Thanks to some good investigating journalism by Wilmington StarNews reporter Patrick Gannon we see another sad case study of folly in government projects. A group (“the board”) of about a dozen people (link) fronting to distribute federal and state taxpayer’s money through the nonprofit New Hanover County Community Action, Inc. risks “losing its funding,” according to a headline to Gannon’s story—and not just for some small bureaucratic goof. (link)
This gang, including 62 funded positions (29 employees with retirement plans) and spending $3 million annually after operating for 44 years, finally caught the attention of “federal and state oversight agencies.” The list of apparently flagrant violations leads us to the questions: Are these people incompetent, or do they simply have an arrogant contempt for the rules when they distribute other people’s money? Possibly both conditions apply.
Aside from the disturbing charges of mismanagement and wasteful spending, the purpose of this organization should slap us up-side the head: “Provides Head Start pre-schooling for 3- to 5-year-olds in New Hanover County; provides a child care food program for qualifying 3- to 5-year-olds; administers a Community Services Block Grant program that offers self-sufficiency services to low-income families, including housing and educational assistance.”
Self-sufficiency? Is that some kind of cruel joke? Since when did government handouts offer “self-sufficiency”? They result in dependency.
The $2 million in block-grants and “and economic stimulus dollars” doled out by Community Action since 2008 was to “try to increase the income of poor families in the Wilmington area.” How did that impossible dream work out?
Well, CA had a goal of 30 people to bring “out of poverty.” Its’ records show seven folks moving on up in the past three years. The state could only verify two of those people removed from the clutches of poverty. CA probably could have met their goal had they simply written checks from the $2 million to each of the 30 presumed to be poverty stricken. But, of course, there’s always big overhead for these projects—leaving little to trickle down.
However, the entire premise is flawed. This project is another quest for cosmic justice (a phrase borrowed from the title of a book by Dr. Thomas Sowell). American presidents have politically railed against “poverty” since Herbert Hoover in 1928. The solutions of visionaries were to shovel public money to the presumed victims in the form of various social welfare programs. In the 1960s President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Democrats in Congress committed billions of dollars spent on a “War on Poverty.” Poverty won. We’re told there’s more out there than ever before.
I’d recommend everyone concerned with “waste, fraud and abuse,” related to spending our taxed money, read Mr. Gannon’s stories. If more papers would report the massive, pervasive and unrelenting fraudulent activities of our governments, we, the people, might rally and put a stop to these follies.Read full article » No Comments »
The Coastal Resources Commission met last week to discuss the projected 39 inch sea level increase over the next 89 years. The report is completely buying into climate change ideology and citizens revolted.
(StarNews) - The scientific committee’s first report, released in 2010, recommended that coastal communities prepare for one meter, or 39 inches, of sea-level rise by 2100. That prediction drew significant ire from developers, who dismissed the one-meter benchmark as radical and argued that a more modest sea-level rise is much more realistic.
Such an adoption, largely ignored by the taxpaying public, would be devastating over the next 90 years to property purchases, development, population trends with little science backing it. Now another allegation about false data. Normally I’ve tried to stay away from this front, but policy is still being pushed on us.
The new BEST (acronym for Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures) data has been misrepresented. The first graph is the actual data and the second graph shows how the data can be misrepresented.
As you can see above, no real increase in temperatures using THEIR data! On the next chart, they change the formatting to make things look rather dramatic.
From David Whitehouse at GWPF: Indeed Best seems to have worked hard to obscure it. They present data covering more almost 200 years is presented with a short x-axis and a stretched y-axis to accentuate the increase. The data is then smoothed using a ten year average which is ideally suited to removing the past five years of the past decade and mix the earlier standstill years with years when there was an increase. This is an ideal formula for suppressing the past decade’s data.
