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City of Greensboro officials suggest raising bus fares by 50 cents a ride over two years

GREENSBORO — The city’s bus system is seeing lower revenues and higher expenses, so transportation officials want to raise the cost per trip by 50 cents.

The change, which is in the discussion phase, would take effect over two years and bring the current fare of $1.50 up to $2 by 2021.

Before any decisions are made, city staffers would have to hold meetings so that members of the public could share their thoughts Any increase would require the City Council’s approval.

The proposed increases would make up $774,000 in annual revenue for a $24 million system whose costs are rising, city transportation officials say. Officials say revenues from bus fares have declined by about 5% during the past five years and expenses have increased by 3%.

Also in decline: the number of trips taken by riders. The Greensboro transit system provided 4.2 million trips in 2014-15. That number dropped to 3.1 million in 2018-19.

If the proposal is approved, it likely won’t be a popular decision. Regular bus riders have already told the council that many people can’t afford a significant increase in their daily bus fares.

Complicating matters, the city is discussing other proposed changes that would have an even greater effect.

For example, the new proposal would eliminate a policy that allows registered riders of the SCAT paratransit services — which helps the disabled — to ride for free during a portion of their regular travels. SCAT provides door-to-door assistance to some disabled riders, but others still use a combination of services to get around.

SCAT riders have routinely spoken to the council since fare increases were first discussed earlier this year. They, too, also say that any change would have a dramatic effect because many have a limited income.

The disabled contend the bus service is a necessity because they need it for work, medical appointments and meetings.


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Pumpkin-carving artist

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Joe Biden is sending more campaigners to North Carolina. Here’s why

Bernie Sanders is going all in on California, hiring nearly two dozen staffers in the state. Joe Biden is deploying campaign hands in North Carolina. And Elizabeth Warren has already made stops in Alabama, Minnesota and Tennessee.

Democratic presidential candidates will spend the bulk of the next four months campaigning in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — the states that jump start the 2020 nominating contest next February.

But the leading campaigns are beginning to look ahead, ramping up their organizations for the 16 contests that are set to take place on March 3, known as Super Tuesday. More than 1,300 pledged delegates will be up for grabs that day — roughly 40% of the total pot. That’s easily the most of any day of the Democratic primary, meaning the results in those states could provide whichever candidate comes out on top with a clear path to the nomination.

“Look, it’s a puzzle for everybody — we’re all going to have tough choices to make when it comes to allocating resources,” said Pete Kavanaugh, Biden’s deputy campaign manager.

The delegates available on Super Tuesday amount to more than eight times the number that can be captured in the first four states. Formidable showings in the two biggest states voting that day, California and Texas, could propel a candidate into a delegate lead. Minnesota, the sixth-most populous Super Tuesday state, still offers more delegates than Iowa and New Hampshire combined.

With $34 million in the bank and the experience of running in 2016, Sanders may initially be best positioned to navigate the organizational maze that Super Tuesday presents. The campaign has 21 paid staffers in California and has held 3,000 events in the state. Sanders has also announced more Super Tuesday state directors —six — than any other candidate.

“Bernie Sanders certainly has the strongest organization,” said Michael Kapp, a Democratic National Committee member from California. “He hired staff out here much earlier than anyone else.”

Biden is beginning to deploy campaign hands in North Carolina, a general-election battleground state his team believes is fertile ground for the former vice president’s broad-based, centrist appeal.

Meanwhile, Warren has paid visits to more than half of the Super Tuesday states, but has hired state directors in just three.

The challenge for all the campaigns is balancing time and resources in these delegate-rich states with the first four to vote, which will provide critical momentum to the leading candidates and winnow the field.

Bracing for the potential of early-state losses, Biden’s campaign team believes Super Tuesday will serve as a powerful bulwark due to the plethora of Southern states voting that day populated with more diverse and less ideological Democrats. The Biden campaign is finalizing its staffing plans for the March 3 states, which it plans to release in the coming weeks.

