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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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COOPER'S VETO PEN THWARTS LEGISLATIVE WRECKING CREW: For Cooper, his achievements came most in the wreckage he stopped than any show-piece victories. But don’t think it is without significance. Legislative leaders are unrelenting in their efforts to slash away at state government’s revenue base and leaving it unable to meet its fiduciary responsibility to ALL its citizens – not just corporate taxpayers. That responsibility includes access to a quality education for EVERY child; access to basic health care for EVERY family; a clean and healthy environment for ALL residents and the opportunity for good quality of life for all citizens. Cooper blocked further efforts to slash business taxes – this time reducing and even eliminating – the franchise tax that would have cut state revenues $1 billion over five years.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-cooper-s-veto-pen-thwarts-legislative-wrecking-crew/18776802/

Saturday News: It's Super Tuesday, not Black Friday

BLOOMBERG SPENDING MILLIONS ON NC CAMPAIGN ADS: After weeks on the sidelines of the Democratic race, the billionaire businessman filed federal campaign paperwork Thursday, and he's already spending millions on TV ads in North Carolina and other states holding March 3 "Super Tuesday" primaries. "To put not too fine a point on it, I think he’s lighting his money on fire," Steve Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University, said Friday. "I think he has virtually no chance." Greene said Bloomberg isn’t adding anything new to the Democratic slate aside from his almost bottomless pockets. "You just cannot buy yourself an election, especially in primaries," he said. Bloomberg appears to be skipping the early primary states entirely, Greene says, hoping that a money bomb in Super Tuesday states could net him enough Democratic delegates – 40 percent of total delegates are up for grabs in 14 primaries from Maine to California – to make him a serious contender.
https://www.wral.com/bloomberg-ads-could-soon-heat-up-presidential-race-in-nc/18786394/

Friday News: Authoritarianism

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SECRET SERVICE INVESTIGATES NC HIGH SCHOOL IMPROV JOKE ABOUT TRUMP? A complaint about a North Carolina student’s joke went all the way to the Secret Service, officials say. A high school improv club was performing when a student made “inappropriate comments,” Surry County Schools said. “The improvisation was not rehearsed, pre-planned, or meant to be taken seriously, however, the joke was in poor taste,” the school district said in a statement. The comment was forwarded to the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, which teamed up with the Secret Service to review the case, according to the post. Capt. Scott Hudson said his department had received “several complaints” about the performance, the Winston-Salem Journal reported last week. “We will take any appropriate disciplinary action once we have all of the facts,” the district said earlier this week.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article237632269.html

Thursday News: Hold up, Gerry

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JUDGES DELAY CANDIDATE FILING IN NC CONGRESSIONAL RACES: Candidates wanting to run in North Carolina’s newly redrawn U.S. House districts may have to wait a bit longer than they thought to file for office. The filing period for candidates running for statewide office in 2020 opens Dec. 2 at noon. But a panel of state court judges will meet that day at 9 a.m. to consider the next steps for North Carolina’s congressional map. The court said Wednesday evening that no one can file to run for U.S. House until the court says so. The state’s primary election is scheduled for March 3. Republicans hold 10 of the state’s 13 seats in the U.S. House. Under the new map, Democrats are expected to gain two additional seats, making an 8-5 split. But challengers in the court case indicated immediately after the maps were passed that they would challenge them again.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article237598754.html

Wednesday News: Another one bites the dust

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PITTSBORO CONFEDERATE STATUE TAKEN DOWN OVERNIGHT: The Confederate monument outside the Chatham County courthouse was taken down overnight, with crews removing the base early Wednesday. About 50 people who supported and opposed the monument gathered in downtown Pittsboro as the work began Tuesday night. The statue was taken off its base around 2 a.m. Wednesday, and the base was removed around 5:30 a.m. “It’s heartbreaking,” Robert Butler, a supporter of the monument, said as crews worked overnight. “A statue’s never hurt a soul, just like a grave memorial. Do they hurt anybody?” Anderson Ritter disagreed. “It represents stuff that never really should have happened, and it kind of memorializes and makes it seem good,” Ritter said. “I and other people don’t agree with that.”
https://www.wral.com/confederate-monument-is-removed-from-downtown-pittsboro/18779547/

