The root of the problem

N&R reporter Margaret Banks on what most everyone around here seems to agree is a serious communication problem down at City Hall and describes a “culture of evasion”.

Representatives of public bodies, including those at Greensboro City Hall, sometimes look for an “out” when it comes to fulfilling public records requests.I find lack of cooperation by the people’s representatives as chilling as lying and manipulation.”

I spoke briefly with the city manager today and suggested it will take “bold measures” if he is to have any expectation of turning back the tide of negative public sentiment that this week’s events have wrought.  Although I really couldn’t explain any concrete suggestions as to what form such measures could take, addressing and correcting his staff’s “culture of evasion” would be a damn good place to start.

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  1. Posted February 10, 2008 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Dear David,

    I am very much NOT an expert on this issue, but what Margaret Banks says quoted above rings true to me. After taking great measure this week to help protect the reputation of someone whose reputation was unjustly smeared by bad reporting, I don’t want to do the same to Mitch in Johnson in my own heart. But his answer to this matter, the claim of not knowing which document was being requested, just just does not ring true to me. Many people have been crying out for release of information which has been kept under wraps for reasons that sound more and more hollow to me. There seems to have been an obstructionist approach all along. I just do not find it credible that if the city wanted to be cooperative that could not have cleared up any possible miscommunication problem (say regarding the “name” of the memo), that a call or two wouldn’t have cleared all that up in a morning. Right now (and not having read your last N&W article), it seems that I am being asked to buy into an explanation that seems beyond that which is credible. I will wait. But for me the burden of proof now stands with the city not the media.

  2. Old Casey
    Posted February 10, 2008 at 10:32 pm | Permalink


    It seems that you are in regular contact with Mitch Johnson these days. Are you his new mouthpiece and public relations man?

    What did Mitch tell you or give you to make you so fired-up for Mitch all of a sudden?

    Why doesn’t Mitch just have a press conference and clear the air, rather than having you be his mouthpiece? Sounds like bunker mentality has set-in at city hall.

  3. Spag
    Posted February 10, 2008 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Mitch lost the N&R, and David is all he has left.

  4. Ben Holder
    Posted February 10, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I seriously doubt he has David.

  5. Spag
    Posted February 10, 2008 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    At this point, I don’t think he does either, but give the guy credit for making a last effort.

  6. Posted February 11, 2008 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    So far nobody can answer this question. Do you know specifically who originally claimed the photo line up book was racially motivated?

    Question to Margaret Banks cc Line Up Book Accusations

  7. Posted February 11, 2008 at 6:28 am | Permalink


    I do not know the answer to your question either… Perhaps Johnson knows, give him a call, he has a phone and is quite accessible.

    If I were to do it for you, then I really would be a mouthpiece.

  8. Posted February 11, 2008 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    “I find lack of cooperation by the people’s representatives as chilling as lying and manipulation.â€?

    Perhaps politricksters need to be reminded that lying by omission is just a lie and nothing more.

  9. Old Casey
    Posted February 11, 2008 at 9:45 am | Permalink


    I think that the answer to your question can be found in the RMA Report, Page 26, Paragraphs 1 and 2. The suggestion that the black book was used in a manner other than as a line-up book occurred there. It is probable that was the basis for Mitch’s statement that black officers should feel targeted.

  10. Old Casey
    Posted February 12, 2008 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    A communication problem with Mitch? Consider the words of Captain, Road Prison 36:

    “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach, so you get what we had here last week which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. And I don’t like it any more than you men.”