Sunday, July 30, 2017

Remembering Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan

The following is a reprint of Will Nancy Barakat Vaughan Be A Good Mayor For Greensboro? origionally posted on September 27, 2013. As you can see, not much has changed for the better in the last 4 years.
"In a recent New & Record feature, Amanda Lehmert wrote, "Nancy Vaughan is a member of the local political elite."
And while it's true Nancy earned her position as a Greensboro elite by marrying State Senator Don Vaughan, the days when the former Nancy Baracat Mincello worked for the grassroots are far behind her. Oh sure, Nancy still attends plenty of meetings in east Greensboro and meetings to save trees after being appointed to the board to save the trees by Mayor Perkins, but Nancy and Don spend every Monday afternoon having lunch with Robbie Perkins and the elite developers of TREBIC at Anton's discussing how they plan to bulldoze your neighborhoods to build strip malls to house everything you don't want to live next door to.

Well, that was until now. Being Anton's closed this week I guess Nancy and Robbie will have to find a new place to hold court.

In her earliest years as a Greensboro City Councilwoman and as a member of the board of directors of the Piedmont Triad International Airport, Nancy pushed for the $300 Million Dollar Fedex Hub. 15 years later the promised 1500 jobs never came but Nancy isn't talking about that, no Sir.  Instead, 15 years later Fed Ex still employs only about 250 people locally.

They talk about transportation hubs... for what? Empty trailers? Perhaps we should persue turning PTI into one of those aviation salvage yards? $300 Millon in inventory could guarentee at least 100 jobs. No, that's not much of a return on investment. It's a dumb idea but it's a hell of a lot better than what Nancy got us.

Nancy Barakat Vaughan cites the problems she addressed as downtown development, tree-trimming conflicts with Duke Energy and the need to revise a rental-unit inspection program.

As for what makes Nancy different from Robbie Perkins? According to a September 19, 2013 News & Record editorial titled, A three-way race:

"...she didn’t make a clear distinction."

In the following paragraphs I'll explain why Nancy Barakat Vaughan is unable to make a clear distinction between herself and Robbie Perkins.

When it comes to the tree trimming conflicts, Mayor Perkins assigned Nancy Vaughan to solve the tree trimming issues because he knew she would work out exactly the plan he would work out if he were to do it himself. You see, the Mayor knew all along the City of Greensboro was and remains virtually powerless against Duke Energy when it comes to trimming trees in right-of-ways. What we ended up with was little more than a months long dog and pony show reminicent of the last time Duke Energy came to Greensboro many years ago. Duke Energy can and will cut when and where Duke Energy deems necessary to cut and despite everything you might believe about the new tree trimming program, nothing has been done to change that fact.

And in the many off years when Duke Energy doesn't trim trees we get extended winter power outages caused by limbs falling on power lines. Nobody loves trees anymore than I love trees, the giant White Oaks in my yard are beautiful but reality is Duke Energy is a state and Federal santioned monopoly upon which the City of Greensboro has no control. What we got from Nancy Baracat Vaughan was a public relations campaign on behalf of Duke Energy and the City of Greensboro-- nothing more.

The downtown development issues Nancy referrs to are Downtown Greensboro Inc. The media reported that Nancy, along with Councilman Zack Matheny, spent months in secret negotiations with DGI board members working to resolve the problems of out of control spending and what appeared to be fradulent accounting practices on the part of what Councilwoman Vaughan called, "shadow companies" but again, according to local media reports, when all was said and done, Vaughan and Matheny returned to City Council recommending the taxpayers increase funding to the "non profit" Downtown Greensboro Inc.
And of course the Greensboro City Council complied and followed Nancy Barakat Vaughan's "leadership."

