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What is a “Commercial Fisherman?”  

WATCHDOG REPORT
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 https://www.crtv.com/video/s2e11-preview–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 www.ncfish.org and request to be on the list to get urgent updates.
Respectfully submitted,
Hal James
CCTA Watchdog Committee Chairman

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.

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?

CCTA Wake Up Call 6 August 2017

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Rick started us off by observing that in his 1971 book, Rules for Radicals, Saul Alnsky coached the left to make a small number of people seem like more by raising a din.  He went on to say that William Barbour (Moral Monday) and Bob Hall (Democracy North Carolina) had used that tactic in NC, and pointed to recent events when the left stacked the responses to a Board of Elections hearing, and that led to new rules which Rick believes will have the effect of discouraging citizens from calling out cases of voting impropriety that they observe.  Rick believes we (conservatives) need to get better at influencing such things.

We talked about Grass Roots North Carolina’s planning a demonstration in Raleigh (which we observed would be over by the time the program airs) to call out RINOs in the NC Senate for sitting on HB-746, the Omnibus Gun Changes bill which would remove some of the infringements on our 2nd Amendment rights and whose primary sponsors are Chris Millis, Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale, and Justin Burr.  We talked about the committee the bill is stuck in, who the chairman is, and how to use the General Assembly website to send email (or get phone numbers to make phone calls) to ask the chairman and committee members to report the bill out for a full senate vote.  (Timing should be great for doing that.)

We talked about how Article 1, Sections 9 and 10 of the U.S. Constitution forbid the federal government and state governments from issuing titles of nobility and how modern day politicians use the title that comes with their office as if it were a title of nobility for the purpose of making themselves seem superior to the citizens they should be serving.  A couple of examples were given.  One was national.  The other was an action by the mayor of an eastern NC town.

We got into the Raise Act and discussed the various ways passage of it would affect the issuance of future green cards and what that would do to future legal immigration.  We talked about a now deceased CCTA member who was the first member of her family to be born here (her parents were from Ireland), and how passionate she was about stopping chain migration, and how pleased we though she’d be if the Raise Act is passed.

Finally, we just started on the 17th Amendment and what it is, plus the fact that Mike Huckabee has tweeted an appeal to repeal the 17th Amendment, and what Alan West has said on the subject recently.  We ran out of time at that point, so next week we’ll discuss our views on the 17th Amendment and the reasons for them – among a bunch of other things, I can just bet!

OMNIBUS GUN CHANGES bill can still pass if we…

Dear CCTA Members and Friends,

Back in June, the NC House passed HB-746, the Omnibus Gun Changes bill.  This bill started out as a Constitutional carry bill, but there were not enough true conservatives in the House to pass it.  However, much work was done in the House Republican Caucus, and this bill (HB-746) finally passed and was sent to the Senate.  It is not as good as it once was, but, if passed, it WILL roll back some of the unconstitutional infringements that we’ve been living with.

What happened in the Senate?

Well, it passed the first reading and was referred to the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee where it continues to languish today.  If you look at that Committee on the General Assembly webpage at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Committees/committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails=Senate+Standing_148, you will find that approximately 600 other bills are keeping it company there.

What is this all about?

That committee is being used as a graveyard for bills.  However, some of them will probably be reported out and sent to the floor of the Senate and be voted on.  Some will pass.  Which ones?  Well, it’s popular to say, “Follow the money; who stands to benefit from this and as a result is making donations to Senators’s coffers?”  Historically, that has happened over and over again.

A new model may be emerging.  That model might best be described as “Follow what the activists are working on.”

If enough of us call or email Senator Bill Rabon (Chairman of the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee) and ask him to have his committee report HB-746 out so that it can be voted on, we could help make it happen.  Grass Roots North Carolina is already working to get HB-746 passed.  Let’s join them and write or call…

Senator Bill Rabon, Chairman, Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee
919-733-5963
bill.rabon@ncleg.net

If you’re REALLY ambitions, you can scroll down the General Assembly webpage (see URL above) to where the committee members are listed, hover over each name, click and go to his or her info page, and call or write him or her, too!

Let’s get this done!  Oh, and we might want to thank Representatives Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale, Chris Millis, and Justin Burr  the next time we see them.  They are the primary sponsors of the bill.

Sincerely,

Raynor

Raynor James, Chairman, CCTA’s State Legislative Action Committee

 

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!

What happened on SEAFOOD LOBBY DAY

Trip to Raleigh with NC Fisheries Association
Purpose…
Defeat HB-867
Save NC commercial fishing industry
Save NC seafood for North Carolinians who do not catch shrimp, crabs, or fish

Yesterday, members of CCTA’s State Legislative Action Committee (Gladys and Ed Suessle, Mary Griswold, Ron Cherry, and Hal and Raynor James) went to Raleigh with the North Carolina Fisheries Association to lobby in favor of a healthy commercial fishing industry and fresh, healthy, North Carolina wild caught seafood for all North Carolinians including those of us who have never caught a fish, shrimp, or crab.

The focus was on killing a bill designed to kill the commercial fishing industry.  HB-867, Coastal Fisheries Conservation / Economic Development, if passed, would do a lot of things.  None of them is good.

Let’s start at the end.  The bill provides for recurring funds to buy back commercial fishing licenses from fishermen who are put out of business.

It rewrites the NC Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 without any public input.

It changes the definition of “overfishing” from something simple and clear to a bunch of nebulous, shadowy words that invite draconian interpretation.

It throws out the Fishery Commission’s 5 advisory committees which were designed to have a balance of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, and scientists.  The 5 committees (built around different areas of expertise and geographic areas) are to be replaced with a single 20 member advisory committee chosen without regard to members’ expertise (or lack thereof) or experience fishing (or lack thereof).

