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Lil Wayne Mocks Mitt Romney In New Song

Nicki Minaj got the headlines for saying she’d be “voting for Mitt Romney,” but another track on Lil Wayne’s Dedication 4 ridicules the GOP candidate, too. “Nigga call me Mitch Romney!”

By Michael Hastings

Nicki Minaj made headlines when she sort of endorsed Mitt Romney in a remix of the hit song “Mercy” on Lil Wayne’s new album Dedication 4, released earlier this month.

But another song on the album — called “Cashed Out” — also mocks Romney, taking shots at the GOP candidates strategy of stashing his money in off-shore bank accounts in Bermuda, the Caymans, and Switzerland, to name a few.

The song begins:

As another election year upon us. This last four years has been good to me. A couple of dollars in a couple different bank acccounts. Some here, some off shore. Nigga call me Mitch Romney!

In recent days, questions have been raised about whether the hip-hop community still supports Obama. The answer appears to be: yes.

President Obama with Jay-Z and Beyonce at a recent New York fundraiser.

Lil Wayne Mocks Mitt Romney In New Song

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US home sales jump to highest since May 2010

US sales of previously occupied homes jumped in August to the highest level in more than two years, adding momentum to the housing recovery.

Sales rose 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million, the National Association of Realtors said. That’s the most since May 2010, when sales were fueled by a federal home-buying tax credit.

The figures were reported the same day the government said US homebuilders broke ground on more new homes in August compared to July.

Still, the recovery is from a depressed level. Sales of previously occupied homes remain below the more than 5.5 million that economists consider consistent with a healthy market.

And the number of first-time homebuyers, who are critical to a housing rebound, slipped to 31 percent from 34 percent.

More Americans appear to be taking advantage of near-record low mortgage rates and prices that are, on average, much lower than they were six years ago.

Sales might be higher if more homes were available, the Realtors’ group said. The limited supply is helping to lift prices. There were 2.47 million homes available for sale in August. It would take just over six months to exhaust that supply at the current sales pace. That’s the typical pace in a healthy market.

The broader economy may also benefit from recent and more sustainable gains in home prices. When that happens, Americans typically feel wealthier and spend more. Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the economic growth.

Wednesday’s positive reports follow other signs that there is a sustained recovery in housing under way. Home prices are rising steadily nationwide. Sales of new homes are also picking up. And home builders are more confident and are breaking ground on more new homes.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index, released Tuesday, rose to the highest level in more than six years in September. Customer traffic and sales are at their highest levels since 2006, the peak of the housing bubble.

Even with the gains in home sales, the market remains weak. Many would-be buyers are having difficulty qualifying for loans or can’t afford the larger down payments being required by banks.

The Federal Reserve last week moved to push mortgage rates even lower. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the bank would purchase $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities each month until the job market improves “substantially.” That could push down longer-term interest rates and spur more borrowing and spending.

The Fed also hopes that lower mortgage rates will accelerate the housing market recovery and boost home prices. That, in turn, could make people feel wealthier and more willing to spend, which would bolster economic growth.

US home sales jump to highest since May 2010  

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Housing improves in hard-hit swing states

By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney

Housing gains may not register with voters, especially in swing states, ahead of the election.

At long last, the housing market is improving in Nevada, Florida and other important swing states that were some of the hardest hit during the downturn.

But that probably won’t win President Obama a lot of points at the election polls, according to some experts.

On the national front, home pricesand home sales are up, whileforeclosures are down. The swing states are also seeing some positive results.

In Nevada, there were just over 14,000 foreclosure filings in the second quarter, less than half the amount the year before, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure sales are on the decline after a state law last year cracked down on loan servicers’ practices, while short sales are on the rise. Short sales are better for neighborhoods because the homes are often maintained better and command higher prices.

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The median price of a single family home in the Las Vegas area, by far the largest market in the state, has climbed 9% over the past year, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

And in Florida, foreclosures are creeping up again as banks recover from their paperwork fiasco, which forced them to greatly slow the number of delinquent homeowners they brought to court. But it’s still down by about a third from 2010 figures.

The typical single family home is selling for 7.8% more than it did a year ago, according to Florida Realtors. Median sales prices are the highest they’ve been since 2009.

Home prices are up thanks to a rebound in employment and in the stock market, said John Tuccillo, chief economist for the Realtors group. Investors, particularly from abroad, are once again realizing the Sunshine State is a good place to buy, he said.

