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Nov 16, 2012

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Fec

I have no idea why you continue to bait poor Hartzman with these contrived excuses. Perhaps you are just cruel.

Ed Cone

Once the City Attorney and City Manager did my bidding by writing and publishing the memo, I felt obligated.

sal leone

well its over and there is no conflict, I guess we can move on.

David Hoggard

Since it has now been conclusively determined that...

"Councilmember Hoffman has no financial interest, direct or indirect, in a contract with DGI"...

Surely that finally kills Hartzman's stupid-ass and generally mean-spirited assertions regarding my firm as being somehow complicit in some nefarious, non-existent, "deal with DGI".

Ms. Hoffmann... if you are reading here: You are undertaking important work on an important building and I'd be very pleased to bid on restoring your windows.

We are the best in the business: www.double-hung.com.

michele

Raise your hand if you think that GH is going to stop thinking there's a conflict just because the City Attorney said so?

David Hoggard

(keeping my hand down)

sal leone

I think you were always an honest person david, bidding on windows or talking about them dont make you part of a conflict

Hartzman

As I told the City Attorney Thursday morning,
I disagree with his conclusion.

Notice in the Hoffman post, I cite different statutes
the city attorney does not address.

Now that the city attorney works at the leisure of city council,
his view is diminished.

SOG as Roch suggested.

Andrew Brod

Hartzman's legal opinion is that the city attorney is wrong. SOP.

Fec

Sweet.

Triadwatch

Who has a financial interest in dgi? Just askin.

Fec

Nice try, Ed.

David Hoggard

A fellow name of Hartzman has a financial interest in DGI. Obsessively so.

Does that count?

Andrew Brod

Next for Hartzman: Those damned dentists don't know a single thing about teeth.

Hartzman

Having taught the North Carolina Bar Association Ethics Component,
the lack of legal literacy expressed is a bit disappointing.

No, I am not a lawyer, or a CPA.

I have taught the difference between right and wrong.

As stated in a prior thread;

if a City Councilperson exchanges proposals
for personal business with an entity taxpayers fund,
doesn't sign anything yet,
and then votes to give the entity taxpayer money,
that's OK?

No one could say OK.

Would anyone like to say OK now?

"Any officer, department head or employee who has financial interest, direct or indirect,
in any proposed contract with the city
or in a proposed sale of any land, material, supplies, or services
to the city or to a contractor supplying the city,
shall make known that interest
and shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in
the making of such contract or sale.

Any officer, department head, or employee
who willfully conceals such a financial interest
or willfully violates the requirements of this Section
shall be guilty of malfeasance in office or position
and shall forfeit his office or position.

Violation of this Section with the knowledge
expressed or implied of the person or corporation
contracting with or making a sale to the city
shall render the contract void."

Sec. 4.131. - Conflict of interest:
Greensboro Code of Ordinances, City Charter
.
.
.
Why didn't the City Attorney address this?

Why didn't the City Attorney address
North Carolina General Statute § 138A-36
or 138A‑31,Use of public position for private gain?
.
.
.
Is a lawyer defending you supposed to tell the truth,
or the truth to win your case?

Who does the City Attorney work for?

If you think its the taxpaying public, you are incorrect.

Vilified thoughts?

Insults?

Some more degrading unconnected statements?

How much bigger a fool could David make of himself?

I apologize Ed
as the Islamic world says Israel should.

Spag

I think the City attorney's analysis of 160A-75 is wrong because it applies the "direct benefit" standard to define "own financial interest" even though 160A-75 does not have a "direct benefit" requirement. In short, under 160A-75 could apply to a direct or indirect benefit that is in the officials "own financial interest".

In fact, it makes more sense to read 160A-75 as being more similar to the City Code 4.131 which uses the term "a financial interest" and includes direct and indirect benefits.

Regardless, I do believe that the conclusion is correct that there is no conflict at present, but there could be if a lease is executed.

Hartzman

Either way, the city attorney should not be the "decider,"
as GWB would say.

Mick

Aunt Bea..... Call the Man.

George Hartzman

if an attorney representing 5 city council votes asks the sog for an opinion, but doesn't supply opposing views, what is the sog opinion worth?

Mick

Aunt Bea... call the man.

Andrew Brod

If the SOG opinion disagrees with Hartzman, then by definition it's not worth anything.

Mick

Did anyone call SoG for Abner yet?

Triadwatch

Who has a financial interest in dgi? Just askin.
Nobody knows?

