March 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

« Then and now | Main | Credit default swaps »

Feb 17, 2008

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bubba

"'What this whole thing is about is a small group of people who support David Wray,' said Tom Phillips...."

Wishful thinking.

"'I do think it's a distraction. It saps energy,' said former city manager Ed Kitchen...."

The only energy it saps is that which propels the "business as usual" mode of operation in this city.

That's not a bad thing.

Certain people and groups need to get used to it.

It's probably the only way that we can eliminate the long standing rotten stasis of our city's political, social, and economic structure.

Billy The Blogging Poet

Bubba said, "It's probably the only way that we can eliminate the long standing rotten stasis of our city's political, social, and economic structure."

And I agree but we can start by boycotting the golf tournament and everything associated with the House the Bobblehead built.

Fec

Good on Spammy for his day in the sun. Another lazy N&R reporter turns in a hack piece on da local blogs. That's normal. But don't they got copy editors to make sure shit like this doesn't hit the streets?

Meanwhile, JR's inserting himself into his own orifi and trying to appear current while the paper continues to shrink. No wonder.

Doug H

"If ... we let our warts and our dirty laundry dominate things..."

The bit about not showing our warts in public doesn't fly.

Covering warts just keeps them out of sight...they're still there. How would if be if we got them out, and then FIXED them?

Spag


Ed, I did mention the Rhino and Ben by name several times during the interview. As to why they didn't talk to any other bloggers, I can't say. Jason called me, and I returned his call.

I did like Kitchen's quote "Young professionals want to be a part of a place that's dynamic and forward-looking". I think that many people in Greensboro saw the City this way until the Wray story broke with all of its headlines about racial targeting and discrimination. The fact that there isn't one shred of evidence to support those allegations is why so many are upset- the allegations set the City back and were without foundation. Many of us see these kinds of race cards played all too frequently and see the damage that is being done.

The City can't be the city that Kitchen envisions as long as this goes on. For the longest time, people simply accepted this as part of living in Greensboro where race can be played for political benefit or to sell newspapers regardless of whether there is merit behind the accusations.

Enough of us have stood up and said "not anymore". We recognize that what Kitchen seeks can never happen until this kind of witch hunting ends.

And Fec, it's cloudy today.

Ed Cone

I'm guessing they were aware of the Rhinoceros Times even before speaking with you, Sam. Stories change from assignment to publication, but given the subject matter of this one, the omission of the Rhino is just bizarre.

As always, your willingness to say "there isn't one shred of evidence to support those allegations", as opposed to "without making evidence public, if they have it," confounds me.

You have inaccurately set this up as a simple matter of Wray's word vs Johnson's -- as if the Council was never involved, Kitchen wasn't involved, RMA hadn't investigated, interviews with people in and out of the department had never happened, there were not indictments against two officers, and as if Wray himself had rebutted, or even challenged, all of the items on the long list of particulars.

As stated often, I'd like to see more evidence. I think this case deserves it.

It seems likely to me that things are worse than the simple, binary story line would have it -- that there were reasons that Wray did, as he said when he resigned, lose the trust of this superiors...and Bledsoe is onto something with the accounts of problems in the GPD, and that manager and council misunderstood the public interest in this case, and that GSO is chasing its tail instead of moving ahead.

Joe Guarino

I did not agree with the overall take-home message of the story that it is time to move on. (Have we heard that before?)

But in all fairness, I should note that Jason Hardin did call me regarding the story, and left a message at my office Thursday afternoon after the council vote; but for various reasons I refrained from participating.

Ed Cone

Thanks, Joe, for pointing that out. You would certainly have been on the list of bloggers to interview.

The lack of depth on the theme of bloggers is troubling, but the total omission of the Rhino and Bledsoe's series is just bizarre.

Spag

"You have inaccurately set this up as a simple matter of Wray's word vs Johnson's -- as if the Council was never involved, Kitchen wasn't involved, RMA hadn't investigated, interviews with people in and out of the department had never happened, there were not indictments against two officers, and as if Wray himself had rebutted, or even challenged, all of the items on the long list of particulars."

