TarGator's blog

Know Your Audience: Justice Orr Edition

I was at a meeting of the Triangle Chapter NAIOP, a group of local developers and others involved in the commercial real estate industry, on Thursday and witnessed an event that should gives any of us that talk in public pause to ensure that we know who we are talking to.

Former Justice Bob Orr was scheduled to speak at the event. The speach showed great courage on the part of Orr who was speaking on the evils of economic incentives to a very business friendly group. Orr ignored the death stares to give numerous coherent arguments against the use of incentives or "subsidies" as he called them to businesses to relocate to North Carolina or expand here; the main focus of his speach were the famous incentives given to large corporations like Dell, Lenovo, and Google recently which were tied to the creation of jobs in the area. There are in fact some arguments against the use of incentives, but the one thing Justice Orr came back to, as might be expected from a Republican speaking to crowd of business Republicans, was that "no one in this crowd receives incentives" (essentially the if it does not directly benefit you, why bother argument). The problem with this argument became apparent when at the close of the meeting the president of the chapter asked who in the crowd had received subsidies as part of a deal; over half of the crowd raised their hands. Then the president asked how many received incentives more than once, and about a quarter of the group had. Then the president turned to the representatives of Progress Energy and stated that "I could ask this all day and Progress would keep their hands up."

Kos on NC Rubber Stamps of Senators

I just got off a plane coming from a place that is in the 80's and landing in the wintery mix in Raleigh. At least I could find a little chicken soup for my political soul in this post from Kos on the rubber stamp senators from North Carolina and the fact that current election realities mean that Dole must actually go against this president, who she has proudly stood behind for the last four years:

Burr doesn't face reelection until 2010, so he doesn't have to pretend to have an "independent" bone in his body. He can be his true, rubber-stamping self. Dole, on the other hand, will have to perform rhetorical gymnastics to buck the growing anti-Bush and anti-war sentiment in her state despite being one of Bush's most loyal lieutenants.

DENR Backs More State Control of Landfills

We are currently under a year-long moratorium on new landfills in our state that was initiated in the last general assembly. This leaves collecting information on landfills and and passing meaningful legislation on the matter one of the biggest tasks facing this session of the general assembly.

Two major problems with the way landfill siting has occured is that localities are given exclusive control and there is no statewide fee for dumping trash at a landfill like there is in almost all other states. These two factors combined to make poor rural counties targets for large, environmentally hazardous landfills. Some of my past posts on landfills can be found here.

Yesterday, DENR came out in favor of two reforms that would significantly reduce the potential for North Carolina's rural areas ending up a magnet for out of state trash: 1) initiating a tipping fee and 2) having the State take more control of the approval process for the landfills. From WRAL:

No Words Needed


GREENVILLE, N.C., January 14, 2007 - Hundreds of church members gathered today near a North Carolina church that burned Saturday night.

Another Baptist church caught fire about a mile away. A break-in was discovered at a third.

Authorities won't say if the fires were arson, but witnesses report seeing someone fleeing after one of the blazes began. Damage is estimated at more than a million dollars.

Once Again in the Minority

North Carolina has always been a fighter for the rights of smokers, or for the rights of the profits of cigarette makers and tobacco farmers. But North Carolina now officially comes to the minority in terms of states willing to let "smokers' rights" beat out public health. According to WRAL , now over 1/2 the population lives in states that regulate smoking in the workplace:

For the first time in our nation's history, with the November passage of initiatives in Nevada and Ohio, one of every two Americans lives in a place with laws to keep the workplace smoke-free.

Of course North Carolina is behind the trend and would seem to be one f the most hopeless places in terms of ability to get an anti-smoking law passed. But similar things were thought about Florida; but while I was there a few years ago, a law banning smoking in all restaurants and bars passed. And people loved it, even smokers. The difference in air quality was noticeable, you did not smell horrible every time you went out for a meal, and fewer people will develop health problems and die prematurely.

Definition of Progressive

In this editorial praising the selection of Hackney as the Democrat's nominee for House speaker, there was an interesting description:

Hackney also has built an admirably progressive record - for example, defending the environment and going after drunken driving.

Now who could argue against Progressives when all they want to do is save the environment and stop drunk drivers?

Competence in Action

You know when stories like this come out, they never get the press they deserve. And this one deserves a lot, because the people of North Carolina can borrow at a lower rate and save money to help improve our state because the Democrats are fiscally responsible:

North Carolina again has the top-level credit rating from all three bond-rating agencies after Moody's Investors Service upgraded the state Friday.
The firm cited the state's rebounded economy, good fiscal management and the decision by lawmakers to replenish rainy-day reserve accounts as reason's for restoring the triple-A rating.
North Carolina is now just one of seven states to have the top government from all three agencies, according to a statement from State Treasurer Richard Moore.

The Solar Power Ad above

I was interested in the solar power ad above but wanted to get more information if anyone knew anything about it. The company's pitch is that you pay nothing for the installation of the solar system but pay for the power generated at the current utility company rate. The savings come as the utility raises their rates and the solar rate stays the same. The company apparently profits on the difference between the cost of the system and what the homeowner pays over the 25 year lease for the electricity generated.

I liked the concept but know nothing about the company (citizenre). I am hesistant because the company seems new, and I do not see any proof that they are even real beyond a slick website. Also, the representatives apparently get paid by referral because they jump into the comments section to pump the product whenever there is any blog or other article about them on the internet.

Edwards, a New Type of Campaign

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This photo was taken at the Edward's rally last night, where BlueNC members made a significant showing. There were more BlueNC members there yesterday than read our blog altogether in the first month of its existence. I wanted to blog about the event, but by the time that I ate and got back to Raleigh, there were already two threads up. But taking the time to wait until this morning to post gave me time to reflect on what a truly unique campaign Edwards is running this time around.

When Are Criminals Adults?

North Carolina is one of three states that automatically treat 16-year-olds as adults. A proposal by the North Carolina Sentencing Commission, the group designated to advise the General Assembly on matters involving sentencing, would give district attorneys the discretion to treat 13 to 16-year-olds as either jeuveniles or adults. The N&O has a good summary of the proposal, but the gist of the controversy is that due to youth, young teenagers may make poor decisions based on youth that might not justify being sent to adult prisons while young teenagers tend to commit the most violent crimes, again due in part to youth.

Whether these recommendations are good policy is a much different question than whether they will be adopted, which is not very high given the "law and order" demands of the populace.


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