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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


LEGISLATORS' PLOTTING TO SOW DYSFUNCTION IN GOVERNMENT MUST END: Purposefully creating dysfunctional local boards of elections by making them four member boards (two Republicans and two Democrats). In Wake County, Republicans seeking to depress the vote of young people, oppose a voting site on the N.C. State University campus – where there are always very high turnouts. The local board split 2-2. Now the battle goes to the state board – and perhaps even to the courts. Similar dysfunction has infected election boards in Orange, Guilford and Forsyth counties.Shouldn’t legislators be working toward building systems that can develop consensus, resolve differences and make decisions? Shouldn’t board of elections be working on ways to make it as easy as possible to get the most citizens to vote? Apparently not in North Carolina.

Saturday News: Systematic destruction


ENROLLMENT IN TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAS DROPPED TO 80% DUE TO PRIVATIZATION CRUSADE: Enrollment in the state’s traditional public schools has fallen each year since the 2014-15 school year, dropping by 14,293 students in that time period. At the same time, charter schools added 31,199 students. Newly released state figures show that during that same three-year period, enrollment in homeschools went up by 28,896 students and private schools gained 4,516 students. Private school enrollment had been on the decline before the voucher program was created. The enrollment disparity was particularly sharp during the 2017-18 school year, when traditional public schools lost 6,011 students from the prior year even as charter schools, homeschools and private schools combined added 18,093 students.

Friday News: Patriarchy fail

NC GOP LITERALLY GOES INTO BEDROOM OF JENNIFER MANGRUM TO BLOCK HER CANDIDACY: Democratic member Stella Anderson said the lower panel was preoccupied with Mangrum's personal life, raising questions a male candidate wouldn't face. "The concern [was] with whether or not she was legally separated, whether she was going to reconcile, going back to Greensboro to spend time with her daughter, her motives," Anderson said. Mangrum said she was sorry the vote wasn't unanimous. "The challenger walked through my home, pretending to be someone else," she said of Cushman. "People are tired of this – I call it creepy, this creepy political game. After the first appeal, he said to me, 'Nothing personal.' It is personal." Lawyers for Cushman didn't say whether they plan to appeal the state board's ruling in court.

Thursday News: Shifting the burden


COUNTY EDUCATION BUDGETS SUFFERING FROM GOP STATE-LEVEL TAX CUTS: The school board has to cut its budget after the Wake County Board of Commissioners provided only $45 million of the extra $59 million district officials requested to fund schools in 2018-19. The cuts mean fewer support teachers, fewer school counselors, a negligible local raise for teachers and even higher costs for student parking. But board member Bill Fletcher said Wednesday that the cuts don't have to be that deep. For years, he said, lawmakers have been shifting costs the state should be covering to the counties. "If the Republicans are going to say, 'We're going to reduce taxes at the state because that's a good thing to do,' but we're going to require the counties to increase taxes to pay for it, that's not right," said Fletcher, who's a registered Republican.

Wednesday News: Deadlocked


REPUBLICAN MEDDLING WITH BOARDS OF ELECTION RESULTS IN SPLIT VOTES: The State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement will have to set early voting plans for Wake and Orange counties after local elections boards deadlocked over details Tuesday. In Wake County, the two Democrats on the board wanted a voting site on the North Carolina State University campus. The two Republican members didn't. Weekend voting hours were the sticking point in Orange County. Wake County's board spent three hours on the issue Tuesday between public comment, board debate and recesses. In the end, Democrats insisted on the N.C. State site at the Talley Student Union, and Republicans were opposed, citing poor parking and the fact that the plan had two other sites inside the Interstate 440 Beltline.

Tuesday News: The next logical step

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NC TEACHERS FORMING CONGRESS WHICH MAY LEAD TO WALKOUTS: Red4EdNC is asking educators to sign its "Declaration in Defense of North Carolina's Public Schoolchildren," which lists grievances with state legislators such as inadequate school funding. The teachers advocacy group says the declaration will lead to the formation of a "Teachers Congress" that will develop "collective actions" that will be used by teachers if legislators don't agree to their demands. Angie Scioli, founder of Red4EdNC, said the Teachers Congress will look at what's happened in other states, such as Arizona, Kentucky and West Virginia, where teachers used strikes and walkouts to press for changes. She said all options would be on the table. "We’re the teachers on the front lines and in the classrooms. You can fool a lot of people on the degree to which public education is being supported to people who aren’t in classrooms every day, but we are teachers and we know."

Monday News: The other campaign fund


NC REPUBLICANS SLING PORK TO FEED AT-RISK LEGISLATORS: In the state budget this year, legislators handed out millions of dollars in grants to towns, individual schools, county fairs, local libraries, little museums, nonprofit groups, and for-profit companies. These grants are called “member money” in the halls of the legislature. They're also known as pork. Sen. Dan Blue of Raleigh, the Senate's Democratic leader, said budget pork is meant to help Republican legislators vulnerable in the 2018 election. Pork projects "go excessively in areas where their incumbents are at risk," he said. The marquee example of helping endangered Republicans was the $200,000 aimed at 35 schools in Sen. Jeff Tarte's Mecklenburg County district. The money was to be funneled through the charity DonorsChoose, but the earmark was erased after the group said accepting the money would violate its principles.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


LEGISLATORS RUDENESS TO COOPER NOMINEES IS ALSO AN INSULT TO VOTERS: The North Carolina General Assembly is infected with a culture of secrecy, special-interest backroom deals and a disrespectful lack of transparency and candor with the state’s citizens. The blame rests squarely with Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore. They need to cease and desist. Lest anyone doubt it, look no further than the handling of Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominees for the State Board of Education, the state Industrial Commission and a state Superior Court special judgeship. All were eminently qualified. None had a hint of any concerns in their background that would have made them unfit for service. Senate President Phil Berger, following the session told reporters simply: "We're supposed to be more than a rubber stamp." The reality is that without any discussion, that’s what Berger, Moore and the rest of the majority in the General Assembly amount to –simply thoughtless and reflexive.

Saturday News: Act your age


NC GOP CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CHASTISED BY JUDGE OVER POOR PARENTING: Steve Von Loor, the Republican nominee challenging Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price, claimed that A.J. Robey was harassing him and making him afraid for his safety. He claims Robey has a collection of "assault knives" and has thrown rocks at his car. Meanwhile, Robey claimed the opposite was true, accusing Von Loor of threatening behavior toward Maria Robey, who divorced Von Loor in 2010. He wanted a court order to keep Von Loor away from his home. Wake County District Judge Dan Nagle threw out both claims, saying they didn't rise to the level of severity the law requires for protective orders. He also gave both men, who have engaged in an acrimonious back-and-forth on social media in recent weeks, and their wives a lecture about their parenting skills, telling them to start acting like adults. "Custody and visitation should be about the children, but now it's turned into something else, and it's having a bad effect on the children," Nagle said.

Friday News: Barefoot and pregnant

GOP CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE MARK HARRIS SAY WOMEN SHOULDN'T TRY TO BE INDEPENDENT: Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris, a former Baptist pastor, once delivered a sermon questioning whether a career was the "healthiest pursuit" for women. n the sermon, Harris, then pastor of Charlotte's First Baptist Church, spoke about "God's plan for biblical womanhood" and barriers to it. "In our culture today, girls are taught from grade school . . . that what is most honorable in life is a career, and their ultimate goal in life is simply to be able to grow up and be independent of anyone or anything," he said. "But nobody has seemed to ask the question that I think is critically important to ask: Is that a healthy pursuit for society? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our homes? . . . Is that the healthiest pursuit for the sexes in our generation?"


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