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In case you missed it over the holiday weekend, Raleigh News & Observer columnist Rob Christensen had an excellent column that took state lawmakers to task for five proposals that will adversely impact the quality of North Carolina’s democracy:

  • The proposed demise of SBI independence,
  • The end of publicly-financed judicial campaigns,
  • The proposed expansion of political patronage hiring,
  • Expanded secrecy in personnel grievance proceedings, and
  • Making it harder for average citizens to vote.

As Christensen notes:

“The Republicans came into office as reformers promising a broom to clean up the mess left by the Democrats. As my mom liked to say, the proof is in the pudding.”

He might have added that right now, the pudding is watery and tastes lousy. Read the entire column by clicking here.

The Winston-Salem Journal pulls no punches in this editorial this morning that criticizes legislative plans to dramatically expand Governor McCrory’s ability to use Chicago-style patronage hiring:

A governor, when taking office, deserves the right to put his or her own people in jobs when those jobs are assigned policy-making duties. To deny the governor that power would deny the governor the ability to govern.

But only a small number of state workers make policy. Most state workers don’t; for sure, there aren’t 1,500 state employees who make policy decisions. With the exception of a few hundred policymakers, state employees carry out the policies designed by their superiors. So McCrory only needs 1,500 political patronage jobs if he’s planning to fill state employee ranks with his political cronies.

What makes all this the more offensive and ironic, of course, Read More

Loan sharks…that high-interest loan companies in North Carolina “haven’t had a rate increase in 30 years”  tell him/her that this statement is, in a word, baloney (and feel free to use a stronger word).

#1: Inflation for lenders is accounted for through the issuance of larger and larger loans, not higher and higher interest rates. As with home and car loans, the average finance company loan in North Carolina 30 years ago was much smaller than it is today. It is simply absurd to even imply Read More

Student protest 2It’s beginning to look more and more like this will be a spring and summer of protest and direct action against the ongoing corporate takeover of state government. This week featured multiple demonstrations and 20 arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Raleigh.

Now, organizers are calling for another mass demonstration next Tuesday May 7 at 3:00 pm at the General Assembly. Stay tuned for more details.

Meanwhile, click here for information on how you can contribute to the legal defense fund for the students arrested yesterday. You can read more about the students’ positions and decisions by clicking here.

 

 

 

videopoker2-08Will the new State Board of Elections be a genuine watchdog or a rubber stamp for political powers that be? Today’s initial meeting of the new group appointed by Governor McCrory should provide some interesting signals.

As Mark Binker reported earlier this week at WRAL.com:

“Aside from appointing new leaders, one of the first decisions facing the newly appointed board will be whether to proceed with an investigation into campaign donations from owners of electronic sweepstakes companies. Those companies are pushing for legislation that would legalize the gambling-like games.

Current board members have said they were ready to direct the staff to pursue an investigation of whether top leaders such as McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger received corporate contributions from a sweepstakes software provider. ”

Here is a link to a summary of the complaint filed by Democracy NC about the very troubling sweepstakes issue, which among other things, involves Gov. McCrory’s former employer (a law/lobbying firm) and bundled checks to the Governor’s campaign.

Stay tuned.