Hurricane Florence

I would like to say a few words about Hurricane Florence and its aftermath. I live in New Bern, North Carolina, one of the areas hit hard by the hurricane. Thankfully the damage to my house was limited to a tree coming down in the driveway and an amazing amount of tree parts that were brought out to the curb. However, not everyone was so fortunate.

During the storm, the Cajun Navy helped rescue people who were stranded by the flood. Other groups also assisted in that effort. Since the storm, we have seen volunteers come in from all parts of the country to help restore power, to help feed people who lost their homes, to help people more large trees that fell, to help remove wallboard and items from flooded homes, and to collect clothing and school supplies for those in need. Neighbors and friends are helping each other in the recovery. There have been free meals for those in need provided by churches and outside groups. Some of the groups involved in helping people impacted by the hurricane are Operation Blessing, Samaritan’s Purse, and Team Rubicon.There are others, but those are the ones I am familiar with. The local churches are playing a major role in the recovery–Temple Baptist Church has provided meals; Without Limits Christian Center has acted as a home base for Operation Blessing. Churches in nearby towns also impacted by the hurricane have also provided food and clothing for those who need it.

The students in Craven County will be out of school tentatively until October 8. The early college students went back to school on October 1. There are still many displaced students and teachers, and I am sure this will be a challenging year for all of us.

This has not been an easy time for coastal North Carolina, but it has been a time of neighbors helping each other and sharing resources. It will be a long process to get back to normal, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. The New Bern Mum Fest will go on as scheduled on October 12 – 14th. Our city is open for business. We have a long way to go, but we will get there through working together and helping each other.

Why I Oppose The Relocation Of Syrian Refugees To The United States

On February 9, I posted an article about the vetting of the Middle Eastern refugees that are headed for America.

In that article, I quoted a Breitbart.com article:

Two houses in the village (Sankt Johann) are used to house Syrian refugees, but among the opponents of the Assad regime living there SPIEGEL TV tracked down a suspected commander of the Islamic State terror group after tip offs from other Syrian activists. They had identified him as a man called Bassam, a notorious commander said to be responsible for the deaths of dozens of people.

…As Breitbart London recently reported, German security forces have received more than 100 tip-offs that Islamic State fighters may be hiding among migrants currently staying in the country.

Because the government of Syria has dissolved, there is no way of vetting any of these refugees. We allow them to enter our country at our own risk.

Meanwhile, gopthedailydose.com posted the list of American cities that ISIS has listed as targets. In North Carolina, Fayetteville and New Bern are listed as targets.

Recently, the Craven County (which includes New Bern) Board of Commissioners passed a Resolution stating that until there is a way to vet the refugees from countries where terrorists are in charge, Craven County should not accept any refugees from those countries.

Compassion for these refugees is needed, but it would actually be more compassionate to help them find safe places near their homelands where they can live safely until it is safe to go home.

 

A Local Election That Got Ugly Fast

Local politicians tend to get entrenched. It seems as if once they get elected, they are there for life. This is definitely the case with the Craven County Board of Education. Carr Ipock, the chairman, has served as chairman since 1994. Although the biographies listed on the Board website do not specify how long the other members have served, it seems as if most of them have been there for at least four years. This year three of the Board members are running for re-election; one member is retiring from the Board. There will be four openings to be filled on the Board of Education in November. There are primary elections on March 15th for two of those openings. In the primary elections, candidates run in their own districts. In November, all the candidates that made it through the primary election will vie for the four contested seats on the Board. Among the candidates running for the Board of Education are four candidates that are running on a “Back to Basics” slate. These candidates want to end Common Core in our schools, bring transparency to the Board of Education, and encourage more cooperation between the Board of Education and parents and teachers.  This is the backdrop of the story I am about to tell.

The New Bern Sun Journal posted an editorial today about some recent problems in the Craven County schools. Recently there was an issue with a student being injured by a teacher restraining him. The Board of Education attempted to use legal means to block a parent from viewing a videotape of the incident. There was also an incident of losing a large amount of federal money due to an incorrectly filled-out form. These are incidents which have begun to undermine the basic confidence in the Board of Education. Now there is another incident which further damages their image.

The editorial in the Sun Journal reports:

Now the Craven County Board of Education, of which some members are running for re-election, wants the city of New Bern to intervene on their behalf and remove campaign signs from the vicinity of the school district headquarters.

Here’s the complaint, sent by the school district’s diretor of communications, Jennifer Wagner:

“Under the direction of the Board of Education, I am submitting a formal complaint regarding the campaign signs placed in front of the Board of Education located at 3600 Trent Road.

