Kieran ShanahanYou know things are sliding pretty far right when one of the truest, conservative fire-breathers can’t satisfy the people running things at the General Assembly.

As reported here last week and by lots of other news outlets, conservatives at the General Assembly are pushing legislation to seize control of the Wake County Board of Education (along with several other insufficiently compliant local governmental bodies) by reducing the Board’s authority and rigging its electoral districts and election schedule. Indeed, according to conservative school board member John Tedesco, more such proposals are on the way.

Here, however, is one of the more ironic aspects of this whole shameful set of affairs: the Wake County district maps in question — the ones being redrawn again because the Right doesn’t like the board they produced — were drawn by conservative lawyer, long-time Locke Foundation patron and current McCrory administration official, Kieran Shanahan. Read More


Neal HuntEven a lot of people who are sympathetic to the rightward tilt in state public policy in North Carolina of late were shocked and embarrassed by the General Assembly’s recent effort to enact a controversial power-grab bill that would fire dozens of duly-appointed board and commission members. Now, it appears there is a local, Wake County version of this effort in the General Assembly.

As reported by Raleigh’s News & Observer late last night, a 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.

It’s hard to believe that anyone could advance such a blatant power grab with a straight face. Even the Republican chair of the Wake Board of Commissioners expressed some surprise at the sweeping scope of the proposal. Given their record thus far in the 2013 session, however, it appears that neither shame nor embarrassment are conditions that tend to afflict the conservative ideologues running the show on Jones Street.


An editorial in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer does an excellent job of pointing out the latest absurd and petulant behavior of the conservative majority of the Wake County Board of Commissioners in its relationship with the county’s school board.

As the editorial notes, “GOP commissioners went at the school board with the zeal of partisan score settling” with the move to have their friends in the General Assembly seize power from the school board and vest it in them.

The editorial also rightfully characterizes the move to change how school board members are elected as a “doozy.” It notes: Read More


You’d have thought caring and thinking Americans would have learned the lesson once and for all when five conservative justices of the Supreme Court installed George W. Bush as President in 2000. More recently here in North Carolina, the message was delivered loud and clear by House Speaker Thom Tillis when he made plain his plans to “divide and conquer” his political opponents and then went about holding an unannounced legislative session in the middle of the night to punish groups who dared oppose his plans. And in just the last few weeks, a new chapter in the book of brazen, hardball politics was written with the selection of the state’s leading right-wing political spender as our new state budget director.

And still, it always seems to come as a shock each time the win-at-all-costs far right breaches yet another rule of common political decency, respect and courtesy. It’s as if the following thought process occurs over and over in the minds of progressives: 

  1. “Well, at least we’ve got that problem contained. The conservatives will have to work to find common ground now.”
  2. “Did you hear what some reporter said the right-wing is considering? They wouldn’t do that would they?
  3. “Son of a gun! I can’t believe they did that! These people have absolutely no shame.”

The latest installment in this familar pattern occurred yesterday here in Wake County when the right-wing majority of the County Board of Commissioners, Read More


Just weeks after passing a resolution in favor of marriage discrimination, the Wake County Board of Commissioners is back at the business of interfering in state-level matters (and providing a free platform for Commissioner Paul Coble to run for Congress).

NC Policy Watch has learned that the conservative-dominated board will take up a resolution (see below for the text) at its next Meeting (Monday March 19) in support of the voter-suppression bill (House Bill 351) — the proposal to mandate that all North Carolina voters display a government-issued photo ID that was vetoed by Governor Perdue last year. Read More