The Raleigh News & Observer editorial editor takes Republicans now in control of the General Assembly to task for presumably being “business savvy and good managers of the state’s resources,” but proposing to cut some “worthy programs” and “push reductions” that would cost some state workers their jobs. Oh, really?
Wasn’t that the point of Republican campaign promises (and the election results) that the decades of irresponsible and corrupt Democrat political mischief must be undone?
But, the editor argues, even in “hard times” we should not “neglect children.” And, of course, lose of state workers will add to the rolls of the unemployed; already high, he says.
Well, we must ask, what about “shared sacrifice”? Our private workers have been hurt most—they make up the bulk of the unemployed, while we hear of few public employees (with generally higher wages and better benefits) that lost jobs. Why does he assume that state workers be immune during “hard times”?
The editor admits that “Democrats decided the big budget questions themselves (translation: spent recklessly, added tax burden and indebted the taxpayers) and ignored GOP members.”
So, now the adults in charge must clean up the mess.
The editor also condemns Republicans for insisting that taxes not be increased. The budget shortfall we face is $2.4 billion, he says. Some believe it could be two or three times that. Naturally, to Democrats and their supporters, political spending is never enough and the means to fund it is always: more taxes. The “budget gap” represents the excessive burden, or “pain” felt by those whose earnings are expected to cover for past irresponsible behavior by our political Heroes. State programs and workers should share in the necessary corrective action.
All this shows that people now in charge of state government are well-informed and perceptive—they seem to have a practical understanding required to do the right thing. Whether they will be able to do it is quite another matter.Read full article » No Comments »
There’s really no need to comment here, it’s just plain ridiculous.
Trimming your own trees might result in a fine from the city. (StarNews) $8k for this citizen: Carlos Perez recently found himself in debt to the city to the tune of $8,000 for trimming his crape myrtles at the Lullwater Condominiums too far. After Perez met with city officials, his fine was reduced to $3,200, he said. Then Rivenbark told him he wouldn’t be cited. He’s still awaiting a letter from the city to that effect. (Was it a mistake?)
And the city of Wilmington ALMOST makes a mistake ordering a local sign to be torn down. (WWAY) The owner of Flip’s Bar-B-Que House on Oleander Drive received a notice from the city to take down his sign by tomorrow, but after we started making calls, the city says it made a mistake, and the sign can stay up a little longer. (Another mistake?)Read full article » No Comments »
Council Tool Co. makes a great product, they work hard and they’ve done so for generations. I’ve personally toured the facility near Whiteville. They don’t look to local or state government for handouts, they employ folks who work hard and they have amazing loyalty amongst those employees AND their customers.
In a day and age where cronyism and corruption have ruled state government and companies have looked to get in bed with “incentives” a company like Council deserves mention because they prove what a company can do in spite of government not because of it.
Now three and four generations deep, Council Tool Co. deserves a special mention. Congrats on the success and the example to the rest of us about the value of hard work and persistence! To Pickett, John and Margo a special thank you! (from the StarNews)
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Council Tool Co. doesn’t make what most would consider sexy products. But they are sexy enough to have appeared on national television – namely, on an episode of the History Channel’s “Modern Marvels”, “The History of the Ax.”
“If we were still making turpentine tools we would have been out of business a long time ago,” said Pickett Council, vice president of Council Tool. “We’ve done a good job of morphing into different markets, channels of distribution.”
The company “has survived by being conservative,” she said.
It buys steel made in the U.S. to turn into axes. Even the leather sheathes are made in Lake Waccamaw. The handles are not manufactured by Council, but are American-made, the Councils said. Additionally, the boxes and labels are bought domestically.
For years we have witnessed the unraveling world of former Sen. R.C. Soles (D-Columbus). He has represented, over the years, dozens of troubled uneducated men. In court, he has helped them stay out of jail or minimized their time in it. He has given them cars, homes and money. Their exploits have been written about, their crimes numerous.
These same individuals have caused countless amounts of property damage, taken part in high speed chases, been amidst burning homes, trespassed and one has even been shot by R.C. himself. The situation has gone from curiosity to ridicule, from ridicule to concern, from concern to dangerous. This past weekend yet more shots were fired by the senator and two policeman from Tabor City were injured in pursuit of BJ Wright as he was fleeing the senators house. It was the THIRD visit to the senators home in the same night. During the “escape” BJ was able to shed his clothes and jump into a lake. One of the pursuing officers now has a torn rotator cuff, the other a possible torn ACL.
