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City staff didn't have any idea who else was available. Hoffmann, who generally says next to nothing, made the bizarre statement that it was none of Greensboro
's business how much ReCommunity was paid for the recycling collected from Greensboro
Wade insisted that the city put the contracts out for bids and in the end the taxpayers of Greensboro
saved several million dollars.
The Rhino Times had a part in causing the city to hire a second consultant to consider the bids on the garbage contract when we reported that the consultant hired by the city had a possible conflict of interest.
It was also discovered that Matheny worked for a company that was in direct competition with one of the companies bidding on the contract. But it was determined that was not a conflict of interest.
The recycling contract was also a huge mess, which at least pointed out to the City Council what a terrible contract the city had had before. Once again the staff was insistent that the city stay with the same contractor, but at least the city is now being paid for its recycling rather than paying someone to recycle the city's recyclables.
Perkins and his followers are supposed to be this savvy group that knows how to get things done, but they proved to be complete incompetents when they tried to get a ticket tax implemented to help pay for the music hall. The council asked soon-to-be-former Democratic state Sen. Don Vaughan, the husband of Councilmember Nancy Vaughan, to introduce the bill.
In the past this might have been a smart move, but evidently unbeknownst to the leadership on the Greensboro
City Council, the Republicans had won a majority of both the state House and state Senate. The bill didn't even get introduced because Republican state Rep. John Blust, who wasn't even informed about the bill, had some questions when he found out about it.
Later when the Greensboro
Chamber of Commerce wanted to get the Jordan Lake Rules implementation delayed, they called Blust and it was done in no time.
Note to the City Council: If you want to get something done in Raleigh, call a Republican. They now control everything.
This City Council hardly talked about the city budget, allowing the city staff to handle it. Since the City Council could write a check for any amount it wanted at any meeting, the councilmembers didn't complain. The fact that rather than the city having all that money in the bank, the taxpayers could have been given a tax cut never seemed to occur to anyone other than Wade.
Perkins is known for his short attention span, and when a topic like the budget comes up he will suggest that the councilmembers read the material and call staff if they have any questions.
Perkins and the Perkinettes moaned and wailed all during Mayor Bill Knight's administration that the people who came to meetings to speak were not being treated properly. However, when a whole group of people wanted to talk about the right to legally carry concealed weapons, Perkins didn't want to hear it and after making them wait hours refused to let them speak, saying they would have to come back at a future meeting.
Many came back and spoke, and the City Council still voted to make it illegal to carry concealed weapons in city parks, even for those with concealed carry permits.
Perkins and the Perkinettes also passed a resolution in favor of same-sex marriage. The state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman passed by an overwhelming margin in North Carolina in May.
This City Council has shown a knack for doing things in the most expensive and complicated manner possible. It came to the attention of the council that food trucks were not allowed in the Central Business District. Eventually the council fixed this by allowing food trucks to operate on private property in the Central Business District like the rest of the city.
But first the city staff came up with a way to spend a wasteful amount of taxpayer money for a pilot program this fall. It involved blocking a street every weekday and having a mid-level city employee on hand at lunch for two months. What it proved is that some people like food trucks. Something that should have taken a two-minute discussion and vote turned into a months' long process that hurt restaurants downtown because there was a designated food truck zone on a blocked-off city street that got free advertising on the city website.
When downtown residents and office workers asked for some relief from one particular rooftop bar that plays music really loud into the wee hours of the morning, rather than giving the people who live and work downtown some relief, this City Council voted to increase the legal decibel level. So now that Greensboro
has the ordinance with the loudest allowable noise level in the state, thus prompting the new city motto: "Greensboro
– First in Noise."
During 2012, the libel lawsuit filed against The Rhino Times and Jerry Bledsoe for the Cops in Black & White series in 2007 finally ended, but not without one more trip to court. The lawsuit had been thrown out of court on summary judgment, a decision that was then upheld by a unanimous decision of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. After the time period ended to appeal that decision, we assumed the case was over and retired Police Officer Julius Fulmore and Police Capt. Brian James, who had been ordered by the judge to pay court costs, would do so.
Their attorney challenged the court costs and our attorney, Seth Cohen of Smith, James, Rowlett & Cohen, had to take them back to court to have a judge set the exact amount of the court costs, which the judge did, and was what Cohen said it was. Cohen won every single time he appeared in court for this case, but despite his efforts it still dragged on for nearly five years.
Court costs, by the way, are the cost of going to court, taking depositions and making copies, but not attorney's fees. So we were reimbursed a pittance compared to what we spent.
Wade was serving two masters during most of the year: She was serving as the only conservative on the Greensboro
City Council and running for a seat in the state Senate – a race that she won handily.
In May, Wade won the Republican primary against Justin Conrad, and High Point City Councilmember Latimer Alexander.
But her race in November against Democrat Myra Slone did allow News & Record reporter Joe Killian to come up with one of his unique stories. According to Killian, in July a former News & Record reporter Eric Townsend was push polled by the Wade campaign. It was a bizarre story from the beginning, and Wade demanded that the State Board of Elections investigate. The state board didn't find much of anything, which is not surprising considering the source.
Wade's final battle for the year with Perkins was over her replacement on the City Council. Wade wanted Republican Tony Wilkins, a member of the Coliseum commission and, earlier in 2012, a candidate for Guilford County Commissioner. Perkins wanted anybody but Wilkins and tried to get support for several candidates. In the end, Bellamy-Small presented some caricatures that Wilkins had done of her and former Councilmember Goldie Wells on his blog site. She said they were racist. What she and Perkins didn't show anybody were the 15 other caricatures of white people, including several of Perkins that Wilkins had done....continued on page 3