Monday, March 19, 2012

Dreaming of Electric Sheeple

The resistance is in full swing. Download petitions and get updates at and

So, Wilmington is "going green", again. And yet again it's in a totally minor and mostly symbolic way. Yet even so, it's still going to cost you.

City Council may allow Progress Energy to install and maintain two electric vehicle charging stations in the Market St. parking deck. Progress Energy will cover installation and maintenance costs for two years, at which time responsibility could, and probably would, switch over to Wilmington.

Wilmington will only supposedly pay for the electricity for people to charge their cars, an estimated $10 a year. This, of course, could be totally off the mark, and subsidizing this type of thing, which is already heavily subsidized, is not the role of government. Additionally, Wilmington will have to take out liability insurance with a cap of about $4M.

But that's not the real kicker. The kicker is that the money for installation and maintenance isn't really coming from Progress Energy. They apparently have gotten a Federal grant for this.

From the contract:
With respect to any marketing efforts including but not limited to logos, stickers, decals or signage made a part of equipment purchased or infrastructure established; or any printed materials or other marketing and/or outreach materials, activities, or web sites created under this Agreement, Host agrees: i) to consider erecting qualifying signage identifying the EVSE as “being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act;”
You're paying coming and going. Don't you love the new definition of "capitalism"?

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Up is down, left is right, and now a government handout is "entrepreneurship."

And the saddest part? Local officials seem to have no problem with it.


A spin off of the University of North Carolina Wilmington's entrepreneurship center could cost taxpayers some money.

The center's director, Jonathan Rowe, approached the city council Monday with the idea of the city helping to fund the start of the new center. He is seeking about $100,000 for the first year to rent a building, pay for water and electricity and some grant money for start-up businesses.

City council members were open to the idea but said Rowe needed to also ask the New Hanover County Commissioners to chip in. The center, which was created in 2010, helps connect start-up companies and small businesses to sources of expertise and funding. The center, now located on campus, has reorganized as UNCW Entrepreneurship Center LLC and will also seek private donations.

Rowe said Monday he can get businesses to donate computers, Internet and phone service but he needs help getting the center up and running. He added, the goal would be to make the center self-sufficient in two years by leasing part of the space to existing businesses.

Mayor Bill Saffo said if the city does donate money to the center, he would want to establish benchmarks.

The biggest question, in a time when the city faces a nearly $13 million budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year, was where the money would come from.

"We're looking at budget shortfalls. We've got to county every penny," Councilwoman Margaret Haynes said. "The concept, I'm OK with. It's just the money. How are we going to pay for it?"

Rowe has been in talks with City Manager Sterling Cheatham who suggested locating the center downtown. Cheatham said this could be the city's way of investing in small business incentives, a priority the mayor laid out in his state of the city speech earlier this year.

[...]Councilman Neil Anderson suggested the city reevaluate the money it gives to existing economic development organizations to see if the resources are being spread out as they should. (Which is not the same, far from it, from questioning in principle.)

Councilman Charlie Rivenbark said the city spends less on economic development than other cities its size or smaller.

"It's pitiful what we spent on it," he said. (Aww, boohoo, Charlie)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wilmington Taxes Man $400k Because They Don't Like His Business

Yup. It's true. Don't you love that you live in the day where government thinks they can do whatever they want to you?

The manager of a sweepstakes parlor plans to sue the city of Wilmington over his tax bill.

Leo Daniels, of 777 Sweepstakes, says he received a letter from the city earlier this week saying that he owes more than $400,000 taxes.

A city spokesman says an ordinance says parlors are taxed every six months per machine.

Daniels says this is his first tax bill, which amounts to more in taxes than he makes in a year.

The city spokesman says six sweepstakes parlors received the same letter this week regarding their back taxes owed to the city.

Also, this guy Leo Daniels isn't some sort of bum. He's involved in other businesses and owns the agency that is doing the extra casting for Iron Man 3.