JLF Memo
Sep. 13th, 2010: - johnlocke.org

Featured Article

Forced Annexation and Apparent Racism
By Daren Bakst

In the Spotlight

A recent Charlotte Business Journal blog post found Hugh McColl Jr., former chairman of Bank of America, declaring himself "quite positive" about Charlotte's future, and one reason is that

McColl says North Carolina's laws allowing a city to annex adjacent land has allowed the city to expand its borders with the population and prevent suburban cities from popping up in large numbers on the outskirts of town. "It stops the American disease of white flight." (Emphasis added.)

I can't believe McColl said that. He needs to seriously reconsider or clarify that very inappropriate statement. Forced annexation, which violates all democratic principles, is bad enough, but to do so in order to preserve the racial makeup of a city arguably is racist (I'm understating it).

Why in the world hasn't the media caught on to this shocking statement? As we have seen in Goldsboro, for example, forced annexation appears to be a racist tool in some instances. Here's what a Goldsboro city council member wrote in a letter attempting to make sure Goldsboro could still annex an area:

A city that doesn't grow dies and because of the white flight in the schools, floods and various other reasons, Goldsboro (the city) is not growing, especially our young white families and according to the census, we might even be losing people. Thus the annexation of this area would not only add good tax base to Goldsboro, it would also help us keep our racial make up in check, which in my opinion is very important to our future.

To most people, such a view would sound racist. If the annexation law isn't bad enough, we need to reform the law so that city council leaders don't use their virtually unchecked power to forcibly annex communities in order to keep their cities as white as possible.


Dogs Allowed in Restaurants

Allowing restaurant owners to decide for themselves whether dogs are allowed in outdoor dining areas of restaurants may not sound like a big deal, but for those who believe in property rights, it should be a big deal.

I'm still getting comments from people who I believe consider themselves to be pro-property rights but yet oppose allowing dogs in restaurants. It is critical to understand that the question is not whether dogs should be allowed in restaurants, but whether restaurant owners should be allowed to make that decision.

In other words, it is a property rights issue. A property owner, in this case a restaurant owner, has the right to decide what to allow and what to prohibit on his property. This issue is analogous to the smoking ban bill.

The Commission for Public Health had developed some regulations that were drafted in such a manner that restaurants would not be able, realistically, to allow dogs in their restaurants without fear of violating the rule. I drafted comments to the Commission and ultimately objected to the rule before the state's Rules Review Commission.

The good news is that the rule has been changed so that restaurant owners should be able to decide without any fear to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas.

We often joke in-house here at JLF about how dogs must love me. However, as much as I am pleased to improve the quality of life for canines in the state, my primary concern was protecting property rights from people who want to violate those rights in favor of their own personal preferences.

On a side note: Cats also are allowed in outdoor dining areas, but for some reason I don't think we will see cats hanging out at restaurants.


Quick Takes

With Upward Road Widening, Hendersonville Is Considering Expanding Its ETJ

The North Carolina Department of Transportation recently started construction on a major expansion of Upward Road between I-26 and Spartanburg Highway. This expansion will change the face of Upward Road in many ways, and it is likely that properties along the corridor will have the opportunity to redevelop as the expanded road brings more visibility and people to area.

New development will also likely need city sewer service, and to tap on, property owners must weigh the advantages and additional requirements of voluntarily annexing into Hendersonville. Looking ahead to those requests for voluntary annexation, the City is considering expanding its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) area to provide guidelines for new development along the corridor.

What the City of Wilmington spends on subscriptions and dues

Given how difficult it is to know how much it costs taxpayers for their municipality to join the North Carolina League of Municipalities, I thought the following would be of interest:

By far the biggest line item is the city's [Wilmington] dues for the League of Municipalities. It's $34,000 to be part of the group, which essentially lobbies on behalf of Wilmington and other cities for causes that favor city government. For example, lobbying to keep forced annexation laws the way they are. But some city taxpayers say that's not a cause they support, and they don't want the city spending their money on it.
 

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