Pricey Harrison to Speak Jan. 17

An invitation to hear Pricey Harrison speak about her first term as a NC legislator from Guilford County.

I would like to invite everyone to attend any or all of the Lunch with the League programs. These are held on the 3rd Tuesday, each month except May, June, July and December. The programs start at 12:15. For more information check out the Local League of Women Voters website

The next Lunch with the League, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad, will be Tuesday, January 17, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 607 N. Greene Street, Greensboro.

The public is invited (boys and girls). Admission is FREE.
For those who wish to eat, a wonderfully tasty lunch is available for only $8.00.

There is usually time before the program for talking with the speaker and a time for asking questions during the presentation.

Program for Jan. 17 is:
Pricey Harrison: A freshman legislator's view

January 17, 2006, 12:15 p.m.
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
607 N. Greene Street, Greensboro
$8.00 (Reservations: 643-2131 or

Y'all Come!

GOOD Smells & BAD Smells

My home still has that great Christmas scent from the live spruce & other seasonal decorations. Ahh, the sweet smell of cinnamon and cloves and fresh fruit.

_______________________Other areas are not so sweet.

The RaleighN&O reports that hog waste treatments that have been developed over the past several years may be too expensive unless taxpayers are willing to bear some of the costs.

New technologies to dispose of hog waste in a more environmentally friendly way could cost up to 5 times more than the open-air lagoons used now. The state has provided a grant to study how to bring down the costs associated with the better hog waste disposal methods.

Environmentalist and hog industry spokespeople knew when this research began that better technology would cost more. The problems seem to be who will pay for the conversion and how economically feasible will it be for the industry and the state. And also, how badly do we want to protect the land and water that we all need to survive.

New Year's Resolution for Greensboro? ? ?

One new year's resolution that I would like to see the Greensboro City Council adopt is to promise to implement better options for solid waste disposal. Household trash, demolition and construction waste, municipal sewage and animal waste are all sources that can be used to produce energy. This approach deals with three problems facing our area:

-reducing the volume of trash going into landfills
-producing energy from local renewable sources
-providing jobs/improving the economy

I urge readers of this blog to contact Greensboro City Council representatives and ask what will be happening to Greensboro's household waste when the trash transfer station becomes operable. The answers that I have gotten are not acceptable.

**(Added Fri, Dec. 30)
**Guilford County residents inside and outside Greensboro would benefit from a local/regional cooperative effort to reduce the volume of trash going into dumps in our area and in all of North Carolina. I urge you to contact your local town council or county commissioners and ask them to join in a cooperative effort.
**Many rural areas in our state are considering allowing private companies to buy or rent space to build dumps for garbage from out-of-state. This is a temporary source of income for these areas, but could be potentially dangerous in years to come. Think about it.

A little Info on Energy from BioMass sources.

A little Info about renewable energy from The North Carolina Solar Center

NC Adding People

According to the US Census Bureau estimates released this week, North Carolina added 142,774 people from July 2004 to July 2005 making it one of the 10 fastest-growing states. NC tied with Texas and Georgia as the 5th fastest-growing state in population.

Right Thing! Wrong Reason?

The New Greensboro City Council made some good decisions last night. To deny the purchase of the Cedar Street property was a good decision. If the property meets RUCO standards, there is no good reason to harass the landlord or force him out of the area. When he decides that he can make more money by selling the land, than by keeping it and paying taxes and fines and repair costs, he will. Or maybe he will be the one to build better housing there. Who knows, but the city government just needs to make sure that the complex provides safe housing.

I liked the comments about landlords' rights. Bad tenants are responsible for lots of damage to rental property. Low rent property can't stay low rent if the owner has to spend more and more to repair damage done by irresponsible renters.
The problem of affordable housing for low income residents has many facets. Bad landlords is only one of them.

To postpone making a decision on the multi-family zoning and change to the FLUM on Freeman Mill Road was a good decision - Only because the council and citizens seemed confused by the situation. Actually, everybody there seemed confused. "Confuse and Conquer" seemed to be the tactic of the proponents of this change in the FLUM. The Council showed good judgment.

The decision to extend sewer service to the Pleasant Garden shopping center did not make the grade. I don't feel sorry for people who move out of the city so they will not have to pay city taxes and then complain that they have to drive into town to buy groceries. Most of them probably drive into town to work. Maybe they could shop here too. A few local celebrities show up at a City Council Meeting and look what happens. The council goo goos and melts.
I enjoyed a quote that a read recently in a column by Molly Ivins.

" would we know it was America if we didn't hear regularly from the nincompoop faction?"

BTW who belongs to that nincompoop faction?

Re-Zoning in Glenwood

I posted about this on December 2

Several council members went on a Glenwood tour sponsored by the Greensboro Housing Coalition. This tour concentrated more on bad housing than on the improvements that have been made to the area recently.

The unsafe housing should be repaired, but the best thing that could happen to the neighborhood (in my opinion) is to keep present low density zoning as the Greensboro Future Land Use Plan advises and to encourage people to buy houses in the area.

If the neighborhood continues to fray around the edges with the help of bad zoning and willy-nilly changes to the comprehensive plan, young couples and preservationist will not want to invest there. This is the worse thing that could happen.

Greensboro needs reasonably priced family housing near downtown. Glenwood offers a mix of housing styles and price ranges. The neighborhood deserves a chance to shine.

Greensboro City Council should not approve the re-zoning request on Freeman Mill Road or changes to the GFLUM in this area at this time. These requests are scheduled to be heard Tuesday, Dec. 20.

What do you think? rep. to be on radio tomorrow

Amanda Bowman of "Secure" will be a guest on the Dusty Dunn radio program tomorrow (Dec. 14). Not sure what time the segment will air.
The program is on 1070 am radio or can be heard live from your computer at
The Dusty Dunn show is on every morning from 7am to 10am. It is talk radio, local news, sports, weather, interesting guests and some colorful regulars and citizen callers.
See ya on the radio.

More on Safe Housing/Safe Streets

One of the suggestions that came up in the workshop on Safe Housing in Greensboro was to ask NC legislators to change the law that now sends all money received from fines to schools.

Fines from housing violations (and I don't know how much is actually collected) could be returned to the community to help with inspections and repairing and awareness programs, etc.

Another change in the present law could also make money from red-light cameras available to help make streets safer for pedestrians, bike, car and motor bike riders.

What do you think?

Cary, NC gets into Fertilizer

The Town of Cary has invested several million dollars in afertilizer
plant to process the town's sewage sludge into small pellets that they hope to eventually sell to a fertilizer blending company. Town officials call the plant a "biosolids dryer". They say that it will reduce the cost of disposing of sewage sludge, and maybe make a profit in a few years.
The pellets smell like wet moss. (that is what the article in the Raleigh N&O tells me, I haven't smelled any myself.)
Sounds like a good idea for the town.

What do you think?
I spent this morning in a workshop sponsored by the Greensboro Housing Coaliton.
The focus was on safe, affordable housing in Greensboro. There were charts and maps about how many building code violations were in certain parts of the city and large and small group discussions about what to do to improve some of the housing problems we have here.
This whole effort made me start to ask some questions about housing and neighborhoods. I wonder why some neighborhoods stay nice while others rapidly or slowly become undesirable areas. Why some neighborhood property values increase at a good rate and others don't.
I drove through several areas in different parts of Greensboro. What is the reason that houses of about the same size, style and age become so different over the years?

If we could figure out what helps people take pride in where they live and in the property they own or rent, maybe we could figure out what the community as a whole should do to help everyone in Greensboro feel proud that they live in a safe, healthy place and work to keep it that way.
Oh, well, dream on diane.

RE: It could only happen.....

I have lived in Greensboro for over 30 years, and I can't remember when the city sewer system and the city storm drains were adequate. I have witnessed the Lake Daniel area and the Latham Park area have regular sewage overflow and stormwater flooding as well as other areas of the city. Bad zoning decisions and development in some areas has made the problem worse. I remember when several apartment complexes flooded several times recently.
The City of Greensboro has been improving some of the many miles of sewers here. But, only under a mandate from the State of NC.

As far as not hearing much about the problem, I have mentioned the poor maintenance of city property in each of my 3 runs for a seat on Greensboro City Council. Our public transportation system is another disgrace that is finally getting some attention. I have been to so many meetings and talked to so many people about the bus system here that I can't even remember. (I'll blog more on that later.)
On several occasions I have talked to city council representatives about the sewer problem. During a radio broadcast several years ago I asked 2 members of the city council why the city could not find money to repair and maintain the sewer system. I even inquired about why some money from the general fund could not be transferred each year to go to repairing and maintaining the system. I was told that money was kept for emergencies.
This is not a new problem. It is just one of the many important things that our city council has failed to address while they spend endless hours on discussion about replacing carpet at the coliseum and putting unnecessary medians in the middle of streets and buying property for the ACC., and giving grants to non-accountable "non-profit groups", and a hundred other non-essential ways to spend taxpayer's money.

Secret Drug Research ???

Secret Drug Research ???

