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Archive for June, 2011

Davidson County tired of eating lunch

Davidson County Schools is covering more than $47,000 in unpaid school lunches.

Guilford County Schools “have not yet determined their total from last year, but they covered $450,000 in unpaid lunches the previous year.”


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More AZ-NC campaign finance law

JLF’s Mitch Kokai makes an appearance in this News 14 report on the implications of the recent Supreme Court ruling on North Carolina campaign finance law:

“What happens is a candidate who decides to run without the tax payer financing can only spend up to a certain threshold level. Beyond that level the tax payer financing system kicks in matching funds for the opponent to try to level out the amount of spending,” said Mitch Kokai, of the John Locke Foundation.

The court didn’t rule that public campaign financing, also know as tax payer financing, as unconstitutional, but the court said the matching funds provision is. Opponents of the system want to get rid of it all together so candidates can raise as much as they want.

“North Carolina’s matching funds provision is about exactly the same as the Arizona provision, so if it’s unconstitutional for Arizona’s program it is for North Carolina’s program too,” Kokai said.

Democracy North Carolina’s Bob Hall counters that the Supreme Court ruling “may give fuel to those who really hate public financing.” But if it’s unconstitutional, it’s unconstitutional, correct? Or does that even matter?

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Double Fantasy

I’ve long held the theory that if he were alive today, John Lennon would be a conservative. I’ve gotten more than a few weird looks when I floated that theory among my liberal friends.

It’s nice to be proven right:

Former Beatle John Lennon, one of the greatest icons of the 1960s peace movement, became a right-wing Republican and big fan of Ronald Reagan during the final years of his life, according to a man who worked as an assistant for Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono.

The Toronto Sun reports that Fred Seaman, who worked for the Lennons in New York from 1979 through the end of 1980, said Lennon was ashamed of his left-wing radical past and eventually became fond of arguing politics with radicals.

I try not to place too much faith in the wisdom of rock stars. But I’ve read much and watched many interviews with Lennon and came to the conclusion that he was way too intelligent to keep repeating the leftist mantra in spite of the overwhelming evidence that modern liberalism is a failure.

Lennon’s conservative would show itself even during his more radical period.

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Nancy Vaughan at large

That’s not an endorsement —just a play on the Greensboro mayor pro tem’s decision to jump back in the city council race.

Vaughan’s decision comes after a period in the spotlight. Most notably, she believes —as the N&R reported as recently as Sunday —– that former City Attorney Rita Danish “was forced out” even though some have questioned whether that indeed is the case.

Dr. Guarino notes Vaughan’s recent defense of “business progressivism” with her effort to restore funding to the Greensboro Partnership; at the same meeting, she made another interesting motion:

Vaughan made a motion that reserve officers continue to be paid. Police Chief Ken Miller recommended that these officers, who are mostly retired and work to keep their certification, go back to an unpaid status. For years reserve officers were unpaid, and a few years ago the city started paying reserve officers $20 an hour. Miller said that the city is looking at changing the rules for secondary employment so that reserve officers could be paid to work security at private businesses but would not be paid by the city.

Vaughan made the same point numerous times, once saying, “These are sworn officers. They are carrying a gun. To think that we are going to ask these people to risk their lives for free just blows my mind.” However, when Vaughan was on the City Council from 1997 to 2001, reserve officers were not paid.

In my view, flip-flopping is never good; it implies that suddenly you can affect change that for some reason you were unable to affect before. It appears as though Vaughan is breaking with the conservative coalition elected back in ’09; the only thing I can see her doing differently is shifting to the left.

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Kowalewski settles with SEC; next up, N&R?

Former Oak Ridge Military Academy coach Stan Kowalewski has agreed to a preliminary settlement with the SEC over a allegations of investment fraud.

Kowalewski will neither admit nor deny the allegations. The settlement states that Kowalewski will not be able to defend himself when the judge is determining his punishment, “opening himself to a potentially heavy repayment burden and fine.”

Kowalewski told the N&R he plans to sue the paper over its reporting of his case. Empty threat made in the heat of the moment, perhaps?

