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« Golden geese | Main | Just one of the people »

May 29, 2012

Comments

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SAL LEONE

I will have to say that Nancy Vaughan is someone you can trust, so I trust her vote.

Billy Jones

Funny thing about the tix tax is that it makes sure the size of the PAC will be between 2800 and 4000 seats even though no study has been done to determine what size it should be. What if the study determines that 2000 or 5000 seats are optimal-- what then? Also of note: at 2700 seats, the Durham Performing Arts Center has seats that do not have a clear view of the stage. I went there and saw for myself.

As usual, Greensboro's leaders are putting the cart before the horse.

David Hoggard

Billy,

I wouldn't spend money planning and designing a new house unless I had some prospective way to pay for it. Doubt you would either. I'd say, on that count, that the horse is in the proper position.

Re: the DPAC's bad seats. How's about we have the foresight to ask the designers not to place any seats without a clear view of the stage? That was a very weak objection on your part.

You are against the thing. You couldn't me more clear on that point. But you are sounding like Don Moore when it comes to anything having to do with the Coliseum... he is the loyal opposition irrespective of the particulars.

Billy Jones

David, I'm not against a PAC-- I'm against a downtown or coliseum PAC. But let's be honest, I think a tix tax is a good way to pay for any venue-- it just makes scene. Every publicly owned venue should have a tix tax not only to pay for building it but to pay to keep it up. Had there been a tix tax passed in 1926, War Memorial Stadium might not be in tatters today. That said, nothing about the process of building the GPAC has been open, honest or even sanely managed. The poll was a push poll. The community forums I attended were designed to quiet dissenting voices. Ross stopped using the #gpac2012 twitter tag when she learned others could use it to get into the PAC twitter feed. Even Bill Knight was denied the chance to speak at the first forum. It was only after I heard him tell Ross that he would go to the Rhino Times that she agreed to allow him a future date. (I was 3' away.) The project is being pushed through without doing the studies, Greensboro non profits are breaking the law to influence public opinion and the entire process is being forced on the city.

Put the PAC here or here or any of a dozen locations and I'll vote yes. But because it has now become apparent that Greensboro voters will not approve bonds the Council has decided to seek COPs and a tix tax.

Weak objection? Hardly when you consider how poorly this city is managed. You should be thanking me for having the foresight to bring it up in the hopes that someone in charge might happen to read this thread.

You see, David, for me it's about all of Greensboro's neighborhoods and not just downtown but for the people in charge it's only about a few well connected developers who own property downtown. It's called hedging their bets that they've already made. If that were not true then they would at least be willing to publicly discuss alternative locations but the fact that they won't even discuss other locations proves me right.

The fun part will be seeing which downtown developers get left out after fighting so hard to make it happen. You can bet no matter where it goes there are going to be some really pissed off high rollers in Greensboro.

ron

You would think opponents would be in favor of a tax that only people who use the facility pay. Even if somehow the rest of it is privately financed they'd still be against it. We have people in this city that's against any kind of progress. They are satisfied with Greensboro being Mayberry. They've had control over Greensboro for decades which is why we lag behind Charlotte and Raleigh. The tide is changing and they are losing grip on the city.

Roch

Um, if you are going to blame the old guard for our "lagging behind" Charlotte and Raleigh, an honest assessment will acknowledge that the people in control now are, largely, the same who have been for decades and that the people who wanted different things, like renovating the War Memorial Stadium, have, in fact, not had control or even much influence. What you call people losing their grip, is actually many of the same people once again asserting their influence.

So, while I don't necessarily buy into Billy's view that you are paid shill, your arguments do certainly seem to be, well, often a little blind to reality.

tk solomon

Mayberry was never a nationally recognized racial tension preserve.

Mayberry was never a nationally recognized sexual preference tension preserve.

