Wilmington’s City Council, the Governor and national trends aren’t helping the Wilmington area as unemployment rose once again. Be prepared for the cries that it’s all due to budgetary cuts rather than uncertainty created by the Obamacare legislation, a lack of employment opportunities beyond incentives from the Governor and a City Council that has been obsessed with convention centers, bike trails, bus stops, skyway bridges, entertaining troops and art councils.
(StarNews) The Wilmington area’s unemployment rate rose to 10.4 percent in June, the Employment Security Commission (ESC) said Friday. That’s up from 10.1 percent in June 2010. Rates in two of the counties that comprise the area also rose from a year earlier: New Hanover County, to 10.1 percent from 9.8 percent; and Pender, to 11.9 percent from 10.6 percent. In Brunswick, however, the jobless rate slipped to 10.4 percent from 10.6 percent.
Ouch! But will you hear any calls of accepting responsibility for any of this from the electeds? Not likely! More than likely you’ll see them all show up at a ribbon cutting for ANY economic central planning socialists development projects. In the StarNews article mentioned the apologists assert that “government” job losses had a lot to do with this new number.
The commission attributed part of the increases to a loss in government employment. ”This is partially attributed to changes in local and state education at the end of the school year,” ESC Chairman Lynn Holmes said in a statement.
But a Carolina Journal column by Don Carrington has some corrections needing to be included.
North Carolina most likely will show a decrease in the number of government jobs, currently estimated to be about 700,000. But as the economy recovers — and it will, at some point — the number of private-sector jobs should grow even more than the loss of any government jobs. That job growth should result in a decrease in the unemployment rate. Commentators who don’t understand the jobs numbers, or how they’re derived, simply should refrain from commenting on statistics they don’t understand.
And yet more bad news nationally here at cnbc about the US economic growth numbers. We don’t have an administration that realizes the damage it is doing to job growth. We have a governor that doesn’t understand how government is more likely hampering job growth than creating it through incentives. And we have a city council that lacks vision as the largest city in the southeastern region.
The U.S. economy grew less than expected in the second quarter as consumer spending barely rose, and growth braked sharply in the prior quarter, a government report showed on Friday. Growth in gross domestic product—a measure of all goods and services produced within U.S. borders—rose at a 1.3 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said.
Andrew Dunn at the StarNews has a piece about the complete and utter lack of logic regarding taxpayer funded projects in Brunswick County. What becomes apparent is that commissioner’s whims are more likely to get projects funded than any type of logic or consistency. Hat’s off to Dunn for the documentation. What will the citizens think when they see this one? Here’s the documentation:
Type of project: Five-year commitment to help Lower Cape Fear Hospice build a new facility.
Approved: June 21, 2010, but a change was approved July 18 of this year to make it a cash donation instead of labor and services.
Cost: $250,000 over five years
Why approved: Commissioner Phil Norris said the board viewed this project as something that could benefit everybody in the county, and thus an effective use of money.
Type of project: Land clearing, other assistance to Brunswick First Tee, a nonprofit that helps kids learn life lessons through golf.
Denied: January for the first request, and again May 25.
Cost: $113,000 for first request, $100,000 for the second request.
Why denied: Commissioners said that the request was too large for this year’s budget, and the project wouldn’t impact everyone in the community.
Type of project: Land for the local Boys and Girls Club to build a headquarters.
Cost: No direct cost, but the county would lose control over 7.18 acres for 99 years.
Denied: June 6
Why denied: Commissioners were concerned because the club did not have money to build the building, and several stated that they get requests like this regularly and can’t grant them all. Commissioner Charles Warren voted in favor of the request.
Type of project: Land clearing and preliminary site work to create a new industrial park on county-owned land off N.C. 211.
Approved: June 20 as part of the budget.
Why approved: Assistant County Manager Steve Stone said the commissioners wanted to have another option for businesses looking to relocate to the county. Norris and Warren stated that they give precedence to economic development projects that could bring in more jobs to the county.
Type of project: Water service to the Middle River Road area in Supply, a predominantly minority community close to the county landfill.
Denied: Residents have appealed to the county commissioners at public meetings regularly over the past year.
Cost: $1.6 million
Why denied: Commissioners point to a prioritization schedule for water projects that factors in the density of population and distance from current water lines. There have been no proven quality of life issues in the residents’ well water.
