Daily dose

Daily dose: Part-time Tata strikes again edition

NC Transportation Secretary blasts Iran talks (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, who recently faced criticism for taking to the book tour trail outside of the state while North Carolina was facing major snow and ice storms, is back on national TV – this time Fox News -- criticizing President Barack Obama’s nuclear talks with Iran. Tata, who’s become a regular commentator on Sean Hannity’s show, said he doesn’t think the United States should be in negotiations with Iran. When Perry Woods – who’s worked on campaigns for Raleigh city councilors and Wake County school board members offered up an opinion and told him to “focus on your day job,” Tata, who has benefitted from a series of GOP political appointments since retiring from the U.S. Army, called Woods a “radical left pol hack” who “hates freedom of speech.”

Daily dose: GOP fishing expedition version


GOP requests 14 years of records from Attorney General Roy (Raleigh News & Observer) -- In five detailed requests, one for each day of “Sunshine Week,” the N.C. Republican Party asked for every email, Twitter, Facebook post, and correspondence Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper and his senior staff sent or received in the past 14 years. It also asked for every Twitter and Facebook message, official appointment, expense report, official opinion and internal memo from the attorney general’s office since 2001. “We routinely get public records requests, including large ones, and consider fulfilling them to be a part of our jobs,” spokeswoman Noelle Talley said.

Daily dose: Art Pope shrugged edition

Ayn Rand comes to U.N.C. (The New Yorker) -- Republican politics in North Carolina are characterized by a tight interweaving of elected officials with think tanks and advocacy groups. At the center of this network is Art Pope, who funds the Pope Center for Higher Education as well as several other conservative think tanks. Pope, a discount-store magnate, with his family reportedly gave almost a quarter of a million dollars in support of N.C. Republican candidates in the 2010 election; advocacy groups with close ties to Pope gave more than $2 million to those candidates. (Jane Mayer wrote about Pope’s political activism for the magazine in 2011.) After Pope’s family donated a reported $219.000 to Republican candidates and political groups in 2012, and his companies gave a reported $450,000, contributing to the party’s takeover of the governorship and the state legislature, Pope served as co-chair of Gov. Pat McCrory’s transition team and then as his budget director. Pope, who has served as a board member of Americans for Prosperity, is also a link between North Carolina’s Republican Party and leading national conservatives

Daily dose: By the numbers edition

# 6 – Percent population change, 2002-2012
# 4 – (+34%) Change in number of high school graduates (2003-2013)
# 10 – Total population
# 12 -- Total personal income
# 39 -- Per capita personal income
# 28 -- Per capita state and local spending for prisons
# 34 -- Per capita state and local government income
# 10 – Public school enrollment
# 10 – Number of high school graduates
# 11 – Total public school teachers
# 23 – Teachers per public school students
# 43 -- Average school teacher salary (2012-2013)
# 47 -- Average school teacher salary (2013-2014)
# 41 -- Public school per-student spending (2012-2013)
# 47 -- Public school per-student spending (2013-2014)
# 51 -- Percent change in average teacher salary (2003-2013)
Adjusting for inflation, thirty-four states saw real declines in average teacher salaries over 2003-04 to 2013-14. States with average salaries declining 6.5 percent or more: North Carolina (-17.4%)
SOURCE: Ranking the States

Daily dose: Stuck between a landscaped rock and a hard drive edition

SEANC whistleblowers allege hard drive, files destroyed at agency (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Betty Jones and Art Anthony unloaded a few more allegations about financial activity at the State Employees Association of North Carolina. The two state employees who blew the whistle on financial improprieties at SEANC want the organization and its leaders to apologize for their attacks on the whistleblowers.

Daily dose: The party of obstruction and coercion edition

Lawmakers put gubernatorial nominations on hold until appointments law settled (WRAL-TV) -- After a three-judge panel delivered Gov. Pat McCrory a victory over lawmakers, House and Senate leaders struck back Monday night by putting the governor's nominations to key posts on hold.

NC backers of Loretta Lynch go to DC to lobby senators (AP) -- North Carolina residents unhappy with announcements by their two U.S. senators that they'll oppose the nomination of Greensboro native Loretta Lynch as attorney general are heading to Washington to try to get them to change their minds. The state NAACP chapter said a women's coalition along with state president the Rev. William Barber were slated to travel to Washington Tuesday for a news conference. The advocates also wanted to meet with Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.

Daily dose: Pittenger the propagandist edition

TERRORISTS AT YOUR DOORSTEP: Pittenger says prepare for terrorist attacks (Charlotte Observer) -- Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte says it’s time to pack a new emergency bag and update your evacuation plans in preparation for another terrorist attack. One critic says his “how to” terrorism handbook for constituents is “pretty irresponsible.”

Daily dose: McCrory administration failing the sunshine test


Requests for NC public records result in long waits, fees (AP) -- In July 2013, the office of Gov. Pat McCrory announced the sudden resignation his public safety secretary after only six months on the job. The statement said Kieran Shanahan was leaving to spend more time with his wife and focus on his law firm, but persistent whispers around the state capital suggested there was more to the story. In response, The Associated Press filed a public records request that September for emails Shanahan sent or received while secretary. Nearly 19 months later, AP is still waiting. So far, the N.C. Department of Public Safety has managed to produce about 500 of Shanahan's emails, including the automated updates from his spam filter. But about 2,600 emails remain, waiting to be cleared for release.

Daily dose: Traitor sent to military prison edition

Tillis visits U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay (WTVD-TV) -- North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis said he supports keeping Guantanamo Bay open after a visit to Cuba. Tillis is one of five first-year Republican Senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee to make the trip to the prison camp.

After visit, Tillis says keep Guantanamo Bay prison (McClatchy Newspapers) -- Sen. Thom Tillis was in Cuba on Friday to visit the prison camp at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay – and afterward he said the facility should remain open.

Daily dose: Public Instruction with no public input edition

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION; Out you go? (EdNC) -- One bill filed this session would scrap the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education, and replace them with a Secretary of Education appointed by the governor. “You want one spokesman for the schools,” Republican Sen. Jerry Tillman said. “Right now, you got the state elected School Superintendent, State Board trying to run it, you got the legislature trying to run it, you got the governor trying to run it with his advisor. You can’t run the schools like that.”


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