The grandmother of one of Mike Kryzewski’s freshman walk-on players is already lobbying for more playing time for her grandson ââ SPORTS
RALEIGH — North Carolina Republicans have said they did nothing wrong by voting on their proposed state budget on Sept. 11, when many Democrats were absent from the House floor.
Now, the top House Democrat wants to put those claims to the test.
Rep. Darren Jackson, the Democratic leader in the NC House, on Monday challenged top Republicans to take a polygraph test to prove they didn’t intentionally mislead him in order to approve their budget.
Jackson says he took such a test himself, and provided a statement from North Carolina Polygraph Services saying he “exhibited no physiological reactions indicative of deception.”
The Republican-controlled legislature passed its proposed state budget earlier this year, but Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed it in hopes of negotiating a deal to expand Medicaid.
The morning of Sept. 11, the House voted to override Cooper’s veto while many Democrats were absent.
Jackson says Rep. David Lewis, who presided over the House on Sept. 10, told him there would be no votes the following morning.
Lewis denies that claim.
In a noon news conference Monday, Jackson planned to challenge Lewis and three other Republican legislators to let him interview them while hooked up to a polygraph machine.
“If they’ll let me write the questions, I’ll pay for it,” Jackson said. “It’s not a stunt.”
The tests cost $400 apiece, Jackson said. He wants to test Lewis, House Speaker Tim Moore, Rep. Jason Saine and Rep. Jon Hardister.
Jackson said he’s considering suing Republicans on grounds that Democrats weren’t given proper notice for the override vote.
The budget was on the legislative calendar. But Jackson questioned the reliability of the calendar, since the budget had been on the House calendar for weeks without being voted on.
Democrats haven’t sued so far because the budget hasn’t passed the Senate to become law.
It’s not yet known when the Senate will take it up.
New role: Triad Stage co-founder Richard Whittington joins the staff of the UNC School of the Arts. Page A3
GREENSBORO — Broken promises and racial injustice.
Residents talked Monday about those common themes as the problems facing Greensboro Police Department and its chief.
Greensboro leaders on Monday launched the first of five public discussions about what Greensboro needs in its next police chief after the department’s leader, Wayne Scott, announced he will retire January 31.
The first meeting was held at noon Monday in the Vance H. Chavis Branch Library, in southeast Greensboro, followed hours later by another at the Central Library downtown.
The Chavis library meeting, though small with only eight residents attending, was lively and brought out the frustrations of Greensboro’s black community.
“It seems to me when African Americans or citizens of color have incidences, they are not treated the same as our Caucasian brothers and sisters,” said Tijuana Hayes. “That must stop.”
Community members said the next police chief needs to understand and respect the city’s history from the Greensboro Massacre to the death of Marcus Smith, a Greensboro man who died last September after police used a controversial RIPP-Hobble restraint on him.
“Here we are in 2019 and black men are still hogtied,” Hayes said. “And nothing is being done about it.”
Hayes said the police department has a history of responding quicker to white neighborhoods, and when they do respond to a black neighborhood, the residents are treated with less respect.
For a few moments there was a consensus that the next chief should come from Greensboro or the surrounding area. That opinion quickly faded as the residents discussed special favors, cover-ups and pressures on the police department for and by people they grew up around.
“He doesn’t have to be from Greensboro, but he needs to know the city’s history,” said Luther Falls Jr., a former city council candidate. (Information has been corrected to fix an error. See correction at the end of the story. 10:16 a.m., Sept. 24, 2019.)
Falls said the next police chief needs to show concern for the black community.
“We want to see works that give us some kind of indication or evidence that you’ve done something with us in the past that shows sympathy or the understanding you have on our plight,” Falls said. “Or ... someone who can get you up to speed with us as quickly as possible in the first of the year or so and get on board, because it’s just not fair.”
“Talk is cheap and we’ve heard it over and over and over again over the years,” Falls said.
Guilford County school board member Byron Gladden said officers need to come into the community, communicate better and show vulnerability.
“A mother shouldn’t have to bury her son and then call every week and risk her life to do investigative journalism because the only response they get is, ‘Well, the streets won’t talk,’” Gladden said. “Well, you do not have the relationship.”
As Greensboro’s homicide rate grew throughout Scott’s tenure, a consistent message from the department was that the community feared retribution if they told police what they knew about the shootings.
Gladden said police won’t be able to get the relationships they want when they’re coming into communities with a gun on their hip.
