SCUTTLEBUTT: Developments across the Triad and beyond

by YES! Staff

Republican damage control

The day after Democrat Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States, the NC Republican Party honored his achievement and started picking up the pieces. State Republican Chairwoman Linda Daves said in a prepared statement that “we must all acknowledge the accomplishment of Barack Obama. From the time of our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, to the election of Barack Obama to the highest office in the nation, the face of our country has truly changed.” Daves also credited Obama with running “a tough and disciplined campaign.” Two days later, Daves was working on damage control for her national party by denouncing “cowardly unsigned statements and whisper campaigns” aimed at pinning “this loss on the choice of Sarah Palin as a vicepresidential nominee.” Daves described Palin “as a strong and capable leader in touch with regular people across America.” Daves said that anonymous McCain campaign staffers “trying to disparage [Palin] to save their own political careers should be ashamed.” — JG

Election system a winner

Bitter partisan mudslinging and negative advertising may have tainted the Nov. 4 election for some, but North Carolina’s election system came out a big winner after all the ballots were counted. So said Joyce McCloy, director of NC Verified Voting, late election night when she declared, “North Carolina’s election system has been tested and proven with the strains of a record election.” McCloy credited “dedicated state and county election officials, the thousands of volunteer poll workers” and a “paper ballot law passed in 2005.” Describing the Public Confidence in Elections law passed three years ago, McCloy wrote, “Voting vendors wishing to do business with our state had to be willing to post a statewide bond to protect our elections from any failures caused by their machines, the vendor CEO would have to sign a sworn affidavit that their company would not install illegal software on our machines, and they would have to report any new problems with their machines to the state.” — JG

Greensboro civic leaders aim to have impact

The Greensboro Human Relations Commission and two private organizations launched an exercise called Impact Greensboro in January to address the city’s infamous social capital deficit. On Tuesday, the program’s 98 so-called “change agents” were scheduled to present their findings on four categories, including economics, race, public safety and

neighborhoods at the Bryan Park Golf and Conference Center outside of Greensboro. — JG

Yadkin Bank revenue drops 54 percent

Yadkin Valley Financial Corp., the parent company of Yadkin Valley Bank and Trust in Elkin, reported net income of $1.8 million in the third quarter, a drop from $3.9 million one year ago. President and CEO Bill Long said in a Nov. 7 press release that the bank’s quarterly profits were affected by a $972,800 charge for investments in preferred shares of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Co., or Freddie Mac, which lost most of its value after a federal bailout in early September. The company also restated its financial results for the second quarter of this year. Due to a clerical error, net income was reported as $2.1 million rather than the correct amount, $1.7 million, the company said. Yadkin Valley’s nonperforming loans rose from 0.43 percent of total loans in the second quarter to 0.83 percent in the third quarter, but Long said most of the increase was related to one commercial loan worth about $3.8 million, to a construction industry customer. That customer is continuing to pay on the loan, Long said, but the credit has been moved to nonaccrual status because of the economic conditions of the industry. — KB

Wachovia call center reports upswing in volume

On Nov. 3, Wachovia Retirement Services announced it would temporarily extend customer service call center hours following an almost 30 percent increase in call volume from a year ago. Participants have been calling to rebalance portfolios to more conservative fund options, and in some cases to seek a distribution, a loan or change in savings rate, according to a company press release. “These are extraordinary times for the individual investor, and we want to be more available so we can help them through their thought process as they take steps to adjust to market volatility,” said Joe Ready, head of Wachovia Retirement Services. Wachovia Retirement Services administers over 6,700 retirement plans, manages $100.9 billion assets under administration and serves 2.2 million pensioners. Last month, Wachovia’s board of directors agreed to sell the bank’s assets to Wells Fargo after the San Francisco bank agreed to acquire Wachovia for $15.1 billion in stock. — KB