Category Archives: Watchdog

Greg Murphy answers CCTA Vetting Questions

Candidate’s name: Greg Murphy
Interview date: 4/4/19
Party affiliation: Republican
Phone: 252-341-1568
Postal address: PO Box 1131 Greenville, NC 27835
1) Who or what gives individual citizens their rights? God
2) What position does the U.S. Constitution have in your view of Federal legislation?
The Constitution is the law of the land and no legislation should violate the tenets of the
3) How do you view the idea of the various states’ using the concepts of “nullification”
and “interposition” when in those states’ view, the Federal government has overreached
the powers given it by the states’ ratification of the U.S. Constitution? I fully support
states having the right to exercise both options, but it would have to be an extreme
example of the federal government overreaching its power to move toward either. I
would be more apt to support interposition as it involves multiple states and would in
theory make sure that this serious act was given due consideration since multiple states
were taking the steps.
4) What is the Federal government’s role in the education of U.S. Citizens?
Although the Federal government currently has a large role in education, I would
support the abolishment of the Department of Education and move toward shifting all
power pertaining to education be moved to the states and local governments. Not only
does the Federal government not have the authority to be involved in education, the
best and most effective decisions will be made closer to home.
5) How should the Federal government’s budget be handled?
a.) look at last year’s budget and make adjustments from there, or
b.) question every single category of expenditure as to whether it is
Constitutional, whether it is needed, whether it has the potential to benefit all citizens
(as opposed to just a few), and whether we can afford it?
I believe expenditures should meet the criteria of being Constitutional and support a
Balanced Budget Amendment, which would require the Federal government to spend
no more than it takes in.
6) What is your view of the Federal government’s passing unfunded mandates which
the states must fund and implement? I do not support unfunded mandates.
7) What is your opinion of NC’s proposed HB-184 which would prevent NC Treasurer,
Dale Folwell from implementing his plan to make the medical charges made to the State
Health Plan transparent (to the plan itself and to the beneficiaries of the plan for their
co-payments), and to establish a reimbursement by the plan to health care providers
equal to the average reimbursement by Medicare plus 82%?
I agree completely with the goal of the Treasurer to save the SHP much needed money.
HB 184 will bring together experts in healthcare economics whose goal would be to not
only save the state more money but promote healthier living practices amongst program
8) Should any changes be made to how the Electoral College is used, and if so, what
changes should be made? The Electoral College is designed to prevent the states with
larger population from yielding too much power. It is an important part of keeping our
Nation a Constitutional Republican and not a pure democracy.
9) Upon election, what is your top priority? Moving as much power away from
Washington and back to Eastern North Carolina.
10) What are your beliefs regarding the foreign nationals who cross our borders
illegally? They are in this country illegally and should be treated as criminals and
removed from our country.
11) What is the role of government regarding impoverished citizens? Impoverished has
become a much too broad of a term when it comes to the Federal government.
Assistance should be provided only to those who are truly impoverished and programs
should have requirements to seek work with the goal of removing them from the
government rolls.
12) How can the government provide an atmosphere in which businesses can thrive?
Reducing burdensome regulations and let the American economy operate with as little
interference as possible.
13) Are our U.S. laws on immigration adequate, and if not, how should they be
Many of our current laws are not being enforced. Those laws on the books should be
enforced and the main change I would call for is the support of building a wall or other
barrier to prevent illegals from entering our country.
14) Do you think E-Verify should be universally used by all employers? And, if so, what
should be the consequence of non-compliance? E-verify is a good concept but it is too
burdensome on small businesses. If border laws were enforced, the amount of workers
requiring e-verification would be dramatically reduced.
15) Does the Federal government over-regulate commercial fishermen, under-regulate
them, or is Federal regulation of commercial fishing about right?
Commercial fishermen are over regulated. Furthermore, many of these regulations are
based upon poor scientific evidence that cannot justify the premise of the fisheries being
in danger.
16) Should Sharia Law or any foreign law have any force in any part of the USA?
Absolutely not.
17) Do you believe our country’s southern border should be secured by a wall?
Yes. A wall or some other suitable barrier to stop illegal border crossings.
18) What would cause you to call for bringing impeachment charges against a judge?
Only 15 Federal judges have ever been impeached. It would take a judge committing a
federal offense or making a major misuse of their power.
19) What are your beliefs about Federal gun laws? Federal gun laws should not be
expanded. By nature, criminals do not follow laws and making new laws will do noting
to prevent crime.
20) What is your position on sanctuary cities and illegal immigration?
I believe in States rights and also that cities should have the right to self governance.
However, cities that go against Federal immigration laws throw our law enforcement
system into chaos and their support of illegal immigration should be met with the
withholding of Federal funds from those cities.
21) What are your thoughts on subsidies for farmers and regulations on farmers?
If the Federal government would remove undue and burdensome regulations on
farmers, subsidies would not be necessary. Farmers can compete on the open market
if government will get out of their way and let them operate under the rules of capitalism

