Winston-Salem City Council Meeting Merry-Go-Round: Front Street Capital And Industry Hill Move Forward, Purple Crow Gets $200,000

Monday’s meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council was a good example of how our City Council serves Winston’s wealthiest, well-connected few. All of the items on the City Council’s agenda were approved unanimously, without any dissenting votes. Think about that; not a single dissenting vote was cast in a meeting that lasted well over an hour. One could argue that the mayor and councilmembers were simply agreeing on zoning measures and a relatively modest incentive deal with a local manufacturer. But Allen Joines and his compliant councilmembers were rubber-stamping developer’s prerogatives, while largely ignoring the concerns of the working class.

Serving Time At The Forsyth Detention Center Shouldn’t Be A Death Sentence

After months of silence about the December 2019 death of John Neville while in the custody of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department, answers have finally been provided. Forsyth County D.A., Jim O’Neill’s mid-day press conference, was illuminating. O’Neill described how John Neville died and announced that he would bring involuntary manslaughter charges against five guards and one nurse at the Forsyth County Detention Center. “On December 2nd of 2019, John Neville was an inmate in the Forsyth County Detention Center. He had a pending charge of assault on a female, that arose out of an incident in Greensboro.

Before Construction On Wiley’s Gym Begins, The WS/FCS Board Has Already Taken Bids On Elements Of A Controversial And Yet-To-Be-Approved Stadium

 

Earlier this month, a school system audit revealed millions spent without the board’s approval. At Tuesday night’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, WS/FCS board members debated how the agenda was set and why elements of an unfunded and yet-to-be-approved stadium had already been bid on? No one wanted to call it corruption. But how else do you explain it? Tuesday’s meeting was another example of Reynolds Home Field Advantage pathetically pushing their agenda in the name of advancing equity.

Budgetary Shenanigans Are No Substitute For Police Reform

It’s official if you trust our local media, Winston-Salem is part of a nationwide defund (or abolish) the police debate ignited by the murder of George Floyd and so many Black victims before him. But if last Monday’s Public Safety meeting was any indication, our Council isn’t prepared to address how the WSPD polices Black communities in Winston or institute actual community control of the WSPD. And defunding and or abolishing the police is not even on the Winston-Salem City Council’s radar. The Journal’s front-page headline last Tuesday read, “City may pull $1M from the police.” But that headline gives the wrong impression.

The Evidence Is Clear: Senator Paul Lowe Needs To Go!

Late last month, the Raleigh News & Observer and ProPublica published an investigative piece examining Senator Erica Smith’s claims that Smith’s fellow State Senators disrespected, bullied, and harassed her. While Sen. Smith names several Senators, lets narrow our attention to the Senator that large portions of Winston-Salem sent to the General Assembly. The very serious and well-substantiated allegations that the News & Observer/ProPublica made against Lowe are particularly offensive and unacceptable. It’s clear, Sen. Paul Lowe needs to resign immediately. THE CONFRONTATION
Sen. Sam Searcy’s witness statement, which was obtained by The News & Observer, describes a “verbal dispute” between Lowe and Smith.

The Forsyth County Commissioners’ George Floyd Statement

The Forsyth County Commissioners issued a statement condemning George Floyd’s death on Thursday. It was a nice gesture. But, unfortunately it carried about as much weight as the Commissioners’ 2050 Climate Change resolution last year. Everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to local politicians supports justice for George Floyd. But are those who control economic and political levers in this country willing to divert resources and craft government policies to benefit Black and Brown people that have long been denied justice, a decent education, and adequate housing?

Introducing, Winston-Salem’s One Tile Campaign

Vivian Perez-Chandler, co-founder of Soy Emprendedor and Mayor and Winston-Salem Alliance President, Allen Joines hosted an online press conference, late Friday morning with members of the local press. The press conference was streamed live on YouTube. For 30 minutes, Joines and Perez-Chandler described their new, “Restart Winston-Salem, the One Tile Campaign.” Joines called it “an exciting new effort to help small businesses in our community.” According to the Mayor/W-S Alliance Prez, the One Tile Campaign was created by a “small group of minority women,” whose goal is to “restart Winston-Salem, one tile at a time.” Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough and local businessman Max Maxwell also spoke in support of the One Tile Campaign.

Mary’s Gourmet Diner Is DTWS’s First High Profile COVID-19 Business Casualty, It Won’t Be The Last

Mary’s Gourmet Diner will not be reopening. I read the sad news that a pillar of Downtown Winston-Salem’s restaurant scene is calling it quits in Wednesday’s paper. Mary Hagland’s many Facebook followers got the news earlier this week. Hagland told Michael Hastings, the Journal’s food writer that she:
 had concerns about employee safety, customer safety, and also about how life during the pandemic clashed with whole concept of Mary’s that she had cultivated for 20 years. “I can’t have a dining room full of people in surgical masks.

Providing Masks Is Commendable, But The People Of Winston Have Greater Needs

Winston’s city leaders are a little too proud of the job they are doing distributing masks. Masking the City, distributing hundreds of thousands of masks around the city, is an accomplishment. It’s important work during a pandemic. But it’s not an accomplishment comparable to D-Day. Don Flow, Allen Joines’ right-hand man at the Alliance, actually said, “you might say this is our D-Day event for Winston-Salem” at a Mask the City press conference earlier this month.

Winston’s Tiny Home Community Was Razed When BB&T Ballpark Was Constructed Over A Decade Ago

Affordable housing is hard to find even during normal times. It’s even harder to find during a pandemic. It’s a scandal that so many hotel rooms and apartment units are empty when they are sorely needed. It’s estimated that Winston-Salem/Forsyth County has a deficit of 16,000 affordable housing units. We need massive investments in public housing on the state and federal levels.