Monday, July 22, 2019

Is The Smokeable Hemp Debate Just A Bunch Of Smoke?

Perhaps you have read or seen recent media reports stating that various law enforcement agencies want to make it illegal to drive while using smokeable hemp, a form of Cannabis that does not contain THC and is legal in North Carolina?

Users of Smokeable Hemp use it as a cheaper alternative to CDB for pain relief and health benefits.

North Carolina farmers are very concerned about the possible ban because hemp has the potential to become a very lucrative crop for them.

Law enforcement agencies are asking for the ban because they claim they are unable to tell the difference between Hemp and marijuana.... But is that true?

A Google search using the words marijuana breathalyzer turns up a number of companies that claim to already sell devices that officers can use at traffic stops to test for marijuana and several other companies that claim such products will be on the market very soon. Are these claims real? I don't know but if I were a con man there are lots of folks I'd attempt to con before I started trying to con cops.

Then there's this: If you are caught in possession of marijuana, even if you are not driving, how do the police determine that what you have is actually marijuana and not hemp... or parsley? Just looking and smelling isn't going to stand up in court. I mean the smell might have come from the Boy Smells Purple Kush Scented Candles sold by Nordstrom or the his and her favorite Marijuana Perfume by Kolmaz.

Get real, People, court convictions require real evidence and making something illegal just because law enforcement is difficult does not make it right. Could it be someone in the CDB manufacturing business doesn't want to compete with cheaper Smokeable Hemp. Before you brand me a conspiracy theorist keep in mind that Hemp and Marijuana were first made illegal because of efforts by competing industries.

From WRAL in Raleigh: Perhaps this is the real reason they want to make Smokeable Hemp illegal:

"If this bill passes without the ban, we will put 800 of our law enforcement dogs and their handlers out of business," Dixon said."

Cops trying to protect other cops with no concern about the health of those persons who have managed to better their lives by treating illnesses with the best product available to them at the lowest possible cost. Yep, same old story, competing industries who don't give a damn about anyone other than themselves.

Show me a police department anywhere in the State of North Carolina that wouldn't hire more officers if they could, dogs or not. And do these dogs serve no purpose than to sniff drugs?

Will a dog's nose stand up in court or does the marijuana the dog finds also have to be tested by some scientific process? Sure the dog's nose meets probable cause but can a conviction be based solely on a dog's nose? I mean the smell might have come from the Boy Smells Purple Kush Scented Candles sold by Nordstrom or the his and her favorite Marijuana Perfume by Kolmaz. Can a dog tell the difference? To confirm my suspisions I contacted retired DEA Special Agent Fred Gregory who lives here in Greensboro and sent him the following e-mail:

"As a DEA agent did you ever have to confirm the THC content or strain of  marijuana to prove it was in-fact marijuana and not industrial help?
It seems to me that even though both are/were illegal, as marijuana is a Schedule I drug and Hemp is not a Schedule I drug that any good attorney could use the failure to produce test results as an easy means to get a case thrown out of court.

-Billy"

Fred replied the next day:

"Billy,

All DEA seizures or purchases of marijuana are submitted to one of the DEA labs where chemists conduct tests on the substance and  send the reporting  office a written report. In most cases the defense would accept the chemist's findings. Once in  while some a-hole attorney would require the chemist to come to court and testify. I think our chemists were exceptionally well trained and experienced enough to distinguish the two .

Actually, I think in the 7 years I was Agent-In-Charge of DEA Greensboro ( Middle and Western Federal judicial Districts) that we only brought only one marijuana case to Federal court and that was a 1200 pound hashish seizure. 

Best

Fred"

I think I've made my case that a dog's nose will not stand up in court and therefore the argument that putting drug sniffing dogs out of work is reason enough to make Smokeable Hemp illegal. As for the handlers, perhaps they could be reassigned to the much bigger problem of distracted driving.

And perhaps the SBI and FBI need to be looking into the possibility that manufacturers of CDB and Big Pharma are pushing to make Smokeable Hemp illegal? Yep, it's a conspiracy theory but quite often conspiracies turn out to be real. Don't you think we should know before new legislation is passed?

