Meet with Mitch

Okay, I’m back… sorry ’bout that.

The meeting with city manager Mitch Johnson tomorrow is still on. 9:30a in the manager’s conference room.  I know I promised to discuss an agenda for the meeting but those time-suckers known as family, business and sleep stole it from you.

I’ve had several contacts since the original nominations closed trying to fill the six spots.  I didn’t open it up to the public because the meeting room is rather small and I really didn’t want to create a circus atmosphere.  As it stands right now, here is the line up: (Links to come)  Me, Bubba, JW (who will act as moderator), Ben, meblogin, Cone (50/50) and Roch (hopefully). (Reconsidering: Sam)

The agenda consists of two parts…

1.  What can the city do for us?  Several questions have arisen within the many in local blogosphere and elsewhere that have , as till now, unclear or incomplete answers.  I expect pointed questions to be directed to Mitch Johnson about the Willow Oaks contract, David Wray’s departure, the Bryant Electric project, the recent release of here-to-for confidential recordings and perhaps others.

2. What can we do for the city?  The city manager’s office needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into 2005 with regards to the free flow of communication.  While everyone understands that governments labor under legalities that preclude laying everything out at the drop of a hat, there has to be some kind of middle-Internet-ground between pushing everything out there and keeping everything under wraps until someone has to go through the tooth-pulling process known as ‘The Freedom of Information Act”.

Think Sandy Carmany here.

I have a high level of confidence that everyone is going into tomorrows meeting with a common goal: everything runs better when trust is established between the government and the governed.  That is best established through open lines of communication and I thank Mitch Johnson in advance for taking time in his crazy schedule (it is budgeting time) to meet with a rag-tag bunch of Greensboro bloggers who – at their heart – want the best, most transparent, city government possible.

Click on the following link for the agenda: More...

Mitch Johnson, Bloggers, Media, and Others
Roundtable Discussion
Friday, February 23, 2007
9:30 a.m.
Melvin Municipal Office Building
City Council Board Room
1. Opening and Introductions: (David Hoggard) 5 minutes.  Real names please.
2. Goals and Intentions of this meeting: (David Hoggard) 5 minutes
3. Policy and Law regarding communications – A brief overview: (City Staff) 10 minutes
4. Questions and Answers from bloggers to city staff: 30 minutes.
5. Suggestions and Discussions for Improved Communication: 30 minutes
a.      Current website improvements
b.      Blogs for City employees
c.      Newsletter
d.      Regularly scheduled press conferences.
6. Questions and Answers from observers: as time allows
7. Next step: as time allows

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  1. Posted February 22, 2007 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    You’ll be podcasting it, right?

  2. Fred Gregory
    Posted February 22, 2007 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Best , most transparent city government possible.? Somebody is on a fools errand.

    Reminds me of this from the Mel Brooks classic western :. Names have changed to scold the suck ups.

    Snipet from the transcript of ” Meet Mitch ”

    Mitch: ” Holy underware. Sheriff murdered . Innocent women and children blown to bits. We have got to protect our phony baloney jobs. We must do something about this immediately, immediately, immediately immediately

    N&R reporters and Mitch in unison: “Harrumph, Harrumph, Harrumph, Harrumph ! ”

    Mitch: ” I didn’t get a Harrumph out of that guy ”

    JW: ” Hoggard give Mitch a Harrumph ”

    Hoggard: ” Harrumph ”

    Mitch: ” You watch your ass “

  3. Posted February 23, 2007 at 1:07 am | Permalink


    I had one of our customers request a meeting mid morning Friday. ….the baby needs shoes….and all that stuff…

    My guess…hope…is that there will be full coverage with all sides reporting in later tomorrow. I am very interested in changes of opinion that may or may not happen.

    100% transparency would be my contribution. If our leaders made mistakes (we all do…), then I would hope that they will own up to them, learn from same and try harder.

    If some of our citizens that have been vocal hear good solid reasoning, then I am hopeful that they will moderate their opinions and become supporters.

  4. Posted February 23, 2007 at 5:55 am | Permalink



    I don’t have a recorder.  Margaret MB says she will be in attendance for the N&R.  I’ll call her and see if she can get one from the paper’s AV room.


    There are two kinds of people in this world. Your comment above identifies you as the other kind.

    While I certainly understand and practice my share of skepticism, I have little patience left in my life for those who’s very existence is defined by their negativity and unbridled disdain for those who are foregoing their Lazy Boys to actually get out in the community to try and accomplish something.

