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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DOES THE NC GOVERNOR STILL HAVE ANY POWER? NOT IF THE LEGISLATURE HAS ITS WAY: “We’re strongly urging all North Carolinians to reject this backdoor effort that would lead to manipulation and cronyism in an institution that must remain fair, independent and impartial.” As McCoy noted, the amendment could lead to court packing to shift the balance of the court. Democrats have a 4-3 majority on the N.C. Supreme Court. If that holds after the November election, Republicans could add two seats with candidates named by the legislature. Republicans have denied they have any such plan but that would be consistent with their previous actions, including cutting three seats on the N.C. Court of Appeals to reduce Gov. Cooper’s chances of making appointments to the second-highest court. Republican legislators say the constitutional amendment is needed to take the politics out of judicial appointments. Excuse us if we —and the former governors and chief justices — are skeptical of their motives. This constitutional amendment would make any flaws in the current system worse. It should be rejected.
https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article220177520.html

Saturday News: Carrion birds of a feather

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TRUMP TO HEADLINE CHARLOTTE RALLY FOR MARK HARRIS: President Donald Trump will campaign in Charlotte next week for Republican 9th Congressional District candidate Mark Harris, a senior state GOP official said Friday. Trump will be in the Queen City next Friday for a 7 p.m. rally at Bojangles' Coliseum. Harris, who knocked off Congressman Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary in May, faces Democrat Dan McCready and Libertarian Jeff Scott in the upcoming election. Democrats view the seat as a potential flip for them as they seek to erode some of the GOP dominance in the U.S. House. A recent poll commissioned by the conservative Civitas Institute showed McCready with a 4-point lead, but the results were within the margin of error, meaning it remains a toss-up.
https://www.wral.com/trump-to-campaign-in-charlotte-for-nc-congressional-candidate/17927263/

Friday News: Unfair and partial

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NC REPUBLICAN ELECTION OFFICIAL RESIGNS AFTER LOONY FACEBOOK RANT: Cornelia Cree, a Republican member of the Haywood County Board of Elections, submitted her resignation late Tuesday at the urging of GOP party leaders. A vote to remove her from office was on the Wednesday agenda for the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, but the item was removed shortly before the meeting. In Cree's Facebook post, dated Sept. 18 but deleted Wednesday, she asserted that Democrats are seeking "the legalization of pedophilia" to protect the Catholic Church and that "Democrats push open borders because the largest group of illegals are Catholic which statistically vote Democrat." In addition to being offensive to several groups of people, the post is also illegal under state law, which governs elections officials' public conduct.
https://www.wral.com/western-nc-elections-official-out-after-salacious-facebook-post/17924843/

Thursday News: The stink of desperation

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HOPING XENOPHOBIA WILL GIVE HIM A BOOST, HOLDING ATTACKS COLEMAN OVER "SANCTUARY CITIES": State leaders outlawed sanctuary cities in North Carolina in 2015, but that hasn’t kept the issue off the airwaves in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. Incumbent Republican George Holding is trying to fend off a challenge from Democrat Linda Coleman in the district, which spans several counties around Raleigh. Holding recently released video and radio ads claiming Coleman supports sanctuary cities, with an example of how he maintains they hurt the community. Holding’s ad tells the story of Udiel Aguilar-Castellanos, though it does not mention his name. The video ad says “an illegal immigrant sexually assaulted a child in Carrboro. ICE wanted to deport him, but Orange County released him — like a sanctuary city. Linda Coleman supports sanctuary cities. George Holding opposes sanctuary cities that protect criminals.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article220150245.html

Wednesday News: Unconstitutional x2

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3-JUDGE PANEL RULES AGAINST REPUBLICAN CHANGES TO BOARD OF ELECTIONS: The government board that oversees elections in North Carolina is unconstitutional, a panel of judges ruled on Tuesday — just weeks before Election Day in the 2018 midterms, and only a day before the start of early voting throughout the state. However, the judges recognized the timing and ruled that the N.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement can continue operating as-is, until after the elections are over and the votes are counted. The laws struck down as unconstitutional were put in place by the Republican-led General Assembly in 2017 and 2018 and limited the authority of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The laws were passed to replace previous legislation passed in December 2016, a month after Cooper won the election, that was also struck down as unconstitutional.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article220125290.html

