10 nicknames for local public figures


by Brian Clarey

1. JoJo — Allen Joines, mayor of Winston-Salem

Nicknames are great because they allow us to impart personality on the subjects that given names don’t convey. For example, the affable Mayor Allen Joines gets JoJo because it’s catchy and fun to say.

2. Hard G — Jeff Gauger, editor and publisher of the News & Record

The impetus for this piece was Greensboro N&R Editor and Publisher Jeff Gauger, whose name proved difficult for many Southerners to pronounce in the days after he first came to town to run the show. Hard G reminds us of the proper pronunciation of his name, and also that he’s come out swinging in 2015.

3. Wham Bam — State Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford)

Forgive us if we leave out the “Thank you, ma’am” part when referring to the former county commissioner and city councilmember who seems to be using her state Senate seat to settle old scores, particularly SB 36, which will recalibrate the political reality in Greensboro.

4. Ball Peen — John Hammer, editor of the Rhino Times

I just think this is funny.

5. Velvet Steel — Nancy Vaughan, mayor of Greensboro

Don’t let the coif and the shoes fool you: Greensboro’s mayor has enough grit to switch political parties, push back against overreach from Raleigh and (probably) fight for re-election. And from what I understand, she also knows how to throw a solid hip-check.

6. Rain Man — Skip Alston, former Guilford County commissioner and developer

Since he and his sidekick Earl “Too Tall” Jones took control of the old Woolworth’s at the corner of South Elm Street and February One Place, turning it into a civil rights museum, Alston has consistently been able to make it rain on the museum — if, by make it rain you mean leverage subsidies from the city.

7.Boom Boom — Bill Bencini, mayor of High Point

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini had a strong amateur career before winning his first title in 1980 by knocking out Bobby Sparks just 1:28 into the first round. Like his namesake, the first-time contender Bill Bencini took the High Point mayor’s race with a coalition of business-friendly Republicans and the urban-revitalization crowd that comprised a whopping 55.8 percent of the vote.

8. RoyCo. — Roy Carroll, publisher of the Rhino Times and Greensboro developer

Never forget: He’s not a businessman; he’s a business, man.

9. “Honest” Dave — Forsyth County Commissioner Dave Plyer

I didn’t make this one up — it’s how he introduces himself.

10. The Fork — Michael Hastings, food writer for the Winston-Salem Journal

Hastings has been eating on this beat for so long he’s tasted just about everything worth chewing in this town. If the Fork shows up at your place, you’re on the map.