BlueNC's blog

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


WANT TO SAVE NC'S RURAL HOSPITALS? EXPAND MEDICAID NOW: This is no mystery. Expanding Medicaid means there are fewer patients whose care isn’t compensated. Hospitals that get paid for the care they give more patients will have better financial performance. Doctors who know they will get paid for the services they deliver will be more willing to practice in rural areas. This is not complicated. So why does the political party that rules the General Assembly continue to stubbornly keep North Carolina among the minority of states – just a dozen – that refuse to expand Medicaid even though it is almost entirely paid for by the federal government. Those are taxes North Carolinians have already paid. Our North Carolina dollars are helping keep rural hospitals open in other states while hospitals, many in eastern North Carolina counties like Beaufort, Washington and Halifax have closed. These concerns should be front-and-center to the General Assembly’s leaders – particularly Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore – who have seen hospitals in their own districts close or threatened with ceasing operation.

Saturday News: Of course he's a Republican

NC AUDITOR CANDIDATE WAS ON PROBATION FOR STALKING A WOMAN: His criminal charges began, according to court records, when a man reported that on April 8, 2012, Street had hit him in the head and face. That resulted in the charge of simple assault. The charge was dismissed without leave, which means that decision is permanent. Another warrant said Street was reported again in June 2016 for allegedly threatening a different man by saying, “If you want to keep you and your family safe you better give me back my money.” That led to the charge of communicating threats. He was found not guilty on the charge. A woman reported that Street followed her on Feb. 23, 2017, at her house and a family member’s house and refused to leave, and then followed her as she drove, according to warrants. That resulted in his first stalking charge. But a witness did not show up to court, according to court records, and prosecutors dismissed the case without leave. Court records said that Street was accused of following the same victim on multiple occasions between March 30, 2018, and April 26, 2018, leading to a second charge of stalking. He was given a conditional discharge that included six months of unsupervised probation, and the court dismissed the charge.

Friday News: Rewriting history


PROTESTS SCHEDULED FOR CONFEDERATE "INSTITUTE" HELD IN RALEIGH THIS WEEKEND: A group of protesters will try to disrupt a Sons of Confederate Veterans symposium this weekend in Raleigh that is billed by organizers as an educational event and condemned by opponents as racist. The national Sons of Confederate Veterans has staged the Stephen D. Lee Institute annually in different cities around the South since 2003, inviting members to come listen as teachers, writers and researchers lecture about the Civil War, the Confederacy and Southern history. McCollum, an N.C. State University junior from Apex studying political science and French, said she decided to rally the group’s energy against the SCV’s institute after studying some of the writings of its featured speakers. McCollum said the institute and its speakers’ arguments that the Civil War was about states’ rights and was the result of unconstitutional acts by an overreaching federal government are attempts to rewrite history.

Thursday News: Fight for fifteen


ELON POLL HAS 94% IN FAVOR OF RAISING MINIMUM WAGE: The Elon poll found that 94% of respondents supported boosting the minimum wage, which has been $7.25 per hour since 2009, though they differed on how much it should be increased. Just 14% believed it should be more than $15 an hour. All the Democratic presidential candidates still standing favor raising the federal minimum wage, and all but one of them wants to double it — to $15 per hour. The holdout? Businessman Tom Steyer, who recently proposed tripling it, to $22 per hour. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg opposed raising the minimum wage as recently as 2015. Now he’s for it. Their argument for the hike: While the federal minimum wage hasn’t budged, the cost of living — including for necessities like housing and prescription drugs — has skyrocketed, forcing some workers to take on two or three jobs to make ends meet.

Wednesday News: The choice is yours to make


GOVERNOR COOPER WILL NOT ENDORSE IN PRIMARY: North Carolina’s governor has decided not to endorse anyone in the Democratic presidential primary. Gov. Roy Cooper already voted — on Saturday during early voting for the state primary on March 3, which is also Super Tuesday. “The Governor hasn’t endorsed in past primaries and won’t be endorsing this year either,” his campaign said in a statement. “He encourages all voters to be sure they get to the polls and make their voices heard.” The North Carolina Democratic Party doesn’t endorse in primaries, either, according to the state party spokesperson Robert Howard. “We like our voters to decide who our nominee is, rather than put any thumb on the scale or anything,” Howard told The News & Observer in a phone interview Tuesday. He said the party has not discussed potential endorsements with any of its elected officials or candidates.

