Carolina Journal Weekly Report

September 04, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of September 04, 2009 - carolinajournal.com

Reaction of the Week

CARRBORO — A program funded with millions of dollars from an earmark obtained by North Carolina U.S. Rep. David Price has been criticized in a UNC-Chapel Hill review for having a poorly defined mission, a spotty record on personnel matters, and a history of misappropriating funds to irrelevant activities reports David N. Bass for Carolina Journal.

Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat, announced four years ago that he had secured a $5 million federal earmark for the Citizen-Soldier Support Program, an obscure UNC-Chapel Hill program meant to help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress has appropriated $9.8 million in federal defense dollars to the program since 2005.

The funds, Price said when announcing the earmark, would allow the program to expand statewide and provide “critical support” for military members and their families “at a time when it’s desperately needed.”

But there appears to be scant expertise among permanent staffers at the CSSP in military and behavioral health issues, and some of the program’s five full-time employees appear to have leftist political leanings. Until this year, no staff member appears to have had experience in the armed services, either.

The CSSP earmark, one of hundreds in defense appropriations in 2005, might have gone unnoticed. But criticisms — ranging from accusations of poor management, inordinately high salaries and expense accounts, and pricey payments to out-of-state consultants — have dogged the program, thrusting it into the public eye.



News Features

CJ: Cowell hoping junk bonds will spur greater return
RALEIGH — North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell is hoping that the General Assembly’s plan to add investments like junk bonds and commodities to the state pension portfolio will boost investment returns and erase what could be a $3.3 billion hole in funding.

CJ: Top state investment officer resigns unexpectedly
RALEIGH — Patricia Gerrick, North Carolina’s chief investment officer and one of the state’s highest-paid public employees, resigned in late August. Gerrick, who oversaw a commitment of more than $12 billion of the state’s pension money into real estate and private equity investments, received a $340,000 salary and got a $51,476 bonus last year. No explanation was given for her departure.

State agency money funded Mary Easley’s job
RALEIGH — North Carolina State University gave former first lady Mary Easley an 88 percent raise last year with the understanding that her fundraising activities would help pay her salary. Documents the university turned over to a federal grand jury show that some of that fundraising involved money from other state and local agencies.

NC Legislature changes how transit dollars raised
RALEIGH — The General Assembly failed to pass “tax reform” during this year’s legislative session, putting aside for now efforts to broaden the sales tax base and simplify income tax returns while lowering overall rates. But that didn’t prevent the Legislature from altering how some revenues are raised for transportation by using a method considered controversial just two years ago.

Inmate population swells, budget declines
RALEIGH — As a result of tough-on-crime sentencing laws approved by legislators 15 years ago, North Carolina’s inmate population is booming and will soon outpace the number of prison beds. Despite this, the state budget signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue this month orders seven small prisons closed, eliminates 972 corrections jobs and cuts programs aimed at keeping juvenile offenders from becoming hardened criminals.



Upcoming Events

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 6:30 pm
Triangle Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Terry Stoops
Can You Find Out What You Want To Know About Your Child's School? Transparency and the North Carolina K-12 Education System

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm
Triad Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Terry Stoops
Can You Find Out What You Want To Know About Your Child's School? Transparency and the North Carolina K-12 Education System

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.
Southeastern Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Terry Stoops
Can You Find Out What You Want To Know About Your Child's School? Transparency and the North Carolina K-12 Education System


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

Capital Quotes

Having been a state senator for 10 years, I think the states can do a good job at that.
— Sen. Kay Hagen, D-NC, talking to the Greensboro News & Record about whether states can effectively run health insurance cooperatives.

We talked about the how, not the if.
— UNC President Erskine Bowles, as quoted by the Durham Herald-Sun, talking about at a regular monthly meeting with university chancellors in which he stressed that employee reductions should come from middle and upper administrative ranks.

It is amazing. Just the freedom it gives you and being off the treadmill
Julie Layton, commenting to the Fayetteville Observer on the decision to home school her two children.
Last year, the number of households in North Carolina home schooling their children reached 41,042, an increase of 2,675 over the previous year.

North Carolina now leads the nation in voluntary tobacco-free policy adoption, which is amazing given our history.
Mark Ezzell, director of the tobacco-free campus program at the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund, speaking to the Charlotte Observer about the number of universities and colleges that have banned tobacco use on campus. The last school to restrict tobacco use was Central Piedmont Community College, the state’s largest community college, which will ban smoking effective Jan. 2.


On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy’s Jane Shaw discusses the UNC System’s retreat packages; Jeanette Doran of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law explains a ruling that impacts N.C. lawyers and the First Amendment; U.S. Army First Sgt. HansMarc Hurd discusses the recent
Iranian presidential election; members of the legislature’s Program Evaluation Oversight Committee discuss problems with state contracts; and North Carolina History Project director Troy Kickler reflects on the state’s appalling eugenics program.


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: UNC President Erskine Bowles going on the warpath, our state’s economy; keeping Dix Hospital open; and ways we can save gas and improve highway safety. This week’s panelists: John Hood and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; 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 www.nbc17.com.

 

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