Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What The News & Record Isn't Telling You About DGI

I always find it amazing how much actual fact the News & Record is capable of leaving out when reporting the news about events involving Greensboro City Government and the quasi-government agencies that act on the City Council's behalf.

Take Downtown Greensboro Inc for example. DGI is responsible for the Downtown Business Improvement District and actually maintains a taxing authority over what is commonly called the BID. Now if that isn't a quasi-government agency then I don't know what is.

And while it's true that DGI has 2 elected/appointed boards not one member of either of those boards represents citizens from outside the BID. DGI proponents argue there should be no representation from outside the bid claiming the rest of Greensboro taxpayers are not stakeholders in downtown but the conveniently leave out the fact that over 50% of DGI's funding comes from taxpayers outside of the BID. They even lie about it on their website, sorry ass lying bastards:

"How is DGI funded?

The major funding source for the organization is a Municipal Service District or Business Improvement District (BID), that levies a special assessment on Downtown business and property owners to provide enhanced services and programs that benefit the ratepayers. This district was created by City Council in 2005 after a petition process demonstrated support by over 60% of the property owners. These funds are governed by state law and are intended to enhance, not replace, government funding to Downtown. Click here for the fiscal year 2013-2014 budget, July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014."

(Sorry George, I know it bothers you when I call people names but the proof is in the links above. They are in-fact sorry ass lying bastards and they deserve to be called out as such. And damned right, I got a screen grab.)

In fact: the linked budget shows that out of a total of $1,285,355 in total revenue the BID reserve only provided $75,000 in revenue. I posted the budget here in case they take their link down as they're known to do. Long time readers will remember how Nancy Vaughan promised to straighten out DGI a year ago when the City provided just over half of DGI's fiunding. Now the City provides a total of $1,119,455 to DGI's $165,900. Great job, Mayor Vaughan, is there anything you can't screw up?

Today in the News & Record article, Changes ahead for city booster group the conviently left out more information than they included.

For example: there was no mention of the fact that Executive Committee Chairman Sam Simpson has announced his resignation not only as board chairman but from DGI altogether. Then there was this:

"Board member Eric Robert said that the people who live, work and play downtown are not represented by the current, overwhelmingly white board. After the planned performing-arts center pushed Boston’s House of Jazz — and thus DGI board member Mike Boston — out of downtown, only one person of color remains on the current board.

The existing lack of racial diversity, as well generational and class diversity, is a considerable problem, Robert said, especially considering the demographics of the city and who uses downtown. While he would like to see representation from college students and Asian and Latino residents on the board as well, Robert said the proposed new slate was “whiter than white.”

The board's responce to Mr Robert's concerns:

 "Several board members’ terms technically end as 2014 wraps up, though board members who haven’t served six years are eligible to continue. But Robert, who served a one-year term, and M’Couls owner Simonne McClinton, who is finishing a two-year term, are both under the impression that they won’t be invited back."

You see, the problem is the board is simply a bunch of figure heads and they know it:

“I have no clue,” McClinton said. “That’s the whole issue. The board itself is completely out of the loop and has no control of the decisions that come out of the executive committee.

“The bottom line for me is I wanted DGI to be successful and do great things for downtown,” she added. “I just never got the feeling the organization knew how to do that, and became defensive to suggestions.”

She agreed with criticism about the lack of racial diversity on the board, noting that besides one black man on the board, her being half Lebanese and Robert being French is the closest thing to diversity on the board.

“Goodness gracious, we’re supposed to be representative of downtown and we’re nowhere near that,” McClinton said, adding that the eclectic nature of downtown isn’t represented on the board either."

Remember: this is a quasi-government body we're talking about, not a private club. I don't believe the Executive Committee understands or cares about the difference.

I mean seriously folks, even Zack Matheny who I once said should have a pitchfork driven through his black heart agrees with Billy Jones this time around:

“The slate that I saw of the new board members was going back to the perception of what it was before of only inviting people that look like you and agree with you,” Matheny said. “Eric Robert and I have challenged each other and debated and we don’t agree on everything but Eric has a significant talent. The branding campaign he put together is very good. He is the bright shining star of what DGI has done in the last 14 months. And to be rewarded, he’s asked to not be on the board anymore.”

Unbeknownst to many in Greensboro there is a movement afoot by several of Greensboro's elites to eliminate the Business Improvement District and leave DGI to fend for itself. Councilman Matheny is well aware of this effort and knows quite well the people behind it. From the News & Record:

"Councilman Zack Matheny will be the liaison with DGI and he said Monday that he has questions about the group’s performance and what it could do to improve downtown.

DGI’s primary funding comes from a city Business Improvement District tax on downtown property owners and businesses as well as private donations and city grants."

More proof DGI is a bunch of  sorry ass lying bastards and concerns that 2015 may well be their last year-- ever.

Then there's Jason Cannon who I reported had lied on his resume then DGI tried to cover it up
but not before it got the attention of Yes-Weekly:

"Then we have the hush-hush case of a local economic development official that is said to have falsified his resume when claiming to have a master’s degree from a state university. The announcement of his hiring, and a previous interview with a local newspaper state the claim, but the gentleman has a federal privacy block on his education records, thus preventing the media from verifying his credentials. The announcement of his hiring has been scrubbed from the web, though a cached version of the reportedly false claim still exists."

And those cashed versions, the Business Journal has it all:

"How many people fired for lying about a past criminal conviction would love to be able to scrub their records from the web or put a block on their past mistakes?

What is equality in this country when the haves get away with things the have-nots desperately need just to have a chance to get by?"

Only in Greensboro the elites can do just that.