The silent campaign

As Greensboro’s voters go to the polls today and decide upon the fate of several bonds, I thought now would be a safe time to fess up.

The other day, a N&R reporter called me up to find out what was up with the seemingly non-existent campaign to get the $20 million Parks & Recreation bond passed.  I told her that I could only speak for myself, but as a P&R Commissioner I did what I could do for the cause by making myself available for forums, writing a letter to the editor in support of passage and talking it up among my associates. I was less than forthcoming about everything I knew.

Back in, I think it was, August, shortly after the city council surprisingly allotted a $20M bond for the P&R Department and then took up $12M of it with a proposed “Regional Swim Center“, as P&R Commission chairman, I attended a meeting of the bond’s “stakeholders”.  Several leaders of the swim community were in attendance to see how they could help get the bond to pass.

Discussions from the swim folks centered around how to make the third time a charm and how fortunate they were to have the facility listed under the umbrella of a Parks & Recreation bond (multi-item P&R bonds always get voter approval… stand alone facility bonds, not so much).  They wanted to know how to best  promote passage of the $12M swim center, which was up for its third pitch with two strikes against.

After listening for awhile to brains that were storming away, I finally chimed in and offered how P&R bonds have a nearly 100% voter approval record  because citizens know that the department is judicious in what it asks for and then provides great results for the money allotted.  “So“, said I, “if you really want this bond to pass… be quiet.  Don’t promote the swim center at all this time around.  If you do, it could doom our entire bond.”

The swim center promoters apparently agreed.  We’ll see how the silent treatment strategy plays out today.

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  1. Posted November 4, 2008 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The parks-rec site was the most frequently visited page on the Greensboro Bonds Web site during the last few days. The Aquatics Center mini-area has been there all along. Simply stats. Thought you’d be slightly interested :)

  2. mick
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Given the entire situation, the history and now the mood of the country…. I still think it was our only reasonable course of action. The P&R Bond and the Aquatics type aspects are what they are. As a swim dad, I still hurt over the original “natatorium” defeat even though my daughters swim career was in its infancy. We really should have done it then. But water under the bridge.

    I think many folks will just vote no on all bonds due to current economics. Nevermind that bonds actually represent the future. It will be interesting however to see how the young and or first time voters feel about the bonds.

    Our family did our part. I will respect the decision of the citizenry. Our pools will PROBABLY hold up for my daughter’s remaining career (15/sophomore) but if I were the parent of a young swimmer I would really be worried about the future of the sport in this City/County if the bond fails.

    No hype.


  3. Posted November 4, 2008 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    The Swimmer’s need to get the Swimming Requirement restored to College Graduation requirements. It used to be required in many colleges that you must pass a basic swim test to graduate – NO LONGER….

  4. John Robinson
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm. A source in a position to know acknowledges not telling a reporter what he knows, presumably because it might hurt a cause he supports. Sounds like a seasoned politician to me!

  5. mick
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Well, Its nice to be wr… wro…..wrrroronng every once in awhile. I would like to see the money on repairs spent asap but I know things are tight.

    Now we can proceed with location, etc. Personally I would like to see some area foundations, rich folks, corps, etc step up and augment the bond money and provide the City with a near first class facility. We shall see how it all plays out. I am happy with the result and somewhat surprised. I just hope my daughter gets to race in the thing someday.


  6. mick
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 10:43 am | Permalink


    Thank you David. Thank you Park and Rec Board and supporters and (ive always wanted to say this)…..


3 Trackbacks

  1. By Hogg’s Blog » Blog Archive » Hush money on November 6, 2008 at 8:34 am

    [...] strategy of silence I mentioned a couple of days ago that was implemented to get the P&R bond passed in despite the [...]

  2. [...] Commission had left on the bond’s wish list had a fighting chance of getting funded when I suggested that the swim community might want to consider a quiet [...]

  3. [...] was only after the bond’s contents where set by the Council that this Commissioner – and this Commissioner only – recommended that the swim center folks lay low lest the issue, which had failed twice before, [...]