Carolina Journal Weekly Report

October 17, 2003

Reaction of the Week

Last week North Carolina politicians, with an eye on next yearís elections, emphasized what N.C. Free executive director John Davis said will be the three major campaign issues: "Jobs, jobs, and jobs." Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Cobey, in a letter to Gov. Mike Easley, said he sees ìno significant action on your partî to stem job losses in the state. In response, Easley adviser Dan Gerlach attributed the losses ìto our national trade policy.î U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole backed up Easleyís contention, blaming Chinaís unfair trade practices for job cuts. Easley ended the week by reiterating his proposal to lower the stateís corporate income tax in order to keep jobs in the state.

Features of the Week

Ballance signals he'll run again
ROCKY MOUNT ó U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance has until Friday to reply to a state audit concerning the John A. Hyman Memorial Youth Foundation, which he chaired and helped found in 1985. It was established to provide drug and alcohol abuse assistance centers in three Eastern counties. "We will be filing a timely response," Ballance said. "For the present, that is all we are saying." Joanna Kuebler, press secretary for Ballance, denied rumors that Ballance would not seek re-election. "He is definitely a candidate for re-election," she said.

Professor backs up judge's redistricting
ROCKY MOUNT ó The General Assembly will reconvene sometime in mid-November to redraw state legislative districts. While analysts debate the likely impact on individual members, UNC-CH law professor John Orth praised Judge Knox Jenkinsí decision to uphold the state constitutionís whole-county provision. While state attorneys said the federal Voting Rights Act had invalidated the provision, Orth said federal law should take precedence only when necessary. The whole-county rule dates back to the 1700s.
Carolina Quips

MTV: Rock the Vote; Sen. Rand: Block the Vote
Sen. Tony Rand, D-Fayetteville, sidled just a few itsy, bitsy lines into the Technical Corrections Bill - legislation used to clean up mistakes in the state budget - on the last day of the 2002 General Assembly. Smuggled even under the noses of fellow Democratic legislators, Rand's last minute insertion will make it more difficult for North Carolinians to obtain absentee ballots in all elections including the one around the corner in November. Claiming the system was being abused because it had become too easy to vote absentee ó yes, too easy ó Rand also harangued, "we don't want anybody soliciting people to vote absentee. It violates the spirit of the law, in my humble opinion." It should be mentioned that Rand's opposing party receives a majority of the votes cast absentee. Humble, indeed.

Looking at Guilford through a straw
Guilford county commissioner, Mike Barber, has proposed that his county fund a $3 million dollar venture to fix a catastrophic problem. What's the multi-million dollar emergency? The county's unemployment rate has nearly doubled over the past three years. Economic development upon the backs of taxpayers is a quagmire of its own. But before we even get to this discussion, it should be pointed out that the county's unemployment rate was 3.4 percent three years ago, a number that makes Sweden green with envy. If one plots the progress of unemployment anywhere starting at 3.4, there is nowhere else to go but, well, up in unemployment. The current "crisis" of 6.4 is only three-tenths of a percentage point above the national average. Crisis, indeed.

Upcoming Events

Monday, October 20, 2003 at 12:00 Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with Willie Green
Payday Lending

Saturday, November 01, 2003 at 8:00am
The Annual Pope Center Conference
with Dr. Peter Wood, and many others
What has become of Standards in Higher Education?

Monday, November 03, 2003 at 12:00 noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with Bruce Caldwell, PhD
Hayek's Challenge

Tuesday, November 11, 2003 at 12:00 noon
A Headliner Luncheon Panel Discussion
with Michael Barone
Election 2004 Preview

Capital Quotes

“He sure won't get a bull named after him if he doesn't.”
— House Speaker Richard Morgan on the possibility that Gov. Mike Easley will not approve his choice of Sam Hunt for the board of the North Carolina Railroad Company. Morgan is a Moore County farmer who likes to name cattle after his political pals.

“What were you thinking? ...Mr. Mitchell, you and your colleagues knew this matter was going to go to court. I am not criticizing you personally, but how could you think that we would be anywhere but here? Can you argue in any kind of good conscience that the ruling in 1987 is not still effective?”
— U.S. District Judge Frank W. Bullock Jr., questioning Thomasville City Attorney Paul R. Mitchell as to why a 1987 court order requiring a majority minority city council district would not still be in force in Thomasville. In April, the city adopted an all at-large council format. The November council elections are now on hold until new boundaries can be drawn that comply with the 1987 decree.

“My role is not to advocate.”
— Cynthia Wilson, discussing with The Fayetteville Observer her work for the city of Fayetteville on annexation issues. Wilson is making $100 an hour as a part-time consultant to develop materials that explain the annexation process to the community.

On The Air This Week…

This week on C J Radio…
Donna Martinez, associate editor of Carolina Journal, joins host John Hood to discuss the stateís new debt-collection program for back taxes. Paul Chesser talks about his article on the revealing audit of the North Carolina Center for Applied Textile Technology. John Bennett, president and founder of Capital Development Services, will talk about his speech to the Shaftesbury Society discussion club hosted by the John Locke Foundation entitled The State of Philanthropy in North Carolina and United States. And last, Rob Scofield of the North Carolina Justice and Community Development Center debates Hood on the proper role of government in economic development.

This week on NC Spin…
Rob Schofield from the NC Justice Center, former House Speakers Dan Blue and Joe Mavretic, and John Locke Foundation president John Hood join moderator Tom Campbell. On the slate this week: accusations of unfair trade policies by China, the State Supreme Court's lifting of judicial campaign restrictions, the undesirable way some schools have increased their SAT scores, and the recent publication by The North Carolina Progress Board which breaks down the state budget into digestible bits.

This week on At Issue…
Triangle viewers can tune in to another round of local political debate as panelists Donna Martinez and Cash Michaels join host Monty Knight this week on At Issue. Former embedded reporter Karl Zinnsmeister will discuss his book Boots on the Ground, an account of his experience as an embedded reporter with the 82nd Airborne during the Iraq War. Then, mayoral candidates, incumbent Marshall Pitts and challenger Robert Anderson, debate the issues involved in their bid for the city of Fayetteville. Last, NC Education Alliance Director Lindalyn Kakadelis will discuss the recent report that sheds light upon confusing statistics used in reporting graduation rates and the alarming facts that they reveal.



Material published here may be reprinted provided the
Locke Foundation receives prior notice and appropriate credit is given.


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