CRYSTAL COAST TEA PARTY PATRIOTS
MARCH 13, 2012
Meeting held at Golden Corral, Morehead City, NC
Meeting called to order at 6:00pm by Chairman BOB CAVANAUGH
Pledge of Allegiance was led by EULA PARKIN
Invocation by JERE GEURIN
Attendance – 31
Chairman BOB introduced our guest speakers for this evening:
Terry Frank – Candidate for County Commissioner District 3
Elaine Crittenton – Candidate for County Commissioner District 5
Glenda Self – Board Member of Cape Lookout Marine Science School
(attended by Anita Coburn, School Board Member and
Teresa M. Parker, Principal)
Clinton Rowe – Candidate for District Court Judge running against
Guest – Pam Hansom, Clerk of Court.
BOB announced that since there was a Republican Executive Committee Meeting tonight and Mr. Frank will be speaking there, he would have to leave our meeting early; therefore we would be asking him to speak to us first. Decision to have both Mr. Frank and Mrs. Crittenton both speak and then proceed as time will permit with the questioning.
BOB introduced Mr. Frank (owner of Frank Door Company, Newport, NC since 2000). Mr. Frank thanked BOB for inviting him to speak to the group tonight. He said this is his first rodeo, that he had never run for an elected position before. This is a whole new experience for him; and a humbling experience. To those who have run in the past for a position, or served in an elected position, his hat was off to you because the work, the effort, whatever, is just overwhelming. He would like to introduce himself to the group tonight with several important comments….he has never donated a penny to a Democrat, he does have a long form birth certificate and it is not in Hawaii, he has it at home if anyone would like to inspect it. Give him a call and you can come by and look at it. He is married, wife Maryann, and three kids. The oldest, Jennifer, lives in New Hampshire and has presented them with two wonderful grand children. His son Christopher, the middle kid, works at Frank Door Company. He has matured and grown into a position that allows Mr. Frank to take time off from work to serve the county as Commissioner. His youngest daughter just moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where she is employed by the General Electric Company. She works in Human Resources. She works on the campus where they build locomotives, and yes they still do that today. Locomotives are still a viable product. Some of his civic duties: he serves on the Carteret County Economic Council, the ABC Board, the Newport Long Range Development Committee, and he and his wife have created a Community College “Frank Door Fund”, not a scholarship, but set up to help students who have financial needs that would prohibit them from completing their education. It could be as simple as needing a tire that they can not afford that keeps them from getting to school, or maybe even a textbook that they cannot afford. The school has discretion over how they spend the funds. Since 2009 the Franks have contributed $72,000.00. They have put $42,000 or $43,000 into the hands of the students to help complete their education. He would like to serve as County Commissioner because he would like to build on the blocks that the past Commissioners have put into place. They have gotten us on the right position; it has been a lot of work, but he has a vision where they can put together their plan for the county, a long range plan, instead of fighting fires and going from one fire to another we can develop something where in the long run we can create good paying jobs. We can continue having a good educational system and in the end we can create a place where our children and grandchildren can call home. ‘When it comes Thanksgiving and Christmas, we won’t be going to New Hampshire or someplace else to visit grandchildren, they will be here with us. To do this, I need your help. I need your support and on the 8th I need your vote. Thank you very much’. (Applause)
BOB then called on Mrs. Crittenton, who was introduced by Pam Hanson. Pam said she had known Mrs. Crittenton for many years. Her oldest daughter, Marie, was one of the first kids who went through her Camp 911 during her years at the college. That is when she first met and got to know Elaine and during her position as Emergency Service Director, she frequently ran into Elaine in her hospital position. She is the Director of Infection Control at the Hospital. That means everyone in that hospital has to answer to her. She says where the signs “Wash Hands” go, and everything about keeping infections under control in that hospital. She has gotten to a point in her life now where she wants to do more. She wants to be your commissioner and I hope and think you will agree with me, we need her there.
Mrs. Crittenton thanked Pam and said she could not have hoped for a better introduction. She is married to Keith Crittenton, her husband of almost 33 years. He hails from Chapel Hill and Carolina lost a match this time, they did not stay in Chapel Hill, but came back here to Carteret County. She is a native Mill Creeker. She grew up there and went to school at West Carteret, (Class of 76). Her father and mother, both, were from the Mill Creek area and were married just 13 days short of 61 years when she lost her dad. Her dad was a fisherman and she actually grew up on a shrimp trawler working with her dad. She knows what hard work is like and she knows the foundation of the county. When she and her husband made the decision to come back here in 1989, and build their careers here and raise their child (now have 3), it was a big decision for them because the pay is not as good. They knew they were going to be limited in their career growth. Her husband is in health care also. But they did make that commitment to come back to the community and she has worked at the hospital for 20 years now, part of the time as Operating Room nurse, and some of you here I may have seen or taken care of you or someone in your family. For the last 14 years she has been the hospital Epidemiologist running the infection prevention program and employee health and wellness. Then after 911 she also got involved with disaster planning. If you have seen her on TV or read something in the paper, it is usually talking about a bug or some kind of preparedness or something to make the community stronger and better. She echoes a lot of what Terry said because he obviously has the work ethics since he demonstrated that, even though he is a fairly new comer to the area and our community. He exhibits what we all feel about our community. Education is so extremely important. Without education, we can not recruit talent here to take care of the citizens who choose to live here. She works with a lot of people at the hospital that are not from this area and they would not be here if we did not have good schools for their kids. That is a big consideration, you have to keep education strong and it means that we have to shoulder some of the responsibility because our state is broke. So we really have to make some decisions as to how we want that dealt with and we have to stand strong with education here. Support Carteret County Community College not Craven Community College. Don’t let us lose our college because if we do the opportunity for a lot of kids, who can not spend the $20,000 + a year it costs with all expenses to go to one of our instate schools (trust her she knows, her daughter just finished her 5th year there and graduated). She was able to come back here and get a job and Elaine said she was blessed that she could because this is where she wanted to be. She had to wait almost a year to get a job, because jobs are just not here. According to the paper the top jobs are in retail and health care. If you don’t fall into that sector you know how hard it is to get a job. We need to attract business here; we need sound business, we need small business. She read recently we have 7600 small businesses in this community. It is the engine that drives the machine. We have to support these people. We got to make it easy for them to come here and locate their businesses here and work here and have apprenticeships. Not every kid is going to go to college. They need something to do as well and help pump money into our economy. Lastly, she wanted to speak a little bit about the environment, because without the natural resources we have here and without protecting them, we are going to lose one of our biggest industries which is tourism. Not only that but in her time and, Mr. Garner, you said you had been around for a lot of years, she remembers when oysters came out of Newport River were as big as her hand. You do not see those anymore. HOWARD added ’and plentiful’. She said yes ‘big and plentiful’. Elaine said she had watched commercial fishing just go down the tubes and a lot of our waters. We have to take responsibility for that. We have to protect what is underground that we drink every day as well. There is a lot of environmental considerations. She can tell us on her watch that you will not be surprised by a Sunday paper that tells you that there is going to be a liquid sulfur plant in downtown Morehead. That will not happen on her watch. That she promises us. When she heard that at a meeting prior to the paper’s issue, she asked does the public know about this. There were people who knew about that long before that Sunday paper. So, the public needs to be involved and needs to have a say in what happens in their county. This is our home. She wants us to continue to build on what we have. We have some wonderful things going. Let’s just make it better. She does have an opponent in the May 8th primary for District 5 and the district goes from Newport to Harlowe to Beaufort. So, anybody that you know that you can talk to, tell them about her, (the six foot red head from Mill Creek), she wants to be your next commissioner. Thank you.
