The story from the N&O broke locally on the BigTalker FM. Local media still reluctant to cover it. Here’s the latest story in the local print media is about how “Project Soccer,” affectionately called “Project Sucker” by critics, may go to SC.
(StarNews) - The S.C. Commerce Department is working to finalize a deal with Continental Tire that would bring 1,500 jobs to Sumter County, a source close to the negotiations told The State.
Meanwhile, up in Raleigh, the AP has uncovered a far more damaging story about this incentive package that reflects poorly on NC’s embattled Governor Perdue.
(News & Observer) - RALEIGH — A state lawmaker and a group of Democratic political donors with ties to Gov. Beverly Perdue are poised to sell land at a handsome profit for a tire plant that’s being lured with $100 million in state and local incentives, according to public records reviewed by The Associated Press.
Some of the damaging assertions:
• Garrett Perdue, the gov’s son, is a lawyer and site-selection consultant for an influential law firm that a county official said was advising the tire company.
• Perdue’s campaign has received more than $52,000 from five men with an ownership stake in the Brunswick County industrial park proposed for the new facility.
• The Associated Press indicated that money from the incentives package would be used to buy a large portion of the 1,129 acre site for the tire plant at a price of $6,000 an acre. Records show the investors bought the site in 2007 for $4.3 million, or about $3,800 an acre.
• The proposed location, the Mid-Atlantic Logistics Center, is owned by a group of investors that includes state Sen. Michael P. Walters, a Democrat from Proctorville.
• Stakeholder David Stephenson is a major Democratic contributor appointed to the board of Golden LEAF, a foundation created by the state legislature to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars in incentive money. He and his family have donated more than $85,000 to Democratic candidates over the last 20 years.
• The deal is expected to include tax breaks, infrastructure improvements, cash grants and a forgivable loan. (What’s a “forgivable loan”????
• William E. Musselwhite, a Lumberton lawyer who owns a share of the land, has given more than $22,000 to state Democrats, including $14,500 to Perdue.
• Dennis T. Worley, a Tabor City attorney and another of the owners, has given more than $28,000 to Democrats, including $7,700 to Perdue.
• Kyle A. Cox, another Tabor City lawyer and part property owner, gave more than $11,000 to Democrats, including $2,000 to Perdue.
But I just love the final quote from Brunswick County’s economic director:
Jim Bradshaw said he doesn’t care who owns the land. ”I don’t know who these people are,” Bradshaw said. “I don’t know who contributes to who. I just want to bring these jobs to Brunswick County.”
When you’re one of the inside traders, you’re one of the inside traders and ignorance is no excuse here. We’re just supposed to believe this is all just a coincidence??
David Bass has an excellent update at the Carolina Journal on the current status of General Assembly term limit legislation that stalled suddenly as legislators finished up earlier this month:
RALEIGH — Greensboro Republican Rep. John Blust wants to limit how long top legislative leaders can serve in office, and he isn’t happy that his colleagues in the General Assembly didn’t reach a compromise on the issue before leaving town Sept. 14.
Along with House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, Blust co-sponsored a constitutional amendment that would restrict the House speaker and Senate leader from serving for more than two regular legislative sessions (or four years). The proposal passed the House 72-46 in April, but that’s as far as it got.
Is that as far as it will go???Read full article » No Comments »
The ongoing situation in Brunswick County swirling around commissioner Charles Warren has now lasted for over a year. The previous DSS director was fired, then paid off, replaced and now the board is having issues potentially violating the open meetings laws with additional pressure being brought to stop board members from speaking to the media. (very strange!!)
But Columbus County has now joined the DSS confusion:
(Whiteville News Reporter) A lengthy closed session held Monday at the Columbus County Department of Social Services board ended with the director of DSS being placed on paid administrative leave. Director Gerald Fogle has been placed on “investigative leave with pay, which is not a disciplinary action,” the general account stated. “This is so that the board can investigate various allegations that have been made,” board chairman Michael Lewis said.
This is FAR MORE than has been done regarding the actions of the Town of Leland regarding serious allegations regarding their department. Yet another odd development in Columbus County.Read full article » No Comments »
The more the state “plans” the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.”
Friedrich A. Hayek
“The Road to Serfdom”
Central planners pose a threat to our individual freedom. These people lurk at all levels of government: national, state and local. For a long time I’ve criticized those who presume to have visions of planning our economy and, inevitably, our lives. Knowing I’m in good company satisfies.
I just received a tiny booklet from the Heritage Foundation; a “Special Abridged Edition” of Friedrich Hayek’s “A Road to Serfdom.” This classic warning to England and America that they were headed down the same road taken by National Socialist Germany was published in 1944. I’ve read the “Definitive Edition” of Hayek’s work edited by Bruce Caldwell, professor at the Department of Economics, UNC-Greensboro. Prof. Caldwell offers great insight into Hayek’s work in his introduction.
