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Tuesday News: GOP mismanagement

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REPORT DETAILS LACK OF FUNDING FOR EDUCATION OVER LAST DECADE: But WestEd says that when adjusted to 2018 dollars, per-pupil spending in North Carolina has declined about 6% since 2009–10. The report also says that, based on 2017 dollars, average salaries for the state’s teachers that year were lower than compared to 2003 or 2009. This level of education funding, according to the report, has led to problems such as fewer teachers employed, “stagnating salaries” and “underfunded” high-poverty schools. “They try to address it, but unfortunately, funding is not there — that’s what we are told,” an unnamed middle school teacher says in the report. “For instance … we don’t have textbooks, we need to make copies of reading selections to teach those kids. We only get, like, 1,500 copies per nine weeks. … [W]e [use] our own money, we have to buy cartridges for our printers to print this.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article238868598.html

Monday News: Shrink that carbon footprint

GOTRIANGLE PUTS TWO MORE ELECTRIC BUSES INTO SERVICE: The Triangle’s fledgling fleet of electric buses will get bigger this winter, and you’ll get a chance to see the newest buses on Tuesday. GoTriangle will unveil its first two electric buses in the plaza outside Raleigh Union Station, at the corner of West and Martin streets downtown. After a few words from Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, U.S. Rep. David Price and others, the public will be invited to have a look at the buses, inside and out. The buses, built by Proterra Inc., a California company with a plant in Greenville, S.C., will bring the number of public electric buses in the region to six. Raleigh-Durham International Airport put four electric buses into service last May, shuttling travelers between remote parking lots and the terminals.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/traffic/article238945253.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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WORK TOGETHER TO MEET STATE'S CRITICAL 2020 HEALTH NEEDS: In 2019, the state watched as labor and delivery services closed in neighboring rural communities. This is tragic. No mother should have to worry about how she is going to get care or where she will deliver her baby. We see hospitals in rural parts of the country continuing to close their doors and North Carolina is not immune. This continues to be a crisis and we must do better. For eastern North Carolina, expanding Medicaid, designing a reasonable solution to resolve State Health Plan liabilities and funding a new Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University must be a priority for the state. Expanding Medicaid will improve access to care, something we desperately need not only in the East, but also throughout the state. North Carolinians are subsidizing care in 37 other states that have expanded Medicaid while too many North Carolinians struggle.
https://www.wral.com/michael-waldrum-work-together-to-meet-state-s-critical-2020-health-needs/18862608/

Saturday News: Identification politics

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NC BOARD OF ELECTIONS SUSPENDS FREE ID CARD PROGRAM: As part of the state's voter ID law, the General Assembly mandated that election offices in all 100 North Carolina counties provide free photo IDs to people who need them. State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell sent those offices a memo Friday, telling them to stop issuing voter ID cards immediately "to avoid confusion by the public and to ensure voters do not receive inaccurate information." The state and local offices will update a number of things in the wake of U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs' decision, which will be appealed. Brinson Bell's memo said county offices should remove signs reminding people of the new photo ID requirement and that new signs would be coming soon.
https://www.wral.com/counties-will-stop-issuing-free-ids-after-judge-s-voter-id-order/18866227/

Friday News: Comes with the territory

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NC ATTORNEY GENERAL APPEALS VOTER ID RULING: The question of voter ID in North Carolina for the November 2020 elections remains unsettled, as Attorney General Josh Stein announced Thursday he will appeal a judge’s ruling blocking the state law requiring ID from going into effect. However, it appears that no matter how the legal fight unfolds, voter ID won’t be required during the state’s primary elections. Stein said in a news release that he would not request that ID be put back in place for the primary, “to avoid any further voter confusion.” Although Election Day for the primary isn’t until March, absentee voting starts in less than two weeks. His decision follows a high-profile win by the North Carolina NAACP, which successfully argued to a federal judge that the 2018 voter ID law appeared to be motivated at least partially by racial discrimination.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article238917153.html

