It wouldn’t be election day without a crisis.
Early Tuesday afternoon, due to problems at the substation, two polling places – G04 at Genesis Baptist Church and G05 at Peeler Recreation Center – lost power for the rest of the day.
Guilford County Elections Director Charlie Collicutt said that the polling places never closed because the voting machines can operate on battery power for several hours, and during the day it was light enough to work.
Generators were rushed over to the precincts as darkness fell and, according to Collicutt, the poll workers were operating with the flashlights in their smart phones until the generators got going. They also brought in outdoor work lights to light up the parking lot.
Collicutt said he wanted to have the outdoor lights so that people would know the polls were open when, not just the polling place, but everything in the area was dark.
Collicutt said that although some people may have thought the polling place was not open, they had one voter come in who said he wasn’t planning on voting but, with his electricity off, he didn’t have anything better to do.
It’s interesting, for the first time News & Record Editorial Page Editor Allen Johnson and I could remember, we endorsed almost exactly the same candidates in the City Council election. The only difference was in District 2 where the News & Record endorsed District 2 Councilmember Goldie Wells and the Rhino Times endorsed former District 2 Councilmember Jim Kee.
So that means that At-large City Councilmember Mike Barber and District 5 City Councilmember Tony Wilkins were endorsed by both the N&R and the Rhino and they both lost.
Maybe next time we shouldn’t endorse the same people so at least one of us can claim victory.
While the City Council election has been getting all the coverage, the city continues to negotiate with Rocky Scarfone over two easements he owns that run right through the parking lot where the city plans to build a six-level parking deck with a Westin Hotel on top of it.
The parking deck is planned to run from Market Street south along Davie Street and over February One Place. The hotel will be built on top of the parking deck on the south side of February One.
The city discovered it had a problem after it had purchased the parking lot between Market and February One and had already begun the design of the parking deck. It wasn’t until then that the city was informed that Scarfone, who owns the Cone Denim Entertainment Center on South Elm Street had an easement from his back door out to Market and another easement out to Davie.
The bands that play at Cone Denim use the area to load and unload equipment. Reports are that Scarfone wants accommodations made to preserve his right of ingress and egress, which is not a simple matter when you consider the city had planned to cover the entire area with a parking deck.
Negotiations are continuing. No agreement has been reached, but so far they are still at the negotiating table.
What some city councilmember needs to ask is how the city staff missed two easements before making a $2 million land purchase.