Carolina Journal Weekly Report

September 11, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of September 11, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — North Carolina could tally in 2009 the lowest number of high-ozone days of any year on record if current trends continue. That’s a key finding in a new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report.

“What can be seen easily from the state’s own data is that over the last six years there has been a dramatic improvement in ozone levels across North Carolina,” said report author Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and Resident Scholar. “That improvement has occurred even as the federal government tightened its standards for defining a high-ozone day. Air quality, at least with respect to ozone, has been getting better, not worse.”

Cordato analyzed state numbers from the past 10 years for ground-level ozone, often called smog. The state’s 2009 data showed signs of continued improvement, Cordato said.

“As of September 1, the entire state of North Carolina had reported only nine high-ozone days,” he said. “And we should be clear about what that means. It does not mean the entire state suffered through nine days of high ozone.”

The data actually present an even better picture, Cordato said. “Those nine ‘high-ozone days’ were recorded on only four distinct days,” he said. “In addition, they were recorded on just five of the 41 ozone monitors the government maintains across North Carolina. In other words, this means that 36 of the 41 monitors across the state have not registered a single instance of high ozone so far in 2009.”

News Features

CJ: State continues effort to take dams from Alcoa
RALEIGH — Gov. Beverly Perdue is still hoping the state can gain control of Alcoa’s Yadkin River dams and hydroelectric facilities, even though legislation facilitating the takeover failed to pass the recent session of the General Assembly. Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson told Carolina Journal that Perdue will continue to pursue the takeover with the assistance of the N.C. Attorney General’s Office.

CJ: President takes message directly to classroom
RALEIGH — Students in one North Carolina school district greeted President Obama’s Sept. 8 speech to the nation’s schoolchildren with a mixture of curiosity and skepticism. The speech apparently went over well with most students and faculty, but it’s too early to tell whether the president’s message of hard work, perseverance, and personal responsibility bears practical (or political) fruit.

Easleys got break on coastal lot
RALEIGH — Gov. Mike Easley and his wife, Mary, accepted a $137,000 discount on a coastal waterfront lot they bought in 2005, months after Easley's administration granted environmental permits to the developer of the Carteret County subdivision. Easley did not report the 25 percent price break from R.A. North Development, on his state ethics disclosure forms; and his closing attorney, the mayor of Beaufort, did not report the discounted price on the deed registered with the county.

Charlotte bypasses EPA rules on roads
CHARLOTTE — Twenty years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a new rule for cities with dirty air, such as Charlotte: Show that your road-building plans will complement efforts to clean the air – or risk losing critical highway construction dollars. But today the federal process is full of loopholes. City transportation planners changed data that essentially took one in three cars off the road, enabling them to show less pollution.

Sweepstakes machines are spreading
GREENSBORO — Don’t call it video poker. Video slots is right out, too. Those are illegal in North Carolina. That machine blipping away in the corner of your gas station or back of the corner bar is a sweepstakes terminal. You also can find them in standalone parlors, mini-casinos wedged into strip malls next to dollar stores and nail salons.

Upcoming Events

Monday, September 14, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Paige Holland Hamp
Embrace Uganda: The Orphan Crisis in Africa; Effective Aid vs. Bandaid Solutions

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

The Legislature went across the line and ... they’re messing around in the executive branch right now.
— Gov. Bev Perdue, as quoted by the Associated Press, vetoing a bill that would have  imposed criminal penalties on executive branch employees for disclosing legislative requests for information.

Winners get to govern. Losers go home and grumble. And if we don’t win in 2010 we’re going to have 10 years of grumbling.
Tom Fetzer, chairman of the state Republican Party, as quoted by the Associated Press, on the 2010 legislative elections. The General Assembly will draw up new district lines in 2011 to reflect 2010 census data.

…In the end, it so often proves to be neither quick nor a fix.
John Kindt, a professor of business and legal policy at the University of Illinois, commenting to the New York Times on states looking to increased lottery and gambling revenues as quick fixes for their budget problems.

It’s going to be impossible for us to spend all that money. Impossible.
Billie Martin Pierce, director of the Guilford Center, a mental health and substance abuse agency in Greensboro, commenting to the Greensboro News & Record on cumbersome state rules that make it difficult to contract with private providers for mental health services. As a result, local mental health agencies almost always end up returning unspent funds to the state at the end of the fiscal year.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s John Hood provides a roadmap for N.C.’s economic recovery, JLF’s Terry Stoops reacts to Gov. Beverly Perdue’s defense of tax hikes to prevent “horrific” cuts in education, Rep. Hugh Blackwell explains why the rest of state government could benefit from administrative scrutiny like that done of UNC-Chapel Hill, Jason Kay of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law outlines concerns over the push for taxpayer help to biotechnology, and JLF’s Daren Bakst calls for the repeal of Senate Bill 3, the renewable energy mandate that has stirred controversy over wind turbines in the mountains. 

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 state’s static SAT scores; the state of the Council of State; and studies authorized by the General Assembly before they left Raleigh. 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


© 2009 John Locke Foundation | 200 West Morgan St., Raleigh, NC 27601, (919) 828-3876



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


JLF Network Websites & Blogs