Aggressive Panhandling Or Aggressive Policing?

Earlier this week the City of Winston-Salem held its monthly Public Safety News Conference. Chief Catrina A. Thompson announced when and where the WSPD’s backpack program and Cookies With A Cop events would be held. Assistant Chief, Wilson Weaver II announced that this year’s Dixie Classic Fair would have added security measures: bag checks and electronic scanners, to deter weapons from coming into the fairgrounds. Weaver ended his comments by asking the City’s residents to “please continue to attend our events and have fun. We will be there to keep you safe.”

Breaking Crystal: What We’ve Learned In The Year Since HAWS Announced Plans To Sell Crystal Towers

It was one year ago to the day that the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (HAWS) announced that it was putting Crystal Towers up for sale. The 11-story high-rise located at 625 West Sixth Street in downtown Winston-Salem, opened in 1970 and is home to approximately 200 residents.* According to Heather Fearnbach, the woman who wrote the book on Winston’s architectural heritage, Crystal Towers was the city’s first high-rise dwelling erected since the late 1920s. Crystal Towers, (along with its sister high-rise, Sunrise Towers) was designed to serve as housing for the elderly. Today, one hundred percent of Crystal Towers’ residents are elderly and or people with disabilities. These are the last folks that the Housing Authority should be evicting.

The Presence Of The Poor Perturbs The Owners Of Downtown Winston

A couple of days ago, the Winston-Salem Journal reported on the growing unrest amongst the city’s capitalist class, who are tired of ‘aggressive’ panhandling. The manufactured crisis began when Bobby Finch of Triad Commerical Properties sent an email to his fellow downtown muckety-mucks. Finch proposed moving “the Clark Campbell Transportation Center and drug-treatment center on Fourth Street, saying both draw panhandlers.” Jason Thiel, president of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, didn’t advocate moving anything. But he told the Journal that “this summer has seen a significant increase in aggressive panhandling in Winston-Salem.”

Business 40 In Black And White

The Journal recently announced that construction on Business 40/Salem Parkway is over 50 percent completed. That’s welcome news for commuters trying there best to get around Winston. With several bridges now open (the Liberty Street Bridge being the most recent) traveling through Downtown Winston is no problem. Getting into downtown from East Third, Fourth, or Fifth Streets can be a slow process. Getting around Winston, traveling from Greensboro to Clemmons on Interstate 40 is a real challenge.

Being Brown, Black And Or Working Class In Downtown Winston Isn’t A Crime

Last Friday the Winston-Salem Journal published an article that was somewhat of a hit-piece aimed squarely at patrons of the downtown bus station. To be fair, Wesley Young’s piece wasn’t nearly as bad as its print title, “Artist’s vision turns ugly: Decorated downtown wall is scene of problem behaviors; city looks for solutions.” It’s not often that the business class lets the rest of the city know what they really think. Last Friday’s front page article on undesirable behavior supposedly occurring at or near Mr. Imagination’s 55 foot, Memory Wall of Love and Peace was one of those rare moments of transparency. “I get calls about people feeling uncomfortable when they walk by,” Jason Theil of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership was quoted as saying.

Responding To The Chronicle’s East End Commentary

“The most important thing about the East End is the people.” -Ayers Saint Gross, 8/21/2018

Earlier this week The Chronicle wrote an editorial that was aimed at this website without mentioning it by name. The Chronicle’s, Commentary: Our View: East End redevelopment was an attempt to convince The Chronicle’s readers that there is nothing to see, nothing going on in the “East End” that’s worthy of sharing on social media. But the photos I posted on Facebook (and the article I posted on the subject) tell a different story. And they attracted enough attention to merit a response from The Chronicle.

The “East End” Is Beginning To Empty

It’s important that the COMMUNITY in East Winston is not pushed out of the “East End.” Despite a lot of talk about shared prosperity and avoiding gentrification, we now have evidence that existing residents of the “East End” have been displaced without any public accountability. The Garden Court Apartments located between Third and Fourth Street and Woodland and Metropolitan have been completely emptied of their previous tenants. Other apartment buildings nearby have been almost completely emptied as well. Where is the accountability?

City Hall Versus 515 North Cherry Street

After a shooting early Sunday morning outside of the current club operating at 515 North Cherry left several wounded, it appears that the City will renew its efforts to declare that property a nuisance.  This time City Hall probably won’t stop until they get 515 North Cherry’s owner (Keith Neely) to relinquish the property. Unlike the Winston-Salem Journal, I don’t wholly agree with the City of Winston-Salem’s efforts to close Downtown Winston’s last strip club. Anytime City Hall targets a single business, citizens should be skeptical. And Lollipops, the former all-nude club at 515 North Cherry was undoubtedly targeted. Partially, as the previous owner of Lollipops, Mike Dickinson maintained, because his club was drawing African American patrons downtown.

Goler Hits The Market

Friday, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that Goler Memorial AME Zion’s property adjacent to the Innovation Quarter was for sale. Goler listed their property at Patterson and Seventh for $3.5 million with Linville Team Partners, the commercial real estate firm that has the Downtown Winston market cornered. $3.5 million is a steep price. Who in Winston besides Wake Forest University could come up with that type of money? Goler Memorial plans to relocate.

$30.5 Million Kaleideum Funding Approved By Forsyth County, Another Giveaway To DTWS

Kaleideum: say hello to higher taxes in Forsyth County. Say goodbye to any county-wide education or anti-poverty initiatives that could have been funded with $30.5 million. The Forsyth County Commissioners just approved an extremely generous subsidy to Kaleideum, by a 5-2 vote. This outcome was not surprising. But it was disappointing, and it will limit Forsyth County’s budgetary options for years to come.