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Bonner-BridgeICYMI, be sure to check out the op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by Derb Carter, the Director of the North Carolina office of Southern Environmental Law Center. In it, Carter explains yet again why the longer Bonner Bridge replacement championed by his organization is by far the more responsible option — both in terms of protecting the environment and protecting taxpayers.

As Carter notes, it’s a classic “pay me now or pay me later” scenario: pay upfront for a stable  and lasting bridge that will be sheltered from storms and avoid the fast-eroding part of Hatteras Island or rely on a constantly changing set of patchwork “solutions” that are based upon repeatedly repairing roads and reclaiming land swallowed by the sea.

Isn’t it interesting that yet again, the sober, hard-headed, fiscally responsible solution is being advanced by so-called “liberals” whilst the dreamy-eyed, hope-for-the-best-and-improvise plan is being put forth by so-called “conservatives”?

You can read Carter’s essay by clicking here.

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Anthony TataWhen will the members of the McCrory administration learn? It may be a lot to ask, but at some point, could someone please give these folks a lesson in acting like public servants instead of thin-skinned, right-wing talk show squawkers?

Check out the statement provided by Secretary of Transportation Anthony Tata to Raleigh’s News & Observer regarding the dedicated folks at the Southern Environmental Law Center and their longstanding involvement in the controversy surrounding the replacement for the decaying Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks:

“These ivory tower elitists file these lawsuits from their air-conditioned offices in Chapel Hill. And they do so with their lattes and their contempt, and chuckle while the good people of the Outer Banks are fighting hard to scratch out a living here based on tourism and based on access.”

Wow. Who knew that the Secretary — a man who raked in a cool quarter-million bucks in severance from an underfunded public school system and who, no doubt, gets a public pension as well on top of his $135,000 per year gig at DOT and who resides in a tony, big bucks subdivision in one of North Carolina’s wealthiest cities just down the road from several upscale latte establishments — was such man of the people?

Somewhere,  Spiro Agnew, Joe McCarthy and George Wallace are smiling.

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DACA drivers' licensesYou just knew there had to be a catch when new North Carolina Transportation Secretary Anthony Tata was dragged kicking and screaming to do the right (and undeniably lawful) thing  for immigrants granted the right to stay in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last Friday. It would have just been too easy and humane to actually just give folks their licenses and let it go at that. Somehow, something had to be done to appease the anti-immigrant crowd both within and without state government.

So, here’s the stupid and unnecessary idea Tata’s people have cooked up: funny looking licenses. We are not making this up. In a move that would clearly make Arizona’s crazy immigrant-hating Sheriff Joe “pink-underwear-for-inmates” Arpaio smile, DOT will issue issue drivers’ licenses to the immigrants that will look very different from an average adult’s.  Read More

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From the good folks at the ACLU of North Carolina:

RALEIGH –A young immigrant who meets all requirements for a North Carolina driver’s license but has been denied a learner’s permit while officials reconsider the state’s policy will deliver a petition with more than 22,000 signatures to the office of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory today that urges the governor to support issuing licenses to qualified immigrants who want to drive safely and legally in the state.

More than three weeks after the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office said that young immigrants who qualify under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are “lawfully present” and should be granted driver’s licenses, North Carolina officials have still not announced a decision about the state’s policy. Read More

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Anthony TataHey, we know former Wake schools boss Anthony Tata is both not a lawyer and new in his job as DOT Secretary, but how long does it take to read a three-page letter?

Two weeks ago, the new Transportation secretary said he’d do whatever the law required on the question of issuing driver’s license to young immigrants who’d obtained “deferred action” status under President Obama’s new initiative from last summer. One week ago, the state Attorney General told him what the law says (a fact not really open to dispute) in a three-page letter.  Here’s the conclusion:

“As such, N.C. Gen. Stat. 20-7(s) , which states that DMV shall issue a drivers license of limited duration to persons who present valid documentation demonstrating deferment and meet all other statutory requirements, requires that such license be issued.”

It’s now been a week and Tata is still “reviewing it.” Meanwhile, thousands of good kids suffer for no good reason. Come on, General, decide.