Public Meeting Notice


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Craven County Board of Commissioners Expands Size of Government

Craven County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
November 19,2018
At the most recent Craven County Board of Commissioners’ meeting, Jacqueline Wu who is with the US Small Business Administration made a presentation on SBA assistance for disaster relief in situations such as our recent hurricane.  It was not surprising that many on the Board voiced support for the SBA assistance, but it did surprise me when Commissioner Steve Tyson, a real estate broker, asked if the SBA had a program that would help developers finance building construction for investment as commercial bank rates had soared lately.  Ms. Wu could not immediately answer the question, but Commissioner Scott Dacey, who stated that he used to work for that agency, did.   Commissioner Dacey said that SBA did not have such a program.
It occurred to me that so many people are willing to seek taxpayer funding for their own needs and wants. Hence the continued growth in government.
Another big surprise came when the Health Director, Scott Harrelson, asked for authorization to accept a federal grant to add behavioral health (mental health) to the authorized heath services provided by the county.  He asked permission to accept $285,000 to hire 2 new employees for the Health Department.  Commissioner Dacey objected to his request, saying Harrelson had not requested authorization from the Board of Commissioners to apply for the grant, and it was the first he had heard of it, thus not giving him any time to look into it.  Commissioner Dacey stated that this addition of mental health services would duplicate service already provided by Trillium who contracts with private medical providers, and thus the county would be in competition with those private practitioners.
Commissioner Tyson asked if the grant was a one time grant to start the program, or would it be renewed annually.  Mr. Harrelson said that the annual grant would be reduced to about $60,000.
At this point, one of the commissioners asked if the decision had to be made right then.  Mr. Harrelson said that the county had 120 days from the time the grant was approved to either accept it or reject it, but that a delay would cramp his plans to implement the program.  Commissioner Jones then made a motion to delay the decision until the new Board was seated in December.  That motion passed.
We will now have to wait until Commissioners (Elect) E.T. Mitchell and Denny Bucher are seated for this to be resolved.  I hope they have the good sense to reject this expansion of government.
A new Public Defender’s office will open in part of the unused judicial facilities at Clarks.  It will be staffed by 8 new state employees.  Oh joy; government is growing yet again!  Do you sometimes get the feeling that boards of commissioners meet for the express purpose of growing government and digging deeper into taxpayers pockets?
The animal control office will expand by 2 new employees to 9 full time and 2 part time employees.  This facility has been expanded greatly in size and number of employees in response to citizens’ concern for treatment of animals in recent months.
Respectfully submitted,

Hal James, Chairman, CCTA and CCTA’s Watchdog Committee





WHEREAS, commercial fishing is a vital part of North Carolina’s history, heritage, and culture and represents a crucial component of the economy for Dare County and other coastal communities; and

WHEREAS, according to the NC Division of Marine Fisheries, the sales impact of the harvesting and sale of commercial is $388,325,000 and the income impact of employed commercial fishermen is $166,066;000; and

WHEREAS, the definition of what constitutes commercial fishing in North Carolina has been determined by th-e General Assembly and has long been established in section 113-168 of North Carolina’s General Statutes; and

WHEREAS, the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) is now unde1taking an action to consider changes in the definition of a commercial :fisherman; and

WHEREAS, among the items that the MFC proposes to consider is a requirement that those holding Commercial Fishing licenses must have 50 percentoftheir earned income- from                  the  Trip Ticket Program, genetate 36 Trip Tickets per year, and require those who do not have Trip

Tickets to show proof of $10,000 or more income per year; arid

WHEREAS, no other professional license issued by the State dictates a percentage of income or rhim.mumincome requ:irnment or level of participation in order to qualify; and ,

WHEREAS, the requirements that are being considered by MFC, or any other adverse change they may propose to the definition of Commercial Fishing, would have aha1mful effect on many

of the hard working North Carolinians who now engage in commercial ffshing and already suffer because of government ovenegulation that imposes severe quotas and unnecessary restrictions on fishing seasons, limits, and gear forcing many to talce on and engage in pait­ time businesses in order to responsibly support their families; and

WHEREAS, this latest attempt to redefine commercial fishing is not the first time that the Marine Fisheries Commission haslooked at this matter; and