Thursday News: Primary season

TWO MORE MONTHS UNTIL NC CHOOSES PARTY CANDIDATES: Feb. 3: The Democratic nominating process begins in earnest with the Iowa caucuses (though early voting will have already begun in a handful of other states). In the last four open Democratic presidential contests, the Iowa winner has gone on to become the party’s nominee. Feb. 11: New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary will take place. With two neighboring state senators (Sanders and Warren) vying for a top finish there, New Hampshire could determine which of the two progressive rivals departs the race first. March 3: Fourteen states are scheduled to hold their primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday, representing nearly half of all the Democratic delegates in the contest. The biggest prize will be California. Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee are some of the other delegate-rich states voting that day.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article238861158.html

Wednesday News: Bloomberg blitz

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LATE-ENTRY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OPENS TWO MORE NC OFFICES: Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg plans to make Raleigh and Fayetteville two of his first New Year’s destinations. The former New York mayor is opening field offices in both cities on Friday while visiting North Carolina, according to an email the campaign sent to the NC Insider. Bloomberg’s Raleigh office will be located on Davie Street. The Democrat plans to meet with voters, staff and supporters in both cities; as well as military families and veterans in downtown Fayetteville. The downtown Raleigh event will be open to the public with Bloomberg scheduled to speak at noon at the new office. The campaign had not released a more specific location on Davie Street as of late Tuesday. Bloomberg’s strategy to win the 2020 election is to focus on states like North Carolina that vote on March 3 or later, the Charlotte Observer previously reported. He is currently fifth in the polls for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a polling average from RealClearPolitics.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article238874918.html

Tuesday News: Thumping with bibles

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RELIGION MAY BE A CENTRAL THEME IN 2020 POLITICAL CONTESTS: Religious faith seems destined to become more of an issue in state and national elections as some Republican candidates such as U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina suggest that Democrats are bent on quashing religious freedom in America. Democratic candidates are increasingly being pushed to proclaim their faith as a supporting pillar of the policies they put forth. The 2020 campaign may turn out to be, in part, a contest between Tillis and his Democratic opponent’s interpretations of the tenets of the Christian faith. Another religious institution — the United Methodist Church — will inch closer in 2020 to a resolution of its rift over the ordination of gay clergy and the marriage of gay and lesbian couples. The UMC’s governing body voted in 2019 to strengthen language in its Book of Discipline banning gay clergy and gay marriage, but there was no mass exodus by church members in the U.S. who disagreed with the decision.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article238652138.html

Monday News: Fútbol?

LAND HAS BEEN PURCHASED FOR RALEIGH SOCCER STADIUM AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT: The purchase of the first tract of land is split across both sides of the I-40 beltline next to South Saunders Street and was bought from the North Carolina Equipment Company for $11 million. The second site at the intersection of I-40 and South Wilmington Street was bought for $8.6 million from Elite Waste Services, a Raleigh waste company. The remaining 44.5 acres of land for the proposed stadium to the right of South Saunders Street and Penmarc Drive will be purchased next year from seller Alice Penny, Redmond said. An outdoor 20,000-seat stadium surrounded by high-rises and other private development is envisioned for the future. Developers want the stadium to hold other athletic, musical and community events beside NCFC and NC Courage matches. Downtown South has been described by Malik as another “North Hills,” referencing the project’s proposed office, retail, hotel and apartment space. The proposal consists of 1.6 million square feet of office space, 1,200 hotel rooms, 1,750 apartments and 125,00 square feet of retail.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article238693603.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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PRIORITIES VOTERS SHOULD DEMAND FROM THE CANDIDATES WHO SEEK THEIR SUPPORT: Here’s what voters should demand and candidates – no matter the political party – should embrace: Support implementation of the recommendations outlined in the report recently released by Superior Court Judge David Lee, so the state meets its constitutional mandate to provide EVERY student with an opportunity for a sound basic education in public schools – no matter where they live. In the more than two decades since the Leandro ruling North Carolina has, according to the report, lost ground in meeting the court order and our constitutional requirement rather than moving closer to it. Expand Medicaid to the 650,000 working North Carolina citizens who are currently denied access to health care. It is no exaggeration that this is a life-and-death matter. Studies estimated that failure to expand Medicaid has cost between 516 and 1,740 North Carolinians their lives for lack of access to care. Adopt non-partisan criteria and a non-partisan system for creating congressional and legislative election districts.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-priorities-voters-should-demand-from-the-candidates-who-seek-their-su...

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