City Council Candidates

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Robbie Perkins


This candidate has filed to run for office but did not respond to multiple invitations to add their information for free to this website.

Nancy Vaughan Nancy Vaughan (D), 52

Message to Voters
I have a history of fighting for what I believe in. I have never taken the easy way out. I am prepared and focused to move Greensboro in a positive direction.

Top Issues
Jobs & Economic Development: Greensboro is a resilient City. We are transitioning from our legacy employers to more diverse industry clusters. We must make sure that we have a prepared workforce and the infrastructure in place to support economic growth.

Neighborhood Stabilization We must invest in strong neighborhoods. Neighborhoods across the city deserve the same level of service and attention. Safe affordable housing, access to resources, safety and economic development.

Solid Waste Management We must find a long-term cost effective solution for our solid waste disposal. We must create and implement a plan for long-term sustainable waste management, waste reduction and recycling.

What have you done, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
I think we should revisit the Council Financial Disclosure form. Use a form similar to what is used at the state level, modified for Council business and extended to Board and Commission members.
Nancy Vaughan
Occupation: Community Volunteer
Education: Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT (1979-1981) Local interest: Impact Greensboro and Undoing Racism
Age: 52
Affiliation: Democratic

Email: VaughanforMayor@gmail.com
Phone: 336-215-0192
Nancy Vaughan on FacebookNancy Vaughan on Twitter

Marikay Abuzuaiter Marikay Abuzuaiter (D), 59

Message to Voters
My voting record proves that I have kept my promise to listen to ALL citizens & to have all stakeholders "at the table" on issues/concerns.

Top Issues
Economic development: Council can not CREATE jobs, but creating the proper environment to attract employers should be our top priority. Site-ready acres are important, but I also believe that addressing small business concerns will, in turn, attract larger businesses.

Infrastructure and maintenance New infrastructure may attract economic development, but our current infrastructure (roads, water system, buildings) is crumbling. We MUST prioritize the maintenance for what we have before we pursue new initiatives. Businesses DO notice!

Poverty/wants and needs 20% of our children live in poverty. While we are able to raise millions for what some citizens "want" it appears to me that we should be raising millions for what we NEED. In these economic times we need to listen to what our citizens NEED!

What have you done, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
When a citizen requests information from me I have supplied it! Many times it has only been an answer to a question or direction on where to find an answer. I have never ignored a citizen request.
Marikay Abuzuaiter
Occupation: Owner, Mahi's Restaurant
Education: Graduate of Greensboro College, Impact Greensboro, Greensboro Citizens Academy, Greensboro Citizens Police Academy
Age: 59
Affiliation: Democratic

Email: Abuzuaiter@aol.com
Phone: 336-314-9620
Marikay Abuzuaiter on FacebookMarikay Abuzuaiter on Twitter

Mike Barber Mike Barber (D), 51

Message to Voters

Top Issues
Job Growth: It is important that we create, and market, a Greensboro that is attractive for job growth, relocation, and local investment.

Community Safety: Closely examine the metrics that reflect crime clusters and incidents and reallocate resources to address issues. Identify the top 7 or 8 commercial and entertainment districts, not simply Downtown, and provide adequate policing.

Fiscal Management: Develop monthly, simple to understand, snapshots of the metrics that measure our city's financial health. Identify and examine our unfunded future debt, such as pensions, retirements and some debt obligations. Create and implement an employee suggestion program rewarding employees monetarily for finding cost savings, as opposed to feeling obligated to spend annual budgets to receive funding the following year.

What will you do, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
Recommend utilizing key word software that places most emails on a server and available to the public, which will also reduce the high volume of public record requests and cost. Create a panel to review other correspondence and flagged emails. Create a 3rd public monthly meeting for speakers which actually allows for discussion between council members and public.
Mike Barber
Occupation: Attorney/CEO The First Tee of the Triad
Education: Grimsley High School.....UNC/UNC-G B.A. Economics/ Juris Doctorate-Campbell University5
Age: 51
Affiliation: Democratic

Email: MikeBarberlaw@aol.com
Phone: 336-580-4241

Jean Brown Jean Brown (R), 73

Message to Voters
I will represent all the citizens but especially those who believe that they do not have a voice in city government.

Top Issues
unnecessary spending The budget needs to be balanced and all expenditures that are not necessary for our city needs to be eliminated.

foolish regulations We should look at the many regulations that have taken control of our lives and brought us under government control.

Arts center We should not help finance anything that a majority of our citizens are against.

What will you do, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
Meet more directly with citizens at town meetings and listen to the advice and complaints of the people we represent
Joseph Landis
Occupation: retired
Education: Graduated from Sumner School and Rockingham Community College where I majored in Travel and Tourism. Took additional classes at GTCC where I studied Spanish.
Age: 73
Affiliation: Republican

Email: ilbez4u2c@yahoo.com
Phone: 919 904 8222

Ben Holder Ben Holder (D), 42

Message to Voters
People should vote for me because of my track record and what I have gotten accomplished. I have continuously been a positive force.

Top Issues
Hire Police Chief: According to my sources, Miller told his command staff that he was leaving on Feb 1, 2014. The incoming GPD rookie class is the last one Miller will bring in. Hiring a chief is priority 1. We need a dynamic search for a great chief.

Hire City Manager Denise Turner Roth should not be our city manager. She has had a horrendous time since she obtained the position. She has lost the trust of many staff members and is not looked favorably upon in the publics eye. Greensboro must do better.

Hire City Attorney If there is one department in the city that operates at the lowest form possible, it's the legal staff. The current attorney well, here: http://greensboro.rhinotimes.com/Articles-Articles-c-2013-03-06-215024.112113-City-to-be-more-opaque.html

What will you do, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
I have been the guiding light for Greensboro for a decade. Nobody in this city, not the media or the government, has fought for transparency and uncovered lies as successfully as I have. I do it.
Ben Holder
Occupation: Property Manager
Education: BA Salem College
Age: 42
Affiliation: Democratic

Email: benhgreensboro@aol.com
Phone: 336-988-9857
Ben Holder's blog Ben Holder on Twitter

Yvonne Johnson Yvonne Johnson (D), 70

Message to Voters
I love this city, and its people. I have served them with commitment, vision, and a deep sense of caring.

Top Issues
Jobs & Economic Development The city council should support economic development and job growth, by making sure we have site ready tracks of land, and infrastructure in place to attract new businesses to the city. We also need to continue to support our small businesses.

Good Quality of Life We need to maintain a good balance of activities ie., Arts, culture, and recreation, so the quality of life in Greensboro remains viable for our residents and others considering moving here.

Improve Public Transportation TA needs assessment should be conducted to see what is needed, and what people are not using, as well as to learn how we can better serve those who use public transportation.

What have you done, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
I have always tried to provide vital information when asked. Unless there is a personnel issue, I answer questions and share information.
Yvonne Johnson
Occupation: Non-Profit Executive Director
Education: Master\'s Degree in Counseling from NC A&T State University Honorary Doctorate from Bennett College BA in Psychology from Bennett College
Age: 70
Affiliation: Democratic

Email: Yvonne.johnson@greensboro-nc.gov
Phone: 336-255-3060
Website: www.yvonne2013.com
Yvonne Johnson website

Chris Lawyer Chris Lawyer (R), 34

Message to Voters
I want to help ensure that Greensboro is maximizing the vast potential that we have right here in our city in order to be the best we can be.

Top Issues
Budgets: We need to ensure that our budgets are focused on the needs of our city and not wants. Our budgets need to maximize efficiency in as many areas as possible. Being responsible with tax payer dollars is of the utmost importance.

Business/Jobs We need to focus on creating a business environment that is friendly and as seamless as possible for both large and small businesses. City Council can't create jobs, but it can make the environment for business as conducive as possible.

Public safety and Infrastructure. These two areas are a bedrock of city government. These are high priority areas that are a need and not a want. We must be sure that these are areas of focus rather than just another item in a budget.

What will you do, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
When we are addressing an issue there must be full disclosure available at all times. We need to be as inclusive as possible of all citizens in the governing process.
Chris Lawyer
Occupation: Physician Assistant
Education: BS in Exercise and Sports Science, James Madison University '03 Master of Physician Assistant Studies King's College '05
Age: 34
Affiliation: Republican

Email: lawyerforcouncil@gmail.com
Phone: 324-9472
Website: lawyerforcouncil.com
Chris Lawyer websiteChris Lawyer on FacebookChris Lawyer on Twitter

T. Dianne Bellamy-Small


This candidate has filed to run for office but did not respond to multiple invitations to add their information for free to this website.

Sharon Hightower


This candidate has filed to run for office but did not respond to multiple invitations to add their information for free to this website.

Jamal Fox Jamal Fox (D), 25

Message to Voters
To become an innovative forward thinking city we must have the right blend of knowledge, experience, skills, and ideas to sustain our city.

Top Issues
Community Greensboro neighborhoods should reflect the needs of our citizens. It is critical that our community knows we care. We will strengthen our relationship, educate, and empower our citizens in hope to provide a sense of pride in their community.

Economic Development The City of Greensboro must be fiscally responsible. A responsible balanced budget is not a limitation but it is a road map to sustainable future with spending priorities established rationally and available funds allocated accordingly.

Public Safety The City of Greensboro must have a professional police force with sufficient personnel and resources to not only respond to crime in the area but also work to reduce crime in Greensboro.

What will you do, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
I will strengthen the communication between the city and community i.e. town halls.I will work hard and be accessible to hear concerns, work with the community to find solutions and build trust.
Jamal Fox
Occupation: Adjunct Professor
Education: MPA, Capella University BA in Political Science, NC A&T State University
Age: 25
Affiliation: Democratic

Email: jamal@jamalfox.com
Phone: 336-612-3653
Website: jamalfox.com
Jamal Fox websiteJamal Fox on FacebookJamal Fox on Twitter

Jim Kee Jim Kee (D), 55

Message to Voters
When I was elected to city council in 2009, district two had two million dollars of economic development investment going on. Today, district two has over three hundred million dollars of economic dev

Top Issues
Economic Development Greensboro is the third largest city in North Carolina in size but ranks seventh in median income. City leaders have to give primary focus to providing ways of creating and sustaining small businesses, while attracting medium to large businesses

Public Safety We have done a good job keeping crime low and providing public safety for our citizens. However, there is always room for improvement. GPD has kept crime low and is currently down nine percent year over year. Our fire department continues to be

Infrastructure Providing new infrastructure in the right areas is key to growing and sustaining this city. We have to concentrate on areas of expected growth within our city limits and adjacent to our city limits that do not have annexation constraints or where

What have you done, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
I continue to keep the citizens informed regarding proposed investments such as the performing arts center and the Florida street extension. I encourage citizen participation on all items.
Jim Kee
Occupation: Developer and property manager
Education: Bachelor of Science in Economics from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Age: 55
Affiliation: Democratic

Email: jimkee2013@gmail.com
Phone: 336-285-8378
Website: http://votejimkee.com
Jim Kee website

Zack Matheny Zack Matheny (R), 40

Message to Voters
My hope is that the citizens of Greensboro recognize my strength as a leader on City Council, my ability to rationalize and bring common sense to issues, and asking important questions in striving us to move forward.

