Last week WWAY had exposed that democrat DA candidate Butch Pope has paid former criminals to help him during the primary by getting out the vote. Then the Whiteville News Reporter tried to accuse Pope’s opponent John David, the Republican, of the same thing. Several problems however, the reporter was a donor to Pope’s campaign, the criminal in question was the ONLY named source for the story and had already admitted taking money from Pope. This will be a difficult one for the News Reporter to explain away and feeds the belief already held by the public that the print media is in the bag for the left.
The Whiteville News Reporter’s Bob High wrote this article last week, which painted David in a rather unflattering light. David has been critical of the get-out-the-vote practice in which candidates, including his opponent Butch Pope, have spent thousands of dollars paying people to round up votes. But the article implies David tried to recruit McRae Dowless, a convicted felon who’d already been hired by Pope, to help with his campaign.
Kudos to Anne McAdams for covering this story over at WWAY. Ethics need to be challenged on this one.Read full article » No Comments »
The creation of a town should NEVER be taken lightly. And it becoming more common to create them because of external issues that create a “defensive” incorporation. Not long ago the town of Misenheimer was created to bring about zoning that would stop a gold mine.
Now the good folks in the Castle Hayne area are rushing into an incorporation to stave off being taken in by Wilmington as it attempts to gobble up ALL unincorporated areas of New Hanover County. Coverage at WWAY here.
Wilmington is barely five miles from Castle Hayne’s proposed boundaries, and the residents would need to ask permission from the Wilmington City Council to incorporate any land closer than that. And Wilmington’s elected body, determined to expand the city, is unlikely to say yes.
And once Wilmington annexes Ogden, as the city council intends in the next few years, that five-mile line will run straight through Castle Hayne, killing any chance of incorporation.
There may be some that are doing this for good reasons. The sad truth is that our state laws regarding annexation are BAD, in fact, horrible. Dozens of cities have been created for that very reason. I wish these folks would lobby equally hard to change this horrible law. If they did, there would be no need to create the town of Castle Hayne. Though I wish they wouldn’t do it as taxes will go up, I do understand. Playing defense is bad for taxpayers when it comes to annexation as well.Read full article » No Comments »
Have you ever been bitten by your dog or cat? Odds are that most of us have in some way. BUT, did you know you’re supposed to confine the animal by statute when that occurs? And if it dies, geesh, you have to pay for an expensive test.
In New Hanover County, a reported case of pet-bites-guardian falls under both state and county regulations. The dog or cat is required to be quarantined for 10 days.
In instances where the pet is up-to-date on rabies and other vaccinations, typically the family has the option of an at-home confinement period. And animal control officers will check on the pet on visits to the home.
If, after the 10-day period, all is well, then all is well. Should the pet die for any reason during the quarantine period, the state of North Carolina requires testing of the brain tissue for rabies.
Big Brother apparently has its claws, literally, in your life. Betcha’ didn’t know that handy bit of information didya’? Here kitty, kitty, but if you bite I’ll put you down!Read full article » No Comments »
I can’t make it up and you won’t believe me if I write it, so I’ll just print what was written over at WWAY.
TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) — Sen. R.C. Soles is back in the news after another run in with 18-year-old Allen Strickland. Saturday night, Strickland’s 2004 Pontiac crashed into the back of Soles’s BMW.
Tabor City Police say Strickland’s uncle Jerry Stanley was driving the car and trying to pass Soles when Soles turned left, and they collided. Strickland was a passenger in the Pontiac. There was significant damage to both cars, but no one was hurt. Police ticketed Stanley for an improper passing.
Sen. Soles made headlines last summer when the house he bought for Strickland was destroyed in a fire and people began asking questions about the unusual relationship between the 75-year-old senator and many young men in the Tabor City area.
I will continue to maintain that a Pulitzer Prize is waiting to be won by anyone who writes the story of RC’s political career. It will make Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil pale by comparison. The real question is, why was Strickland on RC’s rear bumper???Read full article » 1 Comment »
The new Wilmington Convention Center has a new manager who joined the staff last Nov. 1, according to the StarNews. In spite of all facts to the contrary, the soon to be mostly empty convention center proceeds. If you really want to have your eyes opened, read this interesting perspective on the convention center shell game from back in 2004.
As general manager, Susan Eaton oversees a staff of five people, which will grow to 13 after the center officially opens next year. Eaton said 27 to 29 events are already booked through 2018 (simple math means 4 per year. . .). She tries to book groups for more than one visit, perhaps every other year or every third year.
Prior to being a part of the Wilmington Convention Center she worked at the Miami Beach Convention Center, then McCormick Place in Chicago, and then the Knoxville Convention Center in Tennessee. Here’s some interesting information on those centers.
Miami Beach Convention Center – “All the funds are from $55 million that county voters approved five years ago to revamp the center, last updated in 1989. Industry players for years have lamented outdated amenities and lack of a ballroom. When the center opened in the 1950s it was the nation’s fourth-largest; today it’s 28th.”
McCormick Place, Chicago – “The boss at McCormick Place insists the convention flight isn’t as bad as we portray. He says there’s a net loss of only two of 100 annual events. But the convention center is losing money and asking lawmakers for help with a bailout.”