Type of project: An environmental survey that would lead to dredging the boat ramp area at Brunswick River Park.
Approved: May 2
Cost: $7,500, but the permit process would likely cost between $19,000 and $36,000 in the near future. Ultimately, the ramp dredging would cost $500,000 and is currently in the plan for 2013.
Why approved: Commissioners said increasing public water access is one of their priorities, and the county has already invested a lot of money in this currently nearly unusable ramp.
Type of project: A new animal control officer position, which the health department says is necessary to effectively respond to animal complaints.
Denied: Feb. 21
Cost: About $43,500 annually, including benefits. This figure is taken from averaging the salaries of the other employees with this position.
Why denied: “I am sure the position is needed, but we are about to be faced by a budget like we have never been seen before,” Norris said at the meeting at which the request was denied. “Every penny counts to me right now,” Commissioner Scott Phillips said. The commissioners felt this was a position where the department could make do.
Type of project: A new, more advanced and reliable radio system for the sheriff’s office and emergency services department.
Approved: Jan. 17
Cost: $2 million
Why approved: Cooke said this was an acute need for public safety officers, who felt hampered by an unreliable system. Several commissioners list public safety as one of their top priorities.
Type of project: Raises for county employees
Denied: May, as the commissioners considered the budget
Cost: $2.2 million for a 5 percent raise. $1.2 million for a $1,000 bonus. $90,526 for a cost of living increase for employees falling below a certain threshold.
Why denied: Several commissioners supported pay increases if money could be found in the budget. They ultimately decided it could not. Norris said raises for county employees would be a slap in the face to residents in the private sector who are being laid off.Read full article » No Comments »
Here is the most recent NC Congressional map per the general assembly.
As you can see, New Hanover and Pender Counties are still in two separate districts. Of worth to local activists is that Johnston County is still part of the seventh district. While the map is more compact in many respects, it appears that the seventh district is still more political than it is regional.Read full article » No Comments »
Wilmington PD is on the prowl for those with lead feet. No, they’re not trying to prevent climate change, they’re trying to get more revenue.. . . err. . . I mean slow folks down.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Police Department is using some unique methods this week to catch drivers who may be breaking the law. Today officers disguised themselves as roadside maintenance workers, including an officer on a tractor armed with a laser-radar. (c’mon, that’s just funny!)
In all, officers issued 27 citations during the morning traffic operation. Twenty-two were for speeding, one for expired registration, one for no seat belt and three drivers received written warnings.
That’s a good money day in the court room! When you add that to the new cameras at Wrightsville Beach (story coming soon) that can cross reference any and all potential violations on license tags as you drive by, Big Brother is definitely growing up.
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It’s not enough that the subsidized buses running around Wilmington got a brand new stop behind the CostCo near College Rd that Mayor Saffo claims will, “bring jobs to Wilmington” or that they are in the process of building a $15 million “multi-modal” center adjacent to Cape Fear Community College. It’s now imperative to subsidize bus rides to the beaches. And all of this with new vehicle fee (tax) that will be the highest in the state.
Wave leadership wants to ask New Hanover County to add an extra $7 to residents’ $28 vehicle registration fee to help fund the service.
The highest fee in the land is the $5 fee tacked on to some of the Triangle area counties for their subsidy. This vision does fit into the SmartGrowth mentality that dominates Wilmington politics and occasionally weaves its way into county politics. The mayor of Wrightsville Beach think that not providing parking is clearly an issue that transit should address via bus routes. (From the StarNews)
In Wrightsville Beach, Mayor David Cignotti knows about parking challenges and congestion as well as anyone. ”I think the future of our traffic issues at Wrightsville Beach will likely rely on some forms of mass transit,” he said. “We can only have so many cars down here at the beach.”
The mayor is wrong, of course, as other beaches actually prepared for parking challenges and so have their businesses. Forcing the rest of New Hanover citizens to subsidize their tourists and workers is just wrong. And that’s really the start of this discussion as the New Hanover County Commissioners will ultimately have to decide whether citizens will approve the new tax or they will. The chairman (Jonathan Barfield) has already indicated his lack of faith in the citizens and wants the county to approve the new tax. ”I think we need to get it done. I would choose to do it ourselves. That way it could be assured it would happen.” he said.