Top Issues
Economic development/job creatin Our region lost 90k jobs from 2000-2010, we have to do what we can in ED. I currently chair the first ever City Economic Development Task Force, where we are actively working to create solutions for our City.

Public safety Our Police and Fire departments are a major backbone for our community. We continue to work diligently to tackle issues and maintain proper levels of safety in our City. I work with the Chief's to ensure they have the tools to do the job.

Fiscal Responsibility Throughout my tenure on Council we have never raised taxes (actually we had a decrease albeit small) and we continue to make solid investments in out community. I promise to continue to be a good steward of our taxpayer dollars.

What have you done, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
Over my years on council I have gotten closed meetings taped so at sometime they can be released for public and I have argued for meetings to be open to all. I am accessible and open with all topics.
Zack Matheny
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Education: North Carolina State University
Age: 40
Affiliation: Republican

Email: zackmatheny@gmail.com
Phone: 336-686-1336
Zack Matheny on Facebook Zack Matheny on Twitter

Wendell Roth Wendell Roth (R), 47

Message to Voters
Greensboro is an awesome place to live and work and I am confident we can make it even better. If elected, I will always be approachable

Top Issues
Jobs Job creation must be placed back at the top of the City Council's priorities. We need to award more city contracts to existing Greensboro based businesses, creating local jobs and revenues. As an entrepreneur, I have learned first-hand that start

Fiscal Responsibility Greensboro has the highest tax rate and highest unemployment rate of any city in North Carolina. Greensboro's tax rate is 65% higher than Raleigh's and our unemployment rate is about 30% higher. Higher taxes mean fewer companies which mean fewer

Term Limits The best way for a city to continuously improve is to ensure a constant influx of new ideas. I will promote an extension of the city council term to four years COUPLED with a three-term limit. Serving as Mayor would also count as one of the three

What will you do, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
We need to conduct the public's business in front of the public. In addition, we need to simplify the city's accounting methods and require transparency for city funded initiatives and entities
Wendell Roth
Occupation: Entrepreneur and Consultant
Education: Bachelor of Industrial Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
Age: 47
Affiliation: Republican

Email: wendell@wendellroth.com
Phone: 336.508.1981
Website: wendellroth.com/
Wendell Roth website Wendell Roth on Facebook

Nancy Hoffman


This candidate has filed to run for office but did not respond to multiple invitations to add their information for free to this website.

Bill Knight


This candidate has filed to run for office but did not respond to multiple invitations to add their information for free to this website.

Sal Leone Sal Leone (D), 41

Message to Voters
I am like my voters, a working and tax paying citizen.

Top Issues
The people must come first: The concept of the people first is simple but is it practiced in council. The council seems to give who they want loans. There always seems to be a conflict with council and anyone in real estate. The council needs to listen more often.

Unemployment: I am not sure council is aware of the unemployment rate. The number seems to stay in the same range for years.

Poverty : The rate is high in the Greensboro area but all I hear is talk. There are some lost council people. The council wants to spend millions on GPAC, millions on forgiveable loans, but children go hungry, the IRC is under funded.

What will you do, specifically, to increase transparency in city government?
The answer is to involve the community in major votes, community meetings for public feedback.
Sal Leone
Occupation: Law Enforcement
Education: AAS degree, over a 120 credits total. I have over 600 hours in FEMA traing, hundreds of other hours in law enforcement training, Advance law enforcement certification, general instructor for law enforcement.
Age: 41
Affiliation: Democratic

Email: Vote4leone@gmail.com
Phone: 336 554-5555
Website: www.leoneforcouncil.com
Sal Leone website

Tony Wilkins


This candidate has filed to run for office but did not respond to multiple invitations to add their information for free to this website.

Blogs & News

Candidates in the news and local blogs

INSIDE SCOOP: Wilkins now *officially* the only candidate in District 5--News&Record Greensboro
September 3rd, 2015 -- 9:05 AM

Councilman Tony Wilkins hasn't had much to sweat from his District 5 challenger Maureen Washington so far this election season.

INSIDE SCOOP: Wilkins now *officially* the only candidate in District 5--News&Record
September 3rd, 2015 -- 9:05 AM

Councilman Tony Wilkins hasn't had much to sweat from his District 5 challenger Maureen Washington so far this election season.

Wishful thinking: Perkins-Vaughan Round 2 would've been a good one--News&Record Greensboro
August 31st, 2015 -- 8:30 PM

Not to disparage her challengers, but when filing ended last month for Greensboro City Council elections, the top of the ballot seemed to affirm incumbent Nancy Vaughan’s performance.

Wishful thinking: Perkins-Vaughan Round 2 would've been a good one--News&Record Greensboro Alt
August 31st, 2015 -- 8:30 PM

Not to disparage her challengers, but when filing ended last month for Greensboro City Council elections, the top of the ballot seemed to affirm incumbent Nancy Vaughan’s performance.

A True Alternative!--Ridgill Rant
August 31st, 2015 -- 9:49 AM

     Funny stuff, this election thing!  With two months until election day there is still much work to be done, many people to meet and a few forums to attend.  Money still needs to be raised, signs printed, more questionnaires filled out and individuals to sit down with.  The work will continue until the last vote is counted.  Are my chances improving?  I would still place them in the "improbable" category but my experiences week before last at the Wyndham and a few chats I had last week were encouraging.  I honestly believe that there is a "hope" that I can slip into the top three though some probably feel this "grassroots" attempt may not reach enough folks in time.  Is their enough dissatisfaction with the current council for folks to actively seek an alternative?  If yes, will they show up to vote in an off year election?
     Everyone seems to have an opinion of which of the current at large incumbents I should target.  Problem is that I have support from such a wide range of citizens that reside in different areas of the city, everyone has a different target in mind.  While I eventually may single one out in a "subtle" way, I feel that my background and knowledge is so different from every sitting council person that I should focus more on what I would bring to the council in those areas.  With only a three month window, it would still come down to who shows up to vote and how disenchanted they are with the status quo.  If the electorate believes the city has been governed in an efficient way then there won't be much to decide.  If not, then the electorate will be looking for alternatives.  With very few candidates entered this year the alternatives are limited; but there is enough of us to make some change on this council.  In my opinion, it is needed change as there are too many "like minded" people serving on our current council.
     The differences between me and the incumbents are very noticeable.  I worked for 29 years serving the citizens of Greensboro in a functional capacity, encountering individual citizens one on one.  My job was problem solving; hear the issue, come up with a short term plan that led to a long term solution and do it in less than half an hour.  If the call ran longer while waiting for forensics support, many conversations with individuals were had to pass the time that were often of a nature concerning city policies.  There is no doubt that I have been in more homes, more businesses, more churches, more schools and had more one on one conversations with Greensboro citizens of all ages, races and ethnicities than every other candidate combined.
     That includes conversations with other city employees as well.  Many times while having my patrol car serviced, directing traffic for Parks and Recreation to cut trees, assisting the Fire Department or working with the many other city divisions and their workers, conversations about city council decisions, management decisions, benefits and the concerns about each were discussed.  While the public scratched their heads about council decisions from the outside looking in, city employees were scratching their heads from the "inside looking up" with no explanation forthcoming.  I have had to implement these polices and act on these decisions and very well know which ones worked and which ones did not; which ones were designed for "show" and which ones were serious proposals and not mere folly.
     Perhaps the biggest differences between the current council and myself is this.  I am not an attorney.  I am not in real estate or land development.  I am not a business owner.  I am not affiliated nor do I operate a non-profit organization.  I am also not married to anyone that falls into any of these categories.  I am an average citizen, much more aligned with the majority of Greensboro citizens.  The chances of having to recuse myself from any vote are remote; very remote!  But the best part is that for a vote to "positively" or "negatively" affect me it also affects the vast majority of the population the same way.  In other words, I am not in a profession or associated with one that would benefit from a vote that the average citizen would not.  I would be an actual representative of city employees and the general populace.
     Isn't that what government is designed to be?  

Candidate cricitizes opponent for recusals--Triad City Beat
August 26th, 2015 -- 3:00 AM

by Eric Ginsburg Two contenders for Greensboro City Council’s District 3 seat disagree about whether a possible conflict of interest deserves to be an election issue this fall....

Laurelyn Dossett hosts a free evening of songs focused on social justice issues and performed by North Carolina’s preeminent singer/songwriters--Yes!Weekly
August 24th, 2015 -- 5:27 PM