On Page A4, Dec. 3 edition of the N&R was this small headline: "Lawmakers propose secret drug agency to develop vaccines"
The acticle stated:
"The Proposed Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency would be exempt from long-standing open records and meetings laws that apply to most government departments, according to legislation approved Oct. 18 by the
Senate Health Committee

Didn't we try that approach in the early and mid 20th Century? Secret medical testing on mental patients, prison inmates, military personnel, and even some orphans was done on a routine basis. I hope this bill doesn't mean more of that.

The article contained a quote by Richard Burr, R-NC suggesting that the federal government should provide incentives and protections necessary to bring more and better drugs and vaccines to market faster. According to a
Press Release on Mr. Burr's website, the legislation was introduced by him.

If link above is not working. Try this:

I need more information on this.
What do you think?

Bad Zoning Decision

I wasn't able to attend the last City Council Briefing. I know that there was lots of stuff going on that I am interested in knowing more about. And I since haven't been able to read Sandy's blog (She usually has a good, honest review of the meetings) I don't really know what happened.

I did attend the last meeting of the Greensboro Zoning Commission. I was disappointed in the approval of an apartment complex on Freeman Mill Road. I drove to the site and can't understand how the Planning Department and the Zoning Commission could think that this project is a good idea. If the zoning decision is appealed, and it should be, it will be heard at the Dec. 20 meeting of the City Council.

I mentioned to John Hammer, who was at the meeting, that I thought the apartment complex was a bad idea. He asked me if I could think of a better use of the land. That is a legitimate question. I'm not sure how to answer it. Maybe a city park? At least, if it were a park, the area would be patrolled by Greensboro Police and some of the problems that opponents of the project see as bad for their neighborhood would be lessened. Even an office and/or retail complex would seem a better use of the land than the kind of apartment complex proposed at the meeting.

The proposed entrance to the complex will be a right-in, right out only on a blind curve on a busy road with a median. This invites U-turns in order to drive toward Downtown Greensboro. That alone seems to be a bad call for any kind of development with only one entrance/exit point. There will be one way in and out of a cul-de-sac type road which will be a private driveway, not a city maintained street. More problems??? A buffer area (because there is a stream on the property) and a fence on one side of the proposed apartments (I don't think that this is a requirement of the zoning) are suppose to isolate the complex from surrounding areas. A fence on one side??? What good does a fence on one side do???

I'm sure we will be hearing more about this project. I hope City Council Members will study this proposal well before they make a decision.

What do you think?

Blog withdrawal symptoms

I am having trouble with my old computer. I cannot read Sandy Carmany's blog. Each time I try to call it up, I get a few lines, then my curser just spins indefinitely or the whole system shuts down.
I have not been able to get to the N&R blogs for some time now. I think the trouble with theirs began when they updated and changed. At first I could read the blogs, but not the comments, then the blogs became hard to pull up.
Maybe Santa will be kind and bring me a new I-book. Ho Ho Ho. Like that's going to happen.
I find it interesting and distressing that the Greensboro City Council voted to take money from the so-called transportation bonds passed several years ago to move water pipes for the Jones Brothers development on Smith Street. (Never mind the fact that I voted against the transportation bond issue in 2000. I read the proposed use of that money and disagreed with much of it.)

I was at the meeting where this expenditure was approved. The agenda reference was for $750,000, but I think that the actual amount voted to be given was $200,000.

Let me tell you about my own experience with relocating city water pipes.

-Two real estate investors bought an old building at the corner of South Elm and McGee streets, near Hamburger Square.
-Two fires on the same night did some damage to the interior of the old building brick building.
-Fires were ruled to be arson. Limited investigation has not (to my knowledge) turned up responsible arsonist.
-New owners did a wonderful job of renovating building, turning it into a bar and restaurant and mini brewery with outside dining and drinking.
-Owners discovered, during renovations, that water supply to two nearby buildings runs through their property. No legal easements were found.
-City water meters are located on McGee Street and water pipes run from these meters into two buildings that face South Elm.
-New owners notify owners of nearby buildings that the water pipes must be moved.
-Nearby business owners contact Greensboro City Water Department about problem, and are referred to City Engineering Department.
-City engineering department can't find maps identifying pipes, and refer business owners back to water department.
-Water pipes are cut and temporarily re-connected with hoses from meters.
-Small business owners speak to Greensboro Legal Department and are told that it is a private property matter.
-Owners ask water department to run pipes from city water meters to their property lines and are told that there will be a charge to do this. Owners inquire about price and are told that it depends on what is involved.
-Message left on phone by city staff tells owners that the city will not move water, even if owners pay.
-Complaint to Mayor of Greensboro gets reply that the new business will be good for the area and will help all businesses downtown.
-Results: Two small business owners paid over $8,000 to have water pipes moved.

-Questions: How are small business and property owners treated by the City of Greensboro? Does the city play favorites?

Cause of Stroke Unknown

An article in the N&R today tells about Laura Bolden, a 28-year-old woman who suffered a stroke and almost died. No cause was found for this stroke.
I wonder if Laura was a heavy user of artificial sweeteners.

After one of my daughters suffered a mini stroke (TIA) I have found much information about the artificial sweetener called Aspartame. Some of it is not documented, but much of the information came from the United States Senate record and from government sources like the FDA.

Here is some of the information that I found.

A thirty-four year old woman in Georgia suffers a stroke. A seventeen year old student in North Carolina has chest pain and heart palpitations. A twenty-seven year old teacher in Florida suffers from hives, itching, and heart beat irregularity. A forty-two year old man has head and neck pain and feels that his short term memory is suffering. A three year old child in Texas suffers from earache and dizziness, a twenty-three year old woman dies in her home and her cause of death is listed as unknown.

What do these people have in common? They were all regular users of products that contain the artificial sweetener Aspartame. Aspartame poisoning is commonly undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because Aspartame-induced symptoms mock textbook disease symptoms.

Aspartame is a low calorie sweetening ingredient used in almost 5000 products around the world. It can be found in a wide variety of food products including chewing gum, candy, soft drinks, children's vitamins, fruit drinks, dry mixes, tea and prescription medications. It is primarily marketed as the sweeteners called Nutrasweet and Equal. The FDA knows that it is not safe, yet our government allows its use.
Aspartame is made from two building blocks of protein just like those found naturally in protein foods such as meat, fish, cheese, eggs and milk and it also contains methanol. Proponents of its use say that Aspartame is digested by the body in exactly the same way as other protein foods and so does not add anything new to the diet. As a safeguard for people who must avoid protein foods, products which contain Aspartame have the label "Contains phenylalanine." This is to warn people who have the rare inherited genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU). But there is no warning about the other side effects of this artificial sweetener. Aspartame should not be used in food products. At the very least, consumers should know how much Aspartame is in the products they are eating and drinking and the possible side effects of its consumption.

Diet Pepsi (8 fl. oz)
Contains: Carbonated water, caramel color, Aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate (preserves freshness), caffeine, citric acid and natural flavors

Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi (8 fl. oz)
Contains: Carbonated water, caramel color, Aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate (preserves freshness), citric acid and natural flavors

Sugar Free Jell-O:
Ingredients: Gelatin, Adipic acid (for tartness), Disodium Phosphate, (controls acidity), Maltodextrin (from corn) fumaric acid (for tartness) Aspartame** (sweetener), Acesulfame Potassium (sweetener), salt, red 40.
**PHENYLKETONURICS: Contains phenylalamine

Scooby Doo Vitamins:
Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Sorbitol, Starch, Sodium Ascorbate, Natural and Artificial Flavors (including fruit acids), Stearic Acid, Gelatin, Magnesium Stearate, Vitamin E Acetate, Niacinamide, FD&C Red 40 Lake, FD&C Yellow 6 Lake, Aspartame (a sweetener), FD&C 2 Lake, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Acetate, Monoammonium Glycyrrhizinate, Folic Acid, Beta Carotene, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12.
Warnings: Do not use this product if safety seal bearing Bayer Corporation under cap is torn or missing.
Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine

Aspartame is listed as an ingredient on the labels of many products we consume daily, but the amount the product contains is rarely listed on the label. It is almost impossible to determine how much Aspartame is being consumed without proper labeling.

The government knows that Aspartame is bad for people and the manufacturers know that Aspartame is bad for people. This is a political issue. It should be a health issue. Aspartame is a poison allowed by our government to be introduced into many food products that we eat everyday.

For more information about Aspartame, Google "Aspartame" or "Aspertame." There is also some information about it at The People's Pharmacy website and at the Federal Drug Administration webside.

Importing Trash

According to the NC Conservation Network:
"North Carolina is becoming a hot spot for other states to dump their trash.
"Compared to MidAtlantic and Northeastern states, our land is cheap, we lack a state disposal charge, and numerous NorthCarolina communities are desperate for new sources of revenue........The problem with importing trash is that it is a short term revenue fix for these communities. It does not get to the heart of economic woes in these counties - but it does saddle each community that hosts a landfill with a potentially expensive, future environmental problem."


What do you think?

Bike Safety

Riding a bike is great fun, good exercise and cheap transportation. I posted some thoughts about bicycles in October.

What do you think?

Where Does Traveling Garbage Go?

