Carolina Journal Weekly Report

November 13, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of November 13, 2009 - carolinajournal.com

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — Expenses documented by Verizon Business and released by the state suggest the telecommunications company bought alcohol for state employees on at least a dozen occasions, even while negotiating a $51.5 million contract to support the state’s vehicle inspections program writes David N. Bass for Carolina Journal.

State officials and Verizon representatives won’t confirm whether spirits were part of more than 200 meals the company says it bought for employees and their significant others at the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources over the past four years. But per-person expenditures at the bars and restaurants suggest that such beverages were on the tab multiple times.

“[W]e have no further comment with respect to the expenses,” said Verizon’s vice president for media relations, Jack Hoey, when asked by Carolina Journal whether the receipts included alcohol.

According to documentation provided by Verizon, the company spent more than $21,000 on gifts for state employees that included a pair of beach chairs, hockey tickets, and health club admissions. The lion’s share of the expenses, though, came from pricey meals at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, the Angus Barn, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, and similar upscale restaurants.

Other times, the bill came from establishments that primarily serve alcoholic beverages, such as $273.44 at the Grove Park Inn’s great hall bar in Asheville and $154.80 at the Peabody Hotel’s lobby bar in Orlando.



News Features

CJ: Perdue unveils new I-485 funding strategy
RALEIGH — Gov. Bev Perdue announced Monday an innovative public-private partnership — the first of its kind in North Carolina history — designed to accelerate completion of the conflict-ridden Interstate 485 outer loop in Charlotte. The new funding strategy, unveiled at a press conference by Perdue and N.C. Transportation Secretary Gene Conti, combines public and private resources to build a new interchange and connect the only unfinished portion of the highway.

CJ: Court: Religious developments can impose otherwise illegal fees
RALEIGH — Do special rules apply for property developments associated with religious groups? The answer, according to the N.C. Supreme Court, appears to be “yes”, with the high court finding in an Oct. 9 decision that the “unique, religious community character” of a development associated with the United Methodist Church allowed for the imposition of fees on property owners under circumstances that would otherwise be prohibited.

CJ: Furloughs Have Teachers Demanding Wiser Use of Education Dollars
RALEIGH — Teachers in North Carolina learned a tough lesson from the Hawaii State Teacher’s Association, which in September successfully bargained 34 unpaid furlough days — formerly budgeted as student instruction days — into their contracts.

Possible payoffs investigated
RALEIGH — Federal investigators are seeking information about possible payoffs to state officials, as well as four major coastal developments assembled by businessmen with ties to former Gov. Mike Easley. In a round of subpoenas issued this week, the FBI contacted six officials from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and asked for specific information about whether they have been paid by a long list of people associated with developers Gary and Randy Allen.

State budget still on shaky ground
RALEIGH — Lawmakers factored an economic recovery into their calculations this summer when they passed a $19 billion state budget, but analysts now say it’s unclear if the economy will improve enough to avoid cuts in the coming months. A new report from the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly shows tax collections were 1.5 percent below projections, or about $95 million short, through the first four months of the fiscal year.



Upcoming Events

Monday, November 16, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Triad Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guests Don Carrington and Rick Henderson
Carolina Journal: Investigating the Easleys – How it Started

Monday, November 16, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Dr. John Hubisz
A Second Report on Physics First Textbooks: there is some good news

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at Noon
JLF/Federalist Society Bi-Monthly Law & Public Policy Luncheon
with our special guest Alan Gura
The Right to Bear Arms: From Heller to Recent N.C. Developments

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 7:00 pm
An Evening of Historic Debate
with our special guests Thomas Jefferson and John Adams
A Debate on the Future of the United States


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

Capital Quotes

Right now, we have a game of checkers with no spaces on the board.
John Turcotte, director of the General Assembly's Program Evaluation Division, as quoted by the Associated Press, describing the oversight requirement the state imposes on nonprofits that receive grants.

The Raleigh-area folks represent more state employees, people who are tied to government.
— Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, commenting to the Raleigh News & Observer on a N.C. Free Enterprise Foundation study ranking how business-friendly state legislators are. Legislators from around Charlotte were noticeably more pro-business then those from the Triangle.

They don’t care about children and it [is] now clear that they don’t care about teachers...WE HAVE [to] PLANT OUR FLAG IN THE SAND HERE AND NOW.
Jennifer Lanane, president of the Wake chapter of the N.C. Association of Educators, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer, in an Oct. 27 e-mail send to group leaders. Lanane’s e-mail is about the reform candidates that swept Wake school board elections. She has since apologized for the remarks, says it was a draft that she didn’t intend to send.

It’s a fish with an exciting, environmentally friendly story, and people like that.
Sean Dimin, co-owner of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Sea To Table, a company that specializes in marketing sustainable wild seafood, commenting to the Wilmington Star-News on the potential demand for lionfish. Lionfish, which are native to Asian Pacific waters, have recently appeared in quantity off the coast of the southeastern U.S.  There’s fear that they may put additional pressure on grouper and snapper fisheries.


On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s John Hood analyzes political and policy implicationsof the Nov. 3 vote; Jason Kay of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law explains why seven charter schools are suing the state and some counties; State Health Plan  administrator Jack Walker urges lawmakers to rein in his authority; Steve Lonegan, a former mayor and N.J. gubernatorial candidate, discusses government growth; and JLF’s Daren Bakst assesses why lawmakers in N.C. and other states are adopting detrimental energy policies.


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. Topics this week: How Tony Rand’s resignation will change the Senate; Golden LEAF gets a bad audit; a new way to finance road construction; and whether Bank of America might be moving their headquarters. This week’s panelists: John Hood and Becki Gray from the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; and Jack Betts, sssociate editor for The Charlotte Observer.


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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