"Greensboro, N.C., August 24, 2015 — ArtsGreensboro announced today that it will present a free concert, “Songs of Hope & Justice,” at 7 pm on Thursday, September 10, at The Railyard, 106 South Barnhardt Street in downtown Greensboro. Sponsored by O.Henry and Proximity Hotels, this will be the first event in ArtsGreensboro’s 2015 Fabric of Freedomseries.
Singer/songwriter Laurelyn Dossett of Greensboro will host the free concert, which will feature songs that shine a light on important social issues—past and present. Performances will include songs from the folk canon of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Odetta, and others as well as new and original songs underscoring today’s most pressing social challenges.
Dossett is well known for her own protest songs, including “Vote Against Amendment One” and “My Beloved Enemy,” and others on regional topics such as the Dan River coal ash spill and the loss of textile jobs. She has brought together an outstanding group of performers to celebrate the role of folk songs—specifically protest songs—in America. The performers include:
·      Rhiannon Giddens, of the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, regularly performs traditional folk songs. She also writes stunning protest songs focused on current issues, including “Cry No More,” which she wrote and recorded in response to the June 2015 shooting at “Mother Emanuel” AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
·      Bhi Bhiman, a topical, talented singer/songwriter who has toured and collaborated with Giddens, has garnered rave reviews from the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR.
·      Alice Gerrard, a force in folk music for over 50 years, has spent her career singing traditional and original songs that tell the stories of everyday people, from coal miners to textile workers. A 2015 Grammy nominee for her latest album, Follow the Music, Alice is the founder of The Old-Time Herald, a publication dedicated to traditional music. 
·      Molly McGinn, founding member of Amelia's Mechanics, creator of the ground-breaking Postcards from the Swamp, and one of Greensboro’s favorite performers and songwriters, organized the Raise Your Voices campaign to bring out the Vote Against North Carolina’s Amendment One.
·      Django Haskins, founding member of Durham-based The Old Ceremony, received a 2015-2016 Artist Fellowship in Songwriting from the North Carolina Arts Council in recognition of “excellence and achievement” in his artform. In 2013, Django wrote, “We Are Not For Sale,” a protest song that he performed at a Moral Monday gathering in Raleigh.
·      Preston Lane, Artistic Director of Triad Stage will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Lane and Dossett have written five plays with music, all exploring the region's tradition of folk storytelling and song.
“This special concert is not about ‘showcasing’ artists,” said Dossett. “It’s about a community of artists coming together to shed light on and celebrate the role of songs in our collective social-justice history. There will be a variety of voices and styles, but a commonality of spirit and purpose.”
ArtsGreensboro President and CEO Tom Philion added, “This concert will be a truly historic event. The artists Laurelyn has gathered bring an incredibly deep understanding of the struggles for freedom and equality. ‘Songs of Hope & Justice’ will be a perfect introduction to the Fabric of Freedom themes that we’ll explore throughout the National Folk Festival and 17DAYS.”
Fabric of Freedom programming, funded by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts with support from the AJ Fletcher Foundation and Lincoln Financial, will run throughout the National Folk Festival and 17DAYS. The Fabric of Freedom showcases Greensboro’s unique history as a haven in the quest for freedom and a catalyst for social change since colonial times. From the pacifist traditions of the city’s 18th-century Quaker founders (who nevertheless took up arms during the American Revolution) and the power of the Underground Railroad, through the birth of the sit-in movement and the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, and continuing into the present with the struggle among recent immigrants for standing and equality, the Fabric of Freedom tells Greensboro’s story.
###
About Proximity Hotel, 2015 Hospitality Sponsor for the National Folk Festival: New-world moxie meets old-world hospitality at Proximity Hotel. Custom-designed furnishings, commissioned art, and innovative design fill every corner of the AAA Four Diamond Proximity Hotel, which was the first hotel in America to receive LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Enjoy fresh European flavors at Print Works Bistro with creekside dining, modern loft-like guestrooms, a social lobby with 22-foot high windows, the adjacent greenway, and an outdoor pool.  proximityhotel.com
About O.Henry Hotel, 2015 Hospitality Sponsor for the National Folk Festival: Let elegance and tranquility restore your spirit at O.Henry Hotel. Reminiscent of the grand hotels of an earlier era, the O.Henry Hotel is conveniently situated adjacent to popular Friendly Center shopping village and just two miles from downtown Greensboro. The social lobby overlooking the Cloister Garden is a lovely setting for afternoon tea, pre-dinner cocktails, or Jazz every Thursday and some Saturdays. Guests enjoy informally elegant dining and seasonal foods showcasing old-world European flavors at the adjacent Green Valley Grill. A AAA Four Diamond hotel, the O.Henry Hotel features original paintings and a complimentary Southern-style breakfast buffet. Enjoy gracious amenities and an attentive staff. ohenryhotel.com
About the 2015 National Folk Festival: Co-produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) and ArtsGreensboro, the National Folk Festival is beginning its three-year residency in downtown Greensboro this year, when it will celebrate its 75th anniversary from September 11 – 13, 2015. The FREE, three-day event is America’s longest-running festival of traditional arts; it will highlight both long-standing traditions and the heritage and culture of North Carolina’s newest immigrant groups, and set the stage for a continuing and permanent North Carolina Folk Festival, beginning in 2018, after the “National” moves on.

Belk is the presenting sponsor of the 2015 Festival. With downtown Greensboro as the backdrop, audiences will enjoy seven stages featuring continuous musical entertainment—from rockabilly to old-time to mariachi, and from funk to Cajun to jazz. Attendees will also be able to dance non-stop to a variety of musical genres at the dance pavilion; dine on regional and ethnic foods; experience folk art demonstrations and performances by N.C. artists; and share the fun of the Family Activities Area with their children. nationalfolkfestival.com
About 17DAYS
Entering its fifth year, 17DAYS, hosted by ArtsGreensboro, has become the state’s largest collaborative arts and culture festival, featuring more than 100 events, exhibitions, and performances produced by more than 70 organizations, artists, and venues. In 2014, over 100,000 people attended 17DAYS events. With the addition of the 75th National Folk Festival, which runs during 17DAYS’ opening weekend, September 11 through September 13, and is expected to draw up to 100,000 people, 17DAYS is poised to have its biggest year ever. The 2015 festival will take place from September 11 through September 27. 17DAYSGreensboro.org
About ArtsGreensboro


With an annual budget of approximately $4 million, ArtsGreensboro is a catalyst for innovation to build recognition and support for the arts. Through the 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival, I HEART ARTS Month, power2give, and other opportunities including the National Folk Festival, ArtsGreensboro is driving the health and vitality of our community by supporting arts education, celebrating the diversity of Greensboro, and driving economic impact through excellence in arts programming. artsgreensboro.org"

- A Press Release

INSIDE SCOOP: First City Council candidates forum Sept. 15--News&Record Greensboro Alt
August 21st, 2015 -- 9:55 AM

The first city council candidate forum of the election season will be Tuesday, September 15.

INSIDE SCOOP: First City Council candidates forum Sept. 15--News&Record Greensboro
August 21st, 2015 -- 9:55 AM

The first city council candidate forum of the election season will be Tuesday, September 15.

INSIDE SCOOP: First City Council candidates forum Sept. 15--News&Record
August 21st, 2015 -- 9:55 AM

The first city council candidate forum of the election season will be Tuesday, September 15.

The biggest question for mayoral candidate King--Roch101
August 21st, 2015 -- 8:44 AM

GREENSBORO, NC - Devin King is running for mayor. He is something of an outsider who doesn't like what he sees and thinks he can shake things up. That can be good. The best qualified city council candidates are not necessarily those who put in their time on boards, commissions and civic clubs. That's certainly one route to experience, but it can lead to being subsumed by the insulated power structure. Candidates who go that route often serve to maintain the status quo. Depending on your perspective, that can be a minus or a plus.

No matter where a candidate is coming from, inside or outside, there is one measure by which they all can be evaluated as serious and aware persons.

Voting history.

The 27 year-old King has lived in Greensboro for five years and yet has never voted in the ten elections during that time. In fact, he did not even register until March of this year. While voters across North Carolina may rightly feel apathetic towards the preordained outcomes of our gerrymandered congressional districts, plenty of other important decision are made at the ballot box and King, for all his passionate concern, has consistently left it to others to decide.
Devin King, mayoral candidate

Republican King passed on participating in elections that had Robbie Perkins unseat Bill Knight for mayor and, two years later, had Perkins lose to current mayor and King's opponent Nancy Vaughan. King was silent on the race that had his incumbent district two council representative Jim Kee toppled by upstart Jamal Fox.

King was missing in action in 2011 as two fellow Republican candidates, challenger Chris Lawyer and incumbent Danny Thompson, each aiming for one of three council at-large seats, finished fourth and fifth respectively—just out of the money and leaving all at-large seats in the hands of Democrats. King sat on his hands in 2013 when Lawyer tried again and, again, came in fourth.

Those are just local races of note. During King's time in Greensboro, he passed on voting between Pat MCrory and Walter Dalton for Governor, Elaine Marshal and Richard Burr for U.S. Senator and between Barak Obama and Mitt Romney.

In his congressional district, King failed to weigh in on the race between Democrat Alma Adams and Republican activist Olga Wright and left it to others to decide a slew of judges, school board members and county officials.

King doesn't like the way thing are. He may have some good points. He's right about the need for greater transparency, for example. But is he part of the solution or part of the problem? One wonders.

Greensboro Mayoral candidate Sal Leone; "Jab at me if you want; I’m for the have-nots"--East Greensboro Performing Arts Center
August 20th, 2015 -- 7:46 AM

"...plenty have something to lose if I win. The Rhino is owned by developer Roy Carroll who (guess what?) makes money off the City Council; Which means current City Council members give Roy Carroll some of everyone else's money on a regular basis in exchange for campaign cash, good press, Rhino Times endorsements  and hit pieces on anyone who opposes the pilfering.  ...I took a jab from

Memory loss--Roch101
August 19th, 2015 -- 7:45 AM

GREENSBORO, NC -- Former New & Record editor John Robinson bemoans the N&R's loss of institutional memory. It seems the paper has a short term memory problem too.

From a letter to the editor today:



The complete list of candidates who have filed to run for mayor of Greensboro, from the Guilford County Board of Elections:







Theresa yon...pubic figure or not ?--Dang
August 18th, 2015 -- 10:46 AM

Let s see... Theresa Yon just got selected as the new treasurer of the NC republican party... Theresa Yon has told more than a few people about her intentions to run for city council potential new District 7... Theresa Yon miserably failed an NC house run a few years back... Theresa Yon and her husband Glen Romano call 911 regularly to complain about noise... Noise! Theresa Yon seems to have

Stuff--Abner's Inquisition
August 18th, 2015 -- 10:45 AM

The email;

From: George Hartzman
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2014 7:56 AM
Subject: Seven International City/County Management Association (ICMA) 457 Retirement Plan Fee Comparisons

Per ICMA's Plan Service Reports;

San Antonio's $254,097,157 Q2 2014 Plan Service Report (page 83) states;

"As of June 30, 2014, the estimated annual cost to your plan is... (0.82% of plan assets)"
.
.
Orlando's $141,985,619 Q1 2014 Plan Service Report (page 105) states;

"As of March 31, 2014, the estimated annual cost to your plan is... (0.64% of plan assets)"
.
.
The City of Durham's $25,531,109 Q2 2014 Plan Service Report (page 87) states;

"As of June 30, 2014, the estimated annual cost to your plan is... (1.06% of plan assets)"
.
.
The City of Greensboro's $87,898,314 Q1 2014 Plan Service Report (page 66) states;

"As of March 31, 2014, the estimated annual cost to your plan is... (0.84% of plan assets)"
.
.
The City of Wilmington's $26,047,983 Q1 2014 Plan Service Report (page 68) states;

"As of March 31, 2014, the estimated annual cost to your plan is... (0.81% of plan assets)"
.
.
The City of Charlotte's $44,774,547 Q1 2014 Plan Service Report (page 78) states;

"As of March 31, 2014, the estimated annual cost to your plan is... (0.80% of plan assets)"
.
.
The City of Winston Salem's $19,933,124 Q1 2014 Plan Service Report (page 49) states;

"As of March 31, 2014, the estimated annual cost to your plan is... (0.47% of plan assets)"
.
.
Please ask ICMA to match Winston Salem's fee structure or better to leave more money in employee accounts or fire them.