As Landfills Close in Big Cities, Garbage Travels Farther

Excerpts from an AP report: Read the whole article at:

July 12, 2005: By David B. Caruso, Associated Press

Environmental News Network reports that in 2003, nearly a quarter of all municipal trash in the United States crossed state lines for disposal, according to the Congressional Research Service. Ten states imported at least 1 million tons of trash that year, up from only two states in 2001.
At issue for many importing states is the smell and the threat to the environment if the garbage is handled improperly -- reasons that more urban trash is winding up in rural communities where political resistance is likely to be minimal.
For instance, New York transports more than 1,300 tons of garbage each day to Fox Township, Pa., located in hilly hunting country 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Michael Keller, a township supervisor, said living near the landfill isn't that bad because it's hard to smell or see it from the street. But he can't shake the worries that the landfill's protective liners won't hold up forever.
"My concern is that 50, 60 or 70 years from now, they'll be saying, 'What were those guys thinking, allowing something like this to be built in this community?' "he said.
......... Michael Town, director of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club. "Transporting all of this garbage so far away means that the people that generate it don't have to deal with its consequencences." Town said. "And if that's the case, where is their incentive to create less of it?"
Source: Associated Press

I miss my maple tree

It was fall and the leaves were beginning to show beautiful colors all over Greensboro. Lowell and I and the children were cleaning up a yard that, I am told had been beautiful when the Sink family lived here, but was now overgrown and neglected. We had moved into an old house on an oak tree-lined street where many squirrels scampered. It was fall and the leaves were beginning to show beautiful colors all over Greensboro.

We pulled up lots of weeds, small trees and wild onions. Charlie, our first born, planted three of the little trees in our front yard. One maple survived. The main trunk of the tree broke a little and bent over. Charlie taped it up and the darned thing thrived. He watered it and kept the weeds and grass from swallowing it up. It grew into a beautiful tree near the street at the edge of our driveway. The colors of the leaves every fall were glowing. I loved that tree and the rustling sound of the dry leaves. It was beautiful in the spring when the green leaves shimmered in the rain. The shade it provided against the harsh rays of sun on hot summer days was refreshing.

Several years ago a big wind came and blew over a giant oak tree in a neighbor's yard. The tree was pulled out of the ground. Its roots pulled part of a front porch and steps out of the ground. The top of the oak tree landed in our driveway. There was damage to several houses and cars. The wind blew the top out of our beautiful maple tree and split the tree so badly that all of the limbs had to be taken down.

I couldn't bear to lose the tree completely; so, we left the tall stump standing until this summer. The flower bed that had been under the tree and then around the stump is still there. The yellow mums are a bit neglected this year but still beautiful. I miss my maple tree, but I have beautiful memories.

Maybe one of the little trees growing in the flower bed now will someday grow into a big tree that will offer beauty and shade to everyone who passes this way.

Happy, Satisfied Citizens

The people of Greensboro have spoken - that is - around 12 percent of the registered voters have spoken. Where are the rest?
They must be happy with business as usual in Greensboro. What a shame.

I thank each one of you who bothered to vote. I ESPECIALLY THANK those of you who had enough confidence in a long-shot candidate to vote for me.

Although I am a little bit down right now, I will keep voluteering for causes that I care about and I will keep working to bring important issues into local discussions. I love a good debate. I have a lot to learn. See ya downtown or around town and, of course, on the web.

Love ya all.

I Need Your Help! It Ain't Over!

Greensboro needs forward-thinking members on the city council. I offer myself as one of these. I need your vote tomorrow.

And, if you have time, I need a little help from my friends. I can use some folks to work at polling places for a few hours. After you vote, just hang around and talk to people on my behalf. I am running a hard campaign against candidates who are better financed. I need
help at Kiser Middle School, First Baptist Church, Page High School, Washington Elementary School, Peeler Rec. Center, and I could use help at your voting place, too. I have literature available that I can deliver to you today if you have time to hand out some . Just e-mail me at or leave a message at 378-4457.

I am running a tight campaign against better-financed candidates. I believe that this election should be about ideas, not about raising money, or party affiliation.

I hope you know that I am honest and above board with my ideas about Greensboro City Government. If you think that I will work hard for the citizens of Greensboro, and you like my published ideas, then Help Me Get Elected. If elected, I will not disappoint you.

Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for voting. Your vote can make a difference, if you vote for Diane Davis for City Council at Large. Call or e-mail your friends and remind them to vote. GO VOTE and take a friend. Remember what Yogi said "It ain't over till it's over"

Diane Davis Will . . .

to citizen concerns.
Safe, family-friendly Neighborhoods.
Public Transportation and encourage more Sidewalks and Bike Lanes.
improvements in the design and ecological use of developed and undeveloped areas.
the volume of waste going into landfills by
improved Recycling, Reuse, and Resource Recovery,
and Build a Waste to Energy program.
Greensboro to business & industry that
will provide Better Job Opportunities.
Monitor the use of taxpayer money.

Just Do It !

Please vote in your local elections. Every vote makes a difference!

Greensboro City Council Election is November 8. Early voting (also called no-excuse voting) is available now at the Guilford County Courthouse at Market and Eugene streets, in beautiful downtown Greensboro.
"Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little"
Edmund Burke

Thank You Greensboro 101

(First Published Oct. 2005)
I have been disappointed (as usual) in local media coverage of local candidates for Greensboro City Council and other towns in our area.

Fortunately we have coverage by Greensboro and a few others who have asked some questions to local candidates and actually published the questions and answers in print.

How wonderful of the publisher and editor of YES Weeklyto send questions to candidates and actually print the answers in the candidates' own words.

Some answers have been printed on blog pages. All answers should be published in the print editions. Comments can follow, but should not be the only coverage.

Several candidates have been almost completely ignored by local television stations and our daily newspaper. Many local issues that I feel are important have also been ignored.

WHAT DO YOU THINK about news coverage of local elections?

All-natural deodorizer

I found an interesting post on a site called ""/ The post headline was "All-natural deodorizer also kills germs"... No, for real this time.

Mountains of Garbage?

Raleigh N&O reports that North Carolina could soon be the location of many large privately-owned and operated landfills (dumps).

Changes in Chapel Hill

New plan revealed for housing, commercial and parking in Chapel Hill

Better Ideas

Two of the most important problems facing Greensboro and all of North Carolina are: Waste Disposal and Affordable Energy Sources. These should be addressed today. We have many options for dealing with these problems. Greensboro City Council can be the leader in regional planning for the future. (look at the WTE site WTE ) for information on Waste to Energy.

Greensboro City Council passed a policy in 1998 to look into regional waste disposal problems. Then, apparently, it was pushed aside and ignored. In the past several months there has been a little vague talk about a regional landfill, but no real push for action. No new ideas, no innovative thinking, just a few lame excuses.
Help me take action to address these problems. I need your vote. Good government is forward-looking.

Good government is not a spectator sport. Get involved. GO VOTE!

Give us more cartoons

One way to ease pain ishumor.
Thanks to for treating us to this cartoon. Thank you for seeing the lighter side of a sad situation.

Landfill Question Answered

Trucking our household garbage to transfer stations, repackaging it and paying someone to haul it away to other areas for final disposition is a bad idea. The White Street Landfill will not be completely closed. It will still be used for toxic Construction and Demolition waste and big trucks will still carry it there. Recycling and Yard Waste Composting operations (good, clean operations) will continue.
There is clean, cost-effective technology available now that would allow the City of Greensboro to greatly reduce the total volume of trash going into all landfills.
Closing the White Street Landfill to Household Trash before there was a smart alternative to the landfill problem was not a good idea.

The following was posted on this blog in August of this year. I have been an advocate of a regional waste-to-energy program for many years.

Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Wake Up and Smell the Garbage!

Greensboro should start as soon as possible to develop a long-term solution to trash disposal.
We should not wait to see what someone else is going to do about the trash disposal problems in our area. The longer we wait, the less control we will have over the disposal method, the price and the availability of a facility location.
Hauling our household waste to a re-packaging facility and then paying to have it hauled off to who-knows-where is not a good solution.
In addition to the household trash problem, the construction and demolition waste in our landfill could be reduced by reuse, recycling and resource recovery.
We need a regional waste-to-energy facility.. We need it as soon as possible. There are many clean, cost effective facilities in operation today and there is a seemingly unending source of fuel.
What do you think?


Comments Welcome!

Hey Blog Readers,
This blog is here because I want a conversation with the Greensboro Community. Please feel free to drop by anytime and leave your comments about any subject that concerns Greensboro. I welcome questions about my candidacy for Greensboro City Council at-Large. I will work hard FOR the CITIZENS of Greensboro.
Thank you for visiting my place. Have a nice day.

Sunshine in Greensboro?

Sunshine in city government is not the only sunshine we could use more of in Greensboro.
Streetscape lighting around the new center city park in downtown Greensboro is a perfect place to showcase solar energy. Taxpayers are spending at least 750,000 dollars to change the street lights and sidewalks around the park - and this does not include the power bill to operate these lights. Our city manager and city council have not seriously considered the solar option.

Solar power can be used with any design of streetlight. The lights can be operated with solar energy with a back-up from Duke Power, if needed.

There are experts on solar energy in our area who can give realistic appraisals of operating costs vs. investment costs. Why isn't the city listening?

