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Archive for August, 2012

CRVA to lie less about economic impact

That really is the take away point from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority’s decision to revamp how it tracks the (alleged) economic impact of conventions that come to town. The UPoR, which questioned the CRVA’s previous methodology explains:

The CRVA will move its research department from human resources – where it was seen as a marketing tool – and into accounting. And for the first time, the tourism authority plans to do follow-up work and see how many people actually attended conventions and how many hotel rooms were used.

In the past, the CRVA has inflated attendance by tens of thousands of people, which in turn led to claims of tens millions of dollars of economic impact. Much of that money likely never materialized.

In other instances, the CRVA added millions of dollars of visitor spending for no apparent reason, as was the case with the 2010 National Rifle Association Convention.

For that convention, the CRVA increased its estimate of spending by 600 percent.

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, the fact remains that the CRVA still has every reason and plenty of opportunity to shade the numbers to make itself look better.

The only thing that will stop that is actual oversight from Charlotte City Council. Good luck with that, as most members seem completely indifferent. Or worse. Like David Howard, for example, who apparently feels his job description does not extend to keeping an eye on agencies like the CRVA:

Council member David Howard, however, isn’t too concerned about the economic impact numbers the CRVA has been reporting to the public for years. “You do your best, and occasionally you overdo it, and occasionally you under-do it,” Howard said.

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Blog Crashers!

All is revealed:

RALEIGH — As North Carolina prepares to host its first major party presidential nominating convention, beginning Monday, staff members of Carolina Journal will be in Charlotte covering the proceedings.

Managing Editor Rick Henderson, Executive Editor Don Carrington, and Associate Editors Barry Smith and Dan Way will report on events inside Time Warner Cable Arena and across the city.

Carrington will focus on photographing and filming events. Smith will report on activities outside the arena and keep up with the North Carolina delegation, and will be joined by Way on the final day of the convention to report on the scene surrounding President Obama’s acceptance speech in Bank of America Stadium. Henderson will offer regular reporting and commentary, primarily through social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, and the new Tout video application, and will be writing commentary for Carolina Journal Online and Meck Deck, JLF’s Charlotte regional blog.

Meck Deck will serve as the home site for convention reporting and commentary during the week.

Videos taken during the week will be posted on the John Locke Foundation’s YouTube page.

Meantime, the CJ staff and experts from the John Locke Foundation will liveblog the main convention speeches Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights at Meck Deck.

“We may not get another opportunity to cover a national political convention so close to home any time soon, so we were eager to deploy most of our staff to Charlotte,” Henderson said. “We’re excited, and hope to inform and entertain our audience.”

Carolina Journal Online is the Internet outlet for JLF’s flagship publication Carolina Journal. The print edition of Carolina Journal is a monthly tabloid with a circulation of 70,000 statewide.

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Hood on More at Four ruling

John Hood has an excellent column out today on a new N.C. Court of Appeals’ new ruling on attempts to restrict eligibility for at-risk children in the state’s More at Four pre-K program. Definitely read what John had to write if you want a quick understanding of the issue and the path forward. A highlight:

Upon re-reading and reflection, I believe that the judges’ decision is reasonable given the facts and circumstances presented to them. We are in a transition period in North Carolina politics, a period in which the executive branch and legislative branch don’t see eye-to-eye. Leandro was never meant to be a permanent, sweeping transfer of political authority over education to the judicial branch. No one has elected Howdy Manning or any other judge to decide how best to educate North Carolina children.

But under Leandro, the judiciary does have the responsibility to demand that the executive and legislative branches pay attention to the needs of at-risk students. I suggest that in 2013 the newly elected governor and legislature file a motion in Manning’s court clarifying that North Carolina will satisfy its constitutional obligations by 1) funding preschool programs delivered by public and private providers to poor children with risk factors such as incarcerated, addicted, or absent parents; 2) paying teachers according to demonstrable success with at-risk students, and 3) giving the parents of at-risk students the ability to choose the school that best meets their needs.

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Exclusive DNC coverage

Yes here at the Meck Deck. Expect a special announcement soon…

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New Reuters article on the DNC

And it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of and for Charlotte:

The fundraising limits compound a number of other factors — from the sluggish economy to the Obama administration’s strained relationship with the business community — that have made it harder to convince corporations and trade groups to underwrite the parties and other events around the convention, they say.

Fewer members of Congress are also expected to attend than in years past.

“I think there’s more and more of a sense that the conventions are an anachronism and why bother? Why spend all this money?” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Dick Gephardt and John Kerry.

Democrats also face a tougher political environment than they did four years ago, when they gathered in Denver to crown Obama as the first African American to win a major party’s presidential nomination. And many were already less than enthusiastic about spending a week in Charlotte, which is known more for its banks than its cultural amenities.

“It’s grim,” said Heather Podesta, a Democratic lobbyist who scouted 30 of the city’s restaurants earlier this year. “Going to the NASCAR Hall of Fame isn’t reason enough to be in Charlotte.”