Share with everyone you know including your elected representatives to find out.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Acts of cowardice by Greensboro's News and Record and its editorial page editor Allen Johnson

Sunday, April 21, 2019; "Allen Johnson's deafening silence on N.C. Treasurer Folwell's plan to increase transparency and lower healthcare costs"

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2019/04/allen-johnsons-deafening-silence-on-nc.html


State Treasurer Dale Folwell is trying to keep North Carolina’s State Health Plan
projected to run out of money in 2023, solvent,
while Greensboro and North Carolina's media don't bother to actually investigate
and editorial page editors like Allen Johnson sit on the sidelines.

The State Health Plan Board of Trustees unanimously approved Folwells plan,
yet our corporate, for profit 'news industry' won't provide any numbers
or show examples of how the health industry is ripping off North Carolinians.

A starting teacher or trooper has to work one week out of every work month 
just to afford the family premium for health care.  

The current plan is unsustainable.  

The increased money we get is 4 percent a year 
and our health care costs are going up more than that 
and our prescription drugs are double digit.

Dale Folwell

Folwell says state auditors “do not have access to the contracts and cannot verify that the State Health Plan is receiving the proper contractual discounts."  A public records request his office made for medical procedure price lists from UNC Health Care provided only reams of redacted pages, and people like Allen Johnson won't speak up on the issue.

Allen Johnson let Cone Health run an opinion piece on keeping the con in place by the CEO, but has yet to write anything himself on the subject.

Allen Johnson let Cone Health CEO Terry Akins, who made more than $1.7 million in 2017, cite a "$26 million a year to our bottom line" potential annual loss for a 'non-profit' which "reported $110.4 million in "excess revenue," which is akin to profit for a for-profit organization" according to the News and Record.

The News and Record's Taft Wireback asked NC Treasurer Dale Folwell where the $26 million number came from, but not Cone CEO Terry Akins, who Wireback reported "Cone Health's CEO also said in an internal email that the Clear Pricing Project would cost the hospital an additional $26 million."

The state treasurer’s cuts — $26 million a year to our bottom line
...would reduce our yearly operating margin by nearly half. 

That means Cone Health would have almost 50 percent fewer dollars to invest in facilities,
employees and services that keep you healthy and well.

Cone Health CEO Terry Akins
Allowed to lie to the public by Greensboro's News and Record
Opinion Page Column, Feb 17, 2019 
Allowed to run by Allen Johnson, who has yet to chime in on the issue

Sunday, July 14, 2019; News and Record's "Cone Health, state remain at odds over new State Health Plan" with no investigative reporting on health care pricing

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2019/07/news-and-records-cone-health-state.html

WFMY reported Folwell saying "Cone Health says the state health plan makes up only 5% of their revenue but they claim that it will cost them 50% of their profit."


"Those two numbers just don't add up," he added.

Carolina Journal reported "The State Health Plan’s actuary says Folwell’s changes would avoid $486 million in extra health plan costs through fiscal year 2021-22, and an extra $1.1 billion in unfunded liabilities. The General Assembly’s actuary puts the additional claims costs at $534 million, and pegs new unfunded liabilities at $1 billion", but the News and Record and our 'mainstream' local and state media can't bring themselves to informing the public about actually useful information

The medical industry is chock full of thieves, which includes local physicians and providers who play dumb about skyrocketing costs.

How many families did Cone Health force into bankruptcy last year?

Our media and government let the healthcare industry fleece consumers.

Our 'leaders' barred drug re-importation from Canada at the expense of ordinary Americans and Warren Buffet's News and Record etc... let them without much of a peep as the advertising money rushed in.

The scene from Lake Jeannette:




Tuesday, July 16, 2019

BJ Barnes IS A LYING SOB

You know, I've long supported BJ Barnes, voting for him time and time again right up to and including his last election which he lost because he went over the top politically. And in his most recent Facebook post you can see how he will make up any lie that suits his agenda.



I have never supported Bill or Hillary Clinton

I don't even know who Mr Barnes is running against but it is apparent he is willing to tell any lie necessary to become Mayor of Stokesdale, North Carolina.

