Bonner Bridge is falling down (And what’s up with Lyons Gray?)

dl111111We’ve come to realize there is A LOT of “theatre” in politics.  Both sides holler about the other doing the little people wrong.  Both sides claim to have the best interests of the people at heart — to be good stewards of their money.  The facts typically bear out that both parties expend a lot of hyperbole publicly, but privately find a lot of common ground on ramping up the size of government and spending more of OUR money. 

The Moral Monday crowd and their Democrat friends like to holler about how those mean ol’ Republicans are cutting state government to the bone.  The Republicans on Jones Street brag to their constituents about how they are being conservative and fiscally responsible with OUR money.  Then, along comes a report from The John Locke Foundation that blows the claims from both sides out of the water.

CVB, Downtown Partnership to unveil new tourism signageLefties are using the Duke Power coal ash spill to holler about environmental regulation being cut to the bone. Republicans have been thumping their chests about making state environmental regulators more “business-friendly.”   Yet, we come to find that the conservative revolution on Jones Street has actually bumped up the total appropriation for NC DENR by $3.7 million from 2013-2014 to 2014-2015.

The Southern Environmental Law Center of Chapel Hill has been engaged in a courtroom fight with the state DOT over replacement of The Bonner Bridge in The Outer Banks.  The people of that part of the state are getting tired, and want something done to allow them to travel safely to and from their homes. Late last year, Gov. McCrory, speaker Tillis, and senate president Berger had some harsh words for the SELC about the lawsuit.

The problem?  Long-time NCGOP establishment figure, former legislator, and Gov. Pat’s current revenue secretary Lyons Gray was sitting on the board of one of the two groups that hired the SELC to file suit against the state and stop the bridge replacement.  It came out in the media in December 2013 that Gray was a board member of Defenders of Wildlife — an opponent of the bridge replacement.  Gov. Pat’s response?:

[…] The SELC’s clients in the state and federal cases are Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association. McCrory acknowledged that a senior member of his administration, Revenue Secretary Lyons Gray, serves as the only North Carolinian on the Defenders of Wildlife board. But he declared that Gray had been unaware of the Bonner Bridge lawsuit.

He said Gray would resign his seat unless he can persuade the organization to drop the case. Gray did not respond Monday to requests for comment. […]

pat-mccrory11Hmmm.  That was in December 2013.  Here we are in March 2014.  According to the Defenders of Wildlife web site, revenue secretary Gray is STILL on the organization’s board — right there with ultra-lib Hollywood types Ed Asner and Ashley Judd as well as former congressman Norm Dicks (D-WA).  According to The North Carolina Department of Revenue’s web site, Gray is STILL the department’s chief administrator. 

Gray has clearly not resigned his post with Defenders of Wildlife.  We’ve seen no indication that Defenders of Wildlife is backing out of the suit over Bonner Bridge.

How seriously are we to take this rhetoric by McCrory, Tillis, and Berger against the environmentalists and their lawsuit against the bridge project, when a top state appointee, longtime NCGOP high-roller, and close friend of the governor is a board member of one of the plaintiff organizations? 

Gray sure is moving slow on this whole persuasion effort Gov. Pat promised.  Of course, the governor’s pledge about Gray could have been meant to merely lull us to sleep while the subject gets changed.  (Kinda like Fletcher Hartsell’s campaign account audit …) 


14 thoughts on “Bonner Bridge is falling down (And what’s up with Lyons Gray?)

  1. Grey should resign from one seat or the other. If he cannot resign from this wacko-bird ”Defenders of Wildlife” group, he ought to resign from the cabinet.

    As to Defenders of Wildlife, it seems to me that all the studies show that a lot more birds are dying from the corrupt crony capitalist ”renewable energy” scam, particularly windmills, but also solar farms than would possibly be impacted by the Bonner Bridge. But I would bet dollars to doughnuts that these wacko-birds are doing nothing to help the real birds being killing by the renewable energy boondoggle.

    1. You don’t seem to mind the 1.3 billion the new bridge will cost or the 50 million that was spent moving sand around in 13 years to keep the pilings from washing away after each storm. After all, we can pass the cost on the to the inland NC taxpayers so the few people on the coast can enjoy their summers. Kind of like we subsidize their homeowners insurance.

      1. You don’t seem to comprehend that the environmental wacko-birds are demanding that we spend a lot more on a replacement bridge than what NCDOT wants to spend. The environmental extremist version, like most things they do is much more expensive. And there are quite a few more tourists from all over the state using the bridge than locals. North Carolinians from all over the state enjoy vacationing on the Outer Banks.

        You also have homeowners insurance backward. Counties approximately 100 miles from the coast pay $2,500 for an insurance policy than someone 20 miles farther west would pay $800 for. Farther inland, they would pay even less. But is that fair? Does that coastal belt have three times the damage?
        Looking at real data, the answer is a resounding ”NO”. 71% of insurance payments for wind damage (flood is not under homeowners) in North Carolina come from property inland of that belt 100 miles from the coast. The problem is that our Democrat insurance commissioner and the insurance companies have set up a racket of using computer models instead of real data to assign rates. Since they have been doing that, the computer models for insurance have proven just as false and fraudulent as the computer models for ”global warming”. This scheme to use these scam models instead of real data is ripping off coastal insurance customers, who are, in fact subsidizing inland insurance customers. These insurance companies need to face a class action lawsuit for insurance fraud.

        1. Let them pay a toll. Like Milton Freidman said, if you use, you should pay.
          You are are wrong about the insurance risk. The state of NC is the last resort insurer for coastal property otherwise, the insurance companies would not even offer coverage. The fund is grossly under funded. The taxpayer is ultimately on the hook for the unfunded liability. This was another way for the taxpayers to subsidize growth in the coastal areas.

