Sunday News: And the waters receded

HURRICANE MATTHEW LEAVES HISTORIC FLOODING IN ITS WAKE IN NC (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Hurricane Matthew continues to blow as a post-tropical cyclone off the coast of North Carolina on Sunday morning, but the rain that caused severe flooding throughout the eastern part of the state has stopped. Matthew was blamed for at least 7 deaths after as much as 16 inches of rain fell in parts of the state throughout Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses remain without electricity as the combination of sodden ground and gusty winds brought down countless trees.

Using Legislative "Privilege" to obscure racial gerrymandering


Trudy Wade & Company defy judges order:

Webster gave the legislators 30 days to create a list of documents they want to keep private — and to describe the documents and explain why they should be withheld. He said he would look at the privilege log privately, then decide whether to make legislators comply with the subpoenas.

But creating such a list — even for a judge’s eyes only — would create a “chilling effect” on confidential communication between lawmakers and staff members, attorneys for the legislators said in Thursday’s filing.

If those communications had any impact on how legislation would be written or implemented, it should not be confidential. It's called "public policy" for a reason. And since this particular piece of legislation deals directly with the voting process, the need for transparency is doubled. And it's the height of arrogance the GOP thinks this is a sound argument:

Greenwashing comes to the Burr/Ross race

Taking their cue from Jay Faison:

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions says it is spending $120,000 on the buy, which will air commercials in Raleigh and Charlotte.

“Senator Richard Burr deserves to be commended for his record of supporting renewable energy, promote conservation, and place the economic needs and health of North Carolinians before partisanship,” said CRES Chairman and Executive Director James Dozier.

And just like Faison's group, peel a few layers of this onion and you find a focus on natural gas and nukes:

Saturday News: You've been served, Governor


OBSERVER FILES SUIT AGAINST MCCRORY OVER HB2 EMAILS (Charlotte Observer) -- Five months after failing to provide public documents requested by the Charlotte Observer, the newspaper filed a lawsuit against Gov. Pat McCrory seeking a court order for release of the requested emails related to House Bill 2. The newspaper first requested the e-mails on April 5. On April 7, Graham Wilson of the governor’s press office acknowledged the request, but the Observer has yet to receive the requested documents.

Victory for Dukeville: Coal ash to be removed

Of course it took a lawsuit to make it happen:

On Tuesday the Yadkin Riverkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, reached a settlement with Duke Energy that requires the removal of all the coal ash from the unlined, leaking coal ash pits at Duke Energy’s Buck Steam Station facility on the Yadkin River in Salisbury, North Carolina. This is good news for the people who live near the plant.

Duke Energy, in a dig to the human beings who live near the Buck plant and have been vigorously advocating for clean water, issued a statement claiming that the decision was “Just business” and that coal ash is “safe”. They made no mention of the human cost of their profits.

Related note: Camel City Dispatch has been struggling financially for a few years, and is contemplating pulling back from investigative reporting on government (and environmental) issues, while focusing on social & cultural (dining, entertainment) stories. They will still publish input from readers on those other important subjects, but I fear that may not be adequate. I realize this campaign season has been (and will be) very demanding on your pocketbooks, but a donation to this publication would not be wasted.

Friday News: A real snowjob

Art Pope.jpg

OUTSIDE GROUP BACKING MCCRORY GEARS UP FOR FINAL ADS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- An independent political group that put substantial amounts of money into electing Republican candidates in 2010 and 2012 is gearing up in the final month before the Nov. 8 gubernatorial election in North Carolina. The free-market advocacy group Real Jobs N.C. was formed by conservative financier, philanthropist and former state budget director Art Pope. It is planning to buy a series of “hard hitting ads” against Roy Cooper in the Democratic attorney general’s bid to unseat Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, according to a fundraising email sent on Thursday.

School privatization "boosts" real estate market

May not be good for (all) the kids, but home values apparently soar:

Once we realize that assigning children to schools results in concentrating poverty, we can begin to imagine the social benefits of systems that avoid assignments.

Research recently published in the Journal of Housing Research shows homes are worth more in the places that use this scholarship system instead of the more rigid assignment system. Homes are worth significantly more in tuitioning districts than in districts with weak assigned schools. The more school options that were available, the larger the price premium. Studies on similar systems in Paris, France, and San Antonio, Texas, find similar results.

I have developed a (maybe bad) habit of scrolling to the bottom of an Op-Ed to get an idea of who a writer is, and where that writer is coming from, before I digest the information being put forward. Usually it's pretty straightforward, but sometimes there's a weird confluence. In this case, it's an associate professor of finance and real estate talking about education. Like I said, weird. But this guy's approach to the subject is even weirder, talking about areas that don't even resemble North Carolina's school districts:

Van der Vaart continues his political gamesmanship

Attacking the Federal government and Roy Cooper whenever he's given the opportunity:

The U.S. Supreme Court took the unprecedented step this year of halting the Obama administration’s attempt to take over the nation’s electricity system. The federal scheme, supported by North Carolina’s attorney general, would punish lower- and middle-class families by increasing energy bills more than $400 a year.

Thursday News: The opaque Governor


SUIT SEEKING MCCRORY RECORDS ASKS: HOW MUCH OF HIS TRAVEL DOES PUBLIC HAVE RIGHT TO KNOW? (WRAL-TV) -- Lawyers for Gov. Pat McCrory contend that the state can withhold information related to travel if the governor was on personal or political business. McCrory's office contends it has fulfilled the request and that the suit should be dismissed. But lawyers for Real Facts contend that the governor has either failed to provide records related to 27 trips that were reported in the news media or has heavily redacted much of the information it did provide. In other cases, records were provided, but information such as starting and ending points was redacted.


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