NCGA

More lies from the master himself

And this time McCrory's lying to the US Congress:

Gov. Pat McCrory was in sync with this talking-points paradox Monday when he testified before a U.S. House committee in Washington. McCrory’s budget proposal depends on $475 million in increased gas tax revenues that will be available only if the legislature adopts the Senate plan or something similar. But when he spoke about the state’s need for more transportation money, he touted the legislature’s push for a short-term gas tax cut.

“I just supported an effort … to reduce the gas tax,” McCrory told the House committee, pumping his hand in a palm-down gesture to emphasize the point. “I supported an effort to stabilize the current funding source that we have now.”

Call it what it is, Bruce. It's not a "paradox," it's an outright lie. A lie that started with Phil Berger in the NC Senate and has now made its way to Washington, DC. And the reason such a blatant falsehood has made it so far is because our media outlets can't bring themselves to challenge Republican leaders for their casual twisting of the truth. It would be funny if it wasn't so ominous.

McCrory praises state parks while slashing their budget

Another chorus of "to seem rather than to be.":

I attended a low-key ceremony at Umstead State Park in Raleigh where Gov. Pat McCrory eloquently described our 40 state parks as indicators of our quality of life and explained why “parks are important to people who are struggling.”

Apparently, the governor’s budget writers missed the speech. Two days later, McCrory released his budget, which proposes cutting appropriations for the parks’ operating budget by up to $3.3 million for 2015-16 and a whopping $7.1 million for fiscal year 2016-17.

This is par for the course for Republicans: A lot of happy talk praising something all citizens appreciate, soon followed by an attack on that something. And the fact that most television news outlets cover the former but fail to mention the latter has merely fueled that patently deceptive practice. Instead of getting paid, the parks people get a proclamation:

GOP overreach continues: Protecting out-of-control judges from the State Bar

Who said patronage was no longer in style:

Sen. Bill Cook, a three-term Republican legislator from Beaufort County, says he thinks Superior Court Judge Jerry Tillett shouldn’t have to risk losing his license to practice law because he was already sanctioned by the state Judicial Standards Commission.

The State Bar is basing its disciplinary case against the judge on the same issues that led to a sanction from the Judicial Standards Commission. The judge received a “public reprimand” two years ago for misuse of power in a dispute with the Kill Devil Hills police chief and the county’s district attorney.

Local politics can sometimes be messy, and there is more to this story than just an arrogant judge. But there is a limit to what behavior could/should be allowed behind the bench, unless we want to spiral even deeper into feudalism:

Protest petitions headed for the junk heap

Taking the power away from the people:

When property owners want to change the types of activities allowed on their land, they file for rezoning. In Vojta's example, Sheetz wanted to build a gas station on land that had been used for single-family homes. A protest petition allows neighbors of the property to slow down that process.

"I cannot think of a real reason why it should take more of a majority to pass a zoning change than for us to approve a constitutional amendment," Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, told the committee Thursday. If his bill were to pass, land use decisions would require a simple majority to pass, the same as tax increases and most other council decisions.

That's comparing apples and Orange Julius, Skip. The difference between a simple majority and a supermajority on a town/city council is one or two votes, whereas the Legislature the difference is a couple dozen votes. But since you bring that up, maybe you can explain why it (apparently) doesn't even require a majority of votes for some Republicans to declare if something passes or fails a vote:

The UNC Board of Goolsby?

There's apparently not enough fraud and misrepresentation on the BOG:

Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) nominated Goolsby for the position, according to the Senate Clerk's office.

Goolsby says he wants to make sure taxpayers get their money's worth from the UNC system by cutting wasteful spending. Goolsby says people deserve a huge return on investment from the UNC system.

Bolding mine. If the taxpayers were given a choice as to who would be safeguarding their investment in higher education, I doubt very seriously they would choose somebody who misled investors and has been barred from securities trading or advising for ten years:

The GOP's big-government free-for-all continues

Trinity's City Council on the chopping block:

Another bill has been filed in the General Assembly to restructure a local city council. State Rep. Pat Hurley (R-Randolph) filed a bill Tuesday that would shrink the size of the Trinity City Council, add an at-large member and reduce the length of council member terms to two years.

Councilman Chester Ayers, whose seat would be eliminated if the bill becomes law, said the council has had to make some tough decisions to cut spending, but he doesn’t see a community uproar about it. He said if residents don’t like his leadership, they can run against him in the fall. “This is a gripe of one or two people because they are not getting their way,” Ayers said. “It’s like any other town. Are you going to change our whole council because a couple of citizens — maybe one or two — are just not happy with the way things go?”

The short answer is, "yes." In the minds of Republicans, a handful of people is enough to warrant changes that affect all people. And the more the General Assembly meddles in the affairs of local governments, the more of these little local tyrants will pop up to exact revenge on local politicians who don't bow to their every desire.

GOP assault on higher ed continues

When party affiliation trumps performance:

They got Tom Ross. Now, they are going after Scott Rawls.

Under the Dome noted that Rawls, President of the North Carolina Community College System, is interviewing for a job as head of a college in Northern Virginia. Regardless of what he says publicly, my guess is that he is being pushed out. Republicans are in the process of purging Democrats and Democratic appointees from all levels of government and Rawls came to power before they were in control.

Can't help but get the feeling these moves represent more than just partisan house-cleaning. If Republicans are planning to execute some massive, radical funding cuts, it's best to do so after replacing education leaders who would have been outspoken opponents of such. It's a sign of the crazy times we're living in that I hope it's just partisan hackery, and not something more devastating.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

McCrory's victory dance will be short-lived:

Er, the Bergermeister hates losing, Pat. I'd lay heavy odds this will be appealed to the Supreme Court, and since the Legislature is in charge of funding the court system, methinks this ruling will be reversed...

Economic Development Partnership cloaked in secrecy

Concealing hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars offered to private corporations:

The partnership, an idea pushed by Gov. Pat McCrory, has been up and running for just under six months. Its enabling legislation and changes to the state’s public records laws create broader exceptions that allow more documents to be withheld.

John Lassiter of Charlotte, chairman of the group’s board, said he’s asked the partnership’s general counsel and CEO to study how they will handle public records. “I do understand there is some potential that if in fact a company is not relocating here, those records are not public,” Lassiter told the Observer. He said disclosing such records can hurt recruiters by revealing their “secrets” and making executives fear their communications with the state will become public.

If any of these Partnership big-wigs had a personal stockbroker who refused to reveal what/when/why/how much he was investing of their money, they would fire his ass and maybe take him to court. Well, guess what: It's our money these guys are playing around with, and if the Legislature has given them the authority to conceal that information from us, they all need to be fired, and maybe taken to court. We're not talking about peanuts here:

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