by Sam Hieb
Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston apologizes to Greensboro City Council members for strong-arming them over the proposed taxpayer-financed downtown hotel.
All good, I guess, especially as the city prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the of the historic sit-ins. But this statement jumped off my computer screen:
“If I had it to do all over again, I would probably work more behind the scenes rather than being up front,” Alston said. “Because of my perceived influence, if I’m up front with someone the way I would be if I was not an elected official, then that’s looked at as me trying to use my position to influence people.”
Let’s see —- Alston mysteriously recuses himself from the Dec. 10 commissioners meeting where the vote on the federal recovery zone bonds were held (his buddy Billy Yow said Alston didn’t really recuse himself — he just walked out of the room). A mere five days later, the City Council holds the infamous vote to sign on for the bond program, but they still thought the proposed hotel project would be on the corner of Lee and South Elm streets. Two weeks later, we learn that the hotel site had suddenly shifted to Davie Street, with Alston identified as the broker.
All that sounds pretty ‘behind the scenes’ to me. Like everything else surrounding this deal, never be surprised with what you read.