Stroman On Sports: Stadiums, Safety, And Paris

In the wake of the Paris attacks, what additional steps should we take – if any – to guarantee security in the public square?

We’ve all heard the famous Ben Franklin quotation: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Reality, of course, isn’t quite so simple: individual liberty actually depends in part on society’s ability to guarantee security – they’re not opposites – and we know that we have to accept some rules and regulations for security purposes. (Ben Franklin, for the record, knew better: that quotation has been lifted out of context.)

But we also don’t want a police state: a free society needs to allow individuals a wide berth to think, speak, and act for themselves, even if that comes at the expense of “a little temporary Safety.”

Where is the line? How much regulation is necessary to be sufficient? How much is too much? Public venues face these questions all the time – and the issue is particularly salient now for stadiums and other sports arenas, since the Stade de France was one of the primary targets of the Paris terrorists.

Deborah Stroman is a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and an expert on analytics and the business of sport. She discussed these issues on Monday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.

AARP: Poll Shows Retirement Security Fears

AARP North Carolina reports a new election year poll revealing that voters 50 years and older who participate in November elections worry that a secure retirement could be out of reach for them.

According to the survey, voters 50+ worry the most about paying too much in taxes (60%); costs rising faster than incomes (55%); health expenses (49%); not having enough to pay for care for a spouse who needs daily assistance (44%); and not having financial security in retirement (44%).

50+ voters say they want to see candidates whose platforms include focusing on their financial security, according to the survey.

One component of the survey is the “Anxiety Index,” which indicates this year that older voters, particularly those who are not retired yet, feel anxious about their economic security.

The survey also revealed that 79% of non-retirees, most of whom are boomers, think that it will be hard to save for retirement. 52% of this pool say that they have postponed or are planning to postpone retirement.

The majority of older voters surveyed say they hold Social Security as a top priority, with 81% saying that it will influence their voting decision this year.
76% of older voters oppose candidates who would support cuts in Social Security to reduce the deficit, and 78% think that candidates need to elaborate more on their positions regarding Social Security reform.

77% of Social Security Beneficiaries say that their expenses are rising faster than their Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA).

Another key issue highlighted in the survey is the matter of independent living. The majority of survey participants want to live independently as they age and see this issue as a critical one, with 76% saying that candidates need to do more to explain their position on this issue.

77% of the 50+ voters who participated want to receive care in their homes rather than costly nursing homes when tasks become too difficult due to age or illness.

56% of voters 50+ have been or are caregivers. 25% say they expect to be caregivers in the future.

On the topic of age discrimination, an overwhelming majority of voters (81%) support he Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, which is designed to help older workers by restoring workplace protections under the law.

To view the complete results of the survey, you can find this story on our website,

Police And Fire Officials Seek To Silence False Alarms

CHAPEL HILL- Police officers and fire fighters have to respond to each and every security alarm in Chapel Hill, but the town’s high rate of false alarms costs the departments and taxpayers nearly $200,000 each year.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue told the Town Council on Monday that in just the past two months alone, more than 95 percent of the alarm calls his department has responded to have been accidental.

“Just between July 9 and September 4 of this year, the police department was dispatched to 567 total alarms. Only 25 of those turned out to be legitimate activations, so you can see the numbers speak for themselves there.”

Depending on the type of alarm, the standard response usually involves two police officers or as many as 10 firefighters, fully one half of the available fire personnel on duty at any given time. Each false alarm call typically takes about 20 minutes to resolve.

Blue said prior efforts to reduce the number of false alarms have not been successful.

“For a number of years we’ve talked to the business community and neighborhood groups about the issue and about our interest in reducing those accidental false alarms,” said Blue. “And I think the community gets it, but we have not been successful in reducing the numbers.”

Instead, Blue is proposing a graduated fee system for business or home owners whose security systems repeatedly trigger false alarms.

The interest there is not to generate revenue, although there is an interest in at least recovering some of our costs,” said Blue. “But we do know that other communities, when they have instituted a fee structure, have seen that as a more effective way to reduce activations than just sharing the problem with the community and appealing to them for their help.”

Chapel Hill Fire Chief Dan Jones told the council this fee would apply to calls from UNC campus, as those account for a significant number of false alarms.

“We do respond to the university and it’s a very high percentage,” said Jones. “The university is about 30 to 34 percent of our workload, and our false alarm rate is about 30 percent of that call volume.”

The exact  fee system has yet to be determined, but Blue and Jones will return to the council with a proposal next month. The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance on October 28.

New Security Measures Set at Panthers’ Stadium

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – New security measures await fans entering Bank of American Stadium to watch the Carolina Panthers in their preseason opener.

The Charlotte Observer reports that when fans show up for Friday night’s game, they’ll encounter new policies put in effect in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon last April. The new rules are designed to protect fans and speed up security lines.

Under the new rules, only clear plastic or clear vinyl bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches will be allowed. Sealable plastic bags are OK, as are foam seat pads without zippers, clasps or compartments.

NFL Chief Security Officer Jeffrey Miller said fans regularly asked him to speed up the security process and the new policy should do that.