    Go screw yourself.


    Agreed on all points. Sorry you can’t make it.

  5. Fred Gregory
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Thank you David, for those kind words. You sound kinda like Daily Kos. Sorry your don’t appreciate my brand of cynical humor. It apparently touched on your mania for Mitch Nuf said . No I got one more thing. I pay my taxes and expect good government. You are deluded if you think this little PR show this morning is going to solve anything I did 33 years of public service back atcha, if that’s the level you want to deal at.

  6. Posted February 23, 2007 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Gregory, we thank you for your years of fine service and again ask you to please get a blog.

  7. Fred Gregory
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Excuse me make that 36 years . I forgot about the 3 plus years (1953-1956 ) in the US Navy, the last 14 assigned to the USMC as a Corpsman in Korea. ( out of my comfortable Lazy Boy ) Still in all you obviously consider your self a better person …the other kind ( as you call it ), the more community active, compassionate citizen . Gee if there were only more people like David Hoggard alhough you are a tad thin skinned and from time to time resort to suggestting that people who don’t share your views are guttersnipes while casting other inappropriate, or demeaning epithets at wretches like me.. I trust you now feel better having vented your spleen with that caustic and vulgar reamrk.

  8. Fred Gregory
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 2:11 pm | Permalink


    You no doubt sincere in your suggestion that I get a blog. Quite frankly after hanging around the local blogsphere here in Greensboro for 5 years I am finding it tiresome and have concluded that it accomplishes the cube root of zero. I have a friend, a very talented one, who has burned out. Even though I am only a commentor, this Wray and Mitch Johnson mess has me ready to give up on any hope of good governance and a police department free from the micro management of a few groups and individuals who can make the City Manager and a majority of the Council jump through hoops . City Hall and the Police Dept need fumigating . As long as the status quo remains there is good reason for despondence.

    Thank you for the comment , anyway.

  9. Posted February 24, 2007 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    No, Fred, I don’t feel better. I feel bad about saying it and I hope you will forgive me.

    Yours was just the latest in a long line of foreground and background correspondence calling me down for at least trying to open things up. But I suppose I was being naive for thinking it would be considered a step forward by everyone.

    I don’t take being likened to a “fool” very lightly as you might have noticed.

    As far as your public service goes, it is beyond reproach. But I really didn’t appreciate getting even humorously berated for plying my brand of same.

    Again, my apologies.

  10. Fred Gregory
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 10:28 pm | Permalink


    Your gracious apology is welcome and accepted. As I told Fec, I am despondent that much can be accomplished given the atmosphere of intransigence on both sides of le ‘affaire Wray, ( here I go again ) especially by the City Manager. Greensboro would not be torn apart by this turmoil today if the mater had been handled far differently. (I would be open to a “what if” discussion over spilt milk.) That having been said a monumental and daunting task faces the City Council. Fix it, cuz it is broken. That will require guts, courageous leadership and determination to ignore, at whatever cost, political indenture .

    Buona salute

  11. Posted February 25, 2007 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    David, I apologize for snarking on your deal. It’s obvious that if we as local bloggers are ever to exercise any real power, we’ve got to come together. I like to go nuts over at my place, but try act nice other places. Please don’t take my foolishness seriously, cause I don’t.

    I thought the meeting went great, alot was accomplished and there will never be another one. We can thank Ben for that and it was worth it.

  12. Posted February 25, 2007 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I will think much less of Mitch if he does not have meetings like this again. (some of the best 2 hours a month he can work…in my opinion)

    Ben is good for our city.

  13. Posted February 25, 2007 at 11:19 pm | Permalink


    Call Mitch and set up the next meeting or hear him say “no”.


  14. Posted February 26, 2007 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Planning to, meb.

4 Trackbacks

  1. By Hogg’s Blog » Delayed reaction on February 26, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    [...] Just in case you’re wondering why I haven’t yet posted anything about last Friday’s Mitch meet-up, I decided to hold my fire and retreat to the pages of the the N&R for my take. [...]

  2. [...] Representing viewpoints that ran the gamut from “Mitch is a liar� to “Mitch is a pretty decent guy under great stress�, the six of us in attendance each came away agreeing, mainly, on one thing:  Mitch Johnson needs a blog of his own. [...]

  3. [...] In a March 8th follow up email regarding the blogger/City Manager meeting, communication director, Pat Boswell, asked for “a list of things you would like to be made available.”  Nothing came to mind at the time, but I told her something would come up soon enough.  It took two days. [...]

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