What do you think of that?  Sounds like a formula for disaster to me.

The bill is in the House’s Wildlife Resources Committee.  As long as it stays there, it cannot be passed.  Jerry Schill (NC Fisheries Association’s legislative person), Brent Fulcher (Association’s President), Representative Michael Speciale, Representative Larry Pittman, Senator Bill Cook, and others spoke to the gathered citizen-lobbyists when we first arrived.  We were given a list that contained the names and office numbers of the 15 members of the Wildlife Committee.  We were asked to visit those offices, speak to the representatives or to their legislative assistants, and to explain why we do not want the bill to pass.  We were asked to tell our stories.  To be calm, clear, direct, and polite.

We were asked to visit the visitors’ gallery for a short session of the Senate at 10:30 a.m. and a longer session of the House at 2:00 p.m.

Our group systematically visited the offices of committee members floor by floor in the Legislative Building, then trudged over to the Legislative Office Building and did the same thing there.  We had visited the offices of all 15 members and had frank discussions with them or their legislative assistants by noon.

Sometimes our group and another group of our citizen-lobbyists would be in a representative’s office at the same time.  In those situations, we took turns talking. 

On one such occasion, we shared an office visit with a clean-cut young fisherman and his 3 shiny haired, bright eyed, well behaved children.  The father explained earnestly to the representative we were visiting that he wanted to be able to earn a living for his family and pass a good way of living and earning an income on to his children.  He said he is already teaching his children how to fish, and unlike many children today, they already have a strong work ethic.  Wow!  That blew me away and brought tears to my eyes.  This man gave up a day’s earnings to come and plead his case, and he did it with a calm, natural dignity that I admired very much.

It is a real tragedy that the likes of HB-867 was ever proposed.  The sponsors of the bill, and the people who egged them on should be ashamed.  The bill should die in committee and never be heard from again.

Respectfully submitted,

Raynor James

CCTA’s State Legislative Action Committee Chairman

Conflict of Interest? Does the Taxpayer stand a chance? by CCTA’s Watchdog Chairman, Hal James

There has been much talk lately about who should recuse themselves from voting on issues in which they have a personal interest.  At a recent meeting of the Craven County Board of Commissioners, two members of the Board of Commissioners cast votes that benefit organizations that had just made appeals to the Board.  In each case, the appeal was presented by one of the commissioner’s wives!

It also often happens that Board members cast votes that benefit organizations on whose boards they themselves serve.  That’s because CarolinaEast Hospital, Down East Regional Planning Organization, Swiss Bear, Craven Aging Board, all the public libraries, Craven County Health Board, Eastern Carolina Workforce Development, Fire man’s Relief Fund, Local Emergency Planning Committee, Highway 17 Committee, Highway 70 Corridor Committee, Smart/Start/Partnership for Children, the Zoning Board, Coastal Regional Solid Waste  Management Authority, Social Service Board, Tourism Development Authority, Coastal Carolina Airport Authority, Craven Community College Board of Trustees, East Carolina Behavioral Health Board, Carolina East Council of Governments, AND the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council ALL HAVE CRAVEN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OR THEIR WIVES ON THEIR BOARDS.  I have seen nearly all these agencies make appeals to the Craven County Board of Commissioners for support and usually financial support.  THE TAXPAYER DOESN’T STAND A CHANCE!

Usually after such an appeal to the Board, the Commissioner who serves on that organization’s board (or on which his wife serves) then makes a speech extolling the great works the organization does, and he often makes a motion to approve the request.  DON’T YOU SEE HOW IT WORKS?

Now consider that most of the counties across the state have Commissioners who attend the NC Association of County Commissioners meetings and discuss how to increase county revenues, or in other words, HOW TO STACK THE DECK AGAINST TAXPAYERS!

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

This report appeared as an article in The County Compass newspaper- Week of May 25-31, 2017

Recycling’s Dirty Little Secret”

The following CCTA report appeared in the County Compass newspaper in the May 18-24 edition.

Reprise of “Recycling’s Dirty Little Secret”

by CCTA’s Watchdog Committee Chairman, Hal James

Several counties in eastern North Carolina are struggling with the high cost of re-cycling.  The County Compass recently reported that “a large jump in monies earmarked for recycling survived” in the Pamlico County budget process.  At last Monday’s budget work session of the Craven County Board of Commissioners, the Commissioners voted for a very large increase in the cost for citizens to discard a bag of garbage/trash.  The cost went from $2.25 to $3.00 per bag.  A one-third increase in price!  The one dissenter, Commissioner Jason Jones, voiced concern that more trash would appear on roadsides and in the woods.  You are so right, Commissioner Jones!

Now for the dirty little secret. It was reported that in Pamlico County, many people will simply throw their garbage into the recycle bin which they can do for free.

Recently, I was talking to a friend who shall go nameless, and he told me that he was doing just that!  Here’s the problem, the recycling facility in Greenville will reject contaminated  loads.

It seems to me that all citizens benefit from money spent by taxpayers for garbage and trash removal.  This is much the same as police protection which also benefits us all.  Contrast that with so many government “programs” that benefit specific, small groups of people with monies forcefully taken from us all.  If the burden of paying for this trash and garbage removal were shared by citizens though the taxes paid already, there would be no need for a charge per bag, and our counties would be tidy and clean, not littered.  Nor would there be a need to increase taxes in Craven County.  I have seen the County Manager’s recommended budget, and believe you me, there is no need for a tax increase to meet that expense!

What about your county?  Have you checked to see if it has a dirty little secret, too?

 

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