The tide is changing, but not the way some landgrabbers think it is. The decisions that politicos make cause tax dollars to flow away from those without strong political connections. The dollars are stuffed into the pockets of those with the connections. Regulations then begin to favor the ones with the stuffed pockets and burden the ones without. Since cities can not create digits or print money, the money must come from the unconnected families, businesses and individuals who are working two jobs if they are lucky enough to have two. To call this progress gets on some people's last nerve. They get the idea that they must crawl in the sticky sack with the unsavory crowd already wallowing there if they are to avoid negative sanctions. Anyone who fails to recognize this shift in mood is losing their grip.

Ron

So why has Greensboro not been as aggressive as Charlotte and Raleigh when it comes to growth and attracting jobs? We have all the infrastructure in place and have for years, yet for some reason its always been a challenge for Greensboro. Its because of the folks who don't want to see Greensboro turn in to Charlotte or Atlanta. There has been this resistance to change for years. Its the "can't" mentality here. We had people opposed to a proposed privately financed downtown hotel.

Billy Jones

Ron wrote: "You would think opponents would be in favor of a tax that only people who use the facility pay. Even if somehow the rest of it is privately financed they'd still be against it. We have people in this city that's against any kind of progress. They are satisfied with Greensboro being Mayberry. They've had control over Greensboro for decades which is why we lag behind Charlotte and Raleigh. The tide is changing and they are losing grip on the city."

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The people who are lobbying for the PAC are among the same groups that have run Greensboro for the last 50 years.

I haven't seen anyone come out against the tix tax. I wrote, "I think a tix tax is a good way to pay for any venue-- it just makes scene. Every publicly owned venue should have a tix tax not only to pay for building it but to pay to keep it up. Had there been a tix tax passed in 1926, War Memorial Stadium might not be in tatters today. That said, nothing about the process of building the GPAC has been open, honest or even sanely managed. The poll was a push poll."

No one that I've seen in any of a dozen threads has come out against a tix tax. Why is telling the truth so hard for you, Ron? I guess ethics wasn't one of the courses you took in college?

People are angry and against the project because its backers see the need to hire shills like you and invest in illegal propaganda to sway public opinion. Some truth in government would go a long ways towards getting people behind ideas. 50 plus years of lies makes it really hard for us to believe anything the City tries to sell us.

As for lagging behind: Greensboro has been smaller than Charlotte for over 100 years and will probably always be that way. Greensboro will probably always "lag behind" New York City as well. Apples to oranges both.

Raleigh: Long time residents remember when Greensboro was a much bigger city than Raleigh. We also remember when state tax dollars were used to build Raleigh to what it is today. If you're going to shill then you need to know the history. If you want Greensboro to become larger than Raleigh then you're going to need to bribe some folks in the state house and senate 'cause Greensboro ain't got that kind of cash.

And to go so far as to disparage, Mayberry... How dare you insult one of the most popular and beloved towns in the entire world? Andy, Aunt Bee and Opie have millions of fans who will hate you should they find out.

Does you boss know you're new at being a shill? Did you lie on your job application too?

And please, step in it again as soon as you get it washed off so I can smear you in it again.

Ron

p.s. Until we start doing some really exciting and progressive things here, the young people will continue to move away. We've made some progress but now its time to take things to a new level. Greensboro needs to stop being a glass half empty kind of city and stop living in a bubble. That means city leaders are going to have to make some tough choices that may not be popular among many. The "saving the taxpayers money" excuse has been used for years to hold this city back. Sometimes cities have to invest in things besides the basics.

Billy Jones

Ron wrote: "We had people opposed to a proposed privately financed downtown hotel."

Another lie. No one opposed a privately financed downtown hotel but we did oppose publicly funded parking garages that were to be built for the hotel. And hidden infrastructure costs. In all of Greensboro the law requires that businesses provide ample parking and infrastructure at their own expense but in downtown the taxpayers are expected to pay to build parking garages on behalf of businesses. Only in downtown will the city issue a business license without ample parking. It's that sort of double standard that cripples Greensboro-- not some hatred of all things downtown. We're sick and tired of the lies.

Billy Jones

Ron wrote, "Sometimes cities have to invest in things besides the basics."