Thanks,

George Hartzman
.
.
From: George Hartzman 
Date: October 7, 2014 at 1:23:23 PM EDT
Subject: This evening's 3 minutes.

George Hartzman,

I teach financial ethics, foresaw the 2008 financial crises, after which I became a whistleblower against Wells Fargo, and I have found the financial industry engages in profit skimming via limited transparency that provides little to no value to investors who pay the fees.

...In the fall of 2013, I analyzed Greensboro's 457 retirement plan to see if the City's employees were being overcharged for administration and investment management.

Greensboro’s 457 plan provider is the Washington DC based “non-profit” International City/County Management Association, or ICMA whose CEO made more $2 million in 2012.

I found that;

North Carolina's 231,000 plan participants pay about $217 each for recordkeeping per year.

Greensboro's 2,781 ICMA 457 participants pay about $266 each for recordkeeping per year.

But Winston Salem, who rolled over their plan's 1,029 ICMA 457 participant balances in 2012, pay about $91 each per year.

I wrote about Greensboro's plan on April 23, 2014 for Yes Weekly and met again with city staff a couple of months back.

Greensboro's employees are getting fleeced by the state and ICMA and no one seems to want to do anything about it.

Lowering the costs your employees are paying within these plans can create higher levels of economic impact after retirement, as more money would be available to be spent locally.

I can explain how to lower these costs for Greensboro's employees in about 15 minutes.

Please invite me to a City Council work session to look into increasing the values of our community's retirement accounts.
.
.
From: Vigue, Mary
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2014 1:26 PM
To: Hammond, Connie; Blackburn, Joan
Subject: Fwd: This evening's 3 minutes.

Can I please get something to respond to this tonight?

Thanks
.
.
From: Westmoreland, Jim
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2014 12:11 PM
To: Department Heads
Subject: Contact(s) from Geroge Hartzman

I’ve been made aware that Mr. Hartzman may be calling around to some of you (and possibly some of your employees) to ask questions about our 457 plan. If he calls you, please refer him to Mary Vigue for follow-up.

Thanks.

Jim Westmoreland, PE, City Manager
City of Greensboro
300 W. Washington Street
Greensboro, NC 27402-3136
.
.
On Oct 14, 2014, at 11:38 AM, "Zack Matheny"
wrote:

Mary -

I spent over 8 years in this industry as a professional and have invested in mutual funds since I was in high school.

I would like to set a meeting with you, and anyone else that oversees this account.

There are some changes that could be made and their response was underwhelming.

Please, let me know when you can meet.

Zack
.
.
From: Vigue, Mary
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 12:46 PM
To: Matheny, Zack
Cc: Hammond, Connie; Carruthers, Tom; Lusk, Rick
Subject: Re: Council Request- ICMA-RC

I am having a conference call with ICMA-RC on Monday if you want to meet prior to that so staff can share your concerns and possible changes.

After today I am available the rest of the week and I will pull the appropriate staff. Let me know a time that would work for you.

Thanks.
Mary
.
.
From: Hammond, Connie
To: Vigue, Mary
Subject: RE: Council Request- ICMA-RC
Date: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 8:57:35 AM

Thanks.. Will share further thoughts when we take a break.

Thanks for all you do......

Connie D. Hammond
Human Resources
City of Greensboro













.
.
From: Blackburn, Joan
Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 6:02 PM
To: Weight, James
Subject: FW: This evening's 3 minutes.

Joan A. Blackburn
Total Compensation Benefits Supervisor
Human Resources Department
.
.
From: Blackburn, Joan
To: "Weight, James"
Subject: FW: Recent PIRT responses sent to Mr. Hartzman
Date: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 6:01:18 PM
Attachments: 457 Plan statement 12-31-13 for PIRT.pdf
457 Plan Financial Statment 2009 for PIRT 33694.pdf
457 Plan 2010 Financial Statement - PIRT 3694 .pdf
457 Plan 2011 Financial Statement PIRT 3694 (2).pdf
Fund Performance 6-30-14.pdf
Fee Disclosure Statement.pdf
Service Agreement with Greensboro to 2018 signed.pdf
PIRT 3890_9-17-14.pdf
457 Plan Document Trust 11 06.pdf
.
.
From: Weight, James [mailto:jweight@icmarc.org]
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2014 8:48 AM
To: Blackburn, Joan
Subject: RE: This evening's 3 minutes.

Hi Joan,

I can call you mid-day today, ok?

James Weight, CFP®
Director, Relationship Management
Mid-Atlantic Region
ICMA-RC
.
.
From: Blackburn, Joan
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2014 09:30 AM
To: Weight, James
Subject: RE: This evening's 3 minutes.

How’s 12:30?

Joan A. Blackburn
Total Compensation Benefits Supervisor
Human Resources Department
.
.
From: Weight, James
To: Blackburn, Joan
Subject: Re: This evening"s 3 minutes.
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:44:16 AM

12:30 should be a good time for me.

I will call you in your office then, ok?

James Weight, CFP
Director, Relationship Management
Mid-Atlantic Region
ICMA-RC
.
.
From: Gaylord, Shani
To: Westmoreland, Jim; Vigue, Mary
Cc: McCollough, Mary
Subject: RE: Contact(s) from Geroge Hartzman
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:45:40 AM

Good morning Jim and Mary,

George Hartzman recently called to provide the information that he will be downtown today, so feel free to contact him if you’d like to schedule a brief, 15 minute meeting to go over the 457 plan before today’s Work Session. He mentioned that he also went over this information with Jeff, Marikay and Zack.

He can be reached via phone at...

Best,
Shani
.
.
From: Vigue, Mary
To: Gaylord, Shani
Subject: Re: Contact(s) from Geroge Hartzman
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:46:26 AM

Jeff?

Mary Vigue
Interim Assistant City Manager
City Manager's Office
City of Greensboro
.
.
From: Gaylord, Shani
To: Vigue, Mary
Subject: RE: Contact(s) from Geroge Hartzman
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:47:35 AM

Jeff Gawger.

Please excuse my spelling he did not spell out the name.
.
.
From: Vigue, Mary
To: Hammond, Connie
Subject: Fwd: Contact(s) from Geroge Hartzman
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:52:06 AM

Have we heard anything from ICMA-RC?

The Jeff below is with the media... This makes Councilmember Matheny's email make sense.

Mary
Mary Vigue
Interim Assistant City Manager
City Manager's Office
City of Greensboro
.
.
The Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:52:06 AM message from Mary Vigue was forwarded;

From: Hammond, Connie
To: Marro, Joseph; Blackburn, Joan
Subject: FW: Contact(s) from Geroge Hartzman
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:09:17 AM
.
.
From: Hammond, Connie
To: Vigue, Mary
Subject: RE: Contact(s) from Geroge Hartzman
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:16:44 AM

Yes… I got a copy of a proposed letter yesterday from Weight. We can discuss. Over phone or in person.
.
.
From: Hammond, Connie
To: Marro, Joseph; Blackburn, Joan; "jweight@icmarc.org"
Subject: Hartzman"s
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:52:50 AM

This link may give you further insights (?) into the thinking. See side panel "457 proposal..

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/

Connie
.
.
From: George Hartzman
To: Vigue, Mary
Subject: Re: See you at about 2:45 tomorrow
Date: Monday, October 20, 2014 12:41:18 PM

Looks like I am meeting with Nancy Vaughan alone at 2 tomorrow, if you would like to join...
.
.
From: George Hartzman
To: bwhitehorn@ashevillenc.gov
Subject: Thanks for your time.
Date: Monday, October 20, 2014 2:30:50 PM
Attachments: 10 10 2014 TSP Presentation Book.doc
Information request for the North Carolina Treasurer.doc

If possible, please forward the information request to North Carolina's Treasurer's office as a "fiduciary".

I call to ICMA with mention that you spoke to me and took a look at how Winston Salem is doing business may bring down your fees rather very quickly.

Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing spoke with ICMA last Friday, and Greensboro Assistant City Manager Mary Vigue is meeting with them
.
.
From: Tony Wilkins
To: "George Hartzman"; Westmoreland, Jim; Lusk, Rick; Hammond, Connie; Vigue, Mary
Cc: Vaughan, Nancy (Mayor); Johnson, Yvonne; Barber, Mike; Abuzuaiter, Marikay; Hightower, Sharon; Fox, Jamal; Matheny, Zack; Hoffmann, Nancy; Wilkins, Tony
Subject: RE: On October 21, 2014"s ICMA 457 plan meeting with Mayor Vaughan and Mary
Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 1:57:41 PM

Jim Westmoreland,

Please tell me, in language that I can understand, if George Hartzman’s claims in this e-mail are true.

Thanks,

Tony Wilkins
Greensboro City Council
.
.
From: Hammond, Connie
To: "Carmen Caruth"
Subject: FW: Hartzman"s
Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 3:04:30 PM

Carmen,

As discussed.....

This link may give you further insights (?) into the thinking. See side panel "457 proposal..

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/
.
.
From: Cooper, Larry [mailto:Larry.Cooper@greensboro-nc.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 3:43 PM
To: Weight, James
Cc: Flattich, Art; Blackburn, Joan
Subject: FW: On October 21, 2014's ICMA 457 plan meeting with Mayor Vaughan and Mary

Vigue

HI James,

See the information below I referred to in my voice message. This email blast is the result of
George’s meeting with the Mayor and Mary Vigue yesterday. He is trying to make contact with
Winston-Salem regarding 34 basis point issue.
.
.
From: Westmoreland, Jim To: "Tony Wilkins"
Cc: Vaughan, Nancy (Mayor); Johnson, Yvonne; Barber, Mike; Abuzuaiter, Marikay; Hightower, Sharon; Fox, Jamal;
Matheny, Zack; Hoffmann, Nancy; Wilkins, Tony; Lusk, Rick; Hammond, Connie; Vigue, Mary
Subject: RE: On October 21, 2014"s ICMA 457 plan meeting with Mayor Vaughan and Mary Vigue
Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:41:20 PM

Tony,

I have asked staff to prepare an update for Council on this item. We will share tomorrow.