When you first decided to run for office there is always that aha moment, when by golly, I’m running for that job. What specifically was it that made you decide to run for County Commissioner as opposed to School Board or any other elected position. Was there one event, news item, argument, or whatever, that made you decide to run?
Elaine said for her, it probably was not just one event, she is one of those silly individuals that reads the County Commissioners minutes every time they meet and so she knows what is going on in the county. She has been before the boards many times, with many commissioners, over the past 25 years. The County Commissioners choose the Board of Trustees for the hospital and the hospital has been her employer for over 20 years, so a lot of what happens in Beaufort carries across the river to the hospital. Working there and being a very progressive person, trying to build wonderful programs to make our patients safer and give care the best it can be and make our institution down the street strong and we are doing just that. We boast some of the best inspections and ratings in the state. They have implemented great programs that have been on the cutting edge, very innovative but what she sees consistently in this county is the shortsightedness or as Mr. Franks said ‘of being proactive and not reactive’. Not waiting until you are faced with something and you got to make a decision right then. Most of the time it costs more and may not be the best thought out decision because your hand gets forced. She thinks we have had that happen a number of times in government and she knows for sure they have had it happen in the hospital where they really needed to look at that 15 or 20 year view. She would love to see collectively in the community have that kind of momentum and that clarity for our future. It is an accumulation of those things that really said to her, this is her time, and she felt it was the right place, the right person and the right time. Her family’s situation is stable, her job is stable, she has control of it all and this is a big job, a huge commitment and she feels she has what it takes to be one of the seven on the board.
Terry said he had a shorter answer than that. It was a great response, but as he had mentioned before, he serves on the economic board, the ABC Board, is involved with community college, and he has enjoyed thoroughly giving back to the community; helping make decisions that take these organizations and the county in the right direction. He has wanted to do this for a number of years. His son grew into the business and can now give him the time…and quite honestly, Holt Faircloth deciding not to run again, so there was an opportunity for him to step up to the plate and he did.
KEN LANG said since Elaine had mentioned education, he wanted to know how she felt the Board of Education was doing on overseeing the school budget, on working with the County Commissioners, and how would she improve the relationship between the Board of Education and Board of Commissioners.
Elaine said she wished she could give him a really clear answer because that is one of those things you have to be there before you can really say from an action perspective what your action plan would be but that takes collaboration and it takes honesty and that is what she knows about bringing forces together, like in a health care setting. When you have groups that don’t agree and don’t even want to talk about it, then you have to get them at the table and you have to talk about it openly and you have to look really hard at the budget. The way she perceives it is that there were hard decisions that were made and she can’t say what all the motivating factors were, but it is clear that there are things that created a standoff between the commissioners and board of education recently, and it has been in the headlines recently ’78 positions cut’ and the want of a final number. She read the dialog that exists, and when representatives from the board of education ended up before the commissioners they were asked for information that they were not told to bring and so therefore it made them look unprepared. She thinks that is an effort in futility, that you must not sabotage one another, must have perfect communication, and when there is so much at stake for the public, the public has got to be aware that that dialog will occur. It is a public right to go to the commissioners’ room and stand at the podium. How many of you have ever done that? (Many hands were raised.) Do you see her point? If you don’t know what the agenda is going to be and you don’t know what questions are going to be asked, how can you be prepared for it.
Terry said again it is a hard thing for them to answer when they are not a commissioner, and when you don’t have the information privy and open to you. He thinks the commissioners have done a very good job recently in holding the school board accountable. The tax payers have a right to know where the money is going. It is ridiculous that we don’t know where it is going. And yes, everybody has a right to know. The loggerheads between both organizations has to stop. People have to stand in line, people have to be fair, people have to be accountable. As commissioner he will take a fair and balanced (sounds like Fox News here) approach to the whole thing. When he got involved with the ABC there were contentious relationships with some of the towns and the ABC Board. We sat down with the people we were having a problem with and worked it out. If you consult anybody today, we have a working relationship with them.
BOB said he had a follow up question for Elaine. Back to her statement about the Board of Education not being told to bring certain information to the meeting. Are you talking about the meeting where Commissioner Harris had the power point presentation?
Elaine said she was not at the meeting but based on the minutes of the meeting and the way the minutes were captured, she assumes that was the meeting. It was recent. KEN interrupted and asked that they hold that question until later and continue on with questions answerable by both candidates.
ERIC BROYLES said because we have a short meeting tonight could the candidates limit their responses to about a minute or so.
