Category Archives: Aldermen

RINOs are strangling conservative legislation! by Hal James Reprinted from The County Compass

While the platform of the Republican Party is conservative to the point that one could almost imagine its being written by a CCTA member, the Party has many successful RINOs (Republicans in name only). At all levels of our government (US, NC, counties, cities and towns), two tactics are used by RINOs to get elected to public office. Let’s examine the first. Gain the support of Constitutional, conservative folks by attending their rallies, making speeches that would make you think they are one of us, appearing to be so when interviewed, etc. They do this because they know there is another block of voters which is going to vote for anyone with an “R” after their name over anyone with a “D” after their name. Together, the two voting blocks will likely prove to be the majority of voters in our neck of the woods.
The second tactic is to split the conservative vote by getting two people with the reputation of being able to gain the support of the conservative block to run for the office against the RINO, thus the RINO can win primaries without even having a majority vote.
Here in North Carolina, those two tactics have given us Senators Tillis and Burr, both of whom work to obstruct President Trump’s conservative agenda.
In our General Assembly, there is only a small block of about six conservaive Republicans.  The Senate is a little better. In Craven County, the Board of Commissioners (4 Republicans, 3 Democrats) almost without exception vote unanimously to approve every motion, and the county budget grows year after year. Imagine that! I believe the same situation exists in most counties in our area. Beaufort and Carteret do appear to have a few strongly conservative commissioners, but there are TOO MANY RINOs!
Savvy conservatives need to stop listening to politicians’ talk and start watching how they vote. Actions almost always speak louder than words!

We don’t usually agree with the New Bern Sun Journal, but we do with this. Have a look!

Class Warfare and Racial Prejudice Reared Their Ugly Heads in New Bern

Class Warfare and Racial Prejudice Reared Their Ugly Heads in New Bern

Report on 5-12-15 Board of Aldermen Meeting

by Raynor James

Two of the illnesses affecting our country reared their ugly heads at the New Bern Board of Aldermen’s meeting on the evening of Tuesday, May 12. I was first shocked, then annoyed, and now I feel the remnants of those feelings plus sadness. Let me tell you what happened.

About 10 or 12 of our Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association (CCTA) members attended the meeting because we have requested that the city allow us to organize an Independence Day Celebration Parade in downtown New Bern on the 4th of July. Our plan is to make this an annual event to help celebrate the founding of our country and the principals upon which it was founded. We want to seek broad participation by all sorts of civic, military, religious, commercial, preservation, and other groups and individuals who care to join in this celebration. Anyone who is like minded on the topic is welcome. Our country isn’t perfect, but our founders did an amazing job of pointing us in a good direction. Now it’s our turn to carry the ball, and we believe that part of that job is to draw attention to and celebrate our good origin.

With that as background, when our parade application came up for consideration (number 15 on the agenda), it was clear the aldermen had questions, so Iggi Hussar, CCTA’s Parade Chairman, went to the audience podium to answer them. A woman with red hair jumped up from her seat in the audience and began asking the aldermen questions with a rather hostile attitude regarding the cost of the parade to the city. The mayor explained that this was not a city sponsored event and that CCTA would pay for traffic control, police protection, and the like; the parade would not cost the city anything. She also wanted to know who the participants were to be. Iggi told her it’ll be open to a broad range of veterans groups, civic groups, and the like. She seemed to still have a chip on her shoulder, but subsided.

Next, the aldermen began asking their own questions. At first, they seemed to be innocuous questions for clarification. Then, one of the two black aldermen began asking a string of questions about the parade route. He mentioned that people needed to be able to view the parade without the cost and inconvenience of driving to the event. He talked about parades that begin near Fort Totten. The other black alderman added a remark or two. It was never said, but it finally dawned on me that what they wanted was for the parade to go through black neighborhoods. Gracious. Why didn’t they just say so?

Iggi had indicated that we were flexible about both the timing and route of the parade. As a matter of fact, our original proposal had included a route that took it around Tryon Palace and did include a predominantly black neighborhood. Someone with the city had said that might interfere with another event that day and he came up with the proposed route that was on the table.

