Carolina Journal Weekly Report

January 30, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of January 30, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — Wilson’s $28 million Greenlight fiber-optic cable system could be obsolete before it’s complete, sticking taxpayers and electric utility customers with the bill for the city’s investment. That’s the conclusion of a new John Locke Foundation Regional Brief.

“By investing millions of dollars in this telecommunications project, Wilson city officials are irresponsibly risking taxpayer money,” said report co-author Dr. Michael Sanera, JLF Research Director and Local Government Analyst. “The city should have stuck to managing its essential services, but since it is fully invested, all Wilson residents can do now is hope Greenlight can avoid the pitfalls of other city-owned fiber-optic systems across the country.”

Greenlight offers Internet, phone, and television service. Taxpayers and electric customers bear the ultimate responsibility for Greenlight’s costs, even though they would be least likely to benefit from the service, Sanera said. “City officials admitted from the start that the fiber-optic cable system was tied to the buzz words 'economic development,’” he said. “In other words, the city is treating Greenlight as another form of corporate welfare to attract new business.”

Greenlight’s price structure makes that corporate welfare focus clear, Sanera said. “Greenlight’s fastest Internet service costs $300 a month,” he said. “That’s cost-prohibitive for the average homeowner, but it’s significantly lower than the rate large business users pay Greenlight’s competitors for similar service. It has been clear from the start that the city’s promotional appeals directed to homeowners are a cover for another city corporate welfare plan.”

News Features

CJ: More money for school lunchs questioned
RALEIGH — Some state legislators want taxpayers to pay an extra $20 million in the next budget year to help local school systems offer healthier meals to elementary school students. But the idea already has raised some concerns from a chief N.C. House education budget writer.

CJ: State Supreme Court rules in zoning dispute
RALEIGH — In a potential significant ruling, the N.C. Supreme Court has overturned a lower-court decision about the standards necessary to challenge the issuance of a zoning permit. The case involves several Raleigh businesses challenging a special-use permit issued for the construction of an “adult entertainment” establishment.

CJ: Need for efficiency brings specialization to campus
RALEIGH — Are market forces about to fundamentally alter the traditional relationships of professors to their students, to their departments and universities, and even to their subject matter? This issue was recently raised at a round-table conference sponsored by the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Legislature opens, same leaders re-elected
RALEIGH — North Carolina legislators arrived Wednesday for a new session sobered by the dismal national fiscal picture, but its leaders sounded a hopeful tone they would act responsibly and help the state’s economy rebound. “Other states have mortgaged their lotteries, toll roads and their futures for quick-fix cash to address short-term needs. That is not the North Carolina way,” re-elected House Speaker Joe Hackney, D-Orange, told colleagues in his acceptance speech.

No more puffs? Legislature tries again
RALEIGH — A proposal to ban smoking in restaurants, offices and virtually any other workplace promises to be the focus of a bruising battle between health advocates, tobacco companies and allies with either side. Similar bills have been introduced in each of the past two legislative sessions and one fell short of passing the House by only a few votes in 2007. This year, backers say, the legislative ground may have shifted enough to push the measure to passage.

Upcoming Events

Monday, February 02, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Mark J. Prak
The Good Guys, The Bad Guys, The First Amendment and Apologies to Fred Friendly

Wednesday, February 04, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. General Reception-Cash Bar
7:15 p.m. Dinner

19th Annual Anniversary Dinner in the Triangle
with our special guest The Honorable Bobby Jindal
America: An Agenda for the Future

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
A Headliner Event in Hickory
with our special guests Dr. John R. Christy and Dr. William H. Schlesinger
A Forum on Climate Change: Opposing Views

Friday, February 20, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. General Reception-Cash Bar
7:15 p.m. Dinner

19th Anniversary Celebration in the Charlotte Area
with our special guest Winston Churchill III
Register Now!

John Locke Foundation Carolina Journal Online
The Locker Room Carolina Journal Radio

Capital Quotes

We just drove right through the guard rail and went off the side of the mountain.
— Wachovia economist Mark Vitner, describing the state of the North Carolina economy to the Raleigh News & Observer.

This is just about two ‘bridges to nowhere.’ And it doesn’t seem like it’s quite enough for this growing state.
— Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, commenting to the Raleigh News & Observer about the $900 million of additional federal money for transportation and transit in North Carolina included in President Obama’s proposed stimulus package.

Hopefully they are just rumors. But we don’t know that yet.
Lynn Bradley, a gun store owner in Waynesville, describing to the Asheville Citizen-Times fears that the Obama administration will restrict gun ownership. The concerns have led to a sharp increase in gun sales, with some counties reporting as much as a 90 percent increase in concealed weapons permit applications.

I thought it would be nonthreatening, because most everybody likes apple pie.
— Cumberland County Republican Party Chairman Ralph Reagan, talking to the Fayetteville Observer about his attempts to identify invalid voter registrations by mailing voters copies of his mother’s recipe for apple pies. Reagan plans to challenge registrations that come back as undeliverable.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Roy Cordato discusses an upcoming global warming debate in Hickory, JLF’s Joe Coletti reacts to comments from legislators over state zoo funding, Sens. Charlie Albertson and Richard Stevens react to comments by the General Assembly’s Yana Samberg about the ineffectiveness of mandated car inspections, N.C. Men’s League Executive Director Umar Muhammad discusses why basketball is a good vehicle for young men, and JLF’s Daren Bakst discusses a Supreme Court ruling that casts serious doubt on N.C.’s taxpayer financing of campaigns.

NC Spin

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. Topic this week: The General Assembly and the issues and outcomes we can expect from this session. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; Elaine Mejia, director of the NC Budget and Tax Center; and former House Speaker Joe Mavretic.

At Issue

This week on At Issue…
Watch At Issue, hosted by Kim Genardo, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Also available on the web at


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