Category Archives: News

meeting, November 20, 2017, More Personnel, Government Spending on Boondoggles

My last report contained the good news that a staff request to apply for a grant to fund hiring a new staff member for CARTS was  denied!  The vote actually was a non-partisan NO!  Five No, Commissioner Sampson voted Yes and Commissioner McCabe’s vote was not audible.

Well, at the first meeting his month, STAFF SAW TO IT THAT THE Commissioners would not get confused by a citizen bringing negative aspects of their plans to light. They called a “work session” at which citizens were not allowed to speak before the regularly scheduled Board Meeting at which citizens could speak.


The authority to hire was taken up in two different motions.  The Commissioners voted:  Tom Mark-Yes to both, Scott Dacey-Yes to both, Theron McCabe- Yes to both, Johnnie Sampson- Yes to both, Jason Jones-Yes to both, George Liner-Yes to both, Steve Tyson-Yes to both.

Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood.   I did not indicate that CCTA objects to the two positions, but the manner in which the hiring authority was considered and approved without the opportunity for public comment and with no discussion of reduction in spending elsewhere to accommodate this increase in personnel.

Here is my account of something else that happened:  One Monday, November 6, I got a call from John Droz, a physicist who lives in Morehead City.  John said he’d seen Craven County Commissioner, Scott Dacey, at a tea party meeting in Carteret County, and Scott was excited to tell him that the Craven County ordinance that regulates industrial wind turbines is being re-written and that the new ordinance would be much better and more like the ordinance passed in Carteret. Commissioner Dacey subsequently emailed John a copy of what he thought at the time was a copy of the new proposed ordinance.

Initially, John Droz was pleased, but when he looked at the “new” wind law, he concluded it was “not materially different from the existing one.” John has developed a system to evaluate wind turbine laws and whether they protect the health, safety, and welfare of citizens.  He assigns 20 points to each of five areas of concern, so a perfect law would get 100 points.

The areas John looks at are setbacks, acoustics, property value protection, environmental concerns, and decommissioning requirements.  Setbacks and acoustics are particularly important to citizens’ health and property values concerns.

When John looked at Craven’s ordinance, he gave it 15 points for the decommissioning aspects of it and zero points for anything else.  That’s 15 points out of a possible 100 points.  He said, “Out of the 200 (plus or minus) U.S. local wind laws I’ve seen, this is one of the worst.”  By way of comparison, he gave Carteret’s ordinance 100 points.

It turns out that Commissioner Dacey mistakenly sent John a copy of the existing ordinance.

At the Craven Commissioners’ work session the proposed wind ordinance was discussed and was actually compared to the current Carteret ordinance.  At one point, a participant in the discussion said that it is obvious that the objective of the Carteret ordinance is to prevent wind turbines from being built.  A discussion of a moratorium came up and was briefly discussed.  No action was taken.

AT today’s Board meeting County manager, Jack Viet said that the process to affect a moratorium would take  several months and that changes to the ordinance could be done just as quickly and that staff would work on it.

The Board also approved a request from the ABC Board to purchase a parcel of land on which to build a new ABC store for Bridgeton.  The important thing about that is that heretofore the ABC Board has rented buildings or shopping center space to house their stores.  When this subject came up a prior meeting, Commissioner Tyson pointed that out and said he would rather the government rent from the private sector than to spend taxpayer money expanding government holdings.  After the meeting I asked Commissioner Tyson why he had changed his mind and he said he honestly did not know.

Today’s meeting was a continuation of freely spending taxpayer money on boondoggles without open discussion.  An Example:

REQUEST FROM VETERANS EMPLOYMENT BASE CAMP AND ORGANIC GARDENING: The Executive Director of  a “non-profit” organization named “Veteran’s Employment Base Camp and Organic Garden” requested the Commissioner’s support for it’s grant application for the “City Farmers Market Center Project.”    With glowing talk about the great things they are going to do for veterans and the Duffyfield section of New Bern, no mention was made of the amount of taxpayer money to be spent and in what manner.  Nor that the ultimate goal is to replace the present farmer’s market that is privately run with a government/non-profit conglomerate that really knows how to spend taxpayer money on boondoggles.   NO MENTION OF THE GRANT AMOUNT OF $400,000 that is to be applied for, nor the City of New Bern’s grant of $1.5 MILLION to develop the site.  Pretty soon these grants are going to amount to real money!  Wonder what the director’s job of this Non-profit pays?

