Under the Dome

DNC gets the keys to Time Warner Cable Arena

from staff reportsJuly 16, 2012 

The Democratic National Convention Committee took the keys to Time Warner Cable Arena on Monday, officially clearing the way for organizers to start a $7 million transformation for September’s event.

Nearly 200 workers will be involved in readying the arena for the convention proceedings Sept. 4-5. The convention moves to Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 6.

Work includes swapping out arena seats for camera stands, modifying suites, and upgrading electrical and technology systems.

After the convention, the DNCC must restore the arena to its original condition, said Theo LeCompte, DNCC chief operating officer.

Carpeting in the hallways of the suite level is covered with protective flooring to ward against any damage. Organizers also took a photo survey of the entire arena for before-and-after comparisons.

Perdue signs bail bondsmen bill

Gov. Bev Perdue has signed into law a bill that allows a private organization to train North Carolina bail bondsmen without any competition.

The law requires bondsmen to receive training from the N.C. Bail Agents Association. That group’s lone competitor – N.C. Bail Academy, which formed in January 2011 – will no longer be allowed to offer the training necessary to attain or retain a license to operate as a bondsman.

Lynette Thompson is a partner at the Rockford-Cohen Group, the firm that founded the Bail Academy. “I didn’t think Perdue would sign it because I thought that she’d see a monopoly being formed,” she said. “We’re going to fight it.”

The bill was introduced during a June 26 hearing of the House Insurance Committee.

During that hearing, Rep. Jerry Dockham, R-Davidson, who chairs the Insurance Committee, said he believed there was no opposition to the bill and the bail bondsmen “are all on board,” according to an audio recording from the hearing.

Dockham was wrong about that.

Thompson said the Bail Academy was not present to voice opposition because it was not made aware any such measure was being considered.

“Two weeks before this (passed) we were called in because they were making changes to the administrative code, relatively small stuff,” Thompson said. “What they’re saying is that they thought we would be interested in that, but they didn’t think we would want to know they were planning to put us out of business.”

Brubaker gets in on lobbying

By resigning last week, state Rep. Harold Brubaker can begin lobbying when the legislature returns in January at the start of its 2013 session, Chris Fitzsimon of N.C. Policy Watch notes.

Brubaker, a former House speaker, is resigning now because there is a six-month cooling off period before a legislator can register as a lobbyist.

“His resignation six months before the end of his term to cash in is ridiculous and makes a mockery of the efforts to stop the revolving door between legislating and lobbying,” Fitzsimon writes on his blog, The Follies.

“When the current lobbying law was being debated several years ago, good government groups wanted at least a two-year cooling off period, but lawmakers would have none of it.”

Staff writers Austin Baird, Rob Christensen and Charlotte Observer reporter Celeste Smith

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