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City council Twitter moments

by Jordan Green

‘Crack central’

I tweet the action at Greensboro City Council meetings. Michele Forrest, an advocate for homeless people in Greensboro, paid the compliment of calling the YES! Weekly feed “crack central,” and helpfully corrected me by explaining that crack addition doesn’t require detox. Brevity is the operating principle of both tweeting and our 10 BEST, so here are some highlights from council’s Sept. 13 meeting.

Honored Guilfordian

Councilwoman Mary Rakestraw read a resolution honoring the memory of the late Wally Harrelson, who was appointed chief public defender for Guilford County by then- Gov. Bob Scott in 1970, and was continually reappointed to the position over the next four decades. According to the resolution, Scott’s tenure spanned the administrations of seven governors and seven district attorneys. A lifelong Democrat, Harrelson also chaired the Guilford County Commission, where he oversaw the consolidation of three school systems.

Important proclamations

Mayor Bill Knight read a resolution recog nizing September as National Diversity Month in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, adding, “I would also like to proclaim this as my birthday. Enough said about that. We’ll move on.”

Kudos

Susan Benton, director of the Urban Library Council, presented the Greensboro Public Library with the Innovations Award for construction of the Kathleen Edwards Clay Library as the first library to be an environmental education center. Well done!

Controlling the message

Council voted to appropriate $20,000 to support an effort funded by the Greensboro Partnership and the Cemala Foundation to pay RLF Communications to pitch positive stories about Greensboro to national media outlets. The effort is geared towards earned media coverage, as opposed to paid placement. We wish them good luck with that, but YES! Weekly guarantees hundreds of stories about Greensboro per year, and no public money will be needed to pay any pitchmen.

You can’t make this stuff up

The motion narrowly passes.

Councilwoman Dianne Bellamy-Small appeared to be of two minds about the initiative. “For us to sit here and nickel and dime on $20,000 doesn’t make sense,” she said, later adding: “You can put all the nice, pretty articles out there you want to, but… the other side of the story is the way we act.”

‘Iconic’ and Lee Street?

Council approves a rezoning south of Lee Street, clearing the way for UNCG’s expansion and the development of mixed-use “village” housing. Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises Mike Byers showed a slide of a planned railroad underpass, which he called “an iconic step onto Lee Street.”

Mischief

All afternoon, speculation abounded that the council’s four conservative members would make a motion to recuse Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan from voting on the reopening of the White Street Landfill. When council reconvened after a break, council members Danny Thompson, Mary Rakestraw and Trudy Wade remained out of chambers. On the dais Robbie Perkins and Dianne Bellamy-Small whispered conspiratorially. An item to support downtown activities was on the agenda. Perkins and Bellamy-Small knew that if a vote was taken without the three in the room it would count as a “yes” because they were unexcused. Knight tried to drag the vote out.

Perkins rolled his hand as if to say, “Hurry it up.” The motion passed 9-0. Just then the three entered council chambers. Taking her seat, Wade said, “I’m against it.”

Taxpayer’s dime

Fired Greensboro police Capt. Charles Cherry asked interim City Attorney Tom Pollard if an agreement approved by council to contract with outside counsel providing legal representation to Councilwoman Trudy Wade means that taxpayers will be footing the bill. Pollard responded, “The source of the funding will probably be general fund money.” That’s legalese for, yes.

Coattails?

Sal Leone, a candidate for city council at large, urges council to allow Vaughan to vote on the solid waste decision. “I trust her,” Leone said. “I voted for her. And I think a lot of other people voted for her.” As it turns out, no recusal vote. Follow council meetings on Twitter at twitter.com/#!/yesweekly.

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