Anyway, this request was approved.  I believe I heard one mumbled Nay.

Respectfully submitted,


Hal James

CCTA Watchdog Committee Chairman

This Week’s TRUMP REPORT CARD by Constance Hanna

This article appeared in The County Compass September 14-20 issue.
     The President plans to visit as many as 13 states in the next seven weeks to sell the need for tax reform.  He will concentrate on states he won during the general election that have a Democrat senator up for reelection next year.  These include Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  In some instances, cabinet members will follow the President’s visit to amplify his message.  This is a proactive strategy to energize voters to contact their representatives and senators and let their preferences be known.  Good luck, Mr. President!
     This week the President announced his seventh wave of Federal Judicial Appointments.  He nominated 16 individuals this time.  The Democrats continue to slow the appointments by using the full 30 hours of debate allowed for each nomination.  By mid-July each of the four previous administrations (Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama) had an average number of 190 appointments confirmed.  For President Trump, that number was 50.  In August, James Langford (R-OK) proposed reducing the debate time to 8 hours or less which would allow a debate and a vote on five or more appointments a week instead of one or two.
So far, this has not come to fruition.
     President Trump hosted Senators for a bipartisan dinner at the White House on Tuesday, September 12th.  Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Thune (R-SD), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) discussed advancing the Administration’s legislative priorities in general, and there was emphasis on tax cuts for American families in particular.  Michael Goodwin of The New York Post said that, although there is no guarantee for success, “History consistently rewards those presidents whose leadership produces results that reflect a broad consent of the governed.”
     Reflecting this same thought, President Trump said on Thursday, “When we set aside our differences — and it’s amazing sometimes how little our differences are — we put our country and the citizens of our country first.”
     I’d say the President had another “A” week, but it’s a good thing I’m not rating the Senate.  They’re not earning high marks, but maybe they’ll respond well to a shared dinner and shared ideas.  And maybe we should call them?!!

Protectionist CON laws and you, the unprotected by Dr. Jay Singleton

Protectionist CON laws and you, the unprotected

by Dr. Jay Singleton

Dr. Singleton is Board Certified in Ophthalmology (scoring in the 95th percentile), and he specializes in cataract surgery, laser cataract surgery, Lasik surgery, glaucoma surgery, blepharoplasty, and treatment of diseases of the eye.  He has performed over 20,000 cataract surgeries. His medical practice is located on Trent Road in New Bern, North Carolina.

Dr. Singleton has worked for some time to try to convince the NC General Assembly to eliminate Certificate of Need (CON) laws, and the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association’s State Legislative Action Committee is also working toward that end.


I see patients from all over Eastern NC.  Many of these patients have just moved here from northern states.  When it comes time for surgery, they almost invariably say, “Why can’t you just do my cataract surgery here in your office?  Where I’m from, there are outpatient surgery centers everywhere.”

My answer is always the same, “In NC, a mutually beneficial deal has been struck between the large hospitals’ systems and many of our lawmakers to push patients toward higher priced, hospital owned surgery centers.”

The instrument they use to do this is a group of laws called the Certificate of Need laws (CON laws).  These laws were enacted by the federal government in the early 1970s to control costs in healthcare by preventing duplication of services.  By 1987, CON laws were abandoned because they did not achieve their intended purposes.  Unfortunately, North Carolina kept their very strict form of CON laws that even today rank as the third most restrictive in the continental US.  This means that nearly all healthcare services are regulated by the DHHS, and a healthcare entity must prove a need exists in their county or region.

This is where it gets interesting.  For surgery centers to survive, they must collect a separate fee from insurance companies called a facility fee.  This fee is paid in addition to surgical fees to offset the overhead costs of a particular surgery.  You must have a CON in NC to collect this fee, and you must prove need, and be unopposed by the hospital system in your region to acquire a CON.


