scharrison's blog

Blue Monday kicks off 120 seat strategy for retaking the General Assembly

Say hello to Army veteran and cancer warrior Dr. Rick Foulke:

Today, we rank 35th in teacher pay (41st in 2016) and 43rd in per capita student spending in the whole nation. Our quality teachers are leaving for other states every day because of low pay and lack of respect. Our politicians have played partisan games with our lives by refusing to expand Medicaid. As a physician, Rick Foulke saw first hand- every single day- how important it is to have access to quality healthcare.

Rick was successful because of his hard work and the opportunities afforded to him by the Army. Just as the Army invested in him, Rick believes we must invest in our best and brightest minds, regardless of race or income or social status.

I firmly believe we need to field more veterans as Democratic candidates, for both state and federal offices. And it's not just to swing votes, although I do believe it may be the best way to do that. It's also about integrity and self-discipline, which are traits sometimes hard to detect in more polished politicians. And it's also about representation: About 9% of North Carolinians are veterans, and we have a huge active duty military presence here, as well. They need to know the Democratic Party not only welcomes them, but values their experience and knowledge.

Wake County still battling with Legislature over electoral districts

At stake are Commissioner and School Board seats:

Election officials are asking a judge for permission to use old district lines for next year’s election of Wake County school board members and commissioners as a lawsuit continues to make its way through the court system.

In 2011, the school board and commissioners adopted new election districts that they expected would be used through 2020. But the General Assembly redrew the maps in 2013 to turn two Wake school board seats into regional districts, with each covering about half the county. In 2015, state lawmakers changed the Wake commissioner lines to match the school board districts.

This should really be a no-brainer; nothing of substance has changed since they were allowed to use the old maps in the 2016 Election. And something doesn't become "Constitutional" just because it's aged a couple years:

The Republican two-step: Same dance, different music

Billionaire trying to take over NC schools gave $50,000 to Dan Forest

And since Dan Forest will have a vote on who wins the contract, the conflict of interest is glaringly obvious:

John Bryan has contributed about $600,000 to legislative candidates in North Carolina, most of them Republicans, and GOP political committees from 2011 to 2016. Included is a $100,000 contribution to a group supporting GOP candidates for the state Supreme Court. He contributed $50,000 to a political action committee called Truth & Prosperity, set up to support Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Forest is a member of the State Board of Education, which will help select which companies are chosen.

Forest said in an interview earlier this year that he did not know why Bryan contributed to the PAC.

Whether you know or don't know why is beside the point; at minimum, you should recuse yourself from any actions dealing with the Innovative School District. But the best way to handle this would be to resign your seat on the State Board of Education entirely. Because make no mistake, this story is not going to "fade away" like you're hoping it will.

Judge cracks the whip on pork producer Murphy Brown

cafonightmare.jpg

That simply won't do, pig:

A federal judge is telling a major pork producer to live up to an agreement it signed 11 years ago and work on cleaning up water pollution tied to almost a dozen industry-scale hog operations.

U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm Howard this week ordered Murphy-Brown LLC to end a three-year delay and have a mutually agreed consultant develop plans to fix problems at 11 sites in in Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Pitt, Sampson and Scotland counties. Environmentalists say the independent expert found groundwater contamination or waste lagoon problems at the operations.

It's as good a time as any to report on NC's current hog population (9.2 million), which of course produce a hell of a lot more waste than the 10.2 million humans residing here. It's bad, and Murphy Brown is the worst of the worst:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The front lines in the war against democracy:

Here's a prediction, and one which I hope I get wrong: The November 2018 ballot will have painfully long lists of candidates for judicial districts, and after voters have been forced to slog through all those names with which they're not familiar, they will be given the choice to continue electing judges, or allow them to be appointed. Thus creating a new phenomenon, the "push ballot."

Durham moving forward with "Bike Boulevards" program for safety

Because two wheels are much better for you than four:

Bike boulevards, which have been created in cities like Portland, Ore. and Berkeley Calif., would turn some neighborhood streets across the urban core of Durham into preferred routes for the bicyclists – directing bikers off car-heavy streets and toward quieter routes. Durham is hoping to create at least 7 miles of these bike boulevards in the coming years to help safely move bicyclists more easily from north Durham to south Durham.

That “one-street-over” concept is currently exemplified by Watts Street in the Trinity Park neighborhood, which became the first bicycle boulevard in the city in 2016. On that street, the city has put pavement markings and street signs directing cyclists to use that road and letting motor vehicles know the street is a preferred bicycle route.

We've just begun to discuss something like this in my (relatively) small town, and (believe it or not) we have some challenges that Durham may not have. Our Main St. is just a stone's-throw away from a busy rail line, and we have two state highways that converge right in the middle of downtown. Coming up with alternate routes without taking bikers too far away from that hub has turned out to be not nearly as easy as I originally pictured. But since we're hoping to get more density in the downtown via mixed use (retail & residential), we need to figure it out pretty soon.

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