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Archive for December, 2012

DNC sales tax results in

Disappointing expect for hotels (duh) and bars and restaurants. And I would expect selected bars and restaurants at that. From the UPoR:

“Outside of the hospitality industry, there doesn’t appear to be much going on,” said Craig Depken, an economist at UNC Charlotte who has studied the economic impact of political conventions on host cities.

Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner, who reviewed sales tax receipts at the Observer’s request, said it appears visitor spending was limited to restaurants, food and drink uptown.

“I don’t know if too many people who came for the DNC made the trip to SouthPark,” Vitner said.

All of which is completely unsurprising if one really thinks about — though it’s questionable how much individual think(ing) goes on in this town as opposed to group think.

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Anthony Foxx on Independence Boulevard

Per the UPoR: “If we try to revitalize Independence Boulevard, we can’t half do it.” Given the mayor’s previous belief in spending a quarter billion dollars in city money on the streetcar as an economic development tool, be scared, be very scared

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Lies, statistics and meth labs

A legislative study committee is recommending that North Carolina become the third state to require a prescription to buy cold medicine that contains pseudophedrine. The argument is that similar laws in Mississippi and Oregon have resulted in a marked decrease in “meth lab incidents.”

Just one problem — the number of “meth lab incidents” started dropping before Oregon pasted its law. As Scott Mooneyham observes:

According to the numbers, the incidents in Oregon dropped from 50 in 2006, when its prescription-only law took effect, to only a handful today. In Mississippi, the incidents dropped from about 700 in 2010 to around 250 in 2011.

Other than law enforcement reviews, there doesn’t appear to have been a hard look at the numbers in Mississippi.

That is not the case in Oregon.

Cascade Policy Institute, a free-market advocacy think tank similar to this state’s John Locke Foundation, commissioned its own study this year looking at the Oregon law.

The study pointed out that Oregon’s dramatic drop in meth lab incidents had actually begun two years before the prescription-only law was passed. In 2004, there had been more than 400 meth lab incidents, compared to 50 in year that the law went into effect.

My John Locke Foundation colleague Jon Sanders has a column out today on this issue as well. He writes in part:

In sum, the meth addicts keep on — addiction being what addiction is — finding ways to feed their addiction. A negative side effect of the tougher laws is that the new ways are increasingly dangerous to users and nonusers alike.

The heavy traffickers aren’t stopped by laws preventing them from stocking up at the corner drug store. They just get more supplies from Mexican narcotics labs.

Cold sufferers? They are the ones jumping through hoops. Already they’re having to purchase formerly effective cold medicines that have replaced pseudoephedrine with phenylephrine, whose effectiveness in treating cold and allergy symptoms rivals that of ye aulde sugar pille. Now, apparently, legislators are considering forcing them — all of us, really — to go to the doctor (at cost of time and money) to get a prescription for formerly OTC medication.

But cheer up, Carolina cold sufferer. Have you considered what all that means? The next time you sneeze, you could save the money you might have spent on a state-sanctioned, glorified placebo. You could just as effectively treat your cold with the thought that the same laws making you unable to purchase an effective cold treatment hassle-free are enriching some drug lord south of the border. Bless you!

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Negotiating basics

For the benefit of Charlotte City Council as they deal with the Panthers, here’s a link to a nice summary of the basics of negotiating from USA Today. Most of this is common sense if you think about it, but it’s pretty obvious that the mayor and a majority of council have never really seriously thought about what the game plan is for the city in dealing with the Panthers on Bank of America Stadium upgrades.

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Charlotte’s early 19th-century gold rush

JLF head John Hood, who is a Charlotte native, spoke in Raleigh today on the gold rush here in Charlotte during the first half of the 19th century. A short clip:

You can watch the whole presentation here (bottom of the page, give it time to load).

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US Airways to Oklahoma City?

Yup, that’s what the airline is proposing as part of an effort to get an extra slot at Washington Reagan National airport (DCA), where it is the dominate airline.

Here’s the deal: DCA is capacity restricted. Most DCA takeoff and landing slots can be used for flights to any place within 1,250 miles. Beyond that, there are two types of special slots: Those that can be used for destinations over 1,250 miles away and special extra slots to encourage service to “smaller” communities within 1,250 miles. One of those smaller city service slots is now available. US Airways, JetBlue, and Southwest have all made proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the slot.

U.S. Airways wants to use it to offer a flight to Oklahoma City (OKC). If it wins, it would offer twice daily Charlotte – Oklahoma City flights as well. OKC is the second or third largest market depending upon the season within 1,200 miles of Charlotte without a nonstop. Oklahoma City is also the largest city without a flight to DCA.

JetBlue is proposing a flight to Jacksonville, FL while Southwest wants to fly from DCA to Houston Hobby. Both cities already have service to DCA; US Airways serves Jacksonville while United flies from Houston Intercontinental to DCA. The airlines’ applications stress how they would increase competition. JetBlue and Southwest will also argue that US Airways can start OKC-DCA flights whenever it wants to using one of the 230 or slots it already controls at Reagan National, which is certainly a valid point. Be interesting to see if US Airways doesn’t win whether they choose to begin Oklahoma City service anyway.

US Airways has an interest counter argument against Southwest though — in the previous DCA small community slot competition a few months back, Southwest itself proposed an OKC-DCA flight (!). (US Airways won with a proposal for Jackson, MS service.)

: We’ve seen this 2 CLT/1 DCA formula from US Airways before. When it started flights from Omaha, NE and Des Moines, IA to the east coast earlier this year, it began by offering 2 CLT and 1 DCA flight to each. Presumably, we might expect this pattern to continue going forward though there just aren’t that many second-tier destinations in the eastern U.S. that US Airways doesn’t currently fly to from Charlotte.

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Tillis speaks on eugenics compensation

House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, talking to the Wilmington Star-News:

To me, the Republican Party is all about opposing government takings. I can’t imagine anything more demonstrative of an egregious government taking than one’s reproductive abilities.

Interesting approach to the subject. Tillis has been a strong supporter of compensation for victims of the state’s forced sterilization program. Not all Republicans in the General Assembly, however, share his view.

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Heathrow in, Gatwick out

US Airways flight times:

CLT out: 7:05pm Heathrow in: 8:05am (next day); Heathrow out: 10:05am CLT in: 2:10pm. Very nice flight times.

Flights to Heathrow begin March 30. US Airways is dropping London Gatwick the same day. No surprise there.

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Brian Moynihan talks

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan speaking at the Brookings Future of Homeownership Forum in Washington D.C.:

As we think about the future of the housing system, how does everything we have learned during the crisis and recovery apply? It underscores the need to shape a system that keeps borrowers out of the situation of owning a home and not being able to afford it. It means shifting the conversation from what percentage of Americans own homes to what is the right solution at the right time for each individual or family.

True enough. Just wish that sentiment had been more common in Washington and the banking industry for the past, oh, 15 years or so.

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RIP Roy Montgomery

Roy Laine Montgomery, the last survivor of 28 African-American soldiers falsely convicted in connection with the lynching of an Italian POW in 1944 at Fort Lawton, WA, has passed away at the age of 91 in Chicago.

And what you ask does this have to do with Charlotte? Montgomery is the grandfather of Kendall Gill, who played for the Charlotte Hornets in the 1990s.

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December 2012
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