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


Be sure to check out this morning’s edition of At the schoolhouse door from Chris Hill at the NC Justice Center’s Education and Law Project in which he uses the recent scandal surrounding a Wake County school board member as a starting point to discuss an even more troubling education scandal.

“While the story about Goldman is salacious, nothing is more scandalous than what North Carolina students face after its last rounds of state budget cuts.” 

Click here to read the entire post..


Notwithstanding the scandal swirling around a couple of its board members, it appears that the Wake County school board made some incremental and welcome progress last night in its ongoing effort to bring a reasoned, balanced and sustainable approach to the ultra-challenging subject of school assignments. The board took action to return to an adjusted version of its 2011-12 assignment plan in order to minimize the amount of disruption that will occur for students, families and schools as it works toward a comprehensive plan for the 2014-15 school year.

Good for the board.

Meanwhile, however, at least one school board member continued to publicly champion the flawed and divisive approach advanced by the right-wing majority ousted in the 2011 election.  Read More