Tuesday News: Private profits, public costs


WILMINGTON SCHOOLS PAY FOR FILTRATION SYSTEMS TO COMBAT FOREVER CHEMICALS: The move to reduce per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, comes after a nationwide report again highlighted high levels of the compounds in water supplies, with Brunswick County registering the highest levels in the country and the Wilmington region listed as the fifth highest. The new filtration systems use reverse osmosis, or RO, the method that’s been determined to be most effective in reducing levels of the compounds. Initial plans call for one RO station at each school. Last week, the Brunswick County Board of Education reviewed a plan for a pilot project to test reverse osmosis stations at Lincoln Elementary and Belville Elementary, both in Leland, and a third-party testing lab to monitor before-and-after results. Earlier this month, the New Hanover County School Board agreed to move $142,582 in its capital projects fund to begin a similar project.

Monday News: Here they come...

DEM PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES HEADING TO NC BEFORE SUPER TUESDAY: Sanders will take part in a 7 p.m. interfaith Ash Wednesday service and forum at Greenleaf Christian Church. Doors for the event will open at 6 p.m. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will make her first campaign stop in North Carolina on Thursday to hold a town hall-style meeting in Cary that will be televised on Fox News. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg bookends rallies he held across the state on the first day of early voting with a stop in Charlotte on Feb. 29, the last day of early voting in North Carolina. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., returns to the state for a get-out-the-vote rally in Raleigh on March 1, two days before the Super Tuesday primary. Not to be outdone, President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Charlotte on March 2, the eve of the primary.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


SILENT SAM'S RESTING PLACE? AWAY FROM UNC WITH OPEN, TRANSPARENT PROCESS: It was a remarkable scheme that Ripley Rand, the outside lawyer hired by the UNC Board of Governors, worked to move through the courts to get Silent Sam in the hands of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. We remain astonished that UNC System President Bill Roper would go along with it. And even more remarkable that University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill officials signed it. The plan that the Board came up with and initiated lacked ANY open scrutiny or public discussion. The deal was deservedly met with outrage and civil protest. Silent Sam has no place on the UNC campus – that is the only consensus that has emerged from the Board of Governor’s efforts. The Board of Governors needs to focus on its responsibilities and duties. Leave the disposition of Silent Sam to the folks on the Chapel Hill campus.

Saturday News: Go get 'em, Roy


SUPERMAJORITY OF VOTERS SUPPORT COOPER'S BUDGET VETO AND MEDICAID EXPANSION: Almost three-quarters of those polled said they would prefer school funding be increased rather than taxes cut, and a majority called for expanding Medicaid coverage to more of the state's working poor, according to the exclusive poll by SurveyUSA. SurveyUSA polled 2760 adults statewide between Feb. 13 and Sunday in the scientific survey, producing a credibility interval in the results of plus or minus 2.1 to 2.6 percent. Given a choice between providing more money for public schools or cutting business taxes to boost the economy, 71 percent of respondents said school funding was more important. Fewer than one-fifth said tax cuts should be the budget priority, while 9 percent said they weren't sure. Support for Cooper's stance cut across all demographics in the poll. Even more than three in five of Republicans questioned and a majority of those who identify themselves as conservative ranked funding schools ahead of cutting taxes in the budget debate.

Friday News: GOP meddling continues


REPUBLICAN PAC HAS SPENT $3 MILLION IN DEM SENATE PRIMARY: A group with Republican ties is out with another television ad promoting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Erica Smith’s progressive credentials and hitting Democratic front-runner Cal Cunningham from the left on guns and gay rights issues. The Faith and Power PAC, which has not disclosed its donors but has several ties to Republicans, spent about $500,000 on the 30-second ad. The Super PAC has spent nearly $3 million in the race, most of it touting Smith, who has struggled to raise funds on her own, according to campaign finance reports. “What we’re concerned about is that people are sending a message that I can’t be trusted because I’m working with Republicans,” Smith said in a phone interview Tuesday. “That’s so far from the truth of what this is. I have no dealings with this Super PAC. I have denounced their interference in this primary. Once again, these underhanded tactics are being played to undermine the democratic process and voters should be outraged.”


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