True, but first you must cover the basics and to date Greensboro has never covered the basics.

Have you been drinking again?

Andrew Brod

The fact that such "double standards" cripple Greensboro is really part of the question Ron raises. My sense, and I could be wrong, is that other cities are more willing to tolerate such arrangements. That we don't is either part of our problem or part of our charm, depending on how one wants to look at things.

Ron

Billy,

Raleigh has also been the state capitol for over a hundred years so if it was about state tax dollars, Greensboro should have never been larger than Raleigh in the first place. Yes Charlotte has always been larger than Greensboro but why do you think the gap in growth and population is widening? Why are we growing slower?

I think we do a pretty good job investing in the basics. We talk about saving the taxpayers money but if this city doesn't grow and attract new industry, our taxes will go up to try and pay for these basic services.

As for the hotel, what I have been reading on these blogs is that people were against it just because they didn't think we needed another downtown hotel. A parking deck is going to be built regardless. They have been taking about that before the hotel project even came up. DGI has been wanting a couple of decks for a while now.

Yes I think we need to invest in all of Greensboro but what do all growing prosperous cities have in common? They all have vibrant downtowns and they don't build things like convention centers, performing arts centers, ect in suburban locations. Even when it comes to companies moving to Greensboro. They move their offices or headquarters to suburban office parks instead of moving downtown. That's one reasons Greensboro has one of the smallest skylines for a city it's size. Now I understand why companies choose the suburbs over downtown. Its cheaper and less challenging. But our leaders need to start being proactive about attracting companies to the center-city. That means we may have to do things like build parking decks and think outside the box and figure out ways to provide incentives for companies to move downtown. Our leaders are not being aggressive enough to make some of these things happen.

Roch

"So why has Greensboro not been as aggressive as Charlotte and Raleigh when it comes to growth and attracting jobs?" -- Ron

Ron, aggressive?

Thirteen years ago or so, the three legs of the area's economy started to crumble simultaneously. There was a fast and deep decline in tobacco, furniture and textile jobs. Greensboro responded pretty aggressively, whether correctly or not.

Efforts undertaken in the name of economic development included:

- Building the Randleman Dam
- Lobbying for and winning the FedEx overnight regional air cargo sorting hub and the related federally subsidized third runway.
- Construction of portions of an outer loop highway
- Building a new baseball park.
- Various Coliseum expansions and improvements.
- Expansion of water and sewer to the airport area and other industrial parks in outlying areas.
- Construction of Center City park and other recreational/beautification projects (Aquatics Center, greenway).
- Various and numerous tax incentives to encourage efforts ranging from renovation of the old Wachovia building downtown (now Centerpoint) to new Amex data centers and a lot of stuff in between.

Now, the results of these efforts may rightly be seen as a mixed bag. The Randleman Dam was inspired by a manufacturing economy at a time when Cone Mills was the biggest water customer. In a decade, our water usage has actually declined significantly and manufactures are not demanding more. Still, if some sort of water intensive American manufacturing ever comes around, we'll be well positioned.

The FedEx hub has yet to create one new net job (despite promises of up to 1,500 by now). Still, if demand for cargo shipments on the eastern seaboard increases, the promise of the hub may come to fruition.

The tenants of the industrial parks come and go, sometimes taking huge chunks of jobs with them when they leave (Amex call center), sometimes steadily, if quietly, growing (New Breed, Honda Jet).

Our institutions of higher learning continue to grow and expand (A&T's School of Nano Tech).

It could reasonably be argued that we put our hopes and efforts into some things that haven't panned out very well (at least not yet) but I really don't think it can be said we haven't been aggressive. To the extent you think the "naysayers" have held us back, I challenge you to name a project which "they" halted.

Ron, the fact is that the controlling establishment has a long record of getting their way and your notion that negative naybobs have held us back just doesn't jibe with the record. If you are dissatisfied with where Greensboro is, your blame is misplaced.