In Ohio, prices rose 4.9%, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors. Foreclosures, however, are on the upswing.

Related: Obama’s economy: A snapshot

But rising home prices don’t mean there aren’t any dark clouds hovering over the swing states. The good news about housing doesn’t seem to be trickling down to voters, who still view their states as being stuck in a real estate slump with little improvement.

“The housing market is starting to recover in most areas of the country, but most consumers don’t realize it,” said John Burns, head of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “The word hasn’t gotten out that home prices are appreciating again.”

One main concern that’s dampening homeowners’ enthusiasm is the number of homes that are underwater, or worth less than the mortgage. Nearly 31% of homeowners nationwide are in this predicament, a disproportionate number of them younger than 40, according to Zillow.

That problem is amplified in some of the swing states.

In the metro Las Vegas area, more than two-thirds of borrowers are underwater. More than half of Orlando borrowers owe more than their homes are worth, while in the Miami-Fort-Lauderdale market nearly 44% do. In Cleveland and Columbus, one-third are underwater.

Also, many would-be buyers are finding it tough to get approved for mortgages, while homeowners seeking to refinance to lower interest rates are also being stymied by bank bureaucracy.

“We’re significantly better off than we were two years ago, but there are still enough problems remaining for people to be concerned about their housing situation,” Tuccillo said.

Will it be enough to sway swing state voters?

For the most part, the presidential candidates are largely ignoring the housing market.

While Obama launched a series of efforts to try to fix housing since he first took office in 2009, they were mostly viewed as ineffective. Not many new ideas have been included in his 2012 campaign either.

His challenger, Mitt Romney, does not list any housing fixes in his economic proposal. And the Republican platform unveiled last week talks only of dismantling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and curtailing the Federal Housing Administration.

Ultimately, many voters will tie the recovery of the housing market to the recovery of the job market, Burns said. So they will pick the candidate they think can best boost the economy.

Housing improves in hard-hit swing states

Jobs Outlook Remains Tepid

By ECONOMIX EDITORS

This week’s economic data has come in broadly as expected, leaving the forecasters at Moody’s Analytics to continue to forecast that job growth will be slower in August — but still faster than it was in the spring. The latest post on Moody’s Dismal Scientist blog explains:

Labor market data over the past week confirm that August has been a sluggish month for job creation. We still look for a 145,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls, not far from July’s 163,000 gain and above the second quarter average of 73,000. The unemployment rate likely edged down to 8.2% this month from July’s 8.3%. While improving slowly, the U.S. job market is generating little wage income growth, which will be felt as rising gasoline and food prices test consumers’ resilience.

The Moody’s assessment, however, goes on to cite “reasons for concern that the August numbers could undershoot our forecast,” including a rise in the four-week moving average of continuing claims for unemployment benefits, aweakening index of consumer confidence and a region-by-region Fed report (known as the beige book) that was “not upbeat about the health of the job market.” It adds:

Each employment report is important, but this month’s will be especially so, as it comes as the Fed considers new round of quantitative easing. If the numbers are notably weaker than expected, the odds of near-term Fed action will rise.

Moody’s projections continue to indicate that the presidential election will remain close. As we’ve written previously, history suggests that average job gains between 100,000 and 175,000 in the six months before an election tend to lead to a close race.

Jobs Outlook Remains Tepid

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Oprah Winfrey tops Forbes highest-paid list for 4th year

But magazine says she’ll be knocked off in coming years

Oprah Winfrey is shown in March. She tops the Forbes highest paid celebrities list for the fourth year.

Oprah Winfrey is shown in March. She tops the Forbes highest paid celebrities list for the fourth year. 

Oprah Winfrey earned an estimated $165 million US in 2011-12, putting her atop the Forbes.com list of the world’s highest-paid celebrities for the fourth year in a row.

She may have given up her day-time talk show and be struggling to gain an audience with her new television network, but Winfrey still has a bevy of Harpo productions raking in the cash. Among them are syndicated TV shows such as Dr. PhilRachael Ray and The Dr. Oz Show as well as her still-popular O magazine.

Winfrey is taking to the airwaves again with shows like Oprah’s Lifeclass andOprah’s Next Chapter in an effort to boost ratings at OWN, Forbes notes, but the magazine estimates she will not remain the highest-paid celebrity in coming years. That’s because it plans to revise its method of ranking to exclude earnings from syndication.