WHEREAS, over seven years ago, in October of 2010, the Marine Fisheries Commission empaneled a Fishing License Review Taskforce, which examined in detail the requirements for a commercial fishing license and concluded that the definition contained in the General

Statutes was adequate and therefore there was no real need to modify the definition of what constitutes a commercial fishe1man;. and

WHEREAS, furthermore, the Final Report from the Fishing License Review Taskforce clearly stated its recommendation that ”no changes are needed to the existing definition.”NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Craven County Board of Commissioners supports the definition of commercial fishing that has been determined by the duly elected members of the North Carolina General Assembly and reflected in the North Carolina General Statutes.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Craven County Board of Commissioners strongly opposes the unnecessary effort that is now underway by the Marine Fisheries Commission to reexamine the definition of commercial fishing, and urges all coastal communities to adopt similar resolutions, and encourages all residents to vigorously voice their concerns about the latest attempt by the Marine Fisheries Commission to once again redefine commercial fishing.

Adopted this the 5th day of February, 2018.


Thomas F. Mark, Chairman

Gwendolyn M. Bryant, Clerk to the Board

What is a “Commercial Fisherman?”  

One would think a commercial fisherman is someone who goes out in a boat with the intent to catch enough fish to earn a profit by selling them to people who would like to eat them, or by selling them at wholesale prices to a “fish house” which would then sell them to the folks to eat, right?
Well, not so fast! Apparently, bureaucrats (you know, those unelected bossy folks who think they know better than everyone else) working for the North Carolina government need a much finer definition of what constitutes a “commercial fisherman” in order to properly over-regulate them.
Defining the term “Commercial Fisherman” was the subject of a recent meeting of a North Carolina Fisheries Commission committee held in Morehead City. Some of the brilliant suggestions they came up with follow.
Perhaps they are commercial fishermen if 50% of their earnings come from fishing. (Now that one is wonderful. If a fisherman lucks out and finds something that pays a little bit more than commercial fishing during the time they’re not fishing, they have to tell some bureaucrat about it, and suddenly they’re not commercial fishermen anymore? Just what makes a fisherman’s non-fishing time the business of the bureaucrat anyway?)
Perhaps they are commercial fishermen if they have three dozen trip tickets per year. (Lord! Do these folks have to ask the government’s permission to go fishing? And get a “trip ticket” before they leave the dock? Isn’t this taking the game of “Mother-May-I” way too far?)
Perhaps they are commercial fishermen if they can provide bureaucrats with proof they have paid crew members an income of $10,000 or more per year. (Why is this any business of the bureaucrats? What if the fisherman goes out and doesn’t catch any fish? What if he or she decides to lay low awhile and try again when the season changes; can not paying crew enough money one year cause them to lose their license to fish???)
The rest of the suggestions these unelected bureaucrats came up with in Morehead City seem equally ludicrous to me. What’s worse, they seem designed to cause fishermen to lose their commercial fishing licensesIt actually looks like a campaign designed for the sole purpose of prizing the licenses away. What kind of government runs its entrepreneurs out of business?
To better understand this horror story, take a look at Michelle Malkin‘s recent video on the over-regulation of commercial fisherman. It appeared on CRTV recently, and you can find it at–fishing-wars–drowning-in-regulations.
In addition, to get an even better understanding of what our North Carolina commercial fishermen are dealing with, listen to CCTA’s “Wake-Up Call” this Sunday (fm 107.1 at 11 a.m. with a replay at 8 p.m.). Jerry Schill is on the program with Rick and our panel, and the whole show deals with the situation. Jerry has been with the North Carolina Fisheries Association for years, formerly as its President, and currently as its Director of Government Relations, and man does he know his subject!
Plus, to keep up with all the (unfortunately) continuing drama, go to and request to be on the list to get urgent updates.
Respectfully submitted,
Hal James
CCTA Watchdog Committee Chairman

Craven County Board of Commissioners Support our Commercial fishing Industry

At the most recent Craven County Board of Commissioners meeting, during the Citizens Petitions agenda item, Jerry Shield, Glenn Fink and I petitioned on behalf of our North Carolina Commercial Fisherman explaining the great pressure the recent efforts to reduce their number by the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commision by narrowly defining what a commercial fisherman is. Our last Watchdog Report went into that in some detail. If you missed it your can read it by clicking HERE.

During the Commissioners’ Report agenda item at the end of the meeting, Commissioner Scott Dacey introduced a resolution he proposed to support our commercial fishermen and their families (incidently, when I say “fishermen” I mean men and women).

