NCGA

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:

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.

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."

UNC Board of Governors contemplating move out of Chapel Hill

Apparently they're afraid of those notorious Liberal Cooties:

At both the October committee meeting and November’s full board meeting, members discussed a perception that having the general administration staff in Chapel Hill confuses the UNC system and UNC-Chapel Hill. It also makes it look as though the Chapel Hill campus is superior to the other schools, they said.

“That’s a very minor part of this, but it’s still a consideration,” Kotis admits. “Are we the Board of Governors for the UNC Chapel Hill or the UNC system? What does it say about the link between UNCGA and Chapel Hill? Is it the favorite school? It’s like having your house near one kid’s house but not the other.”

Dude, it's the Flagship University. It was the first public University chartered by the NC Legislature in 1789, and the first public University in the *entire country* operating when it opened its doors in 1795. By contrast, it wasn't until 1931 that a "Board of Trustees" was formed to oversee the combination of three state-chartered universities (UNC-CH, UNC-G, NC State), and the BOG itself didn't materialize until 40 years after that. So yes, UNC Chapel Hill is the natural location for such a body. But this move may have a lot more to do with having an antsy real estate developer on the Board than even ideological considerations:

Burrowing mole van der Vaart finally quits his self-appointed job at DEQ

vandervaartjlf.jpg

And complains about behavior he's guilty of himself:

The former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Quality has resigned from the state agency after being put on paid administrative leave nearly a month ago. Donald van der Vaart, who was first in command under the Republican administration of former Gov. Pat McCrory, sent a letter to his successor as secretary, Michael Regan, on Tuesday saying he would retire after 23 years.

“The state has traditionally found it difficult to recruit young people without the added specter of politicization of science and law,” van der Vaart said in closing his letter. “Sadly, that specter is now clearly visible.”

If you want to see a prime example of science being politicized, here's van der Vaart attacking Roy Cooper and promoting Pat McCrory when it was only rumored that Cooper was thinking of a Gubernatorial bid:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

One of the biggest swindles in history is happening right in front of our noses:

I honestly don't really care if my taxes go up or down, my main concern is the likelihood they will target Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security disability to balance their twisted books. Putting lives at risk just so the wealthy can afford a second yacht makes me want to break something.

Ralph Hise leads latest GOP attack on teacher's union

First you thin their ranks, then you question their membership numbers:

The legislature started requiring the audits in 2014, after a different Republican-backed law targeting the NCAE was struck down in court as unconstitutional. But each year, the NCAE simply refuses to cooperate. “... It certainly appears NCAE is refusing to respond because it does not meet the requirement and is violating the law,” Republican Sen. Ralph Hise said in an email. Hise is a critic of the NCAE who was a driving force behind the audit requirement.

The NCAE says it doesn’t have to comply with the audit. “The NCAE believe the law as written and being implemented by the state Auditor is overly intrusive in violation of the constitutional rights of the association and its members and further exceeds the authority of the state Auditor,” the group wrote in a letter to state officials earlier this year.

As usual, this is just another end-around attempt by Republicans to get something the courts refused to allow them, the discontinuation of payroll-deducted membership dues. But what nobody seems to want to talk about: Membership in the NCAE is voluntary. As in, the teachers in question have agreed to pay these dues, and are fine with that method of payment. This isn't just an attack on the NCAE as a monolithic entity, it's an attack on the individual teachers themselves. And frankly, Ralph Hise is the last person who should be criticizing people over non-compliance:

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