The week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Logo for NC Policy Watch series 1. Hopeful signs for the path forward
Trump lights a fire under the American progressive movement; you can keep up and help

Well, this is it. The week that a sizable majority of Americans have been dreading is here and, come Friday at high noon, a morally bankrupt and utterly unqualified snake oil salesman will occupy the office of Washington, Lincoln, the Roosevelts and Obama.

Add the hard truth that this character has been and will be abetted in his contemptible mission by an unholy confederation of reactionary plutocrats, hypocritical preachers and conservative politicians willing to turn a blind eye to treacherous acts of a hostile foreign dictator (and that the President-elect is empaneling a coterie of advisors and cabinet officials that resembles nothing so much as a Third World junta), and it’s enough to make a caring and thinking person fear for the republic. [Read more…]

***Bonus reads:

2.  Wake County urged to remove school police officers following violent ordeal with teen

Ramiyah Robinson bristles at the idea that this—the shocking video of a violent altercation between a school resource officer and a teenage girl at Wake County’s Rolesville High School—is an “isolated incident.”

“It’s not something new,” says Robinson, a senior at Southeast Raleigh High. “It happens all the time. Just because this time was documented, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.”

Robinson was one of a handful of rain-soaked protesters convening a small press conference at Wake County Public School System’s (WCPSS) Cary office Tuesday, demanding, among other reforms, that school leaders yank all police officers from the county’s schools. [Read more…]

3. Real lives at stake in the chaos in Washington

Never mind the bullying tweets that unnerve allied nations and reverberate through financial markets.

Put aside for moment the disturbing confirmation hearings that have revealed not only ethical conflicts of nominees, but people who either don’t understand the issues handled by the agency they will lead or have expressed open hostility toward the fundamental mission of the jobs they have been nominated to fill.

And for a moment try not to think about even the fact that every part of the U.S. intelligence infrastructure believes a foreign government interfered with the 2016 election to help one candidate win.

All those things are jaw dropping enough and deserve a lot more attention than they are getting.[Read more…]

4. The toxics in the water at Camp Lejeune can be found throughout North Carolina

There have been at least six major wars and nine smaller U.S. invasions since the drinking water became contaminated at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville. Yet the cancer-causing contaminants are not limited to the military base. Benzene, which comes from petroleum and chemical industries; TCE, known as trichloroethylene, a metal degreaser; and PCE, short for perchloroethylene, a dry cleaning agent, have all been found at various concentrations in private drinking water wells throughout the state.

From 2000-2010, some drinking water wells in at least half the counties in North Carolina contain low levels of benzene, according to the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. However, there is no federal safe level of benzene in drinking water, only a the EPA’s “enforceable regulation” of 5 parts per billion. (States can enforce more stringent standards; North Carolina’s is the same as the EPA’s.) And there are wells in Edgecombe County that have tested twice that federal safe drinking water standard.[Read more…]

Margaret Spellings5. Just when conservatives thought the fallout from HB2 couldn’t get any worse…

At some point, you’ve got to think that Phil Berger, Tim Moore and their fellow conservative authors of HB2 will be saying to themselves, “What in the heck have we done and why? No matter how much the religious right fawns over us, this simply has not been worth it.”

Let’s hope both men moved another few inches closer to that moment yesterday when their own handpicked President of the University of North Carolina — an official who has her own history of dunder-headed stances toward LGBT equality — once again weighed in to remind them, politely but forcefully, of the need to repeal their discriminatory law.

In case you missed it, UNC boss Margaret Spellings told Emery Dalesio of the Associated Press that HB2 is driving away smart people who would have otherwise come to work for UNC. [Read more…]


Not headed to DC? Women’s Marches abound across North Carolina this weekend

No doubt the largest demonstration surrounding the Trump inauguration this weekend will be in our nation’s capital, but thousands of women will be gathering across our state to lead what organizers are describing as “a loving, beautiful and creative resistance to the backwards policies proposed by the incoming administration.”

Here’s a listing of some of Saturday’s events:

In Raleigh:

10:00 AM: Meet at City Plaza on Fayetteville Street (In Front of the Marriott)


10:30 AM:  March Step off
11:30 AM: Rally at Moore Square

The theme for the march is “Women Mobilize NC.”  Reverend Michelle Laws of the NAACP is a confirmed speaker as well as MaryBe McMillan of the NC AFL-CIO and Sarah Preston of Lillian’s List.

Learn more at:

In Greensboro:

The Triad NC Women’s March begins at 10:00 a.m. at Governmental Plaza on Washington Street and ends at LeBauer park in Greensboro, NC.

From the event listing: We see this March, not as a protest but as our being PROactive: FOR rights for all people including all races, religions, sexual identities, the differently abled, the mentally ill; FOR superior public education; FOR equal pay for equal work; FOR paying a living wage; FOR health care for all; FOR Black Lives Matter; FOR women’s health including choice; FOR fair and equitable immigration reform; FOR voting rights; FOR reform of the justice system.

Learn more:

In Charlotte:

Route for Charlotte march.

The Women’s March on Charlotte will be held Saturday starting at 10:00 a.m.  The route will begin at First Ward Park in uptown Charlotte and conclude at Romare Bearden Park. Organizers say up to 5000 participants are expected to attend.

Learn more at:

In Asheville:

The Women’s March on Asheville begins with a host of speaker at 11:00 AM at the Pack Square / Vance Monument. Speakers include: State Senator Terry Van Duyn, Mayor Esther Manheimer, and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

Learn more at:

In Wilmington:

The Wilmington Women’s March runs from 10:00 AM to noon initiated from Wilmington City Hall. Organizers note this isn’t a protest. It’s a rally and a demonstration of unity and solidarity.

Learn more at:


AG Josh Stein on North Carolina’s opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform and legislative lawsuits (audio)

North Carolina’s new Attorney General Josh Stein was gracious enough to join Policy Watch in studio over the weekend to discuss criminal justice reform, the repeal of HB2, and how to combat the state’s opioid epidemic.  If you missed Stein’s radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon on Sunday, make time to listen to the podcast below:

News, Trump Administration

Reps. Butterfield, Adams to skip Trump’s inauguration, Price will attend

The three Democratic members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation are divided on their plans to attend Donald Trump’s Inauguration.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) issued three tweets Tuesday spelling out his decision not to be in the audience:

Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) bowed out of Friday’s big event this way:

Congressman David Price (NC-04) took Trump to task in his own release, but explained his decision to attend the inauguration of America’s 45th president.

“I will attend the Inauguration on January 20 with pride — pride in our country and the values we must uphold, pride in the rule of law — and determined to make certain that no one, including our president, places himself above the law.

“This is not about Donald Trump. Like many of my colleagues, I am appalled by Donald Trump — his evident disregard for democratic values and his willingness to stoke bigotry and the politics of hatred and exclusion. Grave questions about how he got elected and his ties to a foreign power are currently under investigation. I have serious doubts about his intention or willingness to govern within the bounds of our laws and Constitution, and I anticipate that Congress may well need to carry out our constitutional duty to call him to account. That is my main reason for affirming democracy and the rule of law on Friday.”

The Washington Post reports that nearly 60 Democratic lawmakers will skip the Trump inauguration.