Billy Jones

Ron wrote: "Raleigh has also been the state capitol for over a hundred years so if it was about state tax dollars, Greensboro should have never been larger than Raleigh in the first place. Yes Charlotte has always been larger than Greensboro but why do you think the gap in growth and population is widening? Why are we growing slower?"

The fact that Raleigh didn't start growing until the 1970s is because the State legislature didn't invest in building cities until the 1970s. Case in point: The state DOT recommended Greensboro get a bypass in the 1960s when Raleigh wasn't even on the DOT's radar but Raleigh now has a State and Federally funded bypass and Greensboro is still waiting for a bypass to be finished.

Ron goes on: "I think we do a pretty good job investing in the basics. We talk about saving the taxpayers money but if this city doesn't grow and attract new industry, our taxes will go up to try and pay for these basic services."

According to FBI stats, Greensboro is a very dangerous city. Want to get companies to come to Greensboro? Make Greensboro the safest city in America. The Greensboro Fire Department is using worn out air supply equipment and yet the City Council won't approve replacing the equipment. Will the Mayor's downtown Million Dollar condo have to burn before GSO upgrades the fire dept? If that's doing a good job of taking care of basics...

Ron continues his BS. "As for the hotel, what I have been reading on these blogs is that people were against it just because they didn't think we needed another downtown hotel. A parking deck is going to be built regardless. They have been taking about that before the hotel project even came up. DGI has been wanting a couple of decks for a while now."

DGI wants a lot of things and is willing to break laws to get them.

Ron's incessant ramblings continue, "Yes I think we need to invest in all of Greensboro but what do all growing prosperous cities have in common? They all have vibrant downtowns and they don't build things like convention centers, performing arts centers, ect in suburban locations."

Detroit has 20 plus performing arts centers and non of them were built with public money. Corporations build these things after they come-- it's the American way. Are you against the American way, Ron?


Ron keeps at it: "Even when it comes to companies moving to Greensboro. They move their offices or headquarters to suburban office parks instead of moving downtown. That's one reasons Greensboro has one of the smallest skylines for a city it's size. Now I understand why companies choose the suburbs over downtown. Its cheaper and less challenging. But our leaders need to start being proactive about attracting companies to the center-city. That means we may have to do things like build parking decks and think outside the box and figure out ways to provide incentives for companies to move downtown. Our leaders are not being aggressive enough to make some of these things happen."

Might I remind you that our Mayor owns a very large commercial reality company-- the largest in the state, I think-- that leads these companies to suburban locations over downtown. Might I also remind you that Roy Carroll and other well known "downtown developers" first made their fortunes building the suburbs and that they are still seeking millions upon millions in taxpayer dollars to continue building Greensboro's urban sprawl.

Greensboro had the chance to grow its skyline 25 years ago but instead of building more skyscrapers, Greensboro's downtown developers chose to hang on to the old buildings they bought. Now they want you and I to pay for a skyline they saw no need to build 25 years ago.

Put the blame where it lies.

You really didn't study hard in your urban planning classes, did you, Ron? Or was it history you failed?

Roch

"The fact that such "double standards" cripple Greensboro is really part of the question Ron raises." -- Andy

Yeah, but I'd like to know if he's talking about anything specific, because I think he's peddling a myth. Can you think of any project, Andy, that might have altered our economic course, or even nudged it in a better direction, that did not happen because of "naysayers" beating it back? I offered a list above of the establishment winning, almost all with public/private partnership. What have the naysayers won, exactly?

Ron

Roch, Greensboro should have seen the writing on the wall before the decline of the textile and tobacco industries. Charlotte and Raleigh had foresight.

Like I stated Greensboro has made progress because of many of the things you mentioned. That's what I meant about the tide changing in another post. But you have to look at why many companies chose Charlotte or Raleigh over Greensboro. Its a quality of life issue. Its about all the amenities those cities have to offer. That's where facilities like performing arts centers come into play. Do you think a fortune 500 company would want to move to a town that can't even build a performing arts center? What kind of message does that sends to companies? We have to make a choice. Do we want Greensboro to become an urban, cosmopolitan destination or do we want Greensboro to continue to have this suburban small town feel?

