free from pretense or deceit; easily detected or seen through; readily understood; characterized by visibility or accessibility of information.
Transparency; the new political "buzz word" of Greensboro. It is so popular to use that even a local activist group has embraced the word in its' name. At the heart of the definition of the word is the" ability to see everything". No where in any definition of transparency is the term "perception". Yet our politicians and local opportunistic antagonists seem hellbent on adding "perception" or should I say "their perception" to the definition. Or maybe interpretation based on their perception is a better way to put that. Either way the term "transparency" rarely fits into a sentence or description regarding agenda.
an underlying often ideological plan or program; a political agenda.
Interesting isn't it? One word's definition begins with "free from deceit", the other "under lying". In other words the definition of the two terms begin in opposite words. One word suggests honesty; the other politics. One suggests allowing each individual to observe and decide on their own; the other suggests fashioning the evidence to fit your message or plans. Is there transparency in politics or activism? In a word; NO!
In the political and activist's world, transparency is nothing more than a catch phrase, a rallying cry or another way to gin up one's constituency. In Greensboro, the use of the word has absolutely nothing to do with truth and often even less to do with another often used term "what is right"!
The folks in Greensboro that would have you believe "transparency" is their goal have either lost their way or have succumbed to the folly of our most notorious opportunistic civil antagonist. The actions of these "activists" in our City Council's business meeting on May 2nd were not only criminal but ridiculous. Who did they impress? Themselves? Certainly not the vast majority of citizens in this city who regardless of political affiliation collectively shook their heads, not only of the actions of the activists but at the weak lack of action from the Mayor and council. It seems that these young folks have been convinced that risking arrest is a way to bring attention to their concerns. Did it work? Again, they impressed themselves. Did they change any one's mind who do not or did not share their view prior to this ridiculously ineffective action? Doubtful.
Nelson Johnson and his lackeys have been allowed to effectively use a bully pulpit and have been aided and abetted by Nancy Vaughn and the remainder of the council. Some of the council have provided aid by facilitating these outbursts. Sharon Hightower has received leaked and confidential information which she has disseminated to these activists. Jamal Fox has become more focused on race this term with little regard for truth. Mayor Vaughn has refused to control meetings and constantly and consistently enabled out of order speakers (yellers) from the floor to interrupt any attempts to present evidence that would be contrary to their agendas. Other council members have taken the position that providing consequences for their disorderly actions (i.e. arrests for criminal behavior) would be "giving them what they want". We have chaos. We have disorder. We have ineffective and inefficient government. W also have a "lack of transparency". When one side refuses to allow the other side to respond and totally dictates the floor, that is not transparency.
It also accomplishes nothing! What Nelson Johnson is orchestrating is nothing more than a money grab. Think old Nelson isn't getting a cut?
You see, the City of Greensboro is self insured. For as long as I can remember, Greensboro's position is to "settle" when it costs less than possibly trying a case. Right or wrong is not considered. Before this current council, law suits were only tried if a settlement would set a dangerous precedent for future cases. The past few years, Greensboro has been giving out money without a lawsuit even being filed! Further, this Mayor and council have given away money without even waiting to see if the criminals are convicted in criminal court and insisting charges be dismissed. This sets a bad precedent and good old Nelson has taken advantage of this weakness to the fullest. Criminal convictions not only cut the legs out from under any grievances of police misconduct, but they force the criminals to find attorneys that will take their cases. With a criminal conviction there aren't many attorneys that I know that are willing to begin such a case pro bono.
Just where do our Mayor and City Council members allegiances lie? They are supposed to represent the majority of citizens. Giving away tax payers money like candy before a criminal action is even heard certainly is not in the city's best interest. Being an elected official does not give you the right to serve your own interests first. Participating in this type of money grab is no more than indirectly receiving contributions to your own campaign fund. If dissenting elected officials are not speaking out against it as loudly as the activists are speaking, they are complicit.
In the Dejuan Yourse case, these activists point to a portion of the video and completely ignore all other facts or parts of the videos. Nelson Johnson enticed Yourse's mother to seek restitution. Of course, our transparency folks want to ignore the video of Mom thanking the police for preventing her son from breaking in again! They want to ignore the fact that none of the neighbors who called the police in the first place did not see anything so egregious that they came out of their homes and filmed it themselves. They want to ignore the fact that Yourse had 50 prior felony charges on his resume. They want to ignore the fact that he received a punch in the head because he was attempting to break a female police officer's arm while he was resisting a lawful arrest. They want to ignore that given the facts as the officers knew at the time, they had the authority to handcuff Yourse immediately for investigative detention. Guess what; had they done that, the fight with Yourse would have begun sooner. DeJuan Yourse had absolutely zero intention of submitting to lawful authority that day. After considering these facts, where is the transparency.
So they gave him $95,000 of taxpayer money. Was the council vote unanimous? Did we see or hear loud and demonstrative dissent to this decision?
The result is a false narrative against police officers that our local media, especially irresponsible columnists like Susan Ladd, are only too happy to enable. The other results; 68 or more open positions in our police department, subversiveness in the police administration, inability to fill police recruit classes, inability to retain officers of every level of experience, disrupted council meetings and a crumbling city being crushed against the weight of this nonsense. More importantly, absolutely zero effective dialogue is occurring between those who would and could help constructively address police/community relations.
These activists love to hide behind the constitutional right of lawful, peaceful assembly or protest. There is no constitutionally guaranteed right to take over a council business meeting and occupy a council chamber. This "sit in" was planned and advertised at least a week in advance yet no response was organized or planned to alleviate it. Enabling at its' finest. Doing nothing just encourages these activists to go further. How much longer until one of these illegal, unlawful actions results in violence? There is a history there you know.
It is time to GIVE them what they want! Arrest their butts!
I promise you that once the charges and more importantly the court costs and fines start mounting up, they will be much more reasonable. Speak out of order; kick their butts out! Refuse to leave peacefully; take them to jail! They have had enough hollow warnings. If these activists or transparency advocates are serious about improving the political environment in which we have allowed to be created here in Greensboro then make them come to the table with solutions and ideas. Without consequences for these unlawful and disruptive actions they have no impetus whatsoever to deviate from Nelson Johnson's preferred plan of attack. Stop dismissing criminal charges and allow the courts to rule. The enabling and appeasement has to stop. It does not work and will not work!
Greensboro is under siege and the only way to separate those with genuine intentions from those who are in it for the money and notoriety is to restore order before Nelson Johnson gets what he really wants; another armed confrontation to exploit.