Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Greensboro City Council Member Mary Rakestraw Email from Rhino Times for Free Skating and Concert Tickets

rhino e mail to greensboro city council member on free tickets to skating event

Here we go again where we have a email between Greensboro City Council member Mary Rakestraw and William Hammer from the weekly newspaper Rhino Times with him e mailing the sitting council member if she knew anyone who was interested in free tickets to the US Figure Skating Championship. Then at the end of the e mail embedded above you will also see William Hammer from the Rhino also ask if she wanted to holler back on tickets to see Sleeping Booty at Allure on friday night.

Let me try to explain to all local elected officials. You should not be taking free tickets to any event or concert, PERIOD. After seeing this email exchange between a local weekly newspaper and a local elected official it is time ask the question.

Did Greensboro City Council member Mary Rakestraw take free tickets from the Rhino Times and go to the US Figure Skating Championship this past weekend?

Did Greensboro City Council member Mary Rakestraw get free tickets to see Sleeping Booty at Allure on friday night?

This is on top of other issues of free tickets given out to sitting Greensboro City Council members with another post from January 7, 2011 titled "Greensboro City Council Member Zack Matheny Wants Citizens To Buy Tickets but His are Free. any Ethical ? CLICKHERE

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Tony Wilkins said...

Keith, I decided to call Mary about this post (which is what I recommend you should have done) to get her feedback.
Surprisingly she stated she knew nothing about what I was speaking of and that she never received the e-mail in question.
I received that same e-mail with "Tony" in the heading and I have to assume this is a personalized mass e-mailing from previous Schmoozefest visitors.
Keith, my good friend, I think an apology is in order for insinuating any wrongdoing on Mary's part.

triadwatch said...

in the post there was not any insinuating but a few questions. In reality local elected officials need not get free tickets and since it was a mass mailing then hammer should take the elected officials off the mailing list


This is my second attempt to post.
I will not get into a back and forth. Here are the facts:
1. Kipling (a VF division) had extra tickets and offered them out free for the taking. Evidently the Rhino got some. I would bet that others did also.
2. On Jan 29 the Rhino emailed its list (severl hundred) to pass these tickets along. Mary got one of these mass emails at her city council address which is subject to the public records law. This is no secret. Her name is on it because evidently they can be personalized.
3. Today Feb 2 we became aware of the email (the first time she saw it) and that is the first time Mary knew of the offer.

Now I have some suggestions:
1. If you have an issue with someone be adult about it and give the person a call first.
2. Propely define the issue. In this instance what is it - ie is it the Rhino's passing along tickets or Mary having received a mass email or what. Further, declare whether you think the Rhino was wrong in passing out free tickets supplied by a sponsor of the event to fill the seats for national TV.
3. It would be a constructive thing to phone Mary and apologize or at least explain yourself. We are in the phone book. Show some character.
4. Call Willy Hammer and get his perspective and print that.
5. Resolve to be more thorough next time.
6. Please tell us how this story arose and who and why it was brought to your attention. I am just curious about it.
7. Put your name and phone # on the heading of your blog.

Proper reporting would have resulted in a story like the following, which I have written myself.
(I don't think this makes much news however).

"Kipling, a major sponsor of the skating championships, offered out its excess tickets. The Rhino then publicly offered its share out to several hundred people on its email list, some elected officials. Beyond that we don't know much."

No reply is necessary to this posting.

triadwatch said...

thanks frank, if you want to get in touch with me my e mail is under the contributors section of blog or just talk with tony he has all my information.

In regards to why i posted this it is because elected officials need to not be on the free ticket bandwagon for any event. This is just another example along with the free circus tickets from last year which need to get reported.Mass e mail or not the rhino needs to take elected officials off the mass e mail list.

Go KB Go said...

I think Keith is right that all companies including media should refrain from offering anything to elected officials.

WFMY needs to make sure that they don't broadcast to public officials when they offer free prizes on TV. They should literally go to each city council member's house and make sure their TV doesn't tune into Channel 2.

Also, let's not leave radio stations out. When they have ticket giveaways they need to make certain that they don't broadcast those to city council members, sanitation district supervisors, the dogcatcher, the sheriff, etc. There is probably some technology we could install into public official's radios where it would block signals coming from stations when they do giveawsys. It would only cost a few million, but it would be worth it!

Also, when McDonald's and other fast food places have those Monopoly things, they need to see some photo ID when they give away the game pieces and check it against a national "elected official list" to make sure they're not giving something to a politician. It may take several minutes per order and put the restaurant out of business, but it's certainly better than making the mistake of offering a free McChicken sandwich to a city council member who might make a McD's zoning decision sometime in the next 20 years.

I'm glad we have bloggers like Triad Watch -- who obviously have never accepted any free giveaway item that might taint their objectivity on any subject -- to protect our elected officials from mass mailing ticket giveaways, promotions, and other free stuff that's also offered to the general public.

In this time of unemployment, cutting budgets, bad schools, crime issues, and environmental issues, it's certainly a very important goal to we make sure that even the most innocent of offers to the public are obsessively scrutinized to the nth degree.

Keep up the great work and I look forward to an dramatic exclusive about how city council members received free samples of shampoo in the mail and why we should care. Perhaps you could write it in all caps to make sure it receives the attention it deserves.

triadwatch said...

not free samples just free tickets to circus

Anonymous said...

TriadWatch, I think Go KB Go's post was intended to be sarcastic. In other words, if a free offer is made to the general public then it's very hard (and pointless) to try and exclude everyone who is a public official.

triadwatch said...

You think that offer was made to general public no it was not .I want to point out the free ticket gravy train will be exposed even with a email like the one above.We also have the fax from ringing brothers to all city council members which no one wants to tall but am glad it is exposed.