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Tuesday News: Stacking the courts


NC GOP CONVENES COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL GERRYMANDERING TODAY: A House committee discussing redrawing voting districts for trial court judges and district attorneys holds its second meeting Tuesday. A wholesale redraw hasn't occurred in more than 60 years. Republicans say redistricting would create fairer districts. Democrats argue it's a pretense for GOP gerrymandering. Any House-approved redistricting would still have to clear the Senate. It also would be subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto stamp. One idea floated among Republicans would link approval of new maps to a proposed constitutional amendment sought by some senators to change the way the state chooses judges, which today is through partisan elections.

Monday News: Preying on the weak


DALE FOLWELL GOES AFTER DISABLED RETIREES TO COLLECT OVER-PAYMENTS: Carla Shuford thought a call from the state treasurer’s office telling her to look for an important letter was a hoax, but the reality hit her the next day with a notice that the state had been putting too much in her disability checks for more than 10 years, and now it planned to collect. She is one of 60 former state employees who have to return money because audits found mistakes in their disability payments. “You’re picking on the most vulnerable people,” she said. “You know they don’t have the wherewithal to fight.” State Treasurer Dale Folwell said the office is required by law to get back money when it pays out too much. “We’re sorry for this lady’s disability,” he said. “This is something our administration didn’t do. We discovered it and now we have the responsibility to fix it.”

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO END GOVERNING BY WHIM, DECREE AND AMBUSH: Unfortunately the autocratic behavior of legislative leaders is now reflected by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors – who are appointed by the legislature – in its latest effort to tell UNC President Margaret Spellings how to organize her office. Again, all done without any prior consultation with those most impacted. Again and again, the current legislative leaders preach that government should be operated like a business. But no well run business operates – or survives – the way Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore try to run the state. Their primary motivations are settling fictitious scores with Democrats like Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein. They must change and be more deliberative and open. If not, even the most severe gerrymandering won’t blind voters to the malfeasance on display over the last nine years.

Saturday News: Free-market bigotry


CIVITAS AFFILIATED WEBSITE LINKS TO ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACK ON AG JOSH STEIN: The conservative Civitas Institute is facing criticism for its website linking to an article that says Attorney General Josh Stein’s stance on immigration is due to his Jewish faith. The article Plott Hound promoted as its lead headline says Stein joined a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA because he “is acting in accordance with the worldview and ethnic interests of his own particular group – i.e., those within contemporary Judaism. Stein is a reform Jew. Those from within his own ethnic group want the Christian majority with roots in western countries to be numerically diluted.” DACA is the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that has protected immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

Friday News: Snowflake almost melts


GOP REP MIKE CLAMPITT CALLED RACIST DURING TOWN HALL: One woman called the Republican from Bryson City a racist, The Mountaineer reported. The woman, Mary Jane Curry, confronted Clampitt about his views on displaying the Confederate flag at the Canton Labor Day Parade, even breaking out a photo of Clampitt standing with men holding the flags and one of them wearing a Confederate uniform, according to The Mountaineer. Clampitt maintained that he condemns racism, and that the Confederate flag “has not always been associated with that.” He went on to tell a story of how years ago as a fire captain in Charlotte he denied one of his superior’s demands to unfairly discipline a black firefighter, according to the Smoky Mountain News. That led another woman, Doreen Carroll, to tell Clampitt, “There is nothing you can say that is going to convince me you’re not racist.” But Carroll’s remark led Clampitt to take a deep breath and left him on the verge of tears, the Smoky Mountain News reported.

Thursday News: Head in the sand


COASTAL REAL ESTATE BROKERS CONTINUE TO FIGHT SEA LEVEL RISE WARNINGS: All along the coast of the southeast United States, the real estate industry confronts a hurricane. Not the kind that swirls in the Atlantic, but a storm of scientific information about sea-level rise that threatens the most lucrative, commission-boosting properties. These studies warn that Florida, the Carolinas and other southeastern states face the nation’s fastest-growing rates of sea level rise and coastal erosion — as much as 3 feet by the year 2100, depending on how quickly Antarctic ice sheets melt. “This is very concerning,” said Willo Kelly, who represents both the Outer Banks Home Builders Association and the Outer Banks Association of Realtors and led a six-year battle against state sea-level-rise mapping in North Carolina. “There’s a fear that some think tank is going to come in here and tell us what to do.”

Wednesday News: New Queen in Queen City

VI LYLES DEFEATS JENNIFER ROBERTS IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR CHARLOTTE MAYOR: Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles Tuesday won the Democratic mayoral nomination by upsetting Mayor Jennifer Roberts – a polarizing leader who made national headlines over House Bill 2. Lyles, a former city budget director and assistant city manager, won in virtually every corner of the city, from the northwest to the southeast. She carried African-American precincts off Beatties Ford Road as well as those in Myers Park and Dilworth. She faces Republican Kenny Smith in November. State Sen. Joel Ford was a distant third, followed by Lucille Puckett and Constance Partee Johnson. Turnout was about 8 percent.

Tuesday News: Fighting disaster with more disaster


REPUBLICAN HURRICANE RELIEF WILL LIKELY CUT INTO OTHER PROGRAMS: Repairing the damage from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey could cost hundreds of billions of dollars at a time when Republicans in Congress are reluctant to spend much on anything, particularly without a way to pay for it. It could make passing disaster relief funding in the future a politically toxic exercise, even in the era of unified GOP government. Lawmakers last week sent legislation to the president’s desk providing more than $15 billion in storm relief funds, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency said should be sufficient to provide disaster relief for at least a few months. The measure may postpone the next debate over how much Congress should spend, but it doesn’t remove the possibility of a bitter political battle, with the administration expected to ask for as many as four emergency funding requests. “There’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘We’re running out of money so we’ll fill up the coffers,’ and coming back to the appropriations process later” to find offsets, Sanford explained. “It doesn’t have to be perfectly timed.”


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