For example, without a facility fee in cataract surgery, a surgeon would make $580 and incur $800 in overhead.  In addition, facility fees are variable.  Hospitals are given two to three times more fees for the same surgery as a hidden subsidy for loses incurred from the care of uninsured patients (as if being completely tax exempt isn’t enough to off-set that).


In assessing need, the cards are intentionally stacked in favor of hospitals.  If one looks at the CONs awarded over the last decade, almost all were awarded to hospitals except those granted to dialysis centers.  Each year, the NC State Health Coordinating Council (SHCC) provides a list of “need per region,” and despite our state recently growing to over 9 million residents, the list still showed no increase in need.

If a physician is somehow able to prove need in his or her area in spite of that situation, the friendly local hospital can oppose the project and that runs legal fees up to, on average, something in excess of $400,000.

CON laws are protectionist (of hospitals at the expense of physicians and their patients who could be served more conveniently and at less expense).  CON laws are also unconstitutional at their core.  Yet the laws’ unfairness and unconstitutionality are flaunted in plain sight.  Our state will continue to cling to its special brand of CON laws as long as we keep looking the other way.  Keeping silent on the subject will not make them go away; only citizens actively expressing their displeasure to their representatives in the General Assembly can make a difference.

Fighting federal intrusion, data gathering, and student indoctrination

We at CCTA have had several opportunities recently to continue our battle against the intrusion of the federal government into local education and the indoctrination of children in socialism and globalization.

The Craven County Republican Women’s Club had the new NC Secretary of Public Instruction, Mark Johnson, as a speaker. Several CCTA members were present. Mr. Johnson invited one on one discussion after his talk. I showed him a document with the portion of the Common Core Educational Standards that require fourth graders to “discuss the effect of discrimination in our American culture,” and he agreed that they are age inappropriate, and he asked if he could keep the copies I had with me. I gave them to him.

At a recent meeting of the Craven County Board of Commissioners, a request made by Craven School Superintendent, Megan Doyle, to lease I-Pads for the use of each student and teacher in the county (K though 12) was approved. That resulted in a 3 year renewable lease for I-Pads at an annual cost of $986,789. This is a significant increase in “capital funding,” and the cost of the I-Pads was not mentioned in the presentation, nor was the fact that some child development specialists are saying that introducing young children (K through 2) to electronic devices interferes with their motor skill development and actually retards brain development. However, a meeting has been scheduled with Dr. Doyle to address CCTA’s concerns about the school system and to address her concerns about some of CCTA’s assertions.

Education was also discussed on our last CCTA “Wake- Up Call” radio show. Rick arranged for Lynn Taylor, known as “Common Core Diva,” to be a special guest via Skype. Lynn lives in Mooresville (near Charlotte), North Carolina. She spent 23 years homeschooling her 3 children. Lynn is admired and respected by Kim Fink, and her CCTA Public Education Committee.

Rick asked Lynn if what’s going on in education here and what’s going on in the UN have any relationship. She said they are related, and the key to understanding it are the notions of “collectivism” and “sustainability,” and goals built around the idea of being “green.” The idea is that “technology saves trees,” and “we can’t be one big happy world if we’re not all connected digitally.” NC has been among the first to hook up to global efforts for education and data sharing. Lynn also says FERPA (the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Right Act of 1974”) has been gutted by an Executive Order by President Obama. She pointed out that data can be collected (without permission) in students’ homes by their school provided devices.

This change was accomplished by a publication of the US. Department of Education which states in part: “High quality data and robust data systems will help us measure our progress towards President Obama’s goal for us to be first in the world in college completion by the year 2020 and better meet the needs of parents, teachers, and students. … the U.S. Department of Education (Department) has begun several initiatives to provide technical assistance to States, districts, and schools to protect the privacy rights of students, promote the responsible use of data to inform education policy and practices and empower parents, teachers and students to use this information to advocate for their rights and improve their educational outcomes.”

