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Feb 12, 2010

Comments

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Tim

Well Ed I do find it interesting that council has decided not to change their votes on this project. I think council has done their research after the fact and yes this whole process is sloppy but if they have reservations about this hotel project you think they would try to do something about it wouldnt you think? It appears that city council is still behind this project and believes in it. Even though this project is using stimulus bonds BEING BACK BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR, its not for us to decided if this hotel should get built or not. The developers don't need us to get behind the idea because its a private development. There are developments being built in the city all the time that people are oppose to. Now if they build this hotel and its not as successful as they envision, its not our problem, It would be a loss to all that invested into the project. Now Dennis Quiantance said in an email to Andy Scott that if he had known how the stimulus financing worked he would have presented his own plan for a downtown hotel. If he had done that, I doubt we would be seeing all the opposition. Personally I think much of the opposition is due to the fact that Skip Alston is involved and lets be honest, there are a lot of people that just don't like the guy so they arent going to support anything hes involved in. I think the public in general could care less if this hotel gets built or not. That was obvious when NO ONE spoke against the project when the developers presented their plan to city council. The general public is worried about jobs and the economy. Fighting a downtown hotel is not a priority to most citizens.

Ed Cone

"I think council has done their research after the fact..."

Really? Research into what?

And since when to we allow our elected officials to make decisions based on "research after the fact" about items they discussed in public?

You have said, correctly, that we don't even know what the project is going to be, so how much research can be done on it?

You may not think the public has an interest in discovering the cash-out element of the tax-free bonds. I disagree with you on that.

Tim

personally I think its just a small number of people making a lot of noise. If there is so much organized public support against this project, how come NO ONE has ever come to the city council meetings and spoke against it? Unemployment is at an all time high. People are concerned about jobs and the economy, not some hotel.

Ed Cone

When in doubt, change the subject.

Brandon Burgess

Tim, last time I checked, there were about 50 commenters at N&R who object to this hotel. Tim, lets be honest, the council and board did not understand the consequences of their vote so it is very inaccurate for you to say they support this project. The council should not rescind it's vote until proponents can give a clear understanding of exactly what they are planning for this hotel/office space because this project deserves a fair chance. It's just a shame that proponents have blown that chance with poor planning and disgusting PR tactics.

Thomas

"Now if they build this hotel and its not as successful as they envision, its not our problem, It would be a loss to all that invested into the project."

You seriously think a big, empty, failed hotel in the middle of downtown is "not our problem"?

I guess you could take the approach that it will create jobs to build it, then create jobs again to tear it down. That might be good.

anom

"When in doubt, change the subject," Really Ed?
When put in a tight spot (lack of public outcry beyond the blogosphere) change the subject.

You all are so funny with your darn self righteousness, when the majority of Greensboro could care less.
As Tim said,"If there is so much organized public support against this project, how come NO ONE has ever come to the city council meetings and spoke against it?"

Roch101

"lack of public outcry beyond the blogosphere"

That's kind of dumb, isn't it? -- Like saying "lack of public outcry beyond the newspapers letters page," "lack of outcry beyond the Sound of the Beep" or "lack of public outcry beyond the speakers from the floor."

Roch101

"the public in general could care less" -- Tim

"the majority of Greensboro could care less." -- anom


Here's a tip for "both" of you. What you mean to say is "could not care less."

mick

Top Tim's point... Is it not true that a recent meeting to discuss the issue was poorly attended? I may be misremembering.

Brandon, just to be clear "50 commenters" 50 separate and diff people?
Just making sure I'm clear. Not really doubting you or anything like that. I know it is unpopular at N&R. Of course, many things are as that is kinda the "we hate everything city" blog.

For the record, I dont believe the hotel project is sound use of the funds and I doubt it's viability. No expert there just doesnt pass the smell tests for me.

Spag

Tim, has anyone ever asked you who is paying you? If so, did you ever answer?

jc

Tim, some people might not want to publicly speak out against this project lest they be labeled racist by the likes of Skip and Deena and threatened with a march or demonstration. Playing the race card is SOP in this town.