He goes on to lie again:




You see, I voted for Ross Perot-- twice. I hated Bill Clinton when he was Governor of Arkansas and I was having to deal with what I believed was the most crooked law enforcement agency in the nation-- the Arkansas DOT-- on a weekly basis while working as a long haul trucker. And I despised Hillary just as badly.

And now BJ Barnes ASSumes that because I'm not a supporter of President Trump that I must be a supporter of the Clintons. Well go ahead and search my Facebook page and see for yourself where I have ever supported the Clintons.

Honesty above ideology is what I live by. There was a time when I thought BJ Barnes lived that way too.

Update: July 17, 2019 9:41 AM It appears that Mr Barnes has deleted or hidden my comments in an attempt to hide his lies:


If BJ Barnes were already elected to Mayor of Summerfield it would be illegal for him to delete such comments. Is this an example of how he plans to run Summerfield, in secret, behind closed doors, and in fear of criticism, striking out at people for nothing more than asking simple questions, then hiding the evidence of his actions.

This one will never go away Mr Barnes. Not only are you a liar but politically you are a coward.














Why Local Leaders Always Fail At Economic Development

The fact is: attracting big businesses to any city is a fallacy. At least, the kinds of big businesses that don't simply pull up stakes and move every few years or keep demanding ransom in the form of incentives. So attracting big businesses is off the table, a total waste of time and money.

A fiscal conservative policy would be to help create the kinds of small businesses that have the potential to someday become big businesses.

For example: Look at Proctor and Gamble. Sure, P&G has plants in Greensboro but every few years P&G demands new incentives to stay. But P&G never threatens to leave their home town in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rarely does a business leave home even if it becomes world wide.

General Electric still maintains a plant in Schenectady, New York, where it was founded despite moving its headquarters to NYC.

The best thing we can do is keep out of town big businesses away and change our focus to help grow small businesses that will someday become industry giants.

But those kinds of businesses won't be downtown, they won't be restaurants, microbreweries, real estate development, night clubs, hotels, or any of the BS our current morons downtown continue to fund.

Learn it, know it, and spread the word if you plan to change our city.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

News and Record's "Cone Health, state remain at odds over new State Health Plan" with no investigative reporting on health care pricing

"Casual observers might have been surprised by the anger and vitriol in a recent email from a Cone Health official to leaders of the State Health Plan.

But Cone Assistant Director of Finance Frank Kauder’s impassioned diatribe was just the most extreme salvo in a long-simmering feud pitting North Carolina’s major health care systems against state Treasurer Dale Folwell, the health plan’s supervisory board and those who speak for thousands of state employees.

“Your plan to cut payments to hospitals could possibly be the most moronic idea I have ever seen come out of our state government,” Kauder said in his blunt critique that closed by urging the recipients to “burn in hell you sorry (SOBs).”


Backed by the State Employees Association of North Carolina, Folwell has been trying since last year to clarify in precise, contractual terms what health care systems can charge for each of the various conditions and ailments they treat.

For example?

Nothing by the News and Record's lead investigative reporter

The aim is to bring down costs overall and make sure that plan members know in advance what various treatments likely will cost them.

For example?

Why not pick something Cone Health refuses to clarify?

Provide an example of what Cone Health does clarify.

Folwell said ...what hospitals and other health-care providers are charging the State Health Plan for their services must be lowered significantly in a “transparent” format with pricing that everyone can understand.

“These days, people don’t consume health care. It consumes them,” Folwell said.

...“We’ve been asking since 2011 for transparency,” said Ardis Watkins, director of government relations for the state employees association. “We’ve seen state audit after state audit saying, ‘You need to know what you’re paying.’”

“The system is not broken. It was designed that way,” Watkins said of the current pricing regime. “But we are not tolerating the way the system is designed any more.”

Why didn't Taft Wireback note Cone Health CEO Terry Akins 
made more than $1.7 million in 2017?