We don’t believe a word of that publication, and you shouldn’t either. You’ll see why if you listen to that installment of “Wake-Up Call” which you can do by going to The program ends with ideas about how we can help fix this mess!

BBQ Fundraiser


CCTA Wake Up Call- August 27, 2107

Rick opened by opining that the “main stream” media and Hollywood are responsible for the divide in our country, and explained how “cord cutting” is reducing their cash flow.  Cable and satellite providers forward some of the monies subscribers pay them to each of the channels the subscriber can get (regardless of whether the subscriber ever watches that particular channel or not).

Rick said that, in the first quarter of this year, 750,000 subscribers discontinued their subscriptions to cable and satellite TV.  In the next quarter, about 1 million subscribers did the same, and Rick said that this is beginning to really rattle the likes of CNN (which has fewer than 1 million viewers), ESPN, NBC, and the like.  They cannot operate on their advertising revenues alone, so they have a growing fear that “cable cutters” (conservatives voting with their pocket books) will put them out of business.  Rick suggests that conservatives do a search for “cord cutters” in order to learn how to keep up with the news and get entertainment on your TV without the “cord.”  He also suggests that the search be done on a search engine that keeps you anonymous like instead of using google since google has begun censoring conservatives.

Next, Hal gave us the facts about, and we discussed the fact that on Monday the Craven County Schools requested that the Board of Commissioners give them a sizeable amount of money for them to lease I-Pads for every student and teacher in kindergarten through 12th grade.  Several interesting things emerged.  The amount of the request was never mentioned (it was in the online agenda).  The money was to come from the county’s “capital account” (taxpayer monies set aside for bricks and mortar projects) even though it’s to be an on going annual expense.  (This kind of thing is happening in Beaufort County, too.)  And the I-Pads are to be provided for kindergartners and first and second graders in spite of the fact that CCTA members who were on Kim Fink’s Public Education Committee and attended all of the Academic Standards Review Commission hearings in Raleigh heard an early childhood development specialist who testified say that beginning to use electronic devices too early retards the development of a child’s motor skills and is counter productive in the early grades.

We also got into a discussion of the place of real books in addition to electronics which led to a brief mention of the effects of an EMP event and how the likes of North Korea (among others) would love to cause such a thing in America.

Hal mentioned the feed-back we’ve gotten from Scott Harrellson (Craven’s Public Health Director – I think that’s the right title) on our website about what we’ve said about the Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHCs) in Craven, and he read Mr. Harrellson’s full statement.  Then, by way of contrast, he talked about what Mr. Harrellson said when he was selling the idea of the first FQHC in Craven.  (He was able to do that because he’d saved a hard copy of the power-point Mr. Harrellson used at the time.)

We next got into what the General Assembly is up to, and this includes hearings on new General Assembly districts (NC House and Senate) conducted in locations around the state this past Tuesday (8-22-17).  Hal and I participated in the one held in Washington, NC.  There were a total of 7 locations including one at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, and all locations were tied together via cameras and video.  Rep. David Lewis conducted all the meetings from the Raleigh location, but there were members of the General Assembly and Sargents-at-Arms in each location.  All citizens who signed up had an opportunity to talk.  It began by 2 or 3 people speaking in one location, then moving to the next location, and the next, etc.  Before it was over, it was obvious that not everyone would get to speak using that format, so the connections were shut down, and each location finished as an individual meeting.  Representative Michael Speciale, Senator Norman Sanderson, and Senator Harry Brown were in the Washington location.  Although there were a sizeable number of Republicans in attendance, citizens who spoke seemed to be predominantly members of the NAACP and Democrats who were upset about gerrymandering.  Republicans offered varied suggestions.  Hal’s and my “hot button” was the fact that two truly conservative Representatives (Pittman and Ford) have been double-bunked in Cabarrus County while a much less conservative Representative will have a district all to herself in the same county, AND there is a third district in the same county as well.  Also, Senator Bill Cook (another conservative) will have a new district which is thought to be inhospitable to him.