Knoxville Convention Center, Tenn. – ”The Knoxville Convention Center will operate with a deficit of $1.3 million in the coming fiscal year, although convention officials stress the facility was not built to make money.”
So, we now know that she’s used to being at convention centers that lose money and have to be subsidized by the taxpayers. She should feel right at home in Wilmington. In all sincerity, I’m hopeful she can buck the trend, but convention centers are ALWAYS losing propositions in the public sector.Read full article » 1 Comment »
ABLE (The Alliance for a Better Local Economy) has released a strong statement demanding greater accountability from groups receiving taxpayer money in the Wilmington area. On the heels of revelations that Wilmington Downtown Inc. had used a credit card for grocery and cigar purchases and questions from City Councilwoman Laura Padgett, they are asking for MORE serious questions to be asked.
ABLE is demanding that the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County immediately stop all taxpayer funding to all economic development organizations; and that a full investigative, and comprehensive audit be conducted by an out-of-state firm on each one of these economic development agencies that receive any amount of taxpayer money.
It is always a good idea to have such audits. It’s an even better idea to stop funding most, if not all, of the non-profits. Also a good tie in to the John Locke Foundation’s Transparency Initiative found here.Read full article » No Comments »
One of the largely unwritten stories in local politics is that of municipal/county airports. Communities love to tout their respective airports and what great economic development tools they are but rarely have discussions about their costs/subsidies/tax revenue etc. Planes pay taxes based on where the wheels are on January 1 so it’s not surprising to see expensive planes on the ground in low rate counties at that time.
The story of Columbus County’s ability to provide fuel 24/7 via new pumps is mostly puff and smiles, but buried at the bottom of the story is the following line:
The fiscal 2010-11 county budget calls for $501,500 in revenue for the airport with a budget of $775,179.
So, what is the county spending on this airport? What are the tax revenues? There’s the story!Read full article » No Comments »
Folks adjacent to Monkey Junction (and including part of the annexed area) have the desire to be their own town. They’ve followed the rules, submitted their paperwork to the General Assembly and then were told they needed the City of Wilmington’s blessing to move forward. Hmm. . if there was ever the thought that Wilmington had an imperial attitude it would be in having the ability to stop folks who don’t live in the city from creating their own city.
Councilwoman Laura Padgett said she is concerned about the impact on Wilmington’s share of sales tax revenue if The Cape, a development of more than 1,000 people with two of its three entrances gated, incorporates. “The more municipalities we have in New Hanover County, the smaller Wilmington’s share becomes even though we provide the most significant contribution in amenities and roads and other services that generates the sales tax,” Padgett said.
Nothing like having selfish interest from city council. Here’s the short answer that should be on the lips of EVERY councilman, “It’s in their hands.” and be done with it. Wilmington’s concern is always about money and their desire to have more of it.
Mayor Saffo was partially correct when he said he didn’t have a problem with it but. . . .
“I just want to see what it does to the city of Wilmington overall,” he said, noting he wants the city’s staff to research what the incorporation would include and how it might affect not only Wilmington but the beach towns as well.
Nice that he is so concerned about the beach towns, but in the end, it’s all about Wilmington sadly. Special note: The GA ended the incorporation of “gated” communities after St. James. The Cape is a “semi-gated” which is just kind of funny as I’m not sure what the distinction is.Read full article » No Comments »
The Employment Security folks (always thought that was a funny name for an office), have come out with a report showing that wages in the area are at $36, 138 on average. As I was reading the article I could completely understand why they’re low. People want to be here so they make sacrifices in pay to be near the coast. Lots of college kids and retail centers also push the average down. Lots of tourism doesn’t equate to high paying jobs so the news is mixed and not altogether bad. Lots of folks come here to spend money that don’t go to other more affluent areas of the state. In other words, they “redistribute” their incomes by spending it here by choice. What a remarkable concept!
Wilmington ranked No. 6 out of 10 metro areas in the state in average wages last year – and below the state average, according to statistics from the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
By far the highest average wage was in the Durham-Chapel Hill metro area, at $54,901, followed by Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, S.C., at $47,056.
Four metro areas ranked beneath Wilmington – Fayetteville, $35,762; Greenville, $35,604; Asheville, $34,249; and Jacksonville, $28,994.
No surprise with Durham-Chapel Hill either. Elite medical universities, Research Triangle Park, etc. Always good to read such news with an eye towards more than just the story itself.
Read full article » No Comments »
The figures assume two weeks’ vacation but exclude benefits such as health insurance. They include private and government employers.
While at the Center for Local Innovation, we had pushed for Wilmington to privatize the wasteful Wastec as it was hemorrhaging taxpayer money badly. The desire to learn more was in place, but the political will evaporated when employee sob stories started. (another link here) And more money was wasted. But times they are a changing.
Now, with the county on the verge of signing a contract with R3 Environmental, most of the 72 employees who work at Wastec and the landfill will be moved to R3′s payroll, where they will be guaranteed jobs at their county salaries for at least 12 months, according to terms agreed on by R3 and the county commissioners.
On the one hand, GREAT news! On the other, why did it take so long? Nonetheless, the end result is that privatization is once again vindicated. Folks, your city and county can privatize much more than they think.Read full article » No Comments »