Civitas Review

No Show Clay Aiken

Apr
23

You have probably heard that Clay Aiken of American Idol fame was running for Congress in North Carolina's 2nd District. But, did you know that he has a primary opponent? He has two actually, Toni Morris and Keith Crisco are both on the Democratic ticket with Aiken. Crisco seems to be the one with money – at least he is the one spending his money on an ad that calls Aiken – "No Show Clay Aiken."  The ad claims that after being appointed to the Presidential Commission for People with Disabilities, by then-President George W. Bush, Aiken skipped every meeting.

Clay-Aiken-Considers-Running-for-Congress

The winner of the Democratic Primary will take on the winner of the Republican Primary - the candidates in that contest are Renee Ellmers and Frank Roche. Go to ncvotetracker.com to see how many people have voted in the 2nd Congressional District.

Vote Tracker Update for May 6, 2014 Primary

Apr
23

The State Board of Elections (SBOE) added 507 voters to the absentee voter file this morning. Yesterday a total of 2,670 voters had returned their voted ballots, today the number increased to 3,177. Go to ncvotetracker.com to see the voter turnout breakdown by county, districts (congressional and legislative), political party, race, age and even precinct.

So far Bladen County has cast the most votes. Perhaps, the beer and wine referendum on the ballot in Bladen is what is moving the voters to vote early. Bladen is also in the 7th Congressional District which has a pretty hotly contested Republican Primary this year.

County voters
BLADEN 393
WAKE 376
MECKLENBURG 228
PITT 142
GUILFORD 134
FORSYTH 97
DAVIE 92
BUNCOMBE 80
LINCOLN 79

Tomorrow (April 24, 2014) is the first day of one-stop early voting – visit ncvotetracker.com on Friday to see how many people voted on the first day of early voting. Click here to find a one-stop site in your county.

The NC Vote Tracker relies on official vote data from the State Board of Elections. Each day, the Board updates their absentee voter file with the previous days input from the 100 local boards and we take the data and add it to ncvotetracker.com.

Blog Post Blurts Out the Truth

Apr
23

In the wake of a whistleblower resigning (translation: being pushed in front of a bus) from the University of North Carolina, one political observer provides a revealing look at the mindset of the "progressive" side. It’s in a blog post by Gary Pearce, a former N&O reporter and a longtime aide, and “unabashed fan,” of ex-Gov. Jim Hunt, a progressive Democrat.

The blog post complains, about the news coverage of the academic scandal:

Some true-blue Heels will tell you this is all a vendetta by The News & Observer. Some of my fellow Wolfpackers – who haven’t gotten over the N&O’s pursuit of Jim Valvano – are loving it. I’m not. The university is a big part of why North Carolina has long been a progressive state. And the J School is a veritable well that waters the state with aggressive, progressive journalism. Now, two of those great progressive institutions – the university and the N&O – are at war. Can’t somebody negotiate a truce here?

Let’s look at some of the revelations here, some perhaps revealed unwittingly.

You’d think that the state’s most lauded public university and one of its leading news sources would be dedicated to providing objective, reliable information to all segments of the public. But this blog post lets the cat out of the bag: UNC and the N&O have for some time been dedicated to furthering progressive ideology. The university and the newspaper instead of providing education and news have been peddling propaganda and indoctrination.

It’s especially damning to think that “the J School is a veritable well that waters the state with aggressive, progressive journalism.” As the Carolina Plott Hound website noted, that simply acknowledges the obvious. Back in the day, journalism meant the craft of trying to present a reasonably fair picture of the news. But at UNC, the J School has dedicated itself to training young people in the dark art of slanting the news to the progressive side. And by implication, the N&O is on the same side.

You’d think Tar Heel liberals would run shrieking from the “progressive” label. In the crucial last years of the 19th century, and the early decades of the 20th, the N&O was run by one of the state’s most powerful figures, Josephus Daniels. He was an avowed progressive – and a white supremacist. (See NC State professor Lee Craig’s biography of Daniels.) He and the other progressive leaders ran the White Supremacy campaign of 1898 that trampled on the rights of black people, and ushered in decades of segregation.