KEN said there is a group that you may be aware of in the county called the Carteret County for Concerned Citizens for Education. Do either of you have a relationship right now with that organization. Have you been endorsed by them at all and do you agree with the position that this group has that they want more money for education but they really have not done a very good job of what the money is being spent on. (That is Ken’s opinion.)
Terry said he has not been endorsed by C4. He is not affiliated with C4, and as stated before, he does agree that the tax payers have a right to know how the money is being spent.
Elaine said she too was not endorsed by C4 either. Because she has a child in school she has received a number of those emails. She thinks that blind spending is what got us into a lot of the mess we are in today as a country; as individual families, community, county, state etc and she thinks we really have to step back and look at where that money is being spent and hold everybody accountable. Health care is getting hammered hard, you hear it all the time, and she is used to having to balance her budget to the penny every month. She runs three of them at the hospital. She also knows, as a parent, we have to help subsidize our kids going into school these days. Your kids can’t play sports today and unless you are willing to pay the money up front, they are not allowed to play. It is very expensive for parents to send kids to school now. It is not just the tax dollars that are sending kids; so she thinks we need to look at a long hard, piece by piece school budget and one thing she is really interest in is looking at the manpower of the classroom balanced against all the manpower in the schools system. We have to strike balances.
BOB asked if anyone in the audience had a question for our candidates. FRED DECKER said the school system could save a whole lot of money by privatizing janitorial service, lunchroom service and bus maintenance service. But you won’t hear of it because some body’s friend is going to lose a job. Are we looking out for the kids and tax payers by putting teachers in the class rooms or are we just providing a job for them. What do you think about that?
Terry said that sounded more like a statement rather than a question. If you want to consider that statement as a question, he does not have an answer for him. He can at some point look into gathering information and getting back to him with it, but he can not answer that question tonight. It would not be honest.
BOB asked what their position was on Charter Schools.
Terry said he supported Charter Schools. He thought if you looked at the statistics, they provide a quality of education at maybe half the cost of the public system does.
Elaine said she agreed with Terry. She said she sent her children to private school. She watched the Tiller School come up and become functional. She has talked to many parents who have utilized that program and watched it go from private to charter. She has been involved with Cape Lookout over time as well and looking at some of the charter schools in the state, she thinks that is good use of money. The quality of education has been very good. The test scores are outstanding so she would support that as well.
KEN said about 40% of our taxes in Carteret County goes to supporting education. How will you balance the school budget expenditures against the needs of the increasingly large retiree population.
Elaine said that is a big question. Without having access to the budget, she does not feel she can give us an answer on that. From where she stands, about 60% of the payer/mix at the hospital is managed care for government/Medicare and she knows some of the consulting that the hospital has been involved in last year, indicate the population increase in Carteret, the largest amount of that is going to be to the 64 and above, so the needs for elderly care is going to be substantial going forward unless we do something to change that and make this community more attractive to the younger families. Personally we need to do this because she thinks otherwise it will not be a very interesting community and you are not going to have folks rendering the kind of services that the elderly are going to need. She has seen some of the statistics at the hospital which she is not free to disclose but there have been lots of studies done. She wants to reference our school budget against what is going on in other areas especially where they have excellent programs. She knows they have a higher economic base perhaps than we do in some of those areas. She wants to look at those ratios across the board. In health care that is what they do, to assure they are staying in line to get the work done and that we are not fat, and by what she means fat – that they are not overstaffed. They look at FTE (full time employees) by the point 2% and they tighten the budget that close and it runs a tight ship. She thinks education is going to have to fall in line and we are going to have to work hard to have volunteerism be a bigger part in the educational system also.
Terry said he had to agree with a lot Elaine said. He really can’t give us an answer because there is too much information not available to him as a private citizen. He agrees that we need to evaluate the costs; we need to measure the worth of the programs, but as far as coming up with a plan for us tonight, can’t do that.
KEN said one thing he would like to say is most often people who are endorsing increased spending for the schools have been suggesting raising taxes in the county. When you need more money just increase taxes. With the large retirement community like we have that often is not the best answer for the older people.
Terry said, Trust me, I don’t agree in raising taxes. It is the last thing on his mind. God knows with the company he has in Newport, the checks they write to Washington and the checks they write to the state, it is incredible. And the money he has earned and his employees have earned, they have worked hard to get and to give it away with absolutely no control. No, he certainly believes we need to watch what is happening.
ERIC said recently the School Board submitted a budget that called for a 9% increase in their budget which is similar to previous yearly budget requests of 18 to 20% increases. The cost of living is going up from 2.5 to 3.0%. In fact this year it was 3.1% according to the federal government. How do we handle a situation like that where we have a system that is constantly coming in requesting 3 to 4 times the cost of living. Some have not had an increase in several years and we have a school board that is out of control with spending. What are we going to do?
Terry said part of the answer is not just at the county board level. Part of the answer is you all have to vote in the right school board. It begins there.
ERIC said if you were elected County Commissioner would you hold them to tax. Terry said, Absolutely. He made that statement before he likes a fair and balanced approach to everything. Fair doesn’t just mean to teachers but fair means to all the tax payers. Elaine said who in this room hasn’t had to go to the kitchen table with your spouse and say ’the light bill just went up, or the fuel bill, or my gas tank or heating oil, or whatever. If we pay for this, then something else has to go because there is only so much money coming in. She thinks we all have to be responsible for spending.
Terry asked to be excused to go to Beaufort to another meeting. SCOTT CARPENTER stood and said before Terry leaves he would like to give a testimonial about Terry. He expounded on what a wonderful person, businessman, and what a tight ship he ran with his business and how his wife, on Fridays, cooks food and brings it in to the guys in the back on the loading dock. That speaks a lot to the type of person we are contemplating voting for commissioner. If you are in the 3rd District, then you are invited, on the 30th of March at 5:00, to a ’Meet and Greet” which he is hosting, in the Brandywine community building and you all are more than welcome to attend. Even if you are not necessarily in District 3 come on down.
WAYNE WILLIS said he wanted to ask Elaine about her observation of the changing demographics in the persons that she treats … the public in the hospital. In other words, we had 3 or 4 hundred extra brand new empty assisted living beds put in this county about 10 years ago and all of a sudden, just like that, people in Florida came and bought certificates of need from the legislature because the demographics then was that the population was getting older. Things have changed, he doesn’t know if we have more now or is that trend still in place or leveled off. What is your take?