And the rental inspection program... On Monday afternoons, Nancy, her husband, retired State Senator Don Vaughan, Robbie Perkins and several of the members of TREBIC, the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition meet at Anton's on Battleground to do lunch and figure out how they plan to spend your tax dollars on "public works projects" to fatten their own pockets. For those who might not know, TREBIC is the lobbying orginization founded by Robbie Perkins that successfully lobbied to end RUCO the Rental Unit Certificate of Occupation program in Greensboro that proactively inspected rental properties and required landlords to obtain a certificate before renting them. It was a great success, got lots of dangerous firetraps repaired and saved hundreds of children from the deadly effects of asbestos, lead paint and black mold.

So here we have Nancy, who regularly hangs out and does business with Robbie and the TREBIC crowd appointed by Robbie to head up the Mayor's task force to create a new rental inspection program the Mayor, Nancy, her husband and their business associates were all involved in getting removed in the first place. My Momma always told me you're known by the company you keep. Does it not hold true for politicans as well?

Then there's Nancy's failure to act on your rights to free speech as citizens of Greensboro. I personally sent Nancy a message on Facebook to tell her I was handing her the election but Nancy decided not to act, not to set herself apart from Mayor Robbie Perkins who uses his position as Mayor to intimidate speakers from the floor at Greensboro City Council meetings to the point of actually having speakers removed from the room for refusing to speak their home addresses in front of television cameras that are being live streamed to 7 billion Internet users worldwide.

Being a good leader is more than how you govern while you're in office. Being a good leader also includes passing laws that prevent future leaders from abusing positions of power. As you can see from Nancy's comments on her facebook page, Nancy Vaughan is very well aware of the abuses of power and the trampling of Greensboro citizen's rights that readers in Winston-Salem and beyond are already reading about. Every time a Greensboro citizen speaks his or her name and home address in front of the television cameras at the Greensboro City Council meetings it is live web casted to up to 7 Billion viewers worldwide.
As a city councilwoman, Nancy has the right and responsibility to bring this issue before City Council now-- not after the election-- and prove to Greensboro's citizens that she's a woman of action and not just another politician filled with hot air. Stop this abuse of the rights and safety of Greensboro's working class citizens by Mayor Robbie Perkins and every mayor who should ever follow in his footsteps.

Nancy even admits, "Billy, from a practical standpoint, I don't think it's necessary for speakers to disclose their address since it should be recorded on the sign-in sheet. As a former speaker from the floor it is intimidating."
We need laws, not promises. Everyone is assuming Nancy will be elected but what if she looses and Perkins wins? After all, if she can't protect the working class from the deliberate abuses of power then we really don't need her to be Mayor of Greensboro. What did Nancy do about it? The same thing she's done for the last 2 years: exactly what Robbie Perkins would have wanted her to do about it. You see, Nancy Baracat Vaughn is and always has been Robbie's puppet.

On the Downtown cerfew, Nancy and the rest of the Greensboro City Council are saying it was a success but the Greensboro News & Record wrote:

"According to (Greensboro Police Chief Ken) Miller, the police department dedicated 107 extra officers to the effort for what amounted to 2,046 on-the-clock hours. That cost the city an estimated $81,800, Miller said."

In other words, even without a teen cerfew the end result would have been the same had the necessary numbers of police officers been dedicated in the first place. But Nancy would rather fund downtown performing arts centers than hire, train and equip police officers.

As long time readers are well aware I am no fan of what is now being called the Steven Tanger Performing Arts Center. But Nancy Barakat Vaughan is a GPAC Task Force member and has been an avid proponent of the project since its beginnings. It was Nancy's job to watch out for the taxpayers' interest, not the elites. With that in mind myself and others asked the City of Greensboro to provide us with copies of the binding documents from GPAC doners so that we would know the donations are in-fact legal and binding and not more smoke and mirrors. The following is the response from the City of Greensboro:

"Based on response from the City Attorney the GPAC pledge forms are not public records in the City's possession.  The completed forms belong to the Community Foundation, and are not related to public business.  Accordingly, as we have none of the records, and the records are not public, we cannot require that the Foundation produce the records in response to a public records request.

