Rich Neuman is quoted as saying the City of Wilmington “drove a hard bargain” and used Pearl, Mississippi’s Trustman Field as an example of how much better the Wilmington deal is. Here’s the catch, he’s correct, it’s a much better deal for him.
(StarNews story) In Pearl, Miss., for example, the Braves pay less than $200,000 annually to rent a stadium, Plant said. Unlike Wilmington’s proposed single-A team, Pearl has a double-A team. (missing key point, stadium there was built with PRIVATE money and that is all profit to city, a poorly reported comparison)
And then there is this gem from the lack of fact editorial page:
The $500,000 annual rent is “by far” the highest for a Braves organization. As a comparison, the rent on the Braves’ AA stadium in Pearl, Miss., built in 2005 is less than $200,000 a year. The Wilmington team would be “high A,” a step below AA.
Factually, somewhat accurate. Truth is, that $200k is entirely profit to the city that forked over NOTHING! Here are some facts on the Trustman Field in Pearl that the Braves, the Chamber and StarNews failed to mention.
We’ll take that deal all day long. Hey StarNews, Chamber and the rest of you, let’s get the same deal Mississippi got. Your “deal” doesn’t look nearly as good because you weren’t able to get the Braves to pay for your field!
Sort version, Wilmington got embarrassed!Read full article » No Comments »
We can all take comfort that the port city of Wilmington has better greenways than roads. With 1 in 5 road miles considered “unsatisfactory” the Greenway Workshop is about to enter it’s final phase.
From 4 to 7 p.m., staffers with the City of Wilmington, the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and New Hanover County will display information about the greenway vision at Ogden Elementary School, 3637 Middle Sound Loop Road, and close out the last round of in-person sessions. .
Such comfort in knowing our greenways have such a high priority! The rest of the story is here at PortCityDaily.com.Read full article » No Comments »
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has been increasing rates steadily since it was created in 2008. Now, after increasing salaries, they’re thinking about cutting back. But you have to follow the logic here:
From September 2011 to August 2012, customers used about 5.3 billion gallons of water, a 3 percent decline from a year ago and a 6 percent decline from 2010. On the whole, consumption rates have been decreasing steadily for about two years, which matches water usage patterns across the Tar Heel State.
No doubt after years of being forced to use less water by not allowing full flow toilets or shower heads, usage has taken a toll.
“With regulations, it costs more to provide clean drinking water and to treat wastewater, and those costs are being passed on to customers,” she said. “The more it costs, the less they’ll lose.”
Hmm. . regulations forcing up costs? Why can’t officials in government realize the same thing happens there? The story, at the StarNews, goes on to say folks got used to using less because of the Governor restricting things, but that’s just silly. We use less because we’ve been forced to use less and yet, over time, we’ll pay even more.
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There just isn’t any good news out there. Economists and those dealing with stadiums are telling us it’s a nightmare. The Atlantic has a damning piece against the speculation with taxpayer dollars that lead to the layoffs of cops and firemen. Of course, the city of Wilmington would never be so honest.
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“The basic idea is that sports stadiums typically aren’t a good tool for economic development,” said Victor Matheson, an economist at Holy Cross who has studied the economic impact of stadium construction for decades. When cities cite studies (often produced by parties with an interest in building the stadium) touting the impact of such projects, there is a simple rule for determining the actual return on investment, Matheson said: “Take whatever number the sports promoter says, take it and move the decimal one place to the left. Divide it by ten, and that’s a pretty good estimate of the actual economic impact.”
“Lord help us, they’re talking race again,” writes Leonard Pitts columnist with the Miami Herald— talking about race. For nearly half a century since the “content of character” was supposed to trump the “color of skin,” racial agitators have never stopped talking about it. In fact, it seems to be getting more shrill and bizarre instead of fading into a “colorblind” America as promoted by civil rights activists. Actual racial discrimination has been long legislated into oblivion. Now, as Mr. Pitts reminds us, it’s all about offending words. (link)
Pitts brings back some past cases starting with Newt Gingrich. During the recent GOP presidential primary Newt “had engaged in dog-whistle (only dogs can hear it) politics designed to rouse the racial resentments of white working-class voters,” says Pitts. How did he blow this silent whistle? Gingrich called Barack Obama a “food stamp president”—clearly racial. Apparently, only black non-working class people sign up for food stamps. I didn’t know that.
