Monday News: Tainted money, tainted water


GENX MANUFACTURER SWEETENS THE CAMPAIGN KITTY FOR BERGER & MOORE: The $5,200 contribution came from the Manufacturers Alliance PAC, which gave the same amount to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger in December. These represent the PAC's biggest donations in years, and Berger and Moore are the top leaders in the General Assembly. Chemours' head state government affairs executive, Jeff Fritz, who is based in Indiana, gave the PAC $500 on April 3. It appears to be his first donation to the PAC and the first time he's donated to an entity that plays in North Carolina state politics. The next day, the PAC made its contribution to Moore's campaign fund. Fritz said Friday the donation was a personal one and that he didn't ask the PAC to turn around and give to Moore.

UNC BOG'S LIKELY NEW CHAIRMAN ALREADY MIRED IN ETHICS CONTROVERSY: Smith, 48, made a fortune with an air filter company that was sold four years ago. He holds stakes in several other companies and co-owns two apartment complexes that cater to college students in Georgia and Greensboro. "It's going to be totally different than anything you've seen in how the UNC system operates," he said in a recent interview, adding, "I just want to do some really good work." But a lawsuit last month by a fired finance chief at NCCU accused Smith and another UNC board member, Darrell Allison, of trying to steer NCCU to a specific firm, The Preiss Company of Raleigh, for a public private partnership to build and operate a 1,240-bed housing project on campus.

DOWNPOUR CAUSES FATAL MUDSLIDE IN POLK COUNTY: Officials in one North Carolina county are assessing damage from floods and mudslides in hopes of qualifying for federal disaster aid. The Times-News of Hendersonville reports Polk County crews and engineers with the state Transportation Department were assessing damage to homes, roads and bridges. One person died in the storms, which dumped up to 6 inches of rain in three hours Friday night. Authorities say a couple was trying to escape their home when the mudslide occurred. The husband survived being swept away while the wife was trapped between the house and a carport. Her body was recovered Saturday morning. Officials haven't released their names.

15 YEAR-OLD WHO WAS KILLED IN BURLINGTON'S DESEGREGATION STRUGGLES REMEMBERED: Though it’s been nearly 50 years, the pain of that night is still fresh for the Mebane family. In May 1969, schools in Alamance County were being integrated, but African-American students were not treated as equals. When a black student tried out for cheerleading at Williams High School and did not make the team, a peaceful protest devolved into riots that lasted several days. The National Guard was called, and soon 150 National Guard troops were joined by 100 Highway Patrol officers, Burlington police, State Bureau of Investigation agents, police auxiliary, Department of Correction officers, ABC officers and Alamance County sheriff’s deputies. After another fire broke out at the Country Grocery on Rauhut Street, police fired on eight to 10 people who they said were looting the store. Leon Mebane was killed. He was not armed, and he was not in the store. His family says he was shot 17 times in a crossfire.

MAJOR NC DEMOCRATIC DONOR HAS DARK ANTI-IMMIGRATION BELIEFS: Fred Stanback, heir to a headache powder fortune and the best man at Warren Buffett's wedding, has given more than $100,000 in the last few months alone to Democrats hoping to beat the Republican legislative majority in the General Assembly. Twenty candidates got at least $5,000 each. Stanback is a philanthropist and environmentalist, giving tens of millions to various causes. But some of those causes are problematic for liberals. He established an internship program years ago at his alma mater, Duke University, through the Nicholas School of the Environment. The program caused controversy when students were sent to intern not just with environmental organizations but with some of the country's most prominent anti-immigration groups. Stanback, like some other environmentalists, appears to be concerned about overpopulation.



This is not the first time

I've come across an environmentalist whose views pushed him or her into what could be described as "inhumane" beliefs. It's very often associated with over-population (like this guy), but sometimes it's about pushing for alternatives to gasoline. I've had some furious debates about corn-based ethanol driving up food costs for those living in poverty, and how huge spikes in the price of crude oil can take away about half of a family's daily food budget in Africa by jacking up the cost of delivery.

Here's a good rule of thumb: If your solution to a problem creates suffering, don't ignore it. Face it, and if you believe your solution is still worth it, have the guts to be open and honest about it.