Triadwatch

Read the ifyi
"If council member Hoffman or a business entity under her control were to sign a lease with dgi , it is possible that she could then receive an indirect benefit from a contract with dgi. In that case council member Hoffman should be excused from voting on contracts with dgi"
City attorney needs to change that from " it is possible" to " a conflict of interest has occurred "

Hartzman

"A member of the board or any other body exercising quasi judicial functions
...shall not participate in or vote on any quasi judicial matter
in a manner that would violate affected persons'
constitutional rights to an impartial decision maker.

Impermissible conflicts include, but are not limited to,
…associational relationship with an affected person,
or a financial interest in the outcome of the matter."

§ 160A 388.
.
.
Should Nancy be considered an "impartial decision maker"
if she has a "exchanged proposals" with DGI?

Has Nancy violated City of Greensboro residents
"constitutional rights to an impartial decision maker"
if she knew the money she voted to give DGI
may end up in her pocket?
.
.
.
The Mayor or any member of the City Council who has a financial interest,
direct or indirect, in any official act or action before the Council
...he/she shall publicly disclose on the record of the Council
the nature and extent of such interest,
including the full disclosure of all such material facts,
and shall withdraw from any consideration of the matter
pursuant to sec. 4.131 of the City Charter.

RESOLUTION TO DELINEATE AND CLARIFY ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES
OF THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE CITY OF GREENSBORO
.
.
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Where are "all material facts"?
.
.
.
"...no public servant...authorized to perform an official action requiring the exercise of discretion,
shall participate in an official action by the employing entity
if the public servant ...may incur a reasonably foreseeable financial benefit
...which financial benefit would impair the public servant's independence of judgment
or from which it could reasonably be inferred
that the financial benefit would influence the public servant's participation in the official action.

...A public servant shall take appropriate steps,
...to remove himself or herself to the extent necessary, to protect the public interest
...from any proceeding in which the public servant's impartiality
might reasonably be questioned due to the public servant's...financial relationship
with a participant in the proceeding."

§ 138A‑36. Public servant participation in official actions.
.
.
"may"

c —used to indicate possibility or probability
;

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/may
.
.
"...may incur a reasonably foreseeable financial benefit
...which financial benefit would impair the public servant's independence of judgment"

Could Nancy might have reasonably become concerned about her "proposal"
if she had voted against DGI's money,
leading DGI to chose not to do business with Mrs. Hoffman?

Do Greensboro's citizens not have "constitutional rights to an impartial decision maker"?

Hartzman

"...one of the biggest pitfalls of having the attorney report directly to the council.

Instead of one boss, [Rita Danish] now has nine who are sharply divided, both politically and ideologically.

...Who’d want to work for these people, under these conditions?

Greensboro Editorial Board
.
.
.
How much future income did Nancy stand to lose,
if DGI were to become upset if she had voted no
and why did the city manager only quote statues making the case for Nancy,
but none against?
.
.
.
"It turns out that that the ratified version of House Bill 150
which makes the city attorney report to the city council
also includes a little known provision.

...it gives the City Council potentially greater control over contracts
into which the city manager enters for certain services provided to the city."

Joe Guarino

Andrew Brod

Read the IFYI?

Okay...

"Even if DGI and Councilmember Hoffmann enter into a lease, she will still have no financial stake in DGI (receiving lease payments is not the same as having a financial stake)."

Triadwatch

As I said before assdrew who has a financial stake in dgi?

Andrew Brod

Lost in this kerfuffle is how little this matters. I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't be alert to (actual) conflicts of interest. When we identify them, by all means let's require the appropriate measures, such as recusal.

But in this particular case, Hartzman's jeremiad seems to assume that Hoffmann really, really wants to vote for DGI funding, that she benefits hugely from supporting DGI on the council, and implicitly that she might not support DGI otherwise.

Is this at all realistic? My sense is that if it's determined that there's a conflict of interest, Hoffmann will be happy to recuse herself from particular DGI-related votes. No skin off her nose. The ultimate effect? DGI funding would be approved 8-0 instead of 9-0.

There are undoubtedly issues we could imagine for which it's reasonable to go to the mat, to deny the correctness of a city attorney's opinion (or in Hartzman's case to question his professional ethics), and take the issue up the ladder to the SOG or the media or even to court. This isn't one of them.

Andrew Brod

Mind you, I think this has been a great discussion over multiple threads. It was sufficiently substantive that it led the city attorney to issue an opinion. It taught a number of us what is and isn't a conflict of interest. And it demonstrated that while Hartzman's sense of moral rectitude is highly developed, the same cannot be said about his sense of proportion and common decency.

