Not fake news

A reporter inquired today about my KNOW YOUR AMENDMENTS flyer. Here's my response.
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Hi Andy.

James Protzman here. I'm a founder of BlueNC. Thanks for reaching out with your comments and questions. I'll do my best to respond.

The flyer you're referring was first posted on my personal Facebook page a few days ago. I created it. I have been a vocal critic of all six amendments, and am giving away yard signs and bumper stickers encouraging people to VOTE AGAINST every amendment.

The amendments are political shenanigans that undermine the integrity of our Constitution. Each could have been handled with simple legislation; none of them are necessary. Worse still, they lack implementation language. Voters can't possibly know what the amendments will mean for the citizens of North Carolina because that won't be spelled out until after they're passed, in a lame-duck session.

The victims rights amendment, for example, leaves important questions unanswered. Just look at this language from the legislation:

"The victim or, if the victim is a minor, is legally incapacitated, or deceased, a family member, guardian, or legal custodian may assert the rights provided in this section."

So let's say you're the estranged husband of a woman who has an abortion. Under this amendment, you could assert all the rights of a family member on behalf of the fetus, and then impose the requirements of the amendment on your estranged wife. You could even assert, on behalf of the "victim," that felony murder took place.

Would this happen? Who knows? But it could. And given the willingness of Senator Berger and Speaker Moore to bend legislative rules to suit their agendas, I wouldn't bet against it.

Regarding hunting and fishing, let's say you're a gun-loving citizen of Chapel Hill. Let's also say you don't much like the town ordinance that restricts hunting inside the city limits. You sue and you win. Your rights as a hunter would protected by the NC Constitution, which must surely trump local regulations. And now that you can shoot deer in Chapel Hill, what about feral cats? Are they wildlife? Who knows? It's all up to the General Assembly to decide ... after the fact.

Tuesday News: Challenging the Usurpers

NAACP AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP FILE SUIT OVER GOP AMENDMENTS: The state NAACP and the environmental group Clean Air Carolina are suing to stop four proposed constitutional amendments from appearing on the fall ballot. The groups will ask for a quick hearing in the complaint they filed Monday morning, asking a judge to stop the questions from being added to ballots while the case is being argued. They are suing legislative leaders and the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The four proposed constitutional changes the organizations are targeting would require voters to present photo ID, cap the state income tax rate at 7 percent, change the way judicial vacancies are filled to limit the governor’s role, and take away the governor’s power to appoint members to boards and commissions and give that power to the legislature.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article216145540.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Words of wisdom:

And of course the right to choose your own legal representation is also critical in our legal system. But that won't stop the right-wing nutters from acting like little children.

Hunting / Fishing Amendment could prohibit regulators from stopping shell-fishing even when it's dangerous to people's lives

The Pamlico Sound was closed to shell-fishing today because of excessive bacteria in the water. That regulatory action would be prohibited if the GOP's "blank check" amendment passes. The moral of this story? Republicans would rather see you die if it means they can take NRA money.

https://www.thecoastlandtimes.com/2018/08/03/shell-fishing-closed-in-pamlico-sound/

Durham makes the wrong list on affordable housing

The free market of real estate sales takes no prisoners:

Ten years after the housing collapse during the Great Recession, a new and different housing crisis has emerged. Back then, people were losing their homes as home values crashed and homeowners went underwater. Today, home values have rebounded, but people who want to buy a new home are often priced out of the market. There are too few homes and too many potential buyers.

This isn't just a problem in San Francisco or New York, where home prices and rents have gone sky-high. It is also a problem in midsized, fast-growing cities farther inland, like Des Moines, Iowa; Durham, N.C.; and Boise, Idaho. In Boise, an analysis by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development showed there is a demand for more than 10 times the number of homes being built right now.

Quick NIMBY anecdote: My town government is having a tense struggle (with me right in the middle) with some neighborhoods over new construction projects, and one big takeaway is: They definitely don't want anything resembling "affordable housing." No apartment buildings, no modest townhomes (less than $200,000). Of course, many of these folks would prefer to see nothing at all built there, but if it's happening, they want to make sure no poor people, or even lower middle class, move in next door. Here's more about the problem, and the conundrum of not having nearly enough homes for the people who need them:

Monday News: Going to court over Court

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SUPREME COURT CANDIDATE SUES GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR PARTY LABEL REWRITE: North Carolina Supreme Court candidate Chris Anglin plans to file a lawsuit on Monday morning, challenging the lawmakers' effort to misrepresent him on the ballot, according to his lawyer. Republican leaders are concerned that Anglin, who is running as a Republican, but was a former Democrat, could siphon votes away from incumbent Republican Justice Barbara Jackson, who's facing a tough re-election battle against Democratic challenger Anita Earls. “I didn’t make, break, or change the rules, just followed them. Even children understand changing the rules in the middle of an election is wrong. What the Legislature has done is a violation of my Constitutional rights. This lawsuit is the next step in my fight to stand up for an independent judiciary,” Anglin said in a press release.
https://www.wral.com/nc-supreme-court-candidate-to-file-lawsuit-monday-morning/17749122/

Know your amendments

Here's a blow-by-blow analysis of all the amendments and why they suck.

THE WON’T YOU BE MY VICTIM AMENDMENT
Victims’ rights will get extended to any class of people the legislature wants, including fetuses. This amendment will lead the way to making abortion illegal under North Carolina’s constitution.

THE KILL ALL RULES ABOUT HUNTING & FISHING AMENDMENT
Overfishing in the Pamlico Sound? Hunting with a high powered rifle in downtown Charlotte? Shooting dogs and cats? It’s all good.

Roy Cooper files lawsuit to preserve Separation of Powers

“The General Assembly has proposed two amendments to the North Carolina Constitution that would take a wrecking ball to the separation of powers. These proposed amendments would rewrite bedrock constitutional provisions— including the Separation of Powers Clause itself. They would overrule recent decisions of the North Carolina Supreme Court. They would strip the Governor of his authority to appoint thousands of officials to hundreds of boards and commissions that execute the laws of our State. They would confer exclusive authority on the General Assembly to choose those whom the Governor can consider to fill judicial vacancies. And they ultimately threaten to consolidate control over all three branches of government in the General Assembly.”

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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FETZER OUT OF BOUNDS; UNC BOARD SHOULD CENSURE HIM: Tom Fetzer’s behavior as a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors isn’t simply rude or self-serving. His latest, self-confessed actions in connection with the recruitment and hiring of a new chancellor for Western Carolina University are disruptive. Specifically, the UNC Board should examine the appropriateness of Fetzer – one of the state’s most influential legislative lobbyists and former chairman of the state Republican Party -- using his appointed government position to gain access to otherwise confidential information, specifically the names of candidates for the Western Carolina University chancellor’s position. Then, did he violate policy and ethical conduct procedures by giving that confidential information to a private “screening” firm Fetzer personally hired to dig into the background of a candidate for the chancellor’s post?
https://www.wral.com/editorial-fetzer-s-flare-up-shows-need-for-unc-board-reform/17738792/

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