Mayor Bill Saffo will deliver the state of the city address this evening.
(PortCityDaily.com) – “The mayor will review some of the city’s major accomplishments from last year and will also touch on upcoming goals for 2013,” said a bulletin from the city’s communications office. Saffo will begin his address at 5:30 p.m.
Residents who cannot attend may view the speech live on Time Warner Cable channel 8 or on the city’s website, wilmingtonnc.gov.
There will be much discussed, but what we have not seen is a public accountability for the money spent on the baseball endeavor. It would be interesting to find out out how much (beyond the consultants) the city spent on staff time from the manager’s office on down. The public should know, but we don’t.Read full article » No Comments »
Sometimes typos are just funny and make you wonder if there is really something more at work. The News & Observer’s “Under The Dome” section has one that just bears mentioning:
Economist Art Laffer told state lawmakers that the movement to overhaul the tax code in North Carolina is crucial to the national “fight for a different sort of economics. You are wearing the white hat,” he said. “Don’t let them take the white hate off you. Go to the goal line.”
New Hanover County commissioners, law enforcement and school board officials were eager to get gun toting cops in the schools quickly for the rest of the year. $600k of taxpayer money was thus dedicated and everyone felt safer. But the conversation is now evolving:
Keeping sheriff’s deputies in New Hanover County’s elementary schools for the 2013-14 school year would cost about $1.18 million, members of the board of education learned Wednesday. But they aren’t yet sure if that’s the route they want to take for next year’s elementary school safety.
Hmm. . so they’re eager to do it with no proof that it will help make schools safer. But when looking at long term costs, the situation changes? Yep, that’s $11.8 million dollars for a decade without ANY increases. That won’t put one more book in a classroom, another teacher on the payroll. Not sure this is a good reaction either, but it might generate some ideas.
But members did decide to poll parents through Alert Now, the district’s automated phone calling system, about what they’d like to see in terms of security.
Here’s hoping there will be more discussion about what will work rather than simply reacting. . . expensively!Read full article » No Comments »
It wasn’t like this wasn’t predictable, but commentary, posing as journalism is still a shame. In Kate Queram’s piece at the StarNews on DENR today, such commentary slips in:
That mindset, coupled with a Republican super-majority in a state government that has in recent years slashed both DENR’s budget and its oversight capabilities, could spell disaster for protective measures currently in place to preserve natural resources, according to environmental experts.
But the quote from the Coastal Resource Commission does NOT assert that there is any looming disaster:
“It will absolutely be easier for deregulation to take place under this administration,” said David Webster, a biologist at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a member of the state’s Coastal Resources Commission. “I’m always suspicious of the influence that special-interest groups have on the political process. By nature, they are advocates for their own narrow agendas and unfortunately, our political process allows that.”
I’m not entirely sure where this goes, but I do think it worth noting in some way:
(StarNews) – Hundreds of thousands of dead fish washed ashore this week at Masonboro Island, according to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The dead fish, identified as Atlantic Menhaden, are strewn along the island’s beaches and in the water, stretching over a one-mile area from the Mason Inlet jetty to Loosins Creek, officials reported.
They apparently clustered together, starved themselves of oxygen and died, a fishy suicide. But the state has been pursuing a strategy on Menhaden for some time that would lead you to believe their numbers have been depleted.
(May 12, 2012, Outer Banks Voice) North Carolina will soon ban industrial-scale purse seine fishing for menhaden, a species long at the center of conflict between marine conservation interests and producers of a valued dietary supplement. Menhaden are used to make omega-3 fatty oil, a dietary supplement said to fight heart disease, and as fertilizers and livestock feed.
There’s something here, but I’m just missing it somehow. Menhaden are a smelly fish and I have little doubt that the Masonboro Island smelled to high-heaven.
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It’s still worthy of a screenplay and it’s funny. . .
(WECT) – Two people face charges for following former State Senator R.C. Soles’ car, according to Tabor City police. Jason Fowler and Toni Dew followed Soles’ vehicle Thursday afternoon but never made it to his side, according to police. A wrecker driven by Soles’ bodyguard was in between the two. Dew attempted to pass the wrecker, but crashed into it. That’s when police said Fowler punched the bodyguard inthe head. He’s charged with simple assault. Fowler was charged with trespassingon Soles’ property in October 2011.