Brandon Burgess

Tim, I'd like to elaborate on Spag's question. Why do you support this project? You have stated many times over the last few weeks that this project is still being planned. That being said, it is conceivable that the final plan maybe something you don't agree with. So again, why do you support this project? Are you involved with this project in any way? I think even you agree that more sunshine on this project would've really helped it gain support.

I'd like to add that there are a number of things the "general public" doesn't know about that deserve attention. It seems that one of the goals of proponents has been to keep the public in the dark about many aspects of the project. Kind of like when Skip stepped out of the vote with no explanation. Compare that with Nancy Vaughans recent statements regarding her non-participation in votes. Sure, they are both legal but clearly one official had the ethical sense to state the conflict of interest.

One good thing about this project is that it puts a spotlight on ethics in politics.

Lex

Spag: I offered some posts back to buy Tim a beer in the bar of the new, successful downtown hotel this project represents IF he would, right then, disclose his identity and interest in the project. Unless I missed it, he never did.

Brentwood

Brandon, I hardly think 50 comments on a News & Record blog is a good indicator of the opposition. And most bloggers create a lot of "noise", writing on these blogs in opposition, but seldom do I see any true opposition that would involve actually stepping away from the computer.

Ed Cone

Even the supporters acknowledge that there is no project to debate at this time, at least in terms of specifics on size, occupancy, and so on.

And so we've moved on to a new argument about the phantom project: nobody really cares anyway, so they might as well go ahead and build it.

I'm reminded of Yogi Berra saying, "nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."

Brandon Burgess

"...seldom do I see any true opposition..."

I concede that my point is just as subjective as yours. Of course, that doesn't make my other points irrelevant. I am concerned and I demand to be heard. I know that is hard for the powers-that-be to accept.

Brentwood

Brandon...

If you wanted to be heard then why did you not speak on the matter (Speakers from the floor, City Council/County Commission) when you could have? Have you written, called or emailed any of the elected officials? Just because your computer may have a microphone, doesn't count. Again, some actual excercise away from the computer may be necessary.

Brandon Burgess

Brentwood, yes. And you are right, I need some exercise but that is irrelevant. Resorting to attacks on character; a tactic employed time and again by proponents even after I say the project desrves a fair chance. Tim has indicated the project can not receive that chance until a plan is decided on but that should have been done in December.

RecycleBill

Tim, that echo is because you're still in the well. Come out into the light and we might better hear you.

Spag

Lex and I agree on something. The world may be coming to an end.

Bob

When 3 members of the city council are threatened, when a protest march is proposed against opponents, when opponents are labeled racist -- who wants to be on tv opposing it? Tim - were you there speaking in favor of it? Or were you voting on it?

Brentwood

Very good question Bob...and Mr. Franklin McCain, one of the original sit in partipants said at the opening ceremony, "Never ask for permission to start a revolution." I think in many areas, we have become comfortable with the status quo.

Most of America's proudest and darkest momments happened when one person...or ten thousand people spoke out. I guess blogging is the new protest, huh?

Tim

Brandon I support the whole concept of this downtown hotel. Of course we can expect to see changes. I will support it if it has 200 rooms and i'll still support it if it has 75 rooms.

Its also true the you see more opposition to things on the blogs. In general I dont think the public is for or against this hotel. There are just too many things going on in the lives of people to be concerned about the viabilty of a hotel. There really is no public interest one way or the other. That explains why no one has spoken in favor or against the hotel project at the city council meetings. Every meeting there are speakers from the floor and people have their chance to voice their opinion. No one every shows up to speak for or against it. I think there may be a lot of people who think the hotel may not be viable but having that opinion and being opposed to the hotel are two entirely different things. Even Dennis Quantance said they sued the city because no one else would. What does that tell you about opposition towards this project? In fact this suit may backfire because from what im hearing from people, they think it makes Q & W look like bullies and sore losers.

Andrew

Tim and Brentwood (Skip and Earl) are very good at changing the story. The real question here is whether or not Skip Alston used his postion as an elected official to push either elected body to vote in favor of the bonds. If he is going to benefit from the his pressure, then he broke the law.

Here is a copy of the law:
§ 14‑234. Public officers or employees benefiting from public contracts; exceptions.

