(8.13.04) Golden LEAF Rides New Horse
RALEIGH – After funding the Carolina Horse Park Foundation for three consecutive years, Golden LEAF has found another equestrian organization to support. The Piedmont Equestrian Park and Conference Center, based in Gaston County, is a nonprofit organization that was set up by the county and city to help attract economic development. The slow development of the project has made local officials apprehensive. "Guess who’s going to get accused or squandering this money if this thing flops?" asked one county commissioner. "Everybody on this board."
(8.12.04) The Good Bomb-Maker
Reporters for a Raleigh newspaper needed a potent dose of skepticism for an article about a local bomb-building teen. Instead, they blew up the theme that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”
(8.10.04) Textile Center, College Merger Likely
RALEIGH — A state-funded education and business development center, which recently came under scrutiny because of duplicative programs and classes with nearby Gaston College, apparently will be absorbed by the college next year. The N.C. Center for Applied Textile Technology also was questioned about its paltry student population and outside teaching jobs held by its president, Dr. James Lemons. Last month the General Assembly cut funding for his position — which will be eliminated at the end of the year — though Lemons denied the budget reduction was related to his job. “The writing is on the wall,” said Rep. Debbie Clary, “only Dr. Lemons can't seem to read it!”
(8.04.04) U.S. House Runoff Gets Brutal
RALEIGH — The race to succeed Cass Ballenger in North Carolina’s 10th House District is down to two Republicans (and an underdog Democrat), and each GOP candidate is claiming the mantle as most conservative as they head toward an Aug. 17 runoff. For David Huffman, Catawba County’s sheriff, that means invoking his ties to President Bush through his Homeland Security work, his chaplaincy role for the NC Sheriffs Association, and his membership in the NRA. For State Rep. Patrick McHenry of Cherryville, it means emphasizing his work on President Bush’s 2000 campaign, his subsequent role in the U.S. Department of Labor, and his oversight of an Internet-based campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2000 campaign for the U.S. Senate.
(7.29.04) Explaining the Edwards swoon
The news media love John Edwards. Why? Some say it demonstrates snap-judgment superficiality, but Paul Chesser writes that Edwards has worked hard to earn reporters’ attention.
(7.07.04) A New Theory of Gravitas
Do you think we’ll hear the word “gravitas” in the coming days, as the media analyzes Democratic vice presidential nominee-to-be, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards? Don’t count on it.
(7.06.04) Key Officials Question Tech Changes
RALEIGH — Members of the state’s panel that oversees technology policy — including members of the Council of State and Gov. Mike Easley’s Cabinet — are challenging changes recommended by Easley’s budget director, saying they would overly centralize information technology and eliminate agency accountability. Recommendations by State Budget Director David McCoy would downsize the IRMC to 12 members and downgrade its role to advisory status. Last week, the state House approved legislation that contained most of the recommendations from McCoy's report. IRMC members criticized the manner by which the plan was developed as well as its likely consequences.
(7.05.04) Cost of Tech System for Schools Soars
RALEIGH — When Carolina Journal interviewed Bob Bellamy, associate superintendent for accountability and technology for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction for CJ’s April issue, he acknowledged that the statewide NC WISE (Window of Information on Student Education) computer system could cost up to $150 million to implement in all schools throughout the state. But documents obtained in May by CJ say the expected costs, as of Jan. 23 this year, are expected to climb to $234 million by the time the project is completed in 2010. The project started in 1999 as a $54 million contract to replace the public schools’ aging computer system.
(6.24.04) Lobbyist Calls Legislator “Nutcase”
RALEIGH — An administrator for a taxpayer-supported association characterized Rep. John Rhodes, who has asked State Auditor Ralph Campbell to investigate a state-funded economic development agency, as a “true nutcase” whose only allies “are the very religious right folks.” Meredith Norris, a former aide to House Speaker Jim Black, now is a registered lobbyist for the NC Partnership for Economic Development, an association for the state’s seven regional economic development partnerships. Norris made her “nutcase” comment in an e-mail exchange with an official and a consultant with North Carolina’s Northeast Partnership. She later expressed regret about the statement.
(6.10.04) Central Planning Fails in Oregon
RALEIGH — Onerous urban planning is driving former Portland, Ore. residents across the Columbia River into Vancouver, Wa., according to a community development director who warns that the story of those two states and two cities should serve as a caution to other urban centers. Richard Carson, director of community development in Clark County, Wa., said Oregon’s mandated state land use planning from the 1970s has turned “the Mecca of American urban planning” into what he says the media now calls “Little Beirut.”