Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Randolph County Approves Greensboro-Randolph Megasite

This morning the News & Record reports on the vote to approve the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite:

"The deal with Randolph County is the first test of the partnership’s strategy to buy or control land, sell it and then reuse the money to buy more.

Keith Debbage, a professor of urban geography at UNCG, said his research shows an auto plant can have a dramatic impact on a community’s economy.

Debbage, who was hired by the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation to do a study, reported that, based on examples of other communities with auto plants, Randolph County’s workforce, poverty rate and industrial economy would improve not only with new jobs at a plant, but with jobs created by businesses related to the car industry.

Since 1999, Debbage said, a total of 7,706 jobs have been lost in Randolph County.

In his 25-slide presentation, Debbage charted the impact of BMW in Greenville, S.C., and Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Between 1993 and 2001 alone, BMW created 4,400 jobs in South Carolina, and BMW’s suppliers added another 6,700 jobs to the region, he said.

In Chattanooga, Tenn., where Volkswagen opened its plant in 2008, Debbage reported the company employed 1,200 workers by 2012. He said businesses related to the factory added another 10,000 jobs."

Professor Debbage misses a few major points, Greenville and Chatanooga both had major steel shredding and steel manufacturing operations in place before the auto plants located there. Every auto plant in the world is located in close proximity to a steel mill as steel is the heaviest and most expensive part of an automobile to ship.

There exists in North Carolina already 12 to 18 empty megasites depending on whose count you believe all vying for the same auto plant. Nationally there are 180 empty megasites all vying for the same auto plant according to Site Selection Magazine, a publication owned and operated by the world's only company allowed to certify megasites.

Besides the Chatham County megasite currently being built by DH Griffin, Mr Griffin is also developing a megasite in Ridgeway, Virginia just 45 minutes north of Greensboro where water is already in place via take your pick, Martinsville, Ridgeway or Eden, all from the almost inexhaustible Dan River upstream of the coal ash spill. The City of Greensboro will have to spend in excess of $20 Million Dollars to put water and sewer into the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.

Both the Chatam County megasite and the Ridgeway megasite are built along existing railroads. Autoplants ship most of their production via rail, not truck. The Greensboro-Randolph megasite has no railroad tracks. Correction: As a commenter below has pointed out there is a railroad track going through the northern end of the proposed Greensboro-Randolph Megasite but as the railroads are already a major investor in the existing Montgomery County Megasite I doubt they'll be interested in investing and creating competition for their own empty megasite.

DH Griffin owns his own paving, utility, construction, real estate, grading, scrap metal, electrical... You name it, he owns a company that can do every aspect of construction of a megasite. And if he runs up against something his people don't know how to do he buys a successful company that can. Mr Griffin owns a port facility in Wilmington, has decades of experience operating numerous rail sidings owns a port and even owns substantial interest in a steel mill-- the man is brilliant and his employees love him-- who do you think will get the auto plant if it comes?

And quite frankly DH Griffin is responsible for putting more people to work than all our local Triad politicians and economic development "gurus" combined.

Asheboro needs jobs in Asheboro where people live, not 20 miles away on the county line where people will move to if those jobs ever come, thereby draining the Asheboro tax-base leaving only the poor behind. Same goes for Greensboro, you're contributing to your own cities' eventual demise and destroying much needed farm lands necessary to our future survival.

Then there's the e-mail I got from Greensboro attorney and Randolph County resident Alan Fergison just this morning titled, Field of Dreams Vote:

"Good Morning, Everyone!

               Last night was a late one, for all of you at the Board of County Commissioners meeting, wasn’t it.  Thanking every one of you who was there is the most important thing I have to do today.

               And I do thank you, from the bottom of my heart!  You turned out and expressed yourselves over and over again in the face of the entire establishment and against what seemed to be every “pillar of the community” in Asheboro.  You told them repeatedly why you believe Randolph County should stay out of the property development business.

               And we lost. Four to one, with Commissioner Allen, the lone commissioner standing up to this public misadventure and saying “No”.  Once again, we all owe David our thanks for standing up for us when he is being pushed by the powers-that-be to betray the voters.  He was not about to do that. Commissioner Haywood asked the speakers favoring the project some pointed and largely unanswered questions, but, in the end, he too voted to proceed. Times like these provide a test of who will stand up for the things they say they believe--and who will not.

               I don’t  recall Commissioners Lanier, Kemp, or Frye asking a single question during the course of a six hour hearing.  Near the end of the meeting, Mr. Lanier made some comments that betrayed his paticular hostility to every concern we have.  Mr. Kemp has never shown us the slightest sympathy over the many months of this controversy.  You need to remember these three names come election time in the future.

               Last night, we produced twenty speakers, each of whom offered compelling reasons why our tax dollars should stay out of the real estate development business.  Commissioner Allen stated during the hearing that messages to him were running about eight to one against the Field Of Dreams.  In the end, we had the arguments, but we didn’t have the political power.

               And that’s what you saw last night—a real example of what political power in Randolph County looks like.  I lost count of the number of “suits” parading up there to speak in favor of their publicly-fiananced Field Of Dreams.  Even the mayor of Asheboro trudged up to the lecturn to read in his support!

               I am delighted that I could be your own “suit” last night!  In all of my years of practicing law, I have never done anything more gratifying than speaking up for us and then turning round at the end of the meager ten minutes Chairman Frye allowed me and seeing that sea of red filling the room.

               I am sorry that I couldn’t carry the day for us.

               Do not despair!  This is certainly not the end of this road. As you heard last night, there is still no money for this project (other than that provided by our suddenly enthusiastically freely spending Commissioners Lanier, Frye and Kemp).  As heard last night, the proponents are mining for tax dollars in our state legislature asking for the rest of what they need for their project. 

               After we’ve all rested up, we’ll meet again and discuss it all in more detail. I AM NOT GOING AWAY!

               Until then, with affectionate and best regards,
Alan "

So in closing I can only ask, did the 4 Randolph County Commissioners and Mayor of Asheboro not know the things I have just told you, did they simply not do their homework? Or were they bought and paid for by Jim Melvin, the Bryan Foundation and the rest of Greensboro's elites in another display of corporate welfare?