Monday News: Escalation

VIOLENCE BREAKS OUT IN PITTSBORO OVER CONFEDERATE STATUE: The arrests began late Saturday morning, when police took away two men in handcuffs after a fight on East Street next to the traffic circle that surrounds the statue and the Chatham County Historic Courthouse at the center of town. Chatham County sheriff’s deputies and Pittsboro police shut down that section of the street to traffic for roughly 30 minutes. Allan Wayne Hall, 52, was charged with inciting a riot and simple affray, while Calvin James Megginson, 29, was charged with simple assault, according to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office. A third man, Robert Butler, 63, was also arrested and charged with inciting a riot, the sheriff’s office said. All three men live in Pittsboro.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/chatham-county/article237438204.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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EDUCATORS BACK COOPER'S PAY RAISE VETO, LAWMAKERS MUST DO BETTER: Under the bill, teachers with 0-15 years experience would not have received any raise this year. Teachers with 16-20 years would see only $50 more a month before taxes. Teachers from 21-24 years of experience would get $150 more a month, while our most dedicated veterans with 25 years or higher would have salaries raised $60 a month. For school year 2020-21, teachers with 0-15 years would again get nothing, and teachers with 16 years or more would all get another $50 a month. As bad as this deal would have been for teachers, it would have been downright insulting for our non-certified staff and retirees. The vetoed legislation provided no cost of living adjustment for retired educators and would have increased pay for bus drivers, cafeteria employees, custodians and other classified employees by just $15-20 a month.
https://www.wral.com/justin-parmenter-educators-back-cooper-s-pay-raise-veto-lawmakers-must-do-bette...

Saturday News: $6.5 Million wasted

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GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION FINALLY ENDS, WITH LITTLE ACCOMPLISHED: The second-longest legislative session in North Carolina history has finally ended, but it likely will be remembered for what was left undone rather than what was accomplished. Lawmakers adjourned Friday after adopting a new congressional district map and filling a vacancy on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. The map, which still must be approved by a state court, passed along party lines after much Democratic complaining that it was still too partisan. The 2019 session lasted 156 days, trailing only the 179-day session in 2001. It cost state taxpayers at least $6.5 million, and for all of that money, no state budget was passed, teachers didn't get raises, Medicaid wasn't expanded and even plans to shift Medicaid to a managed care system could be in jeopardy.
https://www.wral.com/friday-wrap-long-session-finally-ends-with-final-map-redraw-but-much-left-undon...

Friday News: Gerry Mander lives on

GOP'S PROPOSED CONGRESSIONAL MAP GIVES DEMS 2 MORE SEATS: Wake County Rep. Darren Jackson, the top Democrat in the N.C. House, said the map looks like it has five safe Democratic seats, eight safe Republican seats and no swing seats. That means politicians don’t have to be as accountable for their actions, he said, adding that he hopes a court will strike down these maps as it has with other maps passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. And state Rep. Deb Butler of Wilmington said several districts are highly similar to the shapes they have in the current gerrymandered map. “I’m wondering why we didn’t take a better effort to get away from what was identified as problematic,” she said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article237362384.html

Thursday News: Bring it down

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JUDGE SAYS CHATHAM COUNTY CAN REMOVE CONFEDERATE STATUE: A Superior Court judge cleared the way for Chatham County to remove its Confederate statue from the courthouse square after a roughly three-hour hearing Wednesday morning. County commissioners have given County Manager Dan LaMontagne the authority to take whatever steps he deems necessary for removing the statue, Chatham County Commissioner Jim Crawford said. A court injunction had blocked that from happening, but Superior Court Judge Susan Bray lifted the injunction Wednesday. Attorneys for the Winnie Davis Chapter of the N.C. United Daughters of the Confederacy failed to prove there would be “irreparable harm” if the monument were removed pending a decision about whether the county is allowed to do that under state law, Bray said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/chatham-county/article237302774.html

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