Carolina Journal Weekly Report

February 17, 2012

Carolina Journal Weekly Report
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For the week of February 17, 2012 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — The Raleigh Convention Center continues to rely on deep discounts to get business -- knocking $569,000 off the room prices for meetings scheduled over the last six months of 2011. A new John Locke Foundation Regional Brief documents the deals.

Forty of 52 convention center contracts included these special breaks from July to December 2011. The average discount knocked 54 percent off the room’s listed price.

The new report includes a searchable website ( to help taxpayers keep track of these discounts.

“Like other cities across the country, Raleigh rushed to ‘save’ its downtown several years ago by forcing taxpayers to pay for an expensive, deficit-producing convention center,” said report co-author Dr. Michael Sanera, JLF Director of Research and Local Government Studies. “Even before the doors opened, we warned in 2008 that the new convention center was destined to become a money pit for taxpayers. Our latest research suggests we were right.”

“A glut of convention center space nationwide has forced Raleigh and other cities to make a choice: Provide more taxpayer-funded discounts and subsidies to lure events to the center, or face the prospect of an empty building,” he added.

News Features

CJ: Preschooler’s homemade lunch replaced with cafeteria “nuggets”
RAEFORD — A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious. The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.

CJ: Who is the mystery food monitor?
RALEIGH — Three days after a Carolina Journal report on the plight of a 4-year-old preschooler and her lunch made national headlines, the identity of the person who determined that the youngster’s homemade lunch was not nutritious remains unknown.

CJ: Chicken nugget furor prompts congressional letter to federal cabinet leader
WASHINGTON — The national uproar over a 4-year-old’s recent encounter with a preschool lunch monitor at a Hoke County elementary school has prompted two members of the N.C. congressional delegation to fire off a letter expressing “strong concern” to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

CJ: Contraception mandate would supersede N.C. law
RALEIGH — For the past decade, North Carolina has operated under a contraception mandate for private health insurers that hasn’t caused much uproar. It contains a broad exemption that allows faith-based employers who are opposed to birth control as a matter of conscience to opt out, and frees insurers to charge co-pays for the coverage.

CJ: ‘Casino Jack’ comes to Raleigh, hat in hand
RALEIGH — A crowd of North Carolinians stepped into the mind of a master government manipulator last week when notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff came to town. Those familiar with Abramoff’s past might have found his soft-spoken, nervous demeanor surprising.

Upcoming Events

Monday, February 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Jeanette Doran, Esq.
"Amending the State Constitution: What Voters Need to Know"

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

I don’t think there should be any compromise when it comes to our rights to religious freedom.
— Belmont Abbey College President William Thierfelder, as quoted by the Charlotte Observer, in testifying before Congress against a requirement that church-affiliated employers cover birth control in their health plans.

Once you get past midnight, it’s tough to do good work.
— Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory, as quoted by the Associated Press, on the General Assembly’s 1 a.m. session to override a veto of a bill prohibiting N.C. Association of Educators dues to be taken directly out of teachers’ paychecks.

I’ve never seen this many people at a precinct meeting. This feels more like a convention.
Linda Daves, former Mecklenburg County and state GOP party chairwoman, talking to the Charlotte Observer about the excitement level at precinct meetings in Mecklenburg County.

While the image of North Carolina as a state growing rapidly in population and jobs was very much an accurate one in the 1990s, it no longer holds.
— A new report South By North Strategies, as quoted by WRAL-TV, on North Carolina’s economy. The studies notes that the state hasn’t experienced any net job growth over the past 12 years though its population has certainly grown.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s John Hood discusses the court ruling on Democrats’ redistricting lawsuits; Dick Patten of the American Family Business Institute testifies about problems with the “death tax”; Lisa Baldwin of the Buncombe County school board and Rep. Renee Ellmers comment on activities that led them to be honored by JLF; Author and historian Wilbur Jones makes the case for designating Wilmington America’s World War II city; and JLF’s Michael Sanera critiques Wake County’s transit plan.

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: Tuition increases approved; $9 Billion in tax expenditures; Racial Justice Act on trial; and will the bank housing settlement help?. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; columnist Cash Michaels; and former House Speaker Joe Mavretic.


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