Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Podcast October 20 – Gag orders, Oak Island questions, water wars, and ‘no locals allowed’

We start this week with a controversial proposal in Sunset Beach that would effectively gag city council. In addition to posing some serious First Amendment issues, it also runs directly contrary to how we are used to seeing local government work. We talk about where this proposal from, what concerns it presents, and what issues it will face it the town tries to enact it.

Next, the increasingly strange case of Justin Brochure, son of Oak Island Mayor Cin Brochure. Why is the child pornography investigation of Justin Brochure, who lives in Leland, being handled by Oak Island? Why did Oak Island’s police chief abruptly resign without explanation? Why was Justin Brochure’s bond dropped from $2 million to $100,000 after he violated his pre-trial release conditions?

Then, it’s time to look at “water wars.” As Brunswick County expands — it is the fastest growing county in the state — new developments need utilities, including water and sewer. But, unlike New Hanover County, which is served by a single utility, numerous water and sewer systems exist in Brunswick County, including the county’s own utility, Leland’s utility, and H2GO – initially designed to serve rural areas but now reaching into more densely populated areas.

As thousands of new houses and apartment units are planned throughout the area, millions of dollars of utility revenue are at stake. This has meant competition between various utilities. As the lawsuit between H2GO, Leland, and Belville remains in court, things are only more complicated.

So, what does it all mean? And what’s next?

For the final section of our weekly podcast, we take a deeper look at a curious announcement this week: the City of Wilmington notified Market Street hotels they could legally rent rooms to local residents without penalties. Why would this be illegal in the first place?

The answer is, it’s part of a much bigger story about criminal gang behavior and District Attorney Ben David’s attempt to fight it with civil law instead of police enforcement.

Lastly, traffic and trees. No, you’re not crazy, traffic is worse than usual and, yes, flowers and trees are blooming again. Both have been caused by Hurricane Florence — here’s how it happened.

If you missed any of these stories, you can catch up on them below, then take a deeper dive with our weekly podcast.

Gag order: Sunset Beach considers banning Council members from speaking with public, media, and others

Sunset Beach councilman alleges state law violation in ‘political’ rejection of mayoral appointment

Oak Island silent as court records show more details, prompt more questions, about mayor’s son

In proposed agreements with developers, Leland is promising utility service despite having no infrastructure

Locals not allowed: How district attorney is fighting Wilmington crime with civil law

Summertime traffic in the fall? Data shows traffic on the rise in Wilmington following Hurricane Florence

Wilmington trees bloom in a “second spring” post-Florence, but could pay for it next year

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