Train Wreck

Update: The N&R has audio of the meeting here.

I am surprised that the gallery wasn’t full during last night’s County Commissioner meeting.  I mean, come on, how many times in your life do you know, days in advance, exactly where to be sitting in order to witness a guaranteed train wreck? 

Well I couldn’t resist, so I took a seat at the press table and waited for our “leaders” to reconvene following their closed session.  When the door to the backroom, which used to be smoke-filled from burning tobacco in by-gone days, opened… a different kind of smoke billowed out and enveloped the dais: Ugly, petrid, black and white smoke… the likes of which Guilford County simply can’t continue to breath because it is going to kill us.

While it is going to take me a few days to fully appreciate the impact of what I witnessed last night, I can predict – with great confidence – that eleven people …people we elected no less… did everything they could to erase any measure of race relation progress that has been made in Guilford County over the past twenty years.

And I’m condemning both sides of the racial isles for doing so because our white commissioners and our black commissioners exhibited a palpaple hatred for each other the likes of which made me cringe in my seat.  The likes of which this community doesn’t deserve and can ill-afford.

Guilford County’s racial train certainly wrecked last night, in front of God and everybody, and I don’t have a clue as to how we are going to completely clear the tracks so that we can cross them together again.


More from people who were there: Nate Degraff, Allen Johnson. 

Guarino watched it on TV… “Appalling.  A veritable bloodbath.  As bad as, or worse than, anything I had ever seen at political or governmental meetings I attended in New York City 25 years ago.”

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  1. Posted June 30, 2006 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    From what I’m reading, it looks like the three that are entrenched in this is Davis, Alston and Coleman. What’s amusing is that while I stand middle-leaning left, those three truly represent what the Chairman’s rants say. It’s strange but from the little I pay attention to with County Commissioners, it just proves that there is no safe ground for ethics in politics.

    Which is why I’ll never side with any party. Corruption ensues no matter what the ideal is. Ick I say. I hope you got pictures of the finger pointing and Yow calling Davis an idiot. Maybe Guarino recorded it. Haven’t been in GSO all week.

  2. Posted June 30, 2006 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    It was distressing, embarrassing, and frustrating. I agree it was from ALL sides. What are we going to do about it? We didn’t do anything last election. I haven’t processed it all yet. I’m glad I wasn’t there. I don’t know if I’d have screamed at them, or broken down in tears.

    If I were McNeill, I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled to work for this bunch.

  3. Mr. Sun
    Posted June 30, 2006 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I think there is a danger here in failing to appreciate the fullness of the BCC’s failure. It’s not just the racial issue: this is at least as much about the delicate but crucial task of managing employees in an environment of media scrutiny and strict regulation. I hope the local media does not bite down 100% on the racial bone. The County Manager is the most important position that the BCC regulates. The Tax Director is not far behind. Add to that the Chief Wray case involving the City Council. Put aside the tinderbox nature of the racial issues. We have seen a series of near textbook examples of how not to manage these issue in these kinds of situations. At the very least, it’s worth surfacing and segregating the issue of the infantile need of local politicians to throw public tantrums. It’s clear that the childish ineptitude of Board members is a direct contributor to narrowing the field of potential candidates for the very same positions that these politians are accusing of mediocrity. A players want to work for A bosses. Idea: act like one.

  4. Mike K.
    Posted June 30, 2006 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    This is truly a sad state of affairs and I can’t imagine how this County will be able to recruit any serious candidates for the top admin job for awhile to come so we better hope David McNeill sticks around for a little bit. Some (if not all) of our Commissioners need a breather from the Board so they can just be regular people for awhile and watch meetings on tv or in the audience. But that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. I still don’t see any justification for all of this, other than a few childish people wanted a good excuse to call each other names. Shame on all of them!

  5. Posted June 30, 2006 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Just as in the Wray matter, we need the truth as to what happened. Not the sanitized, homogenized version of the truth served up for public consumption, but the real truth.

  6. Mr. Sun
    Posted June 30, 2006 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a truth: “The Machine” didn’t get it’s way.

  7. Posted June 30, 2006 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Three local Democrats broke ranks on a matter for which the machine had expressed its preference in a highly public way. That is very different than that to which we have grown accustomed. These three had already shown some independent tendencies, but it would be interesting to know why they did this.

  8. Mr. Sun
    Posted June 30, 2006 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Whatever the why, it weakens the characterization of the Simkins PAC as an all-powerful machine in complete control of regional governance.

  9. Posted June 30, 2006 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    At this point, it is apparently more powerful in the city than in the county.

  10. Posted July 1, 2006 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    It has pretty much always been more powerful in the city than in the county.

  11. Posted July 1, 2006 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    From what I can tell so far, it sounds like Kirk Perkins is the only one of the bunch who has the sense God gave a goose (Parks has been completely silent). He’s a respectable guy who has thrown no barbs and has stayed above the frey and, apparently, out of Skip’s gunsights. So that tells me that he is to be believed because no one has accused him of anything but trying to be the diplomat. Thank heavens.,

    Kirk says that Best is not up to the job. And no one has accused him of racism OR cronyism, so, in my opinion, he is the go-to-guy here. Although I’d be interested to hear why he voted Best a raise with a good evaluation a few months ago and then all of a sudden vote to fire him, I think he has done all he can to keep the peace in the face of all of this.

    Perkins says it was time for Best to go and provides good reasons for his decision. I believe him.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By The Editor's Log on July 1, 2006 at 10:27 am

    Commissioners and idiocy…

    Allen describes it as “one of the ugliest commissioners meetings in recent memory.” “Appalling,” says Guarino. “Train wreck,” says Hoggard. Me, I think it was must-see TV, more captivating than “Lost” and more violent than “24.” It’s not the…

  2. [...] David Hoggard’s take on local politics and life in general from Greensboro, NC « Train Wreck Race no reason for Best ouster July 5th 2006 @ 6:25 am Greensboro Politics, My N&R columns [...]