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Jan 25, 2010

Comments

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cheripickr

nice work, EC

Tim

Yes and this mornings article reveals that Weaver is a liar.

Tim

Weaver said he had NO plans for a hotel and we are finding out otherwise

cheripickr

Who's we and who are you?

glenwoodobserver

Tim - For someone who has such amazing insight into this project, you reveal very few sources for your allegations...I didn't see any information in this morning's paper that would lead to the conclusion Mike Weaver is a liar, so if you have information that that is true, you ought to substantiate that.

Tim

he lied because he said he had NO hotel plans for downtown. According to city councilmembers thats just not the case. Weaver was planning a 45-room boutique hotel on his downtown property

glenwoodobserver

Tim - Read the full portion of the N&R article:

Alston said he had been told by Greensboro City Council members — he did not say which ones — that Quaintance-Weaver wanted to build a 45-room boutique hotel on property the Weaver Foundation owns at the corner of North Church Street and Friendly Avenue.

In 2006, the foundation started by Weaver and his family bought the property from Duke Energy for $1 million and earmarked it for future community development.

“That property is promised,” Weaver said. “I’m flabbergasted.”

ALSTON says Weaver has plans, not the City. Note that Weaver implies he has other plans for that property - one of which might be the UNCG Pharmacy School.

Tim

First of all it was confirmed through other sources that Weaver was planning a hotel. It was mentioned on this blog before Skip Alston brought it up. Since people want to talk about transparency, I say lets look into the city records and see what Weaver was up to ;)

glenwoodobserver

Again, Tim, you substantiate nothing. What and who are your sources? If you want transparency for Weaver (not required unless he submitted plans to the city), why don't you be transparent and cite your sources...until then, your constant whining about people raising legitimate questions about this hotel have no credit.

Tim

you just dont want to believe the facts that Weaver was planning a hotel its nothing more than a case of sour grapes. If its shown that Weaver was planning a hotel, there goes his credibility.

glenwoodobserver

Tim -
Apparently you have not facts and no sources, so I'll go back to ignoring your posts like everybody else does.

Brandon Burgess

At this point, I could care less about what Weaver is planning. I'm more concerned with the allegations of racism surrounding a public records request. How about if I asked for the details? No conflict of interest there. Right? No reason not to provide them to me or any other voter who probably would've had no interest in all of this if it weren't for Hayes crying wolf and Skip acting like he answers to no one.

Ed Cone

Weaver and Quaintance have a self-evident interest in the local hotel business, and a stated history of interest in the downtown market.

Alston and Hayes have financial and personal interests in the proposed project.

This is all established knowledge, and it is unsurprising to find interested parties taking visible positions in the public discussion.

The public discussion has been confused and needlessly opaque.

Anyone who does not want to clarify the public understanding of the bond-approval process, please state your reasons.

DeSean Alston

Is it possible, that Weaver and Co. as Hotel Developers MAY have an ulterior motive in requesting this information. They have land downtown and are in the hotel business, and admitted that at one time or another, they have looked into building a hotel downtown. I think so. Is it racism at the root of it? I don't know that answer.

Roch101

"Is it possible, that Weaver and Co. as Hotel Developers MAY have an ulterior motive in requesting this information."

Just as it is possible that Alston and Hayes have ulterior motives in obfuscating a full public understanding of their involvement and the process to this point.

One need not sympathize with either party's motives to favor government transparency.

David Hoggard

Even if that is so, DeSean, (and I'm unclear at this point), might the proper ascribed motivation simply be greed?

Why must it always be racism when there are a preponderance of blacks on one side of an issue and a preponderance of whites on the other.

Account Deleted

Mr. Alston: The law requires that governments turn over public information upon request. It does not matter who makes the request.

The smoke screen is not working.

The public demands accountability of its money.

If I lived in Guilford County I would be raising charges of ethics violations against Skip Alston and Ms. Hayes as we speak.

Are some Greensboro politicians so deaf as to not now what is going on in Raleigh at the moment?

Brandon Burgess

"Is it racism at the root of it? I don't know that answer."

--According to those pushing for this project, racism and sexism are at the root of it. You seem like an alright guy, so why are you fighting us when it's Deena Hayes who needs to be corrected?

We all understand the business interests at stake for both parties. It's rough out there. But to allege racism? Do you not understand how serious of a charge that is?