Movie director Michael Bay earned only $5 million less than Winfrey, largely on the back of box-office smash Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which also led to toy sales and other spinoffs. Forbes estimates Bay earned $160 million between May 2011 and May 2012.

There are an impressive array of movie and TV producers in the Forbes top 10, among them Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Jerry Bruckheimer and Simon Cowell. Music producer Dr. Dre was a surprise addition to this year’s list, coming in at No. 5 with income of $110 million because of the sale of part of his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones business to handset maker HTC.

Spielberg is estimated to have brought in $130 million with films War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin, Dreamworks TV series Smash and his cut of Universal theme parks.

Bruckheimer had a box office hit with the latest Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, while Lucas contines to get residuals from the Star Wars franchise, as well as from his Industrial Light and Magic, which provides effects for movies like Battleship and The Avengers.

Forbes estimates celebrity earnings from upfront pay, profit participation and residuals and interviews with agents and industry insiders.

Forbes highest-paid celebrities

  1. Oprah Winfrey, $165 million.
  2. Michael Bay, $160 million.
  3. Steven Spielberg, $130 million.
  4. Jerry Bruckheimer, $115 million.
  5. Dr. Dre, $110 million.
  6. Tyler Perry, $105 million.
  7. Howard Stern, $95 million.
  8. James Patterson, $94 million.
  9. George Lucas, $90 million.
  10. Simon Cowell, $90 million.

Oprah Winfrey tops Forbes highest-paid list for 4th year

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Where the jobs are

It’s still a tough job market, but these 25 counties can make it a lot easier to find work and a great place to live.

1. Loudoun County, VA

Loudoun County, VA

Towns include: Ashburn

Job growth (2000-2011): 83.6%

 

Got data? Loudoun County does. Lots of it. With its expansive fiber networks and a swarm of tech workers, it’s a major traffic hub on the East Coast.

Major employers include Verizon Business and AOL, but the latest boom to hit this pocket of Northern Virginia’s high-tech economy? Data centers, which now occupy 4.3 million square feet in the county, earning Loudoun the nickname “Data Center Alley.”

2. Fort Bend County, TX

Fort Bend County, TX

Towns include: Sugar LandMissouri City

Job growth (2000-2011): 78.1%

 

Fort Bend County has come a long way from its farming days. Now it’s better known for growing jobs than for growing crops.

A favorable tax structure, strong school system and easy access to Houston make the county a triple threat when it comes to attracting — and keeping businesses. Engineering firm Fluor Enterprises, a major employer, is buying new land for a facility that is expected to add 2,000 jobs when completed.

3. Williamson County, TX

Williamson County, TX

Towns include: Cedar Park,GeorgetownRound Rock

Job growth (2000-2011): 73.8%

 

Central Texas’ Williamson County hits the bull’s eye when it comes to offering incentives for big business. Corporate tax breaks and low property taxes have attracted the likes of top-flight companies such as Dell, which employs 13,000 at its headquarters in Round Rock.

The rapid development of nearby Austin has spurred the growth of so-called “super suburbs” like Williamson County’s Round Rock and Cedar Park, where affordable housing, cultural offerings and numerous parks and trails win points with young families.

4. Montgomery County, TX

Montgomery County, TX

Towns include: The Woodlands

Job growth (2000-2011): 63.5%

 

Business in Montgomery County is soaring. Anadarko Petroleum is constructing a massive new 31-story tower at its headquarters in the commercial hub of the East Texas Woodlands. When completed in 2014, the skyscraper will accommodate 1,700.

Companies here aren’t just building up, they’re building out. Exxon Mobil is constructing a 385-acre campus that will house employees currently working in Houston. The oil giant is expected to relocate an additional 2,000 jobs from out of state to the new complex.

5. Douglas County, CO

Douglas County, CO

Towns include: Highlands Ranch,Castle Rock

Job growth (2000-2011): 58.6%

 

Douglas County is on a Rocky Mountain High. The area is chalking up job gains, as companies choose to relocate and expand existing operations here.

With Denver to its north and Colorado Springs to the south, the county has the enviable position of being located between the state’s two biggest cities. Its natural beauty and abundant sunshine don’t hurt either.

