do it more cheaply than government only really applies to for profit corporations and only in certain instances. By law the City of Greensboro cannot shut down any non profit company but there is no law that forces the City of Greensboro to give them money. All funding to non humanitarian non profits should be very closely scrutinized and most of these duties should be assumed by the City of Greensboro as reducing an entire level of upper management will no doubt lower costs. That is: if they're found to be needed at all.

6. Give preference to locally owned co-ops as co-ops generally pay higher wages, return more to the community and stay in the community.

7. Stop doing what everyone else is doing. No one ever became a leader by playing follow the leader.

Please continue reading Part 2.