Answer to Hogg's "so much for public input"


I was at the city council briefing and heard the discussion about bond issues to be placed on the ballot. Sandy Carmany was on the right side of the WMS issue. Maybe others will be persuaded to keep their promises about maintaining this historic stadium. I think the actual phrase during the planning of the new stadium was "continue to maintain."

I have a few words to say about that. How can we continue to maintain something that we have not maintained, but have let slide into such disrepair that we are now told that it is only fit to be torn down?

I am in favor of spending more money on maintenance of all city property in our regular budget. One of the reasons that the tax rate did not increase last year (an election year) is that the council decided to put off routine maintenance of many city-owned properties. Of course, the Coliseum got new carpeting and Bryan Park got money to do work around the greens, and Downtown Greensboro, Inc. got money for whatever and city money was allocated to redecorate the area around the downtown park.

Because of this lack of maintenance of property for several years, the council is now asking for capital improvement bonds to do what should have been done all along. I hear much talk about "taking care of what we have," but little real effort to do it. One excuse is that the economy hasn't been doing as well as was expected, so money wasn't there to "take care of what we have."

Talk is cheap. Action isn't. Taxpayers will pay one way or another. Council will decide what we will pay for and how it will be financed. And the beat goes on, and on, and on.

USS Cole Commander

Interesting article on the Raleigh News & Observer site about Kirk Lippold, who was the commander of the guided missile destroyer USS Cole when it was attacked in Yemen in 2000.

The piece by James Rosen, N&O Washington Bureau includes information about events and intelligence information before and after the attack.

17 sailors were killed, 275 survived.

Distinguished Panel for Law Day Program

Law Day Program Monday night, May 1

This year's Law Day Theme is "Separate Branches, Balanced Powers"

UNCG Prof. David Lefkowitz, Philosopher of Law
Norman Smith, Attorney at Law,
The Honorable Brad Miller, US House,
Judge Joe Craig,
NC AT&T Adjunct Professor Margaret Dudley,
The Honorable Phil Berger, NC House
will discus issues related to this year's theme and address questions from the audience.

School children in Guilford County participated in projects explaining this year's Law Day Theme, “Separate Branches, Balanced Powers.” Winners will be presented prizes at the Event.

The League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad, Court Watch of North Carolina, YWCA of Greensboro, Greensboro Bar Association, AAUW, North Carolina A&T Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, and the Greensboro Public Library are sponsoring the event.

Admission is Free and the Public is Invited.

Time: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm (come early to see the winning contest entries)

Place: Greensboro Historical Museum auditorium, 130 Summit Ave.

For additional information contact League of Women Voters,

This Forum is supported (in part) by a grant from the Program on Constitutional and Legal Policy of the Open Society Institute.

Waste to Energy in Florida

From the City of Tampa's web site. Florida's Renewable Energy Source
By Nancy McCann

Converting waste into energy is a worldwide industry. In the United States alone, 89 waste-to-energy facilities process nearly 100,000 tons of municipal solid waste – everyday household and commercial garbage and trash – each day. As a result, these facilities generate enough electricity to meet the needs of more than two million homes.

In Florida, 12 waste-to-energy facilities from Miami to Panama City process nearly 20,000 tons of municipal solid waste each day – enough to fill a football stadium – while continuously producing over 500 megawatts of clean, renewable power. The Tampa Bay area is home to four waste-to-energy facilities, located in the City of Tampa and in the counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco. Without these facilities, local governments would be faced with the daunting task of siting large landfills near our rapidly growing residential communities.

Florida's waste-to-energy facilities eliminate 90% of the waste that once would have been landfilled. Even so, landfills throughout the state are reaching capacity faster than anticipated. It is becoming increasingly difficult to expand landfills or open new ones as residential development encroaches on once-remote landfill sites. Florida's current population of over 17 million is expected to reach almost 23 million by the year 2020, bringing even more challenges to managing municipal solid waste. . . .

. . . . . In keeping with the Clean Air Act, waste-to-energy facilities in Florida and throughout the United States have recently been retrofitted with state-of-the-art air emission control technology. As a result, these facilities are among the cleanest sources of renewable power in the world. Waste-to-energy facilities reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, significantly reduce the amount of waste that needs to be landfilled, and are good partners to recycling in our local communities' waste management programs.

Read the whole articlehere

Waste-to-Energy Pays for Itself

In May of 2005, Energy Business Review Reported that Naanovo Energy would build a $300 million, 12-module waste to energy plant in Encinada, Mexico.

In November, 2005, it was reported that International Power Group, Ltd. (IPWG) had received an exclusive licensing agreement from Naanovo Energy for various countries including The United States, Great Britain, China, Philippines, Venezuela and Mexico.

Information on several web sites explained how these plants would be financed.

