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Archive for November, 2010

October Jobs, Workers Decline

At this point I am starting to lose my mind. How can the latest employment numbers for Mecklenburg County be given a positive spin? Both total jobs and the labor force fell in October from September, according to official state figures.

What do I have to do get people to understand the data?

  • September labor force….457,644
  • October labor force. …….456,819
  • Worker loss……………………………825

OK. Anyone confused by that? I’ll wait. Now we continue:

  • September total jobs……412,532
  • October total jobs………..411,900
  • Job loss…………………………………632

In other words, the only reason the county’s unemployment rate ticked down from a horrid 9.9 percent in September to 9.8 in October is because we lost slightly more workers than jobs. That was not supposed to happen — not in Q4 of 2010. Not according to all the supposed experts who said the employment picture would start to improve by now.

Besides, look at the big picture: We are stuck at 10 percent unemployment in the county and in the Charlotte region.

We are not creating jobs. Period. In fact, we had 415,000 jobs in the county back in April and May. Where did those 4000 jobs go and how do we spin that? We are still about 32,000 jobs short of where we were pre-recession in Mecklenburg County alone.

By the way, the Charlotte region overall lost 1095 jobs from September to October — going from 763,571 to 762,476. Since spring of 2010 the region has lost about 7000 jobs.

You really don’t want to be reminded about the regional job loss since the recession — but how does 57,000 strike you?

If you are one of these yobs going around making happy talk out of the latest local jobless numbers, hopefully it strikes you right between your damn eyes.

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CMPD Seeks Fugitive: Why?

Marsalle Edwynn Mitchell, 45, entered the Mecklenburg County jail on a misdemeanor assault charge on November 2nd. Records indicate his bond was terminated on November 15th — yet Mitchell was released from the jail on the 17th, presumably wearing the monitoring device he just cut off.

Why do we do this?

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Crime Chat: Hosted By Chief Monroe

Did CMPD pay WBTV for the infomercial the station ran featuring Rodney Monroe’s take on crime stats? It should have.

We interrupt with some perspective: Crime is down nationwide and Charlotte’s crime rate is above the national average.

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St. Louis DNC Spin: BAC, MJ Liabilities

Interesting take on the looming DNC 2012 convention decision from St. Louis business insiders. First datum, the number is now $50 to $60 million in private money required for the host committee to come up with to pay for the event. That is 10 to 25 percent more than the number kicked around in Charlotte. Can Charlotte hit that — or will public money get thrown in the kitty?

More from Mike DeCola, head of Mississippi Lime Company and chairman of St. Louis’ Regional Business Council

“We are keenly aware of the dollars we need to put up just to get the convention here.”

Individual companies have not been assigned target amounts to raise, DeCola said, though “our members are aware that’s coming.” … DeCola’s comments come as St. Louis officials believe the competition is coming down to them and Charlotte, where the effort is being led by an outspoken utility chief, Duke Energy head Jim Rogers, who has led fundraising efforts and even sought to enlist basketball great Michael Jordan, currently owner of the city’s NBA franchise, to lobby the White House.

DeCola said just because “we don’t have guys that like to beat their chest in the press like that” doesn’t mean St. Louis’ business community is not serious about helping attract the convention, which will bring thousands of visitors, and perhaps more importantly, lasting civic prestige to the winner.

“The business leaders in this community all know what’s involved, and they have all expressed very, very strong support to make this happen,” DeCola said. “We have companies that are much bigger, much more globally well-known than Duke Energy.”

DeCola is talking about Anheuser-Busch here — and to a lesser extent — Monsanto. However the latter is not exactly a Leftie fave — chemical and pesticide companies seldom are. And check this bit of editorial reasoning:

Meanwhile, Charlotte’s corporate community may actually be a liability for its chances — the city is home to financial institutions such as Bank of America, which accepted $40 billion in federal bailout money.

Wrong. This makes Charlotte perfect for the Obama Administration. The president can say he saved Bank of American and indeed — the entire city. And seriously — is that some Jordan envy or what? Besides, do we even know if Jordan decided to help Rogers and Charlotte’s bid?

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CLT Aviation Potpourri

Short and sweet. Or, in some cases, short and bitter. But in any case, short.

• Back in June, US Airways started service from Charlotte to the resorts of Cabo and Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast. How’s that working out? Apparently not so well. Both started out as four days a week but look to be down to Saturday-only come March. And March is not exactly the off season for vacationing in Mexico.

• Daily nonstop flights to Sao Paolo, Brazil, were suppose to begin as soon as January. Still no sign of the route on US Airway’s web site though. Rumor is that the start date has slipped to the fall.

• That was fast: A month ago, we mentioned that Delta was ending service to Florence, SC and Lynchburg, VA, leaving both cities with flights to CLT as their only scheduled air service. US Airways has responded to Delta’s departure by adding an extra (in both cases, sixth daily) flight to both destinations come January.

• US Airways looks to be at about 625 flights a day from CLT in December (sample date: Thursday, December 16). That’s up about 40 flights a day as compared to last December. Mainline is up seven flights a day while 70 to 86 seat regional jets are up eight flights a day. The big gain though is in 50-seat regional jets, which are up 26 flights day as compared to last December. Turboprops are down a flight a day.

• The additional flights mainly involved additional service to existing destinations. US Airways added year-round service to Melbourne, FL, Baton Rouge, LA, and Ottawa, Canada in 2010 but that only accounts for seven of the 40 additional flights a day. US Airways also began service from Charlotte to Rome this past summer but the flight does not operate every day during the winter.

