Ford to run against Roberts for Charlotte mayor?

Given Jennifer Robert’s less than stellar record as mayor of Charlotte, it’s hardly surprising that she might face opposition when she’s up for reelection next year. The Charlotte Observer reports that Democratic state Sen. Joel Ford is considering challenging Roberts. Sample quote:

“We need a mayor who will focus on the real issues facing our city,” Ford said in a statement. “That starts with creating new jobs and economic opportunities for the city; protecting our neighborhoods, supporting our schools and investing in our community.”

“Charlotte needs a bold, decisive and visionary mayor; one who can unify the city, the council, the business community and all of our neighborhoods and communities.”

Even more scrutiny for N.C. government rules

A legislative committee could vote early next year to subject more N.C. state government rules to detailed scrutiny. It’s an idea that comes from Garth Dunklin, chairman of the N.C. Rules Review Commission.

He and his colleagues want lawmakers to amend state law. Their proposed amendment would force rules either to go through a formal re-adoption process or to be eliminated.

Right now, the state’s rules review process forces agencies to sift through their rules and separate them into three categories: rules that should go away, rules that should go through the state’s formal rule adoption process again, and rules that should continue in place without any extra review.

As of late October, a review of 8,017 state agency rules had led to 871 recommendations for removal, 2,296 recommendations for formal readoption, and 4,850 rules recommended to remain unchanged.

Dunklin explained today to the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee why that breakdown proves frustrating.

Depending upon when you look, somewhere between 60 and 65 percent of the rules are falling in the “necessary without public interest” bucket, which from a policy perspective, to some of us, feels like it frustrates the intent of the process, in the sense that the rules need … to see the light of day. They need to have the opportunity for the public to comment on them. They need to go through the process if for no other reason than they need to be looked at periodically, which was one of the underpinning concepts.

So what’s the solution?

The idea that we came up with was a fairly simple one: Get rid of the middle bucket, so that you then have two buckets. The rule is classified by the agency as either unnecessary and removed from the code, or it goes through the re-adoption process. One of the things that recommended that concept to me is it really just sort of steps back closer to the original recommendation in the first place, which was that everything should go through re-adoption.

The legislative committee meets again Jan. 3. Lawmakers could consider Dunklin’s idea at that meeting.

The N&O editors actually wrote this

I gave it several hours in case someone pranked the poor guys, but it appears that the editors of The News & Observer actually editorialized against using state incentives to save or create jobs.

shocked moriarty

No, really. I know, it sounds as unthinkable as if someone said Chip Gaines punched Joanna. What, oh what, could have led to this?

Trump did save some 800 jobs that Carrier was planning to send to Mexico, but it came at the cost of $7 million in tax breaks granted by the Carrier plant’s home state, Indiana.

“But”? “BUT”?! Oh, wait — see, Donald Trump did it. The drive to negate Trump must have caused the editors’ unexpected and no doubt highly uncomfortable divergence from cronyism. (It’s reminiscent of when media finally had to tell the truth about violent crime — it’s at historic lows, not highs; very inconvenient to anti-gun editorializing, you know — in order to negate candidate Trump.)

Now, you see, $7 million is a big “but” to the presumed pro-Trump positive of saving 800 jobs. A principled liberal would have the same reservations.

A principled liberal would not, however, be capable of holding both these positions simultaneously:

  • $7 million in state incentives negates the gain of some 800 jobs
  • $122.1 million in state incentives is pricy but worth it for the gain of 149 jobs.

That must require an absurd amount of doublethink. The N&O editors wrote this on July 20 of this year:

The location of a CSX container hub, the Carolina Connector, in Rocky Mount means 149 more jobs for an area of North Carolina desperately in need of them. …

CSX is getting a generous incentive package from the state, worth $122.1 million, but such incentives do require certain things of recipients, such as job creation goals that must be met, and also requirements that companies invest in the property themselves.

For the people of this part of North Carolina, where economic recovery has been slow, the coming of the CSX hub is a burst of good news.

And of course there’s no amount too pricy to give the editors pause about tax breaks and other incentives for renewable energy.

The regulatory hurdles facing N.C.’s craft beer entrepreneurs

North Carolina has seen substantial growth in craft beers in recent years, but the state’s alcohol-distribution regulations stand in the way of even further growth.

Ryan Self, director of sales for Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, explained how regulations block growing businesses during a speech Monday to the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society.

“Web giants YouTube , Facebook , Twitter and Microsoft will step up efforts to remove extremist content from their websites by creating a common database.”

That’s the opening sentence in a Yahoo News report. The report goes on to say:

The companies will share ‘hashes’ – unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos – of extremist content they have removed from their websites to enable their peers to identify the same content on their platforms.

“We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online,” the companies said in a statement on Tuesday. …

YouTube and Facebook have begun to use hashes to automatically remove extremist content. …

The database will be up and running in early 2017 and more companies could be brought into the partnership.

Glenn Reynolds has a typically pithy reaction:

Multibillion-dollar corporations ganging together to silence particular viewpoints — perhaps an antitrust investigation would be in order.

NC vs. the world in math, reading, and science

Results from the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) were released today.

PISA tests allows comparisons of student performance for students who reside in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations.  North Carolina was one of a handful of U.S. jurisdictions to participate in PISA testing.  This was the first time a sample of North Carolina 15-year-olds were included in the test administration.

North Carolina’s reading and science performance was decent. Our state’s average scores were not significantly different than the U.S. or international averages.  Math performance was dismal.  North Carolina’s average score was not significantly different than the U.S. average but fell well short of many countries and the international average.

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N.C. gets another top congressional slot

Anna Giaritelli of the Washington Examiner highlights a high-profile job for a North Carolina congressman.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., was elected chairman of the House Freedom Caucus on Monday evening by the conservative group’s 42 members.

Meadows, who will enter his third term in January, will replace the retiring Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio next month. The Tar Heel State politician said he is “ready to get to work,” according to a statement issued shortly after the election.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the support of my colleagues for Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. It is a position that I take very seriously, and as we look toward the coming year, I am tremendously excited about the opportunities we will have to make a difference for Americans on Main Street. I want to thank my colleagues for entrusting me with their support – especially outgoing Chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, for his outstanding leadership over our first two years.

“The voters of this country sent an abundantly clear message on November 8th that they feel as though Washington does not represent them. Now, it’s time for Washington to do what it has failed to for decades – listen. With a new administration coming in, the Freedom Caucus is ready to go to work on day one to help lead the fight to give Americans a voice in their government,” Meadows wrote.

N.C. Appeals Court rules against longtime Triangle media mogul

A unanimous three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals has ruled against longtime Chapel Hill media entrepreneur Jim Heavner in a libel case. The Court of Appeals reversed a trial-court ruling that had thrown out defamation charges against Heavner.

At issue are statements he made in a press release involving a bankruptcy filing connected to potential sale of his Chapel Hill-based businesses.