At this point it is Wray vs. Johnson, because none of what has been produced supports Johnson. The RMA theory on the black book has been thus far thoroughly discredited. I haven't heard about Kitchen's involvement. The City Council seems to be relying heavily on what Johnson is telling them, and the charges against Sanders and Fox are unrelated.

As far as Wray not challenging or rebutting, I guess you haven't heard that Jerry Bledsoe is writing a series in The Rhino about this.

If Johnson says he isn't releasing anything more in this matter, and nothing has been produced thus far, where does that leave the evidence? I am confounded as to why you continue to believe there is a case there when you haven't seen anything. My opinion is based on what is known. Yours is based on the unknown or what may or may not exist. I can only go with what is known. If something else comes out that is different than what is known now, my opinion may change.

But I refuse to give the City or Johnson anymore benefit of the doubt when they have released nothing and offered no explanation except "if you knew what I knew" for their failure to do so. At some point you have to question whether you are being told the truth especially considering that the documents that have come out without authorization from the City have contradicted some of the main allegations against Wray.

Aren't you the least bit suspicious about that? Doesn't that call into question the truth behind all of the other allegations? Why is it unreasonable or shocking to you that someone might reach that conclusion?

You seem to be saying "wait until it all comes out", all the time ignoring the fact that the City has said nothing more will come out. So we have to assume that what we know is all we will ever no. In other words, the City has rested its case and we have to judge the case presented. The case fails miserably.

How long would you allow George Bush to do that, Ed?

Billy The Blogging Poet

Ed said, "The lack of depth on the theme of bloggers is troubling, but the total omission of the Rhino and Bledsoe's series is just bizarre."

So maybe there's something we should know about Jerry's fight with Robinson and the N&R-- something that causes the N&R to not want to admit that singlehandedly Jerry has uncovered more on the story than the entire N&R with all it's vast resources?

Or maybe it's business as usual on East Market street-- don't push Greensboro's movers and shakers too hard or they might quit spending their advertising dollars?

Ed Cone

"At this point it is Wray vs. Johnson." I disagree, although Johnson's handling of the case has certainly become a story unto itself.

"The RMA theory on the black book has been thus far thoroughly discredited." Really? It's been established that the line-up was never used improperly, and that "securing" the book in the car trunk was not cause for mistrust?

Also, as noted in a recent thread, the RMA report spends about three paragraphs out of the 31 pages on that particular item. This case is about more than the "black book."

"I haven't heard about Kitchen's involvement." He was manager, and reporting to Council, at the time the Hinson tracker story broke. The Council's backing of Johnson was based in some part on the information about the Hinson investigations along the way.

Your pleasantry about not knowing Bledsoe is writing in the Rhino should be addressed to the N&R (see post above this thread). The series has done a lot to explain why Wray may have done a lot of things, but the long list of reasons for which the City says it lost trust in Wray's management has not been systematically addressed, by Bledsoe or Wray.

Roch101

"It's been established that the line-up was never used improperly...?"

Ed, that's asking to prove a negative. Shouldn't the burden of proof for that assertion be on those making it? Has anybody said, "I saw that book shown to so-and-so for an illegitimate reason," or "I was shown that book for an illegitimate reason?" What you are saying is that unsubstantiated assertions should be considered legitimate until they are disproved.

I don't know how one can establish that the line-up book was never used improperly? How could that be accomplished?

Ed Cone

Roch, I'm not trying to prove a negative, I'm merely responding to the statement that the RMA theory on the usage and concealment of the black book has been "thoroughly discredited." To my knowledge, this is not so.

The City Manager says he lost faith in a department head for a long list of reasons, of which the alleged use and subsequent concealment of the lineup were two elements. Neither his predecessor, who managed the department head into the period in question, or the Council in place at that time, seem to have problems understanding that lack of trust. The manager in question resigned, and has not to my knowledge rebutted or even questioned many items on the list.

