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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.

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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

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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

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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

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Wake County Commissioner and wannabe Congressman, Paul Coble may soon be regretting his move yesterday to push through a resolution in support of the marriage discrimination amendment. Since it passed, a petition/website launched shortly thereafter entitled “Paul Coble Does Not Speak for Us” has been registering signatures at a furious rate of one person every few seconds.

The petition reads:

“On Monday, February 20, Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble forced through a resolution stating that Wake County is in support of Amendment One, even though more than 100 citizens gathered in opposition at the county commissioner meeting. But we, the citizens of North Carolina, stand with ALL North Carolina families. We oppose Amendment One and the harms that it would bring to hundreds of thousands of children, families, unmarried couples, and seniors. We will have our say on May 8.”

Could it be that Coble has turned into the best organizer that the amendment opponents ever had? Kinda’ looks that way.
 
You can see the current number of petition signatories by clicking here.