For the week of
March 12, 2004
Reaction of the Week
The John Locke Foundation celebrated its 14th anniversary on March 10 with a dinner featuring Colorado Gov. Bill Owens as keynote speaker. The Foundation also honored Stokes County Commission Chairman Sandy McHugh and Franklin County businessman Bob Luddy with awards for their commitments to individual freedom and limited government.
Owens, recognized by National Review magazine as “ the best governor in America,” praised the work of the “new wave” of conservative think tanks like the Locke Foundation and the Golden, Co.-based Independence Institute. He said those groups help political leaders make better, more informed decisions.“When policy makers have data (and) the arguments,” Owens said, “it allows us to win some of these policy debates.”
Luddy was given the John William Pope Sr. Award for the Advancement of Freedom in North Carolina. McHugh was honored with the James Knox Polk Award for Leadership in Public Office.
Lawmakers study state funds for nonprofits
RALEIGH — Nonprofits received $601 million in tax money in 2003 — a largesse that’s come in scrutiny in the wake of allegations about the Hyman Foundation. A Senate committee has strengthened auditing requirements for grant recipients and is expected to delve into how decisions are made on doling out state money to nonprofits. The State Auditor's Office also is scrutinizing the situation by tracking grants to nonprofits. “I think we may have gotten a little far out in what we're doing,” says the co-chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
Taxpayers spend millions to run arenas
RALEIGH – NC paid nearly $5.6 million during the past fiscal year to help support the operation of college basketball arenas. Some of the money supports athletic operations, but some is used for academics, said a UNC official. All of the operating costs at many campuses are funded by state appropriations. Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, who sponsored an unsuccessful proposal two years ago to cut back on such spending in the Senate, said he believes that colleges should pay for their own arenas.
NC jobless rate reaches 29-month low
CONCORD — The state’s unemployment rate dropped to a 29-month low in January, according to statistics released Friday by the Employment Security Commission. NC’s jobless rate was 5.8 percent in January, down from 6.2 percent in December. The January rate was the lowest since August 2001, when it was 5.7 percent. ESC Chairman Harry E. Payne Jr. said in a prepared statement that the labor force fell by 47,000 due to the drop in seasonal retail employment. He added that 20,000 jobs were added to NC’s economy in 2003.
Judicial races promise to be unusual
RALEIGH — Picking North Carolina's top judges normally is an orderly affair, with voters choosing from small numbers of candidates who have campaigned across the state for a year or so. Not this year. Because of the unexpected departure of two senior judges, the advent of nonpartisan races and uncertainty about the election schedule, the question of who will run for which seats on the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals is up in the air. It could stay aloft almost until the fall general elections.
NC Has Self-Inflicted Fiscal Wound
RALEIGH — After the comparatively good times, both economically and security-wise, of the 1990s, the new millenium brought North Carolina to crisis points in several areas, especially with the state budget, employment, education, and medical malpractice. But few public-policy challenges seem as daunting as the crisis facing Medicaid. Costs have spun out of control and promises only to escalate in the future. Moreover, legislative decisions — not federal mandates or overall inflation in health care — have been the main cause of the cost explosion.
NC debt grows, without voter approval
RALEIGH — NC is turning to a bond-financing method that doesn’t require voter approval and, in the process, is increasing its debt at a faster clip than any state in the Southeast. The state in 2003 issued $1.71 billion in bonds — 39 percent more than the year before and more than any Southeastern state. Moreover, for the first time in the history of the state, three of the 2003 issues came in the form of certificates of participation, or COPs. They are tax-exempt government securities that are not carried on the books as traditional debt.
New teacher-performance test considered
RALEIGH — State education leaders are flirting with an approach that would tie the performance of individual teachers to the test results of students in their classrooms. State Board of Education chairman Howard Lee wants the state to consider adopting a tool to analyze end-of-grade test scores by classroom. The tool is based on research by William Sanders of the SAS Institute in Cary and shows a close relationship between students' test scores and teachers' skills.
NC trade tilt
Reporting from Raleigh, syndicated columnist Robert Novak writes about NC’s economy, Sen. John Edwards, state Sen. Fred Smith, the political contests of 2004, an apparent tilt towards protectionism, and why some Republicans are increasingly nervous.
Rick Martinez of The News & Observer of Raleigh answers the question that public tv asked a few years ago, ‘If PBS won’t do it, who will?” Well, he offers, how about the Discovery Channel, A&E, Animal Planet, CNN, HGTV, Bravo, Nickelodeon, the History Channel, the Food Network, and the Mystery Channel?