“By Super Tuesday, I think it will still be competitive between the top three. But after Super Tuesday, Joe Biden will be the undisputed leader in the primary,” predicted Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat who has endorsed Biden. “We will win North Carolina. … Mrs. Warren is a friend, but I don’t believe Elizabeth Warren will be able to win.”

“Super Tuesday is incredibly important because the states that are in play on Super Tuesday are reflective of the country in general,” Butterfield added. “It reflects the diversity of the country. Iowa and New Hampshire are different.”

California is the biggest Super Tuesday prize, offering 416 pledged delegates. Polls there have recently shown Warren creeping into a narrow lead over Biden and Sanders.

“California may be a game changer in terms of the numbers,” said Otto Lee, a California DNC member. “Having a weak showing in California could erase big gains in the small states.”

In a recent podcast with David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s first campaign, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir replaced South Carolina with California in naming the first four states that Sanders is preparing to win. A second Sanders campaign official also identified Minnesota, Colorado and Oklahoma as ripe targets for victories, based on Sanders’ 2016 performances.

On the podcast, Shakir added: “I tend to believe by March 3, maybe March 10, we’ll know who the nominee is.”

Of course, the results from the first four contests will have a major impact on Super Tuesday voters as well as the overarching media narrative of the race. But the candidates who emerge from February will need to be ready to capitalize on their success.

Herb Hedden, a delegate expert and Ohio attorney who worked on John Glenn’s 1984 presidential campaign, said the savviest operations would be smart to target congressional districts with an odd number of delegates, in order to squeeze out an advantage in a scenario where the raw vote is extremely close between two candidates.

“If you want to be able to take advantage of a wave you might be part of, you’ve got to be doing the work. We’re now in the phase that campaigns should be doing this work,” Hedden said.

In 2016, Clinton’s Super Tuesday victories in Texas, Virginia and Massachusetts provided her with an ultimately impenetrable delegate lead over Sanders. And in 2008, Super Tuesday served to demonstrate the precision of Obama’s delegate plan, even though Clinton carried bigger states and was initially portrayed as the winner by the media.

Currently, Biden, Warren and Sanders are seen as the candidates most likely to clear the 15% threshold necessary to rack up delegates in a majority of congressional districts.

Biden is currently ahead in Texas, where 228 delegates are at stake. Beto O’Rourke, the former El Paso congressman, is still pulling double-digit support there, despite a flagging national campaign.

Biden has also held the polling advantage in North Carolina, where the third-most delegates are up for grabs on that Tuesday. But local Democrats say his grassroots outreach hasn’t been as robust as Warren’s and Sanders.

“The only one of the top tier folks I haven’t heard from is Joe Biden’s,” said Ray McKinnon, who was a superdelegate for Sanders in 2016. “I’m not surprised. I was a pretty vocal Sanders supporter so the assumption might be I would be again. But I haven’t made up my mind.”

McKinnon has been courted by the campaigns of Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and even Marianne Williamson, but the most persistent outreach has come from Sanders, who invited him to a private meeting of about 20 Democrats in Charlotte in May.

When McKinnon asked Sanders directly how he’d convey to African Americans that he was fighting on their behalf, Sanders promised to be more strategic about his message and outreach. But it didn’t seal the deal. Sanders only remains in McKinnon’s top four.

Warren volunteers have been texting influential North Carolina Democrats to gauge support. John Verdejo, a DNC member, recently received one such text looking for Tonya — clearly a wrong number. Verdejo was unfazed and texted back that Warren was in his top two candidates for consideration.

The Warren volunteer responded with an double-hearted smiling emoji. Verdejo noted that Biden has only come to the state for quick high-dollar fundraising.

“Get in, get out,” is how he characterized Biden’s presence. “If he just continues to ignore us and just come in for money, I’d say Warren. Warren’s looking good right now… I’m almost ready to pull the trigger.”