..."It’s great that university and other state employees occasionally get pay raises, he said. But if the cost of their health care rises dramatically, the value of any increase declines proportionately", And for those employees who have seen little or no salary growth in recent years, “you have a situation where you’re actually going backward”...

https://www.greensboro.com/news/local_news/state-workers-worry-about-health-coverage-as-cone-health-state/article_45185911-32d5-5a11-8ab7-e310f2625147.html
.
.
Ed Cone is on the Cone Health Board Of Trustees

What's your defense of non-transparency Ed?


https://www.conehealth.com/about-us/board-of-trustees/
.
.
"It's [Clear Pricing Project] been looked at, in 1990, 2000, and 2010. 

This has been looked at for 30 years. 

And it's the reason why the state health plan 
is one of the most insolvent in the United States."

North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell 

"Cone Health's CEO also said in an internal email that the Clear Pricing Project would cost the hospital an additional $26 million. We asked the treasurer where that number came from.

Cone reported Nov. 28 that net patient revenue was up 7.7% to $1.78 billion for fiscal 2018.

It reported $110.4 million in "excess revenue," 
which is akin to profit for a for-profit organization.

Greensboro's News and Record

He says he has no idea where that number came from. He went on to say that Cone Health says the state health plan makes up only 5% of their revenue but they claim that it will cost them 50% of their profit.

"Those two numbers just don't add up," he added.


https://www.wfmynews2.com/article/news/local/2-wants-to-know/state-treasurer-dale-folwell-speaks-on-the-cone-health-state-health-plan-debate/83-11b6f582-10d9-4017-af66-8d8abc909c8b
.
.
2/17/14; A conversation between Ed Cone and George Hartzman on Obamacare etc...

https://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/02/a-conversation-between-ed-cone-and.html

3/18/14; Words I intend to deliver to Greensboro's City Council this evening on Medicaid expansion in North Carolina


https://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/words-i-intend-to-deliver-to.html
.
.
Other notable Cone Health Board Of Trustees;

J. Edward Kitchen

David F. Leeper

M. Lee McAllister

Carole Simms

These folks don't want their customers knowing 
how much Cone Health charges for services
before services are provided.

It's a mandatory part of the role to be a board member
of an organization which fleeces it's patients.

Notable Cone Health Foundation Board Of Trustees;

Tom Cone
Attorney
Ott, Cone & Redpath, PA

Ross Harris
Executive Director, NC Institute of Political Leadership

Rev. Chesley "Ches" Kennedy
Director of Development University of North Carolina at Greensboro
College of Arts and Sciences

Afrique Kilimanjaro
Newspaper Editor, The Carolina Peacemaker

Robert Pompey, Jr.
Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

https://www.conehealthfoundation.com/foundation/about-us/board-of-directors/


How many lawsuits has Cone Health filed against patients over the last five years?

How many lives ruined?

Cone Health CEO Terry Akins made more than $1.7 million in 2017.

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2019/07/how-many-lawsuits-has-cone-health-filed.html


Cone Health 2017 990;

https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2017/581/588/2017-581588823-0fa52eaf-9.pdf
.
.
"Cone's facilities, doctors could be out-of-network for state employees starting Jan. 1 after the health-care system rejects new reimbursement plan

Cone Health said Monday it will not sign a contract for the State Health Plan's new reimbursement program, meaning Cone's facilities and doctors could be out-of-network for state employees starting Jan. 1, 2020.

Cone is the first Triad health-care system to reject the Clear Pricing Project contract championed by state Treasurer Dale Folwell.

Folwell launched in October his attempt to move the SHP to a government pricing model tied to Medicare reimbursement rates, which typically are lower than hospitals currently receive for services.

...Cone reported Nov. 28 that net patient revenue was up 7.7% to $1.78 billion for fiscal 2018, which ended Sept. 30. It reported $110.4 million in "excess revenue," which is akin to profit for a for-profit organization.

https://www.greensboro.com/business/cone-s-facilities-doctors-could-be-out-of-network-for/article_be80f2e5-f4de-56c8-8abb-311136910335.html
.
.
Allen Johnson's deafening silence on N.C. Treasurer Folwell's plan to increase transparency and lower healthcare costs

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2019/04/allen-johnsons-deafening-silence-on-nc.html

Cone Health is a Racket;

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2019/03/cone-health-is-racket.html

How many families did Cone Health force into bankruptcy last year?

