Daily Journal

Police Accountability Essential But Tricky

Recent high-profile deaths raise some legitimate questions for all communities to ponder.

CJ Ticker

  • JLF report says local grants would work better than N.C. tax credits for historic preservation.
  • U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear cases challenging same-sex marriage bans, including N.C.'s.
  • Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, elected speaker of the House by unanimous voice vote for the 2015-16 legislative session.
  • Donald van der Vaart named new secretary of DENR by Gov. McCrory. He's currently deputy secretary and energy policy advisor.
  • Gov. McCrory names former Supreme Court justice and appeals court judge Bob Hunter to a vacant seat on the N.C. Court of Appeals.
  • The N.C. Supreme Court upholds the state's congressional, legislative election district maps.
  • N.C. Supreme Court upholds congressional, legislative maps drawn by 2011 General Assembly, rejecting challenges from liberal groups.
  • N.C. Commerce Secretary Decker resigns; DENR Secretary Skvarla moves over to Commerce.

Other Opinions

A season to govern

Tom Campbell writes that this is the season for making government work for the common good and lawmakers should dedicate this year to governing better

More moderate GOP?

Patrick Gannon wonders whether will we continue to see a strong shift to the right, or will we get a more moderate version of Republican rule for the next two years?

IT’s changing

Yi Deng and Enoch Moeller write that a major transformation is underway and that affects every business in Charlotte, as companies are finding a “New IT.”

A new session

The Charlotte Observer offers a look at some of the major topics the Republican-dominated legislature is expected to confront in the weeks ahead.

Costly loophole

The nearly annual dance between the N.C. Rate Bureau and the insurance commissioner has become tiresome and does not necessarily serve consumers well says the Wilmington Star-News.

Voegeli Chastises Liberals Who Make Politics A Morality Play
On the central theme of liberal compassion The Pity Party makes a strong case, but the author is well aware that liberals often remain unaffected by argument and even facts.

Media Mangle

Steer Clear of Government Editor‘s Pen

Journalists fall short of long-established standards when they allow officials to peruse and even edit their reports.

Don‘t Let the Narrative Trump The Facts

You’d have thought by now that the news media would have learned the hard lessons of prejudging a story or a situation before all the facts are in.

When the Price of Access Is Too Steep

Media outlets should think twice about maintaining cozy relationships with murderous regimes.

Lead Story

Friday Interview: Prof Probes Convention Center Follies

January 30, 2015, By CJ Staff

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — If you live in a city with a government-owned convention center, chances are pretty good that it’s a money loser. It’s also a good bet that government leaders think they can fix the problem by spending more money on the convention center and its surrounding amenities. Heywood Sanders, professor of public administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio, examines this often-repeated scenario in the book Convention Center Follies: Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities. During a recent visit to Raleigh, Sanders discussed his research with the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society and with Mitch Kokai for Carolina Journal Radio.

01.29.15 - Obama’s Community College Plan Expensive for States

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — Whether or not President Obama’s proposal to make community college attendance “free for everybody who’s worked for it” is funded fully at the federal level, state taxpayers would be responsible for 25 percent of the tuition subsidies to students who do not have their costs coversed fully by Pell grants or other need-based financial aid. In North Carolina, those costs would total millions of dollars yearly.

01.28.15 - VIDEO: JLF Panel Assesses N.C. School Choice Successes, Challenges

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — Representatives of district, charter, private, virtual, and home schools all helped the John Locke Foundation celebrate National School Choice Week during a breakfast panel discussion in Raleigh. Prior to watching “The Ticket,” a school choice-promoting film developed by Bob Bowdon of Choice Media, the panel offered their snapshot assessments of the state of school choice today in North Carolina.

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1.30.15 - GOP lawmakers look to tighten abortion rules

RALEIGH — Republican legislative leaders say they plan to file further legislation to regulate abortion this year, even as abortion-rights groups called on them to keep their hands off rules proposed by state regulators for North Carolina abortion clinics. “I’m sure there will be a pro-life bill this year,” said House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam, R-Wake.

Related Health Care Policy Articles:
Nine more people died from flu-related causes in N.C. last week
Obamacare enrollment grows in Mecklenburg, Wake
Committee continues debate about Medicaid
North Carolina pays for sending living man to morgue
JLF: Certificate of Need laws raise health care costs
North Carolinians caught in the Medicaid gap

1.30.15 - Superintendents join effort to reduce school testing

RALEIGH — Parents have been complaining at least since the 1990s about the proliferation of school testing, which they say limits classroom creativity and puts too much pressure on children. Now superintendents and education advocacy groups are formally joining the effort. There is hope for a boost to their efforts from Washington, D.C., where Congress is working to reauthorize the federal education law No Child Left Behind.

Related Education Articles:
JLF: Rethinking Common Core state standards
Bill would hold charter schools more accountable
Guilford schools superintendent turns down raise
Audit finds mismanagement at closed charter school
Ann Clark to serve as CMS superintendent until 2016
Tillman: End elections for state schools superintendent

1.30.15 - Bill would hold charter schools more accountable

WILMINGTON — The Democratic leader in the N.C. House on Thursday announced his intention to file a bill next week that would hold the state’s charter schools more accountable in how they spend state funds. State Rep. Larry Hall said his legislation would be aimed at ending the “reckless mismanagement” of taxpayer dollars by some charters – especially those that suddenly shut their doors, leaving students, parents and local school districts in the lurch.