We talked about “crowd sourcing” (do another duckduckgo search) and how that is developing a large body of information about the subjects that wikileaks leaked.  We didn’t so much discuss the pros and cons of wikileaks actions as what having that information in the public realm has lead/is leading to because of the crowd sourcing approach.  Mary mentioned that both The Daily Caller and Gateway Pundit have good information online on the topic, too.

The last 5 minutes or so is an interview Rick did with Jerry Schill, Chairman of the God & Country Christian Alliance, one of their meetings Rick attended which featured Deborah Dewart (author of Death of a Christian Nation), and the Christian Alliance’s upcoming God & Country Banquet to be held starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Havelock Convention Center on September 18 featuring Judge Paul Newby as the keynote speaker.  Tickets are $20.

Watchdog Report on Craven County School Board Request for Money to Buy I-Pads

21 August 2017
There was much about this Craven County Board of Commissioners meeting that true Constitutionalists and conservatives would not like. To address them all in one email would make it too long, so this first report will cover only one of them, and that is the Board of Education’s request for money to lease I-pads for the use of all “traditional” school students and teachers (kindergarten through 12th grade) in the county.
The appeal was presented by Dr. Meghan Doyle, Superintendent of Schools.  To her credit, Dr. Doyle made sure that I had all the presentation materials that she provided the commissioners which I greatly appreciate.  She explained that secondary schools (grades 6 through12) do not receive Title 1 funds.  She assumed that every one knew what that is, but I didn’t, so I looked it up.
Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers (or high percentages) of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.  Oct 5, 2015.
Dr. Doyle pointed out that at the end of the lease period (it must be “lease to own”), there would be enough “residual value” to make a down payment on the next 3 year lease period.  That she said would be from $80 to $100 dollars.  She also pointed out that the I-pads would reduce the number of printed books that would need to be purchased for students.  The amount allocated for students’ books was $90 per student, and it is paid for by the school system.  Wow!  I did not know that schools now provide the books.  When I was in school we bought them from the students in the class ahead of us.  Today’s children go first class, don’t they?
Prior to this meeting, I had made it clear to the board that CCTA objects to the county using capital outlay to pay for recurring expenses.  Commissioner Dacey had the good grace to make it known that the County’s portion of the expense would have to be moved from the current  general fund to capital outlay for the schools, but would not increase the already agreed to $750,000 annual contribution by the county for school capital outlay.  There was no explanation as to why the school system is not being required to pay it out of the funds they have already received.  Commissioner Dacey again restated his desire that all Craven County School students have access to wi-fi.  Dr. Dole said that the new I-pads would help because students could down load to their I-Pads and read the downloaded book or other down loaded material at home.
It became obvious during the discussion that Chairman Mark had not read the lease and that Commissioner Liner had.
NOW, for the strangest part.   Neither Dr. Doyle nor any commissioner stated the amount of the request!   I knew because the entire lease, Resolution requested, and the Lease Payment schedule were printed in attachment 2 of the 172 page agenda which I had printed and had with me.  (Is this hiding it in plain sight?  How many citizens go to the trouble and expense of printing the whole thing so that they can really see what is being done with taxpayers’ money?)
THE LEASE AGREEMENT COMES TO $2,960,368.13!    That’s right.  Almost $3 million dollars!   It is payable in 3 payments of $986,789, so that’s almost $1 million dollars annually for some time!  The due date for the first payment is September 14, 2017.
Nationally, we are now spending $1 billion dollars a day on interest on the debt we will pass on to our children and grandchildren.
How long can America go on in this spending spree to provide all citizens with everything they need or even want?  Historically, we looked after ourselves and our children.  Now, we seem to be rearing snowflakes who get their heads filled with nonsense while in school, graduate from college, and come home to live in our basements, and entertain themselves in various unfortunate ways while bemoaning their inability to get a job suitable to their status.  What have we allowed to happen to us?  When will we insist on fixing it?
Respectfully submitted,
Hal James
CCTA Watchdog Committee Chairman

CCTA Wake Up Call August 20, 2017

Rick opened by talking about a 2001 article in The Trumpet entitled “Rewriting History” by Ryan Malone, what is meant by “rewriting history,” and how, why, and by whom that device is used.

