Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Yes Weekly's Jeff Sykes on Skip Alston, Earl Jones and the Civil Rights Mueseum

"...Grant’s Over land Campaign and the Battle of Hampton Roads seem ripe comparisons for the standoff between the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, the City of Greensboro, and those white male critics who cry about “Skip and Earl this” and “Skip and Earl that” every time the ICRCM is mentioned in the press.

Sweeping generalization

That all the critics are racist is absurd on it's face,
and not true in fact

The museum has a long and divisive history in Greensboro. Skip Alston and Earl Jones are no strangers to making enemies, and it seems that this legacy is what an overwhelming majority of vocal white male observers cling to when the ICRCM comes to mind. Even veteran local politician Mike Barber, currently an at-large member of the city council and a rumored potential mayoral candidate in 2017, clings to the notion that “Skip and Earl” might be able to make some money by selling the museum at some point in the future.

Can they Jeff?

Who owns the building?

Who could profit from a sale or rental as something other than a museum?

Then there’s the mantra trotted out by white male haters of the ICRCM that “Skip and Earl” are somehow making money or will make money off of once and future rent payments at the museum.

I don't hate Skip and Earl

I have been told by insiders at the museum that they could profit

I have been told by the City of Greensboro that they could profit

It’s an unfortunate blight on the community as a whole in Greensboro that the divisive reputation of two of the museum’s tireless champions seems to subsume the potential for good inherent in the museum’s existence beneath a thick layer of racial animosity.

There is racial animosity among some, but not all critics

Leaders, and I mean real leaders and not the fake developer-backed politicians that pass for leaders in Greensboro, need to step up to the plate and solve this one once and for all.

Does the Museum’s Landlord stand to earn income from the property under any scenario?

"Possibly, if their museum tour/ticket sales increase."

Thank you,

Public Information Desk

...I’m sorry. Zack is a great guy. I get it. Roy is awesome and so is Union Square and LeBauer Park. And who doesn’t like baseball? But until the festering open racial sore that is the public conversation about the future of the ICRCM is healed, the frilly greatness that is the vision of Action Greensboro and their private foundation financiers will be a Pyrrhic victory that achieves little of substance.

I don't consider it a racial issue

It's an issue of transparency

Why not find the answers before blaming all wh

...The hype around the Tanger Performing Arts Center will be deafening. All this chummy goodness just oozing with selfcongratulatory hype will be as thick as the humidity during the past month.

In the coming months?

But sitting there, right in the middle of the Center City, is the ICRCM. It’s been scrutinized and audited and hung in public by the city council and on the pages of the Greensboro News and Record over and over ad nauseam. It continues to amaze me that white Greensboro can go on and on about the $35 million for this and the $7 million for that and the $25 million for Zack Matheny to redo downtown in his own image but goes absolutely apoplectic at the thought of the ICRCM being assisted by taxpayer dollars.


The City of Greensboro agreed to float a $1.5 million forgivable loan to the museum in early 2014 in order that the museum would not default on the complicated federal tax credits that helped finance the construction. This was a wise and prudent move by the council.

During and after an election in which Roy Carroll sponsored a golf tournament
meant to win votes for Robbie Perkins from East Greensboro


...At present, city bean counters calculate that the museum raised about $700,000 against the total loan debt, leaving $800,000 to be repaid. Museum officials counter that more was actually raised, leaving a debt of about $250,000.

You may want to interview Len Lucas
but it won't be allowed

The federal tax credit structure falls away this month as those credits are repaid in full. The museum should be in a much clearer cash flow picture after that.

The cash flow picture should be clear in real time

...I’ve studied the tax credits for two years and barely understand them now.

Which shouldn't be the case 
along with understanding attendance, cash flow, expenses etc...
before accusing all the critics of racism

When they go away, that will be good for everyone involved.


Lingering, however, is the city having written off $1.2 million for the Nussbaum Center after the small business incubator was unable to pay back a similar loan.

Moral relativity

My understanding is everything was transparent on the Nussbaum deal,
which I also opposed

Disclaimer; I worked with Nussbaum's CEO at Merrill Lynch

Former Yes Weekly's Eric Ginsburg, Brian Cleary and Jordan Green
operate out of Nussbaum

In my view, the city should forgive the loan to the ICRCM.

As long as Skip and Earl etc... have no potential financial stake

Residents could then move forward into this new, splendid future our private foundation shadow government has planned for us without there to bloody the pristine white concrete at LeBauer Park."

Not going to get the money back anyway

Am I a racist Jeff,
or just a radical bean counter and believer in principle over politics?