Graham makes a good case for proposed center

Scotland County Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Graham couldn’t be more passionate about what he thinks will create positive opportunities for all residents in the future. He’s been more than vocal about the possibility of building a multi-generational center in Laurinburg — and just how important it would be.

And we’re right there with Graham.

The proposed center — which would be a mix of recreational facility, community center, business meeting place and tourism destination — will cost something like $10-12 million to build and upwards of $500,000 to operate each year.

Construction costs aside, Graham said paying the operational costs is contingent on the Nov. 6 ballot referendum asking for a quarter-cent sales tax hike that, if passed by voters, would send every penny raise to create, promote and operate recreational opportunities in Scotland County. The estimated revenue from such an increase, which would be paid by residents and visitors alike, would be about $750,000 per year.

We’ve stated before and will repeat that this opportunity is far too good and necessary to pass up. For logical-thinking people, there is absolutely no down side or argument against the county’s plan.

But we know there are those who oppose this plan and take every opportunity to lambaste it, but their arguments are not only full of holes, but they are also pre-designed to be nothing more than divisive and self-aggrandizing. We all know exactly who those individuals are.

The sales-tax hike is difficult for most to even calculate because, quite simply, it’s as minuscule as it could possibly get.

If voters truly want what is best for the future of Scotland County and want to give residents opportunities that stretch from recreational to community building events, then this referendum should pass.


Labor law steps backward

Supporters of fair treatment of workers who labor in agriculture should be disturbed by North Carolina’s abuse of the legislative process to weaken labor rights in this state.

A law backed by that state’s Farm Bureau prevents employers from transferring farm worker union dues directly to the union.

The law is a blatant and unvarnished attack on the unions that represent workers, mainly the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, and will reverse the good work that FLOC has done since its 2004 landmark agreement with the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. Inc. in the Tar Heel State.

For now, a federal judge has stopped enforcement of the 2017 Farm Act. Plaintiffs argued the law impedes the First Amendment rights of farmworkers to participate in unions and is especially discriminatory toward Mexican farmworkers. The lawsuit was filed by a group of civil rights organizations on behalf of FLOC and two farm workers.

That measure would cripple FLOC, which has about 4,800 dues-paying members in North Carolina, according to FLOC President Baldemar Velasquez. The law will force FLOC to travel to more than 500 farms across the state to try and collect dues.

The Farm Act is a twist on “right to work” legislation that has been enacted in many states, including Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, but not Ohio.

Right to work laws prohibit employers from collecting agency fees or fair representation fees from employees who work in in unionized plants and businesses but don’t belong to the unions but participate in the wages and working conditions unions negotiate.

FLOC, based in Toledo, represents migrant workers in agricultural businesses. Before FLOC, workers lived and worked under the supervision of labor contractors, who set the wages, provided transportation and housing, and often exploited vulnerable workers.

It is shameful that North Carolina wants to go back to the past, because that is clearly where its 2017 Farm Act will take the state if the courts allow the law to go into effect.