Yesterday, we reported that the Western North Carolina Alliance and the Sierra Club were on the verge of getting their collective wrist slapped for falsely signing businesses on to a letter asking Duke Energy to kindly shut down its Lake Julian power plant. Operating since 1964, the largest (324 Mw) electrical plant in Western North Carolina is somewhat of an institution for, say, keeping people safe and warm in temperatures we have recently been able live to tell about. That was yesterday.
Today, we read that the WNCA is merging with the Environmental and Conservation Organization and the Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance to form an organization with the name . . .
. . . MountainTrue.
The Town of Sylva has commissioned its second study this year to determine whether traffic on Main Street should be one-way or two-way. $10,000 matched a grant of the same amount from the Southwestern Commission. One would assume, since there are two possible answers to the question, that if the town fathers did not like the answer they got from the first study, they should be able to, without spending $20,000, figure out what’s left.
Six counties in Western North Carolina are considering partnering with G4S Secure Solutions for transporting involuntary commitments. G4S is the third largest corporation in the world. Its product line includes:
standing sentry at Mission Hospital in Asheville, guarding ships from pirates in the Indian Ocean, and protecting European Union diplomats in Lebanon.
Traditionally, when somebody is deemed a threat to themselves or others, law enforcement will transport them to a facility where they may be sedated or restrained until the shrinks are able to stabilize them. The state has only 2040 beds for people in such circumstances, and so the distraught must, on average, wait 3.2 days before they may be seen.
Law enforcement officers sometimes have to drive great distances to take the poor, broken souls to services. Then, they have to wait with the potentially dangerous until other means can be taken so they will harm no one. In towns with eenie-weenie police forces, this could leave the public at-large exposed to crime with no hope for timely interdiction.
G4S is therefore pitching a package whereby their employees would handle the transport and sitting. Preliminary evaluations by local counties indicate costs would go up, but salesmen working for the company claim it is worth the increase in public safety.
The practice is referred to as “privatization,” but I disagree. It is more like a government contract, as G4S will be sticking the bill to the local jurisdictions so the taxpayers will be picking up the, albeit heavier, tab.
And another thing, I am high on privatization, but I’ve always winced at the prospect of privatizing justice. Law enforcement is a proper role of government. In my libertarian utopia, sworn officers are trusted by the public to take action when individuals overstep their boundaries and abuse the rights of others. One does not have the choice of shopping around for Louie or Mack to handle the situation. This is a tad off-topic, but would psychiatric patients enjoy more protections with a tax-paid police force? I don’t know. Those under duress are easily taken advantage of.
This morning, I went skunking around asking stray cops if they could provide some off-the-record background information on the situation at the Asheville Police Department. I am pleased to say that all were extremely professional. Only by reading between the lines of some of the comments could I infer that they were used to nonsense in high places, regardless of the regime, and they were not going to let shenanigans interfere with their efforts to serve the community.
The North Carolina Beyond Coal Campaign, a consortium of members of the Western North Carolina Alliance and the Sierra Club, has been called into question for claiming eighty Western North Carolina companies were calling for Duke Power to shut down its Lake Julian plant. The local daily reported representatives from three of nineteen businesses it contacted claimed they did not authorize the use of their companies’ names on a letter sent to Duke demanding its shutdown. The episode has caused the campaign to run afoul of the good graces of nonprofit watchdogs.
If some among the eighty indeed backpedaled, it could be because their windmills were not keeping up with the recent freezy, freezy temperatures.
Last night’s news said the housing market was turning around. It has been turning around for the last few years. I wonder what direction it will face when it finally stops.
Webster Enterprises will receive $165,000 from the good taxpayers of Jackson County to fund an expansion. The expansion, in turn, will create 25-30 jobs. WE is a nonprofit, something like Goodwill Industries, creating jobs for the needy.
“This is exciting!” said one official.
“It will create 7.5 more indirect and 31 induced jobs!” cried another.
“Every job funded by the private sector is actually 2/3 indirected and 1/3 induced by a government gift. Unbelievers are evil and on crack!” exclaimed a third.
“And to think Tea Partiers confuse government-funded business with socialism! The nerve of the sorry lot!” cried a fourth.
“Paying for the gifts as well as the bureaucrats who will administer them will keep taxes low!” observed a fifth.
“Let’s hold a summit so fat cats can enjoy a tax-catered lunch. Then, we can figure out how to do more of this!” bubbled a sixth.
And the economy continued to climb up and up and up to pre-WWII levels.
Covering local news, I feel like a daffy woman, mesmerized with beads and bauble, while the world is falling apart.
Saith Donald Boudreaux over at the Cato Institute:
In private markets, each person who ignores the preferences of buyers or sellers in order to indulge his or her personal ideological interests pays the cost of doing so. For instance, a racist restaurateur who refuses to serve African-Americans forgoes the profits he would earn from such customers. As a result, markets naturally temper ideological actions that are inconsistent with sellers’ efforts to earn profits or with buyers’ efforts to stretch their spending power as far a possible. Matters differ in politics . . .