Monday, November 30, 2009

Been towed?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 4:54 PM

I have. This past summer, I met an interviewee in the middle of the afternoon at the Starbucks on East Boulevard. I was in a hurry, as usual. Since I noticed a few signs in the parking lot and a tow truck driving through, I made sure to park all the way in the back in a space sans signs. P.S. The parking lot was practically empty.

Thirty minutes later, my car was gone. My interviewee said something about the towing company and the business next door, something about how they're ridiculous about "their" parking spaces.

It cost $120 to retrieve my car -- not counting the taxi fare to get to A United Towing Inc. on Foster Avenue, and definitely not counting the time it took away from my life and business.

Did I learn my lesson? Yep: Don't patronize businesses on East Boulevard. It's simply not worth it when you can get the same food, service and goods elsewhere minus the worry or the hassle.

Tom Bartholomy, president of the Charlotte-based Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont, said towing complaints this year have more than doubled to 71. There were 33 at the same point last year.

He said many of the complaints are coming from Dilworth and South End because they have popular night spots but limited parking.

He said tow companies secure contracts to patrol certain lots and then allegedly "stalk" them. He said people complain that some companies station tow trucks around the corner and then await signals from spotters with walkie-talkies so the trucks can swoop in.

"As soon as the people walk into the wrong store, they immediately boot or tow the car," he said.

Bartholomy said the Key Man Building parking lot off East Boulevard near Starbucks is a hot spot for complaints. It's patrolled by A United Towing Inc.

A worker who answered the phone said United follows the city ordinance and only tows people who are "caught stealing" parking. She said a supervisor wasn't available to be interviewed last week.

Read the entire Charlotte Observer article here.

Want to tell someone about your experience? Contact the Charlotte Better Business Bureau at (704) 927-8611 or reach out to your city council person here.

Remember when tow trucks were stealing cars in Charlotte last year?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tickets for Spring Awakening on sale Friday

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Photo by Paul Kolnik
  • Photo by Paul Kolnik

Tickets for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Spring Awakening - which, comes to Belk Theater Feb. 2–7, 2010 - go on sale Fri., Dec. 4. Tickets are $20 and up. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 704-372-1000 (group orders of 10 or more, call 704-379-1380) or click here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Worst 'Family' since Manson's?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 3:15 PM

It appears that some conservative Christians have gone completely off the rails — unless there’s some hidden connection between “Christians” and “killing sick people.” The government of Uganda is considering legislation — unfortunately, no we’re not making this up — to execute HIV positive men. Execute, as in “put to death.” In addition, the law, if enacted, would also imprison for three years anyone who knows a gay man but doesn’t report him to authorities; and would sentence anyone who publicly defends gay and lesbian rights to seven years in prison. The U.S. embassy in Uganda has condemned the bill, but the legislation is heavily supported by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who pretty much gets what he wants.

Here’s where so-called Christians come in. Museveni is a longtime favorite of “The Family,” the secretive band of fundamentalist Christian Congressmen that was in the news for being a “source of strength and understanding” for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, as well as Sen. David Ensign of Nevada. Ensign cheated on his wife with a staffer, at which point The Family “ordered” him to call his mistress and call off the affair, and to pay her money for “healing” (or what you and I call “hush money”). Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) is also affiliated with The Family.

The Family has long supported Museveni, and in fact, the Ugandan legislator who introduced the bill to execute HIV positive men is David Bahati, who organizes The Family’s Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast. According to Jeff Sharlet, author of the investigative book The Family, Bahati also “oversees an African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars.” Hear Sharlet talk to NPR’s Terry Gross about The Family here.

Other American “Christians” also support the Ugandan death law, or at the very least refuse to condemn it. Yesterday, on Meet The Press, Rev. Rick Warren, of “Purpose-driven life” and “Obama inauguration preacher” fame, refused to condemn the proposed law, saying, “As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides," although he quickly took sides in the abortion debate, calling abortion “a holocaust.” Once again, this writer is left nearly speechless by these rightwing “Christians” and their twisted, hateful views.