Jordan Green

My humble and, I hope, gentle contribution to this discussion: Weaver and Quaintance DO have a vested interest in the outcome of the proposed hotel deal because of their business interests. They also have a complete right to use the state's public records laws to learn about their competitors' use of government to advance their business interests. Nothing wrong with that. But transparency and access to public records work to the benefit of all of us. I think Roch has it right: "One need not sympathize with either party's motives to favor government transparency."

Tim

Ok so lets say the bond records are made public, which they will be. Then what? Will people wanting to see those records be satisfied then?

I think this whole thing has turned into a side show. The race stuff is over the top and I think people in the community have strayed from the real issue. Is the hotel viable and will Kaplan's group come up with a plan that will make this project more viable. Thats the real issue here. Not race or conspiracy theories that the government is trying to hide things.

Roch101

Does anybody know, what happens if the hotel project is approved for the bonds but the issuance fails (private investors decline to buy the bonds)? Can Greensboro reallocate the bonds or are they gone forever?

One might be inclined to let the hotel group prove itself to the market provided Greensboro gets to try something else if the market deems it unfeasible.

Joe Guarino

With all due respect, I think this issue is about more than transparency, and it is about more than the viability of the project. Transparency is very good, but it is not an end unto itself.

The big question is whether public officials are behaving in an ethical manner. As Jeff suggests, there is a standard of ethics to which our elected officials should be held. When that standard has been violated, they need to be held accountable.

If Skip Alston and Deena Hayes have financial interests in this project, as Ed suggests, then that is a major ethical issue; and it needs to be addressed. There is no reason to pull punches, or to suggest that transparency is the only objective. The objective is to have elected officials who do not possess glaring conflicts of interest; and who do not use their political power to enrich themselves. That is a reasonable expectation for citizens to have.

Spag

If a downtown hotel is good for Kaplan and Chisholm, then it's good for Weaver. Tim has argued that the hotel is a great idea- but apparently not a Weaver hotel. So let's establish that as proven by the record. Which brings us again to the question I have asked twice but that Tim has refused to answer:

How much are you getting paid to lobby here and who is paying you?

Further, I would advise Skip Alston and any other government official who still thinks it's a good idea to profit off of matters before the body they represent to Google search the terms "honest services" and "18 U.S.C. §1346" . See e.g., "Ruffin Poole", et al.

The Department of Justice is really starting to crack down on officials who use their positions for personal gain . Although it is likely that the Supreme Court will strike down the statute, it will be replaced with something even more concrete. Why? Because citizens are tired of politicians who line their pockets and those of their friends with taxpayer dollars or make deals that the average citizen can't obtain. See e.g. "Massachusetts vote", "angry independents", etc.

glenwoodobserver

Roch - I don't think the timeline allows for reallocation of the bond funds, but not sure on that. Nevertheless, it should raise concerns for everyone about the process used to raise these three projects to the top of the list and what opportunities for other projects might be lost because one of the projects put forth (the hotel) was not proven to be financial viable by the proponents BEFORE it was submitted.

Roch101

Of course. Transparency is not an end to itself. It is for the purpose of evaluating the competency and ethics of our governments' involvement in the processes that got us here.

Ryan Shell

Wasn't the alleged Weaver built hotel pre-Proximity?

Tim

Its not unusual for city and county leaders to benefit from projects financially. We see this all the time during the council meetings when a member doesnt vote because of conflict of interests. Robbie Perkins has done that many times. Nothing unusual about that and for the record, Skip Alston did not vote to approve the bonds. He recognized it would be a conflict of interest so I dont know why this whole thing is about Skip Alston. Its just one of the reasons people are crying racism. By making this about Skip Alston you are adding fuel to the fire in regards to claims of racism. People in this community need to get back on topic and thats the viability of this project.

Bubba

Tim continues to purposely not get it.

Hoggard's right.It's a waste of time.

Let's turn our focus away from this poster and concentrate on finding the extent of the lack of good faith that has brought us to this point. Furthermore, let's find out what it takes to stop the entire process until we can completely analyze the facts and make the proper decision.

Spag

Not going to answer the question, are you Tim?

Tim

oh so you guys want to continue to make this about Skip Alston and things that have nothing to do with the viability of the project. Now I question your motives.

Tim

Someone who isnt taking sides in this matter would agree that the extreme views on both side is pretty rediculous. Supporters claiming racism and non-supporters claiming government conspiracy.

David Hoggard

And once again... Bubba and I agree on something. There is hope for us all.