Ron

P.S When I made the aggressive comment, I meant our leaders aren't being aggressive enough in helping companies overcome the challenges of relocating downtown.

Roch

Now I am totally confused, Ron. Are we Mayberry because of the success of naysayers keeping us down or have we made progress because the old guard did the right things? You are saying both.

Ed Cone

Ron's economic overview is too simplistic, ignoring some key factors (e.g., the location of state govt., RTP, and a Federal Reserve Bank) in the rise of Raleigh and Charlotte, and Roch is correct that we've done a lot of big-picture things to improve the economic climate here.

But GSO has suffered from the reflexive negativity known as the Greensboro Disease. It may not have stopped big things from happening, but it does dampen enthusiasm and make it harder to build coalitions across the community.

Roch

I agree that it's difficult to build coalitions here, I disagree that the preponderance of the fault lies with the "naysayers" which is really just the way the establishment attempts to avoid engaging with people who have real questions about projects, such as environmental impacts, tax-payer obligations, conflicts of interest, opportunity costs, etc.


In fact, I would say that the real responsibility for the difficulty in building coalitions lies precisely with the established players who all too often try to circumvent coalition building by dismissing disagreement as negativity or alternately, and just as bad, undertake disingenuous or dishonest efforts to appear cooperative. Those are not the way to build coalitions and not the fault of people who don't simply acquiesce. (See the faked poll of support for the PAC as the latest convenient example.)

Brian

I would add the Downtown Greenway and Gateway Gardens to Roch's list of public-private partnerships.

Ed, that Disease you speak of is not unique to Greensboro - I have seen it rise in every place I have lived and worked. What I see is a tremendous mistrust between Greensboro's "leaders" and the citizens of the City. There are calls for transparency, and when efforts at transparency are launched (i.e., PAC), it is seen as not enough, or as disingenuous, or as part of a grand conspiracy, rather than a good first step.

Naysayers will always be louder and more vocal than those who are pleased, and this is the case in Greensboro. Leaders are right to listen to the naysayers, but their job is to "lead" which often means seeking out additional opinions other than those expressed in public forums, opinion pages, and blogs.

Ron

Roch big things have happened over the past several years. I'm not saying that it hasn't. But the naysayers do make things difficult. Sometimes so much so that it discourages private investment. Look at how we had to fight just to build a privately financed downtown ballpark. I have a friend who lives in another state who asked what the hell is wrong with us when I told him people were fighting a privately built ballpark. Look at whats happening with Trader Joe's at Friendly Shopping Center. The naysayers appear to be having their way. My guess is that they ran Trader Joe's off. We can argue until the cows come home about whether or not that the corner of Hobbs and Friendly was an appropriate site.

Ed you bring up some good points about Charlotte and Raleigh but understand its not all about the banks in Charlotte. Yes the financial sector has played a major role in the direction of Charlotte but its more complex than that. The mindset of leaders in Charlotte is different from leaders here. State government has played a big role in Raleigh but the credit really goes to the universities in the Triangle and the leaders in Raleigh who had a vision. I don't think there would be a RTP without the presence of Duke, UNC and NC State even with state money available. Greensboro just recently figured out what it has to do and progress is being made because of those efforts. That's what I meant about the tide changing.

Roch

Allow me to add another thought for consideration, something that I think Michele Forrest was getting at recently on this topic: an appreciation of and desire to preserve the everyday things that may not get a lot of attention but that matter — and matter a lot to the people who live here. Bountiful beautiful parks, pubs where everybody knows your name, trees, birds, lack of artery-clogging traffic, great close-by small businesses from veterinarians to ice cream parlors and many, many things that are not newsworthy or sexy that have a great impact on our day-to-day peace of mind and happiness.