Tags: , , , , ,

Coming soon: Theatre Charlotte's A Christmas Carol

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 2:55 PM


Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has always been a favorite of mine, though the new animated film version of the tale looks a little to freaky for my taste. Luckily, Theatre Charlotte is bringing the classic — adapted by John Jakes — to its stage for a series of performances kicking off on Dec. 3 and continuing through Dec. 13. Stop in to see the cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge turn into a softie with Christmas cheer, as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas’ past, present, and future. Tickets are $7-$20. Show dates/times: Dec. 3-5, 7 p.m.; Dec. 6, 2:30 p.m.; Dec. 9-12, 7 p.m.; Dec. 13, 2:30 p.m. For tickets, call 704-372-1000 or click here.

Tags: , , , ,

N.C. gas taxes being drained by corporate leakers

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 1:21 PM

People complain about the price of gas but rarely remember to include gas taxes in their rants -- and they should, since those taxes make up a significant percentage of the price tag.

So, what is that tax revenue being used for? You're not going to like this ...

North Carolina is struggling to find money to clean up thousands of underground tanks that are leaking gas and oil into the dirt and water.

As a result, a new state report says it is time for businesses with such tanks to buy insurance to cover the costs of any cleanup.

North Carolina has spent more than $441 million to clean up pollution from private tank leaks since it set up a fund in the late 1980s to cover such expenses. But the state has a backlog of more than 6,500 locations that will take another 25 years to get to, according to a report from the program evaluation office at the state legislature.

The state fund is filled by tax revenue from fuel excise and inspection taxes and yearly fees on commercial tanks. But legislators have routinely had to step in to pump up the fund. In 2004, North Carolina enacted a one-year increase in the motor fuel excise tax to raise $30 million to cover claims. A few years later, legislators increased the fee for tank owners.

But the increases have not made much of a dent in the backlog, which will cost an estimated $513 million to clear.

Environmental groups say it is time for gas stations and other commercial tank owners to take more responsibility for leaking tanks.

"North Carolina should get out of the business of being the insurance company for any new tanks," said Molly Diggins, head of the North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club.

Read more from the Raleigh News and Observer here.

In case you've forgotten, state rule makers are looking for new ways to tax driving ... by the mile:

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cat fight in Raleigh over I-485

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Ladies. Ladies. Ladies. Stop bitching and get some contractors signed up to finish the damn loop already. It's been over 20 years and, frankly, we've got other things to worry about besides your rib poking and narrowed eyes.

Bev, none of your male predecessors were able to close the loop -- but we're confident you can do it. Now, tell Ms. Cowell to shut it and get on board.

Or, better: Move her office to University City and rent her a house in Mountain Island Lake. I bet she'll stop complaining and find a way to make ends meet within a week.

North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell says she is uncertain about proposed funding for the completion of Interstate 485 in Mecklenburg County.

“We’re very frustrated that yet another roadblock has popped up,” chamber lobbyist Natalie English says. “We hope the treasurer gets her questions answered and the schedule that the Governor has outlined not be delayed.”

Meanwhile, Perdue responded to Cowell’s qualms by saying: “Prior to announcing the plan, we worked with the attorney general’s office as we developed the design-build-finance program for completing I-485. During this process, the attorney general’s office indicated that our plan was legal. We are excited to see contractors express interest for this project that will save taxpayer dollars and complete the loop as quickly as possible.”

Read the entire Charlotte Business Journal article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The 'bonus' fiasco: It's a language thing

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 12:31 PM

It’s the issue that won’t go away: bonuses for local government bigshots. Now, Mayor-elect Foxx says he’d like for City Council to start talking about whether they’ll give bonuses next  year to the city manager and city attorney. Which leads us to what may seem like a tangent, but actually gets to the heart of the issue: confusing language. The problem is the word “bonus” itself, which has nearly become a swear word these days, due to corporate crooks receiving giant bonuses for ripping off the public.

As explained by the city's human resources director, Tim Mayes, in an e-mail to the Observer, “council members and the city manager and city attorney have had an informal agreement that the bonus payments are a 'standard part' of their compensation package.”