The mayor suggested that the two aldermen with problems with the route, some members of city staff, and some folks from CCTA sit down and work out a better route. At which point, I was thinking, “Oh my gosh! They’ll dilly-dally until we don’t have time to get parade participants and put together a decent parade, and then they’ll wonder why it didn’t work out!” (I expect the mayor meant well, but time is getting tight for an undertaking of this magnitude.)

Finally, to my relief, the white female alderman expressed concern about the amount of time available to put together a parade, and moved that the parade application be approved with the understanding that the route might be revised. The motion passed along strictly racial lines with the two black aldermen voting “no” and the three white aldermen and the white mayor voting “yes.”

All this was done with great politeness and civility, but the 800 pound gorilla in the room was racial prejudice, and I believe it emanated from the two black aldermen. What a shame. I believe they saw racial bias where none existed.

CCTA has had black speakers and regularly invites blacks to come to our meetings and to join our organization. Jae Logan, a conservative black pastor from Havelock, has been one of our speakers. The late Tim Johnson, PhD, Founder of The Frederick Douglass Foundation, has been one of our speakers. E.W. Jackson has been one of our speakers. The latter two were house guests of two of our members during their stays in New Bern. All three of them are charming, intelligent, conservative, thoughtful people who fit in beautifully with our group.

WHY would the two black New Bern aldermen assume we are racially prejudiced??? It absolutely blows my mind. There is something going on here that is ugly. It is underground. And it needs to see the light of day. May we talk about this, please? What has happened to cause such ugly assumptions to be made? How do we fix it?

Our CCTA group left shortly after our request had been dealt with. (Several members had been to Raleigh to meet with legislators earlier that day and had been up since “oh-dark-hundred.”) We were quickly joined by the red haired woman who had spoken up earlier, another white woman who was highly nervous, and a calm, slender, young black woman.

In this case, I don’t think it had anything to do with race. The two white women were in an “attack” mode. They talked loudly and fast. They seemed convinced that none of our members could possibly live in New Bern, but they didn’t pause to allow answers to their rhetorical questions; they kept up a steady barrage. It included cracks about “living in rich neighborhoods.”


Finally, a few of us were able to have actual conversations with them separately. In exasperation, I inquired of the nervous one, “Why are you being so hateful? Why are you so sure none of us lives in New Bern? The truth is some of us do, and some of us don’t, but why does it matter???”

Oddly enough, she calmed down at that point, and began talking about the cost of the parade, and how all parades in her original home town had been paid for with taxpayers’ money. Our Chairman, Rick Hopkins, had been listening and when she paused, he told her that he’d been born in New Bern and had lived here for 63 years. The combination of our paying for the parade, having a “natural born” member, and talking quietly seemed to take the venom and pent up anger away, but I can’t help but wonder where it came from in the first place. Was it class warfare? Do they hate “the rich?” If so, WHY?

If that’s what it was, they were off target again. I’ve been a member of CCTA since 2009 (when Michael Speciale was Chairman and Norm Sanderson was Vice Chairman), and I know our members pretty well. Some of our members are prosperous (and they tend to be very generous), but none of them seem to be what I’d call “rich,” except rich in experience, love and friendship.

By the way, what I’d call “rich” is when one can live on a rather grand scale and be able to dine out in upscale restaurants and travel in comfort at will on the earnings produced by one’s investments. What’s your definition? If someone earns riches, does it take anything away from you? Or does it just show you that such things are possible? Where on earth does this class envy, hate-the-rich stuff come from??? Unless it’s from ill-gotten gains, it’s what creates opportunities for the rest of us. What’s wrong with being rich? Can’t we just let the venom go and get on with living our own lives and pursuing happiness in our own ways? This stuff really perplexes me. What about you?

If you’d like to share your thoughts on these topics, I’d be pleased to hear from you.

Respectfully submitted,

Raynor Sig



Forget the expensive screw driver… Should A New Coat of Paint Cost $27.3 Million Dollars?

By Raynor James

Eddie Fitzgerald’s recent Sun Journal articles about the New Bern Housing Authority’s dust up with Evergreen of Florida, Transformation Venture Capital, and the Communities Group has me “seeing red.”  Why?

