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Dix campusNow that the legislature’s “crossover” deadline has passed, committees are beginning to schedule bills that have already passed one house. A case in point: the hyper-controversial bill to reverse the Dix Park land deal between the state and the city of Raleigh.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary committee 15 minutes after the House adjourns this Wednesday. Looks like the House isn’t expecting that vague bit of public notice to keep interested people away. The notice says that “This meeting may last up to 2 hours.”

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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, Read More

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Dan BlueThere were many compelling arguments voiced this afternoon by opponents of the Senate bill to renege on the Dix Park contract. One expecially powerful moment, however, occurred at around the 40 minute mark of this video (you can fast-forward to it) in which Senator Dan Blue ticks off a list of just some of the local governments around North Carolina that are currently leasing large tracts of state land for $1 (i.e. $499,999 less than the City of Raleigh would pay annually for the Dix campus).

The include: Alamance County, Avery County, Carteret County, Guilford County, Hyde County, Morehead City and Yadkin County.

Watch Blue’s entire speech by clicking here — it commences at around the 23:30 mark. 

 

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It doesn’t happen often, so relish the chance to say the following: Rick Martinez, the arch-conservative columnist for Raleigh’s News & Observer is right — or, at least , mostly.  

Martinez’ column this morning rightfully takes the General Assembly to task for its absurd meddling in the business of local governments – most notably the ridiculous plans to rig the elections for the Wake County School Board and cancel the Dix Park deal.  

While the column is far from perfect — Martinez slices the baloney too thin and attempts to distiguish between the election rigging plan and the equally absurd effort to give Wake Commissioners control over school facilities and also includes inaccurate digs at the current school board’s policies and the substance of the Dix deal — it’s on the money on the basic premise.

Let’s hope his friends on the far right aren’t too drunk with power to pay attention.