Author

Uncategorized

Here’s a disturbing story today from WNCN  in Eastern North Carolina about a non-profit housing authority based in Laurinburg where administrators are accused of demanding sexual favors from women seeking housing help.

Lawyers from Legal Aid of North Carolina’s fair housing division, who are representing the victims in the case, are asking a federal judge for a temporary restraining order to prevent any retaliation against the women who lodged accusations against Four-County Community Services. The non-profit housing group provides rental help for low-income residents in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Hoke, Pender, Robeson and Scotland counties.

From the story:

The women first brought charges against the Laurinburg-based Four-County Community Services in state superior court in September 2012. They said that from 2011 to 2013, Wesley and Pender demanded sexual favors in exchange for granting the vouchers and conducting favorable home inspections so the women could qualify for the Section 8 housing program.

“A client will go in, apply for benefits, and either John Wesley or Eric Pender — the two individual defendants in the case — will approach them and solicit sexual favors from them with a promise that their benefits will be helped,” [Legal Aid attorney Craig] Hensel explained.

Read the story here, and watch below:

WNCN: News, Weather

Uncategorized

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released a cheerful video this afternoon touting the supposed successes of the state’s new Medicaid billing system that delayed payments for thousands of medical providers for months over the last year.

The nearly 4-minute video produced by state employees includes interviews set to upbeat instrumental music with several providers and DHHS officials talking about how well the complicated Medicaid billing system is working one year after its bungled July 1, 2013 launch.

Much of the system is working now, and providers are getting paid faster than before, DHHS officials say in the video.

YouTube Preview Image

 N.C Tracks replaced the state’s previous 25-year-old Medicaid system and came online despite warnings in a May 2013 performance audit from the state auditor’s office that DHHS hadn’t fully tested the system, left too much up to vendors’ discretion and had no way of knowing ahead of time if the system was ready.

The billing problems have left legislative fiscal research staff without firm budget numbers on the $13 billion program, a major point of contention in the current budget negotiations for Republican state Senate leaders.

Missing from DHHS’ birthday video were some of the choicer statements doctors, lawmakers and others have had about new system and its rollout last year under N.C. DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos.

Here’s a few of the less-than-glowing comments:

  • “NCTracks has made billing go from complex to borderline impossible,” said Sandra Williams, chief financial officer of Cape Fear Valley Health System, at an October legislative hearing.
  • “NCTracks was a disaster, and the State was beyond the point of no return,” lawyers wrote in a lawsuit filed by medical providers in January against the state agency.
  • “We are pretty much in the dark with trying to figure out where we are in the current year,” said Susan Jacobs, a fiscal analyst for the legislature in January about getting budget data from N.C. Tracks.
  • “It’s June 19 and we still don’t have the numbers,” Sen. Tom Apodoca, a Hendersonville Republican, said in a hearing earlier this month about Medicaid budget information, according to the News & Observer. “If push comes to shove, we can always issue subpoenas.”
  • “We are having to manually key claims and do things that before would pay automatically,” Laura Williard of High Point’s Advanced Home Care told WNCN in early June. “At one point, I had 11 temps working for our company to do something that was paid automatically before.”
Uncategorized

A hundred children, including three in North Carolina, were shot and killed in accidental shootings last year, largely in situations where loaded guns had been left unattended and reachable by small children.

The 2013 deaths of children under 14 were tallied through press reports by the gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action and compiled in a report “Innocents Lost” to call attention to preventable child gun deaths.

The report (click here to read) also concluded that two-thirds of the deaths could have been prevented if the guns had been locked and stored away from where children could reach the weapons.

Shooting locations. Source: "Innocents Lost" report from Everytown for Gun Safety

Shooting locations. Source: “Innocents Lost” report from Everytown for Gun Safety

The North Carolina deaths included that of 10-year-old Christopher Stanlane Jr. , who was killed in Fairmont in March 2013 when his father was cleaning a shotgun and it accidentally discharged, instantly killing the boy.

Read More

Uncategorized
State Rep. Paul Stam

State Rep. Paul Stam

State Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, an Apex Republican, rankled his fellow lawmakers and others with comments Tuesday he made on the House floor likening pedophilia and sadism to sexual orientations, as opposed to sexual perversions.

Stam is one of the most socially conservative lawmaker in the legislature, and was a leading proponent of 2012’s Amendment One that further codified a ban in North Carolina on same-sex marriage. He made his comments Tuesday during a debate over whether public charter schools should be banned from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring or admissions.

“Sexual orientation is not defined anywhere. I have here 30 different types of sexual orientation,” Stam said, according to Raleigh television station WRAL. “I thought we should exclude pedophilia, masochism, and sadism, which are sexual orientations.”

He also handed out information(click here and here to read) from an outdated 2000 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) on sexual paraphilias that listed a number of sexual perversions and disorders as well as homosexuality. The American Psychiatric Association in 2013 said it erroneously listed disorders like pedophilia under the sexual orientation classification in the updated DSM-V manual.

Read More

Uncategorized

Judge Ola Lewis; Source, Judgepedia.org

A campaign website for a judge running for the state’s highest judicial seat posted an N.C. Policy Watch reporter’s article without attribution, leaving the false impression the article had been written by the judge.

Judge Ola Lewis, a Brunswick County Superior Court judge running to be the next chief justice at the N.C. Supreme Court, said a member of her campaign staff made a mistake in posting the article without proper attribution.

The Sept. 25 article, “Discretion at the Supreme Court” was written by Sharon McCloskey, N.C. Policy Watch’s courts and law reporter.

The entire text of McCloskey’s article about how cases comes before the state Supreme Court appeared on Lewis’ campaign website under a June 18th entry that stated (falsely) it was written by Lewis.

A click on the link brought up the text of McCloskey’s article, but with no mention that McCloskey – and not Lewis – had authored the piece.

Screen grab of Lewis' campaign website

Screen grab of Lewis’ campaign website

A second article by McCloskey titled “Business as usual at the Supreme Court” also appeared on Lewis’ website without any attribution. That piece (click here) was originally published in June 2013 on N.C. Policy Watch.

Read More