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Doing what makes sense

by Brian Clarey

It happens. You look at a situation, a policy or a suggestion, you research it as best you can, exercise due diligence in finding out as much as you think you need to know to make an assessment, and then you come up with an editorial stance, distilling the opinion into a neat, 450 word package.

And then the situation changes for the better, or the policy has unforeseen benevolent consequences, or the suggestion turns out to actually have some merit.

When that happens, the editorialist is duty-bound to change his stance. That’s how we see it anyway.

It hasn’t happened very often in YES! Weekly’s seven-year history, one that encompasses some 350 house editorials, but in the course of investigating this year’s Greensboro City Council election a few stark reminders came up of opinions we once held but to which we adhere no longer.

At one time, we supported keeping the White Street Landfill open to municipal solid waste. The facility was one of the best of its kind in the state, we reasoned, and we saw no point in constructing a transfer station when we had a perfectly good — great, even — landfill for our waste.

We changed our tune when we saw the toll the issue had taken on the city. No amount of savings, we reasoned, was worth the ill will generated by reopening the landfill. We later learned that the cost savings were not as significant as initially reported, further cementing our new position.

We were against the Greensboro Aquatics Center when it was tucked inside a Trojan Horse parks and rec bond, arguing that it applied only to local special interests and on general principle — that it was presented to voters in a way that was dishonest.

Now that the swimming facility has been built, it’s been booked for several high-profile, national events and it meets its obligations — nominally, anyway — of serving low-income residents of the city. We cannot deny the economic impact these events will have on local businesses in the High Point Road corridor and beyond. And we acknowledge the prestige it will bring to town.

We also pivoted on the Greensboro Coliseum itself, at one time arguing that it should turn a profit, and that perhaps a private vendor could make that happen. Now we are glad that the city subsidizes the venue; it’s just one-quarter of 1 percent of the overall budget, and the events bring income to businesses all over the city, including ours.

We’ve switched tack on political candidates, construction projects, zoning decisions and, to a degree, on the importance of economic incentives for businesses relocating to the area. And we decided that we’d rather our elected officials work together rather than stay entrenched in their positions.

We haven’t changed our bedrock ideals; we just acknowledge that new information sometimes leads to new positions, and we consider it a hallmark of our integrity.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration

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