scharrison's blog

NC's champion tax-dodger might be a Republican

But there's no "might" about the money he owes:

The former Mebane town councilman owes the state of North Carolina $2.2 million in unpaid taxes. He tops a list of tax delinquents who owe the state $841 million - a 67 percent jump from a year ago.

Two weeks after the Observer reported his $2.2 million tax debt in 2009, Hupman resigned from the Mebane town council. Other media followed with reports that he also owed millions to the federal government.

After spending the last two hours trying to nail down his political affiliation, I now proclaim that non-partisan elections are a direct threat to my sanity.

Landfill-to-park: great idea, or toxic legacy?

Raleigh tries to turn lemons into lemonade:

With the jungle gyms and slides keeping them busy, the kids playing Saturday at Wake County's newest park didn't take much notice of the giant, grassy hill nearby.

But the park's namesake hill, and the 5 million tons of trash it took to build it, are exactly what sets it apart.

These conversions have been all the rage for the last 2-3 decades, and communities have embraced them all across the country. But are they really as safe as we'd like to believe?

Bipartisan attack against SEPA under way ... updated

What in the hell is going on in Raleigh?

The House voted 78-29 today to approve the second reading of a bill that could help development projects receiving public incentives to bypass portions of a required state environmental review.

The bill is a direct response to a May ruling by a Wake Superior Court that Titan America, an international company offered state and local incentives to build a cement plant in New Hanover County, had to supply a full environmental review. Titan and the state argued that the review was not required.

One step forward, two steps back. The Democratic Party leadership in the GA and the party itself will be held accountable for this, I promise.

IBM perfect example of incentives folly

I'm sure many readers have seen this "Great news on the jobs front" story:

IBM Lender Business Process Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of IBM, will hire 600 employees and invest $3.7 million to open a service center in Research Triangle Park, Gov. Beverly Perdue announced Thursday.

The state Economic Investment Committee on Thursday approved a Job Development Investment Grant that could be worth as much as $7.79 million over 10 years to IBM LBPS if the company meets job goals.

But that's only a part of the story, isn't it? And the other parts of the story are not so pleasant.

Once again, drought is upon us

And the Summer is just getting warmed up:

As hot weather and lack of rainfall continues across North Carolina, 18 western and northeastern counties -- including a sliver of Wake County -- are now in "moderate drought" status, the U.S. Drought Monitor announced today.

Besides the 18 counties experiencing drought, the Monitor reports that 51 counties are "abnormally dry" and thus ripe for drought without further rainfall.

Federal agency moves to block energy efficiency program

FHFA tries to knock the legs out from under one of President Obama's core (and smart) stimulus goals:

A program that encourages homeowners to take on debt to make their homes more energy efficient could damage the already fragile mortgage system and leave homeowners at risk, financial regulators said Tuesday.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, urged state and local governments to put the program on hold and reconsider it.

Gunslingers coming to Greensboro

And once again, a reporter fails to mention Randy Dye's affiliation with the Tea Party movement:

Randy Dye, a co-organizer of the rally and author of the conservative blog “Randy’s Right,” said he has owned guns nearly all his 58 years. He has openly carried for three years.

Dye, a retired trauma nurse living in Pittsboro, advocates for gun rights and opposes what he considers the federal government’s encroachment of state and individual rights, citing the bank bailout and health care reform as recent examples. The rally’s purpose is to remind people of their right to have guns for self-defense and “to preserve individual freedom.”

NC Senate votes to ban video sweepstakes

Via Mark Binker's blog Capital Beat:

The Senate has passed a bill that would ban video sweepstakes, games that are spreading throughout the state and that many consider akin to video poker. That bill was passed under a procedure that would only allow the House to vote the measure up or send it to a House-Senate conference committee.

“We’re moving toward a floor vote,” House Speaker Joe Hackney said. The bill will first be heard in the House Judiciary I Committee.

Just a note: If Mark's site isn't on your daily blog round-up, it should be. Not only does he get tons of interviews, he asks the tough questions, too. He also provides audio and video files for most of his stories, which is beyond cool.

Lesbian mom wins on appeal

And it's the second time she's had to go through this:

After a more than three-year court battle, Angel Chandler can finally have her children legally stay in her home.

Earlier this week, Tennessee's Court of Appeals for a second time struck down a judge's ruling in a child custody agreement that prevented Chandler and Mary Counce, her partner of more than 10 years, from living together. Angel Chandler used to live in Gibson County, Tenn., but now shares a home with Counce in Black Mountain.

A Tennessee judge telling a NC couple they can't spend the night together? Which creates a new category, the "Hyper-Activist Judge". I expect Conservatives to line up behind me, and then we'll...hey! Where are you?

State takeover of Yadkin hydro explored

This entry was partially inspired by a rather lengthy discussion I had with my eldest son the other day, whose main mission in life (apparently) is to poke holes in my logic. When I held him as a baby and said, "You're going to be smart!", this wasn't what I had in mind, but...such is life.

He made a valiant effort in this recent set-to, but I emerged from this patricidal exercise still conflicted about the subject at hand. So I decided to bring more logic pokers into the fray by airing some of my opinions here. Feel free to poke away.

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