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Archive for October 29th, 2009

US Airways ‘Strengthens Core’

Or at least that’s what the press release says. Essentially, the airline confirmed what we already knew: it’s now a four-hub operation (CLT, PHL, PHX, DCA) with very little else. Las Vegas gets cut some more, down to 36 flights by late February, down from 64 currently. The crew bases in Las Vegas, Boston, and LaGuardia are closing next year as well.

Some other items of note:

• European flying is not going so great for US Airways. The airline isn’t flying five routes in the summer of 2010 that they flew this past summer: Philadelphia – Birmingham, U.K.; London Gatwick; Milan; Shannon, Ireland; and Stockholm. So as of now, looks like 22 flights a day on 21 routes next summer compared to 27 flights/26 routes in summer 2009.

• Phoenix continues to be an issue. The press release says they’re dropping two secondary markets, Wichita (which we already knew about) and Colorado Springs (which is new news). Not good when US Airways can’t make the secondary markets on which is they have no competition to Phoenix work. PHX is Southwest Airline’s third biggest operation, and thus US Airways faces intense competition from the country’s largest discount carrier on virtually all major routes out of PHX.

• Oh, and 1,000 job cuts. Some will likely be here in Charlotte.

• Exact flight level impacts at CLT remain uncertain; when they post a schedule reflecting their pending LGA/DCA slot swap with Delta, then we’ll have an idea what the baseline will be going forward.

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Who Will File the Complaint on Judge Hoover?

Follow me on this. Judge Bill Belk says that the N.C. Judicial Standards Commission has sided with Mecklenburg County Chief District Court Judge Lisa Bell and will recommend that the state Supreme Court remove him from the bench. Judge Bell filed a complaint claiming that Judge Belk violated the N.C. Code of Judicial Conduct by, in part, yelling at her and making her cry and by relying too heavily on court clerks.

Yesterday District Court Judge Donnie Hoover saw his decision to release violent repeat offender Matthew Morgan reversed by Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge J. Gentry Caudill. In effect, the court was saying Judge Hoover made a serious mistake when he cut Morgan’s bond down from $150,000 to $15,000, which allowed Morgan to walk from the Mecklenburg County Jail last month. Judge Caudill jumped Morgan’s bond back up to $75,000, putting him back in jail. For now.

Interestingly, that bond amount is still significantly below the $200K the county prosecutor’s office asked for on Morgan.

Even more interesting will be whether Charles Keller, Community Access and Community Outreach Administrator for the Mecklenburg County Court System, apologizes to WBT’s Tara Servatius and her listeners who called the courthouse to complain about Judge Hoover’s decision to release Morgan.

Recall what Keller had to say a couple weeks ago, as detailed by the Neighbors for a Safer Charlotte blog:

“We are being bombarded. I think it’s obscene or out of the ordinary to take up court time with your complaints about Judge Hoover letting Matthew Morgan out. What is done is done. His ruling won’t change.”

Then Keller dropped a race bomb: “Do you want people to storm the court house and lynch him?” (Judge Hoover is an African-American.)

Tara made it clear to Keller that neither she nor her audience wanted Hoover lynched.

Keller also told Tara “asking listeners to call and complain was inapproriate. What you have done is tie up staff time listening to messages that can’t be forwarded.”

Evidently someone in the Mecklenburg County court system got the message loud and clear. Judge Hoover is out-of-step with the community’s view of violent crime. It would be nice to hear Judge Bell’s views on this disconnect and if she thinks it rises to the level of judicial incompetence.

But we can already hear the clubby Charlotte legal community closing ranks and trying to sweep this episode under the courthouse floorboards.

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And the Lo, the Housing Fairy Cometh Again

Even quicker. As I told you would happen, here comes the first of many more bailouts for the housing industry. An extension of the $8K “home-buyer tax credit” this time through April 2010.

Watch and see how many Republicans vote for this horror.

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Lassiter Folds on Tax Cut

Well, that didn’t last long. So much for John Lassiter wanting to undo the 2006 9-percent city property tax hike.

On Tuesday, Lassiter said he wouldn’t necessarily try to roll back the entire tax hike but would try to curb city spending.

Yeah, that’s a toughie. Try to curb spending. Make city staff accountable. Say no. We are asking for the near impossible, I suppose. And then there is this bit of cynicism, as Jim Morrill neatly details:

“Throughout the campaign you have spread false information about my record,” Lassiter told Foxx.

In particular, he cited the Democrat’s comments about the CIAA basketball tournament. Foxx has said Lassiter voted against city money for it.

In closed session in 2007, the council reauthorized a $200,000 contribution to the CIAA, a group of historically black colleges that brought its basketball tournament to Charlotte in 2006. The vote was 9-2 with Foxx in support and Lassiter against.

Lassiter, who had long supported the tournament, has said the vote reflected a difference on how – not whether – the city would make its contribution. When the issue came to a public vote last February, the council unanimously backed it.

Lassiter is practicing undiluted McCroryism right here. Play both ends against the middle and accuse anyone who calls BS on that of distorting your record. It should go without saying that the fiscally conservative amount of city money to spend on a basketball tourney is zero.

Whether any significant portion of the Charlotte electorate agrees remains to be seen.

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