Daily dose

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


HEALTH CARE EXEC'S FIERY TONE SPOTLIGHTS LEGIT FRUSTRATION: It would be easy to dismiss the intemperate letter from a Greensboro-based Cone Health official to State Treasurer Dale Folwell and members of the State Health Plan Trustees as just a hot-head popping off. But it is more than that. Why would someone with the stature of Frank Kauder, assistant director of finance for Cone Health, write such a letter – inappropriate as it was? It was exasperation and immense frustration. He is not alone. His vexation is shared by both the health care community and North Carolina citizens. They see an attack on the state’s health care system that will tear it down, not improve quality, expand access to services or make them more affordable. He worries that the financial future of Cone healthcare -- and therefore its ability to serve the needs of its community -- is being jeopardized.

Saturday News: Partisan fingerprints


HOFELLER'S MAPS USED COLOR CODE TO GUIDE GOP GERRYMANDERING: Christopher Cooper, a professor at Western Carolina University and expert witness for the challengers in the gerrymandering case, took the judges, lawyers and members of the public in court Friday through the Hofeller files. Cooper pointed specifically to two factors in the files that he said showed Hofeller worked hard to make sure the legislative districts would give Republicans an unfair partisan edge. Hofeller color-coded the state’s political leanings, Cooper said, using a traffic light system of green for Republican areas, yellow for tossup areas, and red for Democratic areas. His color-coding went down to the neighborhood level, broken up into individual voting precincts. “It shows that partisanship was front and center,” Cooper said.

Friday News: Virtual failure


NC SENATE SET TO BOOST ENROLLMENT OF VIRTUAL CHARTERS DESPITE "D" GRADES: The Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would, among other things, get rid of the enrollment cap on one of the state’s two virtual charter schools and allow it to grow its population by 20 percent annually if it so chose. While there was no debate on the Senate floor Tuesday, legislative proponents of the bill have said that the schools attract “struggling students” and shouldn’t have a cap that artificially cuts off the number of such students who can use the resource. Opponents, however, point to the schools’ poor performance and trouble with virtual charter schools in other states as reasons not to let the schools grow easily. The North Carolina Association of Educators and the NC Justice Center sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper Tuesday asking him to veto the legislation.

Thursday News: Voucher birds of a feather

BETSY DEVOS AND DAN FOREST PITCH FEDERAL PRIVATE SCHOOL PROGRAM: DeVos made her presentation at a meeting co-chaired by Forest and attended by school-choice advocates. Forest, a Republican, praised the program as a way to customize educational opportunities like his family did when they homeschooled their four children. “Every parent should have the opportunity to select the best educational opportunity for their student, whatever it may be,” Forest said. The program, which DeVos first announced in February, faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled Congress. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, has called the plan “dead on arrival” and a case of DeVos “pushing an anti-public school agenda,” the Associated Press reported.

Wednesday News: How very Trump of him


NEWBY DESCRIBES FELLOW JUSTICES AS A "BUNCH OF AOC'S" AT RALLY: Newby keyed on new Justice Anita Earls in particular, though not by name, bringing up her election last year following a race that drew heavily partisan players and millions in political spending. "I lose sleep at night thinking, what would it be like if we had no one to hold accountable those that want to cause social change through our judicial branch," Newby said. "In 2018, the left put $1.5 million to get their 'AOC' person on the court." Newby's comments were recorded, then sent Tuesday to WRAL News. Newby did not return a message left for him in his chambers at the Supreme Court, but political adviser Paul Shumaker called back, saying the judge was on a family vacation this week. Shumaker said Newby was giving "an example of ideological differences, not direct reference to anyone."

Tuesday News: This is how it's done:

NC DEMOCRATS SOUND OFF ON TRUMP'S RACIST TWEETS: “Just when you think he can’t go any lower, he does it. What is he saying? He seems to be saying these aren’t really full-fledged Americans. He’s saying they came from somewhere else or they need to go back to where they came from,” said Rep. David Price, of Chapel Hill, in a telephone interview. “It is racist and it’s demeaning.” Said Charlotte Rep. Alma Adams, who is black, in a statement: “It’s been more than 24 hours since the President’s hateful, un-American tweets, and there has been no apology. Instead, the President has doubled down on his dangerous rhetoric, proving that he is a racist who is unfit to serve.” Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called it “deplorable, disturbing, divisive and dangerous.” Butterfield, of Wilson, said Trump’s “continuous racist and hateful rhetoric is wrong and only weakens us as a nation. America’s diversity is our strength and should be celebrated.”

Monday News: Energy & Focus

MEREDITH CUOMO CHOSEN AS NCDP'S NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The former finance director of the North Carolina Democratic Party will now step into the group's top job. The party said in a statement Saturday that Meredith Cuomo will serve as its new executive director. The statement says Cuomo has nearly two decades of experience working to elect Democrats in North Carolina. She has overseen multimillion-dollar budgets and much of the party's day-to-day work. She was also previously the finance director for the N.C. Senate Democratic Caucus. Meredith graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999, and served as a Director at United way and as a paralegal before working with the Democratic Party.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


WHEN LEGISLATORS SAY THERE ISN'T MONEY, THEY MEAN CORPORATE TAX CUTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT: Corporate tax collections were nearly $1.33 billion in the 2014 budget year. This year collections will be about half that. If corporate tax revenues simply remained the same as they were in 2014, there would have been an additional $2.3 billion available for important needs over the last five years. While Rep. Horn observed: “We simply don’t have the money,” he’s not quite correct. The money is there. It is just that Horn and most of his fellow legislators would rather not spend it on programs that, say help children get ready to learn when they start school. It’s far more important to spend it on tax cuts for businesses. Don’t believe it? Just check with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

Saturday News: Indiscriminate


ICE ROUND-UPS OF NON-CRIMINAL IMMIGRANTS SKYROCKET IN SOUTHEAST: “ICE continues to focus its enforcement efforts on criminal offenders,” ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said in a statement to the Observer this week. “Claims of any type of random or indiscriminate enforcement by this agency are not accurate.” But in the Southeast, ICE has steadily been arresting more immigrants who lack a criminal record, according to an Observer analysis of data released by the agency last week. The Atlanta office for the agency, which oversees Georgia and the Carolinas, has not changed the number of people it detains each year across the region in the current administration: Since at least fall 2017, it apprehended about 1,230 immigrants each month. (Arrest numbers, however, are down from the early 2010s under President Obama.) In the past year and a half, though, the percentage of those arrested who lack criminal convictions or pending charges has been rising steadily, up almost 50% in the past two years for the Atlanta field office, from 7.75% to over 11.5%.

Friday News: Harm Reduction

NC LEGISLATURE PASSES BILL ALLOWING GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR NEEDLE EXCHANGES: The Opioid Epidemic Response Act, which passed the state Senate, was ratified by the House this week and now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper, will allow syringe exchanges to use state funding. It also will decriminalize drug-testing equipment and reduce restrictions for prescribing buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid addiction. Jesse Bennett is the statewide overdose-prevention coordinator for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a nonprofit that works on issues like injection drug use through activities like advocacy and connecting people to the care they need. In the three years since syringe exchanges became legal, Bennett said they have gone from distributing a few thousand syringes a year to nearly a million. And the syringes are one of the most expensive pieces of the job. “That’s where we’re we struggle the most,” Bennett said. He said they have to be conservative with how many they can give out at times. “It’s scary sometimes, especially when you have hepatitis or HIV outbreaks,” Bennett said.


Subscribe to RSS - Daily dose