The sudden conservative concern for persons with mental illness

One of the most frustrating parts of the General Assembly’s ongoing move to renege on the Dix Park deal has been the out-of-the-blue concern that has materialized from conservatives for persons with mental illness. After working for years to underfund and privatize essential services (often, admittedly, in tandem with shortsighted Democrats), all of a sudden, these folks are desperate to sell off Dix for condos to get money to fund services for persons in need.

Conservative State Rep. Jim Fulghum of Raleigh wrote a letter to Raleigh’s News & Observer over the weekend, however, protesting that he was no Johnny-come-lately to the cause of helping people with mental illness and that he both supported the Dix park and somehow restructuring the lease to help persons with mental illness. Let’s hope he’s sincere.

The problem, of course, is that even sincerity of this kind isn’t gonna’ solve the state’s mental health challenge. As veteran lobbyist Paula Wolf noted in a “letter” to Fulghum on her “Paulatics” blog yesterday, there is a long and sordid history on this subject in North Carolina — a history that can’t be healed by selling off Dix or “restructuring” the lease. Indeed, given our embarrassing history with the “Education Lottery,” you can almost count on the fact that any new money generated would just be used to supplant other funds that would then be re-programmed.

As Paula correctly noted in her letter:

“In my view, the sudden concern for mental health is, indeed, a smokescreen for the constant desire to delegitimate legal actions taken by former Gov. Bev Perdue. As you heard last week, most residents of Wake County refuse to be played. I hope you will, too.”

The bottom line: It’s great that some people in power are talking about the needs of the North Carolinians Dix Hospital once served. Let’s hope they keep it up.  But the notion that anything approaching the real needs in this area can be met merely by selling off Dix or restructuring the lease is just snake oil.  Only a renewed commitment of significant amounts of public, general fund dollars are going to make the kind of difference that people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse problems deserve.


  1. Doug

    April 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

    definitely a reversal of what you would think as typical according to most lamestream news sources. The “noble” liberal side abandoning the mentally ill with the eeeeevilll Republicans standing up for them. But overall, the libs who had been in charge for more than a century had already decimated mental illness treatment in this state and really Dix should have been kept up for the purpose it was designated.

  2. Alex

    April 1, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I think they’re trying to address certain nagging issues in the progressive community.

  3. JeffS

    April 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Doug, once again proving that he doesn’t know what liberalism is.

    Anyway, I’m tired of articles like this. No one in this state who has been paying attention believes that stopping the Dix lease is about helping the mentally ill. Not one person.

    Why does everyone keep analyzing it as if it were an honest position. This is what they do. They hand you a lie to keep you occupied while they’re passing their legislation. You analyze it, talk about it, prove them wrong. No one cares and it changes nothing. The left knows they’re lying. The right knows they’re lying. Their constituency embraces the lie, and anything it takes to “win”. No amount of truth or logic will overcome that.

    Just call them on the lie from day 1. How many people voted to condemn the lease AND to cut the mental health budget last year? THAT is an article worth writing. Create a record of the lies that can be used in the future.

    The proper response, from the democratic legislature would be to craft bills to condemn lands in every district in the state – to be sold for the benefit of the mental health system. Make them vote on that.

    Instead, we let these small county republicans play the hero by taking something way from Raleigh.

  4. Jack

    April 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Correct, neither political party is willing to address the mental health issue in NC other than with lip service.

    What started out in 2001 as the state’s effort to reform mental health services turned into and remains a debacle.

  5. Doug

    April 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Unfortunately for you I know exactly what liberalism is. You can try to skirt it, but I know. It might not be clear to you, or you might be denying it, or accepting what they say on the surface, or it just feels good to you. But I know and have stated it in other posts. The liberal/progressive movement has always been a pseudo-communist, revolutionary movement. You can continue to deny it, but you can look up the history of the leftist type movements and if you look with open eyes it might surprise you what the motives of the people you support really are.

  6. david esmay

    April 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Doug has a list of 100 communist party members, he got it from Ted Cruz, who got it from Allen West, who got it from Tail Gunner Joe. As I have stated in other posts, the GOP is full of delusion, paranoid nonsense.

  7. jlp75

    April 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Here we go with the Communism again. You must be the reincarnation of McCarthy. Perhaps you can run for office so you can bring your witch hunt to fruition. I am sure the GOP would never have any nefarious motives. Just keep voting Republican Doug. You are going to be a billionaire any day now I can feel it. If only Mitt Romney had of won, the government would have gotten off your back so you could spread your wings and rapidly ascended into clouds of gold. Keep dreaming.

  8. Doug

    April 2, 2013 at 9:07 am

    You can make fun of it if you like, I know the GOP has plenty of things wrong with it seeing as how they are really only “democrat lite” and want to expand government in different areas that benefit their interest….but at least closer to areas where it can do some good. I will take the corporate interests over the communists every day, at least they provide jobs and stimulate the general economy wheras socialists have done nothing but destroy societies throughout history.

  9. wncgirl

    April 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    ahh Doug spoken like a true little fascist…. remember patriots of democracy the only thing libertarians stand for is greed above all except self… and whomever’s boots they might be lickin… then need to be controlled is strong in Doug and his ilk

  10. Doug

    April 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Oh, and maybe you guys need to look at all the Alinsky ties with the left.

    wnc….Libertarians are for limited government and individual freedoms…which is a better situation than the unlimited bounds of government and limited to non-existent freedoms you and your socailist ilk prefer. You should look up socailism, Lenin, Alinsky etc to see what you are backing. And before you start throwing facist around…I am a student of that particular movement and it is far from what I would propose. Our government unfortunately is a blend of both…the corporations control the lobbying and real influence while the elected officials give away their little perks to the “needy” to buy votes while taking away the individual freedoms of the middle class. Basically the worst of all worlds.

  11. jlp75

    April 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Doug the point is with the current reign of the NC GOP we are seeing neither limited government nor individual freedoms. They are expanding government at break neck speed and limiting any freedom that doesn’t fit their ideology, as well as intruding on local governments that have been democratically elected by a majority of their citizens. I’m afraid the things you fear the most are being foisted upon us by the very people that you back. And if you want to know what is going to destroy the middle class, look no further than the GOP tax “reform” which will bring the effective rate of the wealthy down to a very miniscule percentage of their overall income, while shifting the burden to those in the middle and lower classes. You see if you would take the time to think about spending habits and simple arithmetic you would realize that the wealthy spend a very small percentage of the income they make and stash the rest while the lower a family’s income the greater percentage they have to spend just to meet basic necessities. Who do you think is going to bear the brunt of this “reform” on an effective tax rate basis? You can throw out all the scary economic philosophies and names you want but these are merely distractions and scare tactics for low information voters. Guess what buddy? You’ve been had. Both parties are controlled by the the wealthy and seek only to remain wealthy and control the rest of us in slightly different ways. Either way limited government and individual freedoms are not on the top of either of their priority lists.

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