Elaine said this community is a real interesting community because she has reviewed a lot of different charts and we have a lot of indigent population here, a lot of people that come in and when they present to the desk for care without a security number, guess what folks, they are here illegally but they, as a public facility, still have to treat them. She doesn’t know how many millions of dollars of bad debt they have to write off every year. That population is growing. The population without insurance is growing because of jobs being lost and benefits being cut so they are giving free care to a lot more people. All the things that she knows the hospital has invested in, the base is also factored into that. You know how we have heard about squadrons coming and then they go somewhere else. It is hard to plan for that because you don’t know – the government is very unpredictable as to where they are going to send those squadrons, the military personnel and families and all that goes with it. She does feel like that most of the time their beds are filled with elderly patients. Their health care needs are high. The poorer the population, a lot of the time, the higher the health needs. They have poor eating habits, don’t take care of themselves, may not get to the doctor as they need to, so the big ones, diabetes, heart disease, and smoking is a huge problem with all the diseases related to that. She does think from time to time along the banks, all the big property owners that don’t live here, occasionally they get sick too, so they do see a smattering of them, but they always have had better care as well. In talking to them, she feels that they have resentment at being taxed unfairly, when they don’t use our services, (and schools) because they only come here to go to the beach. She feels if you have property in the community then you need to make an investment in the community. The hospital is a real good cross cut view of what the population is in the county. WAYNE said these people you are talking about, these illegal aliens that you are having to treat are not tax payers either. They are here, working off the books, or whatever, or even in the drug business. Elaine said if they get hurt here we have a new American citizen that we are responsible for. WAYNE said it is also a problem for the school budget because their younguns are going to school. Elaine said we can’t change that. Some states are taking issue with that, but it is a government decision.
BOB said Energy has always been an issue here in Carteret County. Windmills have been kicked around. What is Elaine’s position on wind energy here in our county or off our coast.
Elaine said, if you study the geology of this area, you will realize that not far off shore there is a significant fault line and what happened in Japan can happen here just as easily. She thinks when we start drilling off shore, you run the risk of a couple of things. You start disturbing the plates and moving rock around, shifting things beneath the soil on the bottom of the ocean floor, you do not know what the results are going to be. When the oil rigs went in in Louisiana everybody thought it would kill the fishing there but it actually made the fishing better, up until the big oil rig spill issue with BP and they are still cleaning that up and will be doing so for a long time to come because a lot of that oil is still on the ocean floor. She would hate to see that kind of thing happen here with all the estuaries we have. It would kill so much of the sea life and wet lands that we have. So you have to throw everything out on the big scale. Right now Obama is pushing us to buy oil from Brazil. He is at the beck and call of George Soros. Brazilians right now are the biggest spenders in this country, of all the foreigners that visit, because we are pumping a lot of money into their economy. As long as we are hungry for energy like we are, we are going to have to learn to make some concessions. As long as our demands are there, then how would we like it delivered. Gas prices are going up. They are going to be $5.00 a gallon this summer. She has studied the wind farms and you do pay a price for that also. They disturb the ecology of the area, especially the birds. But she feels you are looking at the lesser of the evils. She has talked to NC State about the potential for putting a turbine on her property. There is a lot of wind velocity here. If we can harness that natural resource in some way…it doesn’t have to be a towering windmill, there are other ways to look at turbines then maybe we should explore them a little bit and not be so closed minded about it. We have to get energy from somewhere…where are we going to get it? Discussion on turbines/windmill problems followed. SCOTT said he had seen studies on the natural gas that is off our coast. What are her thoughts on drilling for natural gas and the benefits to be derived from it. Elaine said of all the science she has studied she knows less about natural gas drilling than any of the other energys. Looking at oil particularly, she was very concerned about that. She has never been a natural gas customer, so she is not really familiar with natural gas. Certainly the port is important to us but she was unable to be in two places at once, so she did not attend the maritime meeting last week but they are having a lot of public meetings about the port. Our port is not thriving. It hasn’t been for a long time. A lot of business has been diverted. SCOTT said that is why he thinks we need to think outside the box. We need people who are creative. You have to take risks. If you are going to be successful or prosperous, you gotta take some risks. So maybe we need to reconsider and study up and when or if we do elect you (Elaine) as District 5 commissioner, we can look at that as an option for some extra income. Elaine said the one thing she always says is that energy in every opportunity she has seen when it is related to gas or petroleum of any kind, is that it is so corrupt and managed in such a corrupt way because of monies, she feels they have to hold the scientific community and the government responsible…and the public but frequently they are not informed until it is too late. As a tax payer, she resents that. She thinks they should have public forums and talk about it. You tell the truth and present the sides, and then make the decisions together. That is what she was thinking about with collaboration. If you are concealing the truth and only tell part of the story and you don’t agree to talk, then you are not going to make any inrows at all…whether it is schools or energy.
KEN said Elaine had kind of touched on the Port system so that was kind of one of his questions. Just in response to what Elaine said ‘our port is run by the state’. The state is a government. Government doesn’t run businesses very well and that is a prime example of it, so, if we are going to make our port work we need to get the state out of it. This might not be a fair question, since you are relatively new but there has been a lot going on lately in the county commissioners with concerns about fire and EMS operations in the county. He was just appointed to the Western Carteret ILA. He took over Robin Comer’s position. We have a member of the Fire and EMS Budget Commission here tonight also, HOWARD GARNER, is on that board, so it is a concern to us and he was just wondering if she had any thoughts on it.
