Vicki Boyer's blog

Moratorium on Fracking

It is time to call for a moratorium on fracking in North Carolina.

Currently, we can expect permits for fracking to begin to be issued in March of 2015. This came out of legislation in the last session of the General Assembly, over the objection of many environmentalists.

But now the environmentalists have a more immediate example of regulations gone awry in Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds and their many leaks into our waterways and rivers. No one know how long it will take to actually remove the contaminants from waters and stream beds, or if that can be done. No one really knows if these spills will seep into our ground waters and acquifers. We do know that poor regulations, and specific legislation to limit those regulations, allowed this to happen.

South Carolina is not our competition, 2014.

Forbes just released it’s annual list of America’s 20 fastest growing cities. Raleigh is number 2, right after Austin, Texas.

Their criteria include access to talent, in other words, an educated workforce. That we are number 2 shows that the funds we invested in education over the past 20 years are paying off in business development today. Business needs an educated workforce. Putting tax dollars into public schools is one of the best investments we, as a state, can make to draw business and jobs to our state.

November, 2014

When it comes to the election of 2014, we are going to see a close correlation between polling numbers for the Affordable Care Act and for Sen. Kay Hagan. Last summer when Moral Monday events were feeding the press, everyone in the state was angry at the actions of the NCGA. Hagan’s numbers were high. Now, with the news concerned only with what is happening in Washington and local Republicans out of the headlines, that anger has faded, and with it her poll numbers.

Poverty and education

More and more, the evidence is mounting that problems in education have much more to do with childhood poverty than with teachers, unions, or curriculum. And before we invite further change, or destruction, to our system of public education, we need to pay more attention to this reality.

An epidemiologist at Duke Medical School, Dr. Jan Costello, found herself in a position to study the effects of poverty on children before and after the Cherokee Indians of Western NC opened a casino and paid a yearly stipend to every member of the tribe. It turned out that the extra money for families living in poverty resulted in children who had fewer behavior and psychiatric issues, and the younger the children were when the family received this extra income, the more likely the child was to see positive results. (No difference was seen for children who were not living in poverty prior to receipt of the stipend.)

Obama anger runs deep

Obama anger runs deep. I was sitting with friends at a local Chapel Hill cafe this morning when a man walked over to the communal newspapers and ripped out the picture of the President that was on the front page. He glared at us while doing so, as if to dare us to challenge him.

He took the picture with him as he went back to his seat to say grace over his breakfast.

We wondered what he would have done had we challenged him and whether or not he had a concealed carry permit.

Charter mismanagement costs taxpayers big time

Here's a great way to be your own boss. Be on a government committee that approves charter schools (the Charter School Advisory Board) and then collect management fees from the schools you get to approve. Can you say, conflict of interest?? Evidently the NCGA can't as they have allowed this situation to come to pass.

Lindsay Wagner of NC Policy Watch reports:

South Brunswick Charter School will be operated by the Roger Bacon Academy and will rent property from Coastal Conservancy, LLC. Baker A. Mitchell Jr.—who happens to sit on the Charter School Advisory Board—owns both of those entities.

Medicaid expansion, 2015

If medicaid is expanded in NC it will be in 2015.

It will give the hospital industry time to gear up their lobbying arm and have an impact on NCGA. They will then be dealing with the winners of the 2014 state election and not those currently running to be re-elected and subject to right wing criticism on the issue.

Expansion the year before he is up for re-election will allow McCrory to claim he has 'fixed' the medicaid program here--perhaps by replacing Aldona Wos (A small sacrifice for a second term as governor.) He can then bask in the warmth of those happy with their new coverage. And receive campaign contributions from the hospital lobby. It will please moderate voters and allow McCrory to say he is truly the moderate he claimed he was during his first gubernatorial campaign, pulling their votes back in his direction for 2016.

Gov. McScrooge has stolen Christmas

Gov McScrooge and his equally scroogy spokesman have messed up Christmas for thousands of North Carolinians. This statement was issued by the Gov's spokesman, Rick Martinez, following last night's very successful Moral Monday march in Raleigh. (emphasis is mine)

“We are fortunate that Governor McCrory chose not to expand Obamacare given how disastrous the rollout has been. Instead, Governor McCrory is working to strengthen the economy so more North Carolinians can earn a paycheck instead of hoping for a government check. If you disagree with that concept, then you are going to disagree with most of the entrepreneurial innovations Governor McCrory has and will continue to implement to get more North Carolinians back to work.”

NC Education benefits from cooperation

It has been stated by those who take a long view across human existence that as a species, human beings survive by living in a group. Living together in groups allows the natural talents of individuals to contribute to the success of the group as a whole. We survive through cooperation. Students of Darwin will attest that in his writings, he mentions ‘survival of the fittest’ 2-3 times, but ‘cooperation’ over 70 times.

But, somehow, many of our species have come to be enamored of the goddess of selfishness, Ayn Rand, and with her philosophy of taking care of the self first, and others, well, maybe next time.

Corporate Personhood is coming-unless you stop it.

Corporate Nationhood is coming.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty (TPP) is outrageous and it’s beyond time to start paying attention to it. If Citizen’s United gave us corporate personhood, this treaty gives us Corporate Nationhood. It turns governments into entities that support corporations even at the expense of their own citizens and it will have broad affects on the people of North Carolina.

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