This situation is bad and getting worse. Local law enforcement has not been able to contain the situation, the sheriff’s department, which has offered a $1k reward, has been largely absent and it appears the rules of the wild west are alive and well in Columbus County.
What happens next? Does an innocent need to die? I hope not. Serious investigations need to take place and the shroud of secrecy needs to be removed. Money, crime, power, and secrets are making for a deadly combination in Columbus. This need not be the case. Maybe it’s time for Federal authorities to come in and clean this mess up. And to boot, the crimes that have been responded to at RC’s home are not within the confines of Tabor City which begs more questions as to why the Tabor City police are responding. According to one source, RC doesn’t use the 911 system knowing the calls are recorded preferring to call friends on the force.
But by far the most pathetic quote comes from the Tabor City police. Rather than getting to the bottom of this story:
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(WWAY) asked a Tabor City Police Officer when does all the craziness stop? His response, “When R.C. is in the ground.”
What to do without a Wilmington arts council? Local arts and crafters have discovered funds available from “surrogate arts councils.” They can go on line at Kickstarter.com and IndieGoGo.com to solicit money from family and friends to support their hobbies, according to a Wilmington StarNews article. It’s called “crowdsourcing.” We assume that refers to the crowd of people out there willing to donate money to the arts “community.” Cofounder of Kickstarter, Yancey Strickler, thinks the idea of “self-determination” is a good thing.
It certainly is; just git ‘er done your own self, a hard-working Tarheel might say. StarNews reporter Amy Hotz phrases this unique contemporary idea as funding “the old-fashioned way”; with one’s own money. Apparently, that strange approach to pursuing happiness still has some believers.
Richard Davis, founder of Guerilla Theatre and artistic director at the downtown Brown Coat Pub and Theatre feels strongly about funding without public money. He’s proud of doing the honorable thing; as well he should. However, his attitude that “institutions will fail us,” I think, shows misunderstanding (I hope it’s not disdain). We assume he refers to taxpayer’s money handed out by our politicians to their special interests as “institutions.”
If that’s what Mr. Davis means, “fail us” is incorrect. When politicians use their power to subsidize the works of various interest groups, they fail their fiduciary responsibility to the people whose earnings they take, while those granted public funds benefit unduly from the coerced gift of other people’s money.
Still, self-service is embedded in human nature—people will provide for themselves if they must. For example, handbag designer, Alisha Payne and her manager Courtney Bridgers hope to use funds obtained through Kickstarter to purchase an industrial sewing machine. They don’t want to assume the responsibility of a loan. But they recognize the necessity of making responsible personal decisions (what politicians call “hard choices”). If someone else doesn’t help fund their project they may have to reluctantly give up their hobby and “get real jobs,” according to Ms. Bridgers.
If only our politicians had the courage to send these messages to those that expect to benefit from grants of other people’s money.Read full article » No Comments »
It has been a lamentable development that state officials have been touting the end of the coast as we know it. They used taxpayer dollars, wasted countless hours and pandered to people’s fears in unjustifiable ways. But now they’re backing off? Why?
In reaction to public feedback, the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission on Thursday toned down rhetoric in its draft of policies on sea-level rise. ”I think some of the language in our policy created some urgency that’s not there,” said Chairman Bob Emory during the meeting in Beaufort.
Huh? Of course people thought it was urgent, because you guys have said it was urgent for years!!! They drummed it publicly and now say it wasn’t urgent?? Then what is it? Somewhat urgent? Possible urgent? Or maybe it’s just not happening. The science isn’t really solid.
Some questioned the use of a sea-level gauge at Duck on the Outer Banks that shows a much greater increase in sea-level rise than the other seven gauges used to determine the relative rise in water.
But to make this more bizarre, former UNCW Chancellor and Senate Candidate Jim Leutze added little to the conversation.
CRC councilman Jim Leutze suggested using well-known and well-respected people in the community, such as Andy Griffith, to educate citizens about what sea-level rise is and what it could mean to them.
Yeah, that’s right, good ole’ Andy can tell us all about sea level rise.Read full article » No Comments »
There is no doubt the legislative elections of 2010 had a profound effect. But that hasn’t stopped Wilmington City Council from thinking it didn’t happen. Their well worn list of priorities about having more taxing authority and more annexation power hasn’t really moved in the past decade. With the re-election of Danny McComas and Carolyn Justice to the House and the new election of Thom Goolsby to the Senate, such a list is even less relevant. From the StarNews:
(City Council recently) asked City Manager Sterling Cheatham to compile the cost of the Monkey Junction annexation to date.Council members suggested sending that total to Raleigh, but the mayor indicated that might be a waste of time. ”I really don’t think they care,” Saffo said. (now that’s funny Mayor!) In a recent interview, Saffo said the city has had a good working relationship with its delegation and hopes that can continue. (how can you say the previous statement and think you have a good relationship?)