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It wasn’t all that long ago that Southport found itself immersed in a bench brush up when several businesses wanted to put benches out on the sidewalks, get this, under trees. . . (Oh my!!!) The town wanted to use enforcement to force the benches up against the walls of business for ADA concerns. Problem there is that the summer sun would make the benches unusable, but that never seems to phase planners and enforcement officials.
Now the city has been wrapping its thoughts around creating a memorial down at the waterfront in the area known as Whittler’s Bench. The iconic tree that was part of the waterfront bench is gone, but the bench remains. Now several folks want a brick bench out there. (Hmm. . no shade and a brick bench?? Sun + brick + summer = brutal!!!)
The proposal involves installing a nautical flagpole and brick bench at the foot of Howe Street, where the wooden Whittler’s Bench now sits.
As always, it’s the best of intentions with little common sense:
“Their idea is a great one and deserves more consideration,” he said. “The planning board did everything (it) could to encourage this effort and not discourage them.
“Projects like this one can revitalize our waterfront and improve the appeal of downtown Southport. It is also a wonderful way to remember and honor those people that made their livings and built this town on seafaring traditions.”
Here’s hoping that a good idea eventually involves some shade!Read full article » No Comments »
Folks in this area are still stinging from the loss of Continental Tire choosing SC even though they offered at least $14 million less in cash incentives. On the heels of this the Gov. came to the port city last week for the announcement that “Iron Man 3″ will be filmed here making it, arguably, the most expensive entertainment project ever to be in NC.
While the politicians jokey for position on how the film incentives (up to $20m) did or did not impact the decision by the production company, Carolina Journal has a great reminder of how taxpayers are still digging out from another taxpayer funded boondoggle just up the road in Roanoke Rapids.
The city borrowed $21.5 million to build the 35,000-square-foot, 1,500-seat theater. But when the project failed, Roanoke Rapids was left with a debt to retire, and little revenue to do so.
Kinda spooky!Read full article » No Comments »
Misguided politics and government meddling it often spawns continually stirs the waters and lives along our coast. The “science” of predicting rising sea-levels and undue influence of a small number of environmentalists to stall land development converge. These forces create more expense and frustration for citizens by restricting our choices and individual freedom.
Visionaries on a “scientific committee” of the N. C. Coastal Resources Commission initially saw a 39-inch rise in sea-level by the end of this century. Many credible (nonpolitical) sources dispute that “radical” number. The CRC cautiously “delayed taking action” on “sea-level rise policy” to give their panel time to respond, according to a Wilmington StarNews report.(link)
In my scientific opinion, there may be as much chance of sea-levels’ falling by three feet over the next 90 years as guessing about that much rise—a few degrees lower average temperature at northern latitudes could lock up huge volumes of sea water into land ice. Remember, it happened only a few thousand years ago. Never mind—no one remembers, but geomorphological evidence exists that 2-mile high glaciers of ice slid over Central New York and south into Pennsylvania.
Nobody can predict the future, but pseudo-scientists and their enviro-politico-journo lobby want us to believe that modelers with charts and graphs have that uncanny ability. Why? Because the fear of destructive forces they hope to promote will help to push foolish people on commissions and feckless politicians to foist on us anti-development policies. It works for them because it increases regulatory power over our lives—a strong arm for those arrogant elites that believe they make better decisions than those made by the rest of us.Read full article » No Comments »
The situation in Leland isn’t tidy, isn’t likely to be resolved anytime soon and seems to be on the “ignore” list with many elected officials in the town. A brief summary of some of the allegations can be found here at WWAY. The issue has been oft discussed on the BigTalkerFM’s morning show and Blue Line radio on Saturdays.
Councilwoman Martha Currie has taken the lead on trying to get the situation resolved even as Mayor Walter Futch and outgoing town manager Bill Farris can’t find the exit door quick enough. Incoming Mayor Brenda Boseman shows very little concern with having the matter looked into ignoring an offer by the Brunswick County Sheriff Ingram to look into the matter for FREE!
Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram offered his internal affairs investigator, free of charge, to look into a slew of allegations within Leland’s Police Department. “When the citizens have concerns or questions or allegations are made that could compromise public trust, it is my duty and responsibility to use every resource available to me,” Ingram said. Councilwoman Martha Currie presented the idea Thursday night and got support from Councilman Herbert Barnes, but Mayor Walter Futch, Mayor Pro Tem Brenda Bozeman and Councilwoman Pat Batleman voted against it.
Citizens are growing weary and wary of the Leland situation and looking apathetic isn’t leadership. Here’s hoping that Councilwoman Currie (a former police officer herself) will continue to show leadership on this serious public concern!Read full article » No Comments »
Soles is well on his way to proving that where there’s cash, there’s a way. The latest “alleged sex relationship, turned payoff allegation” involves Jackie Jernigan’s assault charge. He was allegedly beaten up with a metal cane by Soles. Jernigan also alleges a sexual relationship with Soles over the past 12 years, since he was 17 years of age.
At the very least this makes over seven folks that have publicly alleged sex for money, violence relationship with Soles, the state’s longest serving legislator, now retired.
Soles appeared in the courtroom as Jernigan now seeks to have the charges dropped. Of course, he wants to drop the charges now that more money has been paid. I guess Roy Cooper think these behaviors are the way things get done. But the DA isn’t dropping the charges and this will be in court again in December according to the StarNews and WWAY.
Jernigan, whose left eye was black with broken blood vessels when he talked to the StarNews in September, said he went to Soles’ house to get money. He said the senator has given him money for years. When Jernigan got there, he said Soles wanted sexual favors in return for the money. Jernigan said he and Soles had a sexual relationship since he was 17.
So, what do we learn here? We learn that paying people for sexual favors is legal? Or we learn that paying people to cover up alleged crimes is legal? Or maybe it’s only legal if there is money for such things between a grown man and teenager? It’s really sick!
RC Soles’ class reunion was Friday night and he was in attendance. Must be a lot of fun to reflect on such a life!Read full article » No Comments »
Whether for principle or political points we must give Rep. Mike McIntyre credit. He, a lone Democrat, courageously voted with most of our North Carolina congressional delegation to help expose out-of-control federal regulations. He says they shackle our businesses with red tape and bureaucracy. (link) Many agree.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), a major player in crafting this maze, threatens our economy by imposing arbitrary and unreasonable rules— huge burdens on business people, employees and consumers. This activist agency has slipped out of its noose; it must be re-tethered and made accountable for its rampage against us.
Nearly 250 U. S. House members voted to shine some light on the beast with a bill called the “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation”—in short, show us the harm you intend. TRAIN requires review and analysis exposing new regulations to public scrutiny. Does that sound unreasonable?—we should assume it happens routinely.
However, most of our government agencies have little oversight: they run on autopilot fueled by virtually guaranteed annual budget increases, there’s no requirement to prove benefits exceed costs and very little public exposure to rashes of regulatory rules.
Of course, this has been going on for decades; flying under the political and press radar. People begin to notice now that our economic ship comes under attack. But environmental activists oppose any attempts to limit government power. Desperate, they dump on us distortions, misinformation and wild, unfounded charges.
One, Nina Szlosberg-Landis of the N.C. League of Conservation Voters, predicts definitive numbers of illnesses and dead should TRAIN and other regulatory reforms be passed: “25,000 premature deaths throughout America in the first year alone…175,000 more asthma attacks…more heart attacks and other serious health problems.” The TRAIN Act, she says, will “cost more than 2,400 lives each year in our state alone.” Ms. Landis doesn’t reference any of her claims. (link)
Typically these people stretch apocalyptic predictions to the breaking point. Landis goes back to 1948 dragging up an unusually dramatic case of toxic air pollution in an obscure Pennsylvania town. Further, she claims that with our 40-plus-year-old Clean Air Act “benefits outweigh the costs 30 to 1”—only if you believe highly questionable figures promoted by activist environmental and health lobby groups.
