Sunday, February 1, 2015

Mash Up; The News and Record's Allen Johnson and Susan Ladd on Trudy Wade's Roy Carroll initiative to lower minority [Democrat] influence on Greensboro's City Council


"Susan Ladd: Tell Trudy Wade not to tamper with City Council" and "Her highness, the Grand Potentate of Guilford: Trudy Wade"

"...our Republican state Senator from Guilford County is most concerned with fixing something that’s not broken, namely the Greensboro City Council.

This district-and-at-large system was created to ensure minority representation, and it has resulted in a more balanced and representative council, which currently has four women, four men, three people of color [and Marykay Abuzuaiter who should be considered a person of color] and a woman as mayor.

Three potential scenarios;

5 district, 1 at large and 1 mayor

6 district and 1 mayor = redo the district maps, 
which could involve the Justice Department.

7 districts who chose 1 mayor
which could involve the Justice Department

That could mean cutting at-large members from three to one.

If all three at-large representatives are Democrats
and Marykay is considered a minority,
but Mike Barber is in bed with Roy Carroll and Jim Melvin 
as most of her base is located in East Greensboro,
reducing the at-large council members from 3 to 1 
potentially removes two minority votes 
from Greensboro's City Council.

Or it could mean no at-large members and dividing districts differently — perhaps to maximize Republican representation.

Roy Carroll and Marty Kotis
with commercial properties and digital billboards
would be able to easily maximize the chances
of a white, business friendly at-large candidate
like Mike Barber, who Jim Melvin supports financially 
via First Tee of the Triad.

A restructuring of the council also could stipulate that the mayor would be chosen by the council members instead of elected by popular vote.

If two at-large seats are removed 
and someone like Barber wins the at-large spot, 
and a mostly white, "business friendly" majority 
votes to determine who the mayor is.
there would likely be five white council members
and two black council members to vote.

That would mean the person leading a city of 275,000 wouldn't be chosen by the public but a small group that could be trading support for influence on particular issues.

Greensboro in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s
had a bunch of referendums to go from the system
where all the councilmembers were elected at large to a district system 
that would ensure people who lived all over the city were represented, 
as well as ensuring minority representation on the council.

...The good old boys defeated every district system that was proposed.  

In one election those opposed to the district system 
and minority representation outspent those in favor of the district system
 by a 6-to-1 margin.

One of the most outspoken opponents of the district system
 was former Mayor Jim Melvin, who was mayor from 1971 to 1981.

John Hammer

All of these scenarios would take influence away from voters.

By a majority of white council members
just like the good old days.

Reducing the size of council would decrease voter representation, but it would increase the power of those who would buy influence.

With one at-large spot, 
someone who could raise more than $100,000, like Mike Barber
who lives on Greensboro and federal taxpayer subsidies 
and Jim Melvin's money via the Bryan Foundation
from Roy Carroll, Jim Melvin, Koury, Marty Kotis and other "businessmen"
and their friends who bundle during fundraisers 
would just about assure a non-minority at-large council member.

Campaign contributions could be concentrated on a smaller number of seats, increasing the potential influence of those with deep pockets.

It’s worth noting that Carroll contributed $5,300 to Wade’s campaign last year and $9,000 to the campaign of state Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), who has said Wade “may very well be on the right track” in proposing a smaller council in Greensboro.

I believe Jim Melvin made similar contributions
to a lot of the same, "like minded" folks.

 A council dominated by [mostly white] business owners [and a select couple of minorities] might well make decisions that disenfranchise all the other groups, including homeowners and neighborhoods.

Like when Roy Carroll, Robbie Perkins, Marlene Sanford, 
Koury, Brown Investment Properties etc...
got RUCO gutted.

“The simple answer is that a business professional would rather be part of a smaller decision-making group in which that person could effect change,” Carroll wrote.


Is effecting change anything like getting your way? It sure sounds like that.

Maybe, for example, it would be easier to get the city to close a street to benefit your development.

Or to convince the city to enact a noise ordinance that placates your condo owners but hurts nightclub businesses.

Oh, wait. Carroll won both of those battles despite the objections of residents and other business owners.

How much more power does he need?

Don't be surprised if Yvonne Johnson 
goes after Jamal Fox's seat.

Berger has made no attempt to reduce the size of the council in his hometown, a city of 15,000 residents represented by a mayor (elected at large) and seven council members.

A majority of the council voted for a resolution opposing a reconfiguration.

Republicans Zack Matheny and Tony Wilkins said they wanted to see the plan before opposing it outright.  Democrat Mike Barber [who is in Roy and Jim Melvin's pocket] said he voted against the resolution because he believes smaller is better and would save money [and he would most likely win a single at large seat against what would most likely be a minority in a run off].

This really looks like Barber is setting himself up 
to take a single at-large seat
funded by Greensboro's good old boy network,
which includes Jim Melvin, who was the mayor of Greensboro
during the response to the KKK, Nazi, CWP shootings
after the police appear to have been purposefully redirected 
away from where the event took place,
and all those involved
including those who were employed by the City of Greensboro
 walked away without accountability.

Once elected to the Senate, Wade led the charge to downsize the Guilford County School Board, make elections partisan and redraw district lines to match those of the county commissioners — which heavily favor Republicans.

Another effect of the school board changes is the disenfranchisement of unaffiliated candidates. Now it is next to impossible for someone who is neither a Democrat nor Republican (and there are a lot of us) to run for a school board seat, much less win one.

Wade was elected to the Senate in a gerrymandered district. She is using her influence to bully Greensboro with no transparency or direct accountability to the majority of the 280,000 people she’ll affect — they did not elect her and cannot vote her in or out.

Wade was District 5 representative on the council in 2011, when the GOP-led legislature reduced the size of the Guilford County Commissioners and gerrymandered district lines to create a Republican majority.

Also a white majority.

She is, in effect, the nonelected mayor of Guilford County and local officials are reluctant to resist for fear that she and other lawmakers will retaliate with funding cuts and even more meddling. Time was when lawmakers would defer to the wishes of local leaders on bills that were specific to certain communities. Now that courtesy seems only a quaint memory...

I believe that government is a threat to personal freedom
and individual liberty. 

I will attempt to reduce the power and influence
of politicians and bureaucrats 
in order to maximize the freedom of the people
of North Carolina.

Trudy Wade, 2012

If people want change, Wade should prove it. Put out a plan in the open. Schedule public meetings. Let them vote on it.

Otherwise, go away and leave us alone. This is not representative government. No one elected you the Grand Potentate of Guilford.

Don't be surprised by a Carroll, Melvin, Koury and Kotis backed candidate
to take on Sharon Hightower.

If anyone decides how and if that body is going to change, it should be the voters, not a lone senator who can trade favors in the legislature to ram through a partisan plan that helps only a select group of businessmen.

This is how America works at the federal level
more than ever in my lifetime.

Especially when most of those businessmen hide behind cloaks of anonymity.

There is no need to furnish a plaque for the KKK rally,
which has caused this city so much strife 
over these many years.  

It is one of the darkest days in Greensboro history.

Roy Carroll's Rhino Times