Tuesday News: Dang Liberal reporters edition


IS PAT MCCRORY NATION'S MOST VULNERABLE GOVERNOR? (Charlotte Business Journal) -- As a first-term Republican governor in North Carolina, Pat McCrory has faced plenty of opposition — a point he's noted himself on occasion. It should be welcome news for the former Charlotte mayor, then, that a new analysis by Politico determined that defeating an incumbent governor remains a notably difficult task across the nation. However, McCrory is more vulnerable than most, according to the publication.

Art Pope and the disenfranchisement of young black voters

Another historically black college loses its voting site:

We’re disappointed in the poor reasoning behind eliminating Anderson Center at Winston-Salem State University as an early voting site. We hope the state elections board will overturn the heavy-handed decision to eliminate it.

The Forsyth County Board of Elections was split over including the site for the March 15 primary election during its meeting last week, the Journal’s Wesley Young reported. The two Republicans on the board, Chairman Ken Raymond and Stuart Russell, were against the inclusion, while Fleming El-Amin, the Democrat on the board, pushed for its inclusion.

Don't hold your breath. The state board doesn't make a habit of overturning these decisions, no matter how nonsensical or nakedly partisan they are. Especially considering the Pope of Discount Village is likely watching closely to make sure his wishes are fulfilled:

Monday News: Send him home edition


PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES MAY HOLD KEY IN SENATE RACES (New York Times) -- In 2014, Democrats had to defend most of the seats up for election, more than a few in unfriendly territory. That year, Republicans took back control of the chamber, picking up nine seats. Democrats are counting on a similar scenario unfolding to their advantage next year: Republicans currently have a 54-46 advantage, but of the 34 seats up in 2016, only 10 are held by Democrats. Democrats are favored to topple Republican incumbents in two states, Illinois and Wisconsin. Both sides suffered recruiting failures. The Democrats haven’t found a good candidate in North Carolina, while Republicans, so far, have struck out in Colorado and Washington.

On urban revitalization and those pesky homeless

Your destitution is depressing my profit margin:

Middlesworth and some neighboring business owners want the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and nearby Urban Ministry Center to relocate to boost a burgeoning plan to transform North Tryon into Charlotte’s next boom corridor. They argue that the hundreds of homeless individuals who sleep at the shelter and frequent the Urban Ministry for meals and services would discourage development and scare off customers.

Okay, this is an incredibly complex issue and I will try not to oversimplify. But there are many factors that come into play when locating homeless shelters; from access to government offices/services to availability of faith-based (church) substance abuse meetings, as well as a nexus of public transportation options. The farther you move away from city centers, the more difficult it is to both deliver those services and access them. As to Middlesworth's "solution" to the problem:

Sunday News: Carolina throwback edition


HOUSEHOLD INCOME DECLINES IN N.C. AFTER RECESSION’S END (Charlotte Observer) -- The recession ended in 2009. But for most people in North Carolina, household income continued to tumble after that turbulent time, an analysis of new census data shows. Statewide, North Carolina’s median household income declined by 6.1 percent, to $46,693.

NORTH CAROLINA'S JOB GROWTH DOESN'T MEAN PROSPERITY, STABILITY OR RECOVERY (Greensboro News & Record) -- The state's economic picture looks improving on paper, but job growth isn't pushing tax revenue, stabilty.

McCrory doing something right for a change

Cracking down on employee misclassification:

Gov. Pat McCrory took surprise action on Dec. 18 by signing an executive order to target one persistent business practice that experts said is putting a drag on the economy: worker “misclassification” fraud, which illegally takes a company’s workers off the books and calls them independent contractors.

McCrory’s action was stimulated, in part, by a series of articles published in September 2014 by The News & Observer of Raleigh and The Charlotte Observer titled “Contract to Cheat,” which revealed that the state loses $467 million a year in lost tax payments from the construction industry alone, while workers are not protected by workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits.

Not unlike that Martin Shkreli situation, who was just fine ripping off AIDs patients but got locked up for ripping off the wealthy. In this case, the misclassification thing didn't become a problem until McCrory realized the lost government revenues might jeopardize the GOP's tax cuts for the wealthy. Whatever the motivations, it's a growing problem that needs to be fixed, so have at it.

The newest attack on public schools: Achievement School Districts

A special invitation for failure:

An evaluation of those Tennessee schools Vanderbilt University researchers published in December said results were inconsistent and performance, measured by test scores, was about the same as other low-performing schools. The schools are in different cities but are all part of an Achievement School District run by a single superintendent.

But state Rep. Rob Bryan, a Charlotte Republican, who worked this year to get an Achievement School District established in North Carolina, said he was encouraged by information published by the Tennessee district itself that showed high student growth in schools that were in the program for more than a year.

Yeah, nevermind what Vanderbilt says, let's focus on how the privately-managed district describes itself. Those who have been following the school privatization issue are well aware of Rob Bryan's preference for faulty research that supports his views on gutting public schools, but what we really need are a few Legislators to face off with him in the next session to stop this movement. And somebody needs to state the obvious: Republicans frequently bash DPI, because trying to run school districts from a couple hundred miles away is "foolish and counterproductive." But that's exactly what this Achievement School District boondoggle is all about: Putting schools from various cities under one (private-sector) umbrella. The wheels on this snake-oil wagon need to be knocked off the axle before it's too late.

Saturday News: Red Christmas edition


POLICE INVESTIGATE FATAL CHRISTMAS EVE SHOOTING (Jacksonville Daily News) -- One man dead, another hurt, in shooting at Holiday City Mobile Home Park

AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATING CHRISTMAS SHOOTING IN CHAPEL HILL (TWCN-TV) -- Authorities are investigating a shooting that occurred on Christmas evening in Chapel Hill.

The spy who came in from the lucrative government contract

Rules, regulations and the expectation of privacy are for losers:

The News & Observer’s Joe Neff reported Sunday that an employee of the Keith Corp., which has contracts to handle prison maintenance at several state facilities, used a spy pen to record a meeting he had with the prison superintendent at Maury Correctional Institution in Goldsboro. It seems the employee, Andrew Foster, who was the top Keith employee at Maury, thought the superintendent, Dennis Daniels, had not treated him fairly.

He saw to it that the video of the meeting was sent to two Keith Corp. supervisors in Charlotte. One of those supervisors watched it and then told investigators he instructed Foster not to do it again. A state employee later found the spy pen on an office desk.

Get that? They knew Foster violated a serious rule at the institution, but Keith Corp neither fired this employee nor reassigned him. And we only have their word he was even admonished to "not do it again." Had this been a state employee, he would no longer be a drawing a paycheck from taxpayers.


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