Food delivery people justifiably feel threatened with bodily harm (including death) from human predators lurking in downtown Wilmington. The stakes are high for these potential victims; some understandably don’t want to be exposed to this danger. Solutions to the urban social problem have been offered.
Some pizza deliverers pack “heat” for their protection, as they would be well advised to do. Nothing will scare the cowardly thugs more than knowing they might face the business end of a Smith & Wesson .38 magnum revolver or a 9mm semi-automatic—whatever does the job. Maybe pizza shop owners should issue these weapons to staff that put themselves in harm’s way. It’s a war-zone out there. (link)
Someone suggested that city police accompany each delivery. An armed officer could ride with the pizza guy—“riding shotgun” as in old stagecoach days. Or an officer in a patrol car could follow the pizza vehicle until after a safe delivery. Police wouldn’t have to go to every delivery site, only the most dangerous addresses—the cops know where these predators live.
My favorite idea is to have the city police deliver pizzas to the most dangerous places. Officers would better get to know these neighborhoods; their presence would help residents feel more secure and they could gather intelligence on what goes on there. Police could be paid extra for the pizza duty or collect the tips.
Some of these ideas may not fully protect food delivery people, but the threat to them calls for some innovative thinking–and action. In the final analysis, if the police can’t prevent violent predators from prowling city streets and preying on innocent citizens, folks will have to protect themselves—or stay clear of downtown Wilmington.Read full article » No Comments »
Local politicians have bought into another central planning scheme under the “green” mantra. Wilmington Mayor Saffo and County Commissioner Ted Davis extoll the wonders of a “comprehensive greenway plan”—another strand in the web woven by multimodal spiders. (link)
The Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization joins the East Coast Greenway Alliance to gin up local interest in an East Coast Greenway from Key West, Florida to Canada; “one of the most ambitious trail projects in American history.” (link)
You bet. And likely one of the most expensive—probably not justified for the small number of Americans who travel by foot or bicycle. (For those who paddle to Wal-Mart in canoes and kayaks there will be “blueways.”) In New Hanover County we have sections of a cross-county trail that cost at least $100,000 per mile to build, and likely will be very expensive to maintain.
Mike Kozlosky, Executive Director of the WMPO, is soliciting public comments on a questionnaire that I found stacked at Halyburton Park on 17th Street. Most of the questions ask how one would use a greenway; what type of trails and amenities are wanted (a dozen suggested); and where should the trails take users.
This is one of those projects that benefit a few people at large expense to many other nonusers. Further, it’s a publicly-funded luxury that isn’t a priority in our transportation needs. The money used for multimodal projects diverts funds from much more useful highways and bridges.
We just can’t afford these “green” feel-good projects. But they will be foisted on us by central planners and supported by feckless, irresponsible politicians pandering to small political interest-groups.Read full article » No Comments »
Not covered by the press but available if anyone would look is the sea level monitor off the coast since 1934. Just darn funny that the StarNews that wants more sea-level rise legislation will NOT run the story that there hasn’t been any in 20 years.
Here’s the image:
Roy Cordato over the Locke Foundation does an excellent job of really picking apart the silliness of the sea level alarmists. Just a shame that folks rarely look at the data in their own back yard!Read full article » No Comments »
The Mayor recently said that $42 million seemed “too high” with regards to citizen, but let’s not take his thought out of context:
(StarNews) To pay off the $42 million in debt, the city would need to initially increase the property tax rate by up to 3.5 cents per $100 of value, according to the resolution.
The Mayor also felt the previous deal that included funds from Flywheel/Trask was not good and the figure wasn’t anywhere near $42m. It seems like every time the deal moves it becomes worse for taxpayers as the Mayor keeps pushing the ball stadium further along. You can’t really have it both ways. If it was a bad deal at $17 million or $25 million, certainly it’s FAR worse now.
BUT, NO print or televised media is discussing the TOTAL COST. $42m, financed at 20-years, @4% interest = $61m,
Total cost at 30-years – $72m. Where does the REST of the money come from??? The city is leaving out at least $21m, minimum!
