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Jan 08, 2007

Comments

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Roch101

"The twist is that City officials aren't just sitting back and taking abuse from the blogs, they're fighting back online."

No, not really. A single City Council person is relaying information that a city official distributed by private channels.

greensborocheckyourfacts.org was launched nearly four months ago and touted as the resource for citizens to get "factual information designed to address miscommunications about City efforts and issues." Hampered from the get-go by lack of RSS feed and no facility for comments, the information on the site remains the same as it was the day it was launched.

My point is, that the characterization of "city officials" fighting back denies the fact that it is, once again and unfortunaltey, only council woman Sandy Carmany who is bringing important information to the public. The city's supposed online remedy to misinformation has become a stale joke. "City officials" deserve no accolades for bringing important information online. Carmany alone does.

Ed Cone

You are right that the online response could be much more robust, but you are also defining the issue too narrowly in order to make your point. Carmany, a Councilmember, is responding directly to challenges and putting Johnson's defense out there, i.e., City officials are fighting back online.

Roch101

It's not semantics. City officials are not fighting back online. A single surrogate is relaying information they are distributing through private channels. Save the "city officials are fighting back online" for a time when they really are.

Ed Cone

Whatever. Carmany is a City official, and her blog is the vehicle of choice for the City's online defense.

You want to make a sweeping statement, have at it, but it seems to me that you are dismissing a rather important instance of City officials fighting back on the web.

The City abets you by launching a site with fanfare and then ignoring it, but you are caught in an old paradigm by insisting that the official City site is what really matters; meanwhile, everyone else is busy reading about Mitch's version at the Councilmember's blog.

Roch101

It is you who made a sweeping statement and is now resorting to innacuracies to justify it. Nobody is reading Mitch's version online, as you claim, and that's the point. We are reading a summary with excerpts as filtered by an accomodating, but solitary city council representative.

Sandy Carmany

Ed and Roch,

Although the explanation would lead one to think otherwise, my understanding of greensborocheckyourfacts.org was to address the misinformation in the Wray/police issue, so I'm not surprised that there's nothing else on that site. But then, Ed's observation about the reason for this "tempest in a teapot" in the first place -- the "get Mitch" strategy -- is right on target so one could say this issue does indeed belong on greensborocheckyourfacts.org. {smile}

As far as me being the only councilmember responding on this issue, it's unfortunately likely that I'm the only member of the city council who even knows this debate is happening online. Except for Tom P., I am not aware of any other fellow councilmember who even reads local blogs, much less comment on them.

No one, officially or informally, has ever asked me to tackle any of these issues. My effort to provide accurate information and respond to misinformation on this issue and others in the past are MY personal choice in an effort to make sure citizens have access to the same information to which I do.

And yes, Ed, I often get bumped and bruised in the process -- it comes with the territory.

Fecund Stench

Mrs. Carmany, I initially had concerns regarding your policitical future as a result of the first post. With this latest, you have reminded us that you are indeed a courageous and forthright leader.

Win or lose on this issue, your career seems safe.

Dr. Mary Johnson

If you haven't already done this Sandy, perhaps you should invite Ed and Roch (and whoever else you deem appropriate) to a city council meeting, and give them an hour to explain to your colleagues what blogs are.

I would pay real money to watch the boys use Joe Guarino's analysis of the Rhino's coverage of the Wray fiasco to prove the point that blogs are relevant.

Cara Michele

Roch, Sue and I had a good meeting with Mayor Holliday a few months ago about blogging. Tom Phillips used to have his own blog, and he still continues to read and occasionally comment on others. Mitch reads blogs, but I haven't seen him comment anywhere.

The CA

Mitch's problem is that he fails his own test for truthfulness and clarity that he assigned to David Wray vis-a-vis the "multijurisdictional" investigation - which in fact WAS accurate. Wray's comments were certainly more factual than what Mitch has presented in defense of this Willow Oaks matter.

People hate hypocrisy and pretense. They see that occurring here and want to know why.

Sue

Well, is this an issue about payments to a contractor or grudges about David Wray? And no matter which, are those "making cases" ready to accept the possibility that the City acted appropriately and remove the getting-old horns they put onto Mitch Johnson's head?

benholder

Sue,

It is mostly about the findings and recommendations document that clearly states the payment was amde in the spirit of keeping a good working relationship w the contracting community. it further states that without proper documentation the city has no recourse or grounds to deny the claim. that is what this is about. It is about the lack of documentation and procedure and an illegal $35,006 payment that the city manager continues to define with a different term. I did not put any horns on mithc's head. the city's findings and recommendations are totally different that their answer today. that is the issue.

Joe Guarino

Ed, your observation that "the long knives are out Mitch Johnson, and the Wray fray is the reason" was fairly interesting. It does seem unjust that folks would attempt to push someone out of their position over a certain grievance, and use another issue to do so. I am not sure whether that is happening here; and if that is happening, I am not condoning it.

But it certainly appears that this is precisely what happened to Wray when he was pushed out over the issue of lying to his superior, as Sam suggests. This alleged offense was used-- at least, as represented to the public-- to justify driving him out, rather than the core issues of the GPD matter.

Fecund Stench

Ed, your conflation of the Wray issue with Willow Oaks is sophistry and unhelpful. These issues are problematic enough without your imaginings.

