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INDY Week columnist Bob Geary's Raleigh news & politics blog

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Senate Republicans to Raleigh: Drop dead. (Contract? What contract?)

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 2:26 PM

As expected, Senate Republicans this morning started the wheels in motion to tear up the state's lease with the City of Raleigh for the Dorothea Dix tract because, the GOP legislators said, former Gov. Perdue shouldn't have signed it. Perdue, as is required for contracts involving state land, won the approval of the Council of State before finalizing the lease. By voice vote, the Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 334 and sent it to the full Senate, out-shouting the opposition Democrats. The bill is a condemnation measure to terminate the lease and recapture the land. The...

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Calling all Wake schools, Dix Park backers: Show-of-force time Monday at General Assembly

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 6:24 AM

The Wake County legislative delegation is meeting Monday at 4 pm in the General Assembly building on the first floor. It's an open forum and a chance to take a stand — with the county's Republican and Democratic legislators listening — on the inflamed issues surrounding the Wake school system and Dix Park. Both the Great Schools in Wake coalition and Friends of Dorothea Dix Park have issued alerts asking their members and supporters to show up en masse — and, for the Dix Park crowd, wearing green. Word of advice: The meeting room at the General Assembly is small-ish...

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wealth inequality in America: Take 6:23, see why it's a crisis

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 1:08 PM

The middle-class. The American Dream. It's not a matter of "under siege" — it's the greedy looting our country, and they've been getting away with it for years. This excellent data visualization — not new, but all over the social media for the last week — might even make you angry enough to get involved:...

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oaks & Spokes: Our 10-day Raleigh bicycle fest starts with First Friday events

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 1:52 PM

March comes in tomorrow. March means spring. Spring means, apparently, $4 a gallon gasoline. And that means, time to put some air in our bicycle tires and crank up our own personal combustion engines. And just in time, we have Oaks and Spokes upon us, a 10-day Raleigh bicycle festival with something for riders of every sort and age. It runs from March 1-10. Click on the website for a complete list of events. The kick-off event is Friday night, 7 p.m. at the NCSU Bell Tower. It's "Bike First Friday with Oaks and Spokes," which means simply that you...

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hey, Pat McCrory! You're national (bad) news for sticking it to the jobless.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Gov. McCrory signed the bill slashing unemployment benefits in North Carolina, a measure which also makes North Carolinians the only folks in America who, if they lose their jobs, will not be eligible for federal emergency benefits as of July 1. Think Progress, the voice of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, found this outrageous ... in a story I just tweeted: So not proud: N.C. Governor Signs ‘Unprecedented’ Gutting Of Unemployment Insurance thkpr.gs/YEd0Y9 via @thinkprogress— Bob Geary (@rjgeary) February 19, 2013...

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In referendum, 77% of UNC-CH students call on university to divest from coal.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

UNC-Chapel Hill students are part of a national movement to put college and university endowments where their values should be when it comes to climate change. In short, get their money out of coal and fossil-fuel stocks and send a message to the investment world that it's wrong to finance companies whose products threaten to wreck the planet. We've had a couple of columns about the UNC campaign previously — in November and in December. The latter noted UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp's view that doing the right thing would get in the way of his $2 billion endowment buying the...

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Voller to Dems: March with me at HKonJ-7 in Raleigh on Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 3:57 PM

At his first press conference since being elected state Democratic Party chair, Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller called on Democrats to take a stand against the Republican-led "radical, reactionary legislature" by joining in the 7th annual HK on J march and rally Saturday in Raleigh. from WRAL.comDemocratic Chair Randy VollerThe HKonJ website has details. The march, organized by the state NAACP and many other groups, starts at Shaw University at 10:30, heading for a rally in front of the General Assembly building on West Jones St. HKonJ is short for historic thousands on Jones — and thousands do march. Voller was...

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Should Wake County vote on transit funding in 2013?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Capital Area Friends of Transit is an alliance of groups working for better bus and — eventually — light-rail transit offerings for Wake County. They've launched a petition drive in an effort to pressure/convince the Wake County Board of Commissioners to allow a public referendum on the 1/2-cent sales tax for transit which was authorized by the General Assembly four years ago — and which the Wake Commissioners, under Republican control, have blocked ever since. If you think Wake County voters have a right to decide this question, you'll want to sign the petition. Follow this link. The 1/2-cent tax...

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Bad zoning case" at Falls Lake prompts a (good) lawsuit

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Remember "the mother of all bad zoning cases" out at Falls Lake? It's headed for court: "The mother of bad zoning cases" is back! Wake commissioners sued over Falls Lake watershed development soc.li/uryNAKX— Bob Geary (@rjgeary) February 6, 2013 When the quality of your drinking water supply is impaired, as it is at Falls Lake, zoning changes are supposed to restrict pollution, not invite more of it. Is kind of a general principle we could all live by. I think it's even the law — but the judge will tell us that....