Elaine said after 911 she got involved in disaster planning. They did not have a disaster planning group and the municipalities would not talk to each other and everything was so polarized. She was charged with drawing the groups together and we filled the civic center on November 15, 2001, and made a call to those who attended for a task force to come forth to work through some of the issue we faced as a community. As it evolved it became more of an emergency planning response and in trying to bring some of the homeland security funding into the county, you had to meet certain criteria because this money was coming down from the federal government to the state. Places like Wake County and Mecklinburg County had their hands out and getting hundreds of thousands of dollars and we had to rally our forces together to get some of that money here and bolster some of the squads. She lived in an area that was served exclusively by a volunteer squad and she has never been permitted to work with that squad because her medical career was so demanding she was unable to find the time to get the extra education she had to take and she has been in nursing over 30 years. She could not meet the education requirement to ride her own squad. She was a trauma /critical care nurse and has worked in more situations than she could ever begin to tell us about and yet she could not answer a call because she could not meet the requirements the state imposed. Working with emergency management, based on the calls she knows about from one end of this county to the other, there is an equity that currently exists in health care to the population. She went on to give examples of types of calls, personnel attending, and responses to. (Description of her father’s death was especially touching to all in attendance…not many dry eyes.) She asked us ‘from Cedar Island to Stella, do we not need to make rapid response and sound response evenly distributed across the entire county. If you can not agree with her on that then she does not need to be our commissioner.
HOWARD asked her if Mill Creek had paid employees at the time of her fathers death. She said they did not. She said when she asked for the run report on that call, there were some people shaking in their shoes, because she could have had the county take care of her the rest of her life because that call was handled so badly. They do have paramedics now during the daylight hours. HOWARD said he does not understand why people who live down there did not know where to go to find your father. They were native Mill Creekers on the ambulance, weren’t they? She said this county is full of little dirt roads, lanes, they may be marked or not, and instructions from local residents are not necessarily the best. HOWARD said he had traveled every back road and path throughout the county for over 21 years, so he knows what she is talking about, but really he thinks that Mill Creek has one of the more honest departments; and maybe better managed; and their requests for funds is more thought out than most. Pam said she thought that what Elaine was trying to say was there is a different level of service. HOWARD said he agrees but when you try to get them equitable you have these fights and power struggles. Elaine said there is your problem. They need to go away. That is about ego and not about care. HOWARD said he agreed, but you try to do it. Did she read the newspaper about the Fire and EMS and Commissioners meeting Monday night a week ago and what went on there? Pam said she understood it was about combining Stacy with Sea Level and Atlantic. HOWARD said Stacy does not have the population to maintain the number of volunteers required for their department, but they do not want to give it up. Elaine said if you ever go through what she went through… this is a hard county to serve. Carteret County Hospital sits about center geographically and when she did home health, the days she went from Cedar Island to Stella took two hours between clients. HOWARD said since he got on this commission, he has found that they lose about 60% of the patients. She said part of the problem is the older volunteers are not able to do it anymore and the young just doesn’t ‘have the time’. Her husband is a cardiovascular tech that works in the cath lab in New Bern, but can’t ride the squad, even if they hear the call, because the state won’t license him to do it. HOWARD said he thought these unions are getting lobbyists and they are setting up requirements for volunteers so high that people no longer want to volunteer because they can’t afford the time. Elaine said the only way we can fix that is at the polls, by working for people that we feel will do a better job and that is all she is asking that we do here. We are just trying to make it the very best it can be and she promises us that is what she will do. BOB thanked her for coming tonight and for the very informative and enlightening presentation.
KEN announced that we got an email today from the John Locke Foundation and they have cancelled the Constitutional (Federalist Papers) Workshop that was to be held Saturday because there were not enough enrollees and they cited in the email that other conflicting events were going on (like March Madness/NCAA Tournament) at the same time. They hope to reschedule it again and if you had already signed up for it, they are going to refund your registration fee. Then they will get back to us as to when they can conduct it at a later time.
BOB said as most of you know the charter for the Cape Lookout Charter School has been yanked by the state like a month after they were granted a renewal license. Glenda Self, a member of the Cape Lookout School Board, is here to explain the problems and possibly let us know what we can do to help. She asked if we would be willing to sign their petition that she would pass around, that that would be one way we can help. Glenda said her son was a student at the Cape Lookout Charter School and that is how she became familiar with the school and its kind of learning. She feels she brought a unique perspective to the board. She had looked at what people had said, how they thought it was an alternative school (which it is totally not). She has received more of an education working with the charter school because she also had an opportunity of working with her other children who had followed the traditional pathway of public schooling. It is wonderful for her as a parent, because she knows all of her son’s teachers. She said she was intimidated by the audience and all she had heard here tonight…talking about the big budgets and she is only familiar with smaller budgets. The first experience she has had with an educational budget has been with Cape Lookout and to her it was amazing coming in as a parent because none of these things are shared. Her oldest daughter is 24 and she is going to NC State and all those years of PTA, and little fund raisers; never once did the school ever sit down and really tell them what they were raising the funds for. This is now her passion at Cape Lookout. It has been distressing to her to see what appears to be happening; the state struggling for funds…they’ve made all these improvements but what she sees as a board member and a parent they are really not getting any support from the state, county commissioners, and she has never spoken to even one person on the board of education. She doesn’t know if that is part of the role, or how they are supposed to be getting all of this, but anyway it is now coming down to some things we need to do. We are on a crunch. The kids are rallying and she thinks Cape Lookout and the community are going to come together. They definitely have some very real needs and you can help in a real meaningful way. They are asking for money. BOB asked if she could explain the $46,000 shortfall and how it happened. She said she was not totally up on what had happened since it had come from a previous board and some things were very astronomical like you were talking about. That financial responsibility that she looked at in the school budget she looked at as her home budget also. Everything was being cut back but the rent was astronomical. She feels that this board has gone in and gotten some of these things reduced and as they have been talking and collaborating and trying to do more of that outreach we definitely have reduced a lot of those costs. BOB asked how many kids they have now. She said they have 86 now. BOB asked if all the kids had disciplinary problems with previous schools. He understood they were all problem children. Glenda said she thought that was part of the misconception of the school. It really is about choice. She feels they should be able to go into the other schools and recruit all eighth graders, talk to their parents and give them a choice as to which school they want to attend and where they want to get their education. For her son, he was making straight “F’s”. He has ADHD and he was lost. He couldn’t follow the course. He tried but after being sent to detention and not being able to learn with that, she enrolled him into Cape Lookout. He is now enjoying more of the one on one instruction. Since she has been on the board they have bought the assessment software and she just