". . .The financing would be collateralized by the waste contracts currently held by International Power Group. Additional collateralization would be provided by the sale of energy and water, which would be generated by production of this facility. Annual sales of electricity are projected to be $135 million and water, $50 million. Waste contracts that will fuel the waste to energy plant are also projected to be worth $300 million. . ."

The Technology for safe, profitable, earth-friendly waste disposal and energy production is out there. Why isn't North Carolina using it. The process mentioned above is only one option for producing energy from garbage.

Electronic Billboards Downtown

A very short discussion at the Greensboro City Council Briefing Tuesday morning concerned the permitting of "Electronic Projection Graphic Signs" within the Central Business District. This discussion was prompted by the appearance of a large banner on the side of a building at the corner of Washington and Elm streets several month ago. A marketing firm projected graphics onto the banner from a building across the street.

Owners of the building and owners of the marketing company, with the support of Downtown Greensboro Incorporated, tried to convince several city boards that the projected image was not a billboard. When they were unsuccessful at this the projection was stopped, but the screen still remains. NOW marketing, Inc. apparently wrote a new sign regulation proposal which they submitted to the city. It was submitted to the City Council on NOW Marketing letterhead. The request was for conditional use permitted within the Central Business District.

Current billboard regulations in Greensboro allow billboards to be placed no closer than every 500 feet. The proposed ordinance would allow these electronic projection screens to be located as close as 300 feet apart. Billboards are strictly regulated and can only be place in areas zoned for their use. The Central Business District is not zoned for billboards; however, there are still a few which were grandfathered when the prohibition was enacted.

The largest billboard currently allowed anywhere in Greensboro has a total 450 sq. ft. size limit. This new proposed regulation would allow projected electronic images onto an applied surface or banner to be up to 500 sq. ft. and self-contained electronic signs up to 1000 sq. ft.

One of the council members commented that signs like that could be seen in Las Vegas. Another comment was "I guess size does matter."

The proposal suggested that cultural, artistic and other public service information would be displayed on the signs with only limited commercial advertisement allowed. Of course, the name of the service provider and contact information would be part of the projected image.

Greensboro Planning Department basically said in their comments that these electronic signs were indeed billboards according to the definition in the Development Ordinance and this proposal would allow the re-entry of billboards into the downtown area of Greensboro. Greensboro Legal Department said that "any commercial content on a sign makes it a commercial sign." And, generally regulating what goes on a commercial sign is a violation of free speech provisions of the first amendment of the US Constitution.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think that billboards have a place. I enjoy them in the proper place and of a reasonable size; but, what were these people thinking? The City Council almost did the right thing. They tabled the proposal. It will come up again. I personally think that they should have trashed it after they had a good laugh.

Previous post about Billboards. What, Exactly Is A Billboard ?

A stupid rant from me

As I was driving home this morning from Downtown Greensboro, I turned onto Adams Street. It is a little street in my neighborhood that gets more traffic than it should for such a narrow street. It wasn’t used much until the crazies in the so-called neighborhood association conned the GDOT people into putting up a traffic barrier at East Lake Dr. and Friendly Ave. The barrier, which was built after McIver Street was realigned to help traffic leaving the UNCG parking deck, prevents traffic from crossing Friendly on East Lake. The ugly cement barrier helps to divert traffic through the neighborhood and onto Adams. The traffic barrier was a really stupid way for the city to waste money.

Anyway, as I turned onto Adams Street I saw a small car entering the street at the other end of the block. Being a good southern girl, I stopped my vehicle, checked behind me and backed close to the curb behind some parked cars. I figure the man driving the approaching car was either mad at his wife or he didn’t grow up in the Greensboro area or probably anywhere south of here, with the possible exceptions of Florida, Atlanta and Charlotte.

I think this because he did not even acknowledge that I had gone out of my way to allow him to pass on this narrow street. He didn’t look at me, he didn’t smile, he didn’t wave, he didn’t even nod. He just proceeded past me as if he owned the street and I didn’t exist.

I know that there are many people who are good, safe, thoughtful drivers in our town. I know that all the butt-heads aren’t from afar. Some have learned good driving manners since they moved here, some may even have brought good manners with them.

Maybe some people are just distracted and don’t think about how rude they are on the road. And some just take out their frustrations on strangers. Whatever reason others have for being rude, it is their problem. I will continue to try and over look their ignorance. I will be a polite driver and I will continue to acknowledge a fellow traveler who shows courteous behavior on the road. I promise.

BTW: I am also considerate of pedestrians and bike riders who are not always following good safety practices.

I’m finished now. Thank you for letting me take out my frustration with rude drivers at my computer, and not while driving.

Quiz Yourself

Let your school age children take this quiz about the Three Branches of the United States Government.