(a) (1) No public officer or employee who is involved in making or administering a contract on behalf of a public agency may derive a direct benefit from the contract except as provided in this section, or as otherwise allowed by law.

(2) A public officer or employee who will derive a direct benefit from a contract with the public agency he or she serves, but who is not involved in making or administering the contract, shall not attempt to influence any other person who is involved in making or administering the contract.

(3) No public officer or employee may solicit or receive any gift, reward, or promise of reward in exchange for recommending, influencing, or attempting to influence the award of a contract by the public agency he or she serves.

If you read the lawsuit and I would recommend reading everything including the attachments, it leaves little doubt that he used his power to get this bond passed.

Government is supposed to be equal for all people, not just those in power. It would appear the Skip has allowed his greed to get the best of him and may end up in front of a judge.

It has nothing to do with the hotel, it has everything to do with the way Skip went about making it happen. Don't let Tim and Brentwood pull everyone away from the story.

Tim

Andrew, city leaders voted for the bonds long before Skip Alston "pressured" them. In terms of Alston Benefiting, I have no problem with that because the man is a broker and he benefits from every project he deals with. Thats how he makes his living and the county has been involved with all of the developments hes been associated with one way or another. There is no reason to single this project out. He didnt vote on the bonds. Now you may not like his style or the way he does business, but he did everything within the law.

Bob

The city leaders admit they didn't know what they were voting for anything other than getting in line for state funds. And what they voted for was the Lee Street project based on its impact on the Ole Asheboro neighborhood. This is a different project entirely. When city leaders realized there may be an issue and wanted to discuss the matter - that's when they were threatened by Skip. So let's don't pretend that the bonds were "voted for" prior to Skip pressuring them. Skip pressured them because the city was actually going to discuss and vote on the bonds.

Spag

"I have no problem with that because the man is a broker and he benefits from every project he deals with."

The law does.

bubba

"The law does."

Details, details.....just mild technicalities.

Look! Over there! Isn't that a city councilperson, or a local hospitality industry person being a racist?

RecycleBill

Spag wrote: "Lex and I agree on something. The world may be coming to an end."

Never in my almost 10 years of reading and commenting on EdCone.com have I seen as many of the regular commenters in agreement on a single issue. The world is surely coming to an end. To that we have Tim to blame.

And I can't help but wonder how many "different" commenters have the same IP address.

Andrew M.

If Tim really wanted this hotel to move forward, he would have clammed up a long time ago, because this crowd obviously doesn't want any of what he's selling. I suppose it's not that obvious, however, or else Tim would have already clammed up.

And we're back at square one.

cheripickr

Since everybody except Tim does seem to be in agreement on this, could someone summarize from these hundreds of comments, as succinctly and specifically as possible, what it is we have agreed/decided upon, what course of action should be taken going forward, and what, if any role, the GSO blogosphere would have in it?

Doc Alexander

So, Tim, you've admitted that you have no problem with a publicly elected official making a huge profit from a business venture financed by federal stimulus funds? Make that two elected officials, counting that idiot Deena Hayes.

Tim, do you place your morals in a blind trust?

Ed Cone

It's not financed by stimulus funds.

However, the use of tax exempt bonds and the favorable location of a city parking deck do give the public a legitimate interest in the project and its viability.

Tim

Doc If that were the case, almost all the elected offcials would have to resign including Robbie Perkins. I think the conflict of interest defense is getting pretty rediculous.

Tim

The parking deck is the only thing in this project thats going to require tax dollars. However the deck is going to be built with or without the hotel. Secondly from what I was told the site near the proposed hotel was one of the sites the city was looking at long before the hotel proposal came along. The question is not whether or not the city will get a new deck. The question is when. Obviously the hotel would lead to this deck getting built sooner.

But part of the reason why we have not seen a lot of public out cry over this hotel is because the citizens understand the hotel itself will not be built with tax payer money. Believe me if it were being built with taxpayer money, the council chambers would be full of people speaking against the project.

Ed Cone

Alston is not alone.

Some of us have been speaking out for years about the influence of the real estate industry on local politics, and the potential conflicts of real estate people on elected boards.