• US Airways has extended its slot squating at LaGuardia. Recall that LGA is capacity constrained, that the slots to fly there are use-it-or-lose-it, and US Airways wants to trade most of its slots at LGA to Delta for slots at Reagan National. The feds have said OK, but only if Delta and US Airways sell off some of their respective slot holdings at the two airports. US Airways and Delta don’t want to do that, and keep hoping that either the DOT changes its mind or the courts rule in their favor. But for now, US Airways has to do something with those LGA slots. To keep them in use, it’s increased CLT-LGA to up to 15 flights a day — but with the extra up to six flights a day being on 50 seat regional jets instead of the larger mainline equipment that it has almost exclusively used on CLT-LGA for years. Oh, and it’s also flying Philadelphia – LaGuardia 20 times a day, mainly on 37-seat turboprops…

• JetBlue will not be bringing back its Charlotte-Ft. Lauderdale flight this winter. The airline continues to fly to Boston and New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport from the CLT.

• And speaking of JetBlue, could they please bringing their pdf timetable back?

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Coda: Good Jake, Bad Jake

That was creepy.

Across four quarters today the guy neatly restated and compressed his entire career. Brutal running game and tight slants produces points; insane weak-arm outs give up easy points; creative, crunch-time grit, a late FG, and an opportunistic defense eeks out the win.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Clausen. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen enough to know that he doesn’t know that an NFL two-minute offense is not playing against a keep everything-in-front college prevent. Clausen makes up his mind where he is going with the ball pre-snap and that is that.

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The US Willie Nelson Patrol?

All kinds of wrong here.

First, understand that the Border Patrol runs its own TSA-like operations across the Southwest — throwing up “checkpoints” across federal interstates to harass US citizens because it is easier than patrolling the actual border. It was at one such papers-please interrogation site on I-10 in Sierra Blanca, TX that Willie Nelson’s tour bus rolled up on Friday.

A wily and courageous Border Patrol agent smelled pot — gasp! — and arrested Nelson. Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West via the El Paso Times:

“It’s kind of surprising, but I mean we treat him like anybody else,” West said.

“He could get 180 days in county jail, which if he does, I’m going to make him cook and clean,” West said. “He can wear the stripy uniforms just like the other ones do.”

A court date has yet to be set.

The Border Patrol checkpoint along Interstate 10 at Sierra Blanca averages 10 to 15 drug-related arrests a day West said, and he expects several more arrests during the weekend as holiday travelers pack the road.

Uh, sheriff — no it is not surprising. It is Willie Nelson. Perhaps one of the best known pot smokers on the planet. And why oh why is the Border Patrol making 70 to 100 “drug-related arrests” a week at a single US interstate barricade? That is not its job.

Just like it was not the TSA’s damn job to accuse Charlotte banker Kathy Parker of money laundering and/or leaving her husband just because an invasive TSA search turned up checks the TSA deemed suspicious. But without mission creep — without the federales unilaterally moving to expand the scope of their jurisdictions to all manner of possible criminal conduct — we might have actual accountability and responsibility among our various federal police overlords. And we can’t have that.

Better just book Willie Nelson and declare victory.

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Butler, Vance Advance

Berry and Mallard Creek fall — by definition with the latter as Vance used a late FG to top MC 10-7. Charlotte Catholic and Porter Ridge were also winners.

And see, if we had sane local government, Butler vs. Vance could be held down at Memorial Stadium.

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Easley Fine: $37 a Year

If you caught the spin from Mike Easley’s lawyer after his client pled guilty to a felony the message is this: Easley has been signing off on campaign finance reports since 1982, he was bound to make a mistake somewhere along the line (surprised no one brought up Easley’s learning disability which caused him to be given oral, as opposed to written, legal exams) but being the stand up guy that he is, Easley takes full responsibility for any errors someone else made in those reports. As a result, he accepts the technical finding of a deficiency for failing disclose a single helicopter ride, will pay his fine, and will go about serving his community in any way possible.

In other words, 27 years of filling out campaign reports and one $1000 error equates to a little over $37 a year in fines. See? What a mountain out of a pocket-change molehill. Move along good people. Nothing to see here.

Bonus Observation: Of all people Parks Helms comes very close to nailing the reason prosecutors pulled back from going the federal grand jury route with Easley — it was perceived as bad business for the state of North Carolina.

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CMPD’s Abu Kitty. Really?

So it is all hands on deck to “investigate” some tools in CMPD’s Animal Control unit? Not the general command competency as called into question by the Marcus Jackson affair and a pattern of officer misconduct. Not repeated indications that Chief Rodney Monroe is functioning as a wrecking ball within the department — see the Reserve Officer program and the chaplains. Not CMPD blowing past its budget two years running, reaching out to move money around in any way possible. Most of all, don’t ask Rodney about his “progress” toward that degree he never received, yet was a requirement for the position he now holds.

Forget all that. Someone is being mean to abandoned kit-tehs. Our potted plants on the Charlotte city council have their tendrils agitated. To the ramparts!

Bonus Observation: Speaking of Marcus Jackson, recall that the official CMPD spin was that he was suspended once for a “speeding-like” infraction. That turned out not to be true. Will his personnel record show additional infractions? Who returned him to duty? No wonder Abu Kitty is suddenly the CMPD distraction.

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