NCDP Clips for Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
SPAULDING OFFICIALLY A CANDIDATE FOR N.C. GOVERNOR (AP) — Democratic candidate Ken Spaulding officially entered the North Carolina governor’s race Monday more than two years after he first announced his 2016 bid, promoting his economic record while criticizing primary rival Roy Cooper on education.
RUCHO ASKS GOP TO INVESTIGATE MECKLENBURG CHAIRMAN (Charlotte Observer) – Republican Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews has asked North Carolina and Mecklenburg County GOP officials to investigate the county’s party chairman for allegedly recruiting a challenger to a sitting lawmaker.
BRAWLEY HAS BEEN A BURR UNDER GOP SADDLE (Charlotte Observer) — For the next three months, Republican Robert Brawley will be a royal pain in the side of Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina Republican Party. It’s a role he’s accustomed to. So far, the former lawmaker from Mooresville is McCrory’s only challenger in the March 15 primary.
WHY STATE LEGISLATURES ARE STILL PRETTY WHITE (Stateline) — “Blacks are still elected from districts that are predominantly black. Until there’s a time that blacks can run and win in districts that are not majority-minority, you won’t see significant increases in their representation.”
WIN COURTS, WIN WAR: HOW STATE SUPREME COURT ADVANCES PARTISAN AGENDA (N.C. Policy Watch) — Conservative justices hold a 4-3 majority on the ostensibly nonpartisan state Supreme Court and, as party operatives understand well, maintaining that edge has been critical to ensuring Republican control elsewhere throughout the state.
FORMER APPEALS COURT JUDGE RUNS FOR NC HOUSE (Raleigh News & Observer) — Former state Appeals Court Judge Joe John wants to challenge incumbent Republican Marilyn Avila in House District 40 in Wake County.
FEDERAL COURT TO SCRUTINIZE WAKE COUNTY ELECTION LINES (Raleigh News & Observer) — A long-awaited federal court trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday over the constitutionality of election maps that the General Assembly rewrote for the Wake County school board and board of commissioners, over the objections of both bodies.
POLICY & POLITICS
TRAFFIC STOP OF BLACK LEGISLATOR PROMPTS RECRIMINATIONS (AP) — A black lawmaker cited for failing to buckle his seat belt said Monday that the traffic stop fits a pattern of minorities treated with inordinate suspicion, while the North Carolina Troopers Association accused the legislator of bullying the patrolmen who stopped him.
MCCRORY ASKS FOR NEW I-77 TOLL LANE VOTE (Charlotte Observer) — Gov. Pat McCrory has told local transportation leaders to either approve or vote against the Interstate 77 toll lanes. In a letter sent Monday, McCrory asked members of the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization to reaffirm their support for the controversial toll lanes or “set in motion the necessary steps to create a new regional transportation plan.”
MEDICAID REFORM PLAN PRESENTS MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS (N.C. Health News) — Passage of the Medicaid reform bill in September only started the conversation on what the program that provides health care for close to 1.8 million North Carolinians will look like once it’s all said and done. Part 2 of our two-part analysis.
STATE EMPLOYEE RETIREE SHIFT TO MEDICARE APPEARS STALLED (Raleigh News & Observer) — State government retirees on Medicare were concerned last month about draft legislation that would shift them to Medicare Advantage plans available through the private market.
REPEAL CONSIDERED FOR NC TIER SYSTEM (TWCN-TV) — The Program Evaluation Division, which serves as a legislative watchdog group, released a report on Monday that says the low population/ high poverty adjustments in the current tier system create a false sense of which areas of the state actually need help.
OVER BURR’S OPPOSITION, SENATE APPROVES ‘TORTURE REPORT’ AUTHOR FOR ARMY POST (The Hill) — The Senate narrowly approved Alissa Starzak, President Obama’s nomination, to be the next general counsel of the Army on Monday evening, after months of controversy over her role in compiling a contentious review of the CIA’s former brutal interrogations. The opposition from Republicans — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (N.C.) — came despite pleas from former Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
ARMY PURSUES MILITARY TRIAL AGAINST BOWE BERGDAHL (Wall Street Journal) — The U.S. Army said it will move forward with general court-martial proceedings against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on charges that he deserted his unit in Afghanistan in 2009. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
STUDENTS STUDY EFECT OF DRUG ADDICITION ON FLAT WORMS (EdNC) — Some seventh-grade students in Martin and Pitt counties have found even the tiniest of creatures can become addicted to sugar and caffeine – and energy drinks can be lethal. That’s the outcome of the first of several studies with flatworms and the pharmacology of addiction funded through a four-year, $1.012 million grant from the National Institute of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse to researchers at East Carolina University and Temple University.
BUILDING RESILIENT CHILDEN BY CREATING COMPASSIONATE SCHOOLS (EdNC) — Mental health and social emotional issues of students are often the top concerns listed when school administrators are asked about what impacts school climate and student learning. Buncombe County Schools, under a U.S. Department of Education Elementary and Secondary School Counselor grant, is addressing the social/emotional needs of students by focusing on building resiliency through integration of trauma sensitive practices into a Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports framework.