Dr. Hayek reminded us that progressives held the German plan to be their model. Essentially, he said that planners must create power necessary for their success. They must suppress individual freedom to direct their centralized economic activity. “By uniting in the hands of some single body power formerly exercised independently by many” they create infinitely greater power than existed before. “There is, in a competitive society, nobody who can exercise even a fraction of the power which a socialist planning board would possess,” wrote Hayek.
Those visionaries (some exist in this area) who attempt to organize a “community” of interests promote local central planners of which Hayek warned. City and county planners are the result of these community organizers who, as Hayek said, concentrate power to serve a single plan—thus, they “extinguish power” for the individual.
Sad examples can be seen in downtown Wilmington, and in our county and towns. Wilmington business people have been notified of noncompliance with an ordinance that prohibits more than an arbitrary percent of window space covered with notices. A county ordinance restricts signs higher than 6 feet. County officials plan a new zoning ordinance to prevent certain business development local activists may not like. The central planners have gained power that restricts individual freedom.
Dr. Hayek explains the fallacy and danger of central planning as opposed to a competitive economy. In a competitive society, he writes, nobody can exercise “even a fraction of the power which a socialist planning board would possess.”
As Hayek explains, this is not a dispute about the importance of systematic thinking in planning our affairs. It’s about the best method to do it. Government isn’t it. It should “create conditions under which the knowledge and initiative of individuals” can plan for their success, not superimpose a central planning blanket over them resulting in smothering individual initiative. Competition is superior to the inferior method of guiding economic activity, writes Hayek. It’s “the only method which does not require the coercive or arbitrary intervention of authority.”
Unfortunately, some who call themselves “conservative” have bought into this road we now travel to serfdom. Economic development boards, commissions, their bureaucrats and nonprofit supporters infest our state and local governments restricting competition and individual initiative. Dr. Hayek says that “competition can bear some admixture of regulation,” but it cannot be combined with planning to any extent we like without ceasing to operate as an effective guide to production.”
Everyone who believes in economic freedom and those who promote economic development through central government planning should read “The Road to Serfdom.” Believers will be enlightened and reinforced; promoters will probably remain unconvinced and continue to pursue their socialist agenda.Read full article » No Comments »
Many negative intended consequences result from businesses colluding with government. Usually, the intent to limit competition increases costs to consumers. Business people who hope to protect their personal interests by promoting government restrictions on others do us a disservice.
Sara Burrows reports in a September 2011 issue of the Carolina Journal link, about a Charlotte-area auto repair businessman—“an advocate for people who’ve been ‘ripped off’ by repair shops”— who wants state government to protect his personal business interest. He lobbies legislators and bureaucrats to require auto body shop owners to be licensed under the State Department of Insurance.
Some of us, including Professor Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota and Fergus Hodgson with the John Locke Foundation (www.johnlocke.org) recognize that licensing businesses increases prices (typically by a 15 percent wage increase, according to Prof. Kleiner) because of restricted competition. Further, they agree that licensing does not assure improved quality of service.
In addition, unelected licensing boards aren’t accountable for their, often biased, decisions. Mr. Hodgson understands that the “best way to hold people accountable is through consumer choice.” We have existing legal recourse under our American system of law. Hodgson says that contracts (through written agreements) and small claims courts give consumers protection against shoddy, unacceptable work.
It’s our personal responsibility to hire trustworthy service people. They value their reputations. They can get private certification and warrant their work. We can choose to be careless in our business dealings or we can protect ourselves against unscrupulous people. We don’t need more government interference to protect us from ourselves.Read full article » No Comments »
As the Federal budget battles wage on between dems and the GOP, one thing is safe. . . Yep. . . $25 BILLION worth of taxpayer subsidies to Green Cars.
A large green-car loan fund that was created in the Bush years and which began dispensing money under the Obama White House dodged a bullet late Monday.
Conservative members of Congress this time agreed to drop efforts to trim the $25 billion pool of money by $1.5 billion to fund disaster relief as part of the resolution that would keep the government operating until mid-November.
Kinda funny that the conservatives dropped efforts to trim this massive pool of money, but lefties are saying it should be cut.
“Washington never should have been picking winners and losers in the first place,” says Ron Cogan, publisher of the Green Car Journal, a magazine chronicling the alternative-energy car industry. The program, he says, has placed far too great an emphasis on electrification of the auto industry without paying heed to other promising, more near-term technologies, such as natural gas, biomass and clean diesel.