In simple terms, we have a very good 457 plan in the City of Greensboro that provides a diverse range of funds/options for our employees to choose from. Depending on the fund/option they choose to invest in, different plan fees are applied.

So I don’t think that comparing our plan/fees to others by averaging plan fee costs by participant is a fair comparison or really means anything?

Jim
.
.
From: Weight, James
To: Cooper, Larry
Cc: Flattich, Art; Blackburn, Joan
Subject: RE: On October 21, 2014"s ICMA 457 plan meeting with Mayor Vaughan and Mary
Date: Thursday, October 23, 2014 4:41:51 PM
Attachments: ICMA-RC Letter Regarding Hartzman Fee Comparison - Greensboro - 10 16 14.pdf

Hi Larry,

Thanks again for the heads up yesterday.

Would it be helpful for us to meet with the City Manager and/or the Mayor and/or any City Council members?...

James Weight, CFP®
Director, Relationship Management
Mid-Atlantic Region
ICMA-RC
.
.
From: Grayson, Greg
To: Fire Leadership
Subject: Notes from Department Director Meeting
Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 11:56:36 AM

...Hartzman information in public domain on 457 plan costs
Direct questions to Mary Vigue, do NOT engage with Hartzman
His data is not comparing apples to apples
ICMA charges variable fees based upon the funds employees choose
.
.
From: George Hartzman
To: Westmoreland, Jim; Lusk, Rick; Hammond, Connie; Vigue, Mary
Subject: On October 21, 2014"s ICMA 457 plan meeting with Mayor Vaughan and Mary Vigue
Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 9:24:12 AM
Attachments: Greensboro fee pages.pdf
Winston Salem Fee Pages.pdf

On Tuesday, I met with Greensboro Assistant City Manager Mary Vigue and Nancy Vaughan in the Mayor's office.

Mary, a member of ICMA, had met with a representative of ICMA-RC on Monday.

Mary became confrontational from the outset of the meeting, and seemed to be advocating for ICMA's justifications of Greensboro's current 457 plan fees as opposed to what's in the best interests of Greensboro's employees invested in the plan.

Mary cited a hidden asset based fee in Winston Salem's fee structure to assert Winston Salem
doesn't pay less than Greensboro...

...Mary Vigue objected to the idea of considering the plan's fees per participant and asserted that
Winston paid more during the meeting on several occasions.
.
.
...Greensboro's VT Vantagepoint Equity Income "Large Value Fund" (page 67), which ICMA
owns, which is inherently a conflict of interest, charges a total of 0.78% on $1,609,652 in
Greensboro's plan.

Winston Salem's Vanguard Equity Income Admiral "Large Value Fund" (page 50), which is
essentially the same thing Greensboro's Equity Income Large Value Fund only different,
charges a total of 0.21% on $2,011,041. Adding in the 0.34% ICMA charges Winston on the
back end, I found the total annual charge for Winston's participants to be 0.55%.

Greensboro's 0.78% is larger than Winston's 0.55%.
.
.
Winston Salem's Mid and Small Cap index funds (page 50), where most of the participant's
money is invested, is charged a total of 0.44% by ICMA. (0.10% + 0.34%)

Greensboro's Mid and Small Cap funds total annual ICMA charges (pages 67 and 8) are
1.20%, 1.14%, 1.09%, 1.05%, 1.27%, 0.82%, 1.02%, 1.24% and 1.45%.
.
.
It's my understanding Mary did not ask for or inquire about any possible fee reductions during her meeting with ICMA-RC's representative on Monday, but instead appears to have consumed a great deal of ICMA cool aid to regurgitate to the benefit of ICMA, as opposed to proactively looking out for what the best course of action was for Greensboro's employees.

Mary asserted that nothing needed fixing in Tuesday's meeting with Mayor Vaughan and I.

Mary cited Rick Lusk, Connie Hammond, Larry Cooper and herself as experts who agreed that nothing needed to be done with the ICMA 457 plan's fee structure and fund line up in the face of an opportunity to leave more money in the retirement accounts of City of Greensboro participants.

Please confirm Mary's assertion that Rick Lusk, Connie Hammond and Larry Cooper found no need to look into potential savings in Greensboro's 457 plan fees.

Trying to do the right thing in this case has become much more difficult than it should have been.

Inaction has occurred for more than 12 months since these issues were initially raised.

Let's give Greensboro's 457 participants a raise and more money to spend locally in retirement by lowering their fees, which are demonstrably too high and retarding the prospect of wealth creation for 2,781 employees.

This email should not have been necessary.

George Hartzman

.
.
From: Flattich, Art   aflattich@icmarc.org
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2014 9:43 AM
To: Lisa Saunders; Brian Hubbell
Cc: Carmen Caruth
Subject: Recent Public Information Requests

Lisa and Brian, I hope all is well. I wanted to give you both a heads up that the same gentlemen that made a public information request from the City of Winston Salem several weeks ago is now sending the email below. Please note that he incorrectly states the total costs to employees at the City of Winston Salem. I wanted to give you a heads up for two reasons. First, this particular individual has sent this out to many employers and employees in the State of North Carolina and specifically names the City of Winston Salem. Secondly, we have just released a written response that details the many factors that go into plan pricing and that the total cost to the City of Winston Salem’s employees is understated and misrepresented in his email. I have attached our written response for your information (please note that we addressed the letter to Lisa but it is written as a response to those employers who have received the email below which the City, presumably, did not.)

Please let me know if you need any additional information.

Thank you and have a great week.

ICMA Retirement Corporation
Art Flattich, Vice President, Southeast Region
aflattich@icmarc.org
.
.
From: Carmen Caruth
To: Hammond, Connie
Subject: FW: Recent Public Information Requests
Date: Monday, October 27, 2014 9:50:48 AM

Attachments: ICMA-RC Letter Regarding Hartzman Fee Comparison - Winston Salem - 10 24....docx

FYI

Mr. Hartzman had requested information from our Finance Department and plan consultant (Hubbell Consulting).

See correspondence from Art Flattich with ICMA.
.
.
From: George Hartzman [mailto:hartzmancpe@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:50 AM
To: Healy, Sarah
Subject: Information request

Please provide all communications between Mary Vigue and ICMA for the last 90 days.

g
.
.
From: George Hartzman [mailto:hartzmancpe@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2014 9:42 AM
To: Healy, Sarah
Subject: Re: Response to PIRT # 4002

Please provide any communications over the last 90 days to or from ICMA RC and Mary Vigue, Connie Hammond and Jim Westmorland.

g
.
.
From: Healy, Sarah
To: Vigue, Mary; Hammond, Connie; Westmoreland, Jim
Subject: PIRT request
Date: Friday, October 31, 2014 10:18:34 AM

Jim, Mary and Connie:

Sending as an FYI – it is PIRT # 4006. Will keep you posted.
.
.
From: George Hartzman
Date: Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 12:05 PM
Subject: Re: Information request for the City of Charlotte
To: "Ellis, Anna"
Cc: "Darby, Nakyhia"

Please pass the attached proposal along to the Willis of North Carolina.

The proposed fees should save Charlotte employees about $1,318,584 over five years, as the City is overpaying rather dramatically for services from ICMA.

The problem I have run into with the consultants who looked at 457 plan providers in Greensboro is they appeared to only review more expensive plans to the detriment of Greensboro's employees, as in this case as with many others along with the Nationwide provided plan via the North Carolina Association of Counties.

It seems a few Municipal Management oriented employee associations have cornered the market via influence with decision makers at the expense of many employed under members of the same associations.

Please provide the last Willis of North Carolina's provider assessment and the report of their last RFP produced for the City of Charlotte in an electronic format...
.
.
From: Healy, Sarah
To: Vigue, Mary
Subject: FW: PIRT request
Date: Friday, October 31, 2014 1:32:47 PM

Mary – wanted to let you know that only 7 emails were produced from the search and no emails were to/from you.
.
.
From: Vigue, Mary
To: Healy, Sarah
Subject: Re: PIRT request
Date: Friday, October 31, 2014 1:35:22 PM

Thanks! :)
.
.
From: Healy, Sarah
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2014 1:13 PM
To: Westmoreland, Jim
Subject: FW: Response to PIRT # 4006

Jim – I wanted to send you a copy of my reply to Mr. Hartzman regarding his recent PIRT # 4006
request. Only 2 of the 7 emails produced were not sent to Mr. Hartzman b/c one was your personal quarterly statement and the other was Connie’s personal quarterly statement. Neither are public record.

Just wanted to let you know.
.
.
From: Westmoreland, Jim
To: Healy, Sarah
Subject: RE: Response to PIRT # 4006
Date: Monday, November 03, 2014 3:07:14 PM

Thanks.
.
.
From: George Hartzman
To: Westmoreland, Jim; Vigue, Mary; Hammond, Connie; Nancy Vaughan; @votehoffmann.com; Matheny, Zack; Lusk, Rick
Subject: Fwd: Response to PIRT # 4006
Date: Wednesday, November 05, 2014 10:34:28 PM
Attachments: PIRT 4006.pdf

Mary told me on Monday night, after telling both Nancy Vaughan and myself on October 21st that Mary would personally contact ICMA-RC, that she had been in touch with HR about getting the fund list of alternative investments with lower costs from ICMA-RC.

I spoke with ICMA-RC Deputy General Counsel Angela C. Montez this afternoon, who told me municipalities have the lattitude to negotiate fees and switch funds as fiduciaries deem prudent and in the best interests of participants.

Mary said otherwise. Jim doesn't seem to have a problem with it, or he doesn't know and should.

ICMA members Mary and Jim appear to be acting in the best interests of ICMA-RC.

Mary incorrectly informed both Mayor Vaughan and I that Winston Salem was paying less per participant on October 21st, acting as an overt advocate for ICMA-RC after meeting with an ICMA-RC rep the day before.

It's been about two weeks since Mary said she would personally get with ICMA-RC on the fund list, and two days since she said she directed HR to do so.

The information request attached suggests otherwise.

Nancy Hoffmann and Zack know what a fund list is.

To my knowledge, no one at the City has made any effort to save Greensboro's employees money within the 457 plan, despite more than a year's worth of effort on my part.

ICMA members Mary and Jim don't seem to mind ICMA-RC skimming off of Greensboro's employees.

It seems ICMA members Mary and Jim are acting in the best interests of ICMA-RC.

I would like to hear some good news on saving Greensboro's 457 plan participants some money by the close of business tomorrow.

Those names above are the only recipients of this email.

