It wasn’t a done deal after all

Attorney Henry Isaacson is as much a fixture at Greensboro City Council meetings as Boy Scout troops working on the civics badge.   He hates to lose in front of City Council, as a matter of fact I don’t recall that he ever has – but I may be mistaken on that point.  Henry is very good at what he does.

Granite Development, who is represented by Isaacson, has withdrawn its proposal to develop a a new shopping center on over-burdened Battleground Avenue according to the News & Record.  To long-time City Council observers, this withdrawal tells us that Isaacson could not secure enough votes in advance of next Tuesday’s City Council meeting to make it a “done deal”.  During this meeting the Council was to have considered amending the City’s new Comprehensive Plan to get the development properly zoned.  Appently the amendment wasn’t going to happen.

I am a realist about such matters and know what needs to be done behind the scenes to make both sausages and laws, but this withdrawal is illustrative of Greensboro politics. If the “deal is done” between a majority on the Council and Greensboro’s power structure – the matter will get a hearing before the public to demonstrate how “inclusive” our Government is of citizen’s concerns.  If there is some question as to how a vote on such a high profile issue may or may not turn out – the issue won’t normally be considered by our Council in a public forum.

I am confident that Mr. Issacson and others involved in this contentious case approached members of our Council long before it was first heard by the Zoning Commission several months ago.  I am just as confident that a majority of our Council were initially favorable to the proposal, but public opinion on this matter told the Council which way the wind was really blowing so Isaacson retreated rather than lose.

In a not-unprecedented show of force, the N&R led the charge to sway public opinion on this issue through their editorial views.  This time they sided with with the grassroots forces – and I commend them for it.

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