6. Collin County, TX

Collin County, TX

Towns include: FriscoAllenPlano,McKinney

Job growth (2000-2011): 55.9%

 

Collin County is no longer just the country cousin of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. With an influx of young families — overall population is up 59% since 2000 — its vast pool of workers is helping the area develop its own business base.

A few area companies have been hit hard by the sluggish economy. Big employers J.C. Penney and HP both recently streamlined operations. But others are growing fast. Oil and gas firm Denbury Resources is expanding its corporate campus in Plano, which is expected to add hundreds of jobs.

7. Denton County, TX

Denton County, TX

Towns include: Flower Mound,LewisvilleDenton

Job growth (2000-2011): 53.4%

 

Manufacturing is Peerless in Denton County. Earlier this month, PMFG’s Peerless Mfg. Co. broke ground on an 80,000-square-foot facility that will employ more than 150 when fully operational.

In addition to manufacturing, retail is important to the local economy. The presence of the University of North Texas, a major research school, also helps drive the medical services sector.

8. Prince William County, VA

Prince William County, VA

Towns include: Dale City

Job growth (2000-2011): 48.6%

 

Prince William County takes the crown when it comes to offering enticing perks to businesses. Expedited permits for companies in “targeted” industries that promise high-paying jobs and capital investment is just one of the ways it rolls out the red carpet.

Also behind the job boom: proximity to the D.C. Beltway, a smart workforce and competitive tax rates. Some 770 new jobs were announced last year, a nearly 14% increase from the previous year.

9. Suffolk County, VA

Suffolk County, VA

Towns include: Suffolk

Job growth (2000-2011): 43.0%

 

It’s smooth sailing for job growth in Suffolk, thanks to the Navy’s recent decision to relocate four commands here. The move will add nearly 1,000 jobs — which is about the total number of new jobs added to the area in all of 2011.

The Navy found a solid berth. Suffolk is located close to the Port of Virginia, and like many of the places on our list, quality of life is a big selling point here. Schools, transportation and community are all strong in this city with historic charm.

10. Williamson County, TN

Williamson County, TN

Towns include: Franklin

Job growth (2000-2011): 40.3%

 

Williamson County likes to treat companies to a good dose of Southern hospitality. Businesses choosing it as a base can be eligible for “concierge permitting,” which assigns them a dedicated staff member from the local codes department who helps speed up zoning and permitting issues.

The charm offensive, combined with the county’s highly skilled workforce and easy access to downtown Nashville, is paying off. Corporate giants like Verizon Wireless, Nissan Americas and United Health Group have flocked to the region.

The latest major player to join the 6,000 corporations that have outfits here is Viacom, which launched a services center this year that is expected to create more than 100 new jobs.

11. Sarpy County, NE                         16. Cass County, ND                   

12. Wake County, NC                         17. Lafayette County, LA           

13. Faulkner County, AR                 18. Burleigh County, ND

14. Houston County, GA                  19. Leon County, FL                   

15. Bonneville County, ID                20. Johnson County, IA

21. Anchorage County, AK           22. Pennington County, SD

23. Minnehaha County, SD           24. Washington County, TN

25. Garfield County, OK

Where the jobs are

 

Claims for Jobless Benefits Rise

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits for the first time rose a slight 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 372,000, the Labor Department said Thursday, evidence that the job market’s recovery remains modest and uneven.

Separately, the Commerce Department said new-home sales rose 3.6 percent in July.

Applications for unemployment benefits are a measure of the pace of layoffs. When they fall consistently below 375,000, it generally suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

New claims for unemployment benefits have risen for two straight weeks. But they are still lower than they were five weeks ago. That suggests hiring may be improving slightly this month.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 3,750 last week to 368,000.

Better economic growth bolstered hiring last month, according to government figures. Employers added 163,000 jobs in July, the most since February. Job gains averaged only 73,000 jobs a month from April through June, not enough to keep up with a rising population. The unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in July, from 8.2 percent the month before.

Many economists say stronger growth is needed to create enough jobs to lower unemployment. The economy grew at an annual rate of 1.5 percent from April through June, down from 2 percent in the first quarter and 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

In a separate report, the government said sales of newly constructed homes in the United States rose 3.6 percent in July, matching a two-year high, to an annual rate of 372,000 units.