The Resolved clauses are as follows:

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Craven County Board of Commissioners supports the definition of commercial fishing that has been determined by the duly elected members of the North Carolina General Assembly and reflected in the North Carolina General Statutes.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Craven County Board of Commissioners strongly opposes the unnecessary effort that is now underway by the Marine Fisheries Commission to reexamine the definition of commercial fishing, and urges all coastal communities to adopt similar resolutions, and encourages all residents to vigorously voice their concerns about the latest attempt by the Marine Fisheries Commission to once again redefine commercial fishing.

Adopted this 5th day of February, 2018.

Signed by Chairman Thomas F. Mark and Clerk to the Board, Gwendolyn M. Bryant.

You can read the entire document if you wish by clicking HERE.



January 22, 2018
Tammy Childers, Executive Director, Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board, recently presented an update on the Board’s activities to the Craven County Commissioners.
Among other things in her introduction, Ms. Childers stated that she was tasked to measure the success of the Board.  That was the last time she mentioned anything about successes.
What she did say is that Eastern Carolina workforce Development has an annual budget of $5.6 million dollars and a full time work force of five (5) employees!  She also gave a lot of demographic data you can find many other places at much less cost.  She discussed the “STEM” programs in the community colleges and high schools in glowing terms, as if that Board had invented it.  However, she said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF THE PROGRAMS!  She provided no data on the number of jobs the people they have “assisted” have gained.  In fact, she acknowledged the lower than state averages of employment for their “service” area.
Commissioner Liner pointed out that she had not provided any such data, and I thought to myself, “PLEASE, GEORGE, HIT THAT HARD!”  Sadly, he dropped the subject after a short remark.  What a shame.  Commissioner Jones asked, “Why is unemployment increasing?”  If he got a straight answer, I did not hear it.
Judging from their funding of boards such as this one, the Craven County Board of Commissioners seems hell bent on providing us with a big, expensive, unproductive government!
Respectfully submitted,
Hal James
CCTA Watchdog Committee Chairman

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

Watchdog Report   Craven County Board of Commissioners meeting, October 2, 2017  

This meeting clearly demonstrated how our federal government is headed for the economic ruin of America.  Two requests for approval to apply for federal transportation grants were approved, and yet another placed on hold for further consideration.  That last grant proposal was to hire a Mobility Manager (duties not clearly defined), and the grant provides funding for the new hire’s salary and benefits for only the first year. (We all know that is how government staff grows.  Slick, isn’t it?)  The director asking for the new position assured the board that federal funding would provide 80% of the funding and the state MIGHT pick up another 10%.
The next group of grants (hate that word) described $32.5 million dollars of federal funding available for disaster recovery program activities to benefit “income eligible” residents that received uninsured storm damage from Hurricane Matthew.  Craven is eligible for a maximum of $1 million.  (Commissioner Jones was hopeful that people who had already taken care of the problems themselves could be reimbursed).  I don’t question the need, BUT HOW MUCH OF LIFE’S PROBLEMS ARE TO BE SOLVED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?
The Director of Economic Development presented a good sales pitch presentation designed to attract industry to Craven County during which Commissioner Dacey began angling for County construction of a spec industrial building to attract an occupant.  I’m sure that would be offered at a bargain price to attract jobs.  Perhaps state and federal grant money could be obtained, too.  After all, it’s only taxpayer money.
My point is not that these federal and state grants do no good, but THINK.  All this goes on in our county for two meetings a month for month after month and year after year.  The same things go on in most of the local governments across the U.S.!  THAT IS WHY AMERICA IS $20 TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT!  DEBT PASSED ON TO OUR CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, AND PROBABLY OUR GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN!  Would you willingly put your children in debt???
Back to the meeting…
The solid waste contact was discussed.  That is the one in which compensation to the contractor providing the service exceeds the charges by the county to the user.  (Not that that’s all bad; at least ALL citizens need this service, not just a favored few.  Plus, the more it costs citizens to get rid of waste, the more people will litter, and that’s a significant problem in Craven County already.) The present contractor asked the Board for approval to sell its contract to another provider.  That provider was not the low bidder when the contract was let, but now is willing to provide the service at the price of the low bidder because they will be operating from a closer location due to other aspects of the deal between the contractors.  It was approved.
The groups asking for a referendum from the Board asking North Carolina to approve the Equal Right Amendment and those seeking more protection for animals subject to cruelty are making good headway with the Commissions due to large turnouts of their groups at recent meetings of the Board.  They continued to be present and vocal at this meeting.
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?!!
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