NC GOP

Meadows clueless on US House rules & regulations

Playing fast and loose with taxpayer dollars:

Rep. Mark Meadows’ decision to give his former chief of staff a lump-sum severance package with taxpayer dollars appears to be a violation of House rules, according to multiple Capitol Hill sources.

Larry Noble, an outside government ethics expert, said congressional staff “can only be paid for work done” or accrued leave, but not severance. “Severance is meant to be a lump-sum payment for work you did not do, (so) no, that would not be appropriate,” Noble said.

So that's HuffPo and Politico covering this issue, and still *crickets* from North Carolina news outlets. Meadows may be in DC, but Kenny West is back here in NC, likely huddled in the mountains looking through a crack in the drapes. Even if all you get is "no comment," at least ask the fricking questions.

Teacher turnover in Guilford County just under 15%

That's one out of every six or seven teachers who are walking away:

Guilford County Schools’ teacher turnover rate, 14.95 percent, is the highest since 2007-08, the first year of the recession. The turnover rate that year, 15.7 percent, is the highest during nearly two decades.

When asked about the reasons why teachers are leaving the classroom, some educators also point to teacher pay and a negative political climate around public education...The average salary for a public school teacher in Virginia is about $15,000 more than in North Carolina. And that’s just with a bachelor’s degree.

This is quite possibly the single biggest threat to the future of our state, and what does the Republican-led General Assembly do? They throw a one-time "bonus" at teachers, knowing they will get a healthy chunk of that money back in taxes, while they (once again) cut income taxes for the wealthiest North Carolinians. Their priorities are clear, regardless of rhetoric and data-twisted graphs, and the smarter the teacher is, the more likely he/she will see through the lies and make the decision to leave. So we're not just losing a percentage, were losing the sharp edge, as well.

Coal Ash Wednesday: The amazing disappearing fines

coalash.jpg

$18 million gone, unlike the Dan River coal ash, which is still there:

"This was a pennies-on-the-dollar settlement," Longest says. "And it raises serious concerns about whether [DEQ] is trying to protect the environment of North Carolina or trying to protect Duke from further litigation."

DEQ isn't saying much about the settlement, which also orders Duke to "accelerate" cleanup at four of its most faulty lagoons, in Asheville, Wilmington, Goldsboro and Belews Creek. Through a representative, DEQ Secretary Donald van der Vaart declined an interview request, directing the INDY instead to the agency's press statement.

Oh no, van der Vaart isn't going to answer any pesky questions, but he will take to the Op-Ed pages and pen a self-righteous rebuttal to any bad press he might receive. As far as that "protecting Duke from further litigation," if it looks and swims and quacks like a corporate duck, well. You know the rest. I was going to add something about how corporate ducks are prone to vicious attacks if you don't throw the bread fragments to them quickly enough, but that would be carrying the duck reference a little too far, so I'll leave that alone.

Group may take over Pittenger properties

And reporters have already lost the main thread of the story:

Charlotte-based South Street Partners is in talks to become the new manager of properties overseen by U.S. Rep Robert Pittenger’s former real estate firm.

Pittenger Land Investments identifies raw tracts in potential growth areas and gathers investors to buy the properties, which are held by limited liability companies. The goal over time is to make a return by selling the properties to developers.

No. That is their "stated" goal, but you skipped millions of dollars that Pittenger already made by scamming those investors. You guys just covered this a few months ago, and you need to keep this part of the story front and center:

Rampant sexual harassment in Mark Meadows' staff office

And he knew all about it:

According to a report in the Huffington Post on Monday, Meadows was told by multiple women about his chief of staff’s behavior in March. The report says Meadows barred West from his D.C. office but reassigned him to an office in the 11th congressional district, and continued paying him; West has since been released with a “sizable severance.”

The report says that payments made to West after the complaints were filed—a full of rate of $38,750 for the period of April 1 through June 30, and continued payment through August 15—could have violated House Ethics rules. The Foundation of Accountability and Civic Trust has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate West’s severance payment.

Gee, thanks. Send him back home so he can harass a whole new set of women, all the while drawing a six-figure salary from taxpayers. Many of whom are also women, by the way, which adds one more layer of WTF to this story. And once all the threads from this debacle get unraveled, Meadows himself may be the subject of ridicule:

Conflicts of interest abound in NC Fracking "regulation"

Starting with the suppression of local government:

Before adjourning their session last week, North Carolina lawmakers passed a law prohibiting towns, cities and counties from adopting any regulations or ordinances on natural gas drilling or the controversial practice commonly known as fracking.

The provision appears to have put the kibosh on efforts by the city of Sanford and the Lee County commissioners, who had wanted to consider additional regulations of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

For those who have been following this issue closely, it will come as no surprise that Lee County is the epicenter of this legal earthquake. Between coal ash dumps and being in the crosshairs of frackers due to likely shale deposits, citizens are understandably concerned. But it's also home to a small group of influential pro-frackers determined to enrich themselves and their friends, no matter the environmental cost:

Blistering editorial on #NCGA big-government bullying tactics

And the courage of those who stood up to them:

Before ending its session early Wednesday morning, members of the legislature took one more crack at government overreach, trying to pass measures that would limit the authority and decision-making ability of local city and county governments. And they did so through underhanded methods that should put them to shame.

Fortunately, watchdogs from the media and advocacy groups, as well as other legislators, were paying attention, and the Rules Committee killed the bill.

Unfortunately, there have been many more bills that weren't killed in Committee, that passed floor votes, and were signed by the Governor, that were just as deserving of shame as this piece of Legislation. Including this unnecessarily cruel attack on unemployed hungry people:

Art Pope's crusade against Eastern NC wind farm

Sure to earn him kudos at the next Koch Brothers retreat:

Jillanne Gigi Badawi and her husband Stephen Owens, residents of Perquimans County, are asking the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings to force state regulators to subject the Amazon wind project to a new regulatory review. The couple is being aided by the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank that has criticized renewable energy as a costly boondoggle.

Iberdrola has secured about a dozen permits, approvals and certificates for the wind farm. They include the N.C. Utilities Commission, state erosion-control and storm-water permits, county conditional use permits, and approval from the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse.

Talk about hypocrisy. Renewable energy apparently has the dubious honor of being the only business sector that faux-Libertarians in JLF and Civitas believe is not regulated enough. Maybe the puppets need another lecture from el Presidente John Hood:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - NC GOP