I get the "Mayberry" reference, I've used it myself, but the comparisons to Raleigh and Charlotte are unimportant and a distraction. I wish we could develop a Greensboro-centric measure of ourselves. Are the people who live here learning, staying healthy, growing their wealth? Are we safe? Do our aspirations find fertile ground? Those are the things that should matter to us. Not whether we are growing slower than Raleigh or have smaller penises buildings than Charlotte.

Roch

"The naysayers appear to be having their way." -- Ron

That's a perfect example of what I'm talking about. What Ron calls naysayers, others call people trying to protect the sanctity of their homes and neighborhoods by enforcing the existing zoning to keep commercial encroachment at bay (zoning that was developed, by the way, by a participatory process). I, for one, find that interest legitimate and good for Greensboro. Putting those people down as naysayers is selfish and uncooperative and fosters resentment.

Ron

I think the Mayberry reference is directed more to the mentality of Greensboro in general. There is nothing wrong with having small businesses and green parks everywhere. I think that's a great thing and I think you'll find that some of the nation's largest cities have some of the green spaces. But you just proved my point Roch. There are people that don't want Greensboro to get "too big". Maybe its because of the negative consequences of becoming a larger city. But what we need to do is learn from the mistakes those cities have made. We shouldn't rail against growth. and there is nothing negative about focusing on downtown development and having great amenities such as a performing arts center.

Ed Cone

I've said for years that we should try to be the best Greensboro we can be,
and that our relative lack of growth while other cities have boomed could be an asset. We have, still, the chance to be a clean, green, livable city, and one that leverages those things for economic benefit. To my mind, a bustling downtown (perhaps including a well-planned PAC) fits comfortably into this vision, while pushing commercial development further down leafy Friendly Ave does not.

Comparisons to other NC and regional cities have some value, but are not definitive. If all we're trying to do is get traffic jams and chain emporia, forget it.

Roch

"There are people that don't want Greensboro to get 'too big'." -- Ron

We agree, but that is not the same thing as "railing against growth," which seems to be another of your over-simplifications that probably really doesn't have any attachment to the real world and would result in another "what I meant to say..." if you thought about it.

"there is nothing negative about focusing on downtown development and having great amenities such as a performing arts center."

Well, that's lobbying/cheerleading, which seems to be your purpose here, but that's not a thoughtful consideration which would acknowledge that there are some negatives. The negatives may be worth the trad-off in benefits, but it's silly to say they don't exist — and this is where Greensboro gets bogged down as it has ever since I've been paying attention: people adopt a position and avoid any real analysis by resorting to superlatives, exaggeration, name-calling and binary thinking.

Roch

If you are able to close that i tag for me Ed, that would be great. Mmmmkay?

Spag

"The "saving the taxpayers money" excuse has been used for years to hold this city back."

I know. Stupid meddling taxpayers.

Hey Ron, why don't you get the rich people who write your checks to pay for all these projects that we need to move forward?

Meanwhile, the City has to cut salaries, services, and layoff staff because the money from those stupid taxpayers is no longer enough. But instead of restoring basic services, let's take that stupid taxpayer money and build more toys for rich people- so we can be like all of those other "big cities" that are plagued by debt. After all, there's nothing like watching a play downtown, because you know - it's downtown. Poor Raleigh and Charlotte, Springsteen skipped over them this year to play a sold out house in Mayberry.

If Greensboro doesn't offer what you want, you can always move.

Median age in Raleigh - 31. Median age Durham - 32. Median age in Winston-Salem - 34.6. Median age in Charlotte - 32.7. Median age in Atlanta - 32.9. Median age in Greensboro - 33. Median age in New York City - 34. Median age in Asheville - 39.2. Median age in Wilmington - 34.9.

The idea that "young people" (who eventually get old) are fleeing Greensboro because there aren't enough taxpayer funded toys is not rooted in reality.

"Greensboro just recently figured out what it has to do and progress is being made because of those efforts."

