Transparency News 12/27/18



December 27, 2018


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state & local news stories




The public has just over a week left to send comments to the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board regarding specific documents about a proposed Buckingham County compression station that were released since the board’s Nov. 8 and 9 meetings.
The Daily Progress

A man called foul after law enforcement detained him for allegedly trespassing in the Louisa County Office Building. Brian Hubbell, a 24-year-old Orange County resident, walked into the office building around lunchtime on Dec. 7, while videotaping with his phone. He was put in a holding cell at the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office after Sheriff Ashland Fortune demanded he identify himself or leave. Hubbell refused. Hubbell’s video of the incident, which he posted on YouTube, shows that he was not detained while in the secured area, but rather upstairs near the public meeting room.
The Central Virginian


stories of national interest

A civil rights group has sued the U.S. government, saying it needs more information about surveillance of Americans' phone and financial records to guide the public debate over what will happen when the law that regulates the scrutiny expires next year. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the National Security Agency, the director of national intelligence, the CIA and the Justice Department on Friday in Manhattan federal court, seeking information about a program that collects records during investigations into terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.
San Francisco Chronicle

North Carolina taxpayers may never learn how much in tax breaks, free land and other giveaways business recruiters were willing to throw at tech giants Apple and Amazon to attract thousands of jobs to the Raleigh area. Public records tracking the Amazon project and released by the state's two corporate recruiting agencies exclude information on what was possibly the largest basket of corporate sweeteners in North Carolina history at more than $2.4 billion. That sum was more than the offers of either of the winning locations for what ultimately was a project divided between two locations. The state Commerce Department cited a four-year-old law change requiring the withholding of the financial details since Amazon instead opted for a site outside North Carolina. The Raleigh-Durham region was among a list of 20 finalists.
The Virginian-Pilot






editorials & columns



You don’t have to be an economist to realize that Virginia got played by Amazon in the closed-door HQ2 negotiations, but these numbers show just how terrible the deal really is: The total incentive package offered to Amazon could have been used to reduce the state corporate tax rates for all Virginia businesses by 5.6 percent over the next 15 years. That should have every Virginia business owner and their employees fuming — and it should have every Virginian taking a much closer look at this raw deal. If there is a devil lurking in the details — and it sure seems like there is a lot that has been hidden, and more to hide — then Virginians have a right to know about it before their pockets are emptied to one of the richest companies on the planet.
Robert B. Engel, Richmond Times-Dispatch