Articles by Roch Smith Jr

Outling fails to reveal conflicts in violation of state-mandated ethics policy

GREENSBORO, NC — The state-mandated city council ethics policy demands that council members reveal when they have a conflict of interest on a matter that comes before them, that they do so on the public record, describe “all such material facts” and recuse themselves. Failure to do so is “malfeasance in office” and the offender is to “forfeit his office or position.” City council member Justin Outling twice recused himself from council votes at a recent meeting without saying why as is required by the city’s ethics policy. Instead, he used his time to blame his lack of an ethical compass on the city attorney.

Don’t make me cut my dog’s balls off; why the proposed county spay/neuter ordinance is a bad idea

The Guilford County Commissioners will consider an ordinance at their Thursday evening meeting that would require people to spay and neuter their pets. It is an overbearing and over-reaching government that would tell its citizens they must have surgery performed on their pets. And giving people of means an opportunity to buy their way out from this ordinance for $200 creates one set of laws for people of means and another set of laws for the middle class and poor who don’t have an extra $200 at their disposal. It would be shameful if Guilford County went down the path of allowing people to buy exceptions to its laws. That’s downright un-American.

False News! WGHP MyFox8 ignores county’s pleas and leaves incorrect spay/neuter story online

GREENSBORO, NC — WGHP MyFox8 posted a story last night titled “Guilford County Commissioners to pet owners: spay/neuter or pay up.” It says the County Commissioners passed an ordinance last night that will require people to pay a $200 fee or have their pet spayed or neutered. That is false according to multiple officials. The Commissioners agreed last night to schedule a public hearing on the proposal for September 21st before they vote on it. Despite the error being brought to the attention of the reporter and the news director by multiple people, including the Clerk to the Commissioners, the false story remains online and uncorrected more than 18 hours after it was posted. Read more to see what’s really up with the proposal.

Outling received United Healthcare lobbyist contribution on day he stopped city contract from going to competitor

GREENSBORO, NC — City council representative Justin Outling acted in his official capacity to block the awarding of a city contract to Cigna and to steer it to United Healthcare, one of his law firm’s clients. On the day he acted, Outling received a campaign contribution from a state registered lobbyist for United Healthcare.

What is the real story behind the removal of the MLK, Jr. bust from downtown?

GREENSBORO, NC — A city of Greensboro spokesperson said the Martin Luther King, Jr. bust was being removed from its central location for refurbishment because cars keep bumping into it. But that seems unlikely and, with another memorial set to replace it in the same location, nonsensical. Plans to move the bust were initiated by Downtown Greensboro Incorporated. How did those plans to move the bust across the street evolve to moving the bust out of the downtown business district?

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