In the past 12 months, new-home sales have jumped 25 percent. Still, the increase is from a historically low level. New-home sales are well below the annual pace of 700,000 that economists consider healthy.

One trend holding back sales is that there aren’t many newly built homes available. New homes for sale dipped last month to 142,000, the lowest on records dating back to 1963.

Claims for Jobless Benefits Rise

Grandmas Grow Gold in Swaziland

Sibongile Nkosi, 70, started growing marijuana near Piggs Peak when she heard that the plant could earn a decent return.

By 

PIGGS PEAK, Swaziland — After her daughters died, Khathazile took in her 11 orphaned grandchildren without hesitation. It is what a gogo, or grandmother, does in a country where the world’s highest H.I.V. infection rate has left a sea of motherless children.

“God will help us,” she said.

Perhaps. But Khathazile has some insurance in case divine intervention fails: Swazi Gold, a highly potent and valuable strain of marijuana that is sought after in the thriving drug market of next-door South Africa. In a field deep in the forest, atop a distant hill in this arid corner of tiny Swaziland, Khathazile grows Swazi Gold to keep her growing brood of grandchildren fed, clothed and in school.

“Without weed, we would be starving,” explained Khathazile, who asked that only her middle name be used.

Khathazile is one of thousands of peasants eking out a meager living in the rural areas of this kingdom at Africa’s southern tip by growing marijuana, according to relief workers, embracing it as a much-needed income boost that is relatively hardy and easy to grow.

She does not think of herself as part of a vast global chain of drug cultivation that includes poppy farmers in Afghanistan or coca growers in Latin America. She simply has her grandchildren to consider and says she started growing it when her attempts at other crops failed.

Swazi Gold, a highly potent and valuable strain of marijuana, is sought after in South Africa’s drug market.

“If you grow corn or cabbages, the baboons steal them,” Khathazile said.

Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, is officially a middle-income country. But deep poverty remains the rule here in the rural hinterlands around Piggs Peak, a dusty town in the country’s mountainous northwest. Not much grows in its rocky soil, and jobs are tough to find. Many young people flee to Swaziland’s two big cities, Mbabane and Manzini, or to neighboring South Africa to look for work.

That leaves behind a lot of old women and children. Aggressive rollout of antiretroviral therapy has helped curb the country’s AIDS death rate, but the disease has hollowed out virtually every family in one way or another, leaving older siblings caring for younger ones and frail grandparents struggling to raise small children once again.

It is the story of Khathazile’s family. In 2007, her daughter Tensile died at the age of 24, she said, leaving behind four orphaned children to take in. A couple of years later another daughter, Spiwe, died, leaving three more mouths to feed. They, too, came to live with their gogo. Then in July, her daughter Nomsa died, leaving behind four more children. There was nothing to be done but move them into her one-room hut as well.

“I cannot abandon these kids,” Khathazile said.

Such families struggle to make ends meet. “Most people are farming in a way that depends on rain,” said Tshepiso Mthimkhulu, an official at Swaziland’s Red Cross, based in Piggs Peak. “There are many orphans and widows who have difficulty surviving.”

There is certainly a market for their alternative source of income. According to the United Nations, South Africa has reported rising marijuana use, and Swaziland appears to be an eager supplier. The country, a tiny nation of about 1.4 million people, was reported to havemore acreage under marijuana cultivation in 2010 than India, a nation more than 180 times its geographic size.

Sibongile Nkosi, 70, said she started growing marijuana even before her daughter died and left her with two orphans to feed. She had heard from other women in her village, which sits on a hilltop on the outskirts of Piggs Peak, that the plant could earn a decent return.

“I put the seeds in the ground, watered them, and it grew,” she said of her first crop. “I was able to feed my children.”

Marijuana cultivation may provide a safety net, but the grandmothers of Piggs Peak are hardly drug kingpins. They must find a secret field to plant, often one deep in the forest, which they reach by walking for hours. Clearing a patch is tough work, even for women long accustomed to hard labor. They have to buy seeds, if they are new at planting, as well as manure. Not enough manure and the crop fetches a lower price. It must be carefully pruned to produce the right kind of flowers. And they have to watch out for weeds.

“Weeds are very bad for weed,” Ms. Nkosi said.

Then there are the police. They often search for marijuana fields in March and April, just before the harvest, and burn them to the ground, leaving the women with nothing to show for their hard work.