Public Information Desk
City of Greensboro"

Send an e-mail to and I'll happily forward that e-mail to you.

Now I ask you, what kind of Mayor or City Councilmember would vote to spend as much as $51 Million Dollars or even $30 Million Dollars of city funds, depending on who's numbers you believe, based on pledges the City of Greensboro cannot prove exist? That's right, according to the Greensboro City Attorney, the City of Greensboro has no proof the money exists and Nancy Baracat Vaughan who is running for Mayor of Greensboro voted to go ahead and spend in excess of $30 Million Dollars while Greensboro remains the 3rd hungriest city in America with 23% of our local population in need of more food.

While Greensboro and Guilford County are dead last in North Carolina in new job creation, Councilwoman Vaughan votes to build a concert hall.

While Greensboro ranks 97 out of 100 and falling in household earnings, Councilwoman Vaughan votes to bring waitressing and janitorial jobs to downtown Greensboro.

While  Greensboro ranks 100th out of 102 markets in economic vitality and 95th out of the largest 100 cities in terms of citizens' ability towards upward mobility, Councilwoman Vaughan votes to give us nowhere to go but down.

I sent her a message on Facebook asking her to address these issues publicly. Have you heard anything from her? Me neither.

Folks, this is a woman who claims she cares, who shows up at community meetings on the poor side of town but when push comes to shove-- Nancy Barakat Vaughan is no longer Nancy Barakat Mincello. Like Amanda Lehmert wrote, "Nancy Vaughan is a member of the local political elite."

And finally there's the motorcycle. Nancy's husband, then State Senator Don Vaughn, as quoted in Yes Weekly's , February 10,2010 article, The Power Of Love:

"And, he says, he still has the Harley out in the family garage.

“I think we’ve ridden it maybe five times in 11 years,” he says.

“And we’re not riding it anymore,” she says. “I just stopped the insurance on it.”

“You wanna buy a Harley?” Don asks"

What kind of people spend upwards of $20,000 on a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle only to let it go to waste? A complete waste of money, a complete waste of natural resources typical of the modern day rich Irving Park mind set, flaunting their money before the world simply because they can then tossing it aside when Nancy gets bored with trying to be a faux outlaw biker.

Don't get me wrong, I love motorcycles. I've owned and rode motorcycles since the 1970s, as soon as my parents could no longer prevent me from owning a motorcycle. I've owned Harleys, Hondas and currently own a 1983 XS650 Yamaha but to simply throw money away on a whim and allow it to go to waste in the garage. Is this representative of how Nancy will run Greensboro's finances? All one has to do is look at her voting record on the performing arts center and the $300 Million lost to Fed Ex to know the answer-- Nancy is not above wasting anyone's money including her own.

Nancy confirmed to me over coffee at Bernie's BBQ on E Bessemer Ave just this past Spring that she and Don still own the Harley and it's still wasting away in their garage 14 years later-- no tags, no insurance, no rides, no concern for the natural resources that went into making it or the fact that it costs more that most of East Greensboro's blue collar workers can earn in a full year of 40 hour work weeks. The modern day elite mindset, limousine liberals, conservatives call them. This liberal calls them flags, blowing in the wind willing to say or do whatever it takes to get your vote while all the while representing only the interests of the wealthy elites who have run Greensboro into the ground for the last 50 plus years.

Should we manage to get 5 new members on the Greensboro City Council, their first order of business should be to open an independent 3rd party investigation into the actions of the previous council. Will Nancy Baracat Vaughan be a good mayor? Only by getting rid of Nancy Barakat Vaughan will we ever be able to make any investigation happen."

Four long hard years have passed, Greensboro's rich have gotten richer, none of Mayor Vaughan's promises have been fulfilled, and Greensboro's working classes struggle more than ever before despite whatever propaganda Mayor Vaughan's office might through our way. Nancy Vaughan has been a part of Greensboro government for the better part of the last 19 years. Do you really want four more years of the same?