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

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Friday, November 30, 2012

N&O: Dix deal emerging, Council of State to consider on Tuesday

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 2:32 PM

The News & Observer is reporting that the deal for Dorothea Dix is a 75-year lease by the state to Raleigh for $500,000 a year, with a 1.5 percent a year inflation factor. The Council of State will take up the lease Tuesday at 9 a.m. Background is here Someone who's better at calculating the time value of money than I can you what the city's offer is "worth" versus, say, an up-front payment of X amount. $500,000 a year times 75 equals $37.5 million, which is pretty close to the $35 million that city officials think the land appraises...

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

N.C. Utilities Commission to Duke Energy: We give up

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Is there any other way to read this than that the N.C. Utilities Commission, having huffed and puffed at Duke Energy's sleight-of-hand in the "merger" with Progress Energy, is now issuing a collective, "Never mind"? The alternatives included revoking its merger approval, a whopping fine, ousting Jim Rogers and installing a new CEO (or, if Duke balked, revoking the merger) ... am I missing any? Instead, we have a trivial levy, Rogers stays on for another year, the Duke Energy board remains in control, but it is required to "receive comments" from time to time from the Commission. I thought...

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dorothea Dix park: A done deal for Raleigh? (Updated, as Perdue hits back at Republican critics.)

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 10:34 AM

[Update, 2:30 p.m.: In response to Tillis and Senate President Phil Berger's criticisms, Gov. Perdue hit back in a statement: "During the last four years, in the worst economic climate since the great depression, North Carolina is one ofeight states that has retained its AAA bond rating. We have seen the largest number of our children graduate from high school. We have again been named the best place in the nation to do business. My administration has focused on efficiencies in state government through consolidating, eliminating, and right-sizing public services. The Dorothea Dix property and the consolidation of DHHS would...

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

McCrory will take his oath Jan. 5, deliver inaugural address a week later

Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Governor-elect Pat McCrory's staff disclosed his schedule for taking the oath of office, delivering his inaugural address and hosting a string of open houses and inaugural balls. He'll be sworn in on January 5, with the rest spread over the next seven days. Here's an edited version of the press release we received: Governor-Elect McCrory Announces Inauguration Details “North Carolina has incredible people, talent and resources, and to start a North Carolina Comeback, we must bring all parts of the state together to put them back to work. This year’s inauguration will be focused on highlighting North Carolina’s untapped potential...

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Linda Coleman concedes; Republican Dan Forest is Lt. Gov-elect

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Linda Coleman was trying to be the first African-American woman elected statewide. (The late Ralph Campbell, elected state auditor, is still the only African-American male.) Coleman lost by 0.16 percent, or 6,585 votes out of more than 4.3 million cast. Forest, a tea-party style Republican, is retiring Charlotte Congresswoman Sue Myrick's son. I've seen it suggested — and think there's some truth to it — that if former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the governor-elect, proves too much of a moderate for the Republican General Assembly, Forest could challenge his Charlotte base in a 2016 primary for governor. Here's Coleman's concession...

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Get a job with Pat: McCrory says, Help wanted !!

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 12:57 PM

One thing I've learned about Republicans over the years: They have a very short bench. Great public servants they're not. Elect a Democrat governor, and all the activists line up for jobs — well-qualified and otherwise. Elect a Republican governor, and the activists think all the jobs should be abolished. Except they aren't, because government performs essential functions that most Republicans aren't interested in doing. Hence, you might not be wasting your time to check out Governor-elect McCrory's new website, WorkforPat.com