Most people, though, don’t think of bonuses that way; they think of them, well, correctly. Case in point, here is Webster’s definition of the word “bonus”: something in addition to what is expected or strictly due, such as: money or an equivalent given in addition to an employee's usual compensation.

Not to belabor the obvious here, but if a “bonus” is a “standard part” of what you are paid, then it isn’t a bonus. It’s salary. A good first step toward clearing things up would be for local government to start calling salaries “salaries,” plain and simple, rather than continuing the use of an additional, phantom “bonus” category that is actually considered a standard part of some employees' pay. That way, Walton and McCarley could continue to get what the city agreed to pay them in the “informal agreement,” and the nasty word “bonus” wouldn’t get everyone riled up. As an added benefit, of course, the city would be sticking to standard English definitions of words — always a plus when trying to make sense. As it now stands, the way the city (and county, for that matter) tally up compensation for their managers makes as much common sense as the “double secret probations” in Animal House.

Noah Webster: show some respect
  • Noah Webster: show some respect

Tags: , , , ,

Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Nov. 30, 2009 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Cult Movie Mondays: Film screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte


Film screening of Alfred Hitchcock's Rope at ImaginOn

Monday Night Allstars at Double Door Inn

Karaoke at Dixie's Tavern

Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor exhibit at Levine Museum of the New South

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, November 27, 2009

Perino and Beck: Stupid Things of the Week

Posted By on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 2:18 PM

We’ve got two Stupid Things of the Week in one for you today. Think of it as a complement to those two-for-one holiday sales deals you’ll be seeing a lot of this weekend.

First up is former Bush spokesperson Dana “I don’t know what the Cuban missile crisis was” Perino. On FoxNews the other day, Perino was talking with Sean Hannity, complaining that nobody is calling the Ft. Hood massacre a “terrorist attack.” She said she thinks it’s because the Obama people don’t want to look bad, because – ready? – “we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.” She’s referring, of course, to Pres. George W. “9/11 attack on my watch despite having been warned in advance” Bush. Yes, that’s right, no terrorist attacks during Bush’s term – except for the most deadly terrorist attack in American history. Is anyone else getting tired of seeing blithering idiots in positions that used to be filled by well-informed grown-ups?

And speaking of blithering, the Great Unstable One, Glenn Beck, was at it again. First of all, remember that Beck was one of the commentators who said Newsweek’s running-shorts cover photo of Sarah Palin was sexist (a sentiment we basically agreed with). After that incident, La Palin was joking around about potential running mates and said that Glenn Beck might be a good running mate for her. Right after Palin’s comment, Beck told listeners of his radio show that he wouldn’t take the number two job behind the former Alaska governor: "Beck-Palin, I’ll consider. But Palin-Beck — can you imagine, what an administration with the two of us would be like? . . . She’d be yapping or something, and I’d say, “I’m sorry, why am I hearing your voice? I’m not in the kitchen.” And yes, this is still the 21st century despite neanderthal humor like that.

Glenn Beck's not too feeling too good about running with a woman
  • Glenn Beck's not too feeling too good about running with a woman

Tags: ,

Holiday Lights at the Garden

Posted By on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 9:00 AM


Today is Black Friday, and we know where most of you are. But, at some point during the season, you’ve got to get out of the congested malls and department stores, to really enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Kicking off tonight at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens is Holiday Lights at the Garden. At the event you can get back to nature while being surrounded by holiday displays with more than 600,000 lights and decorative scenery. Carriage rides, holiday carols, garden-scale trains, baked treats, hot cocoa, and more is also in the mix. Oh, and make sure you’re being nice, as Santa Claus will be roaming through the garden too. Continues through Dec. 31. Hours for Holiday Lights at the Garden: Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m.- 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.- 10 p.m. Events on each night vary, visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Website for a downloadable calendar. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is located at 6500 South New Hope Rd. in Belmont. For more information, call 704-825-4490.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Search Events

Recent Comments

© 2019 Womack Digital, LLC
Powered by Foundation