got a report card last night and he had two A’s, two B’s and a C. BOB said she mentioned the one on one instruction, what is the teacher/student ratio at Cape Lookout. How many teachers do they have. Teresa Parker, Principal of Cape Lookout, said they have 10 teachers and 86 students. BOB said that is a pretty good ratio. Glenda said they also offer after school tutoring also. BOB said this is for 9 through 12th grade education level and they cover all the mandated state regulated courses and all? They said yes. KEN said he read in Carolina Journal this morning that there are lines forming to get kids enrolled in the charter schools in NC now that the legislature has removed the cap. They can not add charter schools fast enough in other parts of the state to meet the demand. He would like to know how those other charter schools are getting the word out that your kids can come to our school. Is there a marketing effort or are there rules that make that difficult to get your story out about what you have to offer. Glenda said they have a difficult time because the state has been trying to close them. The kids get scared. They do not know what to do…am I going to have school tomorrow or am I not? So then that word gets out, so they say I can’t send my kid to that school; I don’t know if they are going to be open. Therefore they are having to fight this image to the end. That is what is happening in trying to get more kids enrolled because they keep being told the state wants to close them. It makes it hard to promote and puts all kinds of stress on these kids. Are they going to be able to get the kind of education they would like to have. That makes it hard for us to market. And they have been labeled as bad kids. They are not. They are everyday kids like everybody else. They just need a little more one on one attention. A lot of these kids have very high IQ’s. They just think outside the box. They are not mainstream kids. They think a little different. Elaine said many charter schools are being fueled by a much more affluent society and they are basically becoming state supported private schools and they are becoming very very select. In our county it is not really that way. Cape Lookout has had some troubled youth in the past. Her son has ADD and it was not detected until high school when it got a little bit tough and he could not focus; could not draw his mind down and focus on the level of math that he needs and his grades started tanking. Do you know he was not once been spoken to by a counselor while in public school. They never wondered why his grades were dropping. They want everybody to fit into a slot and not be any trouble, just get mainstreamed along; and anybody that is outside the lines gets lost without people like these ladies from Cape Lookout. HOWARD said she said that not once had a counselor in the public school talked to her kid. They have counselors but they are not doing their job in his opinion. We have a member whose kid after 3 years of public school could not read. She home schooled him for 6 months, had him up to reading level, and entered him into a local Christian School and today the kid is in the Coast Guard Academy. Does that tell you something about our public schools. One of our members here has talked to Dr. Novey and from the discussion he determined, in his opinion, that Dr. Novey did not support charter schools. One of the Cape Lookout ladies said that was the way it felt to them also. ERIC said from what he had seen, and determined, a lot of the Cape Lookout students that have come there would not have otherwise graduated from high school. Cape Lookout has what a 70% graduation rate now? Glenda said when they say a lot of these kids are at risk of not graduating and then cite a low graduation rate, it kinda seems unfair. Now with all the controversy, the kids are not sure they will be able to graduate and she worries that they will not find their way in the public school system. A lot of these kids had felt that they had been weeded out of the public school system so why should they want to go back. WAYNE asked how many autistic kids did they have percenta
ge wise? She mentioned ADD but it is in the same ball park. She said she knows that they have exceptional children, and she thinks it may be 5% but not how many have actually been diagnosed as such. She doesn’t know how many have been diagnosed with ADD, autistic, emotionally disturbed, or such either. She is looking at what they submitted for a specific pot of funds for exceptional children so they can met their specific individual educational plans and accommodations and the number of students that are requiring adaptive/differentiated learning devices or instruments. Mrs. Parker said for autistic children there is a certain certification that the school has to have and the teacher has to have in order to teach those kids and if you do not have it the government will shut you down anyway. Cape Lookout does not have that certification. The county does. The county could help them if they had a child like that, but they do not get that assistance. DENNIS TOMASO said he understood why the kids would be under a lot of stress, but what about the teachers. Mrs. Parker said the teachers they have are very dedicated to the school and students. They care a lot about these kids and they are all very highly qualified so they feel very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of teachers. ERIC said he understands that since the $46,000 reduction, a lot of their teachers have taken a cut in pay until the end of the year. Mrs. Parker said they have. Enrollment drives the budget. When they went up for consideration, they were only going to give them a two year charter and they need four years or it is not worth it. How can you approve your upcoming Freshmen without being able to guarantee them a four year school term. They awarded that, but now it is kind of like we are being given until the end of the year to have this budget stuff, but the damage is already done. Just when we could go out and recruit to increase the enrollment, now it is left up to us to raise those funds. We are doing a pave the way campaign and they are hoping it is going to put them in the black as well as give them some funding to fight. They have until June 30 to appeal. It is their intention to fight. The students are getting a lot of that one on one we were talking about and the teachers are staying after school all during the week and opening on Saturday (Saturday Academy is what they are calling it) to make sure that our students hit that 60/60 rule. She is assuming this is for all schools, not just for charter schools to meet. She has a lot of questions about the 60/60 rule. It does not make a lot of sense to her, but anyway you have to make sure that you have 60% of your students pass the EOG’s and have a 60% growth or improvement. We are making sure that the kids are doing that. We have to raise this money for them. Please buy a brick. Buy it for someone you love, yourself, dedicate it to a class or the class of 2012. The bricks are $140.00 and you can have it engraved or it is $112.00 if you buy two or more. Plus we will take any donation that you would like to give. If we need to hire an attorney, then we will definitely need funding. They are hoping to sell at least 1000 bricks. The Town of Morehead has made an agreement to install them at no cost and that memorial will be there forever, regardless of what their future is. Letters of support (or to the Editor), and endorsements of the school, are always a big help. They are actively looking for board members, getting that collaboration, and receiving your time and talents, and your voice. We need more voices to be heard, ideas and contributions. If you can not be a board member, come and attend the board meetings. They are open to the public. BOB said as he understands it the state took back the funds because they did not have the population that they initially anticipated. How many students does it come out to that you anticipated and what you ended up with. Mrs. Parker said each year you are supposed to have an increase. Well that was hard for them to do with the state threatening to close them. So their increased figure was 109 students and after the first 20 days of school they only had 70 students, but they only funded for 65 and that was supposed to take them for the whole year. BOB asked why wouldn’t they increase it to the actual student load. Mrs. Parker said she tried to argue that and they said well if it had been a 20 or more student shortage they could argue but right now we are talking only 5 students. BOB asked during that one month between where they approved the charter for another year and the next month they yanked it. What happened in that one month’s period? Mrs. Parker said that is when they saw their shortfall and they called back and said not only do you have to show a growth in your testing scores, but you have to be debt free by June 1. BOB thanked Glenda Self, Teresa Parker and Anita Coburn for coming tonight. They had given us a much better perspective on the Cape Lookout School. He reminded everyone that they needed their brick information by July 12, so anyone buying a brick, please get the money in soon.