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Crack-up: Duke Energy says good-bye to a nuclear plant in Florida, leaving customers with the bill

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Perhaps this will cause Duke Energy to reconsider building more nuclear power plants? MT: Duke Energy to retire idle Florida nuclear plant. Duke customers pay, not Duke shareholders. newsobserver.com/2013/02/05/265… via @newsobserver— Bob Geary (@rjgeary) February 5, 2013 Seems like there are cheaper, more reliable ways to generate electricity. ** The N.C. Utilities Commission holds a public hearing on this very question Feb. 11 in Raleigh....

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Can you handle the truth? Ex-U.S. prosecutor at Gitmo speaking out Thursday, Friday at a college near you.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Col. Morris (Moe) Davis was chief U.S. prosecutor for military trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until he quit in protest over orders to allow so-called evidence gained via enhanced interrogation techniques, the methods formerly known as torture.Col Morris Davis Davis will be speaking at UNC and Duke during the day on Thursday (tomorrow), at Johnston County Community College Thursday evening, and on Friday, noon, at N.C. State. All are free lectures open to the public. (Here's a column I wrote about anti-torture efforts in the Triangle a couple of weeks ago, centered on Johnston County Airport and its tenant, Aero...

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mansfield out of race for Dem Party Chair, leaving Voller or ???

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Former state Sen. Eric Mansfield is out of the contest for state Democratic Party chair, citing the ill health of his mom. That leaves Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller unopposed at this point — nine days before the Feb. 2 election meeting of the party's State Executive Committee To read Mansfield's statement, click on the link in the tweet embedded below. Bob Etheridge is said to be considering a run in Mansfield's place. I gather this is the party establishment, such as it is, squirming unhappily at the prospect that Voller could prevail? Voller time? “@nationhahn: I am sad that my...

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Monday, January 14, 2013

[Update: Wins by 5-3 vote] Raleigh Council asked to back "Return Our War Dollars" campaign

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 3:29 PM

[Update, Tuesday: The measure passed by a 5-3 vote, albeit with a friendly amendment to remove the words " ... troops and ..." from the text — as shown below. Voting yes: Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Councilors Russ Stephenson, Eugene Weeks, Thomas Crowder and Mary-Ann Baldwin. Voting no: Councilors Randy Stagner, John Odom and Bonner Gaylord. The amendment, offered by Crowder, was addressed to Stagner's distaste for any implication that the troops were the problem for our wasteful wars (Stagner is a retired Army colonel). Stagner wasn't won over. Odom objected on grounds that there are no "war dollars" to be...

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

From wars to schools to transportation: New DOT Sec. Tony Tata, renaissance man!

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM

(Updated to include McCrory press release, below, with bios of Tata and three other appointments, including two with extensive Duke Energy backgrounds — like McCrory himself.) Tony Tata, ex-Army general turned ex-Wake schools superintendent, will be DOT secretary in the McCrory Administration. Puts me in mind of the "Welcome Back, Kotter" theme song. Ironic, in that bus transportation snafus led to Tata's ouster by the current Wake school board. Or, at least, they were the stated reason for ... General Tony Tata, fmr Wake Co superintendent, will serve as Secretary of the Department of Transportation #ncpol twitter.com/PatMcCroryNC/s…— Pat McCrory (@PatMcCroryNC)...

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thank you, New Raleigh: After five good years, NR blog says good-bye

Posted By on Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Thank You Readers! ra.ly/UIsNrz— NewRaleigh (@NewRaleigh) January 2, 2013 New Raleigh lived up to its name. Its founders and its many contributors and readers publicized, advocated for and otherwise hopped up and down about every nifty new thing that happened in downtown Raleigh over the last five years, helping to create the vibe that would bring on the next nifty new thing. Great work, David Millsaps and Jed Gant. I'll look for your next nifty new thing....

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Monday, December 31, 2012

"Justice demands": Gov. Perdue issues pardons of innocence to Wilmington Ten

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Photo courtesy of N.C. Governor's OfficePerdue signing 10 pardons. Good news on New Year's Eve in the Wilmington Ten case. Gov. Bev Perdue has come through with the hoped-for pardons of innocence. Her office sent us the photo. Gov. Perdue's statement follows: “I have spent a great deal of time over the past seven months reviewing the pardon of innocence requests of the persons collectively known as the Wilmington Ten. This topic evokes strong opinions from many North Carolinians as it hearkens back to a very difficult time in our state’s past, a period of racial tensions and violence that...

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Note to Kieran Shanahan: About that motto of yours —

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Self-portraitA tough Irishman, is the way Kieran Shanahan likes to be seen. Shanahan is Governor-elect McCrory's pick to be secretary of public safety. It's a big job now that prisons have been rolled into the same department with other functions like the Highway Patrol. A former Raleigh city council member, Shanahan is an ex-prosecutor who's scowling even when he's smiling — which from a fellow Irishman is meant as a compliment. He's been working his way up in the Republican ranks, so no surprise that he's in McCrory's cabinet. But in the wake of recent events, Shanahan might want to...

