The adjective “sustainable,” meaning capable of being sustained, has been misused by environmental propagandists to further their phony causes. They have coopted the noun “sustainability” to suggest that we can’t maintain our lifestyles without changing our evil, wasteful ways—especially our use of earth’s natural resources. The planet just can’t handle it.
A recent article in the Wilmington StarNews by Wayne Faulkner reported that the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce promotes a “Green Plus” program sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas. (link) Chris Carmody,(link) executive director of the “green” nonprofit came to town peddling more environmental snake-oil—to help “save companies money” and “achieve community environmental goals.” (link)
Saving money sounds good, but sustainability schemes usually end up costing taxpayers and consumers more. Further, communities don’t have goals; only individuals plan for the future; most often to improve their personal conditions. In this case, business owners want to maximize profits. Chasing green ghosts ends up wasting time and money. Environmental collectivists want to indoctrinate business people with their meddling agenda—hoping to recruit supporters by deceptively promising savings and competitive advantage. When we look into what’s behind this the usual suspects are found lurking in academia.
The Green Plus scheme was incubated at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill. Surprisingly—or maybe not—co-conspirators included the Raleigh and Durham chambers of commerce. Chambers once supported the best interests of their members; now, it seems, some are more interested in other pursuits. (link)
Mr. Carmody targets small businesses because, he said, “big ones had lots of resources to improve sustainability.” Yes, many have aligned cozily with government—a process sometimes referred to as crony-capitalism; or maybe a better term would be “conflict of interest.” Business people cannot serve government and themselves at the same time. However, many have dutifully joined “green” schemes believing the public will think better of them. (link)
Local CPA Adam Shay has bought in. He thinks recycling saves money and is a wise thing to do. (I wonder if he is aware that this scheme wastes more than it saves.) (link) Viewed as “having a positive impact on people in the community” Mr. Shay will recruit others to the “idea of sustainability.” In my opinion it’s a meaningless effort, but Shay apparently believes it will raise his business image. Good luck with that.
As with all scams eventually people figure out what’s really going on—in this case distinguishing deceptive environmental projects from the hard work of succeeding in business.Read full article » No Comments »
The Wilmington StarNews editorial board has given another propagandist from the N. C. Coastal Federation a long column on its “Perspectives” page. Sam Wilson, Stop Titan Action Network program assistant, weighs in with more environmental activism laced with misguided and contradictory commentary. Mr. Wilson tries to justify his anti-industry movement from an economic perspective, but comes up far short of a convincing argument in the real world. (link)
Wilson starts with the laughable comment that “we urgently need a serious, thoughtful discussion” about creating jobs. Where has he been for the past several years? One big benefit, discussed from the beginning of the announced cement plant is bringing construction crews, well-paid managers and skilled technical workers here that will contribute significantly to the local economy.
Wilson’s comment that supporters of the plant “appear unwilling or unable to have this conversation” is blatantly bogus. For years Carolinas Cement Company officials and others have tried, but Stop Titan activists have rejected serious discussion. They don’t want honest debate because it’s a losing process for them—the organization’s title describes their mission.
Wilson says the Stop Titan campaign has been labeled “anti-growth,” that he denies. At this site we have labeled it anti-development: in the case of Carolinas Cement proposed plant, clearly these people oppose industrial development—especially those vital industries that convert our natural resources to useful needed products. The evidence is overwhelming; even at their website. (link)
They’ve been at it for nearly four years. Typically, Wilson and his “nattering nabobs of negativity” (a term used by the late Vice President Spiro Agnew, 1970) do not engage in serious discussion because they have nothing but emotion on their side; the real world eludes them. Illusion frames their worldview leaving them with only distortions, deception and denigration.
We’ve observed and documented their radical, often irrational, behavior over the years. Spreading fear and misinformation about potential pollution is their primary tactic. Wilson labels these important industries “heavy polluters” that, he asserts, have a “repelling effect on other businesses and industries.” There’s no evidence to support that.
Cement plants operate in some of our most developed areas with no harmful results. For example, this past September I drove by a huge cement plant in downtown Seattle, Washington surrounded by other industries—I didn’t see any “Stop Cement” signs.