Cone Health's success at stealing from patients and bankrupting families within our local overpriced healthcare monopoly

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2016/08/ed-cone-on-cone-healths-success-at.html

Our healthcare system is a legal theft racket supported by our nation's media industry

What Warren Buffett's outlets won't report; "Colombia Fears U.S. May Reject Peace Plan To Protect Pharma Profits"

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2016/05/what-warren-buffetts-outlets-wont.html

The Healthcare Industry is a legal racket

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-healthcare-industry-is-legal-racket.html

A few tidbits on Social Security and Medicare and our nation's other "non-discretionary" social spending too many are relying on

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-few-tidbits-on-social-security-and.html

Greensboro City Council succumbs to extortion by UnitedHealthcare

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2017/07/greensboro-city-council-succumbs-to.html

America is getting Ripped Off on Healthcare

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2017/01/america-is-getting-ripped-off-on.html

From Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to an EZGreensboro.com reader; A 425% increase in health care insurance premium for 2018

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/from-blue-cross-blue-shield-of-north.html





Excerpts from my 3/26/2014 Yes Weekly Article; "On Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina" ACA, Obamacare, CBO, SGR and the Doc Fix

https://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/excerpts-from-my-3262014-yes-weekly.html

Dear Greensboro's Andrew Brod, On the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Obamacare) and Deficit Projections, of which Dr. Brod was Incorrect

"...according to the Congressional Budget Office, the ACA as a whole, including Medicaid expansion, will slightly reduce the deficit during the next 10 years, precisely because it includes various taxes and fees. Expanding Medicaid might mean bigger government, but not a bigger deficit.

Andrew Brod
March 28, 2014

https://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/06/dear-greensboros-andrew-brod-on.html

3/19/14; Dr. Andrew Brod, my deadline for this article is Monday morning at 10am.

I believe you are not telling the truth. If you would like to provide proof that you are not, please do so, otherwise the following should be published in Yes Weekly next Wednesday;

"On March 21, 2014, the Obama administration's Whitehouse.gov stated "the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit, saving over $200 billion over 10 years".

In online debates at Council Member Tony Wilkins' Facebook page and Ed Cone's blog before and after the council debate, UNCG Senior Research Fellow Dr. Andrew Brod stated "It's silly to say that the ACA is "mathematically unsustainable." The best math we have on this are projections by the CBO [Congressional Budget Office], indicate that the ACA is quite sustainable. The CBO projects that the ACA will (slightly) reduce the federal deficit” and "the ACA will reduce the federal deficit over time, precisely because "how we pay for it" has already been nailed down in the law."

Directly contradicting the Obama administration and Dr. Brod's assertions, Table B-1 of a February, 2014 report by the CBO entitled "Effects on the Deficit of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act" says the Net Cost of Coverage Provisions to the federal government is projected to be $1.487 Trillion between 2015 and 2024."

https://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/dr-andrew-brod-my-deadline-for-this.html

Guilford County's 10 largest employers
Aug 26, 2018 

2. Cone Health

Employees: 9,287

Leadership: Terry Akin, CEO; F.D. Hornaday III, board chairman

Integrated not-for-profit network of health care providers serving Guilford, Forsyth, Rockingham, Alamance, Randolph, Caswell and surrounding counties. ... Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the state’s seventh best hospital in 2018-19. ... Has more than 12,000 employees, 1,300 physicians and 1,200 volunteers across the region. ... Its network comprises more than 100 locations, including six hospitals, three ambulatory care centers, three outpatient surgery centers and three urgent care centers. ... Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, a 517-bed teaching hospital and referral center in Greensboro, is the flagship. ... Opened in 1953.

https://www.greensboro.com/business/guilford-county-s-largest-employers/article_10e019a3-da46-5c58-98e5-d0dcd063e854.html?fbclid=IwAR3CcommTf1FSbQOONEy17z_K2tNhJRB-1Q854fObDZ55HYVzwbyyOh-ZSA






Monday, July 8, 2019

How many lawsuits has Cone Health filed against patients over the last five years?

