Participatory Budgeting – a way for the City Council to give away more money, as if it needed another way – had a huge problem in its first year of operation: People didn’t participate. Less than 100 votes were needed to spend money on some projects.

But the clever folks at Participatory Budgeting have found a way to increase the number of voters and make it appear more people are freely participating in this government giveaway.

If the voters won’t come to them, they will go to the voters. In the latest attempt to get people to participate, Participatory Budgeting has gone to select high schools, and there they have a captive audience.

Students are trained to do what they are told to do. If they are told to vote for a project, they vote for a project. This is a brilliant move to make it look like people are choosing to participate in Participatory Budgeting.

Here is another idea to increase participation: Why not go to the Guilford County Jail? It is a captive audience. The folks in there don’t have much to do. They are all over 14 years old, which is the requirement for Participatory Budgeting, though it is not actually enforced.

There are many places in town with captive audiences – maybe not as captive as the jail, but where people would be glad for a little distraction.

Shoot, if they keep going around town finding captive audiences, they might even get to the point that the numbers for those participating in Participatory Budgeting are not embarrassing unless you know how they got them.


The Muse and I live right off Cornwallis, and usually in the spring and fall we see a couple of deer hanging around the neighborhood, but this year I think we must have a whole herd.

My companion, Nelly, feels like it is her responsibility to keep the deer out of our yard and it’s wearing her out. Whether she goes out the front door or the back door, she has to chase deer out of the yard before she can settle down for a well-deserved rest.

During normal times Nelly only gets in her bed at night, but lately she has taken to her bed during the middle of the day because of her workload.

Between keeping the squirrels up in the trees and the deer out of our yard, she’s just not getting her normal 18 hours of sleep.


The attitude expressed by the News & Record on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors is so twisted its funny.

The News & Record is highly critical of the Board of Governors for wanting to be involved in running the state university system. From what the N&R opines, the job of the Board of Governors is simply to rubber stamp whatever the administration recommends because after all the administration is made up of professional educators and there is no way that professional educators could waste money or be a part of something like holding fake classes for athletes.

It may sound crazy but it seems to me that the purpose of the Board of Governors should be to oversee the administration, to question its decisions and to offer guidance on how education dollars can be best spent. It seems to do this the Board of Governors might benefit from information that didn’t come directly from the administration itself.

In covering local government for over 25 years I have learned that government employees are not always entirely honest, especially when they may have done something the governing body may not like.


The way to a reporter’s heart is through their stomachs. It is amazing what a nice snack does for press coverage, which is why I’m writing this.

I like Aldi grocery stores, but I have become an even bigger fan because Aldi sent me a big box full of goodies to announce the opening of a new store in Burlington.

I have no intention of going to the new store in Burlington but look forward to the opening of their next store in Greensboro, because then I figure they’ll send me an even bigger box of goodies. There is something about a press release that comes with food that just makes it a whole lot more newsworthy.