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Archive for January, 2012

McCrory revs campaign without Perdue as opponent

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

GREENSBORO, NC (AP) — Republican Pat McCrory is ready to unfurl his bid for North Carolina governor, even though he doesn’t know for sure whom his Democratic opponent will be.

The former Charlotte mayor and 2008 runner-up for governor formally kicks off his campaign Tuesday with an event in Guilford County, where he spent much of his childhood.

It appeared for the past year McCrory and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue were headed for a rematch in 2012, but Perdue announced last week she wouldn’t seek re-election. Two Democrats have already jumped into their party’s race, and more are possible.

McCrory said Monday that Perdue’s absence won’t change his campaign and strategy. He said the Democrats interested in running all have helped enable a dozen years of poor policies.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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New Hanover News & Notes – Tax help; piano recital; museum programs

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

ARP Foundation Tax-Aide is providing free help 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, Feb. 1-April 17, at the New Hanover County main library, 201 Chestnut St.

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Wilmington Mayor Saffo gives State of City address

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With a new year just beginning, that means the annual State of the City address in Wilmington. Mayor Saffo took the time to reflect on last year, examining the issues and high points, while also looking forward to this year and what the future months will bring. He touched on several aspects from a controversial budget plan to crime rates.

“Despite our financial challenges and a reduced workforce, the city was able to complete a number of projects and continue to provide a level of service that you our citizens have come to expect,” said Mayor Saffo.

“I think anybody who listened to the speech would have to believe that our city is doing well and it’s in good hands,” said Jim Quinn, a former Wilmington City Councilman.

“He touched on a lot of different sections and in all of them, he was able to quote to a positive achievement in all of the areas,” said Owen Wexler, who lives in Wilmington.

Saffo made sure to look at the favorable things, like a 30 percent drop in major downtown crimes and several infrastructure improvement projects, talk of this coming year’s budget was not so chipper.

“We know the revaluation of property throughout New Hanover County will have a significant impact on the city’s budget and we will face difficult choices as we set next year’s budget,” said Saffo.

“I remember how tough it is and I don’t envy them but we’ve got a good council and I think they’re going to do a good job for us,” said Quinn.

Saffo says the new budget will be developed using an updated strategic plan.

Though the speech lasted about half an hour, there were a few things that some hope to be addressed this year that Saffo did not mention in his speech.

“We want to see the convention center get a new hotel,” said Quinn. “I wish he had been able to announce that that had happened. I think that would be a good thing.”

“One of the keys to having a stronger city would be if we were able to have less friction between the city and county government and they were able to work a little closer together,” said Wexler.

Saffo aslo touched on the film industry in Wilmington and how Iron Man 3 will be a huge economic boost for our region, bringing more jobs and more business.

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Romney, Gingrich get goofy in Sunshine State

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Just when it looked like the Republican race for president was going to be a good, clean fight, it got downright dirty.

Coming out of South Carolina a week and a half ago, Newt Gingrich had all the momentum, and it looked like he and Mitt Romney might actually wage an interesting battle into the spring and summer. That’s when Romney decided to stop holding back and rely on his strength: Money. Big-time money. Mega huge money.

And so with the Florida primary hours away, Romney had regained the momentum by ratcheting up his attacks on Gingrich and putting the former Speaker of the House on the defensive in a big way.

I think we were all surprised by the big margin with which Gingrich won the Palmetto State. I’ve been almost as surprised by how quickly Romney turned the tables and wiped the Gingrich groundswell away. So let’s get the Florida prediction out of the way:

-Romney: 42%
-Gingrich: 31%
-Santorum: 12%
-Paul: 10%

One thing we know for sure from the campaign in Florida is that Romney and Gingrich have officially opened the door to the worst part of the primary process: Intraparty negativity. President Obama has to be sitting back and reveling in watching them unleash on each other. In addition to helping the president and Democrats load up on ammunition for the general election, it makes the inevitable loser-endorsing-the-nominee moment look all the more disingenuous.

Anyway, the question now is if Gingrich can resurrect himself for a third time. The next two contests are caucuses in Nevada and Maine Saturday. Then it’s two more caucuses Feb. 7 in Colorado and Minnesota. The problem is, there’s not a lot of recent polling data available for those races, though last week Gingrich was the big favorite in Minnesota, and Gingrich has a slight edge in the national polls.

Polling, though, may not mean much based on the money available to Romney and his supporters. You’re looking at four contests in a week spread all over the map. Gingrich says he’s in until convention in August. Romney says that’s the talk of a loser, and his wallet may back him up on that. In fact, based on the money, I’d be surprised if Rick Santorum lasts more than the next week, especially after he had to go home to Pennsylvania over the weekend to be with his sick daughter. Ron Paul will continue to stick around, though he is solidly behind Santorum in last place nationally.

Back to Florida, perhaps Gingrich can make a last-minute appeal to voters and close the gap to keep Romney from running away with it. That’s what he really has to hope for. After all, even if Romney wins every delegate up for grabs through the end of February, he’s still only about a fifth of the way to the necessary total to wrap up the nomination.

Disclaimer: The opinions I express in this and future blogs is mine and mine alone. Also, nothing I write should be construed as any sort of endorsement of a candidate, party, ideal, issue, etc. These blogs are merely my observations (written as objectively as possible) on the process this country uses to select a president.

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Wilmington mayor pushes for financial incentives in speech

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Mayor Bill Saffo wants to extend the financial incentives already afforded to large businesses in Wilmington to the smaller sector.

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