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Archive for July 8th, 2009

City: EpiCenter Contractors on Their Own

Big surprise.

The city of Charlotte is saying that it wants no part of figuring out how to pay contractors who built the city-subsidized EpiCenter.

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Wake Schools Kept in Dark on Jim Black Settlement

David Bass is back with more on the fascinating deal Jim Black struck to settle his $1m. criminal fine back in May. The Wake County School Board was never told about the deal until after the fact.

In other words, those elected by the public never got a chance to ponder, “Hmmm, is nine acres of vacant scrub land in Matthews really worth $500,000?”

Nor did anyone bother to tell officials that Black owned $4m. worth of other real estate that might have been available to settle his fine. What a perfect little banana republic operation we have.

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Oh Well. Another $250K in DSS Cash Phfffpt. Gone.

More along, nothing to see here. Mecklenburg County’s DSS office loses $162K, spends, another $93K trying to find it, and basically gives up.

No one has been fired, no one charged, no clear changes in policy implemented. Just — whoops! — and back to business as usual.

Why isn’t the US Attorney in on this given the sacks of federal money DSS is responsible for administering? Drop a subpeona or two and get top DSS officials alone with FBI agents for a little chat. Somehow I think all the mystery and confusion surrounding where the money goes will get cleared up right quick.

In the meantime, in honor of our “public servants” down at the GovCenter:

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Rich Oppel Joins Dark Side

Longtime Uptown paper editor Rich Oppel, who retired from the Austin American-Statesman last year, has joined the corporate PR firm Public Strategies Inc.

Maybe Oppel figures that newspaper pensions are a risky bet.

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Targeting Repeat Offenders. Finally.

All anyone living in Charlotte in recent years can possibly say is, “What took you so long?”

CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe basically browbeat outgoing DA Peter Gilchrist into this effort. Gilchrist, recall, does not believe in “targeting” anyone for arrest and prosecution based merely on their past track record of violent crimes.

However, I firmly believe that the easy availability of online arrest and sentencing information has rendered Gilchrist’s position moot. The public knows what is going on. Within minutes of any arrest info on priors can be assembled from county and state databases. From there the nature of the revolving door, catch-and-release program Gilchrist has been running for the past few decades becomes crystal clear.

And if — if — CMPD follows through with the stated intent to use both bond hearings and the probation system to help keep violent repeat offenders off the streets, that will be a major improvement in public safety in Charlotte.

If.

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