Belk found itself in hot water last weekend after it turned away Salvation Army bellringers at its New Bern store — and most of its 294 stores across the Southeast. Steve Tyson wasn’t going to stand for it. The Belk corporate honchos didn’t waste time in responding to the outcry of protests. They restored bellringer access the next day following a flood of complaints and threats by shoppers that they will spend their money elsewhere if they couldn’t donate their money outside a Belk store. In corporate America, nothing gets their attention more than thousands of potential shoppers saying they’ll spend their money somewhere else.


New Bern State Rep. Mike Speciale got into it again with the Raleigh News & Observer. He and North Carolina’s newspaper of record have sparred with one another numerous times since Speciale, an outspoken conservative, was elected in 2012.
On his Facebook page, Speciale reposted, without comment, a resolution from God & Country Christian Alliance that decries things like child and adult sexual molestation and assault, but added that since Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore denies stalking teenage girls when he was in his 30s, that’s good enough for them. (Full resolution here)
God & Country Christian Alliance was once known as Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition, and describes itself as a pro-family Christian organization based in New Bern.
Anyway, the N&O keeps watch on Speciale’s Facebook page (and why not? It’s a fun read) and then published a story under the headline, “NC Republican shares words of support for Alabama’s Roy Moore.”
To which Speciale responded on Facebook thusly:

“My sympathies go out to the News and Disturber, a dying tabloid that is now reduced to trolling Facebook pages for stories because real news is too hard for them to produce.
I am a member of the God & Country Christian Alliance who was in attendance when this resolution was voted on, and I wholeheartedly support it! If the accusations against Roy Moore are proven, then I will withdraw my support but accusations do not prove guilt. This is still America and we are still innocent until proven guilty!”

More fun ensued.
On Dec. 1, Speciale continued his response to the N&O story with this comment on Facebook:

“They are really trolling and having a slow news day, since this is their second article on this subject. They copied my response to their original article but they left out the first line: “My sympathies go out to the News & Disturber, a dying tabloid that is now reduced to trolling Facebook pages for stories because real news is hard for them to produce.”

Bengel 2.0 disagrees with Bengel 1.0

Sabrina Bengel, the New Bern business woman who regains her 1st Ward alderman seat next Tuesday, has complained about the Board of Aldermen deciding to spend more than $1 million on a software package during a work session in November. The board should make decisions like that during regular sessions, she said in a statement to the Post.
Chris Ormond, meanwhile, dug up a 2010 spending decision worth $4.6 million that Bengel voted for the first time she was an alderman during — you guessed it, a work session. Here’s the spending resolution (page 1 and page 2) that Ormond posted on his Facebook page.
As one commenter pointed out, the money Bengel voted to spend was for a mandatory police radio system and there was some urgency to approve the package or risk losing a substantial amount of money. The decision aldermen made in November was in a work session one week before a regular session that fell before the bid was set to expire. Not exactly apples to apples.
The point is, aldermen and the mayor should make big decisions during regular sessions, not workshops.

The thaw

I saw Bengel and Mayor Dana Outlaw finishing up on a one-on-one meeting at City Hall on Tuesday. The two were once close friends and allies until they ran against each other for mayor in 2013. I’m not sure what Tuesday’s meeting was about, but I take it as a good sign that they are agreeing to get along for the good of the children.

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