Sunday, June 19, 2016

Updated; If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro: Part 20, on the city's $320 million in cash the media won't report

This is part of an ongoing series of posts that begins with If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro and is linked in succession back to here. If you haven't already I recommend you read them all as they outline my platform for becoming the next Mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina.

Greensboro comedian Jennie Stencel, owner of  Greensboro's Idiot Box Comedy Club, tweeted the following a few days ago:

Kinda sums things up when you think about it.

I mean, it's easy to criticize but reality is: if the problems are solved then everyone becomes less critical.

So why not fill all the holes? Why are our leaders not doing their jobs?

As one reader who I'll not identify said to me:

" When they're drunk, impaired or unconscious nothing is being looted, coerced or plundered. When they appear to be sober, walking around and voting is where everybody pays. Please don't antagonize these brigands."

My reply:

"Perhaps we should put them in the zoo"

Something that has troubled me for a very long time is how the City of Greensboro is exporting our hard earned money.

Former Greensboro Mayor and current head of the Bryan Foundation has long envied the growth of Charlotte which was built upon the growth of what was then called North Carolina National Bank and Wachovia Bank which were both headquartered in Charlotte. 

You can be sure the City of Charlotte kept their money local by keeping Charlotte's banking services in a Charlotte based bank, thereby making sure that more of the bank's profit's got reinvested in their own local communities.

But for some strange reason, despite being a banker himself, Jim "Bobblehead" Melvin and his cronies never managed to figure out what it was that made Charlotte great.

In the Spring of 2015, after writing my series How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty (September 12, 2014 - November 27, 2014) I met with Mayor Vaughan to discuss what is commonly called the City's "rainy day fund" which isn't really a rainy day fund at all but is in-fact your tax dollars just laying around waiting on their turn to get spent. You see, a lot of people mistakenly think this is extra money governments have lying around but governments pay their bills just like corporations do, holding their money in interest bearing accounts until the very last minute before the bill is due.  At the time when I met with Mayor Vaughan to discuss this matter the City of Greensboro had roughly $272 Million Dollars in these accounts.

On November 14, 2014, I submitted the following letter to the editor to the Greensboro News & Record. Other than the computer generated reply I never heard back from them:

"It's time Greensboro rethought economic development. At a time when our city is the 2nd hungriest in the nation with rising homelessness and a poverty rate of over 21% we cannot afford the incentives gamble any longer.

And looking to the State and Federal governments to solve our woes is tantamount to playing the lottery-- the bigger the prize the more competition we face, the less likely we are to win.

Greensboro wasn't built on incentives. The once thriving cotton and tobacco industries got no incentives and yet our city grew. It's time to look at how to grow business from the bottom up.

One way to do that is by investing Greensboro's $272 Million Dollar "rainy day fund" in a mutual fund that lends to local businesses and provides capital to take local companies public. Already the City of Greensboro is investing this same money in Wall St. why not invest it locally?"

The News & Record ignored me and Mayor Vaughan brought in a so called "expert" named Rick Lusk who told me my ideas would never work without ever hearing what my ideas were.

In other words, instead of fixing the holes they created more holes.

So what was my plan?

Simple really. Greensboro banks with Wells Fargo headquartered in San Francisco, California.

$272 Million Dollars, five or take a few million, is invested in a bank that is headquartered 2,750 miles away, sucking investment capital out of Greensboro just like a giant leech.Does Greensboro have to invest in Wells Fargo? Not according to NC GS 159-30. Investment of Idle Funds. which states that any bank, savings and loan or trust company located in the State of North Carolina can  handle these mutual fund accounts.

So why not allow a local bank to handle that $272 Million Dollars?

Say none of our local banks are big enough? I'm betting a merger or joint venture could be arranged for a $272 Million Dollar prize. Perhaps High Point, Jamestown, Gibsonville, Stokesdale, Whitsett, Oak Ridge, Summerfield and Guilford County would like to do their part as well? 

Update; It's now about $320 million as of June 30, 2015 on page 127 of 384;

The City could even attach conditions as to how the bank could invest the money. After all, there are already such things as green investing mutual funds, socially responsible mutual funds and even vegan mutual funds-- why not mutual funds that specialize in local community investment?

Why must all our money be invested somewhere else where it does Greensboro no good?

Just in case you failed to click on that last link (most people ignore links) local community investment mutual funds already exist but for some strange reason neither Rick Lusk nor Mayor Vaughan were interested in pursuing such investments for Greensboro.

If I were elected Mayor of Greensboro I would ask our locally based banks to look into establishing community mutual funds in which to invest the City of Greensboro's roughly $272 Million Dollars in idle funds.

What else would I do if I were Mayor of Greensboro? Continue reading If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro: Part 21 to find out.