scharrison's blog

Robin Hayes indicted on bribery and corruption charges

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Just a friendly reminder:

I am running for local office (again) this year, and hoping our voter turnout is closer to 20% instead of the barely 10% we got last time. It's hard to believe people could be so disinterested in their own community, but there it is. Take the time to get to know who's running in your local election, and what their priorities are. Because by the time something stupid gets done and shows up on your radar, it's probably too late.

Dollars and sense: Medicaid expansion in NC is long overdue

medicaidexpand.png

If saving lives isn't enough for you, how about saving rural hospitals?

The data are overwhelming. In states that have expanded, the move has been a boon, both for the health of patients, the strength of local economies bolstered by thousands of new health care jobs, and increased stability, in particular, for rural hospitals that have been buffeted by changes rocking the health care system.

“There’s more data that’s showing a link to employment, overall better economic conditions,” said Hemi Tewarson, director of the health division at the National Governors Association. “There have been studies done that show rural hospitals have done better in expansion states compared to non-expansion states, primarily because they have another stream of reimbursement that has kept them more stable.”

As long as the bulk of our health care system remains in the private sector, we must enact programs that make rural hospitals and clinics "economically viable." If we don't, rural folks will end up having to travel 75 miles or more to be treated. That's simply too far for "well-care" visits, so most of those trips will be for serious (if not life-threatening) injuries or illnesses. It's those regular visits that can extend lives and improve the quality of those lives:

Proposed GOP gerrymander of Winston-Salem is a whitewash

Triple-bunking three African-American female Councilors:

A bill introduced Thursday by Forsyth County Republican legislators would force three black Democratic women on the Winston-Salem City Council into one district. D.D. Adams, one of the three, emphatically denounced lawmakers for what she described as a racist payback for the Democratic activism of black women.

"Everybody thinks we are going to hold hands and sing Kumbaya — it's not going to happen that way," Adams said a day after learning of the bill. "This is one of those times when we are going to have to fight. Everyone knows African-American women are going to vote and will vote Democratic." Adams said her message to lawmakers was, "How dare you? How dare you?"

And unless I'm sorely mistaken, this being labeled as a "Local" bill removes Governor Cooper's Veto powers from the formula. A simple majority would force this down Winston-Salem's throat, and also punish Dan Besse, who gave one of the sponsors of this bill a run for his money back in November:

Nearly half of Char-Meck schools have Lead in drinking water

Time to rip out all those pipes and replace them:

Researchers have found elevated levels of lead in the drinking water of schools in Charlotte. Lead is highly toxic and impairs neurological function, especially in children. The report, conducted by researchers at the Environment America Research and Policy Center, found that 41 out of 89 schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district had taps with lead exceeding 15 parts per billion, the Environmental Protection Agency's limit for lead in drinking water.

However, most medical and public-health experts say there is no safe level of lead for children. Drew Ball, director of the nonprofit organization Environment North Carolina, says this is a problem state officials and lawmakers can work together to fix. "When we find lead in tap water, we can put filters on, we can replace piping, we can make that change to ensure that our children's health is safe," says Ball.

What's even more stunning than these test results is the fact NC doesn't (and hasn't) required testing for lead in school water fountains. Is this a side-effect of how our schools are funded, with the state paying teacher salaries but counties being responsible for construction and maintenance of the facilities? Whatever the case, that should have been straightened out decades ago. And for those penny-pinching county commissioners out there who (always) seek the cheapest solution possible, that's just another false economy:

R.I.P. Durham-Orange Light Rail

lightrail.jpg

It was a nice dream while it lasted:

The GoTriangle board of trustees voted unanimously but reluctantly Wednesday to end the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project. After a closed-door session Wednesday, general manager Jeff Mann recommended to the board that the agency discontinue the $2.7 billion construction project to connect UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill with Duke University and other destinations along an 18-mile route.

Opposition from Duke University, escalating project costs and two state deadlines were forcing possible major cuts in the 19-station project, including eliminating a planned stop at N.C. Central University, GoTriangle officials said.

To say this is "unfortunate" would be a gross understatement. No plan is perfect, but this one was pretty damn good. *sigh*

Allison Riggs makes strong showing at Supreme Court

And she didn't take any crap from Brett Kavanaugh:

Justice Neil Gorsuch seemed to agree that the problem of partisan gerrymandering is one that should be left for the political branches of government to deal with. Justice Brett Kavanaugh echoed this concern. He told Allison Riggs, who argued for a second group of challengers in the North Carolina case, that he understood “some of your argument to be that extreme partisan gerrymandering is a problem for democracy.” Referring to activity in the states and in Congress to combat partisan gerrymandering, Kavanaugh asked whether we have reached a moment when the other actors can do it.

Riggs responded that North Carolina, at least, is not at that moment. When Kavanaugh responded, “I’m thinking more nationally,” Riggs shot back that “other options don’t relieve this Court of its duty to vindicate constitutional rights.”

And of course she's right. What Kavanaugh doesn't grasp (or is ignoring) is the fact that some of those states allow popular movements to amend their constitutions without prior approval by the Legislative body. Like they did in Michigan, where proponents had to collect enough signatures to get independent redistricting on the November ballot. North Carolina doesn't allow for that, making Kavanaugh's argument both inappropriate and irrelevant. Also inappropriate:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The big day is here:

Sending good vibes to Allison Riggs and others as they defend democracy for us...

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - scharrison's blog