Greensboro needs forward-thinking members on the city council. I offer myself as one of these. I need your vote on November 8, to help bring NEW and BETTER IDEAS to Greensboro.


Sun Power for Greensboro?

A new 38-story downtown apartment building in New York is powered by solar cells. Chicago has launched a program to make the city greener. Many other cities are looking seriously at alternative energy and more eco-friendly souces of power. Where is Greensboro?

Lack of an alternative energy plan is just one of the ways Greensboro is lagging behind in innovative thinking. A few hybrid cars is not enough. Greensboro should prepare for the future by looking for better ways to provide the massive amounts of power used by the city and paid for by the taxpayers.

Streetscape lighting around the new center city park in downtown Greensboro is a perfect place to showcase solar energy. Taxpayers are spending at least 750,000 dollars to change the street lights and sidewalks around the park - and this does not include the power bill to operate these lights. Our city manager and city council have not seriously considered the solar option.

We have consultants who live in our area who can give realistic appraisals of operating costs vs. investment costs. Why isn't the city listening?

Greensboro needs forward-thinking members on the city council. I offer myself as one of these. I need your vote to help bring new and better ideas to Greensboro.


Forum Question

At the blogger-sponsored forum Greensboro City Council-at-Large candidates were asked a question about the city's policy for hiring.
I thought that the question meant hiring by the city itself (not hiring by every business in the city). I answered yes, as did most of the candidates, that the city had a hiring practice that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.
We were told that was the wrong answer.
The following is copied from the City of Greensboro's Application for Employment:

It is the policy of the City of Greensboro to hire and promote the best-qualified individual(s) available. To this end, no person shall be refused employment, denied promotion or assignment, discharged or otherwise discriminated against or given preference in any aspect of the employment relationship on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, political affiliation, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other non-job related factor, except when certain physical and mental requirements are bona-fide occupational qualifications. (City Personnel Policy I-1).

I hope this will clarify any misunderstanding about this question and the answers given.

Raleigh Thinks About Downtown Zoning

The Raleigh News and Observer reports that some
Raleigh residents have challenged the downtown overlay district that promotes buildings that are close to the street with limited off-street parking. The district rules would allow new buildings of less than 10,000 sq. ft. to be built with only city staff approval.

Neighbors of the downtown area are worried that their concerns will not be addressed because some projects could be approved without notifying the public and no public hearings would be required.

There is also concern that parking requirements could change for colleges in the area. Raleigh city codes require college dorms to have one parking space for every two beds and an auditorium or gym one space for every five seats.

Downtown Building Concerns

Greensboro Downtown development and re-development is a wonderful thing that is happening in our city. I love it! It is also something that requires much scrutiny.

I have been concerned for sometime about the expansion of the Greensboro Central Business zoning district area. CB zoning is creeping outside the traditional downtown area of Greensboro. The lack of parking requirements in the CB zoning should be a concern for every citizen because someone is going to have to pay for providing parking to the area.

The new co-called "self -financing bonds" that can be issued by the city council without voter approval are one way to finance parking garages. This type of bonds have had limited use in other areas, but have not been fully tested over time and shown to be the best way to finance public projects. The theory is that as property values will go up the increased taxes paid by property owners will pay off the bonds.

The advantage of this type zoning is certainly to the developer of projects in Downtown Greensboro. Builders in other areas of the city have to provide parking and landscape areas at their own expense and pass the price up front to buyers and tenants.

Greensboro City Councils Members will determine how many of these non-voter-approved bonds will be issued and what areas will be included in the pay-back taxes.

What do you think?

Where are the Voters

I spent the morning visiting voting places around town. I saw lots of campaign signs but the voters were nowhere in sight. Maybe they are taking Hardy's advice and leaving the voting up to him.
If so, I hope he votes for me.

Teacher Job Description

I received this from my daughter who is a public school teacher. It was given to her by a co-worker. The author is unknown.

After being interviewed by the school administration, the eager teaching prospect said: "Let me see if I've got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids, and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning. And I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and even censor their t-shirt messages and dress habits. You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons of mass destruction, and raise their self-esteem.

"You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a check-book, and how to apply for a job. I am to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, offer advice, write letters of recommendation for student employment and scholarships, encourage respect for the cultural diversity of others, and oh, make sure that I give the girls in my class fifty percent of my attention.

"My contract requires me to work on my own time after school, evenings and weekends grading papers. Also, I must spend my summer vacation (at my own expense) working toward advance certification and a Masters degree. And on my own time you want me to attend committee and faculty meetings, PTA meetings, and participate in staff development training.

"I am to be a paragon of virtue, larger than life, such that my very presence will awe my students into being obedient and respectful of authority. You want me to incorporate technology into the
learning experience, monitor web sites, and relate personally with each student. That includes deciding who might be potentially dangerous and/or liable to commit a crime in school. I am to make sure all students pass the mandatory state exams, even those who don't come to school regularly or complete any of their assignments.

"Plus, I am to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicap. And I am to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card.

"All of this I am to do with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a big smile and on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps!

"You want me to do all of this and yet you expect me......
now get this..........................


Questions and Answers

My answers to questions from the League of Women Voters.
Diane G. Davis
905 Fairmont Street
Greensboro, NC 27401

Telephone: (336) 378-4457

Age: 63

Occupation: Retired Small Business Owner

Education and Training: Graduated High School in Savannah, Georgia.
Continuing Education Classes, Workshops and Seminars on Various Subjects.
Recently completed some coursework toward a Political Science Degree from UNCG.

Background or experience that you feel qualifies you for this office: I have been a volunteer and community activist for most of my life. I am familiar with city issues and will bring new ideas and excitement to the council. I am a serious candidate. I have time to devote to the job. I am not a one-time or a one-issue candidate.

1. Why are you running for the city council? (instead of some other office)

Local politics have an immediate effect on our lives I am running for an at-large seat on the Greensboro City Council because I know that I can make a difference in the quality of life in Greensboro. Good government depends on electing strong leaders who will work to improve our community while protecting individual rights and maintaining the family-friendly atmosphere that exists in our city. I believe every individual has a right to be heard. Our present city council shows little respect for individual citizens who approach them with ideas.

2. What is your concept of good city (town) government? How did you develop your concept?

Government should provide essential services and amenities that are not easily done individually. It is the job of city council to decide what level of services will be provided with taxpayer's money. Budget restraints are always a consideration in these matters.
More citizen involvement in deciding what services and amenities are provided is a key goal of mine. Public funding of non-essential projects should be discussed publicly and/or placed on the ballot with proper explanation and cost estimates.
My concept of good city government has been developed by paying attention to what is happening here and in other cities.

3. What issue are you prepared to tackle as your first course of action on the council? Why do you consider this issue to be so important?

We should know what is happening to our trash. Trucking our regular household garbage to transfer stations and then paying private companies to move it to other areas for final disposal is a bad idea. Unsafe dumps are a danger to ground water and can cause other environmental concerns.
A much better option is a regional trash-to-energy program. There is technology available to dispose of garbage in a way that is safe for our land and our air. The city council should start NOW to promote a regional program of resource recovery that will reduce trash going to landfills.

4. What is your foremost environmental concern, and how will you address this issue?

Greensboro is rapidly losing its tree cover and water and air quality are suffering. Better planning and zoning for residential and commercial growth in developed and undeveloped areas is a concern for me. I will continue to encourage mass transit and alternative energy sources. Better options for regional trash disposal is one of my top environmental priorities.

5. What will you do to make certain that all housing in Greensboro meets city standards within the next year?

All housing in Greensboro should be safe and aesthetically pleasing. Assuring that it is that way within the next year is an almost impossible task, but we should never stop trying to improve housing choices and never take our eyes off the goal. I promise to promote safe, family-friendly neighborhoods all over Greensboro and to use taxpayer money in a responsible way to accomplish this goal.

6. Low-density development does not pay for itself in taxes, is harmful to the environment and is an inefficient use of land. What specific policies and regulations would you suggest to reduce urban sprawl?

I disagree with the premise of this question. Controlled density is preferable to unregulated sprawl; however, each of us has an idea of the ideal home place. Forcing high-density living will only accelerate the sprawl problem because outlying land is usually less expensive and some people (like our own hero Daniel Boone) want "elbow room". Mixed use development of housing and commercial land can help solve some of the problems of sprawl.
Using public and private resources to obtain and conserve natural areas and green environments around water supplies and to provide public land where no development is allowed should be encouraged.

7. It is clear that building more highways has not and will not eliminate traffic congestion in the Triad. What specific policies will you work for to facilitate the development of alternatives to the automobile, such as walking, biking and mass transit?

Where convenient low-cost mass transportation is available, many people use it as an alternative to driving. More and bigger roads are only part of the solution to transportation problems. We need more sidewalks and bike lanes and better local and regional bus service.
I have been an advocate of better public transportation, more sidewalks and bike lanes on through streets for many years. Until recently, my suggestions have been largely ignored by most city council members and GDOT.

8. How should water conservation be encouraged and enforced, even in this time of "sufficiency"?

Education is the key to water conservation. The city should continue to provide free water-saving devices for faucets and toilets. Requiring multi-family units to have individual water meters will discourage wasting water. City government can regulate some water uses but the key to conserving water will always be with the individual user.