The Castle Hayne site is in a relatively remote location adjacent to other current mining operations north of Wilmington. Potential “polluters” such as the state port, the city sewer plant, an incinerator and several manufacturing facilities exist in obvious harmony within the city limits. Stop Titan’s persistent opposition to the plant is inconsistent with the reality we can see around us. Otherwise, why don’t these activists launch extended, rancorous campaigns to stop the other potential polluters in this region? It’s because they would have no credibility.
Wilson claims that the Cape Fear region lost 30 percent of its manufacturing workforce since 2008. It may not be coincidence that during that time Stop Titan has been campaigning maliciously against the manufacture of cement. Have their obstructionist efforts sent a “repelling” message that certain businesses aren’t welcome here—signaling other manufacturers that this is a hostile business environment?
Yet Wilson also claims that this area is “blessed with an economic powerhouse.” With unemployment at or above the high state average this comment isn’t believable. At the same time he says that New Hanover County is a “pollution haven”—a wildly unsupportable statement. Wilson’s unclear thinking is repelling.
Further, Wilson says “we should be actively recruiting firms that add value.” In usual vague and meaningless environmental propaganda, “we” is not identifiable, but I assume that he arrogantly thinks that his activists should be involved in recruiting. And, if so, they should be soliciting for Carolinas Cement.
Our natural resources industries add great value through their operations—consider buried rock mined, processed and used to build a large bridge. Think of the value added from that raw material, dramatically transformed to provide drivers with safe, easy passage. In fact, without these industries: coal, oil, wood, water and earth minerals, we would still be a primitive society.
Sometimes we wonder. Environmentalists promote going back in time to greater hardships for the sake of their distorted views of an unreachable utopia. We must all sacrifice to their gods of purity. Their actions and words indicate that they don’t like the real world inhabited by people. Environmental ideology of intrinsic earthly values—untouchable—conflicts with the actual place in which the rest of us live.Read full article » No Comments »
This is a bit different. . . it’s a plea. . . . but this has gotten wayyyyyyy beyond the point of reasonable.
You are continuing to undermine your relevancy on the New Hanover County Commission. You’ve been there two years, I know, hard to believe. You’ve moved on from the personal debacles that plagued you, kudos. The taxpayers have a simple request since you are a elected official. It’s an obligation you signed up for, show up! It’s not complicated, it’s 2012, it’s not hard to do. We have roads, cars, even public transportation. Heck, I’m sure if you need it, someone from the county would even pick you up. If the importance of the office doesn’t resonate with you, then resign. It’s not that you’re a bad person or that anyone is judging you or casting aspersions, show up, period! Your written response to WWAY to not showing up at the latest committee assignment is not acceptable. You’re costing me money each and every time you don’t show up, that’s just wrong!
“I just found out about the committee assignments at about 8 last night. I have no agendas, no schedules, and nobody said anything to me about there being a meeting in 12 hours,” Berger wrote. “Frankly, for a CFPUA meeting, after being booted off for a year, much more time is required to prepare than 12 hours. Go make a story up…”
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Though national and state politics captures the lion share of people’s thoughts, local politics are closer to home and far more personal. Carolina Beach erupted this week!
(PortCityDaily.com) Tim Owens, who had served as the Carolina Beach town manager since 2006, tendered his resignation at the Carolina Beach Town Council’s Tuesday night meeting in what then-mayor Ray Rothrock protested was a move “compelled” by Shuttleworth and council members Bob Lewis and Sarah Friede. Rothrock resigned right after, as did council member Lonnie Lashley, leaving a three-member board now in search of new recruits.
City manager, Mayor and a council member, gone in an instant. Regardless of their political leanings, simply walking away from the obligation to serve that you promised folks isn’t good form. Having been on the losing side of many 6-1 votes, this comes across as childish.
Also more at WWAY as well.
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The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, fresh off being the lead group behind a stunning 70-30 thumping at the polls on taxpayer funded baseball has decided to help businesses be green. Mind you, they’re not advocating making businesses more profitable, or cutting regulations or showing concern for tax burdens, nope. . . that would make sense. But. . .
(StarNews) The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce rolled out a program Wednesday to help the area’s small and medium-sized businesses get involved in sustainability and achieve certification of their efforts.
Yep. . . the Chamber continues to act as political agency advocating left leaning ideologies rather than focus on improving the actual business environment. This will continue to erode their membership.
Here’s hoping they’ll be more open to other ideas and debates in the future.Read full article » No Comments »
Because they’ve mastered the art of public policy, the City of Wilmington has decided it needs something else:
(StarNews) The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the city council chambers . . is designed to get input from residents about the possibility of launching another public TV channel in addition to the government channel, GTV-Channel 8.