A former Councilmember tells me that the City Manager has the right to remove any department head at any time for any reason. But for the nth time, I agree that the City should have understood public concerns about this case, and addressed those concerns with more information. I have big problems with some of the ways Wray was portrayed in this affair. I just don't find the reduction of the whole thing to particular elements accurate or honest, or the Wray-did-no-wrong meme convincing.

Spag

"but the long list of reasons for which the City says it lost trust in Wray's management has not been systematically addressed, by Bledsoe or Wray."

You obviously haven't read the series very carefully then.

I have never claimed "Wray did no wrong". I have claimed that there is no evidence to substantiate that he did wrong. City council votes and statements by Mitch Johnson to the effect of "if you knew what I knew" is not evidence. Nor is the RMA report which has been discredited regarding the black book with actual evidence.

I will ask you a simple question Ed. If you never receive one more piece of information about the Wray affair and have to reach a conclusion based upon what has been made known to the public so far, what would you conclude and why?

Bubba


"I will ask you a simple question Ed."

If you get any kind of response, it won't be simple. It also will not be an answer.

On that much we can count.

Jason Hardin

Thought I'd add a note that might clarify things.

The story wasn't intended as being primarily about bloggers or alternative media - that's why neither are mentioned until the 14th paragraph and why the topic is largely restricted to a portion of one of the story's four sections.

That was certainly a part of the story, but only a part. The real focus of the story was the idea that Greensboro is in the midst of a much messier kind of politics than it usually sees, what that means for the future of the city, and what it will take for things to settle down.

This situation didn't come about just because of the media. It also involves personalities on council, the particular details of the various controversies, etc.

Given all that, I didn't want to spend too much time getting into the specifics of which blogger or media outlet has been doing what. I talked with Sam Spagnola because I wanted to get a blogger's perspective, but my idea wasn't to catalogue the entire contribution of Greensboro's blogging community to the story.

I will agree that the story probably should have mentioned the Rhino Times by name, although I think they would pop in most readers' minds upon seeing the reference to weekly papers.

Anyway, I'm sure you could write a whole story focusing purely on the relationship of blogging/alternative media to Greensboro politics, but this wasn't intended to be that story.

Brian Clarey

Not to be a dick but, I mean, c'mon...
As long as we're talking about link love (albeit on a different thread), let's not pretend that YES! Weekly has no stake in this story.
Just a name check, guys, is all I ask.

Spag

Jason, I enjoyed talking to you and I understood pretty well when we talked that your story was a generalization of all the media involvement in the story and that the blogs were only one part of that.

Ed Cone

Jason, thnx for stopping by. This is the point I wished to make: "I will agree that the story probably should have mentioned the Rhino Times by name."

The Rhino and Bledsoe are the engine driving this thing forward -- an oblique mention of them is in my view seriously inadequate, and looks like an editorial decision to avoid naming N&R rivals and antagonists -- not saying that's what happened, just that it's bound to come across that way.

Sam: "If you never receive one more piece of information about the Wray affair and have to reach a conclusion based upon what has been made known to the public so far, what would you conclude and why?"

That David Wray, facing a very difficult job at GPD, made some bad management decisions and lost the trust of his bosses. There is much more to it -- stuff that this argument keeps people from discussing, in fact -- but that's my take on the aspect of the story dominating these recent threads.

Why? For the reasons I've already stated. "The City Manager says he lost faith in a department head for a long list of reasons, of which the alleged use and subsequent concealment of the lineup were two elements. Neither his predecessor, who managed the department head into the period in question, or the Council in place at that time, seem to have problems understanding that lack of trust. The manager in question resigned, and has not to my knowledge rebutted or even questioned many items on the list."

But of course it's a false choice that you offer. I can make judgments based on what I know now, but there isn't a buzzer that tells me I'm done.

I don't see this as a matter of belief, or sides, but as a complex and difficult story that is taking far too long to unspool. I haven't waited passively. I've used my newspaper column to call for more info, and to push back against parts of the story that seem unfair or inaccurate to me.

Bubba

"That David Wray, facing a very difficult job at GPD, made some bad management decisions and lost the trust of his bosses."