Alston doesn't see the problem, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

Spag

Tim, I suppose then that you would have no problem with the City/County rescinding the resolution and/or the LGC rejecting the proposal and having Chisholm et al finance the project entirely with private funds.

Otherwise quit trying to convince people that there is no government involvement/liability here.

And by the way, who do you work for and how much are they paying you? Why do you refuse to answer that question? Are you really that much of a coward?

Tim

Spag I don't have to convince. The facts are the facts and people can try to spin it all they want to.

Ed I dont have a problem with city and county leaders profiting from real estate deals that they vote on as long as the persons that will profit don't take part in the vote. Thats really all the law requires. This is common practice all over the country. Now if people think its ethically wrong, fine. But dont use that as a legal reason to kill funding for a project. I doubt Q & W's law suit will stop the financing and they know that. They are just trying to pressure local leaders and the developers to back down. I will say it will be very funny when Kaplan and Crisholm presents a feasible plan which will make all who made a big fuss over this look like fools.

Tim

I'm just looking forward to Kaplan's group saying to Q & W "GOTCHA" when they present a feasible hotel plan. Could be one reason why they have been quiet about the hotel over the past few weeks. They are getting their ducks in a row.

Ed Cone

If Kaplan's group comes up with a workable plan, we'll have a downtown hotel.

If they comes up with a crummy plan that still gets approval, that's a bad thing.

Questions of ethics and conflicts of interest seem unlikely to kill this deal, but they are not easily dismissed, in this instance or in many others.

Spag

Insult-comment removed by editor.

Steve Harrison

"most bloggers create a lot of "noise", writing on these blogs in opposition, but seldom do I see any true opposition that would involve actually stepping away from the computer."

Which tells me you haven't been paying attention to the Greensboro blogosphere. Major players in government have been interviewed with hard questions asked, City Council meetings have been shaken up by a blogger who would later run for one of those seats, lawsuits have been filed forcing behavior changes in City government, countless City documents and communications have been discovered and examined online, etc., etc.

When examined in the context of a "movement", as opposed to various and disparate activities, the results are pretty damned impressive, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better example of the potential impact of blogging on a local level.

If you need more evidence of this, consider how supporters of this (current) development project have so stridently defended their pet project, right here in the blogosphere you've attempted to disparage. Smacked with the irony stick, you've been.

Brandon Burgess

Kudos Steve. Tim, a feasible plan was supposed to have been developed by the December deadline, correct?

cheripickr

Was missing that deadline the result of actions by bloggers? And who besides the enigmatic Tim has bothered to defend their activities here?

Spag

"Insult comment removed by editor".

Actually, it wasn't an insult comment. I asked yet again who Tim was working for and how much they were paying him and then implied that his failure to answer either must indicate that he is not his own man and takes his orders from someone else, which must be a hard thing for a man to admit to his wife or girlfriend.

If that's an insult, then Tim has asked for it by refusing to disclose his interests and forcing others to speculate.

Robbie Perkins suffers from the same "kept man" syndrome.

Spag

FTR, if I had to guess I would say that Ed's standards for removing "insult comments" will not be evenly applied and will be directly related to a) ideology and b) effectiveness at discrediting something written by Ed.

Ed Cone

Comments that consist of nothing but taunts and personal attacks are subject to removal. Also, anonymous and pseudonymous comments are okay.

I don't agree with much of what Tim says on this subject, and I've spent a fair amount of time trying to refute it in detail.

Spag

"I don't agree with much of what Tim says on this subject, and I've spent a fair amount of time trying to refute it in detail. "

You mean that you have linked to or allowed others to spend a fair amount of time trying to refute it in detail. Getting a straight opinion or thoughtful analysis out of you on this subject has been rare and tedious at best.

My comment about Tim consisted of more that just a taunt or personal attack. My opinion is that I don't respect "men" like Tim who are bought and paid for by others and lack the honesty to come clean about that.

If I'm wrong, he can set the record straight. Yet he refuses to do so.

Ed Cone

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments are allowed here.

Trying to taunt somebody into revealing their identity, and then mocking them for not playing your game, is not necessary or welcome.

Thanks.

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