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Developer John Kane’s back, asking the City Council to give him $75 million in public money (tax breaks) to subsidize the expansion of North Hills Mall. (I guess he’s figured out he can undercut his competitors if the city goes along with the county commissioners to allow him not to pay 75% of his property taxes for twenty years. Imagine that. Kane can sell condos, rent shops, etc., and cut the price because he won’t be paying his taxes while the guy selling condo’s down the street does.)

But here’s what’s really peculiar. Kane has talked the frugal, tight-fisted, free-enterprise loving Republicans on the City Council into supporting him – while the big-spending, government subsidy loving Democrats have turned thumbs down. In fact, the biggest advocate of government subsidies for private businesses in the history of Raleigh, Mayor Charles Meeker, is leading the charge to stop Kane.

Which has Kane puzzled. “I don’t understand why he’s attacking our project,” Kane says. “At some point we’ll have to force the issue.” (News and Observer)

Force the issue? Make the Mayor’s day. Charles Meeker would love to have the Republicans on the City Council voting for a $75 million subsidy before the election.

Speaking of Mayor Meeker, he’s got a new project. Downtown. After building a Convention Center, an underground parking deck, English style round-abouts and subsidizing restaurants and super-markets he’s going to build a skyscraper. For $90 million. To house city government. (News and Observer)

With all respect to the Mayor here’s a suggestion: Wait a couple of years and, if downtown Raleigh doesn’t turn into the tourist Mecca of the Southeast, move city government into the Convention Center.

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