Good to be back with you and I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was terrific!
"I really believe that Greensboro is ready to explode the next two years".
This is what Mayor Nancy Vaughn told an audience during the Neighborhood Congress forum on October 26th during the recent campaign season. Though she and the rest of the "group campaigning" incumbents counted everything downtown as an accomplishment, they quickly moved to deny that downtown was all they were about when their own Young Democrat forum openly questioned them earlier. It was an exercise in double talk quite frankly. You see there is very much a groupie, cool kid mentality on our City Council. 5 of the now re-elected members follow the Mayor as if she is the Pied Piper and the proof is all over Facebook if you care to look. There are even a few "selfies" from the Folk Festival that manages to get all 6 in the picture. To be fair Yvonne, Mike and Tony are apparently not the "selfie" types as they rarely if ever show up in these pictures. Of course, other than the Mayor (kinda) they are also the only 3 that have demonstrated any self possessed leadership qualities at all not needing to be joined at the hip with the Mayor at every social event. These 5 members of Nancy's posse have absolutely been drinking the Kool Aid that tells them what a great job they are doing and that since they have been re-elected that some sort of "mandate" must exist for them to keep up business as usual.
Which brings us to the latest cool kid thing downtown, the ever growing, tax payer trap called the Triad Performing Arts Center. No wait, the TANGER Triad Performing Arts Center. Why is the name important? When I hear the name "Tanger" I think of large, vibrant money making shopping complexes that stretch across several states. A true TANGER TPAC might be a good thing for our city. In fact, it was sold to the citizens of Greensboro as being just that; a privately funded venture. Sounds too good to be true especially considering Greensboro's recent history of propping up privately funded ventures doesn't it?
Anyone out there think for a second that this was a legitimate plan? I know that we cynics believed from the start that the city had probably reached a deal to help fund this prior to the campaign to convince us otherwise and we of course were right. There are those on Council that believe that this venue will bring great prosperity and energy to our city. It very well might; it won't be Greensboro citizens that are energized but some out of town folks might bring some. The truth is that maybe 10% of Greensboro's population will ever set foot inside this place when it is finished roughly around 2018. It is a toy for the elite which is where most of the posse seem to see themselves. Nothing like a good show in the evening to top of a day of socializing at east side church functions, lunches with the gang, selfie posing at one event after another or just a good old day of pissing off the State Legislature.
Meanwhile, the numbers that they provided no answers for when confronted prior to the election are still there; 20+ % poverty rate (2nd only to Durham), 6+ % unemployment not including those who have stopped looking (tops among the 5 major cities in NC), 14% of the population of Greensboro on food stamps (tops in the state) and all supplemented by the highest tax rate in North Carolina.
Will the TANGER Triad Performing Arts Center provide a large amount of employment opportunities for Greensboro's citizens? No.
Will the TANGER Triad Performing Arts Center solve any of the above mentioned dire issues regarding the economic welfare and food deserts in east Greensboro? No.
Will the TANGER Triad Performing Arts Center have a positive impact at all on the majority of Greensboro's total population? No. In fact the most recent positive economic period in our history included a downtown that was mainly "corporate" after the retail businesses moved out to the shopping centers and malls. I personally am not sold on the notion that a bunch of bars and restaurants and expensive town homes and condos downtown have all that great of an effect on the majority of the population here. Though council members will point to other cities as proof that it does, Greensboro is very unique and doesn't necessarily "fit" when comparing it to the other cities in our state.
88.5% of Greensboro's registered voters did not show up to vote on November 3rd and the electronic media virtually "ignored" the election altogether. Is it any wonder that the members of the Greensboro City Council "perceive" that they have been given a mandate to continue on this downward spiral of a path that they have led us on for the past four years? Is 11.5% percent even enough for a quorum much less a mandate? The fact is that the vast majority of this City Council has zero clue what the greater percentage of Greensboro citizens are going through right now; they are completely out of touch! Furthermore, they could care less!
Does anyone else out there believe that this is the best use of taxpayer dollars when 1 out of every 5 people in this city live below the poverty line and have to travel miles to find a grocery store?
Jeez, what's next; the completely asinine thought of giving in to special interest groups and telling the police who they can and can't stop?