At this point, ICMA members Mary and Jim are involved in a betrayal of 2871 Greensboro 457 participants, in my view.

At this point, I believe ICMA members Mary and Jim have violated ICMA's ethics code conflict of interest rules, and probably the City's ethics code as well, as if either really means anything.

I am trying to do the right thing.

It appears ICMA members Mary and Jim are not only impeding my efforts, they are helping ICMA-RC maintain and increase profits at the expense of thier non-ICMA co-workers.

I have tried to get this done relatively quietly.

That period of time is coming to a close.

By doing nothing, I believe those involved in non-action are actively stealing from other people's kid's futures.

g
.
.
From: George Hartzman [mailto:hartzmancpe@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2014 6:21 PM
To: Healy, Sarah
Subject: Info

All communications to or from for The last 30 days

Jim Westmoreland
Mary Vigue
David Parrish
Chris Wilson
Nancy Vaughan
.
.
From: Westmoreland, Jim
To: Turlington, Donnie; Healy, Sarah
Subject: FW: Info
Date: Thursday, November 06, 2014 7:44:53 PM

It would be good to ask Mr. Hartzman if he could more specifically define what he is looking for with this request?
.
.
from: George Hartzman
to:
bcc:melanie.buckingham@greensboro-nc.gov, melanie.daniel@greensboro-nc.gov, melanie.neal@greensboro-nc.gov, melinda.king@greensboro-nc.gov, melinda.medford@greensboro-nc.gov, melissa.ashe@greensboro-nc.gov, melissa.coble@greensboro-nc.gov, melissa.douglas@greensboro-nc.gov, melissa.mckoy@greensboro-nc.gov
date: Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 11:20 AM
subject: Concerning the contents of an information request on Greensboro's 457 retirement plan.

From what I have found so far, Mary Vigue and Jim Westmoreland amongst others, betrayed City of Greensboro employees by regurgitating ICMA-RC's message of leave the plan fees and options unchanged.

Westmorland and Vigue, both members of ICMA (International City/County Management Association), have been running interference for ICMA-RC (International City/County Management Association Retirement Corporation), in violation of Sec. 4.131. - Conflict of interest: Greensboro Code of Ordinances, City Charter.

Even after Zack and Tony asked, city staff towed ICMA's line, and told city employees to refer any contact from me to Mary Vigue.

Mary told me about a month ago she was getting a fund line up with lower fees that could replace the current from ICMA-RC.

There is no record of anyone from the city asking for it, which means Mary lied to my face in the middle of a Council meeting.

There has been no movement on the part of city executives to act in the best interest of the city's employees, even after I identified the funds Winston uses and showed they are paying much less, even though Greensboro's plan is three times bigger.

According to ICMA-RC's 2012 IRS form 990, Robert O'neal, ICMA's Executive Director, serves as a paid director of ICMA-RC.

San Antonio’s Assistant City Manager and ICMA member Frances Gonzalez serves on ICMA-RC's board. San Antonio has $254,377,728 of City employee funds with ICMA-RC.

Decatur, Georgia’s City Manager and ICMA member Peggy Merriss serves on ICMA-RC's board as Decatur offers an overpriced ICMA-RC 457 retirement plan.

If both San Antonio’s Assistant City Manager and Decatur, Georgia’s City Manager are ICMA members are paid board members of ICMA-RC, while Decatur and San Antonio do business with ICMA-RC, Westmorland and Vigue, both members of ICMA, could be paid ICMA-RC board members.

I told some truth, and Mary and Jim asked the folks who are making money off of not telling the truth for there side of the story, and Mary and Jim swallowed it without any effort to confirm or disprove independently of either side what I have been saying for more than a year.

I have met with most of council on this issue to no avail.

Both Zack and Nancy Hoffmann understood my position, as they worked in the financial industry.

And nothing.

Jim Westmoreland's reply to Tony Wilkins lacks any value.

Jim and Mary betrayed thier own employees.

Shame on them for letting ICMA-RC take one cent more than they should or could, without even trying to find out what could be done.

I was hoping for some signs of humanity, compassion, care and resolve, and all I got was a turd for my efforts to save other people money.

Give those folks you screwed a good look in the eye when you pass them in the halls.

You stole a part of thier future, along with some more money that could have been spent locally instead by Wall Streeet, DC lobbyists and thier purchased polititions.

So now what?

g
.
.
"Any officer, department head or employee who has financial interest, direct or indirect, in any proposed contract with the city or in a proposed sale of any land, material, supplies, or services to the city or to a contractor supplying the city, shall make known that interest and shall refrain from ...participating in the making of such contract or sale.

Any officer, department head, or employee who willfully conceals such a financial interest or willfully violates the requirements of this Section shall be guilty of malfeasance in office or position and shall forfeit his office or position.

Violation of this Section with the knowledge expressed or implied of the person or corporation contracting with or making a sale to the city shall render the contract void."

Sec. 4.131. - Conflict of interest: Greensboro Code of Ordinances, City Charter
.
.
ICMA-RC conducts business with The City of Greensboro.

Managers and Assistant Managers of other cities have compensation arrangements with ICMA-RC.

Westmorland and Vigue have a Financial Interest, as they could obtain a potential compensation arrangement ICMA-RC as they conduct negotiations/transactions/arrangements between The City of Greensboro and ICMA-RC.

In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, Westmorland and Vigue should have disclosed the existence of the financial interest.

Mary Vigue denied the possible conflict at a recent City Council meeting, as Westmorland looked on, prevented City employees from speaking with George Hartzman of the issue, and then lied to George Hartzman about looking into saving City of Greensboro employees money during another Council meeting, and City Council has done nothing.
.
.
From: George Hartzman <hartzmancpe@gmail.com>
to: steve.drew@greensboro-nc.gov
date: Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 3:13 PM
subject: City of Greensboro Manager Jim Westmoreland Lying to Tony Wilkins and City Council

For every $100,000 invested in the PIMCO fund in Greensboro's plan, each participant is paying another $270 (0.71% - 0.44% = 0.27%) for no reason other than Jim Westmoreland and Mary Vigue refused to negotiate lower fees.

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2014/12/city-of-greensboro-manager-jim.html
.
.
from: George Hartzman
to: Thomas.Carruthers@greensboro-nc.gov
bcc: Tasha.Swann@greensboro-nc.gov, Tiffany.Temple@greensboro-nc.gov, Donald.Turlington@greensboro, Donna Gray @greensboro-nc.gov>, donnie.turlington@greensboro-nc.gov, "Clark, Jim (Legal)" "Jamiah.Waterman@greensboro-nc.gov"
"McCollough, Mary" "Vigue, Mary" <Mary.Vigue@greensboro-nc.gov>, sharon.bell@greensboro-nc.gov, "Schwartz, Sue" <Sue.Schwartz@greensboro-nc.gov>, "Mabe, Mike" <Mike.Mabe@greensboro-nc.gov>, "Richardson, Betsey" <betsey.richardson@greensboro-nc.gov>,
butch.simmons@greensboro-nc.gov, hfourrier@greensboronc.org, kathi.dubel@greensboro-nc.gov,
"Davis, Larry" <larry.davis@greensboro-nc.gov>, Rick Lusk <rick.lusk@greensboro-nc.gov>,
Andy Scott <Andrew.Scott@greensboro-nc.gov>
date: Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 3:42 PM
subject: City of Greensboro Manager Jim Westmoreland Lying to Tony Wilkins and City Council

http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2014/12/city-of-greensboro-manager-jim.html
.
.
Thomas,

The logical course of action would be to ask for a retraction or sue for defamation if what I am saying isn't true.

The problem the legal department is going to have, is employees realizing that Jim and Mary Vigue coodinated with ICMA-RC to purposefully keep Greensboro's 457 plan fees high.

And now I have found both Jim and Mary misleading City Council on the subject.

Please determine whether legal action is appropriate for the City.

I believe it would not be, as I am telling truth to power, and those who hire and fire the City Manager have not acted.

Sooner or later, a breach of fiduciary suit will emerge from some in your workforce if nothing is done in before hand.

One way or another, Greensboro's legal department will have made the choice which to defend.

g

Robbie Perkins, Roy Carroll, TREBIC, RUCO and Downtown Noise--Abner's Inquisition
August 18th, 2015 -- 10:45 AM

"Perkins made his announcement surrounded by friends in the real-estate industry,
including developer Roy Carroll and lawyer Henry Isaacson.

“The realtors and the builders have been my base for my candidacy for 17-18 years,” Perkins said.

“In fact, before I even got into politics,
Trip Brown and I worked to get an organization together
that was the precursor of TREBIC way back when.

And we started that because we wanted better communication with the city and the county
because we knew that we were creating jobs doing what we were doing for a living
and we needed to communicate with the city and the county
as to what they were doing with their regulations.”

"Communicate," as in reduce "regulations"?

Chester “Trip” Brown Jr. is the chairman of the board of Brown Investment Properties.

The organization they helped establish,
the Triad Real Estate and Building Industries Coalition, or TREBIC,
is a prominent player in city-county politics
and has been involved with virtually every aspect of city policy concerning land use and housing.

Didn't TREBIC argue against having one tree per new lower income home?

Where does Robbie stand on the one tree rule?

Despite the close relationship,
Perkins has become a vocal supporter of the city’s proactive rental housing inspection program,
which TREBIC has attempted to dismantle.

Doesn't the RUCO advisory board meet at TREBIC headquarters?

Perkins is the president of NAI Piedmont Triad, a commercial real estate company.

“If you’ve got a conflict, you disclose the conflict and you abstain,”
the candidate told a reporter after the press conference,
adding that he believes the benefits of being involved in the real estate industry outweigh the negatives."

How about the conflict of taking a Guilford County Tax Break
for a shopping center?

Jordan

Dear Greensboro City Council:--Abner's Inquisition
August 18th, 2015 -- 10:45 AM

Please stop soliciting campaign cash
from those with business coming up with Greensboro City Council.

Just because City Council may vote to give incentive money to X,
doesn't mean X should be asked for money.

Please stop.

GH

Greensboro, North Carolina Considers Electric Motorcycles--Wackemall, Billy's Two Wheeled Musings and More!
August 18th, 2015 -- 10:45 AM

The Greensboro City Council is voting tonight on whether or not the City will spend $20,155 to go along with  $41,550 in grants from the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University to buy 2 electric motorcycles for the Greensboro Police Department.

I'm not privy as to what brands or models of electric motorcycles they are considering but for those of you who haven't kept up with the technology in recent years, at least 2 American companies Brammo and Zero are now making great bikes that would have no issues doing what police departments need motorcycles to do. After all, it's not like the next chief of police will be sending officers cross country depending on batteries.

