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Neal HuntAs reported previously here and here, one of the 2013 legislative session’s leading contenders for “Most Shameless Power-Grab Legislation” has to be the proposal by conservative Wake County senators to rig the districts and election schedule for the Wake County School Board.

As we noted last month:  ”[the] new bill from Senator Neal Hunt (pictured at left) would change the rules of how school board members are elected in the capital county in a way that is clearly designed to alter the board’s power structure and move things in a conservative direction.” The bill would, in addition to redrawing district lines, extend the terms of conservative members John Tedesco and Deborah Prickett from four years to five.

Now, there’s news this morning that Hunt is still serious about advancing this offensive legislation; the measure has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Redistricting Committee tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon in Room 544 of the Legislative Office Building.  

 

Today is the last day to register for tomorrow’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation with former Federal Communications Commission chairman, Dr. Michael Copps:  ”Big money, dark money: The threat posed to our democracy by media consolidation and secretly-funded elections.”   

The event is co-sponsored by Common Cause of North Carolina and will take place at 12 noon at the Junior League of Raleigh building. The cost is just $10 and features a box lunch that will be available at 11:45.

Hope to see you there!

Click here to register and get for more details.

Big money, dark money: The threat posed to our democracy by media consolidation and secretly-funded elections

Featuring the former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Dr. Michael Copps.

Co-sponsored by Common Cause North Carolina.

Few developments in modern America pose a greater threat to the health of our democracy than the rapid consolidation of media corporations and the equally speedy demise of voter-funded elections. Increasingly, control of both our telecommunications infrastructure and our political campaigns rest in the hands of a comparatively tiny (and sometimes-overlapping) group of super-wealthy individuals and corporations.

For decades, Michael Copps has been battling these destructive trends and advancing common sense solutions – first as a longtime staff person in the U.S. Senate, then as Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and, from 2001 to 2009, as one of five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission.

Don’t miss this important opportunity to hear from this incredibly knowledgeable voice of reason on these critically important subjects.

Click here to register Read More

A couple of powerful stories at The Nation deserve your attention this morning.

In the first, Rick Perlstein examines a 1981 recorded interview with the late Lee Atwater (now released publicly for the first time as part of the article) in which the old conservative henchman for the Reagan-Bush administrations explained the evolution of white southern racism in some rather disturbing terms. The conclusion: Atwater’s clumsy and offensive attempts to deny the persistence of racism only confirmed its still-powerful grip on white southerners.

In the second, Ari Berman explains the folly of the Supreme Court’s current flirtation (explained here by Sharon McCloskey earlier this morning) with doing away with section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — a law reauthorized by Congress by overwhelming margins just six years ago.  To quote:

“Indeed, only a Supreme Court wholly divorced from reality would review the record on voting rights since Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and conclude that a key pillar of the law was no longer needed.”

 

From the good people at Democracy North Carolina:

Operators of the national Election Protection hotline — (866-OUR-VOTE) ; Spanish, 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682); Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai, 1-888-API-VOTE (1-888-274-8683) — say they received over 600 calls fromNorth Carolina voters during the Early Voting period on a wide range of issues, including discriminatory treatment of curbside voters, confusion over ID requirements, illegal electioneering at the polls, broken machines, and false information about voting by phone.

“We could feel the emotional intensity of this election as we answered these calls,” said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, a nonpartisan election watchdog organization that operated the hotline call center during the Early Voting period. “People were anxious to vote and suspicious of perceived barriers. There were many cases where we helped voters overcome problems in order to vote, including mistakes by poll workers that higher level officials eventually fixed.” Read More