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07/07/2013

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You know, the only thing I find shocking is the sudden wave of truth from the News & Record.

I agree, Billy.

But it takes insight and a higher level of truthfulness and understanding to explain why the city cannot maintain civil order; and why it feels it must resort to curfews. The public needs to be enlightened on these matters also. Blaming the curfew on the upcoming election, while not entirely untrue, is simply too facile an explanation.

But Billy, if you are speaking about the column by Allen Johnson-- yes, that is surprising also. The column was directed much more at Alston than it was at the PAC; but the PAC is definitely mentioned.

Let's be clear on several points here.

First, violence in downtown Greensboro is hardly dependent on the dubious proposition of "...the city had recruited large number of teens to come downtown for its Summer Nights Live program", as stated here.

Downtown has seen a number of violent evenings this year, and in preceding years, when there was no specific event to "recruit large number of teens to come downtown". Trouble also occurreed on Independence Day evening, yet no one saw fit to point the finger at the Fun Fourth festivities as a catalyst.

Second, making the insinuation (as Hartzman has done) that City Council welcomed the opportunity to use the violence to pass a curfew is irresponsible. In respect of that, I think its fair to say that Hartzman may be using this as a talking point for his campaign.

Third, as much as we might dislike the corrupt cronyism culture that infests Our Fair City, we cannot not permit hysterical over-reaction of this sort to dilute the legitimate criticism of our self appointed ruling elites.

Argue against the curfew all you want; point fingers at poor crisis management to your heart's content, but don't make ludicrous assumptions that require the willing suspension of disbelief, and weaken the case for actual reform that's so badly needed.

Regarding Gauger's assertion that the events of June 29 were nothing more than "A few teens ruckusing on Saturday night." shows he doesn't have a clue what actually happened.

Why am I not surprised?

Bubba, you are absolutely right that violence among young people has occurred downtown with some regularity in the past.

But when the city is unprepared or unwilling to deploy and use police effectively and consistently, in sufficient numbers, to maintain civil order, then it is probably a mistake for the city to sponsor events that attract large numbers of teens and young adults prone to violence. And I think it would be even better not to even sponsor the functions in the first place, regardless of police preparedness.

What is the reform that is needed? Effective, consistent, proactive policing, including but not limited to broken windows approaches-- and citywide, not just downtown. We need to have sufficient numbers of cops instead of all the superfluous programs the city funds.

It's not easy to have sufficient numbers of cops when you cut police academy funding severely. That means attrition might reduce the numbers in your ranks.

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