Questions for the Mayor (and other Council Members)

by ryan shell on December 5, 2011

I sent newly elected mayor Robbie Perkins two interview questions a couple weeks ago. A response has not yet been received, but I’ve copied and pasted the questions below for you to review. These are questions that you might consider asking any council member the next time you sit down for a friendly chat.

1. I lived in Greensboro for more than 10 years, but finally moved in 2010 in an effort to further advance my career. Unfortunately this advancement wasn’t easily accomplished in Greensboro, and I should note that I was already working in Winston-Salem. The thought of moving home crosses my mind on a daily basis, but so does the lack of jobs for those not at the executive level, but also not entry level.

As the new mayor, what plans / initiatives do you have to help attract jobs in the city, or regionally, to help keep “young’ish” folks in the area, or to attract returning residents such as myself?

2. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but both Charlotte and Raleigh economic development organizations are working with/have worked with outside marketing firms to help create buzz around their respective location and to get in front of decision makers at businesses.

Would you support some sort of city funding that would allow the city to work with a non-Greensboro based agency to promote Greensboro and potentially attract new employers? Also, I purposefully noted “non-Greensboro” as history has shown that it’s typically helpful to allow a impartial 3rd party to assist.

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I’m late on this issue, but felt the need to highlight the new downtown teen curfew imposed by the City Council.

A recent News & Record article highlights the following,

“The city adopted a curfew Tuesday night prohibiting anyone younger than 18 from being downtown without an adult, as well as stronger ordinances against loitering.

The curfew is aimed at giving police another tool to make downtown safer by preventing teen victimization and criminal activity.

“What we have on the books is not working,” Mayor Bill Knight said. “Something is wrong and we have to fix it. This is a step forward.”

Councilman Zack Matheny, who spearheaded the changes, said they came as a result of discussions with people who own property in or frequent downtown over the past few years about downtown safety at night.”

Ok, let’s all stop and think about this for a moment, and be honest.

Downtown Greensboro has been thriving for some time now, and had no significant problems until ownership of the N Club (Which will now have a new name) changed hands.

I haven’t had time to track down the time period at which ownership changed hands and police records to cross reference, but I’m almost certain you’ll see an increase in crime after the new owners took over.

The club has made many downtown residents feel unsafe and is the anchor of the loitering issue the council has tried to tackle.

The quoted portion from the News & Record article highlights “teen victimization.” I get that, and just like everyone else, kids need to stay safe. BUT, so does everyone else.

If you are walking south on Elm as you leave Center City Park I’d really like you to be safe when walking past what was previously known as the N Club. Excuse me for not wanting you to get shot… even if you are 18 or over.

And, does this change mean the council, that has a Republican majority, has grown to be UN-business friendly?

Here’s the logic.

UNCG had 5,264 first-time freshmen in 2010. Of those 86 were 16 or 17-years old. You might immediately think, “That’s a small percentage,” but hold on one second. Those kids have friends… and when they go out to dinner, or to visit something like the Idiot Box (in downtown) they may like to go places where they can all go without facing some sort of police harassment. That being said, they opt to not patronize the downtown businesses.

Is that business friendly?

Also, does this mean that if I’ve aspired to open a teen club in downtown that I can’t do so without my customers being harassed upon exiting?

If crime is so bad in downtown Greensboro, why is the council not taking extensive action to make it safer… for everyone? Why has the previously mentioned club been able to remain open after causing so many safety issues? It’s worth noting that I believe said club owner is on the Board of Downtown Greensboro Inc… or one of their committees.

To be clear, the effort to create a safe downtown should be applauded, but creating rules to dance around a problem is not a fix.

PS – Didn’t I also read that the Greensboro Police Department advised against the implementation of a curfew?

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Tick Tock is Trudy’s Seat on the Block

November 2, 2010

A few more hours will pass and Trudy Wade will not only know if she’s entering state politics, but Greensboro will also find out if there will be a vacant council seat. If that hypothetical does come true, Tony Wilkins, a long time blogger and influencer within the local Republican party is heavily rumored to [...]

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The Big Announcement – did You see This?

May 6, 2010

I posted this on my personal site, but thought I should also post the info here as well. If you haven’t heard, I’m moving… to New York City. Details here. It’s been a true pleasure providing you information on this site for more than two years. Thank you for coming back time and time again. [...]

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Hope Project Discussion: Look at the Lists the Kids Made

April 28, 2010

[Note: I shared this information at my personal site a while back, but I feel as though this program is important and want to make sure it gets adequate exposure.] I previously told you about a speaking engagement that I was going to be doing for the Hope Project, a group that helps teens that [...]

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UPDATE: “What ifs” about Trudy Wade’s Council Seat

March 26, 2010

I recently followed up with the City about my questions regarding Trudy Wade’s council seat should she win the NC Senate District 28 race. As a reminder, this what I originally asked the folks in Public Affairs, “Hypothetically speaking, if Trudy Wins the State Senate seat, what is the process for finding her replacement mid-term? [...]

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Greensboro City Council to Cut Taxes? Infrastructure Concerns.

March 17, 2010

The Greensboro City Council is currently discussing the possibility of cutting taxes. The news and record has details here, but there’s one quote I want to point out that deals with infrastructure and reoccurring maintenance. “Some council members are concerned that tax cuts could put the city in a tough position to cover basic needs. [...]

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Operation Google (Greensboro) Mentioned in Business Week

March 15, 2010

From an article titled “Brownnosing for Google Broadband” in Business Week, “Municipalities are going well beyond formal applications to be part of the experiment. Greensboro, N.C., is preparing an “Operation Google” gift package for delivery to Google headquarters and has earmarked $50,000 for promoting its broadband effort. The mayor of Topeka renamed the city Google for [...]

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Greensboro Highlighted as Tournament Town

March 15, 2010

From AOL’s Fanhouse, “But right now Greensboro is setting up as a future “tournament towns.” It boasts strong community involvement with sporting events, huge turnouts, and a willingness to expand as the conference grows. “We talk about a ‘tournament town,’ well, we use that word liberally and throw it around and talk about ‘Southern hospitality’ [...]

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Bill Knight: Does He Still Live in Greensboro?

March 12, 2010

Of course I’m joking when I say that, but his absence from the Google Greensboro campaign is wide felt. No matter if he feels out of touch with technology, or simply prefers Bing, his leadership has been requested on multiple occasions and that call has gone unanswered. I believe I saw on Ed Cone’s site [...]

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