As a matter of fact, several brands of modern electric motorcycles are quite capable of exceeding 100 miles per hour and traveling over 100 miles between charging the batteries. And considering that maintenance and operating costs for these new bikes are far lower than for conventional motorcycles it just makes scene.

Already US Special Forces are employing electric motorcycles made by Zero and the Brammo 6 speed electric motorcycle changed the way electric motorcycles are built.

Of course, nothing will ever replace Harley Davidsons leading the parade in the minds of most American motorcycle enthusiasts, even those of us who would like to own an electric motorcycle.

ALL NIGHT TELEVISION: THE PICTURES IN MY HEAD--Dead Pictures
August 18th, 2015 -- 10:45 AM



I can't sleep--I got my eyes wide open

I can feel the radiation
Vertical lines on video
It's three a.m., there's no distractions
Can't sleep 'cause all the stars are on now
Should I move to change the station
Having fun watching my tv
It's the center of attraction


When I was a lad, I was obsessed with attempting to stay up all night long. This act of adolescent willpower entailed watching plenty of after hours television, an action that scarcely distinguished me from other young knuckleheads. I spent Friday evenings with my grandmother, who gave my hardworking parents a well-earned respite from my usual mischief and prepared for me delicious tv dinners that took a now-almost-inconceivable thirty minutes to cook in those pre-microwave wonder years. Grandmother Pagan also allowed me to watch The CBS Late Movie, a memorable series that formed a substantial part of my film education. Sometimes she watched, too, though more often than not she fell asleep. Those weekend viewings included everything from Elvis Presley extravaganzas (a word I use very loosely) to Hammer horrors. Occasionally I fell asleep myself while watching the pictures--I remember being bitterly disappointed, out of all reasonable proportion, after dozing off mere minutes into Jacques Tourneur's The Comedy of Terrors (1964), which I would not encounter again for decades--but, more often than not, I remained wide awake and wanting more, more, more. There was something liberatory, and not a little addictive, about being up while everybody else was in bed.

CBS was the first American network to devote its late-night programming to cinema. For several years, it had aired The Merv Griffin Show after the 11 o'clock news, but on Valentine's Day 1972 it switched to film broadcasts, often running what the series' Wikipedia entry politely describes as "movies not well-suited for prime time due to content." In other words, my type of entertainment. A February 28 screening that year of a heavily-edited version of Luchino Visconti's originally-X-rated The Damned (1969) was vigorously protested by bluenoses from the Christian Life Commission and the Southern Baptist Convention, and actually resulted in CBS' then-president John A. Scheider's appearance before a Senate subcommittee. Alas, I missed that particular broadcast (it was on a school night, curse the luck), but Visconti's Nazi epic was undoubtedly emasculated for the protection of delicate viewers. The Late Movie also featured plenty, and I do mean plenty, of public service announcements during its interminable commercial breaks, perhaps most memorably the Ad Council's "Keep America Beautiful" anti-pollution spot in which the bogus Indian Iron Eyes Cody emerges from his canoe just in time for some litterbug to toss trash from a speeding vehicle at his beaded moccasins, which the actor reportedly wore on almost all occasions. Cody was actually Italian-American, and not, as he insisted, Cherokee/Cree; the tear he wept at this ecologically-incorrect indignity was in reality glycerine. To my knowledge, though, he never had to appear before a Senate subcommittee. Grandmother Pagan, bless her heart, called him "Crying Eyes Coyote."


The Friday Late Movie schedule was, for several years at least, especially enticing, and had me drooling in anticipation as I scrutinized the newest number of my family's TV Guide. Here CBS screened such warped wonders as Barry Shears' dystopian Wild in the Streets (1965), Roy Ward Baker's gender bending Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971), and Kinji Fukasaku's surreally schlocky The Green Slime (1968). The show's theme, Morton Stevens' haunting horn-driven "So Old, So Young," combined with the multicolored pentagram graphics (were the Christian Life Commissioners and Southern Baptist Conventioneers still watching?) to promise amazing things to come. Unfortunately, in 1976 the network began broadcasting, in addition to its film library, NBC Mystery Movie reruns (McCloud, McMillan and Wife), as well as repeats of such series as Hawaii Five-O (whose celebrated theme Stevens also composed) and The Rockford Files. Although these were fine programs, I was less than enthusiastic about the change, but, during the summer break, I could always switch over to NBC's Tonight Show and watch Johnny Carson or one of his numerous guest hosts, followed by Tom Snyder's Tomorrow hour. CBS later, as if in atonement for these unwelcome changes, enlivened Friday evenings with rebroadcasts of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, as well as terrific British series (both The Avengers and The New Avengers). Here's a reconstruction of the Late Movie's opening from 1975, when the network ran Edward Ludwig's riveting ecological revenge epic The Black Scorpion (1957). I watched this exact broadcast.


Our local CBS affiliate, WFMY, was already airing Friday double features when the Late Movie premiered, and for a year or so afterwards, the station continued to schedule a 1 or 1:30 a.m. film. This was WFMY's Late Late Movie, which recycled Stevens' theme. Although it was sometimes difficult for me to stay awake until the very end, I vividly remember three of the pictures I saw during that time slot: William Castle's The Night Walker (1964), which scared the bejeezus out of me (I was actually afraid to turn off the television, lest Hayden Rorke's disfigured specter molest me in the dark), and two Hammer chillers: John Gilling's Shadow of the Cat (1961), which as a young ailurophile I greatly appreciated, and Terence Fisher's 1962 remake of The Phantom of the Opera--the first version of Gaston Leroux's classic novel I ever saw; it starred my favorite Phantom, Herbert Lom, whose soulful torment and subterranean style enchanted me. This cinematic double shot lasted until between 2:30 and 3 a.m. It wasn't all night, but by Jove it was close enough. WFMY would then sign off with the national anthem and switch not to a test pattern, but to static.


It was into the arms of Morpheus that I reluctantly went, fantasizing about what secret messages might be hidden in that static, what mysterious images were being beamed into the homes of those souls stalwart enough to watch. This must have been a relatively common curiosity for those of us nursing at the glass teat, as witness the haunted television set in Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist (1982), or the snuff film channel materializing on wee hours cable in David Cronenberg's same-year Videodrome. Sometimes--this was several years later--when one station went off the air, I could dial in another channel from far away, painstakingly manipulating my parents' antenna clicker as if it were a magic wand. During the summer of 1978, I distinctly remember viewing a snowy-but-watchable broadcast of Jean Negulesco's The Rains of Ranchipur (1955) one Sunday overnight; the station, if I recall correctly, was based somewhere in Virginia, and may well have been Charlottesville's NBC affilliate WVIR. I imagined I was receiving an occult transmission from the gods of late night.

Inevitably, The CBS Late Movie's Friday programming became less adventurous over time. The network did, however, screen Michelangelo Antonioni's fascinating metapolitical misfire, Zabriskie Point (1970), which, like, blew my adolescent mind, man. The Late Movie was also where I originally encountered, on other evenings, Mario Bava's Baron Blood (1972), Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945), and Brian G. Hutton's Where Eagles Dare (1968). As the Eighties era of cable and satellite encroached, the program offered thanks-but-no-thanks reruns of Lou Grant and The Jeffersons, as well as feature films edited with a chainsaw to fit into an eighty-minute time slot. (I shudder to recall a severely-abbreviated version of Boris Sagal's The Omega Man [1972]; now, there was literally "no phone ringing, damnit!" for machine-gun-wielding star Charlton Heston.) The series had become an utter joke, and was regularly mocked by David Letterman during his tenure at NBC. In 1985 the program's title was changed to CBS Late Night, but I had tuned out by then. Here, astonishingly enough, is a complete episode guide. And I thought I was obsessive....



ABC's Wide World of Entertainment premiered in the same time period on January 8, 1973, offering a rotating selection of made-for-television mystery movies, talk shows, concerts, and comedy specials. The movies were shot on videotape and, if my memory serves me correctly, seemed like oddball soap operas; it's doubtful that many of these photoplays have been preserved. The program was retooled three years later as ABC Late Night, offering reruns of such wrist-slitters as Starsky and Hutch and The Love Boat, as well as The Tuesday Movie of the Week. The only programming that really stands out in my mind are a 1975 Monty Python's Flying Circus compilation that resulted in litigation from member Terry Gilliam, and the 1978 broadcasting, over several evenings, of a five-part 1975 English-Italian Mafia miniseries called The Legend of the Black Hand. But, thank the stars, there was always local programming to fire, quite generously, my imagination.



Saturday nights in particular were full of mystery. Our local ABC affiliate, WGHP, aired Shock Theater from the mid-Sixties until sometime around 1981. This series was originally emceed by horror host Dr. Paul Bearer (impersonated by the legendary Dick Bennick), but he was long gone by the time I watched my first installment in 1974. The station now resorted to an animated opening, which featured the pounding of a human heartbeat, represented onscreen by pulsing blue blobs. As cemetery gates creaked open, an offscreen announcer intoned "Channel Eight presents--SHOCK THEATER!" Cartoon bats flapped their wings while damned souls wailed for all they were worth. Deplorably, I can find no trace of this opening online; for all I know, it's not even in the video vaults of WGHP, which became a Fox affiliate in the mid-Nineties. The first film I saw on this program was Ray Harryhausen's giant octopus classic It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955), which thrilled me to no end even though the creature possessed, as a budgetary constraint, a mere six tentacles. My parents did not normally permit me to stay up past eleven on Saturday nights, so convincing them to let me watch this thriller (stills of which I'd seen in Famous Monsters of Filmland) was--to my small brain--a substantial achievement.


The second movie I saw on the program, perhaps a month later, was Laszlo Kardos' The Man Who Turned to Stone (1957), which centered around a women's prison whose staff stays eternally young by electrically sucking the life out of its inmates. (As I age, that no longer seems like such an appalling idea.) Shock Theater aired double features off and on during the Bad Doctor's tenure, but reverted to a single film when he departed; it would return to its twofer format in 1975, at which point my parents kindly allowed me to stay up late more frequently. My favorite of all those double bills was a May 1976 screening of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's King Kong and Son of Kong (both 1933). The local fishwrap advertised the event in its tv section with a photo of the giant ape atop the Empire State Building, and I and many other children could scarcely wait for 11:30 to roll around. Would those imbecile newscasters ever stop gabbing about weather and sports! The following Monday morning, almost every boy in my fifth grade class was rhapsodizing about this incredible broadcast and ignoring our schoolwork. The Eighth Wonder of the World and his albino offspring were infinitely more important than the multiplication of fractions.