FORT BRAGG SCHOOL WINS NATIONAL RECOGNITION (WRAL-TV) — A Fort Bragg elementary school has been named one of the top-performing schools in the country.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
RURAL TOWN MOCKED ON SOCIAL MEDIA AFTER PASSING SOLAR MORATORIUM (Raleigh News & Observer) — Story goes viral after local residents make outlandish anti-solar claims
- Irish Times — US town rejects solar panels saying they suck energy from sun
- The (U.K.) Independent — US town rejects solar panels amid fears they ‘suck up all the energy from the sun’
- Popular Mechanics — NC Citizens: Solar Power Will Steal Sun Energy From Poor, Poor Plants
- PC Magazine — NC Solar Fight Shows Why Tech World Can’t Reach the Trump Voter
- Vancouver Observer — Town rejects solar panels, citing fears they would ‘suck up’ sun’s energy and cause cancer
- The News of Australia – N.C. town petrified over solar panels accused of being ‘the dumbest in US’
- Hindustan Times — US town rejects solar farm, says it will absorb sunlight, kill plants
- TWCN-TV — NC Town Rejects Solar Farm, Saying They Suck Up Sun’s Energy
ESTIMATES OF OFFSHORE DRILLING’S BENEFITS EXAGGERATED (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) — A report released in 2013 by the American Petroleum Institute and the National Ocean Industries Association has often been cited by supporters of an Obama administration plan to open much of the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling. It projects that states along the coastline, including Virginia, would share in the creation of as many as 280,000 new jobs and stand to gain tens of billions of dollars in leasing revenue. But a report released Tuesday and prepared for the Southern Environmental Law Center contends that the potential economic benefits have been exaggerated and don’t take into account the potential loss of jobs in tourism, commercial fishing and other business sectors.
CORNING TO BUY POWER FROM NEW DUKE SOLAR FARM (WFAE-FM) — Corning Inc. is boosting its use of renewable energy in North Carolina through a big solar power deal announced Monday with a division of Charlotte-based Duke Energy. Duke Energy Renewables began construction earlier this year on an 80-megawatt solar farm in Conetoe, east of Rocky Mount in eastern North Carolina. When it’s finished later this month, it will be the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi.
SHIP’S OFFICERS INDICTED ON POLLUTION CHARGES (Coastal Review) — A federal grand jury has indicted two engineering officers on a container ship at the Wilmington port on nine counts of dumping oily waste into the ocean.
PARIS CLIMATE DEAL NEEDS SUPPORT FROM CONGRESS AND NC (Raleigh News & Observer editorial) — The big news out of Paris about a worldwide agreement on global warming gave a big stage to news coming out of Woodland, a small town in northeastern N.C. Heads of state agreed on fighting climate change by committing their nations to using more energy from renewable courses, but the Woodland town council was having no more of it. The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald reported that the council voted 3-1 against rezoning a property for a solar farm and passed a moratorium on future solar farms. The town has already accepted three.
FRACKING BRINGS STEEP DROPS IN HOME VALUES IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS (Duke U. News) — Home values decline steeply when fracking occurs in neighborhoods that use well water, says new research from Duke University. But the outcome differs in neighborhoods that rely on piped water, where home values rise slightly after shale-gas drilling occurs. The study, conducted in Pennsylvania, found that in areas using well water, home prices dropped by an average of $30,1676 when shale drilling occurred within a distance of 1.5 kilometers. Meanwhile, homes using piped water gained an average of $4,800 in value after shale wells opened nearby.
CAROLINA COMEBACK? MOST DON’T STILL BELIEVE IT (Greensboro News & Record column) – As Gov. Pat McCrory campaigns on his “Carolina comeback,” he’s got a problem. While there’s a statistical case to support claims that North Carolina’s economic recovery, overall, has been better than average, the problem for Republicans is that most North Carolinians don’t seem to believe it. One of the state GOP’s own polls, released last week by the Art Pope-backed Civitas Institute, found that only 14 percent of North Carolina respondents believe the recession is over.
TIME TO PAY NORTH CAROLINA’S TEACHERS THE MARKET RATE (Charlotte Observer) — Since we have small-government conservatives running Raleigh these days, you’d think all public-sector employees’ paychecks would be feeling the squeeze. Not so. It seems some public employees are created more equal than others. Namely, high-ranking executive types, especially those who handle large amounts of money or work closely with lawmakers.
LEGISLATIVE LEADERS LEAVING AND NEW TALENT NEEDED (Fayetteville Observer) — Help wanted. Must be willing to work for dirt-poor wages in return for the chance to run one of the biggest states in the country. Experience not required – well, OK, some political experience would be really useful. Apply at the Board of Elections.
DEATH IN POLICE CUSTODY: LAW ENFORCEMENT MUST RELEASE DETAILS (Winston-Salem Journal) — Regardless of what happens in other parts of this country, Winston-Salem police generally do their jobs justly. We hope that will prove to be the case with the death last week of Travis Nevelle Page in police custody. And we hope Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill will resolve public concern and questions by rapidly releasing footage of that incident from police body cameras, and that the SBI will do the same with preliminary autopsy results.