Tuesday Twitter roundup

The NCGA laser-focused on jobs and the economy:

Um, what? Seriously, what? So, if you're in a 55 mph zone, and the car in in front of you is going 30, you're stuck there. *sigh*

Preserve the Preservation tax credits

For many rural townships, it's the only economic tool they have left:

Last year, Paul Norby, the director of the City-County Planning Department, told the Journal editorial board that the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, using these credits, “has generated $200 million or more in economic investment.”

We’re not alone in benefiting from these credits. For some rural areas in the state, preservation tax credits could play a significant role in spurring economic and community revival. In a lead up to Wednesday’s address, McCrory toured the Hotel Concord on Jan. 30, which local officials hope to restore, and talked about hosting executives who consider investing in the region. “And the first place they want to go to is the center city, to see is there blight or decay or is there a future,” he told The Associated Press.

Republicans like to talk about bringing back old-fashioned values and such, so it's a little confusing why they would casually discard a program that restores historical structures. Their answer, which is becoming a pat response, is for government to "get out of the way" and let private investors do the work. I can tell you with absolute certainty that government is not standing in the way of investments in small towns or historical sections of larger cities. The truth is, those investments are simply waiting for a catalyst, and that catalyst is the government-sponsored refurbishing of key structures that will anchor the revitalization of a district.

Jim Womack puts on his bullying cap over anti-coal ash sign

"No more espresso shots for you!"

Kathy Addison, owner of Kathy’s Java Express in downtown Sanford, says Womack had coffee there on Thursday and after a quick trip to the restroom, entered the kitchen to ask to speak to the owner. Addison, who wasn’t in the cafe at the time, says Womack told her daughter she needed to take the coal ash sign (pictured above) down.

“He said it’d be in our best interest to take it from the window,” she said. “And if we didn’t, we’d lose his business, and he’d make sure we lost other people’s business as well.” Addison’s daughter filed a “communicating threats” complaint to the Sanford Police Department following Thursday’s ordeal.

Good for her, and shame on Womack for making the threat at all, much less to the daughter instead of the owner. Didn't we used to have a "Jackass of the Week" award here? Well, he wins it hands-down.

Against all better judgment, virtual charters coming to NC

And Wall Street investors are throwing a party:

Today’s anticipated vote of approval will be a significant change of the state board, which fought an attempt in the courts from the N.C. Virtual Academy to open up a virtual school three years ago.

If approved, the N.C. Virtual Academy (to be run by K12, Inc., NYSE:LRN) and N.C. Connections Academy (to be run by Connections Academy, owned by education giant Pearson, NYSE:PSO) will be able to enroll up to 1,500 students each from across the state, and send millions in public education dollars to schools run by private education companies.

Why "throw money" at NC's public schools, which graduate 80+% of their students, when you can piss away millions to out-of-state companies that often only achieve a 10% graduation rate? Because "Freedom." But the working poor better not get any ideas about taking part, because the GOP's irresponsibility is all-encompassing:

Coal Ash Wednesday: The contamination continues

The only thing that's ceased is the outrage and determination from lawmakers to fix the problem:

The more that the scientists look, the more problems they find – for example, arsenic in a drinking water reservoir, contaminated well water, fish kills, polluted groundwater. All are unnecessary.

Every day, 3 million gallons of polluted coal ash water flow into North Carolina rivers from Duke Energy’s coal ash lagoons. Every day, groundwater is being contaminated. Every day, there is the risk of another catastrophe. It is long past time for DENR and Duke Energy to act to clean up North Carolina’s coal ash mess and protect all 14 communities and rivers across North Carolina.

And the only thing lawmakers seem to be concerned about is losing ground in their efforts to suppress women's access to health care and LGBT rights. Once again, the GOP is allowing its misogyny and bigotry to draw their focus away from real dangers, and the citizens of NC are paying the price for that lack of concern. Meanwhile, the Duke Energy happy talk express is chugging right along:

State of hate address

Coal Ash Commission a model of ineptitude

Undermanned, underfunded, and painfully underqualified:

Under the Coal Ash Management Act, which established the commission, Duke Energy pays $2.4 million to the state ever year in order to pay for extra staff at both the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the commission. While the commission has been ordered to oversee DENR's work and develop rules for disposing of the ash, DENR gets first dibs on the funding under the current law.

That quirk, combined with the fact that Duke pays in quarterly installments, means that the commission will have little funding to work with this year. While it has been able to hire an executive director and a part-time lawyer, a second lawyer, an engineer and other staff members are on hold until the cash flow issue can be worked out.

Bolding mine. Having an executive director with nobody to direct is about as effective as buying a Rolls Royce without an engine. Looks nice sitting in your driveway, but it ain't going anywhere.


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