Carolina Journal Weekly Report

February 10, 2012

Carolina Journal Weekly Report
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For the week of February 10, 2012 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — Wake County’s transit plan is neither technically nor financially feasible, and it’s unreliable as the basis for decisions regarding transit investment in Wake County. A new John Locke Foundation Policy Report reaches that conclusion.

JLF is touting the report as Federal Transit Administrator Kenneth Rogoff tours proposed transit lines today in the Triangle.

The Wake County transit plan “contains numerous optimistic assumptions, errors of fact or omission, and calculations that are at variance with standard practice in the transit industry,” according to report authors Dr. David Hartgen, emeritus professor of transportation studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and president of The Hartgen Group, and Thomas Rubin, an Oakland, Calif.-based consultant specializing in public-sector accounting in projects involving transit, highways, and schools.

The plan released in November 2011 calls for a new half-cent sales tax, a $10 increase in vehicle registration fees, increased vehicle rental fees, transit bonds, increased state and federal funds, and higher rider fares. Proposals would double existing bus service, add new commuter rail service between east Garner and Durham, and add light rail service between Cary and Northeast Raleigh.

News Features

CJ: Critics: Reports obscure supplemental pay for school administrators
ASHEVILLE — State education officials are exploring standardized data collection practices to more accurately report total employee compensation after school district finance officers lodged complaints. Critics point to flaws in a system that, they say, allow officials to mask how much administrators actually make.

CJ: Republicans grill education official on school lunch fraud
RALEIGH — Is cheating in the national school lunch program fact or fiction? That was the question probed by Republicans during a joint legislative committee Tuesday afternoon.

CJ: Court gives developers more time
RALEIGH — The state Court of Appeals ruled that there’s a public interest in making sure that development projects are completed after they have been approved and work has begun. Local governments cannot force developers to pay additional fees and go through redundant reviews.

CJ: Greensboro approves loan to relocate grocer
GREENSBORO — Greensboro officials continue to push economic development along the city’s downtown greenway in an effort to justify the corridor’s $26 million cost. The City Council approved a forgivable, no-interest $100,000 loan to help natural foods retailer Deep Roots Market to the area.

$338M awaits N.C. in aid for homeowners
RALEIGH — Homeowners in North Carolina who owe more than their homes are worth could get principal reductions on their mortgages as early as next month after states and federal agencies announced a $25 billion settlement with the country’s largest mortgage servicers. The deal, which resolved claims that banks used shoddy foreclosure practices like “robosigning,” marks the largest federal-state civil settlement in history.

Upcoming Events

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Dan Hardway, Esq.
"Felons, Firearms and the Second Amendment"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
A Luncheon Forum
with our special guests Doug Bandow and Afsheen John Radsan
The Targeted Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki: Policy and Law in an Asymmetric Age

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
A Citizens' Constitutional Workshop in Morehead City, NC
with our special guests Dr. Troy Kickler & Dr. Michael Sanera
Workshop #2 in Morehead City: "What would the Federalists and Anti-federalists say about the current political and economic crises?"

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

Capital Quotes

You have to go back to the 1950s and 1940s to see that level of volatility.
— UNC Charlotte political scientist Eric Heberlig, talking to the Charlotte Observer about this year’s turnover in North Carolina’s congressional delegation.

The political calculus has just changed in North Carolina.
Jonathan Kappler, research director at the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation, talking to the Associated Press about fund raising in the state, with Republican candidates for the General Assembly having raised more money than their Democratic opposition.

I didn’t handle it as well as I should have.
— Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Etheridge on Monday, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer, clarifying what he said the previous Friday about the state’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

I am anticipating not taking my regular week of July 4 vacation.
— N.C. State Board of Elections director Gary Bartlett, as quoted by the Associated Press, talking about a new federal law that increases the time for absentee voting in federal elections. Second primaries in the state would happen on July 17 unless all congressional primaries are resolved in May.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Terry Stoops analyzes President Obama’s call to raise the compulsory school attendance age to 18; attorney Roger Knight explains how Real Jobs NC has pushed for pro-business policies; David Burton of N.C.’s Sea Level Rise Risk Management Study advisory committee critiques the group's work; Jenna Ashley Robinson discusses social advantages of economic freedom; Carolina Journal’s David Bass updates his reporting on fraud in the free- and reduced-lunch school 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. Topics this week: Dismantling public education?; changing the political landscape; lawmakers unwilling to admit they’re wrong; and gay marriage ban unconstitutional in California. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; political consultant Brad Crone; and former legislator Connie Wilson.


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