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Archive for August, 2010

Friends of Tom Ross

No lie— I talked with Dad the Liberal on the phone this morning and out of the blue he begins expressing his admiration for newly-confirmed UNC President Thomas Ross.

I knew Ross was a Democrat –what would you expect form UNC — and that the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation was a lefty organization. But Dad’s endorsement only served to heighten my suspicion. Sure enough:

During his almost seven years as Executive Director of the left-wing, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Ross oversaw massive contributions to an enormous array of far-left liberal activist organizations. He took what was already a politically active foundation, founded by one of North Carolina‚Äôs most prominent families, and turned it into an active organizer and funder of the lefts political agenda in North Carolina. All manner of socially left organizations were on the foundation’s dole under Ross’s administration, including the radical and nefarious ACORN organization.

Other groups funded by the Reynolds Foundation include Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the ACLU and Rainbow Youth Coalition.

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Watauga votes down sales tax hike

Reports JLF president John Hood over at Locker Room.

According to the Watauga Democrat, voters said ‘enough is enough.’

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Unanimous: Neighbors don’t want ‘high speed’ rail

I took note of this N&O article on the advisory panel of a Raleigh neighborhood unanimously voting against the proposed high-speed rail line.

Government’s reaction? ‘There’s a lot of misinformation floating around.’ Indeed.

On a related local note, I just now noticed that PART is applying for a HUD sustainable housing communities grant, aka transit-oriented development. Yippee.

What were we saying earlier about government’s false economy?

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Government’s ‘false economics’

Winston-Salem Journal editorial on the federal government’s short-term job program:

The program demanded considerable oversight and planning. It appears almost certain that new county employees would have had to be hired for, or that existing employees reassigned to, this task.

If the local officials are right, then it appears that the Congress established a program that was sure to fail. Local governments got only a short time to get their programs operating, and there were considerable restrictions on eligibility. As one county manager said in news reports, it was a case of “false economics” for the government agencies.

False economics — that pretty much describes the stimulus. And still the Journal chastises the state of North Carolina for its reluctance to participate.

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Newsflash: ‘Green’ school not so green

Paul Clark writes in this week’s Rhino:

…Northern Guilford Middle School, which cost $21 million to build in 2005 and won the national 2008 award for best energy-sustainable school in the country, is using almost twice as much energy as another green school, Reedy Fork Elementary School, built the next year for $13 million.

Guilford County Schools Executive Director of Facilities and Construction Andy LaRowe said, “It does not appear that Northern Middle School is performing to meet its expectations.”

Clark also notes that Northern Guilford Middle School “was one of the financial disasters of Guilford County Schools’ 2003 bond program” that ran out of funds for a new Jamestown Middle School, which would later appear on the $412 million bond passed in 2008. Now Guilford County commissioners are asking voters to approve a quarter-cent sales tax hike to help service that debt.

Expensive schools —-that’s the connection to Watauga County sales-tax vote tomorrow. No doubt Guilford commissioners will be carefully watching that vote. Then again —knowing our commissioners ——maybe they won’t.

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Tom Keith —-He’s baaack

Controversial former Forsyth County District Attorney Tom Keith —a vocal critic of the Racial Justice Act —-will be working with the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys to help local DAs fight motions filed by inmates alleging that racial bias was involved in their sentencing.

Keith’s job will be “collecting data that prosecutors can use in their response to the motions.”

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All eyes on Watauga sales tax vote

The Winston-Salem Journal previews tomorrow’s vote on a quarter-cent sales-tax hike in Watuaga County. Similar circumstances —- expensive schools —– have prompted a push for a sales tax hike here in Guilford. Citizens here should take note of the Watauga vote.

JLF director of health and fiscal policy director Joe Coletti makes an appearance, while director of education studies Terry Stoops puts in his two cents’ worth below.

Coletti and Stoops coauthored the report on Watauga’s BooneDoggle along with research director Michael Sanera.

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If PTP went away, who would miss it?

I don’t always agree with former Guilford County planning director Rob Bencini —– you can imagine my reaction to his op-ed on ‘green initiatives’—- but he nails it in yesterday’s N&R with a brutally honest assessment of the Piedmont Triad Partnership and its ‘regionalism’ mantra:

Regionalism is happy talk and feels nice; adding local jobs and expanding the tax base is real. Real gets the nod.

…..(T)his is the question I have asked boards when they seemed to be straying from their mission or spending more time reorganizing and doing strategic plans than making an impact:

If the Piedmont Triad Partnership went away, who would miss it?

Putting it another way, if PTP ran through a $15 million WIRED grant to “transform the regional economy,” who would notice?

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G’boro politics: porn, garbage

Prominent Greensboro bloggers are hotly debating the number of porn site hits up at the city’s central library. John Hammer joins the debate, reporting the disputed numbers as fact in this week’s Rhino Rumors:

City Councilmember Danny Thompson, who has become the point man on pornography at the Greensboro Public Library, is compiling some of the information that he now knows he should have had the first time he brought it up.

Last month there were 21,000 hits on porn sites at the Greensboro Public Library, but over six months there were only 18 reported incidents of people looking at porn. If the taxpayers don’t want to provide free pornography for all comers, it appears something needs to be done.

Tony Wilkins doesn’t name his source, but one would have to assume that Thompson is Hammer’s source. I don’t know what to believe, but Hammer’s absolutely right when he says Thompson —who’s been doing his homework— was unprepared when he first raised the porn issue. That’s been my major criticism, and perhaps Thompson will convince when he raises it again —–and it sure looks like he will.

Compare this issue with Greensboro’s equally-volatile garbage issue, which is in the news again as various vendors pitch the city on different ways to gasify municipal waste.

Remember a couple of years ago when then-council member Mike Barber raised the issue, suggesting —heaven forbid —– that the city reopen the White Street landfill to municipal waste. In the face of stern opposition, Barber provided real leadership on the issue, providing concrete reasons why White Street should once again be a real dump. Barber didn’t prevail, but he at least earned my respect.

Unfortunately, Hammer reports that Thompson and Mayor Bill Knight aren’t providing necessary leadership on this issue, either, allowing landfill opponent Dianne Bellamy-Small to take over:

After the meeting both Knight and Councilmember Danny Thompson said they did not think reopening the landfill was off the table.

Knight said, “We do need to change from what we are doing now. I will say that.”

Thompson said, “I will look at all the options.” He added that reopening the landfill was an option in his mind and that he never said he was opposed to reopening it.

However, neither Knight nor Thompson argued when Wade said that nobody up there wanted to reopen the landfill, nor did they argue with Bellamy-Small…..

Guarino nails it when he says “(i)It is quite apparent that, in spite of the election results last November, the city of Greensboro still has a long way to go.” But that’s because the people we elected last November aren’t providing the necessary leadership to bring about real change.

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So much for Tar Heel football

The latest effort to make Carolina a football powerhouse is over before the season even starts:

butch

A season of such unrestrained promise is quickly becoming a season of looming disgrace. For once, football was battling with basketball for top summer billing in Chapel Hill, what with the top 25 preseason ranking, national TV opener against an SEC powerhouse and “BCS sleeper” buzz. Thursday night, all that anticipation was replaced with foreboding.

Reading that Butch Davis “was supposed to be the disciplinarian, weeding out the John Bunting recruits who couldn’t close a dorm-room door without doing something illegal behind it” really makes you wonder what was going on in the first place.

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