The city council should consider that folks in the city elected these folks and consider looking for common ground. Choosing to act like bitter partisans is NOT what folks elected them to do and they would be wise to act more like diplomats than monarchs. Remember, the city still wants to increase spending by $6 million this coming year which shows they are FAR more out of touch than a legislature that is trying to cut spending.
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“We are going to balance our budget up here, and we expect the city to balance theirs down there,” Goolsby said. “Our focus is to reduce the size of state government and reduce spending, and we just ask that our city understand that and where we’re coming from and what we think we were elected to do.” (WELL SAID!)
It’s not like public perception favors ANY new taxes. With the Tea Party movement, growing discontent over wasteful spending and high taxes came to a boiling point. So it should come as a surprise that an increase in taxes would be the last thing on the table, but commissioners are over a year away from an election.
This afternoon the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority discussed adding an extra fee for vehicle registration. That money would help pay for public transit to the beach. Wave Transit Executive Director Albert Eby said the state Department of Transportation would collect and allocate an extra vehicle registration fee to Wave to fund three separate routes to the area’s beaches. If approved by New Hanover County Commissioners and Wilmington City Council, Eby said an extra seven dollars would be added to all New Hanover County residents’ vehicle registration regardless if they plan to use the beach buses or not. (WWAY)
What? Really? Here’s an idea, if Wave Transit is providing such a great service, stop subsidizing it! At the very least let the folks who want to get to and from the beaches pay for the costs. But that won’t work because transit never pays for itself. Punishing folks who own cars as gas approaches $4/gallon is just a bad idea.Read full article » No Comments »
Local officials, especially coastal ones, enjoy saying they have low tax rates even if the tax burden might be high. Dare County, for years, claimed the lowest RATE in the state, mainly because most of the homes on the coast were secondary homes with very little need for county services and high property values.
Brunswick County finds itself looking at a tax rate that will be over 30% higher (from 30.5 cents to 43-cents) in the coming year. That may actually be a slight decrease in burden for coastal folks, but will be kind of scary for the folks in the Leland area whose values have held steady and might have increased.
Brunswick County tax administrator Tom Davis has said that land in coastal areas fell 35 percent to 40 percent in value through this revaluation. The commission has given indications that it not only wants to go revenue neutral (which is actually a zero growth approach) but may try to cut taxes even though the rate might increase.
To generate the $102.4 million the current 30.5-cent rate per $100 of property value brings in, the revenue-neutral rate next fiscal year would be roughly 43 cents, according to slides finance director Ann Hardy presented to commissioners. Staying below that bar means cutting services, commissioners said. “The question is what services do you cut?” said Sue, who noted the tax rate was 68.5 cents when he became a commissioner in 1994. (State Port Pilot, front page)
Revaluations are always difficult for the public to grasp and show how bizarre the assessment of property taxes truly is.Read full article » No Comments »
The story line could have read: “Opponents say arts council would waste public’s money.” Instead, Wilmington StarNews editors chose to headline an article: “Supporters say arts council would boost economy.” Which side should we think they favor?
The article starts with a claim that: “The arts equal money.” But who’s money? Clearly, this new adventure in subsidized activities will cost plenty. Supporters want $500,000 over the next five years taken from our local economy to prop up interests that cannot sustain themselves. And that doesn’t include getting state funds (“a money funnel for grants”) that taps the hard-earned dollars of other North Carolina citizens—a sad example of selfishness and greed.
City council member Laura Padgett had the audacity to tell an “economic development group” meeting at the public radio station this week that she and supporters will be “so much poorer” without taking money from others to fund their fun project. She wants a “fair share” of other people’s money. Miss Laura was “around” during the attempt at another arts misadventure that failed in 2002. We don’t know how much taxpayer money was wasted on that loser project—now she wants to try it again.
The Cape Fear Economic Development Council sponsored this spectacle that should have embarrassed members. Director Bill Graham made a pathetic plea quoted in the paper: “We have an emergency on our hands and we’ve got to do something about it.”
Yes, Mr. Graham we have an urgent problem. We, the citizens, have too many greedy, selfish people in groups such as yours who control the local feckless politicians easily manipulated by promises of other people’s money. Unfortunately, except for a few courageous citizens such as Russ Hauptman willing to confront you, we seem almost powerless to do anything about it.Read full article » No Comments »