A good harvest can yield as much as 25 pounds of marijuana. But they sell to middlemen who come through the villages at harvest time, and have little bargaining power. Most make less than $400 per crop.

“The men come from South Africa to buy, but they cheat us,” Ms. Nkosi said. “What can we do? If you sit with it the police can come and arrest you.”

Enterprising growers bury part of their harvest in watertight barrels deep in the woods, saving them until December when the supply dries up and prices rise. But most of the grandmothers need the money last week, not six months from now.

Ms. Nkosi said she had never been tempted to sample her crop.

“It makes you drunk,” she exclaimed when asked if she had ever smoked marijuana. “If I try it I will fall on the ground!”

Marijuana had provided her family with enough to survive, but she wondered if it was really worth it.

“I don’t want to grow it anymore,” Ms. Nkosi said. “The money is too little.”

But as this year’s planting season began, she was gearing up for another crop. School fees for her two remaining grandchildren at home would be nearly $400 next school year, she said, and she had no other way to earn the money.

“When you are in poverty you must do whatever you can to live,” she said. “If I earn a little something my heart will be content.”

Grandmas Grow Gold in Swaziland

Canada lost 30,400 jobs in July

Workers at a McDonald's prepare meals at a restaurant in April. Canada shed more than 50,000 part-time jobs in July.

Workers at a McDonald’s prepare meals at a restaurant in April. Canada shed more than 50,000 part-time jobs in July.

Canada’s economy shed more than 30,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.3 per cent as employers cut back on part-time workers, according to figures released today.

The last time Canada posted a monthly job loss was November 2011, Statistics Canada said Friday.

Economists were expecting a slight gain of 6,000 jobs and for the jobless rate to hold steady at 7.2 per cent.

“We weren’t surprised that the headline total was down,” BMO economist Doug Porter noted, “but we are surprised by the details.”

The economy actually added more than 21,300 full-time positions during the month. But that was more than offset by a loss of 51,600 part-time jobs.

Were it not for a surprising 11,700 new jobs in the education sector, the headline figure could have been much lower. (The education sector typically contracts during the summer as schools shut down.)

“The news might not get any better next month,” Porter said. “Education jobs actually rose again, and may get hit hard next time.”

Aside from education, Porter noted, most sectors posted large contractions, including:

  • Retail jobs, down by 30,000.
  • Manufacturing, down by 18,600 jobs.
  • Natural resources, down by 9,000 jobs.

Regionally, employment declined in Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador, while it increased in Prince Edward Island. There was little change in the other provinces.

Canada lost 30,400 jobs in July

Charlotte Prepares for an ‘Extraordinary Event,’ With All the Security That Entails

As the nation’s second-largest banking city, Charlotte has been the scene of several large protests.  Demonstrators marched during the Bank of America shareholders meeting in May.

By 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The variety of demonstrators planning to invade this Southern city for the Democratic National Convention is wide and deep.

When the party gathers on Sept. 4, both anarchists bent on bringing down government and radical evangelical groups bearing down on homosexuals and abortion doctors will be here.

In between, others will protest a range of issues that includes war, increases in college costs, immigration reform, labor practices, antigay laws, the nation’s policies on marijuana and the jailing of a soldier accused of leaking classified material.

There will be the “UndocuBus,” filled with illegal immigrants, and the Values Bus, sponsored by the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation.

Counting a Muslim day of prayer that begins before the convention starts and a conservative country music concert and rally that starts a day after President Obama is expected to accept the nomination on Sept. 6, the numbers of people showing up to protest in Charlotte will most likely be in the tens of thousands.

Even with 6,000 delegates and another 30,000 estimated associated visitors, it will not be the largest gathering ever in this city of 760,000, but it certainly promises to be the most difficult to manage.

“We have not seen anything like this, no,” said Carol Jennings, the city’s liaison to the convention. In true Southern fashion, she added, “We welcome all our visitors.”

But it won’t be all barbecue and bourbon. The city will spend $50 million in federal money on security, the same amount the Republicans gathering in Tampa, Fla., have received. It will be used to hire as many as 3,400 officers from outside departments, build about five miles of nine-foot fencing and pay for, among other things, steel barriers strong enough to stop a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling 30 miles per hour.

The city is also relying on a recent law that gives its manager the power to declare a large-scale gathering an “extraordinary event.” When that happens, a section of the city is marked off and the police have wide powers to search and possibly arrest people in that zone who carry items capable of hiding weapons or inflicting injury.

