It was a mistake

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I don't know who Joe Sinsheimer is, but he sure seems to have a lot of clout. He writes a personal letter to Joe Hackney alleging ethics problems in North Carolina politics, and boom, the news media are all over it. 'When will Hackney respond?,' they ask. 'I'll get to it when I get to it,' he says.

In the spirit of Joe Sinsheimer, I am also writing letters. Mine are going to Joe Hackney, Marc Basnight, and Mike Easley. And like Sinsheimer, my letters are about ethics in North Carolina politics.

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Gentlemen,

By now it is clear that the so-called North Carolina Education Lottery is an idea whose time has come and gone. The desired income is not materializing, and new proposals to fritter away additional proceeds to stimulate more participation are too reminiscent of pushers hooking teenagers on crack. Today's story in the News and Observer lays the sad situation out for all to see:

Faced with lagging sales, Easley wants to pump up prizes and spark a spending spree on North Carolina's instant ticket scratch-off lottery games starting this summer. But numbers from other states suggest the governor's plan isn't a sure thing. And if it doesn't pan out, some of his key education programs would again face cuts or need taxpayer help to make ends meet. That is the situation this year after the lottery missed its goals.
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Lottery Director Tom Shaheen said he thinks it's possible that players could double what they have been spending, but he also acknowledged it might not happen. "To be honest, it won't be easy to get there," Shaheen said.
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The state's lottery commission, charged with oversight of the games' operations, hasn't taken a position. Chairman John McArthur said the commission will likely study the issue and adopt the lottery's goals in May, which he said would be in time for lawmakers to take note.

As I have written in the past, North Carolina's reliance on state-sponsored gambling is bad public policy.

The lottery was a moral and fiscal mistake for North Carolina from the outset. Its underlying principles are bankrupt. It was pushed through in an unseemly fashion. And more to the point, it's not working. Like Bush's war in Iraq, the lottery is bill of shoddy goods.

North Carolina has the rare opportunity to reconsider a bad decision before too much damage and not enough good is done.

Please. Kill the lottery. Now.

I doubt my letters will get all the attention Joe Sinsheimer gets. After all, he's writing about allegedly unethical behavior by a few individuals. My letters condemn the whole damn government scam. But I'm sending them anyway, and I hope you will too. Because North Carolina public school children deserve the ethical leadership of responsible adults, not the wishful thinking of street-corner crack dealers.

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Comments

Not so fast!

I won 2 dollars from Cash 5 yesterday! Sure, it went right back into lottery tickets that lost, but who cares!

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Someone do the math for me -

"100 percent of the net proceeds of the North Carolina Education Lottery will go to education expenses,..."

"The Easley plan to boost prizes would be possible only by setting aside less as a percentage for education than what is now in the lottery law. Easley would cut it from 35 percent of lottery proceeds now for education to about 29 percent of sales in the next year."

What am I missing here math majors? Is it that funky little word 'net'? How big are the holes in that net?

By cutting to 29%

they're hoping that more people will play, thereby raising the overall dollar volume. Vaguely reminiscent of voodoo trickle down economic mumbo jumbo.

Yes, it is that funky little word "net."

Net proceeds means after deducting expenses, like administrative costs and prizes. The amount of prizes is set as a percent of total proceeds. Administrative costs are what they are, they can be calculated as a percent of total proceeds, but that's not a starting point. What they are talking about doing is increasing the amount of the prizes, and maybe the amount spent on advertising (not sure about that) which would leave a smaller percent of the total proceeds for education. It would still be 100% of net proceeds, but since the expenses are increasing, that leaves a smaller percent of the total proceeds.

For example, let's say total proceeds are now $100, and 35 percent of that goes to education. That's $35 for education. So then we make the proposed changes, let's say that increases total proceeds to $150, and education gets 29% of that, that would make $43.50 for education. So even though it's a lower percentage, it's a higher dollar amount.

That's the reasoning behind the proposal. How much ticket sales would increase is another issue.

That's a big ass-uming

that the proceeds will increase.

The players that are already playing might play more, (might) but without more players overall will there really be an improvement?

okay -

but does that come out of the 100% net in the first sentence?

where is that % coming from?

I can't find it.

I thought that when they first proposed this thing, they said that the actual education funds already allocated in the budget would not be "replaced" by lottery proceeds, just supplemented. Or did I dream that in my previously referred to perfect world?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

here

indy article from over a year ago

When Gov. Mike Easley signed the bill establishing a state lottery, it contained language that supported years of promises he made about the purpose and intent of the new source of revenue: "[N]et revenues generated by the lottery shall not supplant revenues already expended or expected to be expended for those public purposes, and lottery net revenues shall supplement rather than be used as substitute funds."

