Daily dose

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.

Monday News: Going to court over Court


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.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


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?

Saturday News: This elevator (queen) is broken

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REDUCES FINES BY OVER HALF IN SCAFFOLDING COLLAPSE THAT TOOK 3 (LATINO) LIVES: Anderson Antones de Almeida and Jose Erasmo Hernandez of Durham, as well as Jose Luis Lopez-Ramirez of Clinton, died on March 23, 2015, after scaffolding collapsed while they were working on the 11-story Charter Square building on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. The Department of Labor initially charged Associated Scaffolding $151,900 for its role in the accident after finding that company workers didn’t follow manufacturer recommendations when tying the scaffolding to the building and put too much weight on the scaffolding while dismantling it, The N&O reported in January 2016. The Durham-based company contested the allegations and on April 18 reached a settlement with the labor department to pay a $70,000 fine and make “a number of safety and health enhancements that will be implemented to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future,” said Mary Katherine Revels, a department spokeswoman.

Friday News: The cost of doing bad business


ATTORNEYS FOR HOG NEIGHBORS SEEK MILLIONS IN COMPENSATORY DAMAGES: The lead attorney for hog farm neighbors suing Smithfield Foods over the pig waste near their homes on Thursday asked a jury for $2 million to $4 million per plaintiff in compensatory damages as closing arguments wrapped and the case went to the jury. The request is significant: Punitive damages in civil lawsuits, which are meant to punish the defendant, are capped in North Carolina, limiting the harm Smithfield suffered in two previous trials, where juries awarded six figures in compensatory damages against the pork giant but tens of millions in punitive awards that largely evaporated due to the cap. So far, his team is 2-0 against the company, with the juries agreeing the farms unfairly interfered with the neighbor's ability to enjoy their own property.

Thursday News: Thank you, sir


OBAMA ENDORSES SIX NC DEMOCRATS IN LEGISLATIVE RACES: Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced endorsements of six Democrats running for the North Carolina legislature. Four of those candidates are running in Wake County. Wiley Nickel of Cary, who used to work for Obama, received an endorsement from his former boss in his run for an open state Senate seat. Nickel faces Republican Paul Smith. Also making Obama’s list: Terence Everitt of Wake Forest, in a rematch against incumbent Republican Chris Malone; Julie Von Haefen of Apex, who is running against incumbent Republican and lead House budget writer Nelson Dollar of Cary; and lawyer Sydney Batch, who is running for an open seat against Republican lawyer John B. Adcock. Obama also endorsed Rachel Hunt, former Gov. Jim Hunt’s daughter, in her race against incumbent Republican Bill Brawley in Mecklenburg County, and Ron Wesson, a Bertie County commissioner running for an open seat in northeastern North Carolina’s District 1 against Republican Ed Goodwin.

Wednesday News: Culture of Trumpism


DURHAM HIGH SCHOOL LACROSSE PLAYER RECORDS RACIST, SEXIST VIDEO: Durham Public Schools and Jordan High School are investigating after a video showed up on social media showing a student-athlete making racist and sexist comments. Two people are shown in the video but only one person speaks during the 10-second recording. Aminah Jenkins, the student body president at Jordan, told HighSchoolOT.com that the student speaking plays football and lacrosse. "I was initially disheartened that a student at Jordan would use a racial slur and degrade women," Jenkins said on Tuesday night. "My concerns are not in any way about his political views, but about his comments about women and the racial slur." The student on video uses the N-word at the end of the video and makes several references to President Donald Trump.

Tuesday News: Counting on poor attendance?


MOORE SCHEDULES VETO OVERRIDE SESSION FOR SATURDAY: The Republican-controlled General Assembly is planning rare weekend floor sessions to handle two vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. House Speaker Tim Moore said Monday he expected the House and Senate to return for veto-override debates and votes this Saturday. Moore says conflicting summer schedules made Saturday best. Cooper last Friday vetoed bills that alter North Carolina ballot language for constitutional referenda and a state Supreme Court race this fall. One prevents a Supreme Court hopeful who switched parties just before candidate filing from having any party label next to his name on the ballot. House Democratic leader Darren Jackson contends Republicans are meeting Saturday so it's harder for the candidate to sue over the label change with a ballot printing deadlines approaching. Moore says that's not been a consideration.

Monday News: The great divide

POLITICAL POLARIZATION IN NORTH CAROLINA IS GROWING WORSE: North Carolina leaders across the political spectrum can agree on one thing: We’re extremely divided, huddled into opposing camps and unwilling to compromise, or even hear each other out. What they’re less sure of is why polarization seems to be getting worse, or what to do about it. There was a general sense of gloom among respondents that North Carolina and the U.S. are becoming more and more divided. Several themes resonated through answers from people on both sides of the political aisle: Civility in public debate is eroding, or already gone. People are stuck in echo chambers, hearing only ideas similar to their own, while social media spreads disinformation and rancor. Political parties have increasingly abandoned moderates and become more extreme, and fewer people are willing to listen to opposing viewpoints.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


DAVID PRICE: HOLDING TRUMP ACCOUNTABLE FOR HEARTLESS, INHUMANE MASS DEPORTATION AGENDA: At a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facility in Laredo, Texas, I had a disturbing conversation with a 36-year old from El Salvador who was fleeing explicit threats of violence from criminal gangs. Facing certain death at home, he embarked on a nearly 1,500-mile long journey to join his sister, who was legally residing in the United States. Unfortunately, due to recent unilateral action by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, credible claims of gang violence no longer qualify an individual for asylum in our country—one of many heartless steps the administration has taken to make it more difficult for the world’s persecuted and oppressed to seek refuge in the United States. The following day, I met with immigrant children, living without their parents in a shelter in San Antonio operated by the Catholic Archdiocese. I had the opportunity to speak to 15 girls between the ages of 5 and 16. The group included children who had been separated from their parents as a result of President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, as well as children who had arrived unaccompanied at the border, fleeing desperate situations in their home countries.


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