I dislike Conspiracy Theory in all its guises, including this one.

Ed Cone

I don't think it's sophistry or conspiracy, Fec.

Ben Holder has declared open war on Mitch Johnson. The Wray case is the reason for that war, and Willow Oaks is a convenient avenue of attack.

That doesn't make questions about this or any other City business less legit, it just provides some sense of the players and the context.

Fecund Stench

Your initial mention of Johnson & Co.'s enemies was plural. Now you are just accusing Ben. If that's the case, then there's no conspiracy.

And I suppose it's not sophistry if applied singularly to Ben.

Ed Cone

Someone seems to be providing Ben with documents, and the Rhino got this story started. Again, this doesn't seem to involve secretive skullduggery of any sort. There is a big, public fight going on, and Mitch Johnson is one of the principals, and his enemies (other than the document-feeder) have literally published their declarations of acrimony. What exactly is it that you are questioning here?

Fecund Stench

I was just trying to find out whom you were accusing and why. And now that I think about it, the Rhino is rabid for Johnson. Their is a conspiracy.

My apologies for the accusation.

Ed Cone

It's not a conspiracy. It's open warfare.

And again, it doesn't excuse any alleged or possible wrongdoing on the contract in question, or any other City business. It just provides some context, and an explanation for the focus on this relatively obscure series of events.

Fecund Stench

Don't you think "warfare" is a bit strong? I typically reserve that word for things like Iraq. We have city employees providing docs to Ben and the Hammers.

BTW, I would imagine the N&R is receiving them, too.

Is that what you're really saying. Is this a defense to the N&R's silence?

Ed Cone

Yes, Fec, you finally figured it out, this is secretly about me defending the N&R's silence. My previous calls for them to cover this stuff were part of the plan. And it would have worked, too, if not for you meddling kids...and Scooby Doo, too.

benholder

Ed,

War? Ben Holder has declared open war on Mitch Johnson. The Wray case is the reason for that war, and Willow Oaks is a convenient avenue of attack.

Willow Oaks is simply a big mess that the people should know about. Trust me, if Wray was still chief and Ed Kitchen was city manager, and Willow Oaks came to my attention I would still got after it. Willow Oaks just happenes to involve Mitch spending $35,006 of tax payers cash illegally. Question: was the creation for a SOP for 911 hang ups part of the get mitch war?

Ed Cone

The 911 thing was some of your finest work, Ben, and something for which the City owes you a debt of gratitude.

Your dogged pursuit of the billing issue, however valid the questions it raises, does seem to fit neatly with your longstanding and full-throated campaign against Johnson, which seems to fit neatly with your views (and those of many other people) about the Wray fray. Which is fine, politics ain't beanbag, but neither is it a great mystery.

Bubba

It's just political pushback, Ben. Not very good pushback, at that. It's to be expected.

Keep sticking to the points you made in a number of your analyses about Willow Oaks. Your critics have yet to establish fault with them.

Hence, the current tactics.

Fecund Stench

Thanks for the snark. I was wondering if you'd changed your mind. I do it all the time.

The CA

"And it would have worked, too, if not for you meddling kids...and Scooby Doo, too."

Ed does occasionally come up with a good one.

Ed's Showing His Bloomers

It's understandable that Ed's frustrated. Nobody's sending him squat.

John D. Young

Ed, the Wray Fray is certainly the bigger issue of the two but they are both important. I don't see much direct connection nor the need to unite the two problems.

Both events do center on actions by Mitch Johnson and others but one deals with what appears to be a mistake in contractor codes and law interpretation while the Wray Fray involves systemic problems.

We as a community often fail to properly honor the work of the Greensboro Police Department. Their work is not only crucial but we demand almost perfect decisions to always be made. The police need skills beyond those of any other profession. We continue to run our police department on the cheap without sufficient funding. We are left with too few police and underpaid police who often make ends meet with a second job.

The problem remains of how to organize an affective department with an insufficient number of officers. That problem has not been adequately addressed by the City. That problem required Wray to use the widely disliked rotating shifts in order to keep a sufficient number of officers on the streets. Wray knew that the rotating shifts were disliked by most. Rotating shifts appear to have undermined meaningful support for Wray from within the department.

Another perhaps more pressing systemic problem, that according to Bledsoe increased during the leadership of Chief White, is the second job culture (these second jobs were often negatively impacted by rotating shifts). It is not just Lt. Hinson but many officers who rush from their police work to their second job providing security for businesses in Greensboro. Wray was aware that this double job culture created many potential conflicts of interest. He was investigating abuses within this dual job culture and this also helped undermine some meaningful support within the department.

Wray may in the long run still be held accountable for some serious mistakes but he was trying to keep sufficient police on the beat with a shortage of officers and he was trying to keep the many conflicts of interest from the dual job culture from damaging the professionalism and integrity of the department.

The new Chief will still have to wrestle with these problems.

The CA

I believe they are entirely rated in the sense that the same standard for truthfulness and candor that Johnson applied to Wray should be applied to Johnson himself.

The CA

Should be "entirely RElated".

benholder

it just provides some sense of the players and the context.

ed,

I see what you were saying. Thank you for following this story.

benholder

http://thetroublemaker.blogspot.com/2007/01/willow-oaks.html

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