Triadwatch

Listen assdrew we have a pattern in Greensboro where local politicians have serious conflicts in plenty of situations like trash, airplane rides, and richie rich roy.It is time to shine the sunlight on all of this and assdrew you can say it is no big deal but it is critical to have transparency in local government.

Hartzman

Jeremiad

"A jeremiad is a long literary work, usually in prose, but sometimes in verse,
in which the author bitterly laments the state of society and its morals
in a serious tone of sustained invective,
and always contains a prophecy of society's imminent downfall."
.
.
Great word.
.
.
"Invective (noun), ...is an abusive, reproachful or venomous language
used to express blame or censure;
also, a rude expression or discourse intended to offend or hurt.

Vituperation, or deeply-seated ill will, vitriol. Also: Invectivus, scolding."
.
.
I disagree with "invective"
.
.
"Hartzman's jeremiad seems to assume that Hoffmann
really, really wants to vote for DGI funding,
that she benefits hugely from supporting DGI on the council,
and implicitly that she might not support DGI otherwise.

Is this at all realistic?"

Andrew Brod
.
.
"A straw man, ...is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy
based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.

To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition
by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"),
and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position."

Straw Man
.
.
Andrew, you appear to have used a straw man argument.
.
.
"The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:

Person 1 has position X.

Person 2 disregards certain key points of X
and instead presents the superficially similar position Y.

The position Y is a distorted version of X and can be set up in several ways, including:

Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent's position.

Quoting an opponent's words out of context
— i.e. choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent's actual intentions

Oversimplifying an opponent's argument, then attacking this oversimplified version.

Person 2 attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.

This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious
because attacking a distorted version of a position
fails to constitute an attack on an actual position.
.
.
“Here’s the trick.

Take your opponent’s argument to a ridiculous extreme,
and then attack the extremists.

They are the hollow scarecrows you set up to knock down.”

William Safire
.
.
“People who consistently distort the truth,
…are in no position to lecture anyone about values.”

Richard Bruce Cheney
.
.
Andrew, you just used the same rhetorical tactic
as a war criminal.

Hartzman

Did Nancy Hoffman purchase a commercial property downtown?

If so or not, who else has what interests where downtown?

What is so nausiating is the lack of openess
as to who gets richer with the [GPAC]
depending on where is goes.

Posted by: Hartzman | Jul 14, 2012 at 11:20 AM
.
.
Spoke to Nancy Hoffman today.
.
.
.
"Have you had any communications with anyone at DGI
about leasing your space?"

George Hartzman
.
.
.
"No comment"

Nancy Hoffman

Posted by: Hartzman | Jul 15, 2012 at 07:39 PM

http://edcone.typepad.com/wordup/2012/07/the-holliday-plan.html

Hartzman

Should a taxpayer funded entity like DGI
have exchanged proposals with Nancy Hoffman, who votes to fund DGI
and who has been actively lobbied by DGI for more taxpayer funded projects
with money supplied by taxpayers?

Andrew Brod

"we have a pattern in Greensboro where local politicians have serious conflicts..."

I don't disagree. So when you find one of those, let us know.

As for this one, it ain't it. And if you don't see that, no one's ever going to listen to you when you find a real one.

sal leone

Come on guys lets stay away from the name calling, I got the jab on Andrew, by calling him Assdrew. We are all adults here and the damage is already done with Nancy H, because whoever runs against her will bring it up again. Nancy H will have a fight for Dist 4 coming soon.

Hartzman

"we have a pattern in Greensboro
where local politicians have serious conflicts..."

"I don't disagree. So when you find one of those, let us know.

As for this one, it ain't it."

Andrew Brod
.
.
Why?

I have presented what seems like a pretty good case,
is Andrew's case Nancy's attorney's?

I heard Dick Cheney's attorney say he isn't a war criminal,
so I guess he's not,
according to Andrew's logic.


Andrew Brod

If that's your understanding of my logic, then it's no wonder you've made such a mess of this.

Andrew Brod

Look, I'm completely in favor of holding our public officials accountable. But that implies knowing what's real and what isn't; what's important and what's trivial. Those are distinctions you can't seem to keep straight, and in my view that's unfortunate, because I want watchdogs like you out there patrolling the ethical streets.

Unfortunately, your approach to these issues is so bizarre that you're giving ethics watchdogs a bad name. I'd think you'd want to persuade people and get them on your side, but your approach seems to be to alienate as many people as possible. I'd think you'd want to make a difference rather than become irrelevant.

Hartzman

§ 14‑217.

