One measure of a year

by YES! Staff

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, a dysfunctional Greensboro City Council had recently wrapped up a resolution to the non-existent issue of pornography being viewed by city library patrons before beginning the new year with the imposition of a micromanagement effort on the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, an attempt to turn over a previous council’s resolution to close the White Street Landfill and arbitration of a contentious redistricting plan that District 4 Representative Mary Rakestraw claimed to have discovered one morning on her doorstep, like a foundling.

It was the halfway point of the tenure of a council founded in malcontent and disinformation, the result of a lingering Obama Effect on a city still reeling from the ripples of a racially tinged police scandal and the specter of economic collapse.

Bill Knight won his mayorship from incumbent Yvonne Johnson in 2009 on a promise to restore order in the police department, impose fiscal austerity and enforce Robert’s Rules of Order during council meetings. Upon election, that new council, which also included new at-large member Danny Thompson and District 5 Representative Trudy Wade as part of its conservative faction, turned inward, overseeing the hiring of a new city manager after firing Mitch Johnson shortly after taking office, and a new police chief even as scandal continued to rock the department. It attempted to subvert the city’s rental unit certificate of occupancy system, which a 2002 council had created to improve the city’s stock of rental units. And it reacted to a nightclub shooting by enforcing new downtown ordinances that include a curfew and provisions against loitering in the very district previous that councils spent considerable time, money and effort trying to populate.

In our minds, this was a council that was looking backwards. So when we made our endorsements for a new council before last year’s election, we did it with an eye toward the future.

During an interview with Robbie Perkins during his campaign, the candidate spoke convincingly of the positive aspects of our community, its place in the region and the state and where we could realistically be headed.

“In 50 years,” he said to us, “I want those guys to look back [on what we put in p[lace] and say, ‘Man, those guys were smart.’” That quote was the impetus for this week’s cover story on page 13. And it was ratified last week as the new city council put into place something the previous one could not: a deal with the county to run water and sewer lines into unincorporated parts of the county, a project designed to attract new business.

This kind of forward-thinking infrastructure project, boring but important, lacks the punch of a headline about a police scandal or porn in the library. But it’s exactly the kind of thing we want our council to be doing. 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