Carolina Journal Weekly Report

February 13, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of February 13, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — North Carolina has an “extreme” annexation law that needs major reform. That's the assessment of a John Locke Foundation expert who outlines the law’s flaws in a new Q&A guide to forced annexation.

“My analysis of the level of recourse provided to property owners targeted for forced annexation shows that 48 states — virtually every other state in the country — have abandoned North Carolina’s outdated approach to forced annexation,” said Daren Bakst, the guide’s author. “The 4.1 million North Carolinians who live in unincorporated areas make up 46 percent of the state’s population. These are the people who could become victims of forced annexation. They deserve better than this state’s current annexation law.”

The guide pinpoints problems with the law through a series of 25 questions and 25 answers. “The question-and-answer format gets beyond the rhetoric and explains the truth about forced annexation,” said Bakst, JLF Legal and Regulatory Policy Analyst. “If a city council was given unlimited power to kick city residents out of the city, there would be outrage. The idea would be considered absurd.”

“Yet in North Carolina, a city council with no relationship to citizens who live in unincorporated areas can generally do whatever it wants to bring those citizens into the city,” Bakst added. “This Q&A guide exposes the absurdity of the current law.”

News Features

CJ: Official recruited for nonprofit on taxpayer dime
RALEIGH — A former official in the N.C. Division of Air Quality charged about $2,000 to his state reimbursement account while traveling for The Climate Registry, an out-of-state nonprofit that seeks to fight global warming. Brock Nicholson, who was deputy director of DAQ until he retired in December, also worked on state time to convince entities to join the registry and pay membership fees.

CJ: Investigations undermine student-athlete image
RALEIGH — It’s an ages-old question, one as old as the athletic scholarship itself: Are college athletes on scholarship primarily students? Or are they more like hired mercenaries, brought in to do a specific job, and students second — or perhaps not at all? Two recent newspaper investigations indicate that, in the major revenue-producing sports of men’s basketball and football, the classroom is not the players’ strong suit.

Layoffs might hit public jobs, too
RALEIGH — Businesses are laying off employees by the thousands. Macy’s is cutting 7,000 jobs. Microsoft is letting go of 5,000 employees. GlaxoSmithKline may eliminate as many as 6,000 jobs, including some in the Triangle. But across North Carolina, the hundreds of thousands of people who work in government jobs have been spared the sort of job cuts that are becoming commonplace in the private sector. That may be about to change.

Crowded prisons may force lighter sentences
RALEIGH — After years of trying to build their way out of a space crunch in the state’s prisons, lawmakers this year may have little choice but to reduce sentences for future crimes to avoid overcrowding. The latest projections show that in the fiscal year that begins July 1, the state will not have space for nearly 2,300 inmates. That’s the equivalent of two new prisons.

Insurance looks to lure the healthy
RALEIGH — Correctional officer Kevin Hood said it makes no sense to pay $490 a month to put his wife, Terri, and their two young children on the state employee health insurance plan. His wife can pay $65 every other week at her job at a hospital to cover the rest of the family, while Hood said he is covered for free.

Upcoming Events

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Tim Phillips
Stimulus and Card Check, the two biggest threats to our prosperity, and what the grassroots can do about it.

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
Winston Churchill: Leadership in Times of Crisis

C-SPAN To Cover The Event

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

Capital Quotes

This is a force multiplier.
— House Minority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer proposing that police officers be allowed to search probationers at virtually any time without a warrant.

People would not vote for it.
— Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare, describing to the Greensboro News & Record the public’s likely response to a proposed constitutional amendment to elect state legislators every four years instead of every two years.

Like any startup business, it just takes some years to get some traction.
Jeff Shelton, chief financial officer of the U.S. Whitewater Center, commenting to the Charlotte Observer on the publicly-backed organization’s $2.1 million loss last year.

It doesn’t work and it’s not going to work.
— Gastonia City Manager James Palenick, commenting to the Charlotte Observer on the viability of the U.S. Whitewater Center’s business model. Gastonia is among the local governments that had agreed to partially subsidize the center’s operations over its first seven years in operation.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
As CJ Radio marks its 300th program, we revisit past guest Newt Gingrich, William Kristol, Walter Williams, Peggy Noonan, Fred Barnes and P.J. O’Rourke; JLF’s John Hood evaluates the changing media landscape; Reps. Rick Glazier and Doug Younge discuss whether to spend more funds on healthier school foods; Sen. Marc Basnight and Rep. Joe Hackney discuss 2009 legislative priorities; and JLF’s Terry Stoops delves into President Obama’s view of pre-K and K-12 education. 

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: Infrastructure; how the federal stimulus package effects North Carolina; grade inflation in our colleges; and two bills affecting how long legislators serve. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; lobbyist Theresa Kostrzewa, and Mike Munger, professor and chairman of the Political Science Dept. at Duke University.

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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