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Archive for December, 2010

400K Jobless = Recovery in 2011?

Not holding Mike Walden responsible for this headline on his 2011 forecast, but still. The idea that 2011 will be much of an improvement on 2010 is dicey.

It all comes down to the jobs engine — or lack thereof. In the Charlotte area — considering the state of both speculative real estate and the financial sector — it is hard to see an engine. Construction and financial services seem to be right off the table.

Then, when you factor in the tax increases required to feed our refusal to right-size government, job growth of any kind in the region seems far-fetched.

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2010 Review: But Everything’s Fine…

I think we have to say that 2010 is the final year of spin for Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Facts began to punch through the Potemkin destination location facade, revealing basic fundamentals in local governance coming apart at the seams.

Recall that 2010 started with the Marcus Jackson affair. Some of us said that it was a window on both the dysfunction in Chief Rodney Monroe’s CMPD and the borderline psychotic detachment by Charlotte city council members. We said the public would never get answers to how Jackson came to be on the force given his disciplinary record and that justice would not come to his victims as Official Charlotte had every incentive to hide its misdeeds with a plea deal.

By the end of 2010 — Jackson got a plea deal that will likely spring him in 2011. The public is still in the dark. But don’t worry, our so-called leaders tell us, everything’s fine at CMPD.

And so it goes…

  • Handpicked panel of Uptown insiders — not that nay-saying Meck Deck loon — find 65 percent of the city of Charlotte General Fund — only a little item called public safety “unsustainable” in a matter months. But other than that, everything is fine with city finances…
  • The CRVA admits its NASCAR Hall of Fame is a wholly fraudulent operation, on its way to missing operating revenue targets by $10 million — or 62 percent — but everything’s fine as it makes a great loss-leader…
  • CMUD literally banked on federal pork dollars to finish required sewer and water lines, comes up millions short. Rate-payers will have to make up the difference for system that has been used and abused by the city and county, but other than that, everything is fine…
  • CMS spends impossible amounts of time and energy treading water when faced with finally having to prioritize spending, cutting $3m. here, $5m. when a complete re-jigger of the institution is years past due. But don’t blame the top staff for the bungles, they are wonderful and everything is fine…
  • CATS admits that a $9.5 billion transit plan adopted in 2006 in “unsustainable,” cuts all of $200m. out of a pointless run to UNCC, wishes and hopes for new tax revenue. But everything is fine, no reason to go back and start from scratch with a new plan…
  • Read the rest of this entry »

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Housing: Another 20% Drop Expected

Ha ha ha. You’re stuck here!

Facts are facts, folks. There is no reason to expect real estate to start trending anywhere but down.

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James: “Homosexuals are sexual predators”

This will end well.

Look, I am so straight I think all women should be lesbians…2 3 4…but this whole upset simply escapes me.

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US Airways Adds Second Seasonal CLT-Frankfurt Flight

That’s right. Two flights a day from Charlotte to/from Frankfurt, Germany from May 19 through Sept. 30.

Flight times are:
CLT – FRA: 4:15pm – 6:55am on an A330-300 and 8:15pm – 11:00am on a Boeing 767-200ER
FRA – CLT: 11:40a – 3:20pm on an A330-300 and 2:15pm -6:05pm on a Boeing 767-200ER

This leaves Charlotte – Manchester, England as the only currently unserved route that is even remotely plausible to Europe at this point.

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CLT Home Prices Fall 4.2% in Year

So sayeth the latest Case-Schiller index for October. Moreover:

While the composite housing prices are still above their spring 2009 lows, six markets – Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Portland (OR), Seattle and Tampa – hit their lowest levels since home prices started to fall in 2006 and 2007, meaning that average home prices in those markets have fallen beyond the recent
lows seen in most other markets in the spring of 2009.

Charlotte’s composite index of 114.06 (January 2000 is the benchmark at 100) now greatly lags both the 10-city composite (159.3) and the 20-city composite (145.3). In short, there is a housing bust in Charlotte, especially when compared with many other markets across the country which have recovered better and are no longer experiencing big price drops. And the drops may be accelerating.

For the past two months Charlotte has shed value at a 12 percent annual clip — a percent a month. There is nothing surprising or magical about this trend, not with the region struggling to recover the tens of thousands of jobs lost in the recession.

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Bruce Sterling vs. Julian Assange

Very interesting take. Be sure to stick around for the comments, some of which demolish Sterling along the way.

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Prediction: Panthers Don’t Take Luck

Still don’t believe that happens. Not even with a rookie wage scale put in place by the Big Cat and the owners.

Carolina has more holes than one guy can fill — that 33rd pick sitting in New England looks pretty good right now, huh Marty? Dan Snyder’s Skins have won their way out of a Top 10 pick and need a franchise QB guy. Snyder is a billionaire with borderline HOF coach. The Big Cat is not and does not have a coach. The one thing that argues against the Panthers trading down is Marty Hurney’s ego — Bill Polian traded out of #1 overall to start the franchise off. Turned out pretty well. If Marty does the same thing, instant measuring stick.

Now as to the question of should the Panthers trade down — don’t know. Too early. Depends on the coach, staff, and the labor situation.

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Anti-Free Speech Colleges in NC

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports on the state of free speech in higher education. In sum, it ain’t good.

Several colleges and universities in North Carolina received a “red-light” rating from the group, defined as:

Red Light: A “red-light” institution is one that has at least one policy both clearly and substantially restricting freedom of speech, or that bars public access to its speech-related policies by requiring a university login and password for access.

The red-lighters:

  • Appalachian State University
  • Davidson College
  • North Carolina Central University
  • North Carolina School of the Arts
  • University of North Carolina-Greensboro

And the yellow-lighters, defined as institutions with policies which could be interpreted as restraining speech in some instances:

  • Duke University
  • Elizabeth City State University
  • Fayetteville State University
  • North Carolina A&T
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of North Carolina – Asheville
  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina – Charlotte
  • University of North Carolina – Pembroke
  • University of North Carolina – Wilmington
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East Charlotte Murder Suspect on Probation

Sigh.

More blood on the hands of the Charlotte legal community.

Tre Barber, 17, has been charged with the Wednesday murder of Chaufa Johnson, following a dangerous high-speed pursuit down I-85 which endangered more lives, WBTV reported.

According to state corrections records, Barber was convicted of two felonies in September in Mecklenburg County and given 24 months probation.

WSOC reports:

Police said Barber and Johnson knew each other.

Johnson’s friends said they were standing with a group of other teenagers in the apartment complex’s parking lot. Police said Barber shot Johnson in the abdomen and then stole several items from her before driving away. Police have not said what they believe Barber took.

Johnson graduated from East Mecklenburg High School in June. She was enrolled at Central Piedmont Community College and was set to begin classes in January.

“My daughter was a wonderful, wonderful human being and she’s gone from me forever,” Andrea Johnson, the teen’s mother, said.

She said she has a message for her daughter’s killer.

“You have left me lost, with nothing,” she said. “She was my best friend in the world.”

Merry Christmas, Charlotte bar.

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