How many lives ruined?

Cone Health CEO Terry Akins made more than $1.7 million in 2017.

"Nonprofit Christian Hospital Suspends Debt Collection Lawsuits Amid Furor Over Suing Its Own Employees"

https://www.propublica.org/article/nonprofit-christian-hospital-suspends-debt-collection-lawsuits-amid-furor-over-suing-its-own-employees

Cone Health 2017 990;

https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2017/581/588/2017-581588823-0fa52eaf-9.pdf
.
.
"Cone's facilities, doctors could be out-of-network for state employees starting Jan. 1 after the health-care system rejects new reimbursement plan

Cone Health said Monday it will not sign a contract for the State Health Plan's new reimbursement program, meaning Cone's facilities and doctors could be out-of-network for state employees starting Jan. 1, 2020.

Cone is the first Triad health-care system to reject the Clear Pricing Project contract championed by state Treasurer Dale Folwell.

Folwell launched in October his attempt to move the SHP to a government pricing model tied to Medicare reimbursement rates, which typically are lower than hospitals currently receive for services.

...Cone reported Nov. 28 that net patient revenue was up 7.7% to $1.78 billion for fiscal 2018, which ended Sept. 30. It reported $110.4 million in "excess revenue," which is akin to profit for a for-profit organization.

https://www.greensboro.com/business/cone-s-facilities-doctors-could-be-out-of-network-for/article_be80f2e5-f4de-56c8-8abb-311136910335.html
.
.
Allen Johnson's deafening silence on N.C. Treasurer Folwell's plan to increase transparency and lower healthcare costs

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2019/04/allen-johnsons-deafening-silence-on-nc.html


Cone Health is a Racket;

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2019/03/cone-health-is-racket.html

How many families did Cone Health force into bankruptcy last year?

Cone Health's success at stealing from patients and bankrupting families within our local overpriced healthcare monopoly

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2016/08/ed-cone-on-cone-healths-success-at.html


Our healthcare system is a legal theft racket supported by our nation's media industry

What Warren Buffett's outlets won't report; "Colombia Fears U.S. May Reject Peace Plan To Protect Pharma Profits"

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2016/05/what-warren-buffetts-outlets-wont.html

The Healthcare Industry is a legal racket

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-healthcare-industry-is-legal-racket.html


A few tidbits on Social Security and Medicare and our nation's other "non-discretionary" social spending too many are relying on

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-few-tidbits-on-social-security-and.html

Greensboro City Council succumbs to extortion by UnitedHealthcare

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2017/07/greensboro-city-council-succumbs-to.html

America is getting Ripped Off on Healthcare

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2017/01/america-is-getting-ripped-off-on.html

From Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to an EZGreensboro.com reader; A 425% increase in health care insurance premium for 2018

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/from-blue-cross-blue-shield-of-north.html




Thursday, July 4, 2019

"Amazon confirms it retains your Alexa voice recordings indefinitely" and "the extent to which this data is shared with third parties, and how those third parties use and control that information, is still unclear.”

"...the retail giant has confirmed that it keeps transcripts and voice recordings indefinitely, and only removes them if they’re manually deleted by users.

...CNET reported that Alexa assistant not only keeps your voice recordings, but also keeps a record of your voice transcriptions for improving its AI algorithms, with no option to delete them.

...A coalition of children’s advocacy organizations led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission claiming that the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition was retaining children’s data even after parents deleted the voice recordings.

...“Amazon‘s response leaves open the possibility that transcripts of user voice interactions with Alexa are not deleted from all of Amazon‘s servers, even after a user has deleted a recording of his or her voice,” Delaware Democratic senator Chris Coons said in a statement. “What’s more, the extent to which this data is shared with third parties, and how those third parties use and control that information, is still unclear.”

https://thenextweb.com/security/2019/07/03/amazon-confirms-it-retains-your-alexa-voice-recordings-indefinitely/
. . .