(a) If any person holding office...shall receive, or consent to receive, directly or indirectly, anything of value or personal advantage, or the promise thereof, for performing or omitting to perform any official act, which lay within the scope of his official authority and was connected with the discharge of his official and legal duties, or with the express or implied understanding that his official action, or omission to act, is to be in any degree influenced thereby...
.
.
.
Chapter 138A.
State Government Ethics Act.
Article 1.
General Provisions.

(14c) Financial benefit. – A direct pecuniary gain or loss to the legislator, the public servant, or a person with which the legislator or public servant is associated, or a direct pecuniary loss to a business competitor of the legislator, the public servant, or a person with which the legislator or public servant is associated.
.
.
.
§ 14‑234. Public officers or employees benefiting from public contracts...

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

(f) A contract entered into in violation of this section is void.
.
.
.
If a sitting city council member
enters negotiations with a non-profit which receives taxpayer money
to lease a newly bought property, doesn't sign the lease yet,
then votes to give the non-profit money which would pay what may be the lease,
as the prior lease holder loses the business to a public official
is that OK?
.
.
.
If an entity recieving money from the City of Greensboro
enters negotiations and exchanges proposals with a public officer
who may vote to provide the entity with taxpayer funds,
is that OK?
.
.
.
Whom at DGI was involved in the negotiations?

Hartzman

I believe DGI's budget appropriations voted on by city council
are null and void.

Andrew Brod

And now for something completely different.

I'm kvelling over the announcement in the IFYI of Mattress Go Round's pilot program with the city of Greensboro to recycle old mattresses and box springs. As the memo says, "the pilot program is expected to reduce bulk collection, hauling, and disposal costs for the City. It also means less bulk waste in the landfill."

David Hoggard

Had to check my Yiddish guide to find that I am kvelling right along with you over that pilot program. What a great public/private endeavor that benefits both sectors.

(Someone needs to check if any Council member has ever purchased anything from Mattress Go Round. Knowing the warped views that some espouse, such a transaction would be clear evidence of "involvement" in the "deal")

sal leone

I had to look up the work, kvelling and found out the word means, proud. That what I like about Andrew, he makes me take the extra step to better myself and look up the word. There are good things happening in Greensboro and we have to look at that also. I say lets move on from the conflict issue and I will be the first to say sorry on here to Nancy H if I said anything to piss her off, not sure I did. The fact is that she was cleared and lets move on to issues that mean something.
I was thinking of Nancy V for Mayor. I think she has what it takes. The best part is that she pays her taxes and from the look on Facebook of her boys, a good mom.

Hartzman

"The fact is that she was cleared"

Sal Leone
.
.
I beleive Sal is correct.

Looks cleared to profit
in exchange for voting for a contract.

Seemingly cleared to profit from a loss to a business competitor.

Looks cleared to personaly take advantage by performing an official act.

Apparently cleared to profit
from what looks like an implied understanding.

Looks cleared to vote to transfer taxpayer money that may be personally recieved,
instead of what may be the prior property owner,
or another down the street who was not afforded the oppurtunity
to compete for the business.

Cleared by an attorney whose job is dependent upon 5 city council votes.

Cleared by an attorney
who didn't bother citing North Carolina's Government Ethics Act.

Cleared by a taxpayer funded attorney who's job it is to defend city council
over the best interests of those paying his salary.

Hartzman

Seems cleared to use influence to skip to the front of line
ahead of non connected business owners,
and take advantage of an "…associational relationship with an affected person,
or a financial interest in the outcome of the matter."

Looks cleared to violate Greensboro's taxpayers
"constitutional rights to an impartial decision maker."

Apparently cleared without the public seeing the "exchanged proposals,
without publicly disclosing anything on the record of the Council,
"including the full disclosure of all such material facts."

Cleared to "participate in an official action by the employing entity
if the public servant ...may incur a reasonably foreseeable financial benefit
...from which it could reasonably be inferred
that the financial benefit would influence the public servant's participation in the official action."

Cleared to not "...remove himself or herself to the extent necessary,
to protect the public interest...from any proceeding
in which the public servant's impartiality might reasonably be questioned
due to the public servant's...financial relationship with a participant in the proceeding."

Cleared to not have to disclose how much future income could have been lost,
if DGI didn't like a vote,
by a attorney who only quoted statues making the case,
but none against.

Looks cleared to transfer some taxpayer money to a few selected contractors
instead of what could have been other non-connected contractors
working for a property owner without any conflicts of interest
who deserve a level playing field, but didn't get one.

