Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday's Hot Topics

Each morning, the Observer Editorial Board meets to discuss which issues we should address, and what we might say about them. Here are some topics generating local buzz that might come up for consideration. Which ones get you riled up? What would YOU say about them? (For the complete stories, follow the links.)

From The Charlotte Observer:

Helms Rejects calls to resign from ABC

Mecklenburg County ABC Board chairman Parks Helms on Monday rejected a request from fellow ABC directors to resign "in the best interests of the Mecklenburg County ABC system."

"I have carefully considered your request that I resign as Chairman of the ABC Board so that you could '...begin to restore trust in the system and its management by the public,'" Helms wrote in an e-mail. 'I respectfully disagree... and will not resign."

But pressure for his resignation continued to rise Monday as Mecklenburg County commissioners chair Jennifer Roberts suggested he give it "serious consideration."

From The Charlotte Observer and New York magazine:

Saint Elizabeth and the Ego Monster

A new book paints stinging portraits of Democrat John Edwards as an "ego monster," his mistress as an eccentric flirt and his wife, Elizabeth, as a fiery presence whose private behavior was often at odds with her public image.

The depictions come from "Game Change," an insiders' look at the 2008 presidential campaign by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.

From The Wall Street Journal:

No Seat for Wall Street at Tea Party

Could all those populist pitchforks currently pointed at Washington be turned toward Wall Street instead?

That's the question that ought to worry Wall Street executives as they prepare to pay themselves nice bonuses this month, hard on the heels of a government bailout of the financial system, and amid continuing job losses around the rest of the country. Financial firms know they're in for heat on bonuses; they've already been chastised on national TV by President Barack Obama's chief economist.

The more searing heat, though, might come not from Washington's corridors of power but from the streets, where disjointed populist armies are starting to organize in the so-called tea-party movement.

It's a movement dominated for the moment by mistrust of big government and big government health-care plans. But it's also animated by mistrust of big institutions in general, and a tendency to see those institutions secretly working in tandem to the detriment of the little guy.

From Charlotte Observer:

Grant could help streetcar service

A new federal grant program could help Charlotte get the first 1.5-mile segment of its streetcar up and running, but would require the city to find up to $20 million to help pay for the project, city leaders said Monday.

A second grant program could help the city expand the express Sprinter bus service to routes on the city's east and west sides.


The federal grant program could pay for up to $25 million of the construction costs. City Manager Curt Walton said the remaining money probably would come from reallocating money from other parts of the city budget, but staff hasn't yet identified where.