Monday, July 1, 2019

Greensboro's slush fund jumps to $391 million from $315 million since 2016, after City Council raised taxes by about 15% during the same time frame

Page 85 of Greensboro's 2018 CAFR report;

https://user-kcmpnye.cld.bz/COG-Comprehensive-Annual-Financial-Report/85/#zoom=z

From 2016's CAFR on page 124;

Add caption
Since July 2016, the City of Greensboro increased its budget by $46.9 million per year, more than 11%, while overall taxation increased by about 15% to pay for it

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2019/06/since-july-2016-city-of-greensboro-has.html

Greensboro's latest slush fund balance

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2018/05/greensboros-latest-slush-fund-balance.html

Greensboro's hidden $282,210,485, which was $272,083,730 the year before, that was $273,932,356 the year before that

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2015/06/greensboros-hidden-282210485-which-was.html

Fair Market Value of City of Greensboro Investments as of 6/30/2013; $281,866,902

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/fair-market-value-of-city-of-greensboro.html

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Since July 2016, the City of Greensboro increased its budget by $46.9 million per year, more than 11%, while overall taxation increased by about 15% to pay for it

During its June 18 meeting, Greensboro City Council approved a $566.5 million budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/13780/36?backlist=%2F

During its June 19 meeting, Greensboro City Council approved a $543.5 million budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/11666/

During its June 20 meeting, Greensboro City Council approved a $534.6 million budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year

https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/9597/

City Council adopted the 2016-17 Annual Net Budget, totaling $519,671,117, on June 7, 2016.

https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=31508

Water and sewer rates increase by four percent...

The average bill for a customer inside the city limits will increase $1.81 per month


City of Greensboro, 2019

June 19, 2018; The city is raising the water and sewer rate by 3.5 percent for all users, effective July 1.

https://www.wfmynews2.com/article/news/local/greensboro-city-council-approves-5435m-budget-15-per-hour-minimum-wage/83-565783631

The budget includes a water rate increase of 3.5% for customers both inside and outside the city limits to be effective July 1, 2018.

This modest rate increase translates to about $1.53 per month for the typical household inside the city and about $3.82 per month for households outside the city.

https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/home/showdocument?id=37811

It’s worth noting that the $2.50 cent fee 
will raise almost exactly the same amount of revenue for the city 
as an additional 1 cent on the tax rate.

The Rhino Times

06/20/2017; "City Council Approves FY 2017-18 budget

The approved budget maintains the current City property tax rate of 63.25 cents per $100 property valuation for the 8th consecutive year. While the current tax rate is 2.11 cents higher than the revenue neutral tax rate, it allows the City to dedicate additional funding for debt service...


A 2.11 cent/3.3345% tax increase

To support on-going water and sewer maintenance, rehabilitation, regulatory, and capital replacement needs, a water and sewer rate increase of 3.25 percent for inside City users and 5.5 percent for outside City users is included, effective July 1. This equates to an average bill increase of $1.38 per month for inside City customers and $5.69 per month for outside City customers who use Greensboro’s water and sewer infrastructure."

https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/9597/

$1.81 + $1.53 + $1.38 = $4.72 in water tax increases in three years

The Adopted Budget includes an increase in the Motor Vehicle License Fee from $10 per vehicle to $30 per vehicle. This fee increase will generate an additional $4.2 million in user fee revenue.

The FY 16-17 Water Resources Adopted Budget includes a rate increase of 4.5% for residents inside city limits and 4.5% for residents outside city limits to be effective July 1, 2016. This rate increase will result in a $1.83 increase per month for city residents.

https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=31508

$1.81 + $1.53 + $1.38 = $1.83 = $6.55 in water tax increases in four years

$6.55 x 12 = another $78.60 per year more in water tax increases in the last four years

City of Greensboro raises taxes by 7.5%, but most don't know, as our local media didn't tell anyone

https://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2019/06/city-of-greensboro-raises-taxes-by-75.htm.
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If a "$2.50 cent fee will raise almost exactly the same amount of revenue for the city as an additional 1 cent on the tax rate", and $2.50 x 12 = $30 per year more in taxes is about a $0.01 property tax increases;

Water tax ; $6.55 / $2.5 = 2.62 property tax "cents" worth in water taxes have been racked up since 2016

Property tax; 66.25 - 61.14 = 5.11 cents of tax increases since 2017

Recycle 2019; 1 cent equivalent

Auto fees 2016; $20 increase = 0.66 cent property tax equivalent increase

2.62 + 5.11 + 1 + 0.66 = 9.39 cents in property tax equivalent increases in Greensboro since 2016

9.39 / 61.14 = about 15% of tax increases in Greensboro since 2016

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Bias In Greensboro Code Enforcement?

