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 101.com 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 "angelsandfrogs.blog-city.com"/ 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 ) WTE.cbll.net 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 pleadthefirst.com 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
e-mail: dianedavisgreensboro@yahoo.com
Webpage: greensboropeerpressure.blogspot.com

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.