Related Education Articles:
JLF: Rethinking Common Core state standards
Superintendents join effort to reduce school testing
Guilford schools superintendent turns down raise
Audit finds mismanagement at closed charter school
Ann Clark to serve as CMS superintendent until 2016
Tillman: End elections for state schools superintendent

1.30.15 - Critics of NC’s voter ID law to present their case in court

RALEIGH — Whether N.C. voters will have to show a photo ID in 2016 will depend on whether opponents can show why they shouldn’t have to. That test begins Friday when critics of the 2013 election law overhaul argue that the ID requirement violates the North Carolina Constitution. North Carolina residents and voting-rights organizations challenging the state’s voter ID requirement contend that voters, not lawmakers, hold the power to make such a change to election law.

Related Elections Articles:
In 2014, midterm turnout shows tiny voter shifts
Vote still out on impact of new election law on turnout
Data show NC unaffiliated voting surged in 2014
Legislative, congressional maps upheld by N.C. high court
NC Supreme Court upholds GOP-drawn districts
Court: Gilbert’s salary should have been higher
Races Take Shape as 2012 Primary Season Officially Gets Underway

1.30.15 - Lowe tapped to replace Parmon in 32nd Senate District

WINSTON-SALEM — Forsyth County Democrats picked the Rev. Paul Lowe by a decisive margin on Thursday to replace Sen. Earline Parmon in N.C. Senate District 32. Lowe beat former Winston-Salem Council Member Joycelyn Johnson by a margin of two to one among the 100 or so members of the party’s executive committee taking part in a vote at Kennedy High School, a Democratic Party official said, although the exact vote totals were not made public.

Related NC General Assembly Articles:
New bills would allow more leisurely breakfasts
NC lawmakers file dozens of bills
Howard loses 2nd leadership post in week
Glazier says state tax changes needed to curb deficit
Veteran lawmakers miss working across the aisle
Jobs, education on legislative radar, but specifics are scarce

1.30.15 - Advocates sue EPA over industrial farm emissions

CHARLOTTE — Eight advocacy groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to try to force federal action on air pollution from industrial livestock farms. The lawsuits say the chemicals wafting from farms that raise thousands of chickens, hogs and other animals hurt human health and cause environmental problems.

Related Environment Articles:
Once-bustling Eagles Island now plays conservation role
Smokies scientists find 900 more miles of streams
Schools sit on contaminated earth
First felony charges filed over Venus’ flytrap thefts
WNC combats decline of native ginseng
‘Possum Drop’ organizer won’t use live opossum

1.30.15 - Federal study could speed push to widen I-485

CHARLOTTE — An environmental study for the Interstate 485 widening could make it easier to expand the road today with a carpool lane, a move backed by some south Charlotte motorists. When the state prepared its environmental report for I-485 in 2012, the Department of Transportation told the federal government it planned to use the extra lane for either a carpool lane or an express toll lane. The federal government approved the document.

Related Transportation Articles:
NC Chamber, others back more transportation funding
JLF: Transportation priorities for North Carolina
Business leaders push for more transportation funding
Business leaders call for more NC transportation spending
Battle over Ocean Isle Beach airport heads to court
Wake transit planners get more bang from a bus

1.30.15 - Just how big will Asheville get?

ASHEVILLE — It’s a love affair with no end in sight, this relationship with Asheville. And it’s one that moves people — literally. They just keep moving here, about three people each day of each year, if you crunch the population and growth numbers. With Asheville seemingly landing on somebody’s superlatives list every week, a spate of apartment building that will put 3,000 units on the market in the next two years, and a natural beauty and mild climate that will continue to lure retirees, it begs the question: Just how big will Asheville get?

Related Economic Development Articles:
New economic development strategy is in the works
JLF: N.C. film incentives are good old-fashioned corporate welfare
NC city planners see millennials as key to growth
Downtown Association president: Make downtown Asheville for locals
After NASCAR debt write-off, some homeowners cry foul
Charlotte to banks: Write off $17.6M in NASCAR hall loans

1.30.15 - Taxes and ‘loathing’ in the City of Oaks?

RALEIGH — With a long election year ahead, the city’s elected officials spent the first day of a planning retreat Thursday grappling with Raleigh’s growth, talking about the future and trying to make nice with each other. The day brought both an airing out of council tensions, eased by humor, and warnings of new financial challenges, including a multimillion-dollar budget gap.

Related Local Government Articles:
Forsyth County commissioners weigh prayer options
JLF: What government costs cities and counties
Rockingham County $7 million in hole
Fuller: Meck economy strong, so keep tax rate steady
Wake County leaders say property-tax increase needed
Angry crowd critical of Greensboro council stances

1.30.15 - Forsyth County commissioners weigh prayer options

WINSTON-SALEM — The Forsyth County commissioners are weighing their meeting invocation options after reviewing a revised policy presented by County Attorney Davida Martin on Thursday. The revised policy takes into account suggestions given by U.S. District Court Judge James A. Beaty Jr., who in November lifted an injunction that had barred the commissioners from inviting clergy to pray at meetings and allowing clergy to make sectarian references.

Related Local Government Articles:
Taxes and ‘loathing’ in the City of Oaks?
JLF: What government costs cities and counties
Rockingham County $7 million in hole
Fuller: Meck economy strong, so keep tax rate steady
Wake County leaders say property-tax increase needed
Angry crowd critical of Greensboro council stances
The Locker Room ~ John Locke Foundation's Statewide Issues Blog