Seems like a problem that Google could fix by changing its rules and connecting all schools. The filtering issue could be solved by having GOOG pay the $1 million, which the company could find under the couch cushions at HQ, and which would be a huge PR win instead of what's brewing now.
There are signs that the political press is more willing than it has been to challenge misstatements and misrepresentations. Good, as far as it goes, but even if it goes pretty far it might not make much difference.
Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, the firm advising the City on proposals for handling our trash, has released this report.
From the City Manager's note to the Mayor and Council:
Attached is the recommendation from GBB. The summary position is they disqualify Waste Connections from further consideration, recommend Hilco for transportation and recommend Republic for disposal. They raise serious concerns with A-1 Sandrock.
At this time GBB is scheduled to discuss their recommendation with Council on September 10.
It's hard to quantify the amount of attention people pay to local blogs. My sense is that there are many more readers than commenters, and aggregator sites like 101 and FB make it easy to see headlines. The numbers are small in absolute terms, no doubt, but some bloggers and commenters repeat things they read uncritically, so there's a multiplier effect, and certainly (and appropriately) professional media are reading the local web.
So despite the good chance that many trees are not making a sound as they fall, these sites have a history of punching above their weight, and thus it makes sense sometimes to check out stories before they spread too far. (Here's a recent example of some potentially harmful misinformation that was easily put to rest; it was reposted without any apparent attempt at verification by potential mayoral candidate George Hartzman, who has let it remain, uncorrected, at his site long after accurate information was posted here. UPDATE Thurs 4:45: Hartzman has now replaced the post, which wrongly claimed that the Urban Ministry had reduced its food service to three days a week, with a video clip from Fight Club, but without any comment on the change or his original inaccurate post. Down the memory hole...but here's a cached version.)
Anyway, there has been a lot written about the legal status of the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition, better known as TREBIC. I have over the years disagreed with the group on issues, and argued more generally against the great power the real estate industry has wielded in GSO. I also live in a house, work in a building, shop in stores, and know and respect many people in the business. [Update: Thanks to TB for fwding this copy of TREBIC's 2010 form 990. /update]
So when I read, repeatedly, that TREBIC allegedly has been operating illegally under a suspended charter, I pulled the old reporter's trick of actually contacting the subject of the story. Here's what I heard back from TREBIC president Marlene Sanford. I have not verified it independently, so have at it:
When TREBIC was originally formed in 1999 (before I was hired), it was mistakenly formed as a for-profit corporation. That was corrected by filing Articles of Amendment in December 1999 which converted TREBIC to a non-profit. The Department of Revenue issued a letter of tax exempt status on March 29, 2000. However, the original filing as a for-profit corporation mistakenly survived in the Department of Revenue's records, so DOR carried TREBIC as a for-profit corporation on its records. After not receiving tax reports from TREBIC for a number of years, the Department of Revenue, thinking that TREBIC should file returns as a for-profit corporation, suspended TREBIC's charter. Non-profits do not have to file the reports with the state, so we were not actually delinquent in any way. The Department of Revenue has acknowledged that this was their error and is sending a letter of reinstatement to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State's records should be updated within 1-3 weeks.
TREBIC is a 501c6 non-profit, meaning it is a trade association (not 501c3, charitable organization.) There are no implications for our members or for our ability to carry on our mission of providing them government affairs services.
Further, Roy Carroll is not our President (I am.) TREBIC does not have a PAC, therefore we do not endorse candidates or make contributions. Never have.
I know people disdain fact-checkers, and I can tell you from experience that the job feels like being the guy in the circus who follows the elephant with a bucket and a shovel. But there are worse disciplines to follow.
A resolution to implement a month-long food truck pilot program this October on Commerce Place in Downtown Greensboro will be on the City Council meeting agenda this coming Tuesday, September 4th at 5:30pm in the Melvin Municipal Office Building (300 W. Washington St).
The claim that fracking is safe when it's done right always makes me wonder: If we don't take the time to create serious and sensible regulations for this new-to-NC industry, who is going to make sure it's done right?
We'll see. Lucy has pulled that football away often enough that Charlie Brown should be skeptical. And the kind of housing recovery we need does not mean a return to the bubble years, or its spending patterns.
When people try to pretend that we've just been experiencing a routine recession, feel free to laugh.
The United Nations scoffed on Friday at claims by a judge in Lubbock County, Texas, that U.N. troops could invade the southern U.S. state to settle a possible civil war, which the judge warned could be sparked if Obama is re-elected in November.