We talked about recent events that are attempts to rewrite history and make southerners ashamed of our heritage.  We mentioned events involving Frederick Douglas and Jefferson Davis as two examples that refute many of the accusations currently being leveled at the old south.

Then, we brought ourselves back to current events and proposed the notion that perhaps part of why southern culture/history is under attack is that it is a part of the country that tends to be religions and hold high moral standards, where family values and honesty are important, and right and wrong mean something.  In other words, it is a part of the country where the left’s amoral/immoral ideas tend to fall on deaf ears, so maybe we need taking down a peg or two so that we don’t feel so secure in our world view.

We talked about the NC Governor’s wanting to remove Civil War monuments, and the NC law that prevents that from happening without the approval of the General Assembly, and briefly mentioned the fact that CCTA’s State Legislative Action Committee was present at the House hearing on that bill, and how it was handled at the time.

Rick closed us out by recommending that folks watch “Monumental,” a movie by Kirk Cameron which tells the story of America’s beginnings.

CCTA Wake Up Call -August 13, 2017


This week we talked about how RINOs at all levels of government are stalling the movement in America toward more conservative government.  That movement threatens the control the establishment have had over education, the media, and entertainment.  That is more critical to the liberal/socialist cause than holding onto  the White House or the other branches of our government.

We also discussed our Open Meeting laws also know as Blue Sky Laws.  The Citizens for Better Governance in Beaufort County and CCTA in Craven County have had problems with the Commissioners of these counties failure to obey those laws.  In Craven, Chairman Tom Mark sequestered me and threatened me if I continued to interrupt Craven Board of Commissioners meetings to insist on adherence to those laws.

We also continued our discussion of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the usurpation by the Supreme Court of powers it was never intended to have by the founders.

You will find this week’s Wake Up Call interesting and informative.


Scott Dacey’s Piece: Rebuttal or confirmation?

This billboard is minimally competitive with private practices???
     In July, I wrote an article about how Craven County Commissioner Scott Dacey’svoting record is at odds with his campaign website which says he “is constantly working toward reducing the size of government.”
     Mr. Dacey proffered a piece for the August 3-9 issue of The County Compass.  I’m not quite sure if that piece was a rebuttal or a confirmation.   In it, Mr. Dacey mentioned that he was the only commissioner to vote against the original Craven County Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in New Bern, and said that once it was a done deal, he’d worked “to make certain it was implemented with the least possible intrusion into local private health care practices” and “with minimal expansion of government” thus acknowledging the validity of my complaints about competition with the private sector and expansion of government.  His complaint seemed to be that I didn’t go back to 2014 to find a vote he made that was conservative.
     He then acknowledged that he did vote for the FQHC in Havelock in 2016, but again said he “worked to make certain local health care providers would not be negatively impacted.”  Would you call the billboard pictured here an illustration of minimal competition with private practices?
     In addressing my complaints about his voting to train 20 clinicians in “grief counseling,” Mr. Dacey said I should be directing my concerns to the General Assembly.  Well, our various CCTA committees make a number of trips to Raleigh each year to do just that sort of thing, but if he were a conservative Commissioner, I would expect Mr. Dacey to make his own appeals to the General Assembly on that subject as it is the practice of the Board of Commissioners to make a number of requests to the General Assembly annually.
As to the $500,000 of taxpayer money to be spent on modifying rental property for use as a training center, I did err in saying it was “Craven County” taxpayer money.  Mr. Dacey makes a strong distinction between Craven County, state, and federal tax dollars, and I do not.  It is all money that comes out of your pocket and mine that would otherwise be available to buy clothes for school, put a new set of tires on the truck, or pay the fellow who repaired the window the children broke playing ball.
     As to his having voted to raise the county’s public transportation costs by adding a Municipal Planning Organization “by pretending communities as diverse as New Bern and Havelock were a single community,” I was busted!  Havelock wasn’t involved.  I should have said “communities as diverse as River Bend and Bridgeton.”
     Ah, well, I leave it to you, gentle reader.  Was the piece a rebuttal or a confirmation?
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