Up is down, left is right. . . I”m confused. . . .Read full article » No Comments »
There is no doubt the Titan situation will become HIGHLY emotional. Juxtaposing jobs versus environmental concerns will drive this matter to a fevered pitch. Much of that begins tonight at the NCDENR Division of Air Quality public hearings which begin tonight. Registration is required if you want to speak in favor of or against this proposal.
3-5 pm and 6-10pm at Cape Fear Community College, North Campus, McKeithan Center, 4500 Blue Clay Road.
The third hearing will be this Thursday at UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium 601 S. College Rd..Read full article » No Comments »
The Town of Leland’s ability to duck and hide diminishes daily. Assertions related to their police department and chief Timothy Jayne grow daily. City Manager Bill Farris says he’s on top of things, but to date there has not been a press conference or a single denial of any of the numerous allegations of inappropriate behavior, corruption and a potentially violent employee.
WWAY and the BigTalkerFM have both questioned the city’s actions and those of the elected and potentially elected officials to no avail. StarNews stories on the matter started appearing last week and now the editors have joined in calling for public disclosure to restore faith in the fastest growing city in Brunswick County.
The Leland Police Department is under suspicion, and whether or not that suspicion is justified, town officials owe it to residents and the officers to complete an ongoing investigation as soon as possible. And when it’s completed, the results – for better or for worse – should be made public.
State law makes public the type and date of, but not the reason for, any suspensions. The law also does not require that the public be made aware of less drastic disciplinary action, such as verbal warnings or letters that go into a personnel file.
In this case, with the reputation of the entire police department at stake, town officials should make as much information available to the public as possible.
Here here to the editors. . on this matter we agree!!Read full article » No Comments »
Why are government endowed benefits— not available to most citizens— given to certain businesses selected by our political Heroes at state and county levels? That’s the rub. Rather than follow our constitutional model of promoting the general “Welfare,” our political class has slipshod into targeted welfare. I’ll answer the question. Simply, in my opinion, it’s because the benefactors appear more heroic—“Jobs are needed, therefore we must provide jobs.”
Of course, they arrogantly and defensively deny their roles in this gross unfairness. “We’re not offering Project Soccer anything that we wouldn’t offer other industries,” according to Jim Bradshaw Brunswick County Director of Economic Development. It seems Mr. Bradshaw presumes that only “industries” contribute to our economic welfare. But what about many other business enterprises, don’t they add jobs and wealth?
Above all, our founders declared that “Governments are instituted…to secure” our rights; not just for some of us, but for all. Those who hand out “incentives”—among other things—violate that fundamental premise. One recent example lurks in Brunswick County.
Undefined industrial business people could get relief from government intrusions and receive tangible benefits not available to all people in the county. Let’s count the ways according to a Wilmington StarNews article by Andrew Dunn link. Officials may offer:
• cash favors equivalent to a percentage of taxes they would owe;
• free land;
• eased up development rules;
• expedited permit process;
• loosened landscape ordinances;
• exception to the county building code;
• money to help with water, sewer and infrastructure;
• less expensive sewer service.
Mr. Bradshaw boasts of efforts to “look at every angle we can”—not for all people in Brunswick County, but only angles for the privileged few he selects to benefit from lower taxes, less regulation and other people’s money.Read full article » No Comments »
The ongoing political fire that has engulfed Leland in the past two weeks has finally sparked the town manager, Bill Farris, to speak:
(StarNew) “The fact that one can’t say much in the way of details leads people to believe I’m not on top of it,” Farris said. “Some think I have my head in the clouds and I don’t know what’s going on. I feel like … I am doing what I need to do.”
Allegations have swirled after the town paid off a former police officer $25k after the EEOC found she had grounds against the police department stemming from an incident in which she was shot multiple times in the groin with “simunitions” resulting in injury.
SInce then, multiple allegations have erupted: 1) The police chief allegedly had on duty personnel work on his home and the homes of friends, 2) the police chief physically assaulted another officer at a bachelor party, 3) that the chief traveled to and took credit for training that he did not attend, 4) that officers are misusing taxpayer dollars with vehicles and gas purchases for off duty activities and 5) that an officer has pulled his service revolver on other officers while on duty.
There are other assertions that deserve attention, but have not come to light yet. Elected officials and the town manager have been silent on the matter stating personnel privacy and/or ignorance (Mayor Futch’s comment about being “out of touch” on WWAY), but the issue of privacy pales over the issue of transparency and utilization of taxpayer resources.
The City of Leland needs to come clean and do so with all due speed. A minor admission that the outgoing city manager is on top of things late on a Friday is NOT solving this situation. Essentially, all he has said is that he’s aware that people are talking. And elected officials hiding behind the town manager are NOT showing leadership.
FULL PUBLIC DISCLOSURE needs to take place ASAP. The reason folks think the manager has his “head in the clouds” is because he’s acted that way thus far.Read full article » No Comments »