Archive for the “Commentary” Category

Commentary and Opinion of news, trends, and even politics related to Winston-Salem. The items here are solely the responsibility of the author and BITS takes no responsibility for them however BITS may at its own discretion remove any item or post BITS deems not worthy of publication.

Two reports are out and cited in the Winston-Salem Journal this week state it will be three to four years before unemployment in the Triad area returns to pre-recession levels. I won’t repeat the quoted findings The Journal quotes, you can read them here, but I do question any such report. There is a clear exodus from the Winston-Salem area. This exodus may help lower unemployment rates by simple adjusting the numbers of employable workers but it is a major drain on the pool of skilled employees. This in turn reduces the area’s outlook for generating new jobs as businesses look elsewhere with lower taxes as well as a better educated and trained work force. If you don’t think that is what happens then look at this quote I will take from the paper by a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities.

"We believe a large proportion of today’s high unemployment is structural in nature, resulting from a huge skill mismatch between the jobs being created and the existing skill sets of jobseekers," said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities.

Winston-Salem Journal, July 15, 2011

As I have stated in the past with a shrinking business climate and fewer worker bees you will see a general drop in revenue generated for the local governments. This will result in those governments being required to drastically cut budgets and that means laying off more workers, granted we could do with some trimming of public employees around here. Those cuts however won’t be enough to meet deferred cost on expenses the city of Winston-Salem has taken on such as the Baseball stadium and surrounding obligations or plans for a downtown rail line. As the city will have to meet those obligations the only way to do it in a generally smaller and smaller revenue pool is to raise tax rates. Raising taxes on a workforce that is already leaving the area due to high unemployment will just exacerbate the situation in my opinion and in general delay but not solve the problem. As people are taxed more, see fewer opportunities there is a delay in the ultimate leaving of those workers for other areas of the state or country but it is only a delay as they make those plans, it does not stop the migration or the ultimate result.

Maybe it’s time for The Chamber, The Mayor, Winston-Salem Business Inc., Winston-Salem Alliance to stop chasing “Boys of summer” dreams and start wondering why small business after small business is moving outside of the Winston-Salem area or how a almost 43,000 square foot building set empty for TWO YEARS in a prime retail location? By the way I am speaking of the old Circuit City building on Hanes Mall which finally sold in May to a developer who plans to repartition the location into a multi-tenant space.

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I have stumbled on an interesting story taking place in Lincoln County, North Carolina and while it is interesting I would hope most readers would be aware that it’s not likely an isolated case. The issue it seems is a Sheriff’s Office that disagrees with Free Speech, Freedom of the Press or apparently following the intent of the law but rather their interpretation of “the letter of the law.”

The first I heard about this was in reference to a article in the Charlotte Observer concerning Lincoln County Sheriff Carpenter plans to skirt the new public records law Governor Purdue signed by not providing dismissed employees with anything written down about their dismissal but to inform them verbally. The law that was passed opened up public officials records and soon after it was passed papers like the Charlotte Observer made multiple request to law enforcement agencies such as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and apparently of the Lincoln County Sheriff for various personnel files. In what can only be viewed as the powerful protecting their own we have the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association, Charlotte’s city attorneys as well as N.C. School Boards Association to name a few all coming out condemning the new law and saying they should not be required to provide such information. Some of those same groups sought an opinion by the N.C. State Attorney General’s Office on the reach of the new law and specifically if it was retroactive and apparently were not happy with the answer they received which was that yes the law was retroactive and yes the law required the written dismissal letters for terminated employees for all state and local agencies.

One would think that makes it pretty clear however per the Charlotte Observer, Sheriff David Carpenter of Lincoln County has no plans to issue any written dismissal letters. The exact quote from the Observer is below as it certainly appears to say the Sheriff doesn’t agree with the State Attorney General’s interpretation of the law and clearly says the Sheriff goes on to say he does not believe the public should have any access to personnel records.

Carpenter, who took office last week, promised to comply with the records law, but said "we’re not going to generate" new documents to satisfy requests by the public.

Read more:

Now this on it’s surface this might not seem so bad but then we have State Senator Pete Brunstetter, a Winston-Salem Republican, submitting a new bill which would reverse the law Perdue signed just last year. Senator Brunstetter’s bill would deny the release of dismissal letters prior to the laws enactment as well as remove any requirement that dismissal letters be written for government employees, thoroughly castrating the open public records law Gov. Purdue signed sending North Carolina back to the time it was considered one of the most closed access Governments.

If the disciplinary action under subdivision (11) of this subsection was a dismissal, a copy of the written notice notice, if created, of the final decision of the head of the department setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal. This subdivision does not require the creation of a notice of dismissal if the creation of the notice is not otherwise required by law.