The Southeastern Alliance for Community Change has been pushing the city to explore adding a public access channel. Steve Lee, the secretary of the alliance’s board of directors, has described the proposed channel as “content produced by the community for the community.”
Short version, another government run tv channel at taxpayer expense. No discussion about costs, no real need, and yet no discussion about how out of touch the city was on the baseball issue that failed 70-30. Maybe the city should spend some time listening to the public and focus on being a more efficient, effective, pro-business government than wasting taxpayer resources on a new TV channel.Read full article » No Comments »
For nearly twenty years I’ve observed that Wilmington officials spend excessive time and resources with numerous government-funded projects to attract tourists. Ironically, tourists, as well as residents, are taxed to support bureaucracies to promote more tourism. Yet, the best reason to visit downtown is to savor its amazing historic places. Unfortunately, they are being discarded and disregarded in favor of projects created by progressivism.
In my opinion, the intrinsic character of downtown is being compromised: multi-story parking garages; lumbering, diesel-spewing fake trolleys; sprawling, characterless new community college buildings; a convention center incongruous with the old riverfront; new hotels and other growing signs of the times detract from the historic nature of downtown Wilmington. City officials busy themselves trying to reconstruct Wilmington into a modern mecca for free-spending tourists—and to profit from taxes, fees and fines.
Wilmington has a worthy past rich with tales, but being largely overlooked. Yet it contains some well-maintained and restored remnants of one of the most misunderstood times in North Carolina history, according to local historian Bernhard Thuersam.
During the antebellum and war years of 1861-65, the port of Wilmington was important commercially as well as militarily. Blockade runners; the waterfront and Market Street dock; the homes and headquarters of Confederate leaders; defensive works protecting the city from attack and important buildings—some gone, but not forgotten—can be recalled and shown. But the casual tourist will not recognize or understand much of it.
Fortunately, Mr. Thuersam can help point out little known but important people and events in the remarkable history of 19th century Wilmington. He offers a unique walking tour where one can “tread in the footsteps of antebellum and wartime leaders.”
Thuersam, a noted historian, provides an “in-depth view of Confederate-era Wilmington.” He also directs the Cape Fear Historical Institute. He writes prolifically and lectures widely across the region.
Thuersam’s tour is well worth the small charge for those who want to learn about Wilmington’s unique past—before the city council obliterates it.
He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his website www.cfhi.net.Read full article » No Comments »
The Wilmington StarNews editorial board shows that it operates in an editorial-room bubble—isolated from reality. Once again these people trumpet the historically impractical idea that higher education for North Carolina residents should be “free.”
Free sounds good, but government can’t provide anything at no cost to some without taking wealth from many others—Econ 101—and corrupting the process. No cost to consumers and unlimited spending at public universities cloud an editorial vision seen through their bubble distortion. Editors’ angst about tuition increases that, they say, “continue to price students out of the market.”
If higher Ed was a real “market,” rather than a government subsidized monopoly, customers would have many choices to contract for services they value and pay for them accordingly. There’s a great body of evidence that the more money federal and state governments dump into educational systems the worse they perform in higher levels of learning.
Editorials continue to perpetuate the myth that: “It is in everyone’s best interest…to put a premium on educating any student” with qualifications and desire. That euphemistic “premium” has resulted in unaccountable spending with little transparency through the ivy-covered walls. And how many potential students actually have qualifications and desire to pursue four years of rigorous study in meaningful curricula—and pay for it? A large part of the student body goes deep in debt with little to show for time spent.
But the larger question—also ignored by zealots for Big Ed—is: Do we need more college students?
Much has been analyzed and written about the economic myths, misstatements and misunderstanding related to the “Ivory Tower.” John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, has a chapter on this in his book: “Investor Politics.” He distinguishes the terms “education” and “training.” We need better trained workers, best provided by private enterprise. But our public schools fail to educate large numbers of students so they can be trainable. (Many scholars suggest core curricula of classic, apolitical English, math, science, history, civics and economics courses necessary to a proper education.)
George Roche, former president of Hillsdale College, wrote an entire book about corruption in the funding of higher education. George Leef, Jay Schalin and other scholarly analysts at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy have written extensively on wasteful spending and failing scholarship at many of our universities and colleges.
