Wednesday, July 27, 2011

GOP statement on commissioner districts

Republican members of a citizens' committee created to help Mecklenburg commissioners reset county election lines issued a statement today explaining why they asked state lawmakers to step into the redistricting debate.

The statement was signed jointly by Bryan Holladay, Larry Shaheen, Lee Teague and Mike Walker. -- APRIL BETHEA

A Statement from the Republican members of the Ad Hoc County Commission Redistricting Committee:

After a great deal of soul-searching , the Republican members of the Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee decided to inform local members of the state delegation from the Matthews and Mint Hill of a proposed plan by Democrats on the committee that would severely harm the interests of those towns. A plan we feared would be railroaded through the County Commission.

The Democrats had proposed a plan that created a new, radically different District 6 that winds from Matthews and Mint Hill through central Charlotte then all the way over to South Blvd. The Republicans repeatedly asked for either an explanation or a revision to the plan. At our final meeting and after subsequent requests, neither was forthcoming. It became obvious there would be none.

Our primary concern centers around the impact on the southern towns. Dividing them between two separate districts and tying them to significant areas of Charlotte far from them would dilute their voice on the County Commission and potentially deny them their due from County services such as schools and parks.

Over the course of last week, it has become apparent from email discussions on the four plans agreed to be sent to the Commissioners for consideration that the Democrats real intention was to use their majority on the Committee and the Commission to influence the type of Republican elected from this district. Phrases such as “change for change’s sake” and “an opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice” were bandied about. Their hope seems to be to see someone more to their liking at the expense of the southern towns.

We decided we had to take some action so we discussed the issue with the state House and Senate members from Matthews and Mint Hill. They shared our concerns. At their request, we combined the best aspects of all four plans into one fair, legal, and logical plan that minimizes the change from the current districts, produces compact districts that allow all for better interaction between commissioners and their constituents, meets all the guidelines from the County Commission, and keeps communities together. It is a good-faith effort to create six fair districts, not just three or four of them.

This plan has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Brawley with the support of Senators Rucho and Tucker. We applaud the actions of these representatives to protect the interests of the southern towns and the southern part of Mecklenburg County against the redistricting plan proposed by the Democrats.

Bryan Holladay
Larry Shaheen
Lee Teague
Mike Walker

Thursday, July 21, 2011

CRVA: National search for new CEO

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority will conduct a national search for a new chief executive in its plan to move current CEO Tim Newman to a new job overseeing business development, sales and marketing.

Click here to read the CRVA statement.

While the search is under way, "Tim will remain in his current position as chief executive," the statement says.

CRVA's goal is to finish the search by year's end.

- Doug Miller

Friday, July 15, 2011

CHS: county, not hospital, breached pact

Carolinas HealthCare System alleges that Mecklenburg County has failed to honor its longtime contract with the hospital authority by eliminating indigent care funding and reducing money for the health department in its 2011-12 budget without proper notice. It also said the county has improperly withheld money to CHS in recent weeks.

In court papers filed Thursday, the hospital system asked the courts to compel the county to honor the terms of its agreement with CHS "unless and until such time as the contract is properly terminated with appropriate notice." Or, Carolinas HealthCare said, the court could order the county to pay damages.

Read the suit by clicking here. The filing comes two days after Mecklenburg commissioners voted to end the county's contract with Carolinas HealthCare effective June 30, 2013.

The hospital authority also wants a court to declare the CHS has fulfilled its obligations under the contract.

In June, county commissioners approved a budget that cut a subsidy to CHS and Novant Health toward indigent care. The spending plan also cuts $500,000 from a contract the hospital system has to manage services at the county's health department.

In its suit, Carolinas HealthCare says the county has the right to make changes to its agreement, but can't without appropriate notice. The suit also states that the withholding of payments to the hospital "terminates certain aspects of the 2000 Joint Undertaking, without providing CHS appropriate notice."

The county has withheld payments to the hospital systems since early June when County Manager Harry Jones and other administrators said CHS was in breach of its agreement. The county says the hospital has not provided certain patient data and other information required under the contract. This week, the county also claimed the hospital hasn't conducted psychiatric evaluations for disabled adults served by the Department of Social Services.

The hospital has denied both allegations. It says it has worked diligently to provide required data and in accordance with state and federal law. -- APRIL BETHEA

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Emails show Wachovia's lobbying on bailout

The U.S. Treasury recently provided the Observer with 17 pages of emails and other documents as part of a nearly three-year-old Freedom of Information Act request.

The documents show Wachovia's lobbying related to the bank bailout bill in September 2008 and other interactions with Treasury.

Click here to read the documents.

- Rick Rothacker