White people must be very careful about the words they use so to avoid the dreaded “racist” word stuck to them. Pitts even accuses President Ronald Reagan because Reagan used the term “welfare queens.” These were code words to white voters referencing “lazy blacks,” Pitts writes.
Pitts seems to be a nonpartisan critic of political racial language. He called Joe Foot-in-Mouth Biden’s remarks to a black audience that the GOP will “put y’all back in chains” “stupid” and “linguistic blackface.”
And he recalls Hillary Clinton’s slavery reference in 2006, when she accused the GOP of running a “plantation.” Other words reference “black” without saying “black,’ writes Pitts: “drug users,” “urban,” “poverty,” and “crime…carry racial weight.”
Yes, we’re heavily burdened with race.
So white folks are on constant notice of intolerance toward their choice of certain English words used in any political context. Our language has become nullified, purged and colorless out of paranoia that we might, God forbid, offend some hypersensitive political group.
Speech is a terrible thing to waste.Read full article » No Comments »
It is a sad day indeed. Wilmington should be a thriving city that leads in the area of economic opportunity and job creation. World class cuisine, an amazingly diverse culture, a great history and a beautiful location. But the city has become one of backroom deals and secrets with officials who simply refuse to answer tough questions.
Case and point has been the desire to have a taxpayer funded stadium. The city has held secret meeting after secret meeting. The taxpayers are being asked to say “yes” to $37m in bond money without, at this point, an agreement for them to even review. Several council members won’t even answer tough questions.
The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of Connie Majure-Rhett, has also refused to answer tough questions. She also refuses to comment on two separate polls taken in this market. She also will not do interviews on talk radio either. So much for an open door policy. And pursuant to changes in state law, she hasn’t been able to provide a financial statement from 2011 because the audit has not been completed. You’d think their board would be concerned, but they’re deaf mutes on the issues as well.
On the taxpayer funded convention center. After giving an overview of events to the city leaders (none of whom asked a single tough question), Susan Eaton commented to one inquiry from a taxpayer that she didn’t have to provide any answers as they were “private.” Furthermore, she was unavailable for questions the following day. More than a cursory glance at the events at the center show that it continues to take business away from local businesses.
Connie “Don’t Ask Me Tough Questions” Majure-Rhett
The good news is that more people are asking questions and dragging this out in the daylight is the only way to make it better.Read full article » No Comments »
Nope, can’t make it up. Didn’t make up the headline, didn’t make up the news, it actually happened and it was actually written over at the StarNews:
The Wilmington Planning Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to approve zoning 10 submerged acres in the Cape Fear River as mixed use. The land was recently annexed into the city of Wilmington by the N.C. General Assembly in House Bill 180. Once the land was annexed into the city, it had to be zoned, said Planning Manager Ron Satterfield, explaining that the city has to zone all property within its limits.
You have to wonder why the House saw the need to annex it, then you have to figure out why it had to be zoned for mixed use and then you have to figure out how to get the catfish and crawfish to comply and have appropriate setbacks.Read full article » 1 Comment »
Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-Lumberton) isn’t one to cozy up with his party. In fact, he’s not technically part of the DNC in Charlotte, but does want to be seen there, even as he doesn’t want to be affiliated with the President when he runs for Congress. From the StarNews:
McIntyre has been in Charlotte for the past couple of days, where he welcomed Democrats and held a fundraiser at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. But he will leave the city by the time Obama arrives on Wednesday and will be absent as the president accepts the nomination with a speech Thursday night. Asked by reporters after his remarks to the delegation why he won’t endorse Obama, McIntyre said he has “always been my own person and run my own campaign.” He added that he is one of the most independent members of Congress. (Then why is he a Democrat?)
“My voting record’s always been right down the middle, no matter who was president, who was in the majority,” he said.
I’m not entirely sure what politician of note in history made their mark with the words, “right down the middle,” but it does seem to be a theme of opposums on NC highways. What does that even mean?Read full article » No Comments »
Just an observation. Earlier today I had noticed that there was a crane doing work at the end of Market St. I had already been told the work was being done because the riverwalk there was unstable. WWAY news approached the tourism stand adjacent to the work being done and simply asked, “What’s going on here?”