In other words, after I cited things that were done in other cities unique to their circumstances, I conclude that what Greensboro needs (in order to....?) is COPY them! We can then pit our corporate welfare crony capitalists against theirs to see which city can provide the lowest tax package/free ride to lure businesses here. We can then turn around and raise the tax rate on those "naysayers" to make up for it because obviously lowering the tax rate on everyone would be too fair and not enough to pay for the toys. "Look mom, no taxes! Let's go to the downtown theater that the pissant naysayers paid for! Watch out for that pothole!"

Folks, there is a unity of mindset that is spreading across America. It is a revolt against crony-capitalism and tax and spend big government liberalism. Both have wrecked the budgets of cities and states and have little to show for it. The middle class is tired of getting screwed by those above and below them. Yes, the tide has changed.

Ron

Agreed Ed, I don't think anyone wants Greensboro to be an exact clone of Charlotte and Raleigh. We do have an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of those cities. But we have to figure out what we want Greensboro to look like over the next 20 or 30 years. I still think Greensboro can become a major urban destination while being unique.

There are people who are opposed to the performing arts center for different reasons. Not everyone who opposes it is anti-growth. Many are opposed to it because its going to cost the taxpayers. Some are opposed to it because of its planned location and others are opposed to it because they don't believe we have had a transparent process. I do think the task force and city leaders are trying to address concerns about how much taxpayer will have to pay. Unless Mr Issac Cain steps up, taxpayers are going to have to pay something. Building it at the coliseum should be a dead issue now. The coliseum location won't get the kind of support it needs to get the arts community and private donors on board. The only reason Diane Bellamy Small wants it at the coliseum is because its in her district and she's close to Matt Brown. Lets not forget renovating war memorial auditorium failed twice. The process may not be perfect but I think its been an open process.

Mad Dog

I have to agree with Roch. I resent being called a naysayer if I am trying to protect my rights as a property owner and citizen. Ron may want a McDonald's in his backyard, but I sure as hell do not.

As to private support for community projects, I say bring it on. No one should be opposed if it's saving the taxpayers any money. When it starts costing the taxpayers, and I question the costs, conditions, etc., then I guess Ron thinks I am a naysayer when I consider myself a concerned citizen.

Bottom line, I have to live within my budget and I expect the city & the county to do likewise. If my wishlist is too long, then something is going to have to wait until next year. There's only so much water in the well. Let's not drain it completely dry with one huge bucket.

MD

Spag

"I still think Greensboro can become a major urban destination while being unique."

For what purpose should Greensboro strive to become that ? Bigger for the sake of being bigger ?

Ron

Spag cronyism rears it's head in both parties (We had 8 years of cronyism with the Bush Administration) so do not make this a democrat vs republican issue. There are republicans and democrats in support of the performing arts center and there are republicans and democrats who are opposed to it.

Ron

"For what purpose should Greensboro strive to become that ? Bigger for the sake of being bigger?"

No But larger cities typically have all the great amenities that attract jobs and people. Look we either move forward or we move backward.

Spag

I didn't make this a Democrat v. Republican issue. In fact, I did the opposite and pointed out agreement on an issue.

The unemployment rate in Charlotte with all of its amenities is not that different from Greensboro. So we attract more jobs and more people to fill those jobs so we can....?

Forward or backward? Population in Greensboro has been increasing steadily since 1990. Is that moving forward or backward and how does having more people equate to progress or a better quality of life?

If all of the cities were "larger cities" then what would make them any different and would that mean that "smaller cities" serve no purpose ? Should the goal of every city be simply to get bigger ? Again I must ask, for what purpose ?

Maybe there should be 64 NFL teams instead of 32. Or maybe 128. Try keeping up with that. Oakland has the Raiders and San Francisco has the 49'ers, maybe Winston-Salem and Greensboro should both have NFL teams, too. Someday, maybe Asheboro can get into the game. Everyone can then go to near empty stadiums to pull for the home team. After all, who can afford to go every weekend?

Why not copy Las Vegas? If everyone did, it would be just another city.