Party insiders worry that the restrictions will lead to a bare-bones convention that will alienate the allies they need to inspire ahead of the election. Labor unions, for example, donated $8.6 million to the party’s 2008 convention but are not participating this year.

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More Panthers’ misses

Marty Hurney’s latest high-profile misses include cutting kicker Olindo Mare — whose signing didn’t seem like a good idea at the time — and putting cornerback Brandon Hogan on IR. Drafting Hogan also didn’t seem like a good idea at the time, as he was damaged goods (he tore an ACL in December 2010).

The Panthers also cut defensive end Eric Norwood, who the team took in the fourth round in 2010. Got another round of cuts to come, but as of now, the tally on the 2009 and 2010 drafts is strikingly weak: the Panthers had a total of nine picks in the second through fourth rounds those years, which produced only two starters (Brandon LaFell and Sherrod Martin). Pathetic.

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Free Fernando!

From this awful video by the DNC host committee:

Bonus observation: The Republicans prove they’re utterly soulless in their response.

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Southwest Airlines drops RDU-PHL

Southwest today released their flight schedule from mid-March through April 12. No, no Southwest flights from Charlotte yet but the some of the changes to changes to existing AirTran and Southwest service from Charlotte and Raleigh are interesting.

We’ve previously discussed Southwest and AirTran service to the Carolinas, and what we can infer from that that about possible Southwest service from Charlotte. So time for a bit of an update:

Charlotte on AirTran: AirTran goes to only 3 daily Atlanta, 2 daily Baltimore in January and continues at that level through through into April. This is comparable to 2011, aside from Orlando service ending. Be interesting to see whether they add a third Baltimore flight next summer, like they had this summer (and on through to early January)

Raleigh/Durham (RDU): To no great surprise, Southwest is ending service from RDU to Philadelphia (PHL) come mid-March. We’ve already said Southwest wasn’t going to fly from Charlotte to Philly and this just comes as further proof. The Philadelphia focus city experiment was a failure for Southwest, and the city now just another spoke for the airline, much like RDU.

Speaking of RDU, Southwest and AirTran are combining for 29 flights a day in late March and early April: 3 x Atlanta, 6 x Baltimore, 3 x Chicago Midway, 1 x Denver, 1 x Ft. Lauderdale, 1 x Las Vegas, 2 x Houston, 4 x Nashville, 3 x Orlando, 1 x Phoenix, 1 x St. Louis, s x Tampa, for 29 total, or seven flights off this summer’s peak. Philly was three flights of that, while Atlanta, Baltimore, Midway, Denver, and Orlando are down a flight each, though those frequencies could very well return for the peak season. Oh, and Houston is up a flight versus last summer.

Said previously that for Southwest service from Charlotte:

The wildcards are Houston and Nashville. Nashville is about 90 percent of the market size (by dollar value) of Atlanta but only one airline current serves the route (US Airways, of course). So that seems possible. Houston once a day? Maybe, Southwest does that sort of stuff.

That Houston is now twice a day from RDU makes a CLT-Houston more likely in the future.

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The Charlotte Observer’s latest gimmick

“Premium editions.” I get the dead tree edition of the Charlotte Observer over the weekend and recently got a letter stating:

Thank you for your Charlotte Observer home delivery subscription,

We’re excited to tell you about newspaper enhancements that we’re introducing to subscribers this year. Premium editions will be part of each subscriber’s package that will bring added content and value. At the present time, you will receive one new premium edition on the following date in 2012:

Tuesday, December 25: ‘Year-End Sales” will offer you high advertising value, packed with ads for the post-holiday clearance sales that can save you money.

As a Weekend or Sunday Only home delivery subscriber, your account will be charged an additional $1 for this added value premium addition. Your automatic subscription debit amount will not change. Subscription expiration dates are subject to change due to the charge for premium content days.

To opt of the above premium edition call… between 6:30am and 3:00pm Monday-Friday and between 7:30am and 12:00 Noon Saturday and Sunday or go to the following link…

We are excited about introducing premium editions and what they will mean to our valued subscribers, such as you. As always, we appreciate your support and patronage.

Sincerely,

Jim Lamm

VP/Circulation
The Charlotte Observer

OK, I just have to laugh. There are, I suppose, people that actually like the idea of looking through a ton of advertising supplements. I’m not one of them. And I doubt this is a profit enhancing move for the UPoR, once you figure in the cost of sending all their weekend/Sunday subscribers a letter explaining what they’re doing and how to opt out if they choose. (I’m guessing most won’t opt out, simply because of the low cost and the time and effort involved to opt out.) And 6:30am to 3:00pm phone subscription hours? Really making it easy for your customers to get in touch with there…

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Meanwhile in Atlanta…

Over 200 residents turned to voice their opposition to a proposed new store coming to their area. No not a Walmart but rather a… Family Dollar. Sample quote:

“We have worked very hard to build this corridor with businesses that compliment the community,” [said Councilman C.T. Martin). “This store location is one step backwards. In fact, we have researched Family Dollar Stores Inc.’s pattern of locating their stores in Atlanta.”

OK.

H/t: JAT

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