Bragging has never been one of my strong points, however:

My volunteer activities have included work with: YWCA Teen Mentor Program, Greensboro Public Library, DGI, Scholastic Art Awards, Guilford County Schools, Greensboro Artist League, First Baptist Church, Volunteer Poll Watcher, Greensboro Merchants Association, Citizens for Responsible Government, Action Greensboro, Humane Society, Girl Scouts, Fun Fourth Festival and some that I can't even remember.

Member Greensboro Merchants Association Council on Center City, Downtown Economic Advisory Committee, Vice President League of Women Voters, Board of Directors of Old Greensborough Preservation Society, participant in Greensboro Neighborhood Congress, Organizer of First Downtown Artstock Art Exhibit, Festival of Lights Advisory Board, member Downtown Solid Waste Advisory Committee.

I am listed as a willing volunteer for Greensboro City Boards and Commissions although I have never been appointed to one by a City Council member.

Civic Leadership

According to the N&R this morning, I have no civic leadership listed in my qualifications for Greensboro City Council. I thought the reporters and editors at the N&R kept up with local blogs. Apparently nobody there has read mine.
I have listed some of my volunteer activities and my leadership activities on this blog and in the news release that was sent to local media outlets and posted on the blog.
I have served or am currently serving on several local boards and committees. My civic responsibility is well-known by my friends as well as by those with whom I have disagreed on some local issues.
Where should my civic leadership experience be listed? Apparently it will not be in the N&R.

Homeowner Association Rules are Changing

According to
The Raleigh N&R (links)
a law that takes effect on Jan. 1 all over North Carolina will limit the amount of fines, late fees and attorney fees that homeowners associations can charge their members for violating the rules. The law, which was signed last week by Gov. Easley, will also make it harder for homeowner associations to put liens on member's property.

Those funny marks

I don't know how to use apostrophes in the posts on my blog. What am I doing wrong? Please help me. Hardy posts them on his blog, and I have posted them on his comment section where they look fine.
I used them in the post before this and they look as if they belong in a cartoon bubble. HELP.

Too Wordy for Yes

Yes Weekly sent a questionnaire about my views on local issues. I far exceeded my allotted 75 words per answer on some of the questions. YW edited my remarks in this week's edition. I am including the complete content of the answers I send to them.

To the folks at Yes. Thank you for publishing the views of candidates in their own words. Sorry there were too many of mine.

1. What is your position on the practice of giving taxpayer money to corporations to induce job creation and capital investment? Do you support the policy of economic incentives? What criteria, if any, do you think should be used to determine which corporations receive city funds?

Paying businesses and industries to locate in our area is not the right thing to do. That money should be spent on maintaining and improving the quality of life right here and in letting companies know that Greensboro is a great place to do business.

We have an abundant Workforce who are willing and Capable of learning new skills that will carry Greensboro into the future. Greensboro is Strategically Located and has Highways, Rail Service, Airport Facilities, Educational Institutions and Research Facilities. We have Art, Entertainment and wonderful Parks and Recreational areas. The Weather here is mild and offers Changing Beauty with every season. We should let business and industry know what a great place we have here. We don't have to pay business to come to our area.
I hear people say that they don't like economic incentives. The excuse for giving these bribes is "everybody is doing it." That sounds like a teenager's argument.

2. How do you feel about the independent Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its examination of the ideological tensions that spilled over into a deadly confrontation in November 1979? Do you think the city council should take a more active role in the truth process? If so, how? Should the city council take a stronger position against the truth process? Again, how?

Oral history in an atmosphere of understanding is a good thing. The findings of this commission should be added to the known history of the incident. City government should review the findings of the independent study when it is complete and respond at that time.

3. Should the city require developers to pay for things like sidewalks, multi-use trails and bike racks when they apply for permits for residential or retail developments to make our city more livable, or should the city take a hands-off approach to development? Explain your position.

The City Council should never take a hands-off approach to development. There are certainly areas where there is a need for required amenities. I believe that all new residential and commercial development should be pedestrian friendly and there should be safety provisions made for bike riders on through streets. Developers should be required to pay for sidewalks. Safety of auto and bike traffic should be primarily the duty of the city.

4. The Comprehensive Plan suggests that new growth be concentrated on the east side of Greensboro, yet this is not happening. Why not, and what can be done to encourage growth in that sector?

Infrastructure improvements and redevelopment of abandoned areas should be a major concern to the city government. Government should encourage development of employment opportunities in the area as well as shopping areas and a mix of property uses including moderate and higher-end single-family and multi-family residential. Better public transportation options should also be pursued.

5. Aside from basic services, in what areas do you favor spending discretionary taxpayer dollars? The Atlantic Coast Conference Museum? The Coliseum? The International Civil Rights Museum? Downtown park maintenance? Other projects?

Government should provide essential services and amenities that are not easily done individually. It is the job of City Council to decide what level of services will be provided with taxpayer's money.
I plan to review city services and fees and make recommendations to city council and staff concerning my findings.
More citizen involvement in deciding what services and amenities are provided is a key goal of mine. Budget restraints are always a consideration in these matters. Public funding of non-essential projects should be placed on the ballot with proper explanation and cost estimates. Citizens have a right to know how money is spent and a right to help decide how much. I favor citizen-initiated referendums, with a time limit on repeated requests.

Three More Free Sessions

Thursday, Sept. 22, will be the third in a five-part series about the Guilford County Judicial System. The session will concentrate on Alternatives to Incarceration.The Sept. 22, program will be held at the Cultural Arts Center. Enter from the Church Street Parking Deck side of the building and register on the ground floor.
The programs have been well attended and very informative. The guest speakers have been excellent sources of information. The last half hour of the programs are devoted to answering questions posed by the audience.
I have posted information about the program which is sponsored by The League of Women Voters, One Step Further, The Greensboro Public Library and Court Watch of NC. (check the Aug. 20 post).
Each session is independent of the others and offers information from people involved in a particular aspect of our judicial system. The public has been invited to attend any or all of the sessions. There is no charge to attend.

Shaking Hands

I've been to lots of meetings and meeting places lately. I didn't mean to fall behind with my blog posting, but I had to get out and shake a few hands and introduce myself to as many people as possible. Not everyone reads blogs, and I know that many blog readers at least know my name (Diane Davis, in case you forgot).
I always make time to read local blogs and other media sources and I have posted comments on some blogs.
I am looking forward to the greensboro101 candidate forum. Thanks to all of you for supporting this effort to learn more about candidates. I am always disappointed at the voter turnout for our local elections. PLEASE talk to the candidates. We, or at least I, want to hear from you. And PLEASE VOTE. One vote does make a difference in Greensboro.

Got an all-day information session today. See ya later.


News Release About Diane Davis

For Immediate Release: 9/1/05

Please send questions or comments to:


Diane Grey Davis is a candidate for the Greensboro City Council at Large. She is a tireless volunteer and community activist. She owned and operated Davis Design from 1981 until her recent retirement. She moved the store to South Elm Street in 1997, where it remains today.

She appears weekly on Radio WGOS AM as Downtown Diane on the Dusty Dunn Show where she gives news and opinions about Greensboro. Also available at

Diane and Lowell Davis have been married for over forty years and have lived in a downtown neighborhood since 1971. Their children grew up in Greensboro and graduated from Greensboro/Guilford public schools. Three of their five adult children and one of their three grandchildren reside in Greensboro.

Traffic and transportation problems, solid waste disposal options, as well as other issues that impact the quality of life in Greensboro will be top priorities for Mrs. Davis.

Better planning for future growth, to avoid more over-development in our area watersheds and green spaces, is an issue that concerns Diane. Her interests also include redevelopment of abandoned and neglected areas of our city, which can help reduce local sprawl.

As a small business owner for over twenty years, Diane is interested in encouraging entrepreneurs and in the continuing growth of the economy in our area.

Diane plans to carefully monitor use of taxpayer money, and to avoid any unnecessary increase in taxes paid by city residents.

Her volunteer activities have included work with: YWCA Teen Mentor Program, Greensboro Public Library, DGI, Scholastic Art Awards, Guilford County Schools, Greensboro Artist League, First Baptist Church, Volunteer Poll Watcher, GGMA, Citizens for Responsible Government, Action Greensboro, Humane Society, Girl Scouts, Fun Fourth Festival ...........
Member Greensboro Merchants Association Council on Center City, Downtown Economic Advisory Committee, League of Women Voters Board, Old Greensborough Preservation Society Board, Greensboro Neighborhood Congress, Artstock Artist Exhibits, Festival of Lights Advisory Board ..........

Diane Davis brings her Experience and Knowledge of Business, Family, Community Involvement and Service to the campaign for Greensboro City Council at-Large.

