The Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints are both 9-3 and tied for the lead in the NFC South, with four games left to play, two of which are against each other. So who wins the division if the Panthers and Saints split their games against each other and win the remaining games? The Saints. You can find the NFL tie-breaking procedures here. In that scenario, the two teams would both be 1-1 against each other, 5-1 in the NFC South, and 10-4 in common games. The Saints though would have the better conference record at 10-2 (losses: Carolina and Seattle) while the Panthers would be 9-3 (a loss to the Saints plus Seattle and Arizona). Not all losses are equal in the NFL — if you’re going to lose, lose against teams in the other conference. Two of the Saints’ losses are against teams in the AFC (New England, NY Jets) while the Panthers have only lost to one AFC team to date this season (Buffalo).
So unfortunately the Panthers may well have to sweep the Saints to win the division.
Speaking of dysfunctional, there’s always the Mecklenburg County Commission, which voted to replace Pat Cotham with Trevor Fuller as chair yesterday. The move apparently comes in part in response to Cotham’s support for firing County Manager Harry Jones. The UPOR’S coverage of the topic is here.
Analysis: Any time all three at-large commissioners on the nine member board are brand new, there’s a high potential for fireworks, but with some of the personalities currently on county commission, there’s always the potential for fireworks. Not sure Cotham losing the chairmanship does anything to reduce the potential for more memorable moments going forward. We’ll find out soon enough with the selection of Jones’ replacement as county manager due soon.
And then we have this quote from the new chair:
“It is imperative that we huddle together and chart a new way forward,” Fuller said. “… There is an expectation across North Carolina that Mecklenburg County is going to lead the way. We need to reclaim that place, because there is a sense across the state that we have faltered.”
Earlier this year, Monroe received a consultant’s report on why its city managers kept quitting. It detailed a highly dysfunctional local government, including a city council that didn’t grasp or didn’t respect the city manager form of government. It seems that the recommendations didn’t sink in, as Monroe just fired John D’Agostino, its current city manager, after he had been on the job for less than four months. Nice.
And from the Charlotte Observer:
“If I were a city manager, I wouldn’t touch Monroe with a 10-foot pole,” said councilman Lynn Keziah, one of D’Agostino’s supporters. “It’s embarrassing. … It didn’t make any sense.”
He said D’Agostino had been doing a very good job for the city.
Councilman Freddie Gordon said it was obvious the new majority entered the meeting with a plan to oust D’Agostino. The vote was not on the agenda, but the issue was raised by councilman Billy Jordan.
“The (new majority) wants to micromanage the city. They’re meddlers,” Gordon said. He called the vote disappointing, adding, “It puts a bad black eye on our city.”
Who gets elected mayor pro tem. Michael Barnes got the most votes of the at-large Charlotte City Council candidates but it seems that some other council members are mad at him. The resulting fireworks could be “interesting” to watch.
And the duration of “now” may be rather uncertain. That’s what you should take away from this UPoR story that attempts to put a big happy face on the future of Lufthansa’s Charlotte-Munich flight. The story comes after Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz said earlier in the month that Charlotte was “a smaller destination … that is heavily depending on the first-class feeder network from US Airways.”
Pressing Lufthansa on the subject, the Charlotte Observer came up with this:
Lufthansa spokesman Nils Haupt said that’s not the case. “We are committed to the Charlotte market,” Haupt said. “US Airways is helping us, admittedly, at the moment with the feed.”
The US Airways-American merger is on track to close as soon as early December.
But Haupt said “We’re pretty sure we can manage” to make the Charlotte flights work without US Airways feeding Lufthansa passengers. “There are no plans, on a short-term basis” to change the flight to Munich.
Short-term basis? Pretty sure we can manage? That’s really not very reassuring. Airlines will, of course, publicly state their commitment to a market until the moment come that they drop a market. That’s just common sense. And it’s also just common sense that the future of Lufthansa’s CLT-Munich flight is uncertain in the medium term despite those public reassurances, as what is now US Airways goes from being an ally of Lufthansa to an adversary.
This time at Talladega, where seating is being reduced to 80,000, down from 109,000 this year and from 147,000 (!) not that long ago. So it would seem that the good old days of NASCAR, at least as measured by actual race attendance, aren’t expected to come back ever again.
On the airport situation, saying on WFAE that the city of Charlotte should run the airport and Jerry Orr shouldn’t be in charge. Specific quotes:
Jerry Orr’s 71 (sic) years old. He’s been great for the airport, but it’s time to move on. I think Jerry could still add some value, but it’s time to move on. This is not about an individual.
We need to get politics out of Charlotte’s airport. And that includes state politicians, and that includes city politicians, too. And we’re working to do just that.
Well, it’s nice of the governor to finally clear up where he stands. Interesting timing though. This mess of an issue is far from over, especially if the new Charlotte Airport Commission dumps Orr. I expect the General Assembly to do something about the airport, especially if the new airport board decides to get rid of Orr and then goes inactive while the legal situation is sorted out.
Despite what its own rules and federal court orders say. Am I surprised in the least? No.
My John Locke Foundation colleague Roy Cordato has a new column out on economic impact studies. In it, he explains why most such studies are worse than useless. A case in point, is a recent study on the impact of the nuclear power industry in the Carolinas, which generated considerable local media attention. Cordato writes:
The study uses a proprietary statistical package called IMPLAN. IMPLAN is widely used by consultants who are hired by industry groups to demonstrate the “benefits” of an industry’s economic activities in a particular geographic area. Studies using this package are quite common. They all suffer from the same flaw: They don’t actually measure economic impact.
IMPLAN’s attractiveness is tied to the fact that its users do not need to know anything about economics. They need to know only how to manipulate and make use of IMPLAN. Hence, it is almost always the case that when IMPLAN is used, the results that are reported say little about what an economist would describe as the real economic impact.
A calculation of the true economic impact of any investment activity has to consider both benefits of that activity and costs. The benefits arise from the productive output generated by the investment, and the costs arise from the use of resources that are employed in producing that output. The only kinds of studies that can measure actual economic impact are those that invoke cost-benefit analysis, in which the value of the productive output generated by the investments is balanced against the opportunity costs, i.e., the alternative uses of the resources that are taken out of the economy to generate that productive output.
This industry study, and the IMPLAN statistical package used to produce it, does none of this. First of all, there is no attempt to ask the most basic, freshman Econ class question: How else might the resources — land, labor, steel, energy, lumber, technology, etc. — that are going into the nuclear industry have been used? Indeed, if one simply reads through the study, it would be easy to conclude that all the resources used by the industry would have been sitting idle had it not been for these nuclear industry investments. In other words, the study seems to assume zero or close to zero opportunity cost.