I should be outside getting some yard work done before it gets too hot but my mind weighs heavy knowing I have yet again stumbled upon, quite by accident, truths Greensboro residents should know.

On Tuesday I drove past 1222 Lombardy Street as I do several times a week. Only this time it was different. This time I dialed 373-CITY to complain about the fallen in roof and the truckloads of garbage that has been dumped there over the years since the roof fell in. I no longer have a working camera but I found this overhead view by using the Guilford County GIS website.


It looks far worse now than in the photo above.

The roof has been fallen in for several years with nothing done about it and I wondered if the City planned to demolish the property. I was told that the property is on the list to be demolished, that over 300 properties are on that list, no date has been set, and no funding has been set aside for those 300 demolitions.

And the first thing that came to mind was, there always seems to be funding to do demolitions in Glenwood on homes sought after by UNCG. Especially if those homes are owned by Bulent Bediz.

But not one of the demolished homes owned by Mr Bediz posed as much of a threat to public safety as the property at 1222 Lombardy Street. You can see the Greensboro Housing Authority owned Claremont Courts from the front porch at 1222 Lombardy. How many children might play there with the only remaining wooded area in the neighborhood being directly across the street?

But I didn't want to be the one to tell you about this.

You see, when I blog, despite any amount of evidence I might present, Greensboro's leaders make me out to be some sort of insane liar and most of Greensboro believes them. That's why I have severely curtailed my blogging activities.

So I decided to send my thoughts to others to see what they thought.

Roch Smith jr found my thoughts intriguing but is currently busy on paying projects. Hey, not everyone is retired like me. Some people have bills to pay. But Roch did take the time to forward my e-mail to Dr Stephen Stills who sent us the following:



But I had already called the city. So had others. The property is already on a list of 300 that isn't getting done.

I also sent my thoughts to Bulent Bediz who sent me the following reply:


"The funds used to demolish houses could well be spent  rehabbing them" Wow, I've seen the houses belonging to Mr Bediz that were torn down by the City. I also saw the bills they presented him for tearing them down. Many, if not all, could have been repaired for the cost of demolition.

Mr Bediz also sent me this recent article Guilford County closes in on Glenwood investor’s properties so I guess there's no need to share my concerns about code enforcement bias with Triad City Beat.

Funny thing though, the TCB article contradicts itself.

I found this statement to be especially telling. In it  Mitzi Griffin admits UNCG is the problem then goes on to blame Bulent Bediz:

"Griffin said that after UNCG bought up many of Bediz’s homes to make way for the new student recreation center in 2016, the value of most of the homes in the neighborhood dropped drastically. She claims hers went down to what it was when she bought it 30 years ago.

“He single-handedly took down this neighborhood,” Griffin said."

"...after UNCG bought up many of Bediz’s homes... the value of most of the homes in the neighborhood dropped drastically."

Meanwhile none of the homes that were owned by Mr Bediz and demolished by the City of Greensboro were in as bad of condition as this property at 1222 Lombardy St in East Greensboro where UNCG has no designs on taking the properties.

Intriguing? Roch has a nicer way of putting things than I do.

So what does it take to get a dangerous property torn down and hauled away when said property isn't a property that is desired by UNCG or one of Greensboro's connected developers? Why are there 300 properties waiting to be demolished and no funding to do so? Is there bias in the enforcement of the laws concerning public safety?

Or will the property at 1222 Lombardy actually have to kill children just as did the abandoned rock quarry that was once across the street did before the City of Greensboro will take action.


Update: June 28, 2019: If someone wants to visit 1222 Lombardy Street and photograph the property I'd be more than happy to add the photos to this post. Send them to RecycleBill@gmail.com and let me know if you wish for me to use your name or not.