Maybe it’s a cheap way to get college students to skip class and go surfing, but it’s not well thought out public policy. This fight is just beginning and we haven’t even discussed actual “unique” ridership issues yet. I’m still hopeful that folks there will be transparency as to how much is already being spent on transit on a per rider level. The usual arguments dramatically inflate local numbers, that’s how you get to 70,000+ riders claimed for the UNCW campus from WAVE.
I still like the suggested moniker for Wilmington that appears on EVERY bus. WAVE – Wilmington Area, Very Expensive!
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Much to the chagrin of local party officials of all political leanings, the NC Senate has approved the new congressional districts, leaving only the House and courts as the only remaining hurdles. The StarNews earlier today had the following:
Under the latest maps the 7th Congressional District would include about three-fourths of New Hanover County voters, leaving out the downtown Wilmington area. It would also contain coastal Pender, all of Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen, Duplin, Johnston and Sampson counties, as well as parts of Cumberland, Hoke, Lenoir and Robeson counties. The downtown Wilmington area, plus central and western Pender County, would be drawn into the new 3rd District, which would stretch all the way to the Virginia border, including all or parts of 22 counties in eastern North Carolina.
In spite of the protestations of many locals, the maps were approved (from the Asheville Citizen Times):
RALEIGH — A Republican-drawn map for North Carolinacongressional districts that would shift boundaries dramatically for several seats and erode re-election hopes for Democratic incumbents has been approved by the state Senate. The Senate agreed Monday along party lines in favor of the mapthat would raise GOP voter registration percentages in four districts currently represented by Democrats.
The coastal areas of the southeast have not been represented by someone from the area for decades and the new maps may well protect that from being the case for at least the next decade.Read full article » No Comments »
Not the sexiest of topics, but worthy of a glance. This from the Brunswick County website:
In southeastern North Carolina, the typical Cs. melanura adult female lives about 25 days (based on weekly light trap data). The EEE virus is only infectious in the mosquito for the last week to ten days of its life because of virus amplification considerations. Some of the questions to consider when evaluating the EEE potential are listed below.
Short version of the above, mosquitos carry viruses and they are supposed to be monitored as it can be dangerous to humans. So you would think Brunswick would be all over spraying for mosquitos. In fact, here’s the entire list of mosquito borne illnesses in the US.
Eastern equine encephalitis
La Crosse encephalitis
St. Louis encephalitis
West Nile virus
Western equine encephalitis
Rift Valley Fever
Hmmm. . And then there’s this at the StarNews.
New Environmental Protection Agency regulations that strengthen the requirements on documentation and training for mosquito spraying are slated to go into effect in October. In response, some smaller programs are shutting down, and larger ones plan to cut back on services.
The answers on what Brunswick County plans to do are a bit confusing and I’m not entirely sure if the county is planning on spraying or not. Just another example of the complexity of federal guidelines and the lack of understanding at the local level. It’s all about politics until one of the aforementioned viruses actually claims a life due to negligence or bureaucracy. Because here’s the reality from the Wall Street Journal.
The Asian tiger mosquito, named for its distinctive black-and-white striped body, is a relatively new species to the U.S. that is more vicious, harder to kill and, unlike most native mosquitoes, bites during the daytime.
Dr. Fonseca is leading a U.S. Department of Agriculture effort to develop a cost-effective method to control the Asian tiger mosquito(Aedes albopictus) population. The university is currently focusing on using larvacides, which render larvae incapable of growing into adults. Since urban areas tend to be warmer—often by 5 to 10 degrees—than rural areas, cities are seeing tiger mosquitoes earlier and sticking around longer, often into October.
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The redistricting process in NC this year is on one very different than previous mappings (more transparent, more public input, more inclusive) and yet much the same (rampantly partisan, politically opportunistic and confusing). This region is certainly representative of what is happening statewide.
The previous 7th congressional district ran all the way over to Robeson County which never seemed to draw the ire of folks, but when the district shifted and was drawn more northward to include Johnston County (which is actually the I-40 corridor) people screamed, including the StarNews. Nonetheless, NC Senator David Rouzer’s announcement running for the seat seemed to have been calculated prior to the new map’s release.
