The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sara Burrows' report about a new archiving system for state employee e-mails, including a loophole that will allow private e-mail traffic about state business to remain undetected.
Senators Blanche (she ain't no Abe) Lincoln and Lisa Murkowski have gotten some good news today. According to the New York Times two environmental pressure groups, Friends of the Earth and CREDO Action, are planning to launch an opposition campaign to the Democrat senators' efforts to stop the EPA from regulating CO2. Given the public mood on global warming issues such as cap and trade taxes and the EPA takeover of the American economy bureaucratic energy rationing, any vocal opposition they encounter from radical environmentalists can only help their political prospects.
The Christian Science Monitor, long time apologists for global warming alarmism, has published an article on the decline, and possibly coming fall, of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The article quotes several scientists, both warmists and skeptics, critical of the IPCC. The only scientist quoted defending the organization works for the left wing environmental pressure group the World Wildlife Fund.
Raleigh is in the process of converting the recently
passed land use Comprehensive Plan into a Unified Development Ordinance
(UDO). The consultant’s report is
150 pages and the public is invited to comment on it here.
My latest comment (below) deals with the legal
extortion racket that planners use to pay for “public amenities” that they can supply using extortion making some city council members very happy because they don't have to use tax money for these amenities. Sections below explain how this
extortion scheme works.
For a bonus density system to be effective, permitted base intensities must be
artificially reduced below market demand in order to ensure there is an
economic incentive to acquire additional density and therefore achieve the
desired public amenities.
2.2.10 In order for an incentive system to work effectively, the
quantity and type of public amenities should be carefully considered to ensure
the right balance of trade-offs.
2.2.11 Ongoing management is required to monitor the
city’s needs over time. The city should also be careful that the “public
amenity” requirements do not overburden the developer. An excessive burden,
real or perceived, could cause developers to build within base entitlements, or
simply build in other areas where requirements are not as stringent.
Wow! I realized that planners all over the state were
currently running a legal extortion racket, but I never dreamed that they would
be so bold to put “how to” instructions in writing. Sections 2.2.9, 2.2.10 and
2.2.11 tell planners exactly how to operate this legal extortion racket.
Planners manipulate the land use planning in order to make developers “offers
they cannot refuse.” Thus getting
them to pay for “public amenities,” in this case “open space, public art,
seating areas and water features.” Many city councils like this extortion
because they don’t have to raise taxes to pay for benefits enjoyed by the
entire community. Here is how it
works. First planners set the
density, the number of houses, apartments or condos per acre, below what the
market would dictate. For example
if the market is four houses per acre, the planners arbitrarily lower the
density to one house per acre. This is to “ensure there is an economic incentive to acquire additional
density and therefore achieve [extort money to pay for] the desired public
amenities.” Market conditions indicate that the homebuilder cannot make money
at one house per acre thus he must agree to the planner’s extortion. Planners want him to pay for open space,
public art, etc. In some cases,
planners allow developers to “payment in lieu” instead of providing the “public
amenities” directly. He agrees and the planners give him a “density bonus” by
raising the density to four houses per acre. Of course, the homebuilder’s cost for the public amenities increases
home prices above the price he would have set without the extortion. This creates a “demand” for another
legal extortion scheme called “affordable housing.” (See section 3.4.3) Section
2.2.11 cautions planners not to get too greedy because developers have options.
They can use the base density, one house per acre in this example, or they can
just build outside Raleigh creating the “sprawl” that the planners really
Don Boudreaux has spotted one in the pages of the Washington Post:
Editor, Washington Post
1150 15th St., NW
Washington, DC 20071
Labor-union official Vincent Fyfe wants the state of New York to continue
prohibiting supermarkets from selling wine (Letters, Feb. 12). His reason?
Supermarket wine sales will put some liquor-store owners out of business and
their employees out of work.
Note to Mr. Fyfe: the purpose of the wine trade - like every other trade - is to
serve consumers, not to create jobs for producers. If job creation were
paramount, then government should not only continue to prohibit supermarkets
from selling wine, but should require that bottles of beer, wine, and spirits be
hand-delivered to retailers, one at a time, while cradled in the arms of
carriers each pulled though the streets in a rickshaw.
Of course, such a requirement would harm consumers, but it would also create
lots of jobs.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
The latest temper tantrum from the leftist commentariat is that Americans must be stupid because large numbers of us are expressing opposition to Obama's plans. For example, Joe Klein of Time recently wrote that we're just "a nation of dodos" for opposing the Beloved Leader's new "stimulus" plan.
Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center writes about these ideas here.
So anyone who does not believe that it will help us increase our production of goods and services (that is, make more efficient use of resources) for the federal government to borrow billions of dollars which will then be spent on projects that appeal to politicians is a dodo.
On the contrary, Mr. Klein, anyone who believes anything so short-sighted and, well, childish, is a dodo.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC could have a significant impact on the future of election campaigns. Daren Bakst assesses that impact in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.
Michael Sanera will join us to discuss local governments’ never-ending search for new ways to get money from taxpayers. You’ll also hear top North Carolina Republican legislators explain why they plan to push a bill called the Health Care Protection Act. It would fight a proposed federal mandate for every person to buy health insurance. Joe Coletti will offer his response to the GOP plan.
Speaking of health care, you’ll hear some details of recent Civitas polling on health-care reform.
Plus Duke political scientist and 2008 gubernatorial candidate Michael Munger will discuss the Libertarian alternative to the two major parties.