Maybe you should take it first.

Law Day Observance in Greensboro

On May 1, at 7 o'clock, a local program celebrating Law Day 2006, will be held at the Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave,

School children in Guilford County participated in projects explaining this year’s Law Day Theme, “Separate Branches, Balanced Powers.” Winners will be presented cash prizes at the Event. Students who entered projects in the contest will be given pocket size copies of the United States Constitution. Winning projects will be displayed in the lobby of the Historical Museum prior to presentation of awards.

Respected legal professionals, legislators and academics from the area will discuss issues related to this year’s theme and panel members will address questions from the audience.

The event is being sponsored by The League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad, Court Watch of North Carolina, YWCA of Greensboro, Greensboro Bar Association, AAUW, North Carolina A&T Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, and the Greensboro Public Library.

Monday, May 1, 2006, 7:00 to 8:30 PM, Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave.

Admission to this event is free and open to the public. For additional information contact Court Watch of NC. (336) 271-0840 or the local League of Women Voters.

Sustainable Habitat for Humanity

What a wonderful idea.

As part of Earth Day celebrations, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh will include a celebration of sustainable design. 20 residential designers will compete. Habitat for Humanity will turn the winning design into a home.

What a wonderful idea.

What About Cedar Street ? ?

Where have the talks gone? Where have the plans gone? There was much ado with planning sessions and maps and citizen suggestions and city staff presentations. Then. . . . . . .What?

Who knows what a Conservation District really is? I have heard the term tossed around, but never defined. There is a neighborhood near downtown commonly known as The Bellemeade District or the Cedar Street Area. What one calls the area depends on what one wants to happen to the area. The developers call it Bellemeade. The preservationist call it Cedar Street.

Some people seem to define the Cedar Street area as the run-down burned out apartment complex on the corner of Cedar and Friendly. Local developers really want that piece of property. Some people define the area as the location where a downtown development called Bellemeade Village is being built. Greensboro City Council seems to want to really help one area and just talk about helping the other. I'm confused.

The terms seem to talk about different places, but they both refer to the same general area between Friendly Ave. and Battleground Ave. from Eugene Street to the old train tracks that run between Cedar and Wilson streets. The planners say it has the potential to be considered a "conservation district". This is some kind of overlay zoning. I am not sure anyone knows exactly what the term means.

Many residents of old neighborhoods bristle at the thought of being designated an 'historic district". We know the meaning of that term. So, I suspect that the new designation will be similar to the historic district, without the restrictions on tear downs and new buildings. Sounds like a developers dream. But maybe not.

So what does it mean to "retain the character of the neighborhood"?

I found a site that describes the Chapel Hill definition of a conservation area. It seems pretty restrictive to me. Look at Chapel Hill's rules for aConservation District.

What do you think?

Sandy Carmany interview

Greensboro City Council Member Sandy Carmany was interviewed this morning on the Dusty Dunn program with John Hammer of the Rhino Times on 1070 am radio.

Ms. Carmany was asked about the rumored 4 cent tax increase for the 2006-07 year and about the plan to put up to $120 million in bond issues on the Nov. ballot.

She thinks that the 4 cent increase will probably happen, but she also said that the cost of paying for past bonds was lower than had been predicted. She predicted that bonds being considered for the next election will be tweeked to be less than $100 million, maybe even as low as $80 million. ( Is $80 million low? )

She agrees with Tom Phillips that the bond issue should only include financing for city-owned facilities. This would eliminate such things as a YWCA swimming pool and the local Civil Rights Museum as well as other privately-held projects being considered.

She talked about the possibility of combining some of the city fire department operations with the county. This has been discussed briefly in city council meetings. There is already some cooperation and negotiations going on with several area volunteer departments.

About the report that members of the City Council received about the Greensboro Police Dept. Ms. Carmany said that she could only say for sure that she did not leak the report to the media. She also said that the N&R has reported that they have a 75 page report. This particular report is a combination of the report by RMA and the report of the Greensboro City Legal Dept. Only City Council Members and city staff who helped prepare it have had access to this particular report. That is the reason Ms. Carmany and other council members feel sure that the report was leaked by a council member.

All city staff who may have had access to these reports have been cleared of suspicion.

What I don't understand is: if the staff and legal dept. can be cleared without a lie-detector test, why would the Mayor and City Council members spend $500 apiece for these tests on themselves. Also, if any of this scandal gets into court, will the public get more information than we have now? And, will any of it ever get to court where the accusers face the accused?

And the speculation goes on, and on, and on.

Ban Mercury in Thermostats ? ? ?


The biggest contributors to mercury pollution are coal-fired power plants. But there are others, such as certain light sources, thermometers, and thermostats.

