"In enacting a downtown teen curfew, the Greensboro City Council moved faster than a rat cornered by a rattlesnake.
A few teens ruckusing on Saturday night. A new curfew before noon on Wednesday.
Legislative bodies have seldom moved so quickly.
...Why did our Magnificent Nine act so quickly against teenagers downtown?
I’ll tell you why, and it doesn’t involve a surprise flash mob of teenagers. Not alone, anyway.
It’s the election.
Yup. The election filing period was set to start Friday, just two days after the council voted 8-1 for the downtown curfew. November, here we come.
We’ve got a hot race for mayor, with Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan challenging incumbent Mayor Robbie Perkins, and the unpredictable gadfly George Hartzman as a possible spoiler.
Methinks the mayor’s race would qualify as an “affray.” That’s the formal legal charge that authorities unshelved against some of the people allegedly involved in last Saturday’s downtown fights, those that sent Robbie and the Frets rushing to make law.
...Unfortunately, early descriptions of events that first Saturday were imprecise enough to permit imaginative interpretation. Four hundred youth in the park and along downtown streets? Fighting? A gunshot? Arrests?
In truth, it appears a handful of youth and young adults were fighting.
Downtown Greensboro was not a battle scene from the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”
...The city Parks and Recreation Department did our cops no good deed last Saturday in inviting teens to a movie showing in Festival Park, as candidate Hartzman has pointed out. Police spokeswoman Susan Danielsen’s assertion that the movie had “absolutely no correlation” to fights that night is — how can I put this in a family newspaper? — complete bunk.
It’s not that the city acted with ill intent in showing a movie for teens. It’s that actions have consequences, sometimes unintended consequences. Own your actions, own the consequences. It’s that simple.
...Now downtown is thriving, and we have more stakeholders at the table, including monied interest groups, and more of Greensboro’s image to the broader world on the line. So politicians act quickly..."