Tuesday News: Stealthy maps

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SHORTER LIST OF GERRYMANDERED JUDICIAL DISTRICTS STILL RAISES QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS: House lawmakers Monday night gave tentative approval, largely along party lines, to proposals to redraw judicial and court districts in about a dozen counties. The two judicial redistricting measures, House Bill 1037 and Senate Bill 757, were rolled out in the House Rules Committee on Friday with little public notice. Questions arose on both sides of the aisle about exactly what the measures would do in specific districts, and technical amendments had to be offered to correct mistakes in the legislation. "You see the confusion that’s going on – that’s what happens when you roll out new maps on a Friday afternoon," argued Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake. "It’s just not the way to be doing these types of changes, especially for things that have been pending since last year." Both redistricting measures are scheduled to receive a final House vote Tuesday.
https://www.wral.com/nc-lawmakers-vote-on-redistricting-elections-school-funding-bills-/17604568/

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Making our schools both more religious and more dangerous:

It's almost like GOP leaders asked themselves, "Let's see, what can we do to make it look like we care about school safety, but doesn't cost much money?"

Homeless in NC: Gastonia to tear down "nuisance" hotel

Some residents have lived there for decades:

The city of Gastonia takes the keys Friday of a motel it declared a nuisance and bought for $1.2 million in December 2016. Owner Jay Patel, who paid $825,000 for the motel in April 2014, started telling guests three months ago that on Monday morning they would all have to find a new place to live.

After 60 years, the Budget Inn will give way to the city’s multi-million dollar plans for a Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment District and stadium that city leaders hope will bring new life to west Gastonia. City leaders hope the district, which will be called “FUSE,” connects a reinvigorated downtown with the redevelopment that transformed the Loray Mill from the site of the deadly 1929 textile strike into luxury loft apartments and retail space.

As many reading this already know, I've become deeply involved in downtown revitalization efforts in my small town. I'm all for new development and re-development of existing and sometimes historical structures, but I'm also very keen on watching out for that 18%-20% who live at or below poverty level. In this particular case, it doesn't appear the City of Gastonia is lifting a finger to help relocate these folks, something that any responsible government body should at least attempt to do:

Carolina Cyborgs Politicking on Twitter

Fake Twitter accounts abound these days, but a lot of North Carolinians haven't given much thought to how this might affect our state. Time to take notice.
Turns out, the fakes are already here, working to shape the political landscape of our state.

Monday News: Adding insult to injury

FLOODING IN NC MOUNTAINS SWEEPS TRASH INTO RIVERS: Recent heavy rain not only led to flooding across western North Carolina, it also sent garbage floating into rivers. WLOS-TV in Asheville reports trash and debris have been flowing along the French Broad River, and some has been caught by dams or trestles, creating large piles. Eric Bradford, director of operations for Asheville Greenworks, said about 75 percent of the debris starts out as litter on the roads. When heavy rain falls, the debris flows into a storm drain that feeds into a creek and then into the river. Bradford said the organization had already planned a big cleanup for Saturday, but it's now delayed until the flood waters recede. He said Asheville Greenworks will intensify efforts to recruit as many volunteers as are needed for the cleanup.
https://www.wral.com/flooding-in-north-carolina-leaves-garbage-in-rivers/17599104/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IS NC IN THE HANDS OF DICTATORS? LATEST BUDGET PLOY SUGGESTS SO: North Carolina citizens should not be deceived. They need to be outraged. The leaders of the General Assembly are making a mockery of representative government. It is no understatement to say democracy is under attack in our state. Complaints over the decision to bypass open deliberations in the General Assembly on the new state budget aren’t some legislative playground squabble between Republicans and Democrats on Jones Street in Raleigh. It is a thumb-in-the-eye, a bully’s chest-bump and turned-up nose of disdain directed at each and everyone of the state’s voters and taxpayers by the tinhorn cabal of Senate Leader Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore and a couple of their lieutenants.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-is-n-c-in-the-hands-of-dictators-latest-budget-ploy-suggests-so/17587...

Justin Burr wants to track what films were shown in schools

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We'll have to be more careful with our Liberal Socialist Indoctrination Program (LSIP):

AN ACT TO REQUIRE LOCAL BOARDS OF EDUCATION TO REPORT MOVIES SHOWN IN SCHOOLS DURING INSTRUCTIONAL TIME.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1.(a) Each local board of education and each charter school shall report in writing to the Superintendent of Public Instruction by September 1, 2018, on each movie shown during instructional time at each school in the local school administrative unit or at each charter school during the 2017-2018 school year in the months of November, December, January, April, May, and June.

SECTION 2. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Public Instruction the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to provide for collection and summarization of data in accordance with this act.

If you're wondering about those dates, join the club. This bill was filed three days ago, but it seeks data from the previous school year. Data that was not (previously) required of teachers to compile. Yes, most of those teachers could probably tell you exactly what was taught on a specific day by perusing their schedules, and could probably tell you off the top of their heads what films were shown. But the timing of this tells me Justin Burr has a burr up his butt about something. Like, some irate evangelical parent told him about some evil film that was shown (Evolution!), and he's on a crusade to root out that evil. Whatever the case, get a life, dude. Are you upset you couldn't punish judges all across the state, so now you're going after teachers? I'll take that silence as a "yes."

Saturday News: Juggling judges

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WAKE AND MECKLENBURG WILL GET NEW JUDICIAL DISTRICT MAPS: Wake County District Court judges would be elected from six newly drawn districts, instead of countywide, under a plan introduced Friday at the statehouse. The county would also add two District Court judges, for a total of 21, as part of less ambitious plans to redraw judicial districts around the state than what Republican lawmakers have debated since last year. Without consensus on a statewide plan, or on proposals to appoint judges instead, legislators are pursuing less controversial changes in a number of counties. Wake County's changes are attached to Senate Bill 757, which would also redraw judicial districts in Mecklenburg County, often the prime example lawmakers give when talking up the need for change. The districts there have unbalanced populations and are likely unconstitutional, experts have said.
https://www.wral.com/wake-would-get-new-judges-districts-from-revamp-bill/17597502/

The re-segregation of NC schools just got a jump-start

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Four Mecklenburg towns will build their own lily-white charter schools:

Despite warnings that it could resegregate North Carolina schools, a bill that would allow Mecklenburg County towns to run their own charter schools moved closer to passage Thursday. The N.C. Senate tentatively approved House Bill 514 after a sometimes heated debate over the local and statewide implications of the measure.

Supporters said the bill would give suburban parents options and ensure that towns frustrated by a lack of CMS facilities and resources can provide their own in the form of town-run charter schools. The bill, which originally affected only Matthews, was expanded to include Cornelius, Huntersville and Mint Hill.

Republican leaders in the NCGA are transparently hypocritical. When towns or cities try to develop policies or programs that are progressive in nature, that lift up those in the community in most need of lifting, the heavy hand of authority reaches down from Raleigh and strangles those efforts. But when towns want to do something horrifically regressive, like separating the races and creating "havens" for the students of affluent white residents, those same Republican leaders are giddy at the prospect. And apparently they're hoping other towns across the state get on board with this new (yet very old) segregation approach:

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