Triad Stage to help Hurricane Victims

From an e-mail from Connie Mahan, Communications Director, Triad Stage.
In light of the recent devastation from Hurricane Katrina to the city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area, Triad Stage will be collecting donations to assist hurricane victims throughout the run of its season opening production of Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire.
After each performance of Streetcar, a member of the cast will address the audience asking patrons to show their generosity in support of hurricane relief efforts. Members of the cast will then be in the lobby afterward to collect funds, which will be donated to the American Red Cross. Contributions may also be made at the Triad Stage Box Office during regular box office hours, 1:00 to 6:00pm, Tuesdays through Fridays
At Triad Stage we've been immersed in the culture and history of 1940s New Orleans for months preparing for this play, and are particularly moved to do what we can to help,, says Artistic Director Preston Lane
For more information, call the Triad Stage Box Office at 336.272.0160.

Cedar Street / Bellemeade Area Report

Cedar Street Meeting,

I attended a meetings today about a neighborhood located close to downtown that is being called The Cedar Street Area. It stretches north from Friendly Ave to Battleground Ave. Bellemeade Street Runs down the center of the area from Eugene Street on the east to the train tracks on the west. This area is sometimes referred to as the Bellemeade District.

The area which has some houses that date to the 1800s has been in decline for several years and much of the property has been sorely neglected. Some of the area reminds me of the old fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. The vines and bushes grew up and covered the beautiful castle. Of course there are no beautiful castles in the area, but there are many period houses that should be cleaned up and should be protected. The sidewalks are overgrown and cracked, and some of the rental property in the area is notoriously sub-standard.

With the trend of moving closer to work and closer to the downtowns of our cities, this neighborhood is one of the keys to developing a nice transitional neighborhood that will act as a buffer between the business district and our wonderfully preserved neighborhoods surrounding downtown.

Our city government has stepped in and is holding meetings with residents and other stake holders in the area to make decisions about the future of this area. These meetings are open to anyone who cares to attend and put in his/her 2-cents worth.

At the first meeting, city employees took notes on a big chart. At this second meeting, the staff presented a list of goals for the neighborhood from the suggestions gleaned from the first meeting.

I was impressed. The city staff gave a short presentation and then asked everyone present their impression of the goals. The next step will be how to implement the goals in a way that will be acceptable to property owners, residents, surrounding neighborhoods, investors and other decision makers in the city. I suspect that this will be the hard part, but it can be done. There was time for lots of one-to-one conversation during 'refreshment time'. It was a good meeting.

There is another meeting tonight 6:30 to 8 at the Greensboro Womens Club House, 223 N. Edgeworth Street. The public is invited.

1. Stabilize, enhance and complement existing character and fabric of the neighborhood.
2. Encourage appropriate future development of a variety of uses in the neighborhood.
3. Create a pedestrian-friendly and resident-friendly environment.
4. Improve the perception and visibility of the area as a downtown neighborhood.

What do you think? Better yet, go to the meeting and tell the city staff what you think. What do you want the area to be in 5 or 10 years?

Four Hours of What?

This morning I sat through a Greensboro City Council Briefing Session that lasted almost 4 hours. The Council did make a few decisions, but most of the meeting was wasted with presentations that didn't include much information that the council members did not know already.

The council members discussed appointing alternates to the boards and commissions because there are so many absences at the meetings. They decided that the only board that needs alternate members is the Board of Adjustments. Because the findings made by the Board of Adjustments are final unless there is a legal appeal within 30 days of the ruling, the council felt that there should always be enough members present to make a ruling. The alternate members will be asked to attend every meeting, but will only be able to vote when replacing an absent member.

Representatives from Action Greensboro and Downtown Greensboro Inc. gave their usual "We're doing a wonderful job" reports and estimates of how much the Center City Park will cost. DGI will get some money because of the extra tax the City Council passed last year on property owners in the Central Business District. Because the taxing authority (in this case, I guess it is DGI) gets a percentage of the taxes collected in their area from Guilford County Sales Tax revenue. I think that Ray Gibbs said that the extra money, which will be around $100,000, will be used for park maintenance. I think the city council agreed to spend $200,000 toward park maintenance. At last month's briefing, I thought the city agreed to pay up to $450,000 for park maintenance. Of course, nobody knows what the cost of the park will be and Action Greensboro asked for a five year trial period to figure out what will happen.

Adam Fischer from GDOT started to give an impressive presentation about why the city is adding those annoying medians on so many streets. The council members would have no part of that. They interupted so many times during the presentation that I'm not sure the presentation was ever completed. A lively discussion ended with GDOT winning, as usual, and very little accomplished.

After that, it was time for a presentation about proposed changes to the city's noise ordinance. By that time, several of the members had left and those who were still there were looking at their watches. There seemed to be lots of concern about how street noise could hurt the outside eating and drinking businesses on Elm Street. The biggest problem is that nobody knows how loud is too loud, and most don't understand noise/decibels?
The presentation was confusing and it was decided to bring it up later after the council had time to test noise by using a decibel meter. We were told that these meters cost around $3,000 each and that the city will probably purchase 5 as soon as possible and add more until every officer has one.

Smart Commuters !

Over 2,000 residents in the Triangle area have promised to try to get to work one day between August 15 and September 30 without driving their cars.
Each person who signs up at is entered in a drawing for prizes.
What a great idea. Maybe we should try it here.
What do you think?

Civics 103

Join Us
6 to 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 8, 13, 22, 27, Oct. 11, 2005
Presented by The League of Women Voters
of the Piedmont Triad
Greensboro Childrens Museum
220 N. Church Street


A Free Program

Sponsored by
The League of
Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad
Greensboro Public Library
YWCA of Greensboro
Court Watch of NC
One Step Further
Supported in part by
The Program on Law & Society of the Open Society Institute, through the NC League of Women Voters Citizen Ed. Fund and with the cooperation and aid of our speakers.
Speakers include:
David Churchill, Jeff Thigpen,
Judge Catherine Eagles,
Betty Brown, Lynne Schiftan,
Sheriff B.J.Barnes,
Asst. Police Chief Tim Bellamy,
Judge Tom Ross, Amie Haith,
Judge Lawrence McSwain,
D.A. Stuart Albright,
Mayor ProTem Yvonne Johnson

1st Session
Thurs., Sept. 8, 2005
Guest Experts:
District & Superior Courts,
Office of District Attorney, Office of Public Defender,
Register of Deeds
Moderator: LWVPT (Ellen Olson)

2nd Session
Tues., Sept. 13, 2005
Guest Experts:
Greensboro Police Dept.
Guilford County Sheriff Dept.
Juvenile Court Counselor
School Resource Officer
Guilford County Magistrate
Dept. of Social Services
Guilford County Attorney
Moderator: Court Watch of NC

3nd Session
Thurs.,Sept. 22, 2005
Guest Experts:
Office of District Attorney
Guilford Cty. Probation Office
Malachi House, Delancy Street
Sentencing Services,
Daily Reporting Center
Welfare Reform Project
Moderator: Yvonne Johnson (One Step Further)

4th Session
Tues., Sept. 27, 2005
Participants are asked to attend at least one District or Superior Court Session
(as a group or individually) prior to this 4th program.
Guest Experts:
Clerk of Superior Courts, Judge of District Court
Judge of Superior Court, Magistrate Office,
Guilford Cty. Dist. Attorney, Guilford Cty. Public Defender
Moderator: Carolyn Flowers (YWCA)

5th Session
Tues., Oct. 11, 2005
Guest Experts:
Judge Tom Ross, Sheriff B.J. Barnes,
Clerk of Superior Court
Moderator: David Olson (LWVPT)
5 Weekly Programs - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Greensboro Childrens Museum
220 N. Church Street
Childcare available free (if requested in advance) for 2 to 10-year olds
in a room provided by The Childrens Museum.
For Information or to Register (336) 274-0202 *

How Does the Court System Work?

Like many of you, I know very little about the actual workings of the court system. I have served on several juries (both criminal cases and civil cases) but have never been personally involved in a court case.

I have worked on a committee for several months that is presenting a 5-week, 5-session program to help people like me learn more about how the court system works. I have learned a lot while working on this committee and I hope to learn more during the sessions.

In our lifetimes there are many occasions that could result in having to deal with the Guilford County Court System. This series of informational sessions will allow us to listen to short presentations by the people who participate in the courts on a daily basis. At the end of each session, there will be at least a 30 minute questions and answer session.

I invite you to attend these sessions. I think that they will be a very good use of your valuable time.

Wake Up and Smell the Garbage!

Greensboro should start as soon as possible to develop a long-term solution to trash disposal.

We should not wait to see what someone else is going to do about the trash disposal problems in our area. The longer we wait, the less control we will have over the disposal method, the price and the availability of a facility location.

Hauling our household waste to a re-packaging facility and then paying to have it hauled off to who-knows-where is not a good solution.

In addition to the household trash problem, the construction and demolition waste in our landfill could be reduced by reuse, recycling and resource recovery.

We need a regional waste-to-energy facility. We need it as soon as possible. There are many clean, cost effective facilities in operation today and there is a seemingly unending source of fuel.

What do you think?

Comments Welcome!

Hello Blog Readers,
I started this blog because I want a conversation with the Greensboro Community. Please feel free to drop by anytime and leave your comments about any subject that concerns Greensboro. I welcome questions about my candidacy for city council. I will work hard FOR the CITIZENS of Greensboro.
Thank you for visiting my place. Have a nice day.

News-Record Makes Big Mistake!

