Robme Perkins on Trolls
From Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane at the N&R:
There’s no doubt that Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins supports a proposed downtown performing arts center. And on Thursday morning, he gave a pep talk to the community task force researching the idea at the request of Greensboro City Council…
He referred to a recent News & Record column by Susan Ladd, which, although it didn’t refer to the performing arts center, said in part: “There are people who build up, and there are people who tear down… Tear-it-downers — especially on the Internet — are often called trolls.”
“All the folks, I don’t call them naysayers, I will call them trolls,” Perkins told the task force, prompting a burst of laughter. “They are not naysayers any more. They are trolls.”
(Perkins later told the News & Record that that he was referring to “people against everything. There’s a certain amount of that you have to overcome to get any major project done.”)
“But we have got to go ahead and get this thing done,” Perkins told the task force. “Thank you for all of the hard work. You guys are doing great.”
Uh, Susan Ladd was wrong in her definition of trolls, as evidenced in a comment from Abner Doon:
“In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog,
with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response
or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”
Perkins‘ correction indicates he also understands the proper usage. As to naysayers, there are some people who seemingly are against anything related to progress. However, regarding the GPAC, grouping all the opponents into that permanent category is disingenuous. If you look at the Nature Science Center bond approval, there is evidence the citizens of Greensboro will vote to spend money on worthwhile projects. The Aquatic Center is another example, even though there was some sleight of hand involved in that process.
As I’ve stated before, the reason the GPAC is having trouble gaining support is because of the way it’s been handled. Mayor Perkins can pretend the opposition is against all public projects, but that is wrong and he knows it. The fact that only three people showed up for meetings in District 3, which includes downtown, indicates the lack of enthusiasm for the project. In fact, there has been little outright opposition. Where Perkins and Coliseum director, Matt Brown, have failed so far is in motivating the citizens to get behind the effort.
Greensboro has a tradition of not approving bonds for which no clear benefit has been demonstrated. We understand War Memorial Auditorium needs to be replaced. We also understand this is a great opportunity to anchor its replacement downtown. What we don’t understand is why it had to be placed on a block of expensive property when a better location owned by the city beside the Carolina Theater wasn’t chosen.
The result of mishandling the process is a current proposal to fund the project with no public money. Those making the decisions, rather than continuing to elicit comments from the citizens toward building consensus, have sent the message the project is going forward whether we approve it or not. That is unfortunate.
Handled properly, Greensboro voters may well have approved bonds to build GPAC. However, those in charge of the process have acted impatiently and with petulance, resulting in more bad feelings where none were necessary. This process is indicative of a mindset among Greensboro’s leaders that they know what is best and that the rest of us should just go along with it. And when we have demonstrated no more than a lack of enthusiasm, they have acted like spoiled children. Greensboro deserves better from its leaders, elected and not.
A hateful term has arisen over the years called The Greensboro Disease to describe those who oppose certain public projects. However, I think you will find that evidence for this is exclusive to efforts proposed downtown. Just because Robbie Perkins chooses to live downtown and has called it “the heart and soul of Greensboro” does not make it so. For many of us who live and work in other parts of the city and have no need to visit downtown, this is as offensive as it is wrong.
Robbie, Matt and their minions cannot promote downtown by force of will. It is about time they began to learn this. Greensboro also has a tradition of developers taking control of city council and doing what they please. Those days are gone. We have a healthy plurality on council now and devious acts like attempting to close the White Street Landfill result in mass defeat at the polls. Perkins would do well to heed this lesson if he wishes to remain mayor after the next election.