SENATE BILL 554, § 126‑23, (11a)

Aside from that diversion into the powerful wanting to make sure the powerful stay protected let’s get back to Lincoln County for some more of what appears to be abuse of power. It appears there is or was a criminal case going on between the Sheriff’s spokesman and a local Blogger/News Reporter. I would point you to the post at the News & Observer however they seem to have pulled the post, interesting. So I would point you to the post at [email protected] but hmmm, it’s been pulled as well so let’s try the link to the story at The Carolina Scoop but well guess what, it’s missing as well not to mention Google’s cache has no direct hits to the story. It’s almost like somebody has sent DMCA compliant letters to any source of the story so let me see if I can find some more information, ah here we go, “Sheriff’s spokesman charges journalist with harassment.”

Ken Fortenberry, editor and publisher of the Denver-based weekly newspaper [email protected], has threatened to sue TheCarolinaScoop, a Lincolnton Web site, for libel.

Scoop publisher and editor Jon Mayhew, who has also been the sheriff’s publication information officer since June, responded Friday by issuing a criminal summons against Fortenberry for alleged harassment.

The key here is Jon Mayhew acts as the spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department yet runs a website which competes for readers and one would assume advertising dollars with sites such as the [email protected] . Unfortunately other than this single news source it is near impossible to find anything else about what is going on in Lincoln County especially concerning Ken Fortenberry, Jon Mayhew and Sheriff Carpenter. There’s a good number of stories about the prior sheriff’s problems but try to find anything about the above story and it’s a brick wall.

This is why open records and a free press are so important yet North Carolina seems determined to stay an old boys club with the elite protecting the elites and law enforcement doing whatever they want to do, legal or not. Here’s hopping this post doesn’t spark some search warrant…

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Although parties on both sides had asked for a continuance the City Council was to take up the mater of allowing Harvey Davis to relocate Davis Garage to the intersection of Jonestown and Stratford roads. The Planning Board had denied a rezoning request so now it us up to the City Council to approve or deny the request. Harvey Davis though has withdrawn his request to rezone although may not have given up on moving the garage to that location. With the Council appearing to be stacked against him Davis was able to withdraw the request instead of having the possibility of having it denied. This will allow Davis a second shot since the request was never heard.

You may have forgotten that Winston-Salem is taking Davis Garage in an eminent domain case as Winston-Salem wants to refurbish the building and make it the anchor for the new, yet to be planned, funded or developed, city train system or hub. That Hub is is a requirement in order for Winston-Salem to be consider for the even farther fetched High Speed Rail systems being touted by The White House. At a price of almost $700,000 to condemn and take the Garage then who knows what cost to remodel and upgrade it the city appears to want to be on the hook for even more than their current deals with the stadium.

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The State of the Union address by President Obama fell well short of informing Congress and the electorate of the true nature of that condition. In delivering this address the President seems to have felt that verbal fellatio was the best way to get through this obligation without actually having to tell the truth as he heads out onto the campaign trail to try to trick the moronic electorate to return him to office for another four years. Read the rest of this entry

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As we approach the 2,010th anniversary of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it is important that we reflect on a few issues that are critical to the spiritual health and welfare of man. It is important to place into perspective what has been the enabling grace for our forward movement and where that movement has stagnated and now threatens to die. As a nation we have a history of being the greatest benefactor to the world and the one nation that can be counted on to take up the cause of the oppressed. There is a reason for that and it is quite obvious. I wish to dwell on that a moment or two. Read the rest of this entry

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Whenever a thorny problem has arisen political leaders will make great speeches to explain their wisdom in trying to meet the needs of all parties concerned with the problem. They will cite history and precedent and use glowing examples that highlight the thoughts and ideas of others, but in the end they will say and do absolutely nothing. It’s become the thing that the people expect when bad things happen. Sometimes a chosen few with a strong sense of commitment will act, but that is rare and in the end will be second guessed by everyone who didn’t have the same level of courage. Read the rest of this entry

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Over the last several years since the advent of 9/11 a curious pattern of behavior has emerged which has begun to make this writer wonder whether or not we are losing not only our sense of identity, but our sense of strength. IIt had always been the dominant impression that had Al Gore won the 2000 elections and then experienced the 9/11 disaster, he would have probably published a letter to potential Islamic Jihadists that apologized for building those towers where they wanted to fly their planes. Read the rest of this entry

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When it comes to immigration, no matter what you may have heard, there is only one operative issue on the table, and that is the LAW.  Equal protection under the law has been the hallmark of American Jurist Prudence since the founding documents were written and has the rights of the criminal and the victim equally balanced. That means that the law is applied equally and must act not as a moral imperative, but rather as an ethical one. The moral man simply recognizes that the law exists and is just, while the ethical man is compelled to obey it.

Over the years American leadership has made a startling choice to obey laws they only choose to obey. Since Congress can arbitrarily exempt itself from having to be held to obedience of a law they disagree with, they can serve their own desire for power and wealth by ignoring immigration law and making public statements in support of violating the law and encouraging individuals to violate it and illegally cross into the United States. These they hope are potential voters as soon as they can make the case for amnesty. Read the rest of this entry

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