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 www.earthmatters.info. 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.

reasons to blog

Just read an interesting article in the Sunday Living section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about personal blogs - "Ranting for posterity" asks why people blog, what's ok to put on a blog and gives some statistics about blogging.
Did you know that over 8 million Americans have created a blog and about 32 million people read blogs.
My blogging ability is very limited or I would include a link to the article.