Well, the developer (Evergreen) claims that the Housing Authority breached a contract with it and its limited partners (Transformation Venture Capital, and the Communities Group) relative to Craven Terrace’s future.  However, Mr. Fitzgerald reports that there is opposition from the residents of Craven Terrace to Evergreen’s plans.  He also reports that there is dissension among Housing Authority Board members as to what should be done about Craven Terrace, uncertainty about the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant (going forward with Evergreen’s plans might wipe that opportunity), and doubts expressed by staff.

It looks as if nobody (except the developer and its limited partners) likes the contract.  What does the contract say?  From the articles, it appears that the developer can plan anything they like for Craven Terrace, and the Housing Authority is required to pay for the plan and its implementation whether they, their staff, or the residents like it or not.  If that’s what the contract says, who signed it, and why?  By whom was the authority to sign authorized?  Did the Housing Authority’s law firm, Ward and Smith, advise the signing of such a unilateral contract?

In his articles, Mr. Fitzgerald indicates that the Housing Authority can lose more than a million dollars if the Housing Authority doesn’t go forward with the contract.  How on earth can that be possible when all that has been done is to come up with some very contentious plans that nobody likes nor seems to want to implement? Why didn’t Ward and Smith review the contract before the Housing Authority signed it and tell them they would paint themselves into a very tight corner if they did sign it?

What a royal screw up.  It looks like the taxpayers are having their money wasted.  Again.  And it looks like that, instead of getting less dense housing that’s integrated into the community in such a way as to not be a magnet for gangs and drug dealers, the residents are on track to receive a new coat of paint and a condescending pat on the head from their “betters.”  Everyone involved deserves better than this.

Do you think the Housing Authority needs to hire a new law firm to help them get out from under the thumb of Evergreen and company?  This mess needs to be cleaned up before good money is thrown after bad. And, fellow taxpayers, it’s OUR money.

New Bern Housing Authority Bond Issue Agenda Item for Board of Alderman Meeting

At my request, CCTA Chair, Rick Hopkins,  has appointed a Committee to study the issues surrounding the New Bern Housing Authority Craven Terrace rehabilitation project.

You will recall that at the NBHA meeting we attended, we learned that the NBHA Commissioners know little about the project and have been excluded from what little planning that has been done, and that the residents don’t like it, and the architect was unhappy about it because he was working from inadequate information, the two funding programs involved were contradictory in some of their directives, and he believes inadequate study has been done.

Apparently nobody knows much about the details of the project, but the residents’ discontent seems to stem from the suggestion that each unit contain a dishwasher, but no washer or dryer hook-ups.  Instead, there would be sixteen washers and one folding table (very unworkable arrangement) in a laundromat that the residents say would be unsafe especially at night as they say it would be a place in which various kinds of “deals” would be done.  The residents also don’t like the fact that the RAD program would mean that the footprint of the units would remain the same, and the facades would remain the same as well.  Apparently, some of the units have tiny kitchens and no place for a family to have meals around a table.  What is contemplated appears to be cosmetic changes to most existing units at $85,000 a copy and tearing down a few units that are in the flood plane.  This would leave a huge cancerous ghetto in a prime location in the city of New Bern – no improvement for the residents, and no improvement for the community.

I do know now that a FOIA request to the NBHA has gone unanswered, and the results of a prior FOIA request have not been made public.

I am very concerned that a large amount of taxpayer money might have been misappropriated and is unaccounted for.  It is another case of taxpayer money going to quasi government entities so that the public no longer has a means of monitoring it’s use.  I believe this is by design.

We had thought a resolution to approve a “Revenue Bond” issue to fund the project would be on the agenda at the meeting last Tuesday of the New Bern Board of Aldermen.  However, that agenda item was deferred until this Tuesday, August 19th, the night of our CCTA meeting at Stanley Hall.  The BOA meeting starts at 6:00 PM and, of course, our meeting at 7:00 PM.  I am asking that all members who can, come early enough to go to the Board of Aldermen meeting first and then leave that meeting in time to attend the CCTA meeting (Legislative Update with Norm Sanderson, Michael Speciale, and Pat McElraft).  Any one else interested is welcome to join us.

Hal Signiture3

Hal James


Watchdog Committee



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