Duke Cheston reported in the November 2012 edition of the Carolina Journal on a forum held last month in New York City titled: “Disruptions in Higher Education.” (link, p.17) Mr. Leef spoke on a panel of scholars about opportunities to create more freedom within our institutions now in the grip of “leftist orientation” and “collectivist ideologies.” In the future students will not be limited to “bundles” of, what I call, fluff and frivolity. They will “shop around for the best courses” and be able to transfer credits more freely. Online education will offer greater flexibility and efficiency in the education process. But the academic royalty will defend their old castles.
Recently Mr. Schalin commented in the Carolina Journal (page 17 in link cited above) about a plan being crafted by the UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions. Schalin believes they will follow past policies based on “misleading data and state beliefs”—ignoring our current economic realities. UNC president Thomas Ross’ agenda comes from academic “experts’” who believe that “we will need more educated people.” Evidence from the real world, however, indicates otherwise.
Schalin writes that “our economy already has achieved sufficiently high levels of educational attainment, and that too much higher education is unfocused and unproductive” (John Hood refers to misguided efforts at our teacher’s colleges as “fuzzy ideas and shoddy research”). But, of course, this reality threatens the pushers of Big Ed–the more student bodies filling up space the better.
We often read of college graduates living at home and working jobs that could be done with a few weeks of training by their employers. That is a tragic waste of human capital and a bad investment from taxpayer’s money.
Meanwhile, President Ross hopes to follow, what Schalin calls “central planning” quotas of students and graduates reminiscent of failed collectivist projects. UNC officials and editors will continue to irresponsibly ignore economic reality—university officials because of self-interest, and editors because of their politics and willful ignorance.Read full article » No Comments »
You just gotta read it to believe it. . .
(StarNews) - “If we don’t move forward on (Covanta) contract, we just wasted a half-million dollars,” Jonathan Barfield said. “It’s like going to college, getting a four-year degree, and working at a gas station.”
Barfield is referring to the ongoing inability of the commissioners to find a solution to New Hanover County’s solid waste trash woes. Barfield is wed to the incinerator as the ONLY option. There’s an emotional attachment there as it was his father who helped bring this to the county in the 80s.
Sadly, the county came up short with the unrealistic R3 proposal last year while landfill space continued to run out and they’ve wasted another year hanging their hopes on a single idea, keeping the incinerator open.
Residents should expect more. The county should have secured the permits to expand the existing landfill and negotiated a transportation deal to handle trash moving forward. Instead we’re no further along than we were a year ago or two years ago. For Barfield, the true despair should be the millions he was willing to spend (losing $500k/month) on the incinerator and the millions more he’s willing to spend to resurrect it now while suggesting that a 50% increase trash fees is acceptable.
The analogy is actually a bit confusing. A better analogy would be to say it’s like spending $500k of someone else’s money to buy a Ferrari you don’t need in pursuit of basic transportation at work. He should accept the responsibility for the waste rather than casting blame elsewhere.
While complaining about the city’s inability to solve problems, here’s hoping the county will realize they aren’t moving very swiftly to solve problems either.
Also, don’t forget, Barfield was an ardent supporter of taxpayers sinking tens of millions into a ball stadium. How does that work as an analogy to a college degree?Read full article » No Comments »
The City of Wilmington was severely out of touch with the voting public on the baseball referendum. It’s a serious situation for city leaders and staff who willfully acted against the will of the people in spite of three separate public surveys indicating strong disapproval.
The Chamber of Commerce also did surveys that were surely available to city leaders that indicated this was a foolish endeavor. In the face of such overwhelming odds, the city’s pursuit of this and the waste of taxpayer dollars (still not publicly reported) leaves little doubt that the door will be open in next year’s election as the majority of council is up for re-election.
Mayor Bill Saffo has not announced intentions to seek re-election. Council members Charlie Rivenbark and Earl Sheridan are also up for re-election and supported the failed baseball stadium. But the front person for this wasteful project was Kevin O’Grady and it he that will have the most difficulty making the case that he has a connection with voters. He negotiated the deal with Mandalay, pushed for it the hardest, had e-mails suggesting that contact not take place on the city server and generally held the opposition in contempt.
The door is open. . . but does the public have a short memory and will anyone step up to run? There is an opportunity for substantive positive, business friendly changes in Wilmington, but it will take people willing to lead.Read full article » No Comments »