I first met Ben Holder, I think, during 2006. We were both engaged in the local blogosphere on the matter of the Greensboro Police Department fiasco. I think we both knew intuitively that the city of Greensboro's leadership had done some terrible things. But they were keeping highly secret the reports they had initiated that asserted the city had discriminated-- severely and repeatedly-- against minority police officers. The citizenry was supposed to believe that these instances of alleged discrimination justified driving out the department's entire command staff; and weakening the department dramatically.
Holder generated prodigious amounts of original reporting on his blog that began to tell the real story. The forcible shakedown of the Greensboro Police Department was politically motivated-- pure and simple. It was reverse discrimination, and political correctness gone amuck. Jerry Bledsoe penned his epic series in the Rhino Times. Then years later, officers Tom Fox and Scott Sanders were essentially aquitted in court; and the city's Melderec leadership finally conceded, belatedly, that they had erred-- big time. The city's position had turned around completely; and the city was now going to defend itself in court against the charges of discrimination-- after having previously constructed the case against itself.
Two of Ben Holder's opponents in the at-large race-- Marikay Abuzuaiter and Yvonne Johnson-- recently voted to grant the minority officers a settlement even though they had sued the taxpayers using false allegations. They voted to grant them a settlement even though their ranks included characters such as A. J. Blake, Ron Rogers, Allen Wallace, Jermeir Jackson-Stroud, Lawrence Alexander and Steven Evans. (Jerry Bledsoe reports on this "rogues gallery" in the inaugural issue of the new Rhino Times.)
Both Johnson and Abuzuaiter deserve to be thrown out of office. Yvonne Johnson, who has served nearly two decades on the city council, should have been subject to term limits approximately 15 years ago.
Ben Holder is a remarkable fellow. He has advocated strenuously-- for years-- against the lies and cover-ups and malfeasance and misfeasance and outright incompetence perpetrated by the city. He has done this through his blog, through appearances at council meetings, and through his extensive network of contacts that provide him with inside information. One major achievement was his advocacy for a shutdown of the sex trafficking trade that had been flourishing in Greensboro through its former legal massage parlor establishments. But there have been other instances of Holder's leadership also.
It should be noted that, on the questionnaire circulated by Conservatives for Guilford County, Ben's responses suggested he is a fiscal conservative.
Ben Holder will bring an added dimension to the city council. He will bring truth-telling, a willingness to call out wrongful actions, and the ability to speak out when things are amiss. These are attributes that oft have been sorely lacking on the Greensboro City Council historically-- in large part because of our corrupt machine government.
I will be proud to support Ben Holder for the Greensboro City Council.