And “evidence that publicly financed stadiums generate significant economic development is shaky. . . .” according to the Economist. The city and StarNews have ignored ALL major studies showing that economic impacts barely exists and most of the time do not exist at all.
Insiders say the Wilmington deal is falling apart, but taxpayers are NOT comfortable with this loser. No leadership has yet risen to the occasion to say this isn’t needed and isn’t a taxpayer priority.Read full article » No Comments »
Our state legislators don’t owe beach town officials apologies for being responsible to all the citizens of North Carolina. Beach town politicians and their bureaucracies are on a long list of government-funded, greedy interest groups.
Wilmington StarNews reporter Patrick Gannon writes that state and federal governments will “stop contributing” sand subsidies. After decades of nonresident taxpayers’ enabling beach town officials to avoid local responsibility for their tourism and taxing schemes, the day of reckoning comes. It’s about time. (link)
And it’s not that they didn’t know it was coming, Gannon notes.
But, not to worry; New Hanover County government operatives may bail out Kure Beach with other people’s money they can collect. (Commissioner Rick Catlin, “Beach Commission” advocate, expressed surprise that the state would “stop making their contribution.”) This year’s project on this relatively short stretch of sand will cost $6.6 million. The town’s share is only $1.2 million and county officials may loan these people that money. Still, Mayor Dean Lambeth isn’t “real happy.”
Apparently, he’ll have to use his stash from room-occupancy taxes to cover the other $5.4 million. That seems appropriate. We assume most people renting at beach towns use the beaches more than the rest of us. However, local politicians and their bureaucrats always have pet real estate projects in their pipelines waiting to spend this money.
Although I don’t think our state legislators should apologize for not budgeting coastal sand renourishment, they probably owe beach town residents apologies for banning structures that would stabilize the beaches—thus, reducing the regular and costly process of pumping back storm-eroded sand.
Especially they should apologize to folks at The Riggings, a Kure Beach condo-complex, who aren’t allowed publicly-pumped sand to protect their property and are constantly harassed by the Coastal Resources Commission to remove vital protective sandbags paid for by the owners. By some weird reasoning, sand is good when pumped on shore from the ocean bottom, but bad when it is placed on shore in bags. This injustice is regrettable.Read full article » No Comments »
We have noted on many occasions the illogical, convoluted and partisan arguments expressed by Wilmington StarNews editorial editors. A recent editorial view takes us to a laughable level. (link)
In summary, we’re told that Republicans in the General Assembly plan to “create gridlock at the polls” because they have caused $600,000 to “mysteriously” disappear from the state budget so that election officials won’t be able to train poll workers.
As a result, these ignorant folks will give out the wrong ballots unnoticed by apparently also ignorant voters. Without that money (and the usual suspect: $4 million in matching federal cash) voters will be standing in long lines at the polls while workers fumble with equipment and try to figure out how to “ensure that human error does not compromise election results.”
Of course, editors are not at all concerned about the human error of allowing noncitizens or otherwise ineligible people to vote. They’re more upset that getting a wrong ballot may “disenfranchise legitimate voters.” But why worry? Probably only a few hundred thousand illegal aliens reside in the state. When told how to vote by Democrat operatives, guess how they’ll cast the ballots? But who knew they weren’t citizens? Virtually anyone with an address can vote.
Editors tell us that Republicans will “create a new obstacle for the young, the poor, the elderly and other groups.” They say that the “democratic process is harmed” by requiring voters to prove who they claim to be by producing photo identification. This presumably is an unbearable hardship on the groups victimized by Republicans and enabled by Democrat policies.
Gridlock will happen when “hundreds of thousands of people who lack photo ID,” and those with identification that doesn’t match their registration information, stall the polling lines. Get ready for it, say editors, because Republicans cut the early voting period and failed to “properly fund the election.”
Well, what can we say? Those wascally Wepublicans continue to gum up the good works of Democrats who welcome all voters—whoever they may, or may not, be.Read full article » No Comments »
Short version, helicopter flips near the pier, asst. chief responds, is on the radio, says he wasn’t on duty, hits a car at the scene, later discovered at his truck, in his driveway, blows a .14.