Based on what known facts?

Roch101

Ed,

The point I'm trying to make is that the bill of particulars against Wray has started to fray with time. A newly released memo provides a seemingly credible explanation for the creation of the black book; no evidence has come forward to substantiate the claims that black book was used illegitimately; Bledsoe reports that Wray informed Johnson of the existence of the black book earlier than Johnson claims (and Johnson seemed uninterested); and an explanation has been offered of why the book was kept in the trunk of a patrol car.

Other issues remain, like Johnson's claim that Wray failed to inform him of other issues, like accreditation problems with the Police Academy. Issues such as these can be verified by contemporaneous documentation. Sam, Joe and I have requested all communications between David Wray and Mitch Johnson. We've requested information about the accreditation of the Police Academy. Nearly four month on, those documents have not been released nor has a reason been offered for not releasing them. It just makes one wonder: Documents exist that could substantiate Johnson's reasons for losing trust in Wray, but requests to release those documents are ignored. Why?

Ed Cone

Roch, "a seemingly credible explanation for the creation of the black book" has been on the table all along, as discussed in recent threads quoting the RMA and CA reports. It is the alleged subsequent misuse of that linuep, and the way Wray dealt with his boss on that issue, that is said to have contributed to the City's loss of trust in Wray.

Again, the allegations about the black book and its handling are part of a much longer list of particulars that are said to have cost Wray the City's trust.

To choose another example, the City has said from the beginning that Wray did not inform his superiors that Hinson had been cleared by GPD investigators, or that "The Guilford County District Attorney had requested that any future investigation of Lt. Hinson be referred to the SBI - this information was not shared with the city manager."

If the question is, Do I find the multifactorial argument that Wray lost the trust of two managers and the Council invalidated by the fact that the City has not yet released all documentation leading up to Wray's resignation, then the answer is "no."

Roch101

"'a seemingly credible explanation for the creation of the black book' has been on the table all along" -- Ed

What is recently new is the list of substantiating materials, like the motel receipts, articulated in Ken Keller's letter to council.

"If the question is, Do I find the multifactorial argument that Wray lost the trust of two managers and the Council invalidated by the fact that the City has not yet released all documentation leading up to Wray's resignation, then the answer is 'no.'" -- Ed

I'm not suggesting you find it "invalidated," I'm asking how you can accept it as substantiated.

Ben Holder

"The publication of the RMA report at 101 was a big moment in local media history."

It happened because I shared the RMA report. I gave the RMA report to the blogging community. That is the history of the big moment in local media history. The name Ben Holder is missing from the N&R article and this post. Silly error and both parts. However, it was not unexpected.

Ed Cone

Roch, what I don't find to be in question is that two managers and the Council lost trust in Wray's management.

As I'm getting quite tired of typing, I've said for more than two years that the public should have more information about the particulars contributing to that loss of trust and Wray's resignation.

Ben, I've never been quite clear on your desire (or lack of it) to have your role in disseminating the RMA and CA reports made public, and I never want to burn a source. With that question answered, I'm happy to credit you with obtaining the report and handing out copies, without which the landmark publication of the RMA report would not have happened.

As for the N&R article, I thought it odd that the focus was just on mean bloggerz and not on bloggers actually furthering public knowledge of the case with documentary evidence and shoe-leather reporting, which you certainly have done.

Roch101

"Roch, what I don't find to be in question is that two managers and the Council lost trust in Wray's management." -- Ed

I'm trying to keep on top of everything I can, but you'll have to point me to where Ed Kitchen lost trust in Wray.

I don't find that Johnson lost trust in Wray to be in question either. Johnson has made that pretty clear. The question is, will a usually smart and curious journalist examine whether the reasons given for that loss of trust are substantiated?

Ed Cone

If there turned out to be an honest explanation for every instance cited as costing Wray the trust of the manager and the Council, the damage to the relationship would be no less real. And we are a long, long way from any such list of explanations.

