Wednesday, May 25, 2016

If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro: Part 3

I Wouldn't Be Afraid Of Making The Tough Decisions, I Never Have Been.

If you haven't read Part 1 of  If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro, then I recommend you do and follow the links back to here before continuing.

One of the things that has crippled Greensboro for decades and most recently the Vaughan Administration, has been the inability on the part of our local leaders, both elected and City staff, to make the tough decisions and tough it out.

It's not uncommon at all to hear Council members say, "We can always revisit this issue later." You know, after the damage has been done. When in fact, had they had the courage to stand up and make the right decision in the first place the problem could have been quickly solved.

Take for instance when they voted to give that so called, television network money to film a sitcom here in Greensboro then came back weeks later and changed their minds only to end up in court in yet another of many unnecessary lawsuits. Regardless of the outcome of the court decision or who was right or wrong a great deal of taxpayer dollars and voter confidence was forever lost.

You see, when a governing body makes a decision it needs to be a done deal, dammit! Otherwise your name is mud.

Another such decision that has been long in the making is what to do with Downtown Greensboro.

In the course of my 60 years here in Greensboro I've lived through 3 failed rounds of Downtown renovation and here we are in our 4th round hinging on a downtown performing arts center which, after all these years, is suspect at best. Despite everything they have said and done, the millions upon millions spent we have nothing but an artificial forest in the middle of  Downtown where the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts is supposed to go.

Talk about morons putting the cart before the horse, almost every one of those trees will be run over by trucks and construction equipment before the building is finished.

No one is making the tough calls. No one has in a very long time.

The long standing problem with downtown Greensboro has been that our leaders think our tiny downtown can be everything for everybody. It can't. Downtown Burlington is bigger. Downtown Asheboro is bigger. Downtown High Point is far bigger. All of them smaller cities and yet none of them strive to be everything to everyone. Why? Because it doesn't work.

99 blocks is not big enough for a wild entertainment district, starving artists, hipsters, high end residential filled with rich old people, Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, retail shops, restaurants, performing arts centers and all the other things people want to see co-exist in downtown. And anyone with half a brain knows it.

But year after year our City Council continues to do back-flips for one group after the other, always afraid to make up their minds as to what downtown should be, always afraid to make the tough calls. What's wrong with downtown Greensboro? The City Council-- that's what.

So what would I do if I were Mayor of Greensboro?

I'd put City Council through the long grinding process of citizen input to find out just what is possible for downtown and what Greensboro wants for downtown. And as hard and  messy as it may be we'd come to a tough decision and make it.

And no, not everyone would like it. Perhaps not even me.

I wouldn't be afraid of making the tough decisions and I'd not be afraid of living with the consequences good, bad or ugly.

Stay tuned for, If I Were Mayor of Greensboro: Part 4.