Friday, October 2, 2015

Was The East Market Street Development Corporation Designed To Fail?

Back in February, after having set through a City Council business meeting in which the East Market Street Development Corporation-- the City funded organization designed and designated to be responsible for economic development in East Greensboro-- came back to the trough asking for more money I wrote East Market Street Pipe Dreams, a very critical piece in which I chastised EMSDC for having failed in the effort.

Counting this article I've written 16 articles on EMSDC to date and 15 have been critical.

But maybe EMSDC isn't the problem. Maybe EMSDC and other such groups like EMSDC were designed by our elected leaders to fail?

Sounds crazy? Perhaps. But when you look at the History of Bessemer (the East Greensboro Community in which I live) and the text of the original First Community Planning Team Report that was prepared by the American Planning Association on October 26, 1995 and hosted today on the APA website it doesn't seem quite so far fetched.

What happened to that industrial development the report recommended? Oh yeah, it got put in industrial parks out on the county line and our current Mayor and City Council are all promoting the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite on the Randolph County line.

Oh, in case somebody thinks they can make the report go away, I posted another copy online. A good Tyrannicide always carries a back-up in case the first one jams.

But wait, it gets better! Or worse, depending on how you look at it.

What's that, the City is at fault? From How Bessemer Was Born And The Site We've Chosen:

"As you can plainly see, Greensboro's greatest families, the Cones, Richardsons, Dillards and Benjamins, for which streets, parks, buildings and hospitals are named, all did their part to destroy the Bessemer Community.
And as evidenced in Bessemer Improvement Company vs the City of Greensboro, even the City took advantage of those who were working on behalf of Bessemer then passed the blame off on the state."

The evidence is in the many links, screen grabs and documents presented.... more documentation than ever given you by any media outlet in this city bar none. If you discount what I write or call me a liar without reading the documents I've provided then you're only to blame for your ignorance.

Back to the First Community Planning Team Report of 1995:

Wait a minute? Attractive neighborhood? Groomed? I know what you're thinking but poor people live here. The houses are old, we can't afford to hire "lawn boys" like they do in Irving Park when we're working as your lawn boys, maids, mechanics, nannies, cooks, labors and garbage men. We do the best we can, we kept things cleaned up and repaired our old homes the best we could on our minimum wage jobs working under the table because you Irving Park bastards like Nancy Barakat Vaughan were too cheap to pay our employer portion of our Social Security.

And in the course of the last 20 years houses like my own have gone down in property value despite mine and my Daddy's best efforts to keep it up.

What that doesn't tell you. That $500 outbuilding is 2 story, insulated, 12x16 384 sq ft with electricity easily converted into a small apartment. The house has real hardwood floors a new 96% efficient gas furnace, new central air, vinyl siding and is fully insulated with combined utility bills of less that $150 per month. The yard has a privacy fence, raised bed gardens, 100 year old oak trees and paved walk ways.

And it's only worth $42,000? Across town the exact same home would be valued at $142,000.

Let's go back to that report, shall we?

So what happened? Why did East Greensboro only get worse over the course of the last 20 years?

Could it be because EMSDC has to compete with Downtown, Megasites and industrial parks on the county lines to get employers and the jobs they bring to come to East Greensboro? Have we forgotten that 68% of the population of the City of Greensboro lives in East Greensboro?

Could it be because of the way EMSDC is funded, forced to return to the trough every year to beg for money just to stay in business? In the past I've been highly critical of EMSDC and their forays into real estate investment, buying and selling properties and renting apartments as competing with the private sector and outside of the scope of what an economic development agency is supposed to do but when your focus becomes keeping your own job and not laying off staff every year there's very damned little you can do to lift up the community you're tasked with improving.

If you know Mack Sims, forward him this post and tell him I take back everything bad I ever said and wrote about him and EMSDC. I now know he never had a chance. The proof is in, we've had 60 plus years of deliberate destruction of East Greensboro at the hands of Greensboro's elites.

And let's not forget this 2013 piece, City Of Greensboro Fails To Provide Evidence Streetscaping Provides Positive Economic Impacts:

"Hello Mr. Jones.

We apologize that your request has taken so long to complete.  We have requested several departments to review your request to see if they had any information pertaining to your request.  Unfortunately, the City has not measured the economic impact directly attributable to the East Market Street streetscape project.


 Public Information Desk

City of Greensboro"

That my friends, is why the following statement can now be found on the City of Greensboro's Public Information Website at the bottom right corner of the page.

So what's their latest scam?

 "The rumors are that the city is attempting to get Smith and Ray Warren homes sold to UNC-G and A&T Universities and converted into much more curb appealing student housing.  Both of those properties are within close eye view of two major roads leading into the Council's precious downtown projects.  Those folks would be relocated to the Hicone Road location to the tune of about 220 units.  In this location there is no library, no recreation center, no bus service and only one grocery store.  The schools in this area have already been taxed and the Reedy Fork development is only 700 houses into a 3500 house project.  We haven't even mentioned the beating that home values have already taken in Reedy Fork due to the school system's perceived lack of success in dealing with discipline problems at Northeast High School."

That's right, the same thing all over again, push the poor people on down the road while destroying the working class neighborhoods just like they did in 1958. (Link to City of Greensboro.)

"From the turn of the century to the late 1950s, the East Market Street Corridor flourished. It was the shopping and social center for many of Greensboro's African Americans, who owned businesses on the street and provided services to those shut out by segregation practices in other Greensboro neighborhoods.

This lively community began to wind down in the late 1950s and 1960s when, under the guise of "urban renewal," thousands of people and more than 80 businesses (many minority-owned) were displaced. Most of those businesses never reestablished."

We need all new leadership on the Greensboro City Council. They days of City Council members who are willing to settle for what we can get must be brought to an end. Their "compromises" are no longer acceptable. When our "leaders" rob from East Greensboro they are robbing from the entire city. The poverty and crime they breed in the east is a cancer that will spread across the entire city, taxing city services and forcing those in the west to pay more in property taxes to make up for the lost property taxes in the east.

Share this post with everyone you know, go to the polls on October 5th and vote the incumbents out. Continue reading Was The East Market Street Development Corporation Designed To Fail? Part 2.