          Funny how we can use computer models to design and virtually test nuclear weapons, jet engines, etc, but when you don’t like the results, they are scams.

          1. It is easy to put the old thumb on the scales in designing computer models, as insurance companies and global warming ideologues routinely do.

            Real data is honest. Computer models not necessarily so. And the real data shows that 71% of wind damage in North Carolina is inland, not on the coast or 100 miles in from the coast.

            Look at how much has been paid in for premiums on that coastal insurance versus how much has been paid out in claims and see who it is that is getting screwed. It is the homeowners in the coastal counties and 100 miles inland.

          2. If a private company wants to build their own bridge & charge a toll to folks who use it in order to get their investment back, they’re free to go for it! They’re not doing that, and NC residents would be benefited from having access to Cape Hatteras. The problem with NC toll plans is the fact that they are NOT paid for by a private company, they are being implemented through public-private partnerships in which we the taxpayers are paying for the initial construction once, and then we are paying once again at the toll booth when we use the road or bridge! The tolls don’t go back into our public trust account, they go to the private company that has contracted the toll. What it amounts to is socialization of losses & privatization of profits – not even close to the free-market toll idea that Milton Friedman advocates!

  2. It seems pretty far-fetched to think that a member of the board of directors wouldn’t even be aware of the fact that the organization he is… DIRECTING… is suing his home state. Seems as though the decision to sue would have been brought before the board for a vote, but even if it’s the case that it was never voted upon, surely the litigation committee would have informed the board in a report.

    Isn’t there some conflict of interest here? I don’t know… an extreme environmentalist in charge of NC’s Revenue Dept – after what has happened with Obama’s IRS I think we should be stringent about who is placed in charge of the departments responsible for deciding who to audit! Folks who express rigid loyalty to extreme ideologies should really be ruled out, IMO, as the position should have NOTHING to do with personal belief systems – only math and ethics. That’s it. The Defenders of Wildlife are not JUST a group that sits around & talks about protecting kitty cats… they take hard-line stances on all kinds of issues. For example, here is a document from them on their opposition to the construction of a US border fence because of its potential impact on the environment:

    Whether you agree with them or not on their stances, my point is…. am I going to get audited by my state if I oppose a political action that the Defenders are pushing for??? We shouldn’t even be in a situation where this even COULD be a concern for NC residents. If McCrory cannot un-appoint (whatever the terminology would be?) Gray for legal reasons, then the people of NC should really put public pressure on him to step down. If they’re not afraid of being audited, that is!

    1. A border fence? How did that work out in eastern Europe? What keeps other people out eventually keeps you in. It will be great work for a few lucky contractors with the right contacts. The fence will get built with huge cost overruns on land seized form private land owners. (just like the 950 plus landowner in TX to build the Keystone pipeline for a TransCanada the Canadian company) Conservatives are supposed to be about property rights and good ideas. Don’t be a rube.

      1. Eastern Europe has had no border fences to keep people out.

        Israel and Morrocco built border fences / walls to keep terrorists out, and it has worked out very effectively for both.

        Australia is now spending $1.2 billion on drones to stop illegal aliens from invading their country in boats.

        1. I guess you never heard of the Berlin wall or saw the fences on the Hungarian/Austrian, Polish/German, Czech/German borders. The communist governments also used the excuse that they were to keep out terrorists, spies, criminals, undesirables etc.

          I worked and traveled that part of the world for 10 years in the 80s. You really don’t want to militarize your border. Why would you give the government that much power?

          1. I do not want my country overrun with invaders who have no business in being here, which is what we have now with the flood of illegal aliens from the south. An effective fence / wall as Israel and Morrocco used does not have to be militarized.

            AGAIN, the fences / walls in eastern Europe were communist regimes keeping people in, regardless of what their propaganda said, which is an entirely different issue.

            On my statement on Australia, the figure I mentioned was actually in British pounds. In US dollars, they are spending $3 Billion on drones to spot the illegal alien boats before they reach Australian shores. Their new conservative Prime Minister is really looking out for border security, something too many of our politicians like Ellmers are not doing.

        2. Isreal is smaller than Rhode Island. Morroco doesn’t have a fence in the desert. Both have constitutions that allow the use of their military domestically.

          We also use drones.

          We have more illegals leaving than coming in now.

          Your still fighting the last war.

          1. We are still under occupation by the invaders from the south, and that needs to be dealt with. We still have thousands of new ones coming in. That war is not over or anywhere close. Amnesty is surrender.

            Morroco does indeed have a wall / fence on its Algerian border in the desert to keep out Polisario, and it works. Of course, the fence is only on that part of the border where Polisario has been a problem.

            The illegal immigrants have gotten in from farther south, trying to cross Morrocco heading for Europe, but Morrocco got tough with them a few years ago, using live ammunition and rounding up illegals and trucking them to the border.

  3. Whoa there – nowhere EVER have I advocated for a border fence, so I think your “rube” comment is quite out of line. The entire point of me saying that the Defenders of Wildlife takes a stance on border fence was to show AN EXAMPLE of the fact that they also take hard-line political stances, which I feel could pose a conflict of interest having their board member in charge of NC’s revenue department. If you go back & re-read my comment in context, I think that much is more than clear:

    “The Defenders of Wildlife are not JUST a group that sits around & talks about protecting kitty cats… they take hard-line stances on all kinds of issues. For example, here is a document from them on their opposition to the construction of a US border fence because of its potential impact on the environment:

    Whether you agree with them or not on their stances, my point is…. am I going to get audited by my state if I oppose a political action that the Defenders are pushing for??? We shouldn’t even be in a situation where this even COULD be a concern for NC residents.”

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