In today's News & Record editorial about the Greensboro City Council race, the writer stated that Robbie Perkins chose not to seek re-election in District 3. That statement was correct. However, the writer(s) then mentioned the candidates for that district.

All of the candidates mentioned as running in District 3 are actually running for the District 4 Seat vacated by Florence Gatten. Ms Gatten, who says that she promised not to run more than twice in District 4, has filed to run at-large.

I wonder how many people helped write this column; because, in another paragraph Tom Phillips is mentioned as an unopposed candidate in District 3. This is a correct statement. Mr. Phillips is currently serving on the council in an at-large capacity and is running unopposed in District 3 where Robbie Perkins will not seek re-election.

The editorial department at the News-Record might need to consult someone to check facts about the status of the Greensboro City Election.

What, Exactly, is a Billboard?

Don Vaughan posted a question on his blog about the appropriateness of some really ugly real estate signs on Bryan Boulevard.

I wasted some time looking on the Greensboro City Website trying to find something about the scenic corridor rules. I didn't find rules. But, if my memory serves me correctly, I think that there is an exemption for real estate signs. And I don't think that the size or appearance of them is addressed.

I seem to remember that when Mayor Holliday was campaigning against such restrictive billboard limits on some roads, he showed real estate signs that would not be restricted in the proposed ordinance.

I guess that the new stadium scoreboard sign is not a billboard and the new plastic screen on Washington and Elm streets is not a billboard because new billboards are not permitted in the Central Business District.

We really have some strange sign laws here in Greensboro.

What, exactly is the definition of a billboard in Greensboro?

It certainly doesn't mean a big ugly sign. Many "billboards" display quite attractive advertisements and community announcements.


More Trash Stories

Johnson (oops, I mean Johnston) County is having its own trash problems. Another report in the Raleigh News and Observer is about the problem of unauthorized dumping.

Some counties are addressing the growing problem of what to do with garbage, but Greensboro and Guilford County are operating in a dream world. Apparently hoping that if we ship our trash somethere else, it will just disappear and not be a problem any more.

I guess if we spend thousands of dollars to put new street lights around a park in downtown, we won't have to think about garbage. We will all be able to sit in the park all day and night and play with our laptop computers. After all, there is free wireless access.

I wonder how many of the homeless people who frequent local parks have laptop computers. Maybe the next question will be "Hey man, may I use your i-book. I just need to make reservations to get to my new job in . . . . . ."

And what will happen to the empty coffee containers we throw into the beautiful new trash cans? I guess they will be someone else's problem.

Garbage Dump or Shopping Center?

Household trash is a problem everywhere.

The Raleigh News and Observer
reports that Wake County municipal managers will soon decide whether to recommend building a new landfill in Holly Springs or ship trash somewhere else.

If the group decides in favor of the landfill, the City of Raleigh and 11 other towns will vote on it. If county commissioners decide to build the landfill, it would open by 2007.

Solve 2 Problems With One Good Idea

Greensboro should be leading the way for developing a long-term, regional solution to household trash disposal. Hauling our household waste to a re-packaging facility and then paying to have it hauled away and become someone else's problem is not a good long-term solution. It is not even a good temporary solution.

We can reduce the volume of waste going into landfills by improved Recycling, Resue, and Resource Recovery and we should build a Waste to Energy program as soon as possible.

I have been gathering information for over five years about waste to energy programs. There are several options for plants that meet good environmental standards. Many facilities are more cost effective than conventional waste disposal methods in common use today.

I have approached city leaders several times and the negative thinking on this subject is unbelievable. Several years ago there was some talk. But even the talk was abandoned as soon as it was decided to stop receiving household trash at the White Street Landfill.

I have located a company that will provide the city with a free cost-analysis on ways to conserve energy, produce energy and use environmentally friendly energy sources.

Other cities, both small and large, are looking at better energy sources and better ways of disposing of trash. Greensboro should be planning for the future, Starting NOW ! !

We can do it!

I believe that we can have growth without sprawl. I believe that we can have economic development without bribes. I believe that traffic can flow smoothly with better planning. I believe that we can have nice places to live, work, shop and play without destroying the trees and other vegetation that improve our air and water quality.

I believe that we can have safe, friendly neighborhoods with adequate police and fire protection and other necessary services WITHOUT overburdening ourselves with taxes.

Let Greensboro be Greensboro

I like waking up in the morning to the sounds of birds chirping in the yard. I enjoy watching the squirrels scamper up the big oaks near my house and seeing the lightening bugs sparkle in the early evening.

I like the sounds of children playing. I like the friendly smiles and nods of people in my town when I walk on the sidewalks in the neighborhoods and when I walk downtown. I like the way local people wave a quick thank you when another yields the right-of-way.

Greensboro is a nice place to live and I want to keep it that way.

We can grow and we can change, and if we do it right, we can keep the things that matter.

Add My Name

Add my name to the list of citizens complaining about the Friendly Avenue Widening project.

I do not live near the Friendly Avenue improvement area but moving the utility poles and adding a median and turn lanes seems like a waste of taxpayers money to me.

Of course, I am always in favor of more sidewalks.

Putting utility lines underground as we widened the street would have been a better use of the money. I suggested this to some City Council members several years ago. The answer to my inquiry was that it is too expensive.

The utility poles are dangerously close to the street and this area is famous for losing power during snow, rain and windy weather. The beautiful trees that line the streets are trimmed without mercy but power is still out many times in the area.

I have heard many complaints about the trees being butchered in the area of these lines. The maintenance costs would be much lower for the power company if the lines were underground and, as a plus, we could keep more of our beautiful tree shaded streets.

There are many other ways to improve our streets. This is a safety factor as well as an aesthetic one.

Putting medians on busy streets seems to be a trend these days. And as with many so-called improvements to our streets in the past, this too will pass. And I hope it is sooner than later. I have read that some other cities have already decided to remove some medians because they make many streets more dangerous.

What do you think?

ugly, illegal signs

I was pleasantly surprised tonight at the Greensboro City Council meeting. Several members of the council brought up one of my pet peeves. The ugly commercial signs that adorn utility poles and invade right of way spaces all around the city. I have complained about these for several years.

After some discussion about who is responsible for removing the signs and citing the offenders, the Council asked City Attorney Linda Miles to look into the possibility of doing more than just having the illegally posted signs removed by city workers.

I hope the city staff follows up on this and does more to stop the practice. Every one of the signs has contact information on it, but apparently when city staff called the numbers listed, the folks who answered the phone would not identify themselves. I would think that it would not be hard to find out who pays the bill for a listed number. Who would put contact information on a sign and then not identify themselves when called? Sounds like a shady deal to me.

The other thing that made me happy was that a paper towel dispenser has been installed in the ladies room on the second floor (city council chamber floor). Now I have a choice of using the hot air drying machine or drying my hands with a real towel. Up until this time, I have carried a hanky or paper towel with me to City Council meetings.

Greensboro Zoning Concerns

A request for rezoning in the Bellemeade/Smith street area will be heard today, July 11, 2005, at 2pm. This item has been postponed several times. I have been unable to find a posted agenda for today's Zoning Commission, but I assume that this item will be on the agenda again.

"An ordinance rezoning from General Business to Central Business - for the property bounded by Battleground Avenue, North Eugene Street, West Smith Street and North Edgeworth Street - for Bellemeade Development, LLC." - (Continued from April 11, 2005 Meeting and June 11, 2005 Meeting)

I believe that the main reason this zoning is being requested is that in Central Business Zoning districts there is no requirement for providing parking.

When I have brought up this question, I have been told that nobody would even consider putting in housing, shopping, and hotels without adequate parking. If this is true, why the zoning request?

One reason the request has been postponed is for a traffic impact study to be made, and we all know that a traffic impact study means whatever the city staff wants it to mean.

The worry about taxpayer-provided parking for downtown could be a concern for those of us who think that enough tax money has been thrown away on "downtown improvements" . Taxpayers could be asked to provide parking for the new development that is requested to be in Central Business Zoning.

