The Tuesday, June 7 Greensboro City Council meeting was not long, but it had its moments.
It is the first meeting in years in which security had to remove someone from the chamber. The young man who was asked to leave the meeting had been talking loudly and gesturing at the City Council but did not disrupt the meeting nearly as much as people have in the past who were allowed to stay.
He didn’t leave quietly and kept trying to give his three minutes of speaking time away as he was led out of the Katie Dorsett Council Chambers.
Another man shouted out “bull—-” during the explanation on the release of the body worn camera footage for the fatal shooting of Joseph Lopez on Nov. 20, 2021, and Mayor Nancy Vaughan said one more outburst and he would be asked to leave.
The complete body worn camera videos of the 10 Greensboro police officers who were on site during the incident are being released. But those who were asking for the release of the videos were talking so much amongst themselves, they were apparently unable to hear what City Attorney Chuck Watts was saying. Watts had to keep repeating that the court order was releasing all 10 body worn camera videos, plus a compilation of those videos prepared by the Greensboro Police Department.
Then At-large City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson, who wore a mask on her chin during the meeting, said that she had to leave the meeting but she wanted her vote recorded as yes on items I.7 authorizing $450,000 to The Servant Center and I.8 Authorizing $60,000 for the Juneteenth Festival.
Watts said that Johnson could not vote on items before the motion was made.
However, Mayor Nancy Vaughan suggested that the City Council not excuse Johnson from the meeting and then she would be recorded as voting yes on every item on the agenda.
Johnson agreed with that solution and was not excused from the meeting when she left.
But perhaps the most unusual occurrence at the meeting was that District 1 City Councilmember Sharon Hightower was not allowed to discuss a Consent Agenda item as she does at nearly every meeting.
According to City Council policy, items on the Consent Agenda cannot be discussed and if a councilmember has questions about a Consent Agenda item, that item is removed from the Consent Agenda and placed on the General Business Agenda at the next meeting.
The practice of the City Council during the past four years is that Hightower is exempt from this policy and allowed to ask questions and discuss Consent Agenda items as much as she wants.
But at the June 7 meeting, Vaughan adhered to the City Council policy and removed item G.2 extending the maturity date of a city loan to Wynnefield Lincoln Grove Limited Partnership to the Tuesday, June 21 City Council meeting.
How can Yvonne Johnson’s vote be valid when she failed to remain for the issue , and the actual vote?
According to the Council rules, if present and not recused a Councilmember is required to vote. If a Councilmember is present and doesn’t vote that vote is counted as a yes vote. Since Councilmember Johnson was not formally excused, officially she was present, so her votes were recorded as yes votes.
Wow. Thanks for explaining that, but it seems like a very odd custom in a supposedly democratic body. She is ruled as being present when she is not, and her vote is determined arbitrarily as if she were there, and had voted Yes/Aye.
Is it just me, or is that very strange?
This interest-free loan ($1,671,583) was made to the Wynnefield Lincoln Grove Limited Partnership in 1990 and was due to be re-paid by April 1, 2022. That is taxpayer money not City Council’s money to provide at zero interest rate, and obviously not a chance for re-payment.
Of course, Sharon Hightower wants to extend the maturity date of the loan. Why? Short answer, she knows the loan will not be re-paid and eventually will be written off. What is the balance of the loan amount? As of December 31. 2018, the balance owed was $1,640.761. In 28 years, the interest-free loan had been reduced by $30,822. What a deal.
And to think this stuff goes on every day, all the time. Every tax/fee dollar extorted from us reduces our freedom by that much.
Just make me King of Guilford County. I’ll fix this merde.