“These signs are a violation of Board Policy as well as City Ordinance 15-324 (b)Temporary signs cannot be located within street rights-of-way or public property unless approved by the board of aldermen or its designee.

“The Board of Education requests that these signs be removed immediately and requests that the public property located at 3600 Trent Road be free of all political campaign signs so it does not appear that the Board of Education is endorsing any candidates.”

Either the Board of Education must think voters are pretty stupid, or it is using the “endorsing any candidates” ruse as an excuse to have the campaign signs removed.

Either way, school board members are trying to get the city of New Bern to act as their stooge.

No one believes that campaign signs in public rights-of-way indicate endorsement by businesses or organizations that happen to be nearby.

 The obvious solution to the problem would be for the candidates on the Board to add their signs to the side of the road. Early voting begins on March 3rd, and the primary election is on March 15th. After that, all this silliness will suspend until October. I really think the Craven County Board of Education is setting a horrible example for the children they are elected to serve.

 

The End Of Grassroots Republicans In North Carolina

This is not a local interest story–if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere. It is not a Republican story–if the Republican establishment can do this, then the Democratic establishment can do it.

The following is taken from today’s Beaufort Observer:

Our friends and neighbors in Craven County, Hal and Raynor James, we have found to be principled conservatives and very active in Republican Party matters. In short, we trust them. They sent out the following email newsletter we thought many would not only appreciate but have been expecting such. They write:

Dear Fellow Citizens,

Hold on to your hats. This is ugly, and your help is needed.

A new chapter in the HB 373, SB 119 (shadow parties in the NC House and Senate, plus additional shadow parties in the Council of State for the Governor) fiasco has been revealed today.

Like many of you, we got an email purporting to come from NC GOP Chairman, Hasan Harnett today speaking of party unity and explaining that the affiliated party committees would not be activated.

We replied countering the arguments that everything is all right, and stating in no uncertain terms what we believe the real situation is and why. (We’ll send you a copy of that email if you’d like it.)

We got a reply, not from Hasan, but from Dallas Woodhouse who said, “Thanks for your comments. We are working to keep all the republican elements together making the law changes moot.”

A proper translation of that email might read, “The RINO establishment has succeeded in usurping control of the NC GOP, so it will be unnecessary to activate the affiliated party committees unless the grassroots gets control back.”

We talked to a friend who had gotten exactly the same reply from Dallas Woodhouse when he tried to reply to Hasan Harnett and smelled a rat, so we wrote to Hasan on his personal email. That led to a long phone conversation.

Hasan Harnett and Michele Nix have been “played” by the RINO establishment.

In most state parties, the party chairman selects his or her staff. They select an Executive Director and pull together an office staff, and the team thus formed works effectively together.

North Carolina is odd in that regard. The Central Committee hires the Executive Director and he/she hires the staff. Games were played in the Central Committee. The top 5 candidates for Executive Director were to be interviewed, but somehow the 6th candidate on the list was interviewed as if he had been one of the top 5, and (are you ready for this?), he was hired. He is the aforementioned Dallas Woodhouse.

The rest of the staff is left over from the prior team.

Guess what? The new Executive Director, Dallas Woodhouse, and the rest of the “team” have frozen Hasan out. They have changed the passwords and user names on the email accounts, and Hasan cannot sign checks. How’s that for a helpful staff?

The RINO establishment types have been prodding Hasan to raise funds, and at the same time they’ve been asking the usual big donors to hold back on donations, so they can chastise Hasan for “failure to be a good fund raiser.” The truth is that the GOP is in about the usual situation with respect to funds raised at this time in the campaign cycle. This is an artificially created situation. The establishment is trying to manufacture a crisis and use it to do what they’ve been planning to do ever since Hasan and Michele were elected.

Hasan has never received a salary as Chairman, and to put the icing on the cake, the Central Committee has refused to continue paying his travel expenses. So here’s their message to Hasan, “Don’t travel. Don’t have control of your office and email. Do raise money. Why haven’t you raised it yet?” If you were faced with that situation, would you find the job doable?

So what are we going to do about it? Let’s email (hasan.harnett@gmail.com) and call (704-526-9432) Hasan and ask him to set up a new bank account to work with. Let’s send him $5, $10, or whatever we can afford regularly. Let’s ask Hasan what else we can volunteer to do that will help.

Let’s also get this information to as many people as we can and urge them to do the same. Let’s form our own network of support to help Hasan help Constitutional conservative candidates get elected, and let’s shine bright sunlight on the evil deeds of the schemers. It’s time their divisive tactics are exposed.

Yours in freedom,

Hal and Raynor James

I understand that this is happening in North Carolina; however, there is a message here for all Americans. Get involved. If you don’t get involved, you probably won’t like the people who do. If you want America to be ruled by a political class, ignore what is happening around you. If you want the America our Founding Fathers envisioned, where average Americans had a voice in their government, get involved.