Zoning Question

I have concerns about zoning in the
Battleground/Bellmeade/Cedar Street area. The new
zoning regulations will probably be at least a year
away and the rush to rezone that area seems a bit

Here are some e-mails with city staff. What do you


> -----Original Message-----
From: diane davis
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 12:43 PM
To: Galanti, Heidi
Subject: Zoning Question
> Hey Ms. Galanti,
> I have some questions about the zoning commission
> today.
> What is the advantage to the developers of the old
> Chevrolet Dealership property in changing the zoning
> from general business to central business.
> Is it mainly so they can get around parking
> requirements.
> And, is there a mixed use zoning designation in place
> now in the city?
> RE: Zoning Question
> Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 15:09:13 -0400
> From: "Woody, Ben"
> Add to Address Book
> To:
> CC: "Galanti, Heidi"
> , "Ruska, Bill"
> Diane,
> Thanks for your inquiry regarding the rezoning
> requests at the former North State Chevrolet and
> Arlington Street sites.
> There are indeed several advantages to the CB zoning
> district as opposed to the GB or GO-M districts.
> Specifically, the CB district has minimal building
> setbacks and does not require parking or landscaping
> These lessened development standards afforded by the
> CB district allow for more flexibility in designing a
> site. It also promotes high intensity, compact urban
> development that accommodates a wide range of land
> uses in a pedestrian-oriented setting (optimal for
> downtown).
> In the GB zoning district, for example, residential
> uses are only permitted under restrictive Mixed
> Development standards; however, the CB district
> permits a flexible and truly integrated mix of
> residential and nonresidential uses.
> Hope this helps. Feel free to send additional
> questions if you have any.
> Ben E. Woody
> Planning Specialist
> 300 West Washington Street
> Greensboro, NC 27401
> Ph: (336) 433.7258
> Fax: (336) 412.6315
> ----------------
> From: "Hails, Dick"
> Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 19:55:20 -0400
> Diane:
> CB zoning generally has no setbacks and no off-street
> parking requirements. It also is more permissive and
> allows more uses than many districts.
> Dick
> Richard W. Hails, AICP
> Planning Director
> City of Greensboro
> 300 Washington Street
> P.O. Box 3136
> Greensboro, NC 27402-3136
> W: 336-373-2922
> F: 336-412-6315
> E:

clean drinking water

The Clean Drinking Water Lakes Bill passed in the NC House of Representatives!

Thanks in part to over 2,000 emails S.981. The Drinking Water Reservoir Protection Act and S.1134, Global Warming/Climate Change passed out of the NC House of Representatives this week.

The NC House has approved, by a vote of 113-2, the Drinking Water Reservoir Protection Act..

This law, when signed by Governor Easley, will help to protect North Carolina's 160 drinking water lakes. The bill has been sent to the governor for approval.

illegally posted signs

In a letter to the N&R today, D. M. Mitchell referred to signs tacked to utility poles.

I have long been concerned with these illegally posted signs. These are not hand-lettered signs advertising yard sales or community events. They are commercially printed signs on weather-proof boards. Without exception, these signs have contact information on them.

Why are the posters of these signs not contacted and prosecuted? I have mentioned these signs to various city officials and citizens. I am glad to see that I am not the only person offended by this practice.

On Westover Terrace between Benjamin Parkway and Cornwallis Drive I counted 11 of these illegally posted signs one day several weeks ago.

There has been so much attention paid to limiting and banning legal, attractive billboards on private property near our roads. I can't understand why there has not been a loud outcry about these illegally posted signs within the right-of-way of our city streets.

What do you think?

Greensboro 101 Fireworks

Love the July decorations on the Greensboro 101 site.

Do We Need Action Greensboro?

Action Greensboro was neither elected nor appointed by our elected officials.

Look Forward, but Remember the Past

Unfortunately, I am not registered to read the archives of the local newspaper. If you are, I encourage you to read an article that appeared in the Greensboro News & Record several years ago. The article was about Action Greensboro. I have also included the beginning of a letter to the editor that was published several days later. I believe that these articles are as timely today as when published in 2001. Action Greensboro intended to take over the administration of Greensboro.

We, the people, should not have to use an unelected go-between agency that filters out ideas that don't conform to their preconceived ideas about what is good for Greensboro.


October 28, 2001: Page A1 News & Record


Byline: PARKER LEE NASH Staff Writer

Greensboro is being run by incompetent people who are failing miserably to lead the city forward. The city is dying. You can save it.

This was the candid charge that Bill Hemphill, the retired head of the insurance company United Guaranty Corp., delivered to board members of the Cone family's Cemala Foundation two years ago.

That's how the directors of Greensboro's top charitable foundations became the city's most touted new economic development leaders. And according...

November 1, 2001   Page A14


Regarding the front-page headline in the Oct. 28 paper, ``Group shapes city's future'':

The first sentence of this article is ``Greensboro is being run by incompetent people who are failing miserably to lead the city forward.''

The News & Record endorsed these same incompetent people in the city primaries and will endorse them again in the upcoming city election.

Your lack of adequate coverage of the primary candidates for City Council failed to give the...

Of Course We Need Green Space

But at What Price? And, how green? Do we really need a trail that goes under railroad tracks? Do we need to cut down naturally growing trees and pave a trail through backyards and behind commercial development and along rail road tracks?

We need sidewalks and bike lanes that are safe and pretty and usable and affordable. But most of all, practical.

Talk to me. Tell me what you think.

City Council - I can do it

After digesting the strange happenings in the upcoming city council race I have decided to keep my options open.

Maybe the best place for me is as an at-large council member. I'm mulling this over.

Talk to me. What do you think?

Greensboro needs an INDEPENDENT THINKER on the council.

South Elm Redevelopment

I had planned to attend an 11:30am meeting at TwoArtChicks on South Elm Street. I didn't make i t, but I will be at later meeting today.

The city is inviting citzen input about the planning process in the brownfield area at S. Elm and Lee steets. There will be 2 meetings today. The second one is this afternoon at 5:30. If you are interested in what is happening in that area of Greensboro or if you want to make suggestions to the city staff and planners, now is the time. I attended a meeting about the area some time ago. This is the second round of citizen information meetings about this area.

I believe that our city government is trying to give us "regular folks" a chance to help decide the future of our city. The staff makes notes on a big easel pad. And the discussion is usually lively after it gets going. I just hope that those pads are really used in the planning process.

I have been to many meetings about the local transit system since its management was assumed by the city. I usually felt that at the meetings suggestions were noted, questions were asked, there was some discussion and then everybody went back to the same old ways. I just quit going to the meetings because the same suggestions were made by ciizens over and over, but bus service didn't seem to improve.

So many government sponsored meetings are simply to put a positive spin on what has already been decided without much input from us "regular folks." Lately, that seems to be changing.

So - if you care what happens in our city - GO TO THESE MEETINGS and LET OUR REPRESENTATIVES and CITY STAFF know how you feel. Let them know where you think city tax money should be spent. If we don't tell them what we want, they will tell us what we get.

I don't think there was much response about what the citizens want in a new city manager. There were more city staff mmbers at the meeting I attended than there were regular folks. I was disappointed. Maybe other meeting were better attended.

See ya tonight at TwoArtChicks, 609 South Elm Street, Downtown Greensboro, NC. Be there with your thinking caps on.

Who has had experience with using an online survey service?

I want to put a citizens survey on my blog. Can I do it without an outside service? I would like to know what experience others have had with blog surveys. I need to know how Greensboro folks feel about local issues because I plan to run for Greensboro City Council (again).

Clicking on answers to a few questions seems to be easier than asking for comments alone. I can direct people to the survey and they can answer questions and make comments anonymously.

What do you think? Talk to me!

Intro to Permaculture

I spend a very interesting couple of hours this morning at the Kathleen Clay Edwards Library which is located just off New Garden Road and Hobbs Road.

I enjoyed a lecture by Charlie Headington. He included slides showing the development of his yard in a downtown neighborhood into an "edible landscape". He talked about how worms are our friends because they can til the soil for us - saving many hours of labor . Permaculture gardening is low maintnance because less time is spent weeding, watering and fighting insects. After the presentation he answered some questions about such things as bugs, frogs, snakes and weeds in a man-made organic garden that imitates and inhances natural ecosystems. He decribed with pictures and words how to design a friendly low-maintenance edible landscape in a small space. And even how to build an inexpensive backyard pond. Look at for a photo of one of his backyard ponds and other interesting info.

Music in the Park

Our family has enjoyed the summer music in the park series for years. We attended tonight's offering in the park at UNCG. Good music, good friends, good weather. People of all ages enjoying another of the good things about Greensboro. Thanks to the sponsors and musicians.
My favorite of the summer series is the concert put on by the Eastern Music Festival at Guilford College. I haven't checked the entire schedule for this year, but I hope it is still on the list.

Greensboro Budget Process

I have been to the public discussions of the proposed budget. I plan to attend another today. I hope there is more accomplished today than there was at the others. The plan presented to the Council includes a 2005 proposed budget and a 2006 projected budget. There has been much discussion about a 1 cent increase in the tax rate for 2005 which includes 1/4 cent to keep the city transit system at about the same level of funding that it is now. That is, if the federal money that is being used for transit now is not forthcoming for the 2005 budget. (I'm not sure what will happen to the 1/4 cent if the federal money arrives).

There has been very little discussion about a much larger tax increase projected for 2006. Most of this increase is due to the cost of closing the White Street Landfill to household trash and building and operating a transfer station in a location far from the present dump site.
Several briefings ago the city heard a proposal from a private waste disposal company. The Council decided that a city-owned facility was a better plan, even if it cost more in the beginning, because if the city controlled the disposal system, they could control cost better. I think the Council made a good decision not to sub-out trash disposal.

In addition to my concerns about the cost of the transfer station and transportation and disposal of household waste, I think that allowing a private company to pick up our trash and take it to a landfill out of our area or out of state is a bad idea. I keep reading that these private dumps are not regulated as well as our own landfill and besides, why should we make our trash some other community's problem. A regional solution to our own trash seems like a much better idea.

Back to the Greensboro City Budget. - Someone needs to start talking about spending for next year in time to do a better job of spending taxpayers money. This last minute business of pretending to want to keep the cost of government down is not productive. Better planning and less grandstanding is a better way to run our city.