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How does the NRA rate Sen. Kay Hagan, up for re-election in '14?

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Sending along a tweet from the Washington Post: This WaPo chart shows that most Senate Dems up in '14 have "C" or worse grade from NRA wapo.st/TsmaqO— amy walter (@amyewalter) December 17, 2012 Sen. Hagan, a Democrat who knocked off Elizabeth Dole in 2008, gets an F rating from the National Rifle Association and another F from the similarly right-wing Gun Owners of America. Badges of honor, those F's. Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina's other senator and a Republican, gets a pair of A's. A's for assault rifle, perhaps. Hagan: Two F's from the gun lobby. The D is for...

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Remembering Olivia Engel, 6, and finding resolve after Newtown

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Don’t lose this feeling. This mix of tears and resolve—don’t get over it; don’t set it aside. This is what I’ve been telling myself since Friday. Keep it. Act on it. Last night, Pam and I took part in the vigil at Pullen Church in Raleigh. At the end, everyone lit a candle using one of the 27 candles already burning in memory of the victims in Newtown. Read the name beside your candle, the minister said, and keep it in your heart. Olivia Engel, 6, from the Friends of the Engel Family Fund page on FacebookThe name I read:...

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

5 p.m. at Pullen Church: Vigil for the Newtown victims and for an end to gun violence

Posted By on Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and Martin Street Baptist Church will co-host the service at Pullen. It will be brief, about 30 minutes, and give us a chance to grieve together. I look into the faces of smiling children, and I tear up. I don't want to lose this feeling. I want to keep it and act on it with others who feel the same. Our country can be better in so many ways. The children show us how. And a brave school principal and teachers. Pullen Church is at 1801 Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, just east of the N.C. State...

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Video sweepstakes parlors? State can ban 'em, N.C. high court says

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM

photo by Bob GearyThe setup in Roanoke Rapids Another tough break for the palace in Roanoke Rapids formerly known as the Randy Parton Theater. Let's see if the Republicans in Raleigh change directions now and let them stay open — w/ campaign contributions cheerfully accepted. Supreme Court upholds state ban on video sweepstakes machines - ow.ly/g6GBs #ncga #ncpol— NC Policy Watch (@NCPolicyWatch) December 14, 2012 A unanimous Supreme Court opinion, with a sharp rebuke to the plaintiffs written by Justice Robin Hudson. In a word, Ouch! Plaintiffs have attempted to “skillfully disguise[ ]” conduct with a façade of speech to...

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NC Dems Chair Parker won't run again ... again.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

That's right. David Parker wasn't going to run again for state Democratic Party chair the last time he got himself re-elected Democratic Party chair. But that was then, and this time, he really, really means it: Friends, North Carolinians, and Fellow Democrats, I will not seek re-election as Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party at our February 2, 2013 meeting in Durham. I have enjoyed my two years of service to our State and to the Democratic Party. There is much work to be done on the vital issues of good government, public education and job creation in North...

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Friday, December 7, 2012

"Like" Dix Park? Be in the group photo, 9 a.m. Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 3:49 PM

The more the merrier. Mayor Nancy McFarlane will be there. Ditto Councilor Thomas Crowder, who was with the Dix306 concept before it was cool. H/t to Leo for this tweet with a link to the "Edit Your City" Facebook page. Group photo at Dix tomorrow. Anyone can join. ow.ly/fV4d4— Leo Suarez (@dtraleigh) December 7, 2012...

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Dix Park decision tomorrow: "A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save this jewel."

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 3:35 PM

photo by Bob GearyJay Spain atop Dix Hill Seven years of advocacy, and tomorrow the prize will be won if the Council of State votes to approve a lease giving the city of Raleigh constructive control of the 306-acre Dorothea Dix Hospital tract. The advocates, members of the allied groups called Friends of Dorothea Dix Park, Dix306 and the Dix Visionaries, are cautiously or incautiously optimistic about the vote. The dream of a great destination park up on Dix Hill, overlooking downtown Raleigh from the south, is within reach. There's opposition to it on the political right from Americans for...

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AG Roy Cooper punts to Duke Energy in the NC Utility Bowl.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 1:03 PM

As expected, the N.C. Utilities Commission today ended its "investigation" of Duke Energy's tactics in the merger with Progress Energy, approving a settlement which IMHO falls short of even slapping Duke E. on the wrist. On the pinkie finger, maybe. Joining in the NCUC's unanimous "OK, whatever ... " decision, state Attorney General Roy Cooper — through his consumer protection chief, Kevin Anderson — announced that he, too, is finished investigating and isn't going to do anything either. Rather, as Cooper's separate settlement with Duke states, the AG wants to "move forward in a positive manner" as he recites what...

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To those think it is addictive and a problem are the ones sounds like had the problems and not winning. …

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