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The News and Observer from Raleigh, North Carolina • 27

Raleigh, North Carolina
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Se -0- SATURDAY JANUARY 2 8 2008 THE NEWS 1 A 5B Capitol 1NC To REACH US: Capitol editor Bill Krueger (919) 8294522 billkruegernewsobservercom II) eat estate industry anticipated battle If you're going to get involved in an effort like this you've got to play to win' TIM KENT EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT NC ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS money we would have needed" In a candid discussion Friday Carpenter and Tim Kent executive vice president of the NC Association of Realtors discussed how a coalition of interests turbed public sentiment against the idea The keys they said were the money they saved up the consultants they hired and a message they developed that resonated with would-be taxpayers The debate focused attention on the best way to pay for new schools roads and other costs associated with the state's rapid growth There is already a 02 percent statewide tax on the sale of real estate including homes and businesses In July the General Assembly agreed to let counties with voter approval either raise the tax 04 percent more or raise Kent said the industry emphasized housing affordability and property rights "When you put a tax on someone who's trying to sell their homes we think that's an attack on those two principles" he told an audience of corporate lobbyists The industry hired two Raleigh-based consultants Democrat Brad Crone and Republican Chris Sinclair It used the Web site wwwitsabadideaorg It also started an advertising campaign that encouraged tax opponents to e-mail lawmakers and 60000 did so Kent said They also coined the term "home tax" though the tax also would have applied to commercial and industrial properties "We represent organizations that have great will and determi nation as well as resources" Kent said If you're going to get involved in an effort like this you've got to play to win" No one has compiled a final public tally of how much the real estate industry spent to defeat the taxes which failed in Union County 83 percent to 17 percent An Observer analysis in November found at least $441000 spent in local elections alone not including money spent on advertising to influence lawmakers John Davis president of NC FREE praised the real estate industry's efforts as a model for other businesses involved in public policy debates "They hired the best people they could hire" Davis said "and that made a difference in winning and losing in a big way" the sales tax by a quarter-penny Voters in Union County and 15 other counties resoundingly rejected the real estate tax in November Three counties Gates Pamlico and Polk are poised to consider the idea May 6 according to the NC Association of County Commissioners Todd McGee a spokesman for the commissioners' association said in an interview Friday that the real estate industry benefited last year from more experience and resources "It's easy to win the battle for public opinion when you're the only one out there spouting an opinion" McGee said Trying to reverse that commissioners held a training session Thursday for advocates of the tax Carpenter and Kent speaking at the Raleigh headquarters of NC FREE a business-backed group that analyzes election trends said the real estate industry worked as a team First it tried unsuccessfully to prevent lawmakers from giving counties the extra taxing authority Then it tried to sway voters 1 1 I 421111USEINIMMEIREIr? 4 ''r k14- 4-AC1-A (4Viq '101" VIt''''''IsiA44cz-NPAsv 1131 7 1 dr--'t I( 4 '4 i 9 -V-' 4lit i li -i 1 -t A AA I '4 it 11 11 154) 4 I 19 14) fr "1 ''4 a kt 4 4 4 Ao: "''1 I i' 1' ir A 1 '461t-'''i 0 -A I' P'l 4 41 t)--7 ii 41 -3 'A ordkt ''''''g' 4 01 21 rntio I 1 40-to' (40 Ts a l'ts' 1 4 7i 1IN 4 si 0- 1 -vtt4 I t01 ''''t e-' 4430----0 0 4 4 ott? 1 -re 2 -3 ---ITN ---ix "7 1 Az i (i A i i 4 41 0 4 I tc' I fir i 'L -1) CHARLOTTE OBSERVER PHOTOS BY JOHN SIMMONS 't 3't: k' HE CAN BE OWLISH 4-- ABOUT THIS STUDY 4 fie ip 0 tip i f' ARt it 4 I 4 Rob Bierregaard an internationally owl Tuesday evening and returned to his known ornithologist prepares to release office to take measurements and attach leg '01 a young urban barred owl as part of a bands and a radio collar Upon finding Itt if 4a- -1 i pAtt A i study he's conducting in the Charlotte that her beak was slightly deformed Bierre- area Bierregaard captured a young female gaard named the owl Snooz CHARLOTTE OBSERVER PHOTOS BY JOHN SIMMONS HE CAN BE OWLISH ABOUT THIS STUDY Rob Bierregaard an internationally known ornithologist prepares to release a young urban barred owl as part of a study he's conducting in the Charlotte area Bierregaard captured a young female owl Tuesday evening and returned to his office to take measurements and attach leg bands and a radio collar Upon finding that her beak was slightly deformed Bierregaard named the owl Snooz It planned defeat of tax for years BY DAVID INGRAM THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER RALEIGH The real estate industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars last year to oppose a proposed tax on the sale of property what it called the "home tax" As it turns out the industry had been saving up money for the expected battle for at least a decade "Our organization had the foresight years ago" said Mike Carpenter executive vice president of the NC Home Builders Association The real estate industry knew he said that when the time came to vote on such a tax "we didn't have the time to raise the $50000 reward in triple slaying Tree farmer son employee killed THE ASSOCIATED PRESS INDEPENDENCE Va The family of a prominent North Carolina tree farmer has offered a $50000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for his slaying as well as that of his son and an employee Authorities said robbery was the apparent motive in the shooting deaths Thursday of Ronald Hudler 75 his son Frederick Hudler 45 and an employee 25- year-old John Miller The three were slain on Ronald Hudler's property in Mouth of Wilson Va just north of the North Carolina border Frederick Hudler and Miller both of West