What? It’s pretty bad when the folks doing the rescues probably need a rescue themselves! Geesh!Read full article » No Comments »
Local TV station WWAY invited the city manager and/or Mayor Saffo to sit down and answer questions about the pending baseball stadium, convention center and the budget. Saffo indicated he wanted to see the questions ahead of time. Surprisingly, the station agreed to do so. Even then, the Mayor never showed or returned the calls. City Manager Sterling Cheatham also was a no-show.
Councilman Charlie Rivenbark was also asked for an interview and indicated he was out of town to one of their reporters. But then the general manager ran into him an eating establishment downtown an hour later.
There is much that can be said, but the short version of what this is NOT is leadership! The city is responsible for creating the strife on the baseball issue, it shouldn’t run and hide from the issue IT created. Running away is not a mark of greatness or vision, it is a sign of shame and/or fear.
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Limited government advocates have long hailed ideas such as “competitive sourcing” and “priority based spending” as a way to same taxpayer dollars from the local level to the White House. A great story in the NY Times illustrates that it CAN work if there is a dedication to a high level of service and accountability. Wilmington just passed a 20% increase in its tax rate. Roughly half of that was an outright tax increase even as city leaders duck the media on why they are doing what they’re doing. From the NYTimes:
The entire (City of Sandy Springs, pop. 94,000) is housed in a generic, one-story industrial park, along with a restaurant and a gym. And though the place has a large staff, none are on the public payroll. O.K., seven are, including the city manager. . . Since the day it incorporated, Dec. 1, 2005, it has handed off to private enterprise just about every service that can be evaluated through metrics and inked into a contract. . . city manager, John F. McDonough, who points not only to the town’s healthy balance sheet but also to high marks from residents on surveys about quality of life and quality of government services.
Impressive, and saving money with high satisfaction, why are NC cities so reluctant to try? Oh, and they save money:
When the competition (for services) was over, the town had spread duties to a handful of corporations and total annual outlays dropped by $7 million.
Much more on the article here.
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Tom Campbell host of NC SPIN writes about the complications of Medicaid in North Carolina, published on the June 23, 2012 Wilmington StarNews OPINION page (not available online). Mr. Campbell discusses the complexity of this massive, costly federal program (self?) imposed on the states to administer. Campbell lists three “variables”: eligibility, services and payments to providers that “affect the size, scope and cost of this behemoth program.”
Medicaid gobbles up an inordinate amount of state spending—and it increases rapidly. Spending from North Carolina’s General Fund has tripled to more than 15 percent in the past ten years. Obamacare will add 600,000 beneficiaries to the 1.6 million now on the Medicaid dole in North Carolina. Taxpayers here contribute $3 billion to the current $12 billion annual cost.
Medicaid costs state taxpayers more than $8,000 per enrollee. Our neighbors in South Carolina paid about $6,900 per person and Georgia taxpayers paid nearly $5,500 in 2010, according to data from Joseph Coletti of the John Locke Foundation. (link)
Campbell suggests three “actions our leaders should take right now to set this program on a better course.” Legislators should “immerse themselves” in studying the program; they “must reach consensus” about the basic goal; and they must “design a comprehensive plan” to achieve the goal. But this vague and bureaucratic language doesn’t get to the heart of the problem.
Mr. Coletti recommends some concrete solutions. He suggests that the feds should give block grants to states that would give them “freedom to reform Medicaid.” Central bureaucratic control now prevents innovation that only states can provide. Coletti also recommends that states provide “risk-rated subsidies” to Medicaid recipients so they can purchase private insurance. Finally, Coletti thinks that private sector health savings accounts will help prevent fraud and abuse—major Medicaid problems—and reduce costs. Others have also described needed reforms.
About a year ago the JLF published a policy report by Brian Blasé and C. L. Gray that details the problems with Medicaid and how to reform this fiscally irresponsible program. (link)
Medicaid along with huge liabilities for other healthcare and pension entitlements at every level of government must be controlled or future generations will find they are financially crippled with unsustainable debt and taxes—nothing complicated about that reality.Read full article » No Comments »