Tuesday News: Now that's more like it

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FLORENCE RECOVERY BILL PASSES, BRINGING FUNDING UP TO $850 MILLION: $65 million to draw down federal disaster recovery dollars that will go to victims of the storm, plus another $23 million for a homeowner repair and rehabilitation fund. $10 million to help develop new affordable housing. $65 million to draw down federal transportation funding. $60 million to help repair K-12 schools. $30 million to repair university campuses, particularly in Wilmington, Pembroke and Fayetteville, and $5 million for community colleges. $8.5 million to stabilize community college budgets and offset enrollment declines in the wake of the flooding. Scholarships of up to $1,250 per student per semester for university and community college students affected by the storm. $2 million for mosquito spraying programs. $20 million to help local governments make repairs and replace vehicles or other equipment.
https://www.wral.com/legislature-approving-800-million-in-florence-relief/17918141/

Monday News: Voters beware

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CAMPAIGN FINANCE HEARING FOR RALPH HISE POSTPONED UNTIL AFTER ELECTION: Hise has been under investigation by the agency since March 2017, when Greg Flynn, a government watchdog in Raleigh, filed complaints with the NCSBE alleging the senator pocketed roughly $10,000 from his campaign account. Earlier this month, the board announced it would consider the complaint against Hise at its meeting on Wednesday, October 17. Days later, an attorney for Hise requested the hearing be postponed because Hise’s mother—Shirley Hise, who served as his campaign treasurer during the period of time under investigation by the board—is hospitalized and undergoing treatment for cancer. “This past Tuesday, Ms. Hise was admitted to Mission Hospital—St. Joseph Campus in Asheville due to complications from her cancer treatments,” the letter from Hise’s attorney, Steven Long, said. “She is not able to walk and currently has serious health issues that will not allow her to come to Raleigh on October 17 to appear at the hearing.”
https://www.wbtv.com/2018/10/14/elections-chairman-ordered-hearing-candidate-complaint-before-invest...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DEMAND LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES PLEDGE TO END PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING: This is not about Republicans or Democrats. It is about elections reflecting the will of the voters. The current system is unfair. It needs to change. Unfortunately, the leadership of the illegally-constituted majority of the legislature refuses to budge. They have bullied, fought, obstructed and procrastinated to maintain the illegal districts. Bipartisan calls for reform have fallen on deaf ears. Efforts to advance proposals for the development of a non-partisan system of drawing congressional and legislative district lines have been blocked from any consideration. This coming election offers the best opportunity yet for voters to take direct action and elect state and federal representatives who will press to reform the way we draw congressional and legislative district maps.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-demand-legislative-candidates-pledge-to-end-partisan-gerrymandering/1...

Saturday News: It's never too late

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UNC CHANCELLOR CAROL FOLT ISSUES APOLOGY FOR SLAVERY: “As chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I offer our university’s deepest apology for the profound injustices of slavery, our full acknowledgment of the strength of enslaved peoples in the face of their suffering, and our respect and indebtedness to them,” Folt said. “And I reaffirm our university’s commitment to facing squarely and working to right the wrongs of history so they are never again inflicted.” She said the university must continue to reconcile its past with its present. The university also announced earlier this month that it will change the name on a plaque at Kenan Memorial Stadium to distance the university from William Rand Kenan Sr., who was involved in the Wilmington racial violence of 1898. The plaque on the stadium will be altered to honor William Rand Kenan Jr., Kenan Sr.’s son.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article219913965.html

Friday News: Tipping the scales

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JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS AMENDMENT LEAST LIKELY TO PASS: Voters have the chance to decide whether the governor should have sole discretion filling judicial vacancies, or if the legislature should have a role in the process. While supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to give the legislature a role say it would help cut down partisanship on the court and increase diversity on the bench, opponents argue the amendment is another example of legislative overreach. It’s one of the two amendments that are opposed by all five living former governors and six retired chief justices of the state Supreme Court. A recent poll from Spectrum News/SurveyUSA found that 36 percent of those polled were against the judicial appointments amendment, and 35 percent were for it. More than a quarter of those polled — 29 percent — were undecided. It was the least popular of the six constitutional amendments in the poll.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article219843730.html

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