Jefferson NC had been working on the tree farm and returned to Ronald Hudler's home where they were confronted by people in the garage who were trying to steal a gun safe the sheriff's office said Both were killed Ronald Hudler apparently heard the gunfire and was shot when he went outside to investigate authorities said He often kept considerable amounts of money in the safe and he employed nearly 50 workers during the Christmas tree harvest season authorities said The Grayson County sheriffs office said federal and state authorities also were working on the case The family's business Hudler Carolina Tree Farms is based in northwestern North Carolina with farms in Ashe Watauga and Alleghany counties in North Carolina and in Grayson County according to the company Web site Hudler ran the farms with his three sons "He was a leader in the industry We are just in a state of shock here" said Linda Gmgg executive director of the NC Christmas Tree Association "Up in the mountains of North Carolina we don't have that kind of city violence as much" Gragg said Ronald Hudler was an adviser to the state association and a board member of the National Christmas Tree Association He had been with the local organization for at least 10 years she said "He was one of those who had foresight as to what our problems would be" she said "He knew we had a lot of competition from artificial trees and Ron had been fighting hard to make sure the Christmas tree industry stayed strong in North Carolina "He will be truly missed" HOW TO REACH US Have a story idea or comment? The newsroom number in Raleigh is 829-4520 or (800) 365-6115 METRO EDITOR: Van Denton 829-4536 vdentonnewsobservercom it AROUND NORTH CAROLINA owned by White who was 17 at the time White told detectives he attacked Bradley because he mistakenly thought Bradley had stolen his compact disc player Expert: Humvee was fired upon THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CAMP LEJEUNE Damage to the turret and windshield of a Marine Humvee involved in a March 4 shooting and suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan is evidence that someone fired at the vehicle an Army explosives expert testified Friday Divots on the windshield holes in a headlight and a nick on the turret indicated that someone fired at the vehicle Army Sgt 1st Class Jason Mero told a special court of inquiry at Camp Lejetme The defense witness was the first to corroborate the version of events from Marines in Fox Company who said they were fired at after a suicide bomber detonated a white van packed with explosives Some witnesses have said they didn't see anyone shooting at the six-vehicle convoy As many as 19 civilians were killed according to an Army The Honda Accord he crashed was reported stolen in Raleigh in February 2007 Williams had been sentenced to nine years in prison on robbery charges in 1990 according to State Department of Corrections records His parole ended in 1998 His long conviction history includes felony larceny possession of stolen goods and assault on a government official Teen gets 25 years for fatal beating THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BALTIMORE A North Carolina teenager convicted in a fatal beating caught by a Baltimore police surveillance camera has been sentenced to 25 years in prison Prosecutors said 18-year-old Donavan White of Edenton apologized Thursday to the victim's family in court saying he did not intend to kill 39-year-old Joel Bradley The victim was beaten over the head with a tree branch while sleeping on a bench in West Baltimore in October 2006 The attacker was seen on camera taking the victim's cell phone A review of phone records led police to White's sister who told them the assailant was wearing a jacket that resembled a coat Jewel theft suspect killed by policeman FROM STAFF REPORTS A Raleigh man is dead after an altercation with an off-duty Greensboro police officer Emile Baptist Williams of 1211 Trillium Circle died after being shot during a stmggle with Greensboro officer WM Symmes according to a news release Friday from Greensboro police The SBI is investigating the shooting Symmes was working off-duty at the Four Seasons Town Centre mall when he responded to a larceny report at Helzberg Diamonds police said The suspect fled the scene in a vehicle and crashed on Interstate 85 near Creekridge Road police said Symmes and Williams fought and Williams was fatally shot The Greensboro News Record citing information from a search warrant application reported Friday that Williams crashed into Symmes' police-issued SIN and tried to drive off in it dragging Symms briefly before Symmes shot him in the neck The chase reached 100 mph the newspaper reported Williams is believed to have taken two diamond rings from the jeweler the newspaper said Hunt's request for review denied FROM STAFF REPORTS RALEIGH A Fayetteville man imprisoned for a 1984 double murder was denied a review of his case by the NC Supreme Court on Friday although scientists say key evidence used to convict him was unreliable The court declined to review the case of Lee Wayne Hunt who is serving life in prison for the stabbing deaths of a Fayetteville couple inside their home The court offered little expla- nation for its refusal to hear Hunt's appeal en' A special deputy attorney general encouri aged the justices to dismiss the case saying 4-71 that Hunt's claims had no merit Htmt's case gained national attention when --Nj '4 his story was aired in November on the tele- vision news show "60 Minutes" The broad- A 4 cast focused on the prosecution's use of an FBI unt analysis of bullet lead to help win the convic- tion The analysis concluded that bullets from the crime scene matched those in a box that Hunt owned Scientists now say such analysis is misleading and should not be used as evidence The analysis was the only physical evidence connecting Hunt to the deaths of Lisa and Roland Matthews Former Chief Justice I Beverly Lake Jr joined Hunt's defense team late last year saying he believed Hunt had been wrongly convicted UNC Law Professor Rich Rosen who is also one of Hunt's attorneys said he would try to get a federal judge to review the case 1 (1 'Ai.

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