Monday night’s City Council meeting starting with a surprise, the exact date of Derwin Montgomery’s resignation. As the Journal’s Wesley Young pointed out on social media, Montgomery will retire from the Winston-Salem City Council one day prior to elections. Officially giving Mr. Montgomery just a few hours off before he begins his work in the North Carolina General Assembly. After Derwin’s announcement and speech to the Council, the meeting progressed quickly, with several zoning petitions being approved with no opposition and little debate. Then UDO-283, the Unified Development Ordinance that has been bouncing around our city and county government for approximately a year, finally came before the full City Council.
The Winston-Salem City Council has a full agenda tonight, replete with the usual giveaways, including hundreds of thousands of dollars for a development one mile south of BB&T Ballpark. And nearly an equal amount for a parking deck in the Wake Forest University Innovation Quarter. [scribd id=388761380 key=key-crMcgfyr3tb861qWZt2v mode=scroll]
Those two locations; BB&T Ballpark and the WF Innovation Quarter are already the site of the City of Winston-Salem’s most notorious money pits. The city shouldn’t continue to subsidize the WFIQ. Let Wake Forest pay for its development.
Monday I sat down and interviewed a resident of the Cleveland Avenue Homes. Tuesday I stumbled upon an old copy of The Black Panther newspaper dated March 1970. It’s the one with the Winston-Salem chapter of the Black Panther Party on the front page.*
The black power newspaper has an image of local Panthers, led by Larry Little assisting Miss Polly Graham. Graham had been unjustly evicted from her home. The Winston-Salem chapter of the Black Panther Party put Miss Polly Graham’s possessions back in her home and posted two men with shotguns at her front door.
This weekend is the one-year anniversary of Battle of Charlottesville. Everyone reading this article remembers the events of last August in Charlottesville; a college town that will forever be associated with Thomas Jefferson, like Winston-Salem will always be associated with R.J. Reynolds. Gun-toting nazis and fascist white supremacists of various stripes in the streets of Charlottesville were a reminder of how relatively little progress our country has made combatting racism. America is still a violent and racist nation. God bless the Antifa activists that confronted the fascists.
Monday night’s city council meeting was the first meeting of our city’s elected body in over a month. At Monday’s meeting, a bakery/wine shop on Reynolda Road was approved, a property on Northwest Boulevard was rezoned, as were two churches. The rezoning of the Burger King on MLK Drive was postponed yet again. The BK on MLK will likely stay closed until BK lets the City have it their way. Speaking of the City of Winston-Salem having it its way, the city council unanimously approved a four-story apartment complex in the Southeast Gateway development, near the Gateway YWCA.
Monday’s city council meeting was brief. In just over an hour the Winston-Salem City Council meeting ended. That’s the Allen Joines’ machine at work. Little debate, no contentious arguments, and no public comment-except where prescribed by law! That’s what rule by the rich looks like in Winston! The principal topic before the council Monday was a zoning petition in Ardmore.
Last week the Winston-Salem City Council forgave a $167,500 loan to Lake Park Develpment, Inc. Lake Park Development, Inc. is owned by media/real estate mogul, Jose Isasi. Mr. Isasi’s has been the recipient of generous city subsidies in the past. But for now, let’s focus on Lake Park. Lake Park is a nice subdivision, that was built in the 1990s onto an existing neighborhood off of Waterworks Road. It’s an upper-middle-class subdivision that would not be out-of-place in Clemmons or even Lewisville.
Martin Luther King Day is a curious holiday in the United States. We give Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a day, yet ignore Dr. King the other 364 days of the year. What if we celebrated Christmas the same way that we celebrate Martin Luther King Day? Only a fool would unwrap their gifts, enjoy them for one short day, then box them up until next Christmas. But that is how we celebrate Martin Luther King Day. We need Dr. King each and every day of the year.
On Tuesday, the Winston-Salem Journal showered praise on local government leaders for their development of the Enclave apartments off Shattalon Drive. The Chronicle ran a similar article on the Enclave apartments days earlier. The implication of these articles is obvious. (But admittedly, I didn’t realize it until a friend on facebook pointed it out to me.) The article isn’t just about the Enclave, it’s a message to the Boston-Thurmond community. The Journal and Chronicle would like the residents of Boston-Thurmond to stop worrying and learn to love Wake Forest’s proposed redevelopment of their neighborhood and the gentrification that will surely follow.
It’s Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday. For all the reasons to hate Thanksgiving, I still love it. I know that our nation’s genocide of Native Americans is nothing to celebrate. But Thanksgiving with all its baggage is a time to gather with family and friends. It’s a time to be thankful for the things that we have, even as we actively covet Christmas gifts that we don’t need.