Ron

Spag that is exactly the point I was trying to make. There are those in Greensboro who don't want Greensboro to become a larger city. When I say forward, I'm not just referring to population. As a community we should move forward with a vision for Greensboro. We've made progress but I still think that vision is a bit murky.

Not all cities are going grow to the size of Charlotte or Atlanta. Mt Airy, NC will still look the same 50 years from. The difference is that Greensboro is a city of 270,000 people and in order to maintain a lower tax rate, we must grow. Providing city services for a population of 270,000 is not cheap. When people and companies move to Greensboro, that expands the tax base especially with high income earners who pay more in property tax. If we don't grow or grow too slow, eventually our taxes are going to go up.

Spag

The more people you have, the more services they use, the more taxes needed to pay for them.
We have a problem with revenues now. Spending tax money on non-essentials such as the PTC seems wildly blind to the realities on the street. Let's face it, you work for someone who stands to profit from yet another expenditure of public funds.

David Hoggard

So THERE, Spag... take that... you... you partisan patootie.

If you don't support GPAC, your taxes are going to go through the roof. Got it?

He had me at "forward".

(Who is this Ron guy, anyway?)

Ed Cone

Greensboro long ago established itself as a city that offers many cultural amenities.

For quite some time now our primary venue for certain performing arts has needed replacement.

So we're talking here about preserving a meaningful element of our local character, not just chasing the next big-city dream.

I believe downtown is the best location for our next-generation performing arts center, and I think a ticket tax is a reasonable approach to funding some portion of the costs.

Billy Jones

David Hoggard asked, "(Who is this Ron guy, anyway?)"

Just some shill hired to talk it up.

Ron

"The more people you have, the more services they use, the more taxes needed to pay for them."

That's why cities focus on attracting high paying jobs. Big earners typically have nicer homes so they pay more in property tax.

Ron

Billy no body is paying me to exercise my freedom of speech but I will say many people across the community knows who I am.

Andrew Brod

"The more people you have, the more services they use, the more taxes needed to pay for them."

True, but also, the more people there are to pay those taxes. There's a supply side as well as a demand side.

Spag

Or we could have a ticket tax on existing venues to pay for essential services or close budget shortfalls. It's simply another opportunity cost.

We can build a PAC so that all of those people who are out of work can go watch events there and pay the ticket tax with the money they don't have. Of course we also have to assume that the ticket tax will pay for the venue and all of the additional personnel costs. If it doesn't, then guess who will ?

This is what kills me- the economy is in the tank and we're discussing THIS ?

Here's an idea- instead of raising taxes to pay for this project and attract all of that business that Ron speaks of, why not lower taxes for everyone to attract business as well as make life more affordable for everyone ?

Ron

Have you ever heard of the saying you have to spend money to make money? The PAC would be much more than a venue for the performing arts. Its an investment in our community much like the coliseum and Aquatic Center. It is an economic generator that would help lead to greater things not only for downtown but our city.

I think everyone in Greensboro would prefer that PAC gets built by the private sector including myself. But this is part of the national debate in politics. Politicians say government should back out of the way and let the private sector make things happen. Well what do you do when the private sector doesn't step up to the plate? In Greensboro's case this would be a public-private partnership.

Spag

"Well what do you do when the private sector doesn't step up to the plate?"

Make sure that nobody in the private sector directly profits. How about that ?

Also, I'm not fundamentally opposed to the idea. I am fundamentally opposed to it in the middle of a severe financial crisis where public expenditures need to be focused on essential services. The need to do this RIGHT NOW escapes me and all of the coffer-filling side effects envisioned seem far-fetched. This is a luxury item.

Ron

severe financial crisis? Haven't you noticed the economy is on the road to recovery? Consumer confidence has gone up. This is the perfect time to take on a project like this. We were in a deep recession so its going to take some time. But we are on the right track.

Ron

BTW this ticket tax proposal is dead. The General Assembly won't consider it this year. But it seems there is another way to city can tax ticket holders

http://www.news-record.com/content/2012/05/30/article/general_assembly_wont_consider_greensboro_ticket_tax_bill_this_year

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