Z-no-digital
An interesting article in today's paper

Ed Hardin: Halfway through the ACC football season, it’s official: Clemson is all that matters. Page C1


Local_news
Guilford deputy recovering from bullet to face in one of 2 shootings that left 2 people dead and another deputy injured

GREENSBORO — In less than nine hours, Guilford County deputies were involved in two fatal shootings with armed men in separate confrontations.

In both cases, law enforcement officers were returning fire.

Deputies shot and killed Victor Jarvis about 7 p.m. Monday when he fired at and injured two deputies after more than a 10-hour standoff at his High Point home, authorities said.

Early Tuesday, deputies and High Point police officers were shot at while responding to a welfare check. They returned fire, killing Dennis Patrick Jr. at his Jamestown home, authorities said.

“Every officer who wears this uniform hopes that something like this would never happen to them,” Sheriff’s Capt. Brian Hall said Tuesday afternoon at a press conference.

“They don’t want to be shot and they don’t want to shoot anybody else.”

Deputies were left Monday night trying to support two of their own who were shot in High Point.

Hall said one deputy was shot in the face with a bullet still lodged in his jaw. He is hospitalized and will have surgery later this week to repair the jaw and remove the bullet, Hall said.

He said the other deputy was grazed by a bullet in his right shoulder but has been treated and released from the hospital.

Hall said Tuesday the sheriff’s office would not release the names of the deputies or officers involved in the shootings or take any questions from the media. Officials also have not released further details about the two men who were killed, including their ages.

Hall said the past 24 hours had been very challenging, exhausting and emotional. He asked that residents keep the deputies, officers, their families and the Jarvis and Patrick families in their thoughts and prayers.

In Monday’s shooting, Guilford County deputies first encountered Jarvis at 8:35 a.m. at his house at 4014 Braddock Road in High Point. Hall said a deputy was trying to serve a civil order to padlock the residence, but wouldn’t offer further details on that order.

He said Jarvis got into a physical struggle with the deputy, pushed the deputy away from him and went back inside his house, locking the door behind him.

At that point, the deputy heard a single gunshot and called for backup.

For more than 10 hours deputies, High Point police officers and a family member tried to negotiate with Jarvis to come outside.

Hall said Jarvis would fire gunshots sporadically from inside the house throughout the negotiations.

Nearby residences were evacuated.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release that deputies entered the house at 6:56 p.m.,”after exhausting all efforts to get Mr. Jarvis to peacefully leave the house.”

Jarvis shot at them, Hall said.

“In order to defend themselves and each other from Mr. Jarvis’ deadly use of force against them, three of our deputies returned fire striking Mr. Jarvis who died at the scene,” Hall said.

Less than nine hours later, deputies found themselves involved in a second deadly confrontation.

At 3:20 a.m. Tuesday, deputies were asked to do a welfare check on Patrick in the 1200 block of Bales Chapel Road in Jamestown.

Hall said a family member reported to deputies that Patrick was threatening to harm himself.

“Upon our arrival, deputies spoke with Mr. Patrick,” Hall said. “Shortly after this interaction, Mr. Patrick produced a firearm and fired a number of shots at the deputies.”

High Point police officers came to the house to help deputies. Two police officers and one deputy fired at Patrick as he continued to shoot, Hall said.

“The actions of the police officers from High Point and our deputy were necessary to protect themselves and each other from Mr. Patrick’s use of deadly force against them,” Hall said.

Hall said a bullet hit Patrick and he died at the house.

No officers were injured during that shooting.

Both shootings are being investigated internally and by the State Bureau of Investigation, which is standard procedure.

Hall said even if the deputies and officers are cleared of any wrongdoing they know that this shooting will follow them the rest of their careers and that’s “stressful.”

“We’ve got extremely well-trained officers at this agency and the High Point Police Department and they’re going to work through that stress every single time,” Hall said. “It’s what they do. It’s what they’re trained to do and they’re going to overcome that and be the professionals that they put this badge on to be.”