Hartzman

"Objecting to Alston and Hayes playing the race card
to obscure their economic interests in the project,
and to Alston using his political muscle to advance a project for which he gets paid,
is fair game."

"Alston knows he's playing in a different league now.

He sees beyond black and white, all the way to green..."

"I wonder if we've yet accounted for all the money that could be taken out
before the first guest checks in."

Ed Cone
.
.
.
"I’d fight, too.

By DHOGGARD | Published: JANUARY 24, 2010

"I’d do the same thing if I were Dennis Quaintance and Mike Weaver…. and then some.

If a bunch of influential people got together, with the assistance of government, and were looking to start a company that will be in direct competition with my niche-market...I’d be doing a lot more than just asking for the information that got the upstarts...to the brink of becoming my direct competitor.

At a minimum I’d be planning a march on the buildings that house the governments who are enabling the threat to my company’s future and the livelihood of all of the people who work for me.

Quaintance and Weaver’s inquiry...has ...everything to do with governmental accountability, project viability and fairness to the privately owned entrepreneurial entities that could very well lose a lot of business if this thing goes off as planned."

David Hoggard
.
.
.
"When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal."

Richard Nixon

Posted by: Abner Doon | Jan 24, 2010 at 09:13 PM

Hartzman

"speaking of conflicts of interest,
does anyone still care about possible ramifications of Alston's backroom efforts...
or is that just accepted as the way things work in Guilford County?"

Ed Cone

Jul 15, 2010 at 03:05 PM in Hotel bond fun! | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)
.
.
.
"why not ask what everyone involved is making out of this deal if thats the case?

why single Skip Alston out?"

Lede sentences of post:

When the dust settles on the downtown hotel deal,
how much cash will the principles put in their pockets?

Seems like a fair question,
given the request for public help in the form of a tax-free bond issue.

Posted by: Ed Cone | Jul 15, 2010 at 04:40 PM
.
.
.
Alston is the chair of the county commissioners,
he lobbied government bodies for the project,
he recused himself from the vote without saying why,
and he brokered the deal in question.

...It's obviously reasonable to ask what he made on a deal of this nature,
and it takes a particularly opaque pair of blinders for someone not to see that."

Posted by: Andrew Brod | Jul 15, 2010 at 05:21 PM
.
.
.
"I think just about everyone would like to know what everyone is making
in all large business deals in the city or county.

But not all of them are elected officials.

Posted by: Joe Killian | Jul 15, 2010 at 05:06 PM
.
.
.
"...the project requires public approval,
makes use of public funds that could be applied elsewhere,
and calls for locating a publicly-funded parking garage
at a location convenient to the hotel but not much else."

The public has an interest in this project.

Posted by: Ed Cone | Feb 05, 2010 at 12:37 PM

David Hoggard

Whistling past the Tar Baby.

Hartzman

"In weighing the positives and negatives ...I thought to myself,
“Self, wouldn’t it be great if I could get a leg up from the City of Greensboro
like HondaJet just did?

To prove my heart is in the right place, I'll be the guinea pig.

I'll request a reasonable and practical package of economic incentives.

I figure that since incentives are good for homegrown RF Micro, then why not me?

If Honda can receive an incentive to leap from car assembly to building jet airplanes,
then my leap from windows to doors is an incentive no-brainer.

My incentive package request will entail a series of practical city tax and fee reductions
over the next three years.

Reduce by half the property taxes due on my office real estate.

Please know that my office is located in my home.

...Provide my company with its annually renewable, city issued, business license at no charge.

Provide three parking spaces in a nearby city-owned lot.

My workshop is located in Greensboro's central business district
so parking is sparse and comes at a premium.

Furnish free garbage collection, water and sewer for three years to my workshop
and to my home office.

So...I can do for Greensboro what Dell is doing for the Winston-Salem area,
only on a much smaller scale.

Economic incentives have become a necessary evil
as Greensboro competes with other cities for new jobs."

David Hoggard
3/14/07
.
.
.
Roch101

Posted March 15, 2007 at 11:50 am

"Unless you create an incentives pool that will be doled out to every business in Greensboro,
you are going to create a patently unfair system
where one guy’s restoration business gets a taxpayer subsidized advantage over another
or one guy’s painting company gets a competitive advantage
thanks to the largess of city government.

Smoothing the way for businesses of all types is a proper role for local government,
giving one business an advantage over another through preferential treatment is not.

Sure, it sounds good if one is thinking she might be the beneficiary,
but imagine the not-to-hard-to-envision scenario
where it is one’s competitor who gets the hand out,
and suddenly the problems are drawn into focus."

Roch Smith Jr.

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