On the long list are backpacks, hammers, coolers, chains, glass bottles and water guns known as Super Soakers. Face-concealing scarves could also be tagged.

Since the law was put into place in January, the city has used it a handful of times, including the annual shareholders’ meetings for Duke Energy and Bank of America and for Speed Street, a May street party featuring Nascar drivers and food booths that in 2011 resulted in more than 100 arrests. The police said arrests were down by half this year.

On Wednesday, the city and the Secret Service announced the perimeters of the security zone, which covers about 60 percent of the city’s Uptown commercial district and dips south to cover the special areas the city has set aside for protesters.

The extraordinary events measure has rankled enough people that the city offered reassurances in a news release.

“For example,” it said, “residents will be able to walk their dog within the extraordinary event boundaries without fear of arrest.”

People were not appeased.

“We’ve never had anything of this caliber, and they didn’t know how to handle it so they over-handled it,” said Timeka Moore, 24, a waitress at a Mexican restaurant who has to travel through Uptown to get to her job.

Tampa has its own version of an event zone, and both cities have grappled with trying to prevent concealed weapons inside them despite state laws that allow people to carry permitted weapons. They have also set up special protest and parade areas, even providing a stage and microphones for demonstrators.

In both cities, people organizing protests have criticized the areas as being too far from the action, too restrictive and not particularly comfortable or conducive for expressing opinion to the people attending the convention, although city officials say the areas and the permitting process meet legal standards for such public expression developed after protests in other cities.

Not so, says Michael Zytkow of Occupy Charlotte. The security zone covers “every part of Uptown that anyone would normally walk through,” he said. And the area set aside for the so-called free speech zone is so remote “we’re calling it a parking lot tour,” he said.

Having free speech zones implies the rest of the city is not, critics say. Issuing permits for people to protest and using special event zones as a regular part of convention business concern some who believe such controls border on selective oppression of free speech.

“The biggest problem is the use of seemingly neutral laws to control protests to restrict certain kind of protests or keep inconvenient protests out of the public eye,” said Gabe Rottman, a policy adviser and legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “How they are going to use these laws is absolutely of concern.”

A similar law was used at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver. That convention, as well as the Republican convention in St. Paul, were marred by hundreds of arrests and violence and resulted in a series of lawsuits over the government’s attempts to investigate protest groups and its use of arrests to quell demonstrations and journalists covering them.

All of which party and city officials have on their minds.

“It has been a growing issue for folks every four years,” said Stephen Kerrigan, chief executive of the Democratic National Convention Committee, who also ran the event in Boston in 2004. “Our approach from the very beginning has been about increasing the engagement of people all across the board.”

Unlike Tampa, two major events in Charlotte — a kickoff festival and the final speech by President Obama at the Bank of America Stadium — will be open to the public, he said.

By many accounts, the crowds could be greater here than in Tampa, too.

For one thing, Charlotte will have a sitting president. And it is the second-largest banking city in the nation, home to both Bank of America and Wells Fargo — a designation that is driving at least 80 national groups, many from the Occupy movement and organized loosely as the Coalition to March on Wall Street South, to show up for a Sept. 2 protest.

Conversely, conservative Christians are planning a conference called Charlotte714, a reference to a biblical passage that promises God will forgive sins if people turn from their “wicked ways.” An estimated 40 churches will gather in the 20,000-seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheater the night before the convention for a church service.

That event is being organized by David and Jason Benham, twin sons of Flip Blenham, a well-known antigay and anti-abortion protester whom the city has battled in court over public assembly, noise and picketing regulations.

“In many ways, both Flip and the Occupy movement in Charlotte were really good preparation for the D.N.C.,” said Robert E. Hagemann, the city attorney. “Legally, I’m totally unconcerned. From a policy standpoint, we have to make sure we respect different perspectives.”

For some residents who plan to have nothing to do with the convention, however, the tightening of security has gone too far.

“It seems like they are going to turn it into a concentration camp around here,” said Malachi El-Bui, 56, who moved to Charlotte from New York City several years ago. “They act like we are the ones to arrest. They’re talking about we can’t have backpacks or they could arrest us? They’re tripping.”

Charlotte Prepares for an ‘Extraordinary Event,’ With All the Security That Entails

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