Where’s the Beef?
I’m perplexed. I’ve read all the posts at Triadwatch concerning Jonathan L. Sangster‘s visit to Greensboro, tomorrow. But I have yet to understand what is wrong with retaining a consultant to help make Roy Carroll‘s property in eastern Guilford County competitive with other sites around the country which seek to attract employers. Of course, I’m not the first person who’s had trouble understanding Hartzman‘s suppositions. Never mind that nothing he has produced to date rises to the level of an allegation of crony capitalism or collusion with elected officials, namely Mayor Robbie Perkins.
In fact, retaining Sangster appears to be an excellent decision. From what I can tell, the local Austerians, abetted by newcomer, Bill Heasley, are inaccurately referring to the process of offering tax incentives as rent-seeking. Sadly, I’ve read Heasley’s blog and watched him speak before council. While I’m sure he’s a competent professional, I also have great difficulty understanding what he is trying to say. Perhaps he and Hartzman should form a support group for ineffective communicators. Or could it simply be that they really have nothing to say?
Anybody with more than mud for brains understands the value of the I-40/85 corridor in eastern Guilford County. Roy Carroll has spent years buying property and paying the taxes on it with the dream of realizing a profit. This is not illegal, nor is it even wrong. His request for $4M in bond money to prepare the property seems reasonable in that successful tenants would presumably bring jobs and tax revenue of greater value than the initial public expense.
As we consider the validity of words written by Hartzman and Heasley, it is important to remember that a great deal was also made of Carroll’s recent $1M contribution to Greensboro College and his requests that the city do something about noise late at night downtown. A reasonable person might get the impression that they wish Carroll had never come to Greensboro, and now that he’s here, that he have no impact on our community. Someone should probably inform the Short Bus Bloggers at Triadwatch and their supporters that people with wealth often seek to use it in such ways as buying downtown buildings, renovating them and offering condo units for sale. In the normal course of these efforts, they often do business with commercial real estate brokers who run for city council and get elected mayor. None of these things are out of the ordinary, and certainly not illegal.
As I’ve said before, unfounded charges of collusion and crony capitalism against private citizens only serve to paint those who make them as fools. So do inaccurate charges of rent-seeking. That such accusations get a rise out of the ignorant local yokels does not lend credence. Appearing before city council with the same unproven allegations only results in laughter and derision from the targeted elected officials. But worst of all, by wasting their credibility so senselessly, they will not be taken seriously when actual instances of impropriety occur.
In the morning, when Mr. Sangster meets with Carroll, his staff and local officials, he will undoubtedly be impressed with their professional ability. In the course of doing business with them, he may also come to find that Greensboro and Guilford County are inhabited by a group of nuts who can be safely ignored.