I always thought they played Sweet Caroline at Carolina games because of the homophonics (still legal in NC!), but apparently everyone plays it, except, now, Penn State.
Anyway, I was forced by circumstances beyond my control to visit a Whole Foods for the first time today, and the piped-in music as I navigated the organic produce was Neil Young's Southern Man, and the lyrics about a father vowing to kill the black man who has been miscegenating with his daughter were just more Muzak to the ladies in the yoga pants and tatted-up dudes filling their little carts with expensive prepared items.
And then I stopped by Walgreen's, and they were playing I Wanna Be Sedated. Which may be apt for the clientele, and of course the Ramones are old-people's music for a sizable chunk of the world's population, but it was amusing to me nonetheless.
We've talked here before about visiting grandpa in the home and realizing as the Big Band tunes come over the speakers that we, too, will be hearing the popular music of our youth as we tuck into our gruel. It's begun.
Seems to me the payoff is getting local people who are doing ahead-of-the-curve things, and are able to relate their work to everyday experience in ways that suggest positive, possible futures for GSO.
I'd like to hear Dennis Quaintance talk about green development and green business. Some nanotech person from the nanotech school talk about the practical benefits of that program. Sarah Ivory talk about glocal Guilford County. Hank Smith talk about healthcare. Sean Coon talk about creative culture. People who are young and who don't look like me talking about stuff I don't understand.
* Why are you there? * What will we learn from you? * What actual reporting can you possibly do that delivers anything of value more than the infomercial — light on the info, heavy on the ‘mercial — that the conventions have become? * Would you be better off back at home covering voters and their issues? * Can we in the strapped news business afford this luxury?
Even with jacked-up prices, I'm not sure all those reporters are paying $300 a night for lodging in Tampa and Charlotte, nor are all of them staying the whole time, so his math may be off a bit (it happens!), but that doesn't change the fundamentals.
I didn't expect to agree with everything in this defense of big banks by big banker William B. Harrison Jr., but I thought, hey, he had the sense to marry a Greensboro girl, so he'll probably put up a decent fight.
Not so much.
An uncomprehensive list of the article's flaws includes a false premise (that people claim bank reform will "eliminate the risk of future crises"), denial of the possibility of regulatory capture, and claiming that "large global institutions have often proved more resilient than others" without mentioning the massive bailouts that kept the industry on life support after its attempted suicide.
Huge banks may serve a purpose, but the way they're structured now isn't safe or healthy.
Meanwhile, Eric Robert has said trucks can come to his property just south of Lee on Elm, which is outside of the downtown exclusion zone. And with a month to go before the event, 840 people say they'll attend the Spring Garden Food Truck Festival.
This movement has momentum at the local level. Maybe GSO can get it right.
The problem for figures like [UNC Chancellor Holden] Thorp is the same as that identified by former Roanoke College President Charles J. Smith, who in 1951 described the president of a school playing big-time sports as "a man truly to be pitied ... If he sides with the professors he sacrifices his job. If he lines up with the football crowd he sacrifices his integrity."
Professor Wharton has what appears to be a very interesting review of Christian Meier's A Culture of Freedom: Ancient Greece and the Origins of Europe up at the Weekly Standard, although most of it is behind the paywall.
A former advisor to President Bill Clinton has joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's public relations effort as the university weathers an investigation into academic impropriety in at least one department...
...Details on Sosnik's compensation have not been released.
It's reported that none of the almost $600K spend so far to put lipstick on this pig has come from taxpayer funds.
The College of Charleston last year studied the economic impact of Charleston’s convention center. Its survey of convention attendees found that each person spent $168 a day – far less than the [Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority]’s $314 estimate.
Boosterism in the QC is a dog bites man story, but it's interesting to compare their numbers to our own. According to the IFYI linked here, GSO uses $228 for overnight visitors and $114 for day-trippers; the Observer article says Nashville puts a $57/day tag on day-trippers. By these standards, however accurate they may be, we're over-optimistic on the overnighters and wildly so on the quick hitters.
It would be interesting to run our projections through those less-generous formulas and see what they yield, and then compare that conservative number to the costs of running our tourism infrastructure.
I'd like to know more about our breakdown of SMERF and other kinds of traffic.
Looks like the County's role in regulating food trucks is pretty small. So, on to the City.
About that City ban on trucks downtown...Maybe I've missed the answers to some elementary questions this summer, but:
What was the process behind the ban?
Who proposed it?