BOB introduced Clinton Rowe who is running for District Judge. He said Mr. Rowe had spoken to the TEA Party at Cape Carteret and tonight is the first chance he has had to come and talk with us.
Mr. Rowe said he was running for District Judge in the 9th District. The District is made up of Carteret, Craven, and Pamlico Counties. There are 6 District Court seats. He is running against a sitting court judge, Judge Spencer. She was appointed 18 years ago by Gov. Hunt and has never had competition until now. He explained how that happened. Unlike most political offices if you run and lose you just get to go back to your job. In this job, if you run and lose you get to go back to your job which entails appearing before the person whose job you tried to take. They are not too happy when you do that. In fact it is so rare the last 16 years, out of the 6 district court judges that come up for election, every 4 years, there have only been 2 contested elections. The reason he is running is he thinks our courts should be more efficient. That is a big issue. He had some friends that, shortly before he decided to file, had waited 19 months for a decision from Judge Spencer. That is absurd. There is no reason that a decision should not be timely. We already have a backlog in our court system and if you come in to hire me today with maybe some custody issue, he is going to look at you and tell you it is going to take two years, probably, to get your trial. There is no reason to add 19 months for a decision on top of that. It is bad enough you have to wait two years to resolve your family’s turmoil. Everybody always asks him why the backlog? It is twofold. We have some judges that work really hard and some who don’t. The other thing, in all fairness, is Greenville used to be part of our district and they broke it apart because of the size of Greenville. Obviously their population is much larger than ours but they have less divorce cases than we do. The reason being the military. Anytime you go where there is a military base, domestic cases go up tremendously. It is unfortunate but it is a reality. But we can still make efficient decisions and get it timely. The most important thing when you go in front of a judge is to have a fair and impartial decision maker. At the very least you want decision making. You want a decision, even if it is a bad one vs. no decision what so ever. He is running because he thinks he can do that. He has been practicing about 13 years. He has been in the court system. He has practiced in all three counties in our district and from practicing in those courts, he has seen what works and what does not. It is time for some innovation to come into the court system. It is rare to see changes in the court system. It is the way, unfortunately it is designed. He is able to answer some questions, but unfortunately, there are a lot of rules about what they can and can not talk about. If he looks at you and says “I can’t answer that”, he promises that he is not blowing off your question. He spent a lot of time getting his law license and he doesn’t want to have to mail it back to Raleigh. They are ethically bound by what they can and cannot talk about. What he does believe is that we need judges to follow the law as written. We do not need policy maker judges who interpret the law as they want it to be. Here is why he believes that: if you do not follow the laws as written in every single case, the next person coming up may not get the same fair hearing. If you are applying 2 or 3, or 4, or 100 different standards, how is someone getting a fair trial. The basis in America is that you are entitled to a fair trial. And if everybody is not treated equally you are no longer getting a fair trial. Mr. Rowe said he has done a lot of juvenile delinquency cases. The charter schools are few and far between but they save you a lot of court system money. It seems that kids that are getting in trouble…let him digress a little….when he grew up (in a Marine household) and you got in trouble in school, you got whupped in school and when you got home you got whupped again by your dad. What used to get him a whupping in school now gets sent to the court system. You will see a lot of kids in regular school that are in the court system because whupping is no longer in effect. He is not here to applaud the school, he is just telling you that for a fact. He doesn’t know how much the charter school saves you, but he does know he has had clients who were in regular school and gone on to a charter school and he hasn’t seen them back. Unfortunately it is rare to not see one return. Upon being questioned as to his conservatism and donations to political parties he answered that coming from the strict family he did he is very conservative. However, where he normally does not donate to political parties, he did donate to Beverly Perdue since she was from New Bern. He likes Pat McCrory but he does not think Pat is the most conservative person there is out there. If you look at some of the monies he has spent in Charlotte, he was afraid that eastern Carolina would not fair well on finances with him as governor. He has not been happy with Beverly Perdue at all. He did donate to her, but now thinks it was a mistake, but he did what he thought was best for his county at the time. BOB asked him what made him decide to run. He said he did not think it was one event or thought, it was just 13 years of practice and seeing things he did not like. Don’t get him wrong, he does think we have some judges who do a really good job. Don’t think he is coming in here and saying we do not have good judges. But we have one or two that just doesn’t do their job. He is going in there trying to do a job and work. He sees citizens coming in to the court system. He has had clients that have been victims of crimes and they are sitting there wasting their day and losing money and at some point you have to say enough. It is not an easy road to run against a sitting judge, and if you lose you have to go back in front of them, but at some point you have to take that chance. He was raised that sometimes you have to take the hard road. Discussion on cases being continued, reasons used, and how it affects everyone. Mr. Rowe thanked us for having him come and talk with us.
EULA PARKIN said she was proud to inform us that the Girl Scouts turned 100 years old this year and she had her 50 year pin. She had bought a lifetime membership back in 1991 and she discovered recently that her membership expires in 2091. She is in big trouble. She is going to have to put out more money. They had a wonderful day on Saturday at the Glad Tiding Church, She is hoping her picture will appear in our newspaper. She gave some Girl Scout statistics for information.