Our most recent Civitas Review magazine lays out the whole sordid story; call us at 919-834-2099 and ask about getting a copy.

As for those bastions of progressivism, it’s hardly the case that the N&O and UNC are at war. This is too juicy a story for the newspaper to ignore if it is to maintain even a veneer of being a news outlet. Also, bashing sports is an item on the progressive agenda.

So any conflict between these "great progressive institutions" will be short-lived. Probably the progressives involved figure it will blow over soon, and they can go on with their respective missions. But for one moment, anyway, the truth has been acknowledged: the N&O and the UNC J School are tools of the progressive agenda.

Josephus Daniels would be proud.

Investigation Accuses State Treasurer Cowell of Secret Wall St. Deals

Apr
23

An investigation of North Carolina's state pension system and the state's Treasurer, Janet Cowell, funded by the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) suggests that Cowell has failed to present proper transparency of the state's pension investments and associated fees. Cowell is the sole fiduciary of the state pension fund for retired NC teachers and state workers. From the Triangle Business Journal:

Pension forensic investigator Edward Siedle says North Carolina state Treasurer Janet Cowell has entered into a number of secret Wall Street agreements in which $30 billion of state money is invested — an accusation marking the culmination of his months-long probe into the investment practices of the $87 billion state pension fund.

…..

“This is an unprecedented state of affairs,” Siedle said during the press conference. “(The money) has been taken off the radar screen. No one knows where it’s being invested, and I think the public has a right to know.”

….

By not disclosing the $30 billion in deals to the General Assembly and the public, Siedle says that Cowell broke a law passed by the state legislature last year (Senate Bill 558) that mandates full disclosure of all direct and indirect investment management and placement agent fees.

Other principal findings from Siedle’s investigation include:

Pension losses of $6.8 billion that are the result of Cowell’s “political manipulation of the state pension plan and self-described ‘experiment’ with high-risk alternative funds”
Estimated Wall Street fees of $1 billion annually, at least half of which were not properly reported to the General Assembly

Cowell's office responded to the accusations by saying there are a number of areas in the report that are "simply wrong".

SEANC head Dana Cope said that they intend to file a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as request an investigation by the IRS.

I've documented in the past some of Cowell's potential "pay to play" activities.

Did AECOM officials contradict themselves in Event Center Study?

Apr
22

Rocky Mount held a City Council Meeting Monday night and heard from many residents about their concerns about the proposed Event Center. While the Council heard from everyone that wanted to speak, there was a question as to whether AECOM officials contradict themselves in their studies.  To see the whole meeting go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwL0RGPEUno&feature=youtu.be

One citizen pointed out that AECOM states in its 2011 Sioux Falls, South Dakota report (starting on page 35) for that city’s event center:

“… construction of a facility does not guarantee spin-off development.” … [a ]“facility’s value as a catalyst for economic development depends on where it is located and how it is integrated into the area.” … “The influx of people can provide support to restaurants and other retail establishments in the district, but only if there are existing businesses that can benefit from [its] proximity…”

AECOM also recently completed the recent Rocky Mount Events Center Economic and Development Impact Analysis. If AECOM is the expert; and its staff concludes the construction of a facility does not guarantee spin-off development, and then only if there are existing businesses; then how can an event center be promoted as a transformational catalyst for downtown development? The crucial factor is the need for private downtown investment before Rocky Mount even considers an event center.

No, this study isn’t about Rocky Mount. Even though the city has a railroad, the city doesn’t have a sufficient market outside of the event Center, development opportunities are limited around the downtown area, and there is not much in walking distance from the event center.

Why would AECOM say an Event Center be a good thing when circumstances are the same as in Sioux Falls? Could someone be telling them to skew the research?