How was it enacted -- was there a Council vote? If so, what was the breakdown of that vote? UPDATE: The recent N&R article says "The Greensboro City Council banned most food trucks downtown last year, when it passed a series of new rules involving roadside food vendors." Anyone got a date for that meeting? /update UPDATE II: Thanks to Cecelia for providing a link to the minutes; the ordinance passed unanimously, after being continued from previous meetings, and without much input from the food truckers. /update
If not, who ordered the change?
What arguments were made, by whom, for and against it?
In a bizarre attempt to avoid a 50-game drug suspension, San Francisco Giants star Melky Cabrera created a fictitious website and a nonexistent product designed to prove he inadvertently took the banned substance that caused a positive test under Major League Baseball’s drug program.
The basis of this blog's oft-repeated line "Home. Dog seems glad to see me" was not just the fact that dogs are always glad to see you when you get home, awesome though that is, but that after a certain age kids don't always count the hours until dad returns from wherever it is that he went.
Anyway, now it's the dog or nothing. For the first time since the GHW Bush administration, we have no children in the home.
Word is they come back and still need stuff, though.
N&R continues its curiously coy coverage of the Cascades Grandview apartment fiasco.
On one hand, the paper has done a good job of getting the story out and talking to residents of the derelict tower. On the other, it consistently trails its own readers in tracking what it calls the "mystery" of the building's ownership.
Today's article says the "traveling regional manager of Gentco Real Estate," identified as Dunk Anthony, did not provide contact info. Maybe it's this Dunk Anthony -- the only one Google finds easily, and the one who lists other Cascades properties among his activities and interests. Did the N&R try to track him down to find out?
My first paying job as a journalist was with a paper called CityBusiness, which is relevant to your weekly manager's report on city business in only the most tangential of it's-been-a-long-week brainfart ways.
Here's the report, with info on recycling, the Coliseum Commission, relocating the Hayes-Taylor YMCA, and more, and here's a bonus document about the County's coup de parks and rec.
Justin Conrad, chair of the Guilford County Board of Health, via Facebook:
Recently, there has been a lot of conversation in the Greensboro community regarding mobile food trucks. As the Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Health, I have asked Environmental Health Director Tobin Shepherd to address the Board this Monday, August 20th to discuss this issue and how it would impact public health. Our meeting is at 6:30 at the Health Department Building located at 501 E. Green Drive in High Point. Any interested parties are encouraged to attend. We will have a period for questions and comments from the public.
In the comments beneath a previous post, Conrad raises questions about health inspections of trucks that are registered in other counties. This may be a legit issue, although one that could be addressed easliy enough by requiring Guilford County inspections for trucks doing business in Guilford County.
But Conrad, who runs his family's restaurant business, started that earlier thread by saying that food trucks licensed elsewhere represent unfair competition to local restaurants.
That, too, may need to be addressed, but Conrad's stated economic self-interest means he and the Board of Health must be very careful to avoid appearances of a conflict when they meet next week.
How many surveillance cameras does the City maintain? What they are watching? What are they doing with the information they collect? Are they also recording audio, recognizing faces, storing license plates? Who is watching and under what circumstances? Have these systems been deployed surreptitiously or have our elected representatives given their explicit approval?
Have we, the people, given our consent to the monitoring that is underway? How could we have if we don't even know the extent of it?
I have made multiple requests for a variety of records from the City of Greensboro that would shed some light on this topic. So far, the City has refused to provide any records that would answer any of these questions. None.
This article about the evacuation of an apartment building near Greensboro College includes no details on the building's ownership or the name of the management company, but readers have filled in some of the blanks in the comments.
Commenters also raise the question of whether RUCO might have made a difference here. About that I do not know.
Good to see the N&R front-paging a big local business story, and good to see RFMD hooking up with healthy companies like Samsung and Apple.
Still, this is a turnaround story, and as such it could have used a little more context -- some reference to the implosion at Nokia, long RFMD's most important customer, and to the decade-long disaster that is RFMD stock. A quote or two from someone outside the company -- say, industry and/or stock analysts -- would have been nice, too.
A belief in non-violent social change means you actually believe that violence is wrong and also self-perpetuating, and you try to live by those values. You don't get a pass for being on one side of an issue or the other. The statement from GLAAD condemning the actions at the FRC was on point, and I thought Perkins also spoke well by focusing on the guard who averted tragedy.
Like the killings at the Sikh temple, this incident has an ominous political or ideological edge to it. Crazy people like the guy in Aurora may spawn copycats, but this kind of thing can perpuate itself in more sustainable ways.
A long conversation about the nature and impact of the 2009 economic stimulus with Michael Grunwald, author of The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, who says "the data tell a very different story than the prevailing narrative."