So. . Dew wrecked a wrecker. Just funny that Soles is being followed by a wrecker driven by his bodyguard. Bizarro! And it’s now been going on for decades. . . .Read full article » No Comments »
For someone aspiring to be a NC Supreme Court Justice, showing up in controversial stories isn’t usually a good campaign plan. Caroline Curran, over at PortCityDaily.com, has a detailed story about the latest in the ongoing saga between Judge Lewis and local activist Ed Rapp.
BOLIVIA—A Brunswick County man being sued for libel by [Judge Ola Lewis] has asked the court to disqualify the judge’s attorney [Lonnie Williams] on the grounds he orchestrated a campaign to boost her judicial reputation and keep her “on the bench” and unopposed. The motion asks for Williams’ removal as Lewis’ attorney for several reasons, including Rapp’s contention “Mr. Williams doggedly pursued his efforts to rehabilitate Judge Lewis’ reputation,” making him a potential witness for Rapp. The motion also claims Williams sought political contributions from attorneys for Lewis’ re-election efforts.
Was there a shake-down?
Williams sent a message to 33 recipients on Nov. 23, 2009. In it he reports the addresses of 12 attorneys who responded to the North Carolina Bar Association’s judicial performance evaluation survey with critical evaluations of Lewis.. . . In some email exchanges included with the motion Williams writes a favorable rating could replace a campaign contribution. “Please send me a $250 check for Judge Lewis’ re-election campaign or send the rating sheet and affidavit. If you have already sent the letter to me as requested, you are exempted from this,” Williams wrote.
Methinks this is the beginning of a much broader story. The jury trial in this case is scheduled for Jan. 22. There has been no response from either Williams or Lewis to the story as of this writing.
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There is a persistence about alternative energy supporters to be admired. They don’t take criticism, don’t answer tough questions and remarkably consistent in pushing forward in spite of solid evidence to the contrary that wind farms are expensive, unneeded, sporadic at energy production and require a duplication of energy production that isn’t required from all known conventional forms of energy.
But don’t expect the local media to ask such tough questions.
(StarNews) – ”My folks live in Holden Beach and I talked to my mom about it, and she said she likes windmills and thinks they’re pretty,” Rogers said. “She wanted me to tell you that. She said she’d rather look over the water and see a turbine than an oil rig.”
So, the ONLY criticism of wind energy is that it might be unattractive to look at? The real issues with wind power have to do with killing birds, fires, inconsistent energy production, expense and a litany of other real issues that weren’t remotely addressed in the article. It isn’t that I expect the media to be critical, but they at least should be concerned about being balanced or researched.
(WWAY) - “Anything new is going to be more expensive. The American Wind Energy Association, for instance on land-based wind, is looking at it being able to function without subsidies within the next 10 years,” said Mac Montgomery, who supports the proposal.
In other words, wind energy HAS TO BE SUBSIDIZEDRead full article » No Comments »
With the bar set fairly low to look good in local government, New Hanover County isn’t making itself look particularly prescient.
(StarNews) The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners postponed granting a special-use permit for the expansion of the county’s landfill Monday evening due to a “technical question” that county staff says has now been cleared up. And while it seems like a small point, staff said it is extra important to pay attention to these details when it is county departments requesting the permit from the commissioners. Suleyman said the two-week delay doesn’t cause too many problems, but that the county will have to make up the time somewhere else in the process.
Most of that would make sense if this were a sudden need or even one that was relatively recent. But the county has known for years that the landfill needed expansion. This does NOT inspire confidence. The county is off to a shaky start to 2013, wasteful and ill prepared.
Why wasn’t the staff prepared? Why isn’t this already done? Geesh. . . .Read full article » No Comments »
It might be palatable to parents, but it’s still a knee jerk/panic ridden and permanently wasteful decision.
(PortCityDaily.com) Following an at-times-confusing discussion with staff that described the plan in terms of “cost sharing” and “forced multiplication,” commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a short-term plan that would split the cost of funding 24 sheriff’s office deputies—six of them reserve; 18 to be paid through overtime hours—between county government and New Hanover County Schools.
Of $634,909, the school system would cover $280,000, while New Hanover County would incur the remainder: $354,909.
Here’s sad part, school system and New Hanover County are essentially the same funding source, the county. It is sad that rather than be pragmatic, get citizens involved in reviewing security procedures, coming up with actual progress or even considering taxpayer concerns, the new board simply leapt in a totally predictable fashion and did what government always does, expand its reach and spend more money. Not ONE single bit of proof that this will work can be shown!
Newtown was a horrible tragedy and now local governments are going to waste millions of taxpayer dollars across the state with no proof that it will do any good. What was all that talk during the election about being “fiscally conservative” again?Read full article » No Comments »