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K’ville cop diversity

The Winston-Salem Journal editorializes on diversity —–or rather lack thereof ——within the Kernersville Police Department:

Given the recruiting difficulties inherent in a small police department, it’s true that building a force that reflects the population, as Chief Gamble would like to do, is difficult. Other small towns in our state face the same problem. But is it impossible for Kernersville to recruit a few, or even one, black officer?

That seems to be the real point of contention. It’s not about the quality and dedication of the officers currently on the force. A department of 65 without a single black officer makes a statement. That statement, accurate or not, is: We simply don’t care about diversity. That perception will undermine the community’s confidence in the department, and ultimately its effectiveness.

The editorial follows up Forsyth County Commissioner Walter Marshall’s objection to WSFCS contracting with K’ville to provide school resource officers because there are no blacks on the force.

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Re: RIP Lorenzo Charles

Lorenzo Charles’ NYT obit:

Like the clutch performances of Michael Jordan for the University of North Carolina the year before and Christian Laettner for Duke in 1992, Charles’s game-winner has become emblematic of the N.C.A.A. tournament. It has been shown thousands of times on television, as has the image of the victorious N.C. State coach, Jim Valvano, darting across the court looking for someone to hug. Charles said that not a day passed that he was not asked about it.

….In 1983, before advancing with his team to the N.C.A.A. finals, Charles sealed a 71-70 victory in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game against Wake Forest with a 3-point play. In the N.C.A.A. tournament, he hit two free throws with 23 seconds left to beat Virginia, 63-62, in the West Region final.

I’ll tell you something about myself —- I was still an elitist Tar Heel fan at the time, so I’ll admit I wasn’t real excited about handing the plaque to the Pack a mere year later.

Like the N&R’s Ed Hardin (unposted), I was not convinced State was going to beat Houston. They did, and Charles’ winning dunk is indeed “the most remarkable moment in this state’s sporting history.”

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Re: Of all places, G’boro

Unlike Dr. Guarino, I don’t see political forces at work in Gov. Bev Perdue’s decision to veto pro-life legislation. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think the folks at the Bryan Foundation had a clue what was about to happen. They were just oh-so- happy to have the guv grace their offices, not to mention the media.

Which doesn’t make it right. Think about this the next time the Bryan Foundation weighs in on what’s good for Greensboro.

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NC matching funds unconstitutional

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down Arizona’s campaign finance law.

With that decision in mind, JLF Director of Legal and Regulatory Studies Daren Bakst says:

North Carolina’s system of taxpayer-financed elections features the same matching-funds provision, Bakst said. “These programs, often called ‘clean elections’ or ‘voter-owned elections,’ violate both the First Amendment rights of political candidates who do not want to take taxpayer dollars and the rights of organizations that are independently spending money to help candidates.”

“The implications are clear for North Carolina,” Bakst added. “The North Carolina legislature will need to repeal unconstitutional matching-fund provisions in existing law. This includes removing these provisions in the judicial taxpayer financing program, the Council of State taxpayer financing program, and a Chapel Hill municipal election taxpayer financing program.”

“Without the matching-fund provisions, the entire system falls apart,” Bakst added. “The General Assembly should get rid of the entire taxpayer-financed campaign scheme.”

Stay tuned.

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Your greenways update

Winston-Salem will break ground on its Bushy Creek Greenway following a 10-year process dealing with flood zones, wetlands and stream preservation buffers. City Council member Dan Besse said funding through state and federal grants was actually the ‘easy part.’

Meanwhile, the N&R publishes a PR piece (unposted) for Greensboro’s downtown greenway:

Research shows that urban trails may save up to $450,000 a year from single-vehicle occupancy vehicle trips avoided and garner cities nearly $20 million in medical care savings related to increased recreation. We found evidence in cities across 15 states.

By building on the core dimensions of what makes Greensboro great, the greenway can be a catalyst for the city’s growing national reputation as an innovative, green, and thriving community.

Yeah, but what about the jobs?

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June 2011
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