by Sam Hieb
Who is this man and what has he done with John Hammer? The author of this Rhino article on the downtown Greensboro performing arts center is surprisingly non-skeptical:
Only in politics do things this crazy happen. The council spent over two hours discussing whether or not the city would accept a gift of $35 million from some of its wealthiest citizens. In most circles, whether or not to accept a gift of $35 million is what is called a no-brainer. And while most people would expect some strings, one-third of the Greensboro City Council believes that it should not accept a gift of $35 million because there were strings and something could go wrong.
…(Council member Marikay) Abuzuaiter spent some time on what to do about a donor shortfall. It had already been explained that the Community Foundation would take out a loan and give the city $30 million. Is it possible that at some point the city could be held responsible for some of that $30 million? Of course, it is possible. It is possible that when they are digging the foundation of the building they will discover oil and instead of a performing arts center there will be a huge oil derrick at that location. It is possible. It’s possible for pigs to fly, but it isn’t very likely, so most of us don’t walk around worried about a pig flying overhead doing what pigs do.
No doubt the council does what it does –talked it to death, which is why said earlier that Mayor Nancy Vaughan lost control of the meeting when she indulged a speaker from the floor asking questions instead of speaking his piece. It’s actually pretty simple –the Community Foundation’s getting a loan and they will either pay it back with private donations or they will not. I thought City Manager Jim Westmoreland tactfully put it well when council member Tony Wilkins pinned him down on the ‘blank-check’ question —the city’s role in GPAC will be at the (political) will of future City Councils. True enough, even though we know exactly what future councils would do.
Bottom line is this pig’s flying. What it does while overhead remains to be seen.