My mother told me how much Howard Hawks' The Thing From Another World (1951) had spooked her when she was a girl, so I proceeded with caution when the film aired several months later, watching this Cold War masterpiece with an icepick I removed from a kitchen drawer. I didn't really expect James Arness' "intellectual carrot" to come out of the screen and kill me, of course, but I thought it wise to have a little, shall we say, insurance. Shock Theater usually ended somewhere between 2:30 and 3 a.m. All the other stations were off the air by that time, but WGHP would follow the fright flicks with a Community Bulletin Board and the obligatory national anthem. Then it was (sigh) bedtime.



Fortunately, the local NBC affiliate, WXII, came to my rescue with Nitelite Theatre. This program, which aired from June 1976 to November 1979, appeared at 2:30 a.m. after The Midnight Special. Johnny Carson was on for ninety minutes in those years, as was Burt Sugarman's weekly musical program. Nitelite originally ran until seven in the morning, but was later cut back to 6 a.m., the hour relinquished to For You, Black Woman and Big Blue Marble. WXII had whetted my appetite the week before with an all-night, four-film festival which began at 1 a.m., preempting the Special. That weekend I watched rapt from the bed in my grandmother's guest room as Joseph Adler's Revenge Is My Destiny (1971), George Montgomery's Ride the Tiger (1970), Robert Day's The Big Game (1972), and Jean Yarbrough's The Devil Bat (1940) unreeled. I'd previously seen the last movie on the station's classic Bob Gordon Theater, which aired on weekend afternoons, but it's a picture I never get tired of. At long last, all-night television had arrived.

WFMY had in fact set things in motion a few months earlier with its own all-night Friday film festival, which preempted The CBS Late Movie. Unforgivably, I passed out during the first picture, Abraham Polonsky's Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969), sleeping straight through the other four features, so Nitelite was a welcome presence, indeed. The series was originally hosted by Art Neal and Zachary Gibson, who performed groan-inducing skits, but they were soon gone, and, like Shock Theater, the program now had no emcees. Its theme music was an instrumental ditty somewhere between Julius Fucik's Entrance of the Gladiators and John Williams' "Cantina Band" tune from George Lucas' Star Wars (1977); however, try as I might, I've not yet been able to track down this piece online. The program always kicked off with a movie, followed by episodes of old tv shows (The Twilight Zone, I Spy, The Invaders), followed by (in its early days, at least) yet another feature. The program officially debuted with Harry Horner's eschatological talkfest Red Planet Mars (1952) and Guiliano Montano's 1967 caper classic Ad Ogni Costo ("At Any Cost," retitled Grand Slam for English-speaking audiences); over the years, it screened such treasures as Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1941), Samuel Fuller's Run of the Arrow (1957), and Theodore J. Flicker's paranoid masterwork The President's Analyst (1967). I particularly remember one 1979 broadcast of Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), in which the feature was presented without commercial interruptions--a rare delight. The series came to a quiet end, possibly because I was the only fool who stayed up to watch it, and even I fell asleep from time to time. That was it for all night television until the fall of 1980, when WFMY became a twenty-four-hour station.



When my family moved across our small town in 1976 into a new home, we were finally able to pick up--usually only at night--WBTV, a CBS affiliate in Charlotte, and WRAL, an ABC affiliate in Raleigh. In lieu of Friday's edition of The CBS Late Movie, which must not have generated much of a local audience, WBTV ran a terrific program at 11:30 called Those Were the Years. This show was hosted by the station's then-weatherman Mike McCay (who later wound up spinning classical discs at WDAV 89.9), and aired episodes of old tv series like The Outer Limits, Love That Bob, and The Cisco Kid. The station also screened Flash Gordon serials, as well as occasional films. Its original theme was Singin' Sam's "Reminiscing," but that song was replaced by Steely Dan's more contemporary, and certainly more ironic, "Reelin' in the Years." WBTV aired a feature after the show, and it was here that I received further introductions, along with occasional Shock Theater selections, to the European Cult Cinema: Claudio Guerin's entrancingly bizarre A Bell from Hell (1973), Carlos Aured's Horror Rises From the Tomb (1973), and so forth. Here's a 1976 news item on the program:



In the Seventies, WRAL scheduled an annual all-night, horror-hosted fright film festival on the Friday before Halloween. The first Spook Spectacular I dialed in was also in 1976; it began with Benjamin Stoloff's Night of Terror (1933), a preposterous old-dark-house thriller with a truly outrageous ending which I won't reveal for fear the Maniac will climb into my bedroom window tonight and tear me limb from limb. The station later aired a program on Friday evenings called Chiller Theatre, which had an impressive opening: a POV shot of someone racing fearfully and breathlessly through a cemetery. (Once I dreamed I finally saw the face of the person running, and--shiver me timbers!--the shock was enough to wake me in the middle of the night.) Screenings that particularly stood out for me were Edward Ludwig's The Man Who Reclaimed His Head (1934) and Edward Dmytryk's Captive Wild Woman (1943). With so much amazing programming, it was sometimes difficult to settle on one particular station--and nobody around those remote parts had VCRs. The best we could come up with were audio cassettes.

I later experienced the same cultural dilemma on Saturdays. As I grew older and became aware of Saturday Night Live, Shock Theater had some serious competition, especially when the program featured such musical magicians as Devo, Blondie, David Bowie, and Gary Numan. WXII ran Don Kirshner's Rock Concert immediately after SNL; Kirshner's robotic introductions to the various acts were always highly amusing, especially given Paul Shaeffer's marvelous impersonation of the impresario. Often I would watch SNL, switching to WGHP during commercial breaks for my weekly dose of horror. When the comedy show wrapped up, I would then catch the second creature feature, but by the decade's end, Shock Theater was reduced to merely one picture, followed by an episode of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, a series I adored.

Rock Concert moved to Sunday nights before being cancelled a year later. For too brief a while, WXII aired its own version of Shock Theater after SNL from May to November 1982. The program's opening was a white screen, down which stage blood trickled while Giorgio Moroder's "The Myth" composition, with Bowie humming ominously, played. (Paul Schrader's remake of Cat People had recently been released.) The series' writer and host, Paul Iacono, was a bearded gentleman in a black suit and black wraparounds who would be startled by the screams--and, later, organ music--that sounded whenever he uttered the name of the show. At one point, he went in search of the studio's organist to permanently silence the maestro. The program's director, Tim Whitt, began to appear midway through the series' run, and the two men performed amusing sketches. During a screening of George Mendeluk's Stone Cold Dead (1980)--an admittedly odd selection--they appeared from time to time discussing the picture a la Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on Sneak Previews. Another sketch involved a stand-up gynecologist. It wasn't Evelyn Waugh by any stretch of the imagination, but I emitted my fair share of teenage chuckles.

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention USA's Night Flight, which aired from 1981 to 1988. (Cable ultimately arrived, better late than never, in my hometown in summer 1982.) This program ran from 11pm to 3am on Friday and Saturday nights, then repeated from 3 to 7am. The series aired episodes of New Wave Theatre (hosted by the late, great Peter Ivers, who was murdered in 1983; the crime remains unsolved), as well as music profiles, concerts, and cult films (some of which were ruinously edited, among them Andy Warhol's Frankenstein [1973] and Dracula [1974]). My all-time favorite presentation was a half-hour British documentary, Posers, on England's New Romantic movement. Like those painted peacocks across the pond, I had nostalgia for the future as well as the past.

Always talking to me
My tv's got personality
Maybe it is watching me
Eye to eye with my tv


*

Allow me, if you will, to return to the subject of commercial interruptions before I conclude this interminable exercise in nostalgiazing. I didn't care for the spots, of course, but there was nothing I could do about them, and they did allow me time to refill my soda and grab another fudge round. But commercial-free public television was off the air by 11:30 p.m. at the latest, so I was stuck with the infernal ads. Plus there were other pains to endure: panning and scanning or just plain old dead centering for widescreen features, cropping half the bleeding image, as well as censored prints for more recent films. Because cable for my rural county was still a few years away, Home Box Office's uncut features did me absolutely no good at all. I never thought I'd be able to see widescreen pictures in their original aspect ratios in the privacy of my family's living room, but these days almost everyone has that option. The landscape has completely changed. As cable found its way into more homes, there was correspondingly less use for overnight film programming; videocassettes, of course, changed the game entirely. Once I earned my driver's license, I was soon substituting the big for the small screen, attending midnight movies at local cinemas, and once I procured a VCR, I found myself settling less and less for what television movie broadcasts (late night or otherwise) had to offer.

Today's all night television, with the exception of Turner Classic Movies, is depressing stuff, indeed, consisting as it does of C.S.I. reruns, inane chat shows, and infomercial scams with convicted felon Kevin Trudeau. (Video Watchdog's Tim Lucas referred in a spot-on recent editorial to "the tyranny of Paid Programming.") Rebroadcasts of Today, of all the confounded things, occupy WXII's old Nitelite Theatre time slot. TCM Underground premiered in 2006 with an admirable selection of cult favorites, but the program's underwhelming host, Rob Zombie, was soon gone. I had high hopes for the hellbilly rocker, but he never seemed entirely comfortable introducing the movies; the series now opens with footage of a grungy, dreadlocked Zombie surrogate running around some nameless city, but mercifully he never opens his mouth.


Mr. Zombie didn't last long on TCM.

There's very little sense of discovery these days, I fear--at least on the small screen. Lucas suggests using YouTube to while away the wee hours on DirectTV. I did exactly that over the holidays, viewing some old Nitelite Theatre selections (William Cameron Menzies' Drums in the Deep South [1952] and Bob Wynn's The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler [1971]) and a ton of Tomorrow clips on my in-laws' humongous television. Back here at home, some of my recent DVD double bills have included Frank Perry's Rancho Deluxe (1975) and Michael Ritchie's Prime Cut (1972). I don't stay up all evening any more, but late enough to satisfy my after hours fix. These nights I, rather than some local programmer, supply the pictures in my head. Once upon a time our late show revelations were communal--we were, after all, part of the great confraternity of night owls--but today that sense of community has, as with far too many traditions, all but evaporated. The cinematic underworld of my youth was a special one, and I frankly miss that world and all its mysterious gods, whose secret messages to me ran the gamut from black scorpions and devil bats to green slime and men who reclaimed their heads.

Holding horizontal
Static lines in one dimension
Late show revelations
My tv stays on forever
--3-D, "All Night Television" (1980)

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