The 17th and 18th house districts, currently held by Susi Hamilton (D) and Frank Iler (R) respectively, started to look rather bizarre with Hamilton’s district extending down into the Oak Island area (11 residents worth) and dividing Southport. Cooler heads have since prevailed to make the districts truly more “compact” which is what they should have been to start with.
A vote is scheduled for next week on the contentious issue and we might well see several more versions. One could almost imagine a true rorschach approach, which might actually be as acceptable as what we’re seeing now. Every attempt to make the maps better seems to generate more frustration.Read full article » No Comments »
Mayor Bill Saffo was one of the chief proponents of the Wilmigton Convention Center (which sits mostly empty) as new room occupancy taxes were approved by voters to pay for it. Four hotel proposals later there is STILL no hotel. In spite of the realities facing convention centers (lots of available space, not a growing market) Wilmington moved forward. The Mayor made promises about jobs and local news director at WWAY’s Scott Pickey issued a challenge to the Mayor.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — They say time heals all wounds. It also seems to shed a clearer light on old political promises.
Two and a half years ago, the Wilmington Convention Center was just a big hole in the ground and Mayor Bill Saffo was touting the jobs it would bring once it was complete.
In his January 2009 State of the City address, Saffo told the city, “It is the largest construction project in the region, and currently creating hundreds of desperately needed jobs.” He went on to say 1,000 people would be involved in the construction, and 1,200 will work there. He’d made the 1,200 jobs claim during his first State of the City address two years earlier.
Really, Mr. Mayor?
You know the TV station is just across the street from the convention center downtown. We were able to watch day after day as it was built. Obviously it took a lot of people to do that. But I never remember anywhere close to a thousand people working on that structure.
And then 1,200 more jobs would be created once it was finished? Last time we checked there were, what, about 30 or 40 people who worked there? Mr. Mayor, where are the other 1,160 jobs?
Now we understand that you also want a new hotel to go with your convention center. But do you really expect us to believe that that will bring more than a thousand more jobs to the area?
I know, I know. You’re talking residual jobs, right? Jobs created because of the “economic stimulation” that the convention center and the new hotel might bring. Problem is Mr. Mayor, it’s hard, if not impossible, to prove those jobs exist.
If you can, we’re ready to listen. But in the meantime local politicians should remember, if what you say gets reported in the media, it now lives on the web forever, giving all of us the opportunity to go back and check to see if you can show us the money.
Well said!Read full article » No Comments »
The ink isn’t dry yet on the new district maps released yesterday by the NC Legislature and already a candidate from Johnston County has announced he’ll be running for congress to represent most of this area. State Senator David Rouser (R) says he’ll be running, furthermore, he’s apparently planned well in advance of the new maps as his list of endorsements is already released. (From WWAY)
RALEIGH – State Senator David Rouzer announced today that he will seek election to the U.S. Congress in the newly formed 7th Congressional District. Under the newly released Congressional redistricting maps, the 7th District, currently held by Congressman Mike McIntyre, will include Johnston County and the counties south of Johnston as you travel I-40 east, ending with portions of New Hanover and Pender counties.
Among those already supporting Rouzer’s bid for Congress are Mrs. Jesse Helms, former U.S. Senator Lauch Faircloth, N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler, former State Senator and Republican gubernatorial candidate Fred Smith, State Sen. Bill Rabon of Brunswick County, State Sen. Thom Goolsby of New Hanover County, State Sen. Wesley Meredith of Cumberland County, State Sen. Brent Jackson of Sampson County, N.C Rep. J.H. Langdon of Johnston County, Bill Prestage of Sampson County, and Dial Gray and Frank Grainger of Columbus County.
Some of the names are certainly going to raise a few eyebrows, especially those elected from the Brunswick and New Hanover County areas. Ilario Pantano (R) has been running for the same seat since his last bid for congress, so a serious primary will be underway quickly. It remains to be seen whether others will enter this race on the GOP side as the district leans in that direction. McIntyre has already said he will attempt to run even though he’s now “double bunked” with current Congressman Larry Kissell (D) from the 8th district. This will be a vigorous fight.
There is little doubt that the issue of coastal representation will play heavily in this fight as folks become acclimated to the new maps. Parts of New Hanover and Pender Counties are now in the district of Congressman Walter Jones (R) which now extends all the way to the Virginia border. Gerrymandering continues.
(corrected)Read full article » 1 Comment »