There’s a lot of politically motivated hot air polluting the plentiful clean air we all enjoy.Read full article » No Comments »
On October 17 the Wilmington StarNews published an editorial by the Charlotte Observer.(link) The intent was to criticize the Republicans in the N. C. General Assembly of being ignorant of the concept to “separation of powers” related to our U. S. Constitution. Specifically, editors referred back to cuts in the pre-K “More at Four” program—that we can’t afford.
Activist Judge Howard Manning at the Wake County Superior Court ruled last June that our representatives must spend millions of our taxed money to “provide pre-K to any at-risk 4-year old who applied.” Manning declared that their failure to take and distribute our money to these targeted children violated the state Constitution’s declaration that basically guarantees an education to all residents—a huge stretch in interpreting constitutional law. But Charlotte editors seem to believe that one judge has greater authority than all the people’s representatives in our General Assembly—they ignored his mandates.
Gov. Beverly Perdue shoved her Executive Branch of government into the fray. Predictably, as a big spender for pre-school programs, she supports Manning’s decree and promptly offered $30 million from increased taxes; “to restore pre-K for the 6,000 spots….”—that we can’t afford. Some fundamental questions about this issue need answers.
First, where does a judge get authority to demand that the legislative branch of government impose more taxes on the citizens to provide a special benefit to a select group? Second, why is pre-Kindergarten, child care defined as “education?”
Serious unresolved questions linger about the educational value of Head Start, Smart Start and More at Four; many consider them merely subsidized child care programs (“babysitting”), including staff training, health care and family “support.”
This is an expensive social service—on its way to become another welfare entitlement. According to data from Terry Stoops, director of education studies for the John Locke Foundation: “For the 2009-10 school year, North Carolina spent $1.09 billion (with a “B”) on early childhood and childcare programs.” (link)
Our legislators could easily solve this conflict. As Mr. Stoops recommends: “Eliminate Smart Start and other subsidy programs for childcare and preschool….” Judge Manning couldn’t rule on programs that don’t exist, although he might try.Read full article » No Comments »
Skeptics that doubt North Carolina public employees actively lobby our legislators to increase the size, scope and cost of government have only to look at North Carolina General Statute 120C-500. Jay Schalin, director of state policy for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy (www.popecenter.org), documents it in an opinion article in the September 2011 Carolina Journal (p.19). link Mr. Schalin writes that the “University of North Carolina is a prime example of this phenomenon.”
I’ve also written about this, but it’s worse than even I thought. The above mentioned state statute commands that our representatives be lobbied by the very government employees to which legislators continually grant large amounts of our taxes. Mr. Schalin calls this a matter of “basic unfairness.” Yes, and, in my opinion, it’s also a serious conflict of interest. Who is granted this authority to speak for us taxpayers?
“…agencies and constitutional officers of the State, including all boards, departments, divisions, constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina, community colleges, and other units of government in the executive branch shall designate liaison personnel to lobby for legislative action.”
If that doesn’t stack the political deck against taxpayers, I don’t what does. For example, Schalin points out that within the UNC system as many as 38 people have lobbying responsibilities in their job descriptions. Example: “works closely with the North Carolina General Assembly, the Executive Branch, and related staff to advocate for university priorities.”
Mr. Schalin describes why this works against the interests of most citizens: “(M)ost government expenditures benefit a small, select group of highly interested people, while the costs are dispersed among everyone who pays taxes. The few who stand to gain a lot from a budget increase are more vocal than the many, who pay only a small amount for each expenditure and therefore feel less urgency to press their case.” However, incrementally, we continue to loose wealth from our productive economy.
In my humble opinion, corking the flow of state agency lobbyists should be a legislative priority. This would help to “level the playing field” where now Big Government leads in outscoring The Citizens by a wide margin. Just add “No” to the current statute.Read full article » No Comments »