Tim knows what he knows and that is all he will ever know irrespective of the facts or circumstances. Been here before and trying to save you all some frustration.

And Spag, I'm confident that Mr. Jones is not on anyone's payroll. It's just his smoldering fire. Stop fanning.

cheripickr

Simple question, Tim. Has nothing to do with Skip Alston (unless he's the one paying you).

Account Deleted

Anyone who wants to file an ethics complaint against Alston or Hayes need only send a letter here or here.

Joe Guarino

As Sam Spagnola has indicated, this is not just about elected officials using their political power to enrich themselves. It is also about public officials using their power to enrich their cronies.

The current city council was brand new on December 15 when the infamous vote was taken. The project had already been working its way through the system prior to that date. There were a number of persons in key positions with the city that might have been in a position to move it along.

And so, I think it is reasonable ask whether the following persons, before December 15, played any role in moving this proposal on behalf of Mr. Alston and/or Ms. Hayes: Yvonne Johnson, Goldie Wells, Robbie Perkins, Andy Scott, Rashad Young or Bob Morgan. I think it would be useful to know whether any of these people played a role in this matter.

And Tim, none of us are defending any conflicts Robbie Perkins may have had in the past. To the extent those may exist, he needs to be held accountable also. Some of us have discussed those types of issues quite a bit.

Tim

Joe then the question is why single out Skip Alston? If this has beening going on for decades. Its perfectly legal as long as the person who is benefiting doesnt't take part in the vote. Sound like to me people are grasping for straws and are trying to find reasons to kill the hotel project.

RecycleBill

Timmy can't help himself, he's fallen in the well!

Tim

Trust me. This "anger mob" making this an issue about Skip Alston and Hayes is only adding fuel to the fire of racist claims.

Spag

Fourth time, still no answer to a simple question from Tim.

Tim

im ignoring comments from all the 10 year olds posting here.

Joe Guarino

Tim, you have it wrong. We have discussed public officials other than Skip Alston, white and black, here and elsewhere in the blogosphere. The fact that an act might theoretically be legal (even though Sam Spagnola would argue that point) does not make it ethical.

Andrew

One good thing that could come from all of this is full finacial disclure of our elected officials. Tim, it is one thing if an issue comes before an elected board and they have to excuse themselves, it is another issue when they bring it to the board, push it through the board, and then pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is a sad day when we look at that as business as usual.

Ed Cone

Why the focus on Alston and Hayes?

Because their interests in the project are plain, and because they are public figures who are speaking out on the issue.

Same reason we are discussing Weaver and Quaintance.

When people say "don't ask that, don't look there," it's often a good idea to ask that and look there.

Tim

Hayes is on the school board. She is good friends with Chrisholm. Even though I think the idea a racism is rediculous, she has a right to speak her mind and say what she wants. We dont have to agree with her message but its a free country. As long as she in not involved in any kind of vote on this deal. People are forgetting this hotel project is not Skip Alston's project and he didnt vote to pass the bonds for it. So Skip can say what he wants as well. All Skip did was point ot that Weaver had plans for a downtown hotel and thats true. Nothing unethical about that. Bottom line this project is being proposed by Urban Hotel Group and stakeholders at the Elm Street Center.

Joe Guarino

Amazing.

cheripickr

I know little about this issue, but I know something historic when I see it, a perhaps unique occasion to stop and commemorate that the Greensboro blogosphere, on this particular day, achieved the hitherto-unimaginable common ground that we have all claimed to have futily sought at one time or another.

Andrew

Maybe this mess will help bring some real ethics reform to our elected officials. It is time for city council and county commisioners to be more open about the financials. They should have full disclosure of their finances. They should also have to disclose fully any money they receive on any issue that is voted on by either the city or county.

Kim

Damn CP, I'm getting a little teary eyed.

Jordan Green

I do agree with Tim that Skip handled this matter properly by abstaining from the vote, and that Deena's role as an elected official on the school board has no bearing on this matter. Both should be upfront about what they have to gain personally from the project as they advocate for it publicly. I'm (half) cheering Tim's obstinacy and willingness to stand up for an unpopular cause.

Andrew

He didn't abstain - he walked out when they voted. The other night at a city council meeting, Nancy Vaughn had to abstain from a vote. She explained why she was abstaining and the council voted on her abstaining. She kept it above board and did it the correct way. Did Skip do that?

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