The attendant looked at the WWAY badge and said, “I’m not allowed to talk to the media.” That was an odd response, especially considering the person asking the question wasn’t holding a camera or taking notes, just asking a question.
When the tourism authority was called later they confirmed that NONE of their folks except Connie Nelson Communications/Public Relations Director, is supposed to speak to the media.
Really? The guy at the booth couldn’t even say, “There are some guys here fixing things.” Wilmington apparently does not equal Freedom Of Speech! And they wonder why they have image problems.
Also of note, I’m getting ready to enter week two for the Chamber of Commerce to return a phone call to their office. They’re also apparently not too keen on speaking to the media either.Read full article » No Comments »
We hear a lot of political talk these days about an American “middle class.” Both party operatives seem to pander to this large voting bloc, presuming small (and less important) low- and upper-classes. A recent Charlotte Observer article by editorialist Taylor Batten refers to a Pew Research Center report indicating that the “American middle class is smaller, poorer and more pessimistic than it has been in a long time.” Mr. Batten identifies this group as a “cornerstone of America’s economic health.” The Pew definition of middle class: “a household that makes between 67 percent and 200 percent of the national median income.”(link)
Curious about the history of this term, I went to the late William Safire’s “Political Dictionary.” In the 1972 edition Mr. Safire entered “Middle America.” These people were, according to Safir’s definition, “the payers of most of the taxes, the holders of most of the values, the electors of most of the candidates” in America; explaining why the strong political interest—although this definition may not be accurate 40 years later.
Safir credits the term to columnist Joseph Kraft in a 1968 article. Mr. Kraft told Safir he had been thinking about it two years earlier and that a 1967 Labor Department study of living costs for people in major cities with incomes of $7,000 to $10,000 stimulated his focus on this group. The report showed that “their requirements were outrunning their earnings.” These folks, Kraft said, were “ordinary Americans, middle-class Americans, Americans who were not young or poor or black and that kind of thing.”
At that time Middle Americans had moved up from poverty to just under affluence, buying houses, using their own private transportation and switching from “beer to whiskey.” Kraft restricted the term to an economic concept. Safir wrote that it also showed “the conflict between middle class and the classes above and below”—now energized by political leftists.
“Class Warfare” has entered the political lexicon since Safir wrote his dictionary (the term doesn’t appear in his 1972 edition). Politicians and political activists on the left desperately try to invigorate envy and hatred toward upper-class people with higher earnings and greater accumulations of wealth. False claims are flung at the political wall hoping some will stick.
One charges that when some people gain wealth, others lose it; another that wealth is a fixed-size “pie”—larger pieces served to some result in smaller portions available to others. But these ideas are absurd. Wealth is created by using labor, capital and resources to provide for market demands. Investments increase productivity and all classes of people benefit.
Of course, economic conditions change; there is no static economic condition. Depressions, recessions, and economic dips as well as good times, bubbles and “roaring” economies describe the ups and downs of our capitalist system. Until recently, because of upward mobility, social stability and the optimism of Americans, we’ve weathered financial storms and moved on to improve our conditions—believing that each generation will do better than the last. Few people now believe that; we’re not optimistic about the future. Pew research confirms this.
Household income for the middle class has dropped. Low class incomes remain about the same and upper class income has increased. Loss of home values and jobs explains the plight of the middle class. Upper class people have smaller percentages of their income invested in their homes and they know how to preserve the wealth they have. Low class people do just fine because wealth is distributed to them from government and many with ability and initiative will move up to middle class status.
Despite all the claims I don’t think government spending and programs can “fix” our economy. When government sucks more out of the economy it makes conditions worse. And as it regulates and controls it stymies investments by risk takers that create growth and wealth.
Americans in the middle, rich and even the “poor,” have done well because we once lived in a country with few barriers to personal achievement and success. Statists now largely in control of the federal government plan to change that. They’ve got a powerful hand on the throat of the American spirit. It remains to be seen whether they can snuff it out. My bet is on most Americans in all economic classes to resist and revive that spirit.Read full article » No Comments »