Craven County Board of Commissioners Meeting
19 June 2017
FY 2017-2018 Budget Adopted
The Craven County Board of Commissioners adopted the FY 2017-2018 budget. The budget does not increase taxes or fees.
However, there is much to object to about this budget process and the budget itself.
First, the process, We at CCTA object strongly to the members of the Board of Commissioners or their wives being appointed to the boards of organizations that apply for funding and other approvals of their activities.  There are some 22 instances of this happening.  We are convinced that this is a conflict of interest and will seek ways to abolish that situation.
We object to increased spending even though the taxes aren’t increased.
Then there is the membership dues for Commissioners to belong to organizations whose principal purpose for existence is to train county commissioners in the art of separating taxpayer’s from their money. $115,977 dollars goes to pay commissioners dues to belong to such organizations.
I want to refer you to a paper entitled “God’s Role; Not Government’s by Don Keel.
Christian Charity is voluntary, rewarding the giver as well as the receiver.  Government programs require forced confiscation of earnings through threat of fines or imprisonment.  The receiver of Christian charity is humbled by the kindness of neighbors and he often receives his blessing in a way that glorifies Christ.  This, in turn, will increase the likelihood that he will strive to for self-reliance and inspire him to one day “Pay it forward.” Government programs redistribute mass amounts of earnings with very little scrutiny or accountability.
Because of the “blanket approach,” government programs reward bad behavior and punish good behavior.  They punish ambition and encourage sloth and dependency.  This, in turn,  creates a cycle of dependency that destroys one’s dignity, self-esteem, self-worth, and ambition and a cycle that is almost impossible to break.  Some people have found a way to grow their families by taking from another person’s family and have found a way to live in ever increasing comfort by taking comforts from another who has actually worked for that privilege.
I would submit that no Christian would advocate forciblytaking from one and giving to another, yet that is what our government does.  They would rightly regard such a taking as theft- prohibited by one of the Ten Commandments, the cornerstone of God’s Law on Earth.  Delegating that authority to government does not sanctify taking private property.  The 8th Commandment does not say, Thou should not steal …except by majority vote.”  Clearly, some clergy have confused what is rendered to Caesar and what should be rendered to God.
That from Don Keel.
We at CCTA surely pray that there will come a day in which government at all levels obey the 10 Commandments and the US Constitution.
Respectfully Submitted,

 

Hal James,
CCTA Watchdog Committee Chairman

 

Wake up 06-18-17

2nd Amendment discussion.

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

Wakeup 06-04-2017

More 2nd Amendment

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?

 

Wakeup 05-21-2017

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Free Speech

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1st Amendment Free Speech

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