I've looked as closely as I can at the information available to me to try to understand why the manager and the Council lost trust in Wray, and I've sought more information on my own. The fact that neither Kitchen nor Council members have challenged public statements about what they were and weren't told by Wray tells me something. The fact that Wray has not challenged many of these particulars is interesting, too.

Spag

Ed, I was going to respond, but Roch has essentially made the same arguments that I would make. You seem to be basing your decision on what people are saying, not whether it is substantiated.

I find that interesting considering on other issues, such as the Bush administration's Iraq policy, you never rely simply on what the Administration says and demand evidence and even try to discredit it. Yet, when it comes to Johnson and the City, you continue to rely simply on his word and some vote of City Council even despite as Roch points out, that the case against Wray has frayed significantly over time as more information has came out. The parallels to the Bush/WMD argument are striking.

Spag

"The fact that Wray has not challenged many of these particulars is interesting, too."

Simply not so.

Ed Cone

I've been asking for more info all along, so I don't quite get how I'm not asking for more info.

Do I have added confidence in, say, the City statement that Wray was not forthcoming about GPD investigations of Hinson because the Council and Kitchen have given at least tacit endorsement of that statement? Sure.

"Simply not so" that Wray has not challenged many of the particulars? Point me to the place, Sam. Be specific. Show, don't tell. Remember, it's a long list.

Ben Holder

Ed,

Thanks for responding and acknowledging my work.

Bubba

"Yet, when it comes to Johnson and the City, you continue to rely simply on his word and some vote of City Council even despite as Roch points out, that the case against Wray has frayed significantly over time as more information has came out. The parallels to the Bush/WMD argument are striking."

It's the classic example of the "do as I say, not as I do" mindset.

Your spotlighting of it led to the diversionary tactic contained in his last comment.

Rcoh101

"Point me to the place, Sam." -- Ed

I'd hold off on that, Sam, until Ed points us to the place where Ed Kitchen said he lost confidence in Wray as Ed claimed above.

David Hoggard

How do you quantify or prove the existence of "trust", or the lack thereof, with evidence? I don't know how anyone can present evidence that clearly establishes that Johnson and the Council did or did not lose trust in David Wray.

If that loss of trust was based on faulty or poorly communicated information, then Wray should have stayed on to clear it all up. If the information turns out to be a fabrication to justify nefarious means then I will personally man the gulliotine

They all (Johnson and last Council)... to a man and woman... felt that their trust was degraded enough to justify the actions taken. Sorry, but I just don't think the lot of them are/were as dumb, uncaring or gullible as some would have us believe they were/are.

Last week's 7-2 vote of confidence (with strings) toward Johnson spoke volumes to me. I know it is an unpopular position among some, but, for the most part, I still trust our City Council is trying to do the right thing within a difficult environment.

Roch101

"the damage to the relationship would be no less real." -- Ed

Go ahead and lay the groundwork for a willingness to accept perceptions as excuses for poor judgment and watch as your credibility goes to shit next time you try to criticize someone for forming an opinion detached from the facts.

Spag is right, this is the equivalent to "Don't blame Bush, he really thought there were WMDs in Iraq."

And Bubba, would you please shut the frack up?

Roch101

"How do you quantify or prove the existence of "trust", or the lack thereof, with evidence?" -- Hoggard

You don't. You can demonstrate whether trust or lack thereof was based on factual information.

David Hoggard

True enough, Roch.

But all of the "factual information" will not likely come out until everyone is in a court of law. Until then, it is all about perceptions, heresay and interpretations of whatever people accept as being 'factual'.

That said... here's a novel idea that no one has thought of... wouldn't it be great if we knew more facts?

Ed Cone

Roch, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Kitchen, who was manager well into this thing and who is cited by name in at least one City release, has not come out and contradicted or questioned any of those City accounts. I have not seen a formal public statement of support, but I find his silence telling, and my conversations with him lead me in that direction as well.

You continue to misrepresent my position as one of blind faith, although I've been clear about the support of the Council and the lack of pushback from Wray as reasons I don't think the City is wholly lacking in credibility.

