Commentary

NC Policy Watch captures six awards from NC Press Association

NC Policy Watch won six awards this year from the N.C. Press Association for journalism and commentary published in 2016.

The awards included a 1st place award for Rob Schofield in the serious columns category and a 1st place for Billy Ball for his education reporting. Ball also won a 2nd place award for his coverage of school choice and a 3rd place award for news enterprise reporting for his story on new ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton.

NC Policy Watch was also awarded 2nd place for General Excellence for online publications.

In addition, two Policy Watchers won awards for their reporting in previous positions, Ball for his work at Indy Week and Environmental Reporter Lisa Sorg for a story at the Coastal Review Online.

Thanks for reading NC Policy Watch and the Progressive Pulse and stay tuned. There’s plenty more top-notch journalism and commentary to come.

Commentary, Special Session

The startling dishonesty of the power grabbers

One of the most striking things about the unprecedented power grabbing currently underway at the General Assembly is the dishonesty of some of the people leading the offensive effort.

Case in point is House Rules Chair David Lewis, who as we reported this week, started the disaster relief session claiming that House leaders were being as “transparent as they can” when Lewis and other lawmakers had signed a letter two days before calling for another special session for all the power grabbing.

Lewis was simply not telling the truth—and he lied again Thursday defending the proposal to reduce the number of political jobs in state government that serve at the pleasure of the governor from 1,500 to 300.

Lewis and his Republicans colleagues increased the number of political jobs from 500 to 1,500 in 2013 after McCrory took office.   Here is Lewis’ justification for reducing the number now,  as reported by the News & Observer.

We have worked to modernize state government and the high number of exemptions, not used by the current governor, are being restored to a number and level that is consistent with the authority granted to past administrations,” said House Rules Chairman David Lewis, who sponsored the bill.

So slashing the number of political jobs is not a big deal according to Lewis, because McCrory hasn’t used the additional positions.

That is simply not true. The N&O again.

And McCrory has actually used much of his current appointment power, with about 1,400 positions currently designated as exempt from civil service protections.

Got that? Lewis defended his proposal to limit Governor Roy Cooper’s ability to hire his own people by intentionally misstating how many political hires McCrory made.

The offensive last minute special session to thwart the will of the voters is bad enough.  Legislative leaders ought to at least have the guts to own up to what they are doing and why they are doing it—and stop lying about it.

Commentary, Special Session

GOP’s last minute anti-democratic power grab drawing national attention and scorn

The absurd power grab by Republican legislative leaders is not only prompting outrage in North Carolina, folks across the country are paying attention too.  Here is a partial rundown of the national coverage and commentary about the unprecedented attempt to seize power from the governor the people of the state elected.

New York Times: North Carolina G.O.P. Moves to Curb Power of New Democratic Governor

Washington Post: A ‘coup’? A ‘power grab’? There’s some serious political drama in North Carolina right now.

Politico: Cooper threatens to sue over North Carolina GOP ‘power grab’

The Atlantic: North Carolina Republicans Try to Curtail the New Democratic Governor’s Power

CBS News: North Carolina GOP lawmakers seek to curb Roy Cooper’s power

The Week: North Carolina’s GOP legislature moves to strip power from incoming Democratic governor

NPR: N.C. Republicans Move To Limit Powers Of Incoming Democratic Governor

Slate: North Carolina Republicans’ Legislative Coup Is an Attack on Democracy

Talking Points Memo: NC Bill Would Let McCrory’s Political Appointees Remain Under Dem Guv

 

Commentary

McCrory Administration thinks 50 jobs matter but 400 jobs lost because of HB2 don’t

NO-HB2The press office of Gov. Pat McCrory sent out a press release Thursday touting the news that Pepsi was building a new distribution center and creating 50 jobs in the state over the next five years and proclaiming that the announcement “will continue to strengthen North Carolina’s position as one of the fastest growing economies in the nation.”

Any new jobs are welcome in the state of course but the announcement comes just three days after McCrory’s Commerce Secretary John Skvarla bizarrely claimed that the economic damage from McCrory’s HB2 “hadn’t moved the needle one iota” even though the anti-LGBT law has cost the state thousands of jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

Skvarla even brushed off the decision by PayPal last spring to cancel a planned operations center in Charlotte that would have created 400 jobs in the area as a “grain of sand on the beach.”

So if you are keeping score at home, 50 jobs strengthen North Carolina’s economy, but 400 jobs is only a grain of sand.

The day after Skvarla offered his silly HB2 commentary, the real estate research firm CoStar Group announced it was choosing Richmond over Charlotte for a 730-job expansion project because of HB2.

The only sand involved here is where McCrory and Skvarla have buried their heads while the state economy continues to suffer from the discriminatory law McCrory signed and stubbornly continues to defend.