North Carolina And The Certificate Of Need

I recently was part of a group that traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, to hear a legislative committee meeting about the Certificate of Need that is required to open a medical facility in North Carolina.

The following write-up of the hearing can be found at the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association (CCTA) Website:

The Certificate of Need (CON) hearing was on HB200, a bill sponsored by Representative Marilyn Avila that would remove several types of operating rooms (including those for ophthalmology procedures and colonoscopy) from the list of medical facilities which are required to apply for (a lengthy, expensive, difficult process) and get a CON before they can be set up.

It is our Legislative Action Committee’s position that hospitals have managed to have a monopoly on CON’s for years, have used them to shut individual physicians out of competition, and have used them to drive the cost of procedures up (people who pay for their own health care, and people who are experiencing higher and higher co-pays see this very clearly). This has resulted in higher salaries for some members of hospital staffs and very high retained earnings for some hospitals including the one here in New Bern.

The hearing was fast paced, enormously interesting, and did nothing to dispel our view.

Representative Avila introduced the bill, said a few words about it, and then explained that the group would hear from one person who was in favor of passage of the bill and a second person who was against it.

Connie Wilson, a lobbyist for a group of physicians, spoke first. She was followed by a lobbyist for a group of hospitals. They each spoke for about ten minutes.

Connie speaks fluidly. She’s very clear, concise, and straightforward. She builds her case with facts. She uses charm and humor. (Can you tell I was REALLY impressed?) She made the bill seem like the best thing to come along since sliced bread.

The fellow who spoke for hospitals used platitudes, veiled warnings about what “might” happen if some CON requirements were lifted, and tried to create fear. He did a respectable job for someone who had to defend an indefensible position, but I found myself constantly annoyed by things he said.

Then the questions began.

We’d been given to understand that 5 Representatives were of particular concern to folks who want the bill to pass, and every one of them was at the hearing, and each of them asked one or more questions that seemed to be from a negative perspective.

I’m going to tell you who each of the 5 is, what district he serves, what his contact information is, and then ask you a favor. Here they are…

Representative John Szoka is a Republican serving NC House District 45. His home is in Fayetteville. His office is in Room 2223 of the Legislative Building. His phone is 919-733-9892. His email is john.szoka@ncleg.net.

Representative Josh Dobson is a Republican serving NC House District 85. His home is in Nebo. His office is in Room 1006 of the Legislative Building. His phone is 919-733-5862. His email is josh.dobson@ncleg.net.

Representative Brian Brown is a Republican serving NC House District 9. His home is in Greenville. His office is in Room 604 of the Legislative Office Building. His phone is 919-733-5757. His email is brian.brown@ncleg.net.

Representative Kelly Hastings is a Republican serving NC House District 110. His home is in Cherryville. His office is in Room 1206 of the Legislative Building. His phone is 919-715-2002. His email is kelly.hastings@ncleg.net.

Representative Nelson Dollar is a Republican serving NC House District 36. His home is in Cary. His office is in Room 307-B of the Legislative Office Building. His phone is 919-715-0795. His email is nelson.dollar@ncleg.net.

If you live in the district of one of these folks, please go to see them, give them a call, or email them (expressed in the order of preference), and ask them to support HB200. Do this as quickly as you can. This bill needs to be reported out of the Health Committee, be heard by 2 other committees, and be voted on on the House floor by “crossover” on April 30 in order to remain viable.

Jay Singleton, DO, FACS, spoke at a recent CCTA meeting in Stanly Hall in New Bern, North Carolina. He is an eye surgeon who is supporting repeal of the Certificate of Need (CON). He sums up the issue as follows, “The CON law is one of the few existing laws that has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.  Hospitals have used this law for nearly forty years to become too big to fail in our state.  Many members of the general assembly have been duped by the hospital association and its lobbyists into believing healthcare would collapse and the sky would fall without this dubious law.  Do not fall for the chicken little argument.”

As a resident of Massachusetts, I had cataract surgery on each eye. The first surgery was done in the hospital at Boston Eye and Ear. That is an outstanding hospital, although it has limited available parking and is in the middle of city traffic. The second surgery was done at Surgisite in Waltham, Massachusetts. It was easier to get to, parking was available, and the experience was much easier and less stressful (aside from being much cheaper). Based on my personal experience, I would strongly suggest that the North Carolina legislature repeal the CON law and allow the free market to lower the cost of medical care in the State of North Carolina and to give people the option of receiving quality medical care in small local facilities that specialize in specific areas rather than exclusively in large hospitals.