Danger ahead

I made Monday’s deadline for today’s debut as a columnist for the N&R with time to spare (actually 35 minutes).  My editor only had me do one re-write mainly due to the fact that the initial effort was a little over my 600 word limit (actually 85 words over). 

One thing I can tell you is that writing for a non-hyperlinked, printed publication is a whole different kettle of fish than writing on a blog.  The print genre of opinion writing requires a little more ‘splainin than I am used to offering. 

Anyway, in my mind there was little question about what I wanted to say in my first column…

By all indications, Greensboro is on an unavoidable collision course with some pretty nasty stuff.  Even though we commoners are able to see hints of what is coming through various leaks and starts, and all we can really do is wait, along with our City Council, for the full extent of the damage to be realized. 

What we know so far about the David Wray matter is bad enough, but one city councilman recently warned, “It’s just the tip of the iceberg…” 

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“It’s just the tip of the iceberg�, is how Councilman Tom Phillips described it to me the other day.  He was, of course, characterizing what we know so far about the David Wray matter via overt and covert snippets emanating from City Hall.  He and others are using words like ‘ongoing’ and ‘months-long’ when speaking of all the internal and external investigations enveloping our local government.

I believe Phillips knows of what he speaks and I further believe we common citizens are only getting glimpses of the top few centimeters of this iceberg’s tip.  Sadly, we only get to see that when some “leaker� flirts with violating state privacy laws or when acting-Chief Bellamy feels compelled to notify unknowing participants of illicit tape recordings of their conversations.  Yes Tom, I agree… by all indications, this iceberg is huge.

What with such a hulking chunk of ice lurking just below the surface right in front of them, our City Council should not be so busy rearranging deck chairs on the City’s ship.  By agreeing to lie detector tests that they will probably never take and filing notarized affidavits in efforts to absolve them of “leaker� status, our council only seems keen on doing something… anything… while they wait, along with the rest of us, until we inevitably crash into the full weight of all of this investigating.

Lord help us when the collision finally occurs.

On the one hand we have our City Manager, City Attorney and most of our City Council doing everything they can to batten down the hatches perhaps in order to keep us steerage dwellers from getting too knowledgeable and panicky.  On the other, we have  – by all appearances – a member of our city council who probably thought the public’s right to know trumped all else.  Good for her if she did it for the right reasons.

Even though Dianne Bellamy-Small has vehemently denied that she provided her copy of the initial RMA report to the News & Record, she has been considerably more taciturn when given the opportunity, via affidavit or public statement, to deny she handed over the contents of the report to anyone.  The Pulpit Forum, a forthright assembly of mainly Black ministers made it clear they had connections to the truth when they stated in a March 1st press release: “…Information leaks to the public and comes to us from many sources…�.  I guess they weren’t kidding.

In any case, we should all be grateful for the leak because it has allowed us to at least gauge the approximate size of the iceberg we are inexorably steaming toward.  There is something to be said for disaster preparedness, and it appears we should all be scrambling for our respective flotation devices and locating the nearest life boat… post haste. 

The looming iceberg promises to not only poke huge holes in local race relations (again), but a quick look through not-so-powerful binoculars will reveal it is teaming with barristers.

As it currently stands, the true beneficiaries of all of the leaking, flowing and plugging of the information pipeline at City Hall are legions of attorneys representing everyone involved.  Since everybody and their brother has lawyered-up and hunkered down for the impending collision, billable hour potentials increase with every fresh Wray-related investigation and revelation. 

And who do you suppose is going to end up writing the check to repair the damage we all know is coming?  That’d be you and me…

Even though we probably won’t be able to avoid a devastating impact with this particular mountain of ice, we can, and should, already be thinking about life after the disaster we are collectively heading toward.  Because survive we will.

In the future, those of us in steerage need to be very careful in choosing those we allow to have access to the wheelhouse.  At the very least we need helmsmen who know where the icebergs are, what they look like, and how to navigate around them.

But for now, brace yourselves folks, we are going to hit this one… hard.

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6 Comments

  1. Wayne R.
    Posted April 26, 2006 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Well, David, I’m guessing you’re going to find that you will have more visibility in your new role. I’ll be interested to see how many Letters to the Editor your columns generate. Try not to hold back so much next time! ..and thanks for being willing to submit to whatever abuse comes down the pike.

    BTW: It’s spelled “teeming” in that context. That, and “lead” instead of “led” seems to escape spellcheck and editors all the time.

  2. Posted April 26, 2006 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Great column, David. Congratulations!

  3. BEN HOLDER
    Posted April 27, 2006 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    “What we know so far about the about Wray matter is bad enough” please Mr. Hoggard enlighten me. So far all I have seen is smoke not hard core without a doubt evidence. What do we KNOW? Did I miss something?

  4. Posted April 27, 2006 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Ben,

    Apparently you did miss a thing or two. Have you read the report the N&R did on the RMA investigation.

    Are you saying that this is much ado about nothing? Or are you playing devil’s advocate?

  5. BEN HOLDER
    Posted April 28, 2006 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    David,

    I was hoping I could get you to list what is known. I haven’t missed anything. I just would rather see things for myself as oppsoed to having the great N&R and the trust worthy city explain them to me. Apparently you missed a thing or two on my blog. I just really would like to know what is known. What is fact? Then ask yourself questions. Who said it was fact? how do they know? Once you start doing that, more and more questions about the investigation may pop into your mind. I certainly am not going to take Linda and mitch’s word and trust all was fair. They have not earned that from me. I have seen them in similar situations and honor, truth, and justice are not always the mission. many times I have seen the truth covered up. Do you remember asbestos? i cannot just take their word without proof. I hope you won’t either. When looking into how the RMA investigation was done, questions should be asked. i am not sticking up for anything but the whole story. i have not seen that yet. Nothing has been proven to me accept the actions that David Wray and his squad of dirty cops allegedly took are very similar to the ones being used against them. it may be the tip of an ice berg. I just am not certain the public is not being pushed to it so they wont see an even bigger one. RMA was here for about three weeks. My intnse experiences with GSO leaders and cops over the past 5 years help me see how this investigation could easily be predetermined. if you feel you KNOW soemthing based off of the N&R reports from a leaked document (Thnx Dianne! I knew you did it days after the crime was committed.) I just wanted you to let me know the facts. Once you start listing them just ask yourself some questions.

  6. jjaggers
    Posted May 7, 2006 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    mr. garland blair is smiling, i’m sure

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