The Greensboro City Council reversed course on spending the last of the general fund money freed up by American Rescue Plan funds at the Tuesday, Feb. 21 meeting.
The council voted unanimously to allocate $1 million to Habitat for Humanity of Greensboro and to set aside $500,000 to be allocated in the future.
At the Jan. 3 meeting, the City Council voted 5-4 split along racial lines to allocate $1.5 million to Habitat, so the vote at the Feb. 21 meeting reduced that by $500,000. A funding ordinance requires a supermajority or it has to pass twice at two different meetings by a simple majority to become effective.
However, no motion was made at the Feb. 21 meeting to allocate $1.5 million to Habitat. City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter amended her motion made at the Jan. 3 meeting to reduce the allocation to $1 million and that amended motion passed 9-0.
What Councilmember Sharon Hightower requested was that $1 million be allocated to Habitat and that $500,000 be set aside for “minority contractors.”
Hightower said, “I would like to see 0.5 set aside to help minority contractors, to give an opportunity to minority contractors.”
She said, “It is incumbent on me as a representative of people of color that look like me and say to me, ‘Sharon, help me,’ it is incumbent on me to do just that.”
Hightower added, “Opportunities don’t come along often for us people of color.”
Councilmember Goldie Wells supported Hightower’s request that $500,000 be set aside for minority contractors.
Hightower read some of the names on a list of 17 minority contractors and said she wanted to use the $500,000 to give them the opportunity to build houses.
The City Council did not vote to award the $500,000 to contractors of color as Hightower and Wells suggested.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
For the City Council to set aside $500,000 for contractors of color would appear to be a direct violation of the Civil Rights Act, but no one at the City Council meeting mentioned that what Hightower was requesting appeared to be illegal.
“It is incumbent on me as a representative of people of color that look like me and say to me, ‘Sharon, help me,’ it is incumbent on me to do just that.”
No Sharon . . .it is incumbent on you to represent all of the people of Greensboro, not just your district, and certainly not based color of their skin. Statements like that sets a bad example for the young people in your district since it tells them they can play the race card and get what they want. Sadly, in Greensboro that’s pretty much how it is. Sad, sad, sad.
Big city, how does it sound if she said she wanted the $500,000 to go to white business owners. You may say that sounds unfair and discriminating. It goes both ways per the law. It is mentioned to be fair to all people not to be fair to your people.
No one said white contractors were ineligible she stated a preference that may bold but it’s not discrimination, she didn’t say I don’t want white or Hispanic she said she represents black people and they want a chance. I’m sorry this isn’t Ash county and black people are the predominate race in this city and I think 2 years the county. Your understanding of the civil rights act is iffy at best.
She’s a racist bag of wind & has proven it many times over through her actions on this board.
Mrs Hightower continues to show racism at most, if not all meetings. Now, requesting set aside’s for black or minorities, that is clearly illegal per state statute, is her ongoing quest. If the City legal department is afraid to educate her, maybe we can. How do we have a representative that knowingly request to break laws continue to represent us. Her goal can be reached by competition between our most capable service providers and contractors. A win for tax payers and contractors. Educate minorities and majorities on the city needs. All can benefit.
Black people are NOT the “predominate” (sic) race in this city, and even if they were it would not justify racial discrimination by our public servants.
I thought she represented her council district, which is not exclusively “people of color.”
Racism is racism. Period.
As a straight white male, I am a minority contractor. Although I have little experience as a contractor (but I can change a light switch or overhead lamp); I deserve something because I have been discriminated against, and have been marginalized by the media (I can’t get an acting job in a commercial).
Well said, welcome to my world!
Anyone who wants a picture of how we get into economic quicksand can read this report carefully.
Funds designated to fight a “pandemic” are, just because they are there, being spent, held, reserved and or wasted for things totally unrelated to any pandemic other than the “spending-fever” of liberal politicians.
If any expenditure serves a valid need it deserves debate and consideration on it’s own merits.
We spend money like Mallory climbed mountains.. “Because it’s there!”
If “COVID MONEY” is needed to fight COVID spend it for that!
If not give it back to the taxpayers and debate any other need on it’s own merit.
As expected, the east greensboro city council calls the shots. Now pay attention and watch the waste 500k brings.
Once again Council is divided on a non-issue. Will the bullies win again by playing the race card?
It is a clear violation of our federal law to favor one race over another. Just because someone looks like you doesn’t mean you have the right to favor them, nor can you find disfavor with those that don’t look like you.
We will see this play out in the courts if anyone has the cojones to call the Council on this.
Agreed, seems like we are trying to invoke “color privilege” as a counter measure to “white privilege”?
Well in your district Ms. Hightower people have the opportunity to be a crime victim than anywhere else in the city. Maybe you should pay attention to that issue.
I thought black people were AGAINST government racism ?
Calling diversity programs racist is a trick used by white supremist for decades. Get a new trick Austin.
The city council members that think they can arbitrarily make a decision so as giving half million dollars to Minority contractors are totally ignorant of the laws of the USA . If this is the education that was taught at the local schools they went to ‘should be shut down immediately’ because they are not following the laws of America. Maybe these council members played hockey on the days these laws were discussed. I have been promoting that all members of current city council needs to be voted out and a new group voted in.
This is just another ploy by the city council to stupidly give the money to people not deserving of it. HELP someone else write notes against these people wasting money unlawfully.
As I read Ms Hightower’s assertions about appropriations of taxpayer funds, I am appalled. If I were part of the approval processes, I would be more concerned with:
The quality of work performed by the contractor in question.
The price of the quality work performed by the contractor in question.
The timely completion of the quality work performed by the contractor in question.
Is the contractor in question licensed, insured and capable of a job of this magnitude.
I would be FAR less concerned with are they 6 to 60, blind, crippled, crazy…. or the color of their skin. You are spending taxpayer’s money, not your trust fund!
I’m not sure how, but can we protest our City Council? They suck overall. Zack has the only business brain of the bunch. Let’s get 5 like minds on the council. We may as well start the campaign now!
“Opportunities don’t come along often for us people of color.” I have found the majority of folks looking for contractors, businesses, etc., are not the least concerned about ‘color’–what they ARE concerned about is quality, reputation, trustworthiness, fair pricing–and that is what guarantees customers, i.e., ‘opportunities’. Is Hightower not so subtly indicating her ‘people of color’ are absent these attributes?
There have been recent hints that airline incursions and difficulties have been loosely attributed to the industry putting an emphasis on equity and diversity hiring over knowledge and skill. If one looks at an airline webpage regarding hiring it’s clear that equity and diversity are the main emphases of their business model rather than how qualified are their pilots, mechanics, or attendants.
The fact that government agencies entrusted with millions of our tax dollars are more focused on making sure BIPOC are filling some statistical percentage in order to make activists and social media groups satisfied instead of guaranteeing that the money is spent on quality work done in a timely manner that meets code with American made products is a dereliction of duty. These people are far more interested in being political activists than community servants. They should not be in governmental positions but instead doing volunteer work with social action groups..
What Hightower was asking for was discrimination. Please remember this when you vote. We need people like her out.
I’m curious. When did Habitat Housing start using contractors I’ve worked on several and we never used paid contractors it was always faith based, volunteer and service built homes. Why all of a sudden do we need minority contractors involved. Hightower you are such a racist a$$