And, of course, I have been asking for more information since January of 2006.

Telling Sam to hold off on backing up his statement that Wray has in fact challenged -- much less rebutted -- the whole list of particulars is an odd thing. Why wouldn't you want that statement to be answered fully? Is this a game? I'm used to that stuff from some commenters, but I regret seeing it from you.

I'm not really clear on what I'm doing to irk you so. We both want more information from the City. We differ in terms of the amount of credibility we assign the City in the absence (to date) of that information. I've given my reasons for my position. You are free to disagree, of course, but I don't really get why this difference of opinion seems so bothersome to you.

Bubba

"And Bubba, would you please shut the frack up?"

The frack isn't speaking.

In addition, I just point out the obvious. If it's too painful, don't read it.

Roch101

"I don't really get why this difference of opinion seems so bothersome to you."

I've asked you for links to sources (as you do of others) and made observations about the quality of your reasoning. You can address those head on or turn your attention to what you perceive to be my emotions.

Ed Cone

Roch, I've spelled out my reasoning and cited my sources, including my logic on Kitchen, to the best of my ability.

If there is something missing, I'll try to fill that in, too.

If my reasoning falls short in your view, but it still seems, well, reasonable to me even after considering your criticism, then I guess we'll have to disagree about certain things.

Spag

Ed, how do you reconcile the fact that Johnson said he wouldn't be releasing any more information with your position that we should all keep waiting?

The Iraq/WMD analogy has yet to be pierced. Most of Congress voted to go into Iraq over WMD and said so on the record. Yet, here you are Ed speculating about the reasoning of City Council and Ed Kitchen when it comes to David Wray in the absence of any evidence.

This isn't about Wray is right or Johnson is right, it's about the facts and you are willing to accept that because people acted a certain way or didn't act a certain way, there must be a factual basis to support their decision. Nevermind that it is also possible that the City Council put their trust in Johnson's words (which aren't evidence) or in the RMA report which isn't a primary source and consists largely of additional words and opinions instead of facts, many of which have been refuted by evidence.

I'm not asking you to be on my "side" Ed. I'm just amazed that you buy into the whole argument that where there is smoke, there is fire, particularly in light of your unwillingness to embrace the same reasoning when it comes to President Bush and Iraqi WMD. You would be the first one screaming "we are supposed to believe this because Bush said so?" Or if the terror level was raised, you would be the first skeptic in line questioning the veracity of the Administration and wondering if there were any facts to support the alert or if Bush was simply doing it for political reasons. What undermined Bush, Ed? The lack of evidence of WMD despite the assertions made to the contrary, assertions that were also supported by a vote and acts and omissions of others.

If I were to say "wait Ed, let's give it more time. Surely there must be WMD because Bush said so and Congress voted on it. Just a few more years. Surely there will be some explanation. All of these people can't be wrong. What we need is more information" you would be the first person to chastise me and dare I say in a particularly sarcastic manner.

I don't see the point in going any further with this. Your position is clear even if it is contradicted by your previous actions on other matters and I simply can't understand your logic. Keep waiting for Godot. If Comrade Napolean says it, it must be so.

Other than that, Roch is doing a fine job point by point.

Roch101

"I guess we'll have to disagree about certain things."

Well, it won't be the first time or an influence on our friendship. We've survived clashes of opinions before.

John D. Young

I, maybe like Ed and David, would also depend more on perceptions and insights of the majority of the people on the City Council and city staff if I knew they had done a bunch of hard homework on the Wray Fray. But some of the City Council's recent comments indicate to me that they are still just staying on the surface.

What I found with the work of the GTRC is that people went with primarily the broad strokes rather than dig deep for the hard facts and details.

Roch is right that the discovery and analysis of the hard facts remains the proper path not the perceptions of people who fail to do the homework.

Ed Cone

Wray did respond to the charges in the RMA report in a document filed to Johnson, Miles, and the Council in Feb 06, although I have not seen the document. Kitchen's last public statement of support for Wray was in June of 05.

The comments to this entry are closed.