Rough Treatment

Last night I went to the City Council meeting to speak in support of the new demolition ordinance on behalf of my neighborhood.  This ordinance is needed as a tool for the inspections department to force landlords to either fix boarded up houses or face having them be demolished by the City.

The concern I raised was for any important historic structure that might face such demolition.  I urged the Council to amend the new ordinance with language that would set up a of review process for any structure that might have historic significance.

As the N&R reports this morning, there are safeguards in the new ordinance to protect structures that are in currently designated historic districts.  From the article:

But Hoggard said, “There are important historic structures that are not in historic districts.” He suggested that the council change the ordinance in such a way that a building’s historic value would be taken into account before it is ordered demolished.

My suggestion was unanimously ignored, or as reporter Mark Binker put it, “Council members did not respond to that point.”  Lip service and silence have never been effective historic preservation strategies.


Since I was already at the meeting I went ahead and signed up for “Speakers from the Floor”.  One of my other missions during this campaign has been to urge people to vote in favor of the school bond issue on November 4th.  There is nothing more important for our future economic development than having the best schools in North Carolina and this bond will help us down that path.  The McKinsey Report (PDF) is clear on this.

I went to the podium and said, “I urge everyone watching this to vote “yes” for the school bond issue on November 4th”, then started to explain why I thought it was important that the bond gets passed.  I was interupted mid-sentence by City Attorney Linda Miles who informed me and everyone listening that issue advocacy was not a proper use of “Speakers from the Floor”.  I apologized for my misunderstanding, said a few more things about the bond referendum, and sat down.

I distinctly remember dozens of “Speakers from the Floor” urging the TV audience to vote “for” and “against” the recent baseball stadium referendum.  I suppose that advocacy for or against building a baseball stadium is deemed more important to Greensboro than advocating for building new schools.

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