Monday, March 15, 2004 at Noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with Hal Young
Public Policy Implications of Home Schooling
Wednesday, April 07, 2004 at Noon
A Headliner Luncheon
with Lt. General Thomas G. McInerney, USAF (ret.)
Blueprint to Winning the War on Terrorism
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 at Noon
A Headliner Luncheon
with Dr. Brian Lee Crowley
The Top Ten Things People Believe
About Canadian Health Care, But Shouldn’t
“We did not steal the money. (GEHM) stole it.”
— Rev. Michael King, former CEO of the non-profit, low income housing builder Project Homestead in Greensboro. Homestead took over for the Greensboro Episcopal Housing Ministry (GEHM) when it faltered and underwent criminal investigation for financial discrepancies. Now Homestead is fulfilling the same fate.
“We can't have it both ways. You can't respond inadequately and expect them to move forward.”
— Judge Sammie Chess Jr. responding in The Winston-Salem Journal to State Board of Education attorney Laura Crumpler. Crumpler is defending the board's revocation of a school's charter although the board will not fully disclose the reason for the revocation.
“Using people and their sacred images as playthings is not respectful…It's like using Little Black Sambo with a feather on top.”
— Monroe Gilmour, a community activist from Asheville, explaining in The News & Observer of Raleigh why he believes that Native American school mascots are disrespectful, regardless of how they are used.
“Even Democrats in North Carolina would try to hedge on this issue…The state of North Carolina is not known as a bedrock of liberalism. ”
— Sam Moseley, a professor of political science at N.C. A&T State University, opining in The Charlotte Observer on the hot-button issue of gay marriage and marriage amendments to the constitution.
“The chancellor (Patricia Sullivan) made it seem like I pulled the wool over their eyes. That's not true.”
— Tristan Taormino, a sex lecturer and porn star who came under fire for her speech last month at UNCG, explaining in The News & Record of Greensboro that UNCG officials knew her background and the contents of her lecture before she came.
“We don't know why, in time of economic recession, waste keeps increasing. It boggles the mind.”
— Paul Crissman, head of N.C.’s solid waste planning branch in The News & Observer of Raleigh on the increase in household solid waste.
Reversed outsourcing and logic
A state-funded food stamp call center that had been outsourced to India is set to return to North Carolina. The outsourcing deal was made because of its cost savings to taxpayers. But now Gov. Mike Easley is asking for $1.2 million to employ North Carolinians to again do the jobs. Senior Easley advisor Dan Gerlach admitted that while the total cost to taxpayers of moving the operation back was unknown, it was worth it to bring a few jobs to the state.
Congestion = revitalization?
The City of Durham is planning on using traffic congestion to revitalize its unfrequented downtown. The theory is that altering current traffic patterns to force cars to go slower will give motorists a better opportunity to stop and shop. Some business area business owners are skeptical that such a tactic will lure customers from such car-friendly places as Southpointe Mall. “Unless you have jury duty you’re not going to come downtown,” explained one such vendor.
On The Air This Week…
This week on C J Radio…
Join host John Hood for the most informative news hour on the North Carolina radio waves. This week John Locke Foundation education policy analyst Dr. Karen Palasek will discuss the new, new math controversy that is hitting many area public schools. Next, Carolina Journal associate editor Donna Martinez will interview Elon University Poll director Dr. Tim Vercilotti about the latest poll examining North Carolinians views on the upcoming elections. Then, Rob Schofield with the NC Justice Center will debate Hood on government unemployment benefits. And last, Headliner speaker and Colorado Governor Bill Owens will discuss the changes he has brought to his state which earned him the title of “best governor in America” last year by National Review magazine.
This week on NC Spin…
Join moderator Tom Campbell for another week of political discussion and debate on the most intelligent television talk show in the state. This week’s panelists include political analyst Kaye Gattis, former legislator Gene Arnold, former Secretary of State Rufus Edmisten, and political analyst Chris Fitzsimon. This week they will debate the poor retention rate among NC’s ninth graders, UNC system budget shortfalls, NC localities continued struggle with state annexation laws, and the Republican gubernatorial primary.
This week on At Issue…
Triangle viewers can tune in as host Monty Knight moderates another exciting week of political debate between Carolina Journal’s Donna Martinez and the Carolinian’s Cash Michaels. This week they will discuss the hottest economic issue this year, outsourcing, with senior Easley fiscal advisor Dan Gerlach and EximSoft International CEO, Dr. Diju Raha. Then they will discuss the Donor’s Choice program that is connecting teacher’s classroom wish lists with private donors across the state.