Can this be Possible? ?

Has a standing committee of the North Carolina Senate (Ways and Means) had no meetings since 2001?

From an e-mail I received from The NC Property Rights Coalition:

"On May 24, the eminent domain amendment (HB 878) passed the NC House by a vote of 104-15. On May 29, the bill was referred to the N.C. Senate's Ways & Means Committee. It has not been acted on since.

On Monday, a representative of the N.C. Property Rights Coalition called the office of Sen. Charlie Dannelly, Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, and asked when the Ways & Means Committee last met.

Sen. Dannelly's assistant's answer:

More details on the coalition blog, as well as details about a news conference July 19, 2007.

Traffic NO-NO


I love crosswords. They are an exercise in thinking about things in different ways. Yesterday I was working on the crossword puzzle in the Saturday edition of the News and Record. I found the answer to one of the clues doesn't apply to Greensboro. The clue was "a traffic no-no." The answer was UTURN.

In Greensboro and in many other cities nowadays, it is almost impossible to drive anywhere without at least one U-turn. These annoying medians that are using up transportation funds that could be used in better ways are causing many U-turns. Many are made around medians that are not wide enough to accomodate the full length of an average-size passenger vehicle.

It seems to me that the medians would cause more accidents and traffic back-ups. And while I am on the traffic track, I have some comments on red light traffic cameras. I think they are a good idea. The money trail could be worked out. I think that one of the main reasons the traffic light program failed is not because of a law that most of the profits have to go to schools. I think that one reason the program failed is because offenders had to pay first and appeal later. Because the fine was relatively small, and there was no violation record to increase insurance costs, there was very little incentive to hire a lawyer and no profits for insurance companies. Lawyers and Insurance Companies hate that.

The NC legislature could change the law to bring back traffic cameras by allowing a better distribution of the fines. I guess that the law-makers in NC are too busy taking care of trivia and campaign fund-raising to even think about doing much useful work.

A Beautiful Sunday Morning

Hey Greensboro,

Enjoy Life, Look Outside, Smell the Air, Listen to the Birds, Watch the Squirrels, Smell the Flowers, Feel the Sun, Walk, Run, Sing, Find a Shady Tree, Rest, Think, Thank your Maker, Do Something to Help Someone other than yourself.

Enjoy what we have in Greensboro because if we keep allowing it to be destroyed by selfishness, it will not be here for our children. Not every new idea is good. Not every change is good. Bigger is not always Better.

I believe that Greensboro can move forward without destroying the good things of the past.

U. S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

The U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

More info at

A. We urge the federal government and state governments to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the target of reducing global warming pollution levels to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, including efforts to: reduce the United
States’ dependence on fossil fuels and accelerate the development of clean, economical energy resources and fuel-efficient technologies such as
conservation, methane recovery for energy generation, waste to energy, wind and solar energy, fuel cells, efficient motor vehicles, and biofuels;
B. We urge the U.S. Congress to pass bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation that includes
1) clear timetables and emissions limits and
2) a flexible, market-based system of tradable allowances among emitting industries; and
C. We will strive to meet or exceed Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing global warming pollution by taking actions in our own operations and
communities such as:

1. Inventory global warming emissions in City operations and in the community, set reduction targets and create an action plan.
2. Adopt and enforce land-use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space, and create compact, walkable urban communities;
3. Promote transportation options such as bicycle trails, commute trip reduction programs, incentives for car pooling and public transit;
4. Increase the use of clean, alternative energy by, for example, investing in “green tags”, advocating for the development of renewable energy resources, recovering landfill methane for energy production, and supporting the use of waste to energy technology;
5. Make energy efficiency a priority through building code improvements, retrofitting city facilities with energy efficient lighting and
urging employees to conserve energy and save money;
6. Purchase only Energy Star equipment and appliances for City use;
7. Practice and promote sustainable building practices using the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program or a similar system;
8. Increase the average fuel efficiency of municipal fleet vehicles; reduce the number of vehicles; launch an employee education program including anti-idling messages; convert diesel vehicles to bio-diesel;
9. Evaluate opportunities to increase pump
efficiency in water and wastewater systems; recover wastewater treatment methane for energy production;
10. Increase recycling rates in City operations and in the community;
11. Maintain healthy urban forests; promote tree
planting to increase shading and to absorb CO2;
12. Help educate the public, schools, other jurisdictions, professional associations, business and industry about reducing global warming pollution.


The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation this week authorizing the Town of Chapel Hill to sponsor it's own public financing program for candidates in municipal elections in 2009 and 2011. Text of bill (H-483).

The Town Council unanimously requested this authority. The program is not for this year. It is only for elections in 2009 and 2011. It must be reauthorized if it is to continue after that.

Public financing for elections seems like a good idea on the surface; but, I have serious doubts about the long-term effectiveness and expense.

Practice What You Preach

A letter from Greensboro citizen Ed Keohohou in July 12, 2007 Greensboro N&R states:

Candidate for city office should purchase locally

"How can anyone run for City Council at large and make claims that he will support the city of Greensboro, but take his graphic business out of state? Not only out of Greensboro and Guilford County, but out of state. That's an insult to the business community. Go figure, people."

My comment on the N&R website:

Thank you Ed for your comment. Much lip service is paid to supporting local businesses by candidates for city council and also by sitting members of the council.

All of my promotional materials were purchased locally when I ran for Greensboro City Council. Having been a small business owner for over 25 years, I understand the importance of buying locally. I practice what I preach.

Thank you again for your support of local businesses.


The July Guilford Solar Program will feature a screening of the documentary Too Hot Not To Handle.
A primer on global warming, TOO HOT NOT TO HANDLE features contributions from leading scientists in the field. In addition to in-depth discussions of such subjects as the greenhouse effect, hurricanes, snowpack, hybrid vehicles, and alternative power sources, the film shows how businesses, local governments, and citizens are taking positive actions to reduce global warming emissions.

Catch it if you can 10 AM,
Saturday, July 14, 2007

Barn Kitchen Meeting Room
Guilford County Agricultural Center
3309 Burlington Road, Greensboro.

For more information, email,, or

Sticking it to Energy Consumers


The NC Senate approved Senate Bill 3, Renewable Energy/Baseload Provisions on second reading. This bill started out similar to House Bill 77, Promote Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, sponsored by Representatives Martin, Harrell, Justice, and Harrison (Guilford). After months of negotiations, the Senate bill was loaded up with provisions to get buy-in from a variety of interest groups, from Wal-mart to homebuilders to chemical companies, and especially the utilities. As a result, there are many troubling provisions in the bill, which hopefully will be fixed in the House version.

One bad provision relates to financing new nuclear and coal fired power plants. It would shift the risk from the investors to the rate payers. This fight was fought in the early 1980s, and the consumers prevailed, but not this time around in the Senate bill.

Another bad provision encourages energy production from hog farms that use outdated lagoon-and-sprayfield technologies. This will have the unintended consequence of prolonging the life of dirty hog-waste pools that do not meet environmental performance standards and threaten the health of citizens near them. The original bill helps hog farmers convert to better ways of disposing of waste products.

It is important that the NC House fix this bill and pass a renewable energy bill without provisions making it easier to build new coal and nuclear plants and with provisions to help get rid of lagoons filled with smelly hog excrement.

Read Sticking it to utility ratepayers
by Rick Martinez in the Raleigh N&R.

Send a message to members of the NC House. Ask them to fix this bill.