Waste Age Magazine reports that the Maine Legislature has passed a bill that would require manufacturers of thermostats to establish the infrastructure necessary to collect and recycle unwanted thermostats. The proposal requires the signature of Maine Governor Baldacci before it can become law.

Earlier this year Maine banned the sale of new mercury-based thermostats. This ban and the new legislation, along with some financial incentives offered by the state, will help to prevent tons of mercury from winding up in landfills.

I think I have read some regulations in NC about putting mercury into landfills. I haven't seen anything about banning product containing mercury.

I don't know if North Carolina has any laws about Mercury in thermostats. I will search for information and post it when I find it. If you know the answer, please post it here.

What do you think about this approach to helping eliminate mercury pollution?
Do you have other suggestions? Your comments are welcome here.

Calling All Bloggers ! ! !

Candidate Forum
7 -9
Greensboro College Student Life Center
(old YMCA building) on the corner of
Market and Tate streets

Sheriff, District Attorney, Clerk of Superior Court Candidates will be there.

I hope Greensboro Bloggers will turn out in force and report on what they hear.

Calling All Bloggers ! ! !

Candidate Forum
7 -9
Greensboro College Student Life Center
(old YMCA building) on the corner of
Market and Tate streets

I hope Greensboro Bloggers will turn out in force!

Undecided About Your Vote ??

The North Carolina Primary election is May 2. You can help decide who will run in the general election.

You are invited to attend a Candidate Forum on April 18 (TONIGHT) from 7 -9 at Greensboro College Student Life Center (the old YMCA building) on the corner of W. Market and Tate streets.

Candidates for Guilford County Sheriff, Guilford County Clerk of Superior Court, and District Attorney will be present.

There is plenty of free parking. Enter from W. Market, turn right into the entrance just past Tate Street. Handicapped and other parking is near the entrance on the east side of the building.

The more people we have, the better. Audience members will be asked to submit questions to the candidates after their presentations.

I hope to see the blogging community well represented.

Pulitzer winning cartoonist.



From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Check out AJC

The Davie Street Plot Thickens !


Beach music events will start on May the 11th and run until June 28th

Davie Street (one block) will be closed for the Beach music events

I think that this, of course, is getting us used to not using Davie Street for automobile traffic. In the grand scheme of planning for Downtown Greensboro, Davie Street will be closed and the "FREE" Center City Park will be connected to the Cultural Center and the other park beside it.

Mayor Holliday has repeatedly told us that Davie Street will not be closed, but it seems that nobody can fight the "Planners", not even City Hall.

What do you think?

Drug Games

The games go on with Bristol-Myers Squibb about potential sites for their new drug plant.

The Raleigh N&O reported that a spokesman for the giant drug company would only say that the company is considering sites in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and North Carolina. "I can't comment on any specific sites," he said.

But the N&R _ (sorry, I should have said the Raleigh N&O) _ reported today that people involved in the negotiations in Wake County said that the company is now considering a different site in North Carolina, possibly in Lee County.

Before the Bristol-Myers games began, the Wake County Board of Commissioers had planned to approve the almost 500-acre site for a landfill that planners say could handle the county’s trash for about 25 years.

Tony Gurley, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, said a majority of the board felt that the drug plant would have been a better deal, but without it, the landfill will probably go forward.

Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears said he hopes that county commissioners will realize the potential of the land and will not vote to build a landfill on the site.

Commissioners will consider their options at a regular meeting May 1.

Raleigh N&O

previous post

Really Good Job ? ? ?

Don't know if this is a temporary position or not. What do you think?

I got the following e-mail today:

Skip Moore, the President of Action Greensboro, asked that we send you the following message:

As you may know, Susan Schwartz, the current Executive Director of Action Greensboro, has been appointed Executive Director of the Cemala Foundation and will begin her duties there on June 1, 2006. The Action Greensboro Operating Group (of the Greensboro Partnership) is therefore seeking candidates for the position of AG Executive Director.

I am writing to ask that you review the attached position announcement.
If you know of someone who might be a great candidate, I hope you will pass this information along. Or, if you have a personal interest in the position, we invite you to submit your information for consideration.

If you have any questions, you may contact me via email at or by telephone at 378-7910.


Election Reform Panel Today on C-Span

I know this is a little late, but maybe those interested can find it on C-Span's web site at a later time.

The League of Women Voters Executive Director Nancy Tate will moderate a panel on election reform at an American University conference to be broadcast today at 2 p. m.

“The State of American Democracy”

Panelists include: Norm Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute)
David Skaggs (Center for Excellence in Government)
Dr. Robert Pastor (American University Center for Democracy and Election Management)
Andrew Schwartzman (The Media Access Project).

This panel is scheduled to air on C-SPAN 2 at 2 p.m. TODAY, April 10, 2006