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« The other red meat | Main | Just doing his job »

Feb 28, 2013


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What a crybaby. He is resigning because he doesn't want to be involved with an organization "held hostage" by public funds? Fine, go fund your own private Idaho. Oh, yeah, and those minutes he thinks would shed light on the City's failures? Would love to see them - can't find them on DGI's website.


Indicative of what I assume is "head in the sand" syndrome, this Mr. Braswell. Blaming the city for a lack of vision is pathetic. City leaders can change every two years and trying to chase that vision without adhering to your own shows a lack of leadership at DGI and not the City. The reality is that citizens have been pointing out issues with DGI for the last several years with no real traction. Just two years ago, several members of DGI's board and staff came to the announcement of the formation of Downtown Alliance GSO where there was a sufficient "airing of grievances". Their major response? Feel free to join one of our advisory committees and help out rather than complain.

And, yes, I do think the City has an agenda - one that is intended to force changes in leadership and board composition at DGI. DGI has been unwilling to address the problems itself, so what recourse is left? It is not like it was a divided council that made the initial recommendation...it was unanimous. Take note and make changes rather than being so defensive.


Can you make a case for fault's with the City's performance in re: downtown? Yes, but it is sad to blame your own lack of performance and vision on someone else. It's called accountability.

Eric Robert

The defiant and arrogant tone of the letter reflects DGI 's "collaborative" nature and community building aptitude.


The letters seems more about trashing a DGI employee publicly. It shows a side of the Mayor I was surprised to see.

Chris Watkins

DGI is basically a marketing agency for the downtown, it has no authority to enforce code like boarded up buildings or law enforcement, those are the City's responsibility. DGI can only make suggestions and advise.

Speaking of suggestions, all I see from most of the pj press on this blog are complaints, no real suggestions or positive insight on how to improve downtown.

In regards to Brian's comment: "Just two years ago, several members of DGI's board and staff came to the announcement of the formation of Downtown Alliance GSO where there was a sufficient "airing of grievances". Their major response? Feel free to join one of our advisory committees and help out rather than complain."

Did any of you join an advisory committee to enact change or do you just sit around and throw rocks? I recall Eric Robert making his statement to City Council about DGI last month and Coucilmember Bellamy-Small asking Eric if he would like to be on the DGI Board and Eric said "NO."

Eric Robert

The answer actually was ...."as is...no ma'am". I am very much interested in being part of the upcoming solution and would happily participate in the re vamping of DGI and the various programs it currently manages on our behalf.

Brian Clarey

Co-option is the first act by entrenched power when facing a social movement.

sal leone

Not that i am defending Eric but I was at the meeting, small did ask him but he said no and if not mistaken said no because of the way DGI is structured. I do not blame Eric, they would not listen to him and try to keep him quiet. The current structure of DGI is to big and needs new blood, more minority membership.

I think once the elections are over, 2014 will see a return to the old ways of DGI.


Chris - An advisory committee member yields no power or influence and since I'm not a downtown property owner, I am not permitted to be on the board. I think that should be corrected. That is both a complaint and a suggestion.


Another point that Mr. Braswell may want to consider. DGI has a contract with the City. You are a service provider and the City is your customer. Ever heard of the phrase "the customer is always right"? I've managed many consulting projects over the years and I would never, never tell my client that they are wrong. My job was to provide solutions and guidance...whether they followed through on those was up to them.


He doesn't want to be involved with an organization "held hostage" by public funds?

How about those TARP funds for Carolina Bank?


Chris Watkins

I was expecting to read a whole laundry list of ideas and ways to fund them for a more diverse, hip and progressive downtown.

How about a zip line over Elm St? Fountains that dispense free craft beer? HulaHoop Mondays! Ocean front development (that one is coming), Festivus Poles for airing of grievances.

With NC ranking fifth highest in the nation for unemployment, maybe debtor's prisons or public stocks? I suspect the boys in Raleigh are already working on that one.

Where are the fresh ideas???



An honest, populist pursuit of a downtown performing arts center maybe? If not that, planters.

David Wharton

I think Mr. Braswell has a point. Did the city council give DGI "vision building" as part of its charge? In a fractious place like downtown Greensboro, that's a tall order, and one that requires commitment of serious resources.

In the last decade and a half, council has farmed out the vision thing to other groups (like Action Greensboro) and then sometimes supported them by encouraging them to spend their own money, or putting something on a bond (hope it passes -- fingers crossed!). I don't recall hearing a clearly articulated vision of downtown coming from any council member, apart from Mr. Perkins' recent support of a downtown PAC. But wanting a PAC is not a vision of downtown ... I'm hoping there's something more there than just Triangle me-too-ism.

I spent some time working with the first group that tried to develop downtown design guidelines -- there was some vision there, at least. Council's input on that project was to allow the process (and the vision) to be hijacked by a suburban real estate developer whose big downtown project all these years later is still half-empty (or half-full, if you're an optimist). Also, council has so far declined to appoint any members to the downtown design advisory committee, making the whole thing worse than useless. (A recent review by consultants recommended repealing the mess, and council didn't bother to do that, either.)

Other cities have handled things differently. Greenville's mayor, Knox White, has been driving a vision of downtown since 1995. A conservative Republican, he has not only succeeded in making Greenville the standard for mid-sized city turnarounds in the Southeast, he has kept taxes low. He has found creative ways to fund projects, and he is famously knowledgeable about the details of city planning, even down to nit-picking the width of "curb lawns" between the sidewalk and street. When Action Greensboro visited there some years ago, he gave city leaders a lot of very specific advice about what kinds of projects to pursue and how to site them, the importance of leveraging historic preservation, etc. Can't think of any of it that has been implemented here.

Chattanooga, another famously successful southeastern downtown, had a long-serving, visionary city planner in charge of downtown development, and he not only brought in a lot of great projects, political leaders let him exercise veto power over inappropriate development.

But there is no Knox White on our council, and council is not willing to empower some other authority to execute a coherent vision in the teeth of pressure from entrenched real estate interests.

Instead, they beat up on Ed Wolverton. It could be that there has been a lot of back-channel communications between the council and DGI that I don't know about, but to me it looks like grandstanding.


You think our city leaders and boards have problems? This town board even make our Guilford County Commissioners look good


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