“I cannot know you and grow you when you have a gun holstered on your hip,” Gladden said. “You have to come transparent into the community and come vulnerable, because we are vulnerable when there is a gun in the room.”
Brenda Artist Barksdale said many people in the community don’t even know who the police chief is.
“The police chief needs to be a community person where you come out into the neighborhoods and meet people,” she said.
She cited that as a broken promise Scott made when he became chief.
All of the residents at the meeting agreed the chief should care about all residents regardless of culture, religion or identity.
But the residents also needed assurances that Monday’s meeting wasn’t a waste of their time.
“As a community we’re tired of meeting to set the date of the next meeting to not see results,” said Hayes. “What is the true purpose of this? Is it just to appease us as a community?”
Patricia Bazemore, a senior consultant at Developmental Associates who is leading the police chief search, told Hayes that she was taking their discussion seriously.
Bazemore said she was gathering the information they collect from meetings and an online survey to create a job description that matches the community’s needs. She said applicants will go through an assessment process to ensure they match the criteria.
Each candidate’s background will be scoured, Bazemore said, including their employment histories, social media posts and information on the dark web, which utilizes encrypted online content.
Bazemore said when applicants are narrowed down to three candidates, the community will be included again in the selection process.
Assistant City Manager Trey Davis said he was happy with the first meeting.
“I’m very encouraged by the professionalism and the openness of the consultants to not only drive the conversation but also push the conversation further in what they’re looking for,” Davis said. “I thought they did a good job of making sure that the people understood they were really engaged.”
Correction: The story initially stated that Luther Falls Jr. was a former city councilman.
GREENSBORO — The city and its arts advocates long have sought a more comprehensive strategy for promoting the cultural scene. So a task force created a master plan to make it happen.
Now, the city has someone to lead the way.
Ryan Deal has been named the city’s first chief creative economy officer to oversee the newly-established Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Creating the role and office were two primary recommendations in the cultural arts master plan — called “Creative Greensboro” — adopted by the City Council in December 2018.
“This will be the needle and thread that pulls it all together,” Assistant City Manager Chris Wilson said after Monday’s announcement of Deal’s hiring. “We know we have great assets here and we have great cultural diversity. But we’ve got to figure out a way to tie all those things together and celebrate it. That’s what Ryan will do.”
Deal, 37, has served as director of advancement for the nonprofit Children’s Theatre of Charlotte since January 2018. He has lead the theater’s $1.2 million annual fund by increasing engagement with more than 450 corporate and family donors.
From 2009 through 2017, he served in various roles with the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. That included being vice president of cultural and community investment with the council, which serves Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and six suburban towns.
The UNCG graduate will officially start with the city on Nov. 1 and earn $100,694 annually.
Deal will serve as the chief strategist and advocate in advancing the city’s cultural life, while working closely with arts organizations, artists, community leaders and city officials.
“This opportunity was compelling to me from every angle — a community that I know and love from my time as a student and young professional; a demonstrated commitment to the role that the public sector can play in supporting and advancing the creative life of its residents; and the contagious energy that has surrounded the development and adoption of ‘Creative Greensboro,’”Deal said via email from Cleveland, where he was serving as a grant-review panelist.
The new office will take on management of the Greensboro Cultural Center and City Arts program, which had been under the Parks & Recreation Department.
With the Arts & Science Council in the Charlotte area, Deal led the transformation of the agency’s $7.5 million grant-making portfolio by placing a focus on equity and inclusion. That included development of a nationally-recognized initiative called Culture Blocks, designed to connect residents to arts programming close to home.
He has more than two dozen theatrical credits at non-professional and professional organizations across North Carolina, including Greensboro Opera in the early 2000s.
Although Wilson led the hiring process and made the final choice, he involved people from the arts community as well as others.
They whittled a list of about 120 applicants down to a couple of finalists.
They didn’t necessarily seek someone new to the city, Wilson said, but “someone who understood how to catalyze our economy through the arts” among other qualities.
“Ryan through this whole process made us all very excited about the prospects for the future,” Wilson said.
Laura Way was among those participating in the hiring process. She serves as president and chief executive officer of ArtsGreensboro, the nonprofit which helps to build and finance the local arts scene.
Way called Deal “the right fit for Greensboro.”
Deal’s experience, coupled with “an easy, friendly approach,” Way said, “will bode him well for the future working with the city and creative ecosystem in Greensboro.”