Discussion on the ferry tolls. HOWARD said he talked to Norman Sanderson yesterday and he said every time a ferry leaves the dock it costs $28.00 per car on the ferry, (averaging all the ferrys). Norman has to pay those fees because he lives in Arapahoe and has a business in Havelock. He and his wife, both, will have to pay the fee. And for the number of times he travels it is going to cost him 30 cents per trip to pay the fee and use the ferrys. HOWARD says he does not see the big deal over it. KEN said he heard on the radio on his way to the meeting that the Cherry Branch ferry was cutting back on their schedule. HOWARD said that is the ferry that Norman uses and he said when he came to work that morning there had been 4 cars on board. He thinks they do need to cut back. WAYNE said he had a suggestion for raising funds. Make those who ride bicycles have to buy a tag to go on their bicycle. They are using public roads and not paying a nickel for riding that bicycle. If you don’t think there is some out there head east on 70 and see for yourself. HOWARD said that is because you live on a Scenic Byway.
STEVE BEST said he was the coordinator for the county on the Marriage Amendment and if you had not signed the petition and would like to do so, please see him. He also had yard signs coming in soon and if you would like to have some, please see him. BOB said there was a Marriage Amendment Rally on Friday, April 20, in Raleigh at 11 am.
BOB announced that March 24 is the TEA Party Rally in DC about the Supreme Court reviewing Obamacare. The TEA Party is trying to get at least 40,000 people there for Saturday. Americans for Prosperity have their rally on Tuesday, the 27th and are trying to keep this on a continuing news cycle. The TEA Party is also going to picket the Supreme Court on Monday following the rally on Saturday. RUTH, who is going to drive her van, has a couple of openings, since STEVE has determined he was unable to attend. BOB said he thinks one has already been filled tonight. Discussion on the possibility of another van if needed.
All were disappointed in the seminar scheduled for this Saturday, on the Federalists Papers, has been cancelled. Hope that they will reschedule as soon as possible. HOWARD said he thought this was one of the things that has our country so screwed up. We need to get our priorities straight. He feels this seminar is much more important than a ball game. We advertised this event (on the Constitution) last year and we did not this year, so some of the blame lands on us.
BOB said we have envelopes for donations to Norman Sanderson. Where Norman is glad to receive $10, $20, or $50 dollar donations, Randy Ramsey has out of state and out of county money in the thousands coming in from all the high rollers he knows. Norm Sanderson is an excellent representative for us in the house, hoping to move up to the Senate to take Jean Preston’s seat. We also have Ken Jones from Pine Knoll Shores who is also running for the same seat. Bob said he would be happy to have either one of them winning that race. We are leaving it to the voters to choose which they want, Norm or Ken. The one we are not recommending is Randy Ramsey. He has been a long time heavy donater to the Democratic Party. He feels it is unconscionable that he donates to one party and then runs on the other party’s ticket. Have some integrity. If you are a Democrat, fine, then run on the Democratic ticket. One thing the TEA Party wants to do is bring honesty and integrity back to the elections and hold our elected officials feet to the fire. What we care about is our three core principles. “Fiscal Responsibility”, “Limited Government” and “Promotion of Free Market capitalism” and we are going to support the candidates who support these principles.
KEN asked if BOB would mention early voting which starts April 19th. There are two areas for the early voting, (2 places in Cape Carteret and one in Beaufort). We need volunteers to be down at the polling places during the early voting period, just like we did during the election in 2010. We are going to have a list of recommendations to pass out, trying to encourage people to vote (one way or the other, preferable for our candidates). BOB thinks that instead of using ’recommend’ this year, since we can not use support or ask to vote for, we will say these candidates support the TEA Party’s 3 core principles. So we need volunteers to man the early voting polls. Several volunteered. KEN said he had given BOB a copy of the list of candidates and we can refine, complete and update the list of candidates we agree on supporting. PEGGY volunteered to make the handout and run the copies. May 8th is the primary election and that is where the rubber meets the road. That is where we get out candidates lined up for the general election which is in November. (STEVE said don’t forget the Marriage Act). We need to find out what the primary ballot looks like so we can formulate our handout to be in the same order.
KEN said they already have one posted at the Board of Elections. We need to have all precincts covered on primary day so we can pass out our little voter guide like we did in 2010. A lot of people asked for a copy or waved their lists that they had cut out of the paper earlier. Very few people turn out for the primaries, so we need to crank up our neighbors and friends and encourage them to get out and vote. That is the only way we are going to unseat these long standing candidates that have been there forever. Mr. Rowe is running against one of them and Frank Palombo is running against another, Walter Jones. Then we will need to man the tables again for the general election. Whatever precinct you are in, consider volunteering for duty not only on primary day, but also the general election in November. KEN wanted to know if we had accurate type banners to use. Last time his banner had some wrong information or something like that. We need to check with whoever has our supplies. We are going to need funds for printing our list in the paper and last time it cost about $200.00 for one printing. If we print for a week that is like $600.00.
STEVE asked if we ever decided on what we were going to do…a fund raiser or rally? BOB said that he had promised at the last meeting that he would talk to Randy at the White Swan about catering an event for us but had not had the opportunity. We had discussed having a double event (one in Cape Carteret and one here in Newport). KEN said he would like to put that to rest now. Only do one fund raiser here in Newport at the Fort Benjamin Park. If that goes well, then maybe later we might consider one at Cape Carteret or even two at the same time. All agreed.
BOB invited any of the members who attend this meeting that would be interested in attending a meeting in Emerald Isle, he would recommend that one Tuesday night when they are meeting and after our meeting we go there. That group is really growing and well attended. DIANE LANG said they had collected $368.00 which almost pays the treasury back for the bill board we voted to help sponsor.
BOB said STEVE may not need help for the movie projector as he had asked for. He is awaiting further word on that. Someone he knows is selling one and he is hoping to get a decent deal on it.
EULA again reminded us that she was selling the luminaries for Relay for Life for $10.00 each..
BOB said he believed we had finally made a decision to support Sam Sanford’s We Care Project in lieu of Wounded Warriors. BOB said he thought we could use the same design we already use, since it does not state Wounded Warriors. Everyone let him know it did have Wounded Warriors printed on our shirts. PEGGY asked that we consider using the We Care emblem, since it is very eye catching and attractive.
Meeting adjourned at 8:35pm.
Minutes submitted by PEGGY GARNER, Secretary