But when the bill was amended to become part of the budget bill, that language was quietly dropped. Now, budget documents show that lottery money is already slated to replace appropriations from the general fund.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

crooked SOBs

they are now dollar for dollar replacing money so that politicans can support their pet projects. This was sold to NC as a suplement to our school systems. I was expecting new computers, jerseys, swings, dirt for the kindergartners to play in, etc with all this money.

Not what they are doing now. Only after all the pet projects are paid for with lottery money will the children get the above. Nice going mikey.

This lottery question should be the number one question asked of any politician running for office. Will you require that the NC lottery either take the procedes from the lottery and divide it equatibly amongs the schools systems of North Carolina as a suplement to the established budget or completely turn this lottery off? Those are the only options.

I would rather this lottery be stopped dead in its tracks then to allow the politicians to corrupt this.

These people are just as bad as the Navy with their OLF. Tell us one thing in the hopes noone will actually read the documents.

Stop the NC lottery, NO OLF, stop the lottery, NO OLF.

It hasn't happened yet.

I'd just like to clear up that as of YET, the lottery proceeds have not been used to supplant anything. They have been used to do exactly what they were proposed to do. They WILL be used as an excuse not to increase funding. So, for instance.
2005 Education Budget - 100
2006 Education Budget - 100 + 10 (lottery)
2007 Education Budget - 100 + 10 = 110 (lottery)

Whereas without the lottery it would have been
2007 Education Budget - 110

What should happen is this:
2007 Education Budget - 110 + 10 = 120(lottery)

they will use the lottery as an excuse not to increase school funding.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Shhh ...

Don't tell the future teachers. Like me.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

huh

i thought you were career politician material. never would have guessed.

One has to balance their liberal guilt and "lust for power"

:-P

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

haha

besides, being a teacher worked for Larry, why cant it work for you?

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Shhh ....

Don't tell all the Edwards supporters that were starting to have a good opinion of me again.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Sam,

Lots of people might not realize this, but being a teacher gives you lots of power. I remember the name of every single teacher I had in high school, low these 30 years ago (gasp!). I'd be hard-pressed to tell you who my state senators or congressman were, or even who the US reps were. I do remember the President. But I can tell you all of the teachers. Quite powerful indeed. (and quite a responsibility. Good for you - good luck.)

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Absolutely.

Do your job well Sam and you'll be one of those guys people tell stories about "I had this teacher that inspired me to..."

Do it poorly and....
; )

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

hmmm.

That sounds quite painful - in more ways than one.

I worked with a teacher several years ago who told me his job was not to teach his students the subject, but to teach them how to teach themselves the subject. From what I've read of Sam's writing, I think he may be from that school of teaching - and that will encourage independent, creative thinkers. Obviously - we need more of those now, and will need even more of them in the future.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

interesting

In my intro level sociology class book there was a discussion of different teaching strategies employed with schools of various income levels.

The type of teaching reflected jobs designed for kids at those income levels. So, in schools with high levels of students from poor families they were taught very repetitive things. In middle class schools they were taught problem solving, middle management type strategies. In schools with richer students they were taught creative thinking skills. The idea being that for various, often subconcious reasons, students are kept from rising above their parents economic status simply by being taught differently.

All of this is to say that we need Sam to teach creative thinking in low income schools. So Sam, move downtown.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Exactly right.

Teaching children how to learn, how to think creatively at every level can one of the great equalizers in our society. For it to work best, it should happen early - the younger the better.

And of course, when you're dealing with lower income families, you're often dealing with an array of issues that you don't find in higher income homes, such as lack of high nutrition food, lack high quality out of school time care and experiences, and even general neighborhood safety issues. That's where teachers wind up fighting an uphill battle against Maslow's Heirarchy of needs.

And that's why we need people paying attention to social programs that fill in those gaps, so that teachers like Sam can help those young minds grow, so that those low income families can find their way out of poverty.

::stepping off soapbox.:::

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Or ... you know

My Cash 5 ticket can win tonight and I don't have to worry about a job ...

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Thanks for the link, Blue South

I knew I wasn't crazy.

I knew I wasn't crazy...about that, anyway.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

As a described "pusher" by A...

I feel compelled to defend my views of having a State Lottery. However my idealogy conflicts with what seems to be facts over the NC Lottery. If its not working (which by working means becomes a successful revenue source for NC Educational projects and schools), then we shouldn't waste much time or money trying to save it.

If we end up spending too much for too little in return, it doesn't make sense regardless of what gov't project it is to keep it around.

That being said, the Lottery should go because its impractial, not b/c some believe its immoral.

Otherwise the Left has a whole other can of worms on their plate.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

If People Want to Play - that's Fine

I think NC underestimated the number of people who want to play.

And trying to entice people to play - well, that is wrong.

:::here little girl, want a cigarette:::

I don't see much difference in the two.