Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty: Part 9

Well the News & Record is once again writing about the drought that has befallen our area reminding me of the dam scam that brought us the Randelman Dam. Statements from the News & Record like:

"Meanwhile, Greensboro’s three water-supply lakes north of town are about 77 percent full, compared with 87 percent last year and 97 percent at this time in 2012 , said Steve Drew, the director of Greensboro’s water resources department.

“We would have to be at 61 percent available capacity to call for Stage 1 voluntary restrictions (on water use),” Drew said.

The city’s three lakes — Higgins, Brandt and Townsend — are 3 percent closer to full than they were during a similar dry period in 2011, Drew said."

would appear to give credence to EPA award winning, Greensboro Water Conservation Director Mike J Baron's claims that the previous water shortage was rigged by opening the gates and allowing water to flow downstream.

But even if none of what Mr Baron claims is true, making Greensboro more resistant to drought is yet another reason to take up the aquaponics I have suggested throughout this series, How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty. You see, Aquaponics uses only about 10% of the water used by normal agriculture.

How is that possible? In Aquaponics the same water is used over and over again.

And while today's News & Record article Triad looking to boost manufacturing jobs talks about the dire need for education and training they leave out the part about how to get the manufacturing jobs here in the first place. 

You see, Greensboro is known around the nation as a great place to get a great education and leave.  Why, because there are no jobs here for highly skilled workers despite having the best colleges, universities and technical schools in the nation. As usual, the "leaders" and "experts" have no plan.

In Part 8 I posted an e-mail I sent to the Greensboro City Council, City Manager Jim Westmoreland, City Attorney Tom Carruthers and others in the hope they might be willing to discuss my ideas. I waited all weekend then followed up with a second e-mail:

"Hate To Be Pushy But

 I know you had the weekend off but I also know how you prefer to ignore me:

I expect a discussion."

 So do Mayor Vaughan, 8 members of City Council, the City Manager or City Attorney bother to even reply to my e-mail? Of course they didn't because they're all wrapped up in their own little worlds and none of them give a damn about economic development for Greensboro.  Since they won't listen I'll explain to you how it works.

In Part 8 I referred to NC GS 159-30. Investment of Idle Funds.

Using all or part of the $272 Million Dollars the City of Greensboro currently has invested in its "rainy day fund" the City could fund a lot of new and existing businesses. The problem is, NC GS 159-30 forbids direct investments into businesses. As a matter of fact: the only legal investment Greensboro can do with its excess funds is to place them in an interest bearing bank account or mutual fund.

But nowhere in NC GS 159-30 or any other law does it say that the mutual fund can't be managed by a local bank (not a local branch of a nationwide bank) and nowhere in any law does it say that mutual fund cannot be restricted as to where that money is invested.

 That's right, folks, nowhere. As a matter of fact, when GS 159-30 was first written all investments had to be within North Carolina as North Carolina did not, in those days, allow out of state banking institutions to do business in North Carolina. And North Carolina's economy was at its peak.  

So what I'm talking about is issuing a Request For Proposals from local banks to administer a mutual fund for all or part of Greensboro's $272 Million Dollar "rainy day fund" with certain restrictions on how the banks could invest the money.

And if that $272 Million Dollars were restricted to local businesses that meet the terms laid out in Part 1 you might find a lot more companies willing to meet said terms. 

 Of course it might not be possible to invest 100% of the money locally and still keep the account safe. That would have to be worked out. But it would be understood that 100% local investment is the ultimate goal of the program and if Bank A can't do it then perhaps Bank B should get a try. Remember: this same said account lost $1 Million Dollars last year and no one seems to know where it went.

By the way, is Wells Fargo still handling the City of Greensboro's money?

Sadly, no one from the City of Greensboro was interested in economic development so ideas like the Greensboro Car located on 46 acres of industrial zoned property at 115 Ward Road adjacent to the railroad tracks in East Greensboro and listed by former Mayor Robbie Perkins' NAI Piedmont will never see fruition. How do you like that, the Greensboro City Council knocked Robbie Perkins out of a commission.

 I used to go hunting on that piece of property when I was a kid. The economy was good then as it was driven by manufacturing instead of trying to drive economic development by building empty industrial parks.

How many other ideas will never come to Greensboro because our leaders don't give a damn about economic development? How long will Greensboro remain the second hungriest city in America?  How long will we lead the State of North Carolina in unemployment? When will poverty rates fall below 21% instead of hovering above it? How many more empty industrial parks and megasites will be built with taxpayers' money?

Joel Leonard is right. The people with the skills to do these things are rapidly disappearing from the workforce. The average age of a tool and die maker in the United States is said to be 65 years old. Who is going to fix it when it breaks? If Greensboro doesn't act now to take an active hand in bringing back manufacturing jobs instead of continuing to drive our economy by the long failed strategy of real estate development we are eternally doomed.

And remember: the Greensboro City Council chose not to discuss economic development despite my repeated attempts. 

Will the City Council reply now? Or will they confirm through their silence they really don't give a damn? I'll e-mail them a link to this post to find out.

 Update: How serious is this really? Germany is offering free college tuition to American students. It's that fucking serious! 

Please continue reading Part 10