- - Sunday, September 11, 2011

NORTH CAROLINA

City: 3,400 more officers needed for convention

RALEIGH — Charlotte officials plan to buttress the city’s sizable police force with about 3,400 extra officers during the 2012 Democratic National Convention to help protect top politicians from across the country, most notably the president.

The additions from other agencies will help the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service provide security and crowd control for the quadrennial event the week of Sept. 3. North Carolina’s largest city has about 1,750 officers of its own.

The convention will be held at Time Warner Cable Arena, an uptown sports venue. The Queen City has experience hosting large events that draw big crowds, such as the ACC basketball tournament and last year’s national convention of the National Rifle Association.

But city spokeswoman Kim McMillan said the convention is the most complex because of the security needed. Besides President Obama and 35,000 other convention participants, tens of thousands more were expected to hit the streets to protest the event.

“This is our first convention of this magnitude,” Ms. McMillan said.

Officials did not specify where the extra police would come from, but they would have to be sworn officers in North Carolina to arrest anyone.

City police are already monitoring far-left anarchists groups. Members of tea party groups are also planning a big turnout.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Governor calls reporter ‘little girl’ over story

COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s first female governor called a reporter a “little girl” over an article she wrote detailing at least $127,000 in taxpayer dollars the governor and other state officials spent on a European economic development trip.

In a syndicated radio talk show interview Thursday, Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley was asked about a Sept. 4 article by 25-year-old Renee Dudley in the Post and Courier of Charleston.

“And all I will tell you is: God bless that little girl at the Post and Courier. I mean her job is to try and create conflict. My job is to create jobs. In the end, I’m going to have jobs to show for it,” Mrs. Haley said on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

The story detailed a weeklong trip in June by Mrs. Haley and two dozen others. It included stays at five-star hotels, drinks at the Ritz Paris and an upgraded “chalet” at the Paris Air Show, where the state had previously rented a booth. With a Boeing Co. manufacturing plant in North Charleston and BMW Manufacturing in Greer, Mrs. Haley said she needed to court aerospace companies at the Paris event and manufacturers in Munich.

On Friday, Mrs. Haley still blasted the story, but said she shouldn’t have used the personal remark.

“The story painted a grossly inaccurate picture and was unprofessionally done, but my ‘little girl’ comment was inappropriate and I regret that,” Mrs. Haley said. “Everyone can have a bad day. I’ll forgive her bad story, if she’ll forgive my poor choice of words.”

That’s off the mark, too, said Drucilla Barker, director and professor of women’s studies at the University of South Carolina. “Oh, my God. I find that almost as offensive as calling her a little girl. It was an easy way to demean a reporter and take away her credibility. Little girls are sent from the room so adults can speak,” Ms. Barker said.

GOP

Romney, Perry strongly differ on Social Security

Social Security has become a major divide in the contest between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.

The votes of seniors — in aging Iowa, the retiree haven of Florida and elsewhere — could be at stake.

Mr. Perry isn’t backing down from calling the safety-net program a “Ponzi scheme.” Mr. Romney is defending Social Security, and arguing that the GOP shouldn’t choose a nominee who demonizes a program so many Americans depend on.

Mr. Romney wants to expose Mr. Perry’s vulnerability on the program that seniors hold dear and Democrats hold sacrosanct. And he’s trying to reclaim the front-runner mantle from Mr. Perry, who entered the race just last month.

SEC

Regulators accuse man of fraud targeting deaf

Federal regulators have filed civil fraud charges against a man who they say raised about $3.4 million in a scam targeting deaf investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the charges Friday against Jody Dunn of Corinth, Texas. The SEC says in a lawsuit that Dunn, who is deaf, bilked more than 7,000 people by offering investments in life-insurance policies that never delivered on promised big returns.

Mr. Dunn allegedly used $353,000 of the money he raised to cover his mortgage and other expenses, and put the rest into a firm’s offshore accounts.

The firm claimed to sell investments in insurance policies bought at a discount from the terminally ill or elderly. The SEC said none of the deaf investors’ money was used for that purpose.

Mr. Dunn couldn’t be reached.

FAA

Deal reached to avert transportation shutdown

A key Republican lawmaker says House and Senate leaders have reached a deal that averts a looming shutdown of federal highway and aviation programs.

Rep. John L. Mica of Florida, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, says the agreement clears the way for passage next week of a single bill that extends operating authority for the Federal Aviation Administration through the end of January and highway and transit assistance programs through the end of March.

Mr. Mica says Republicans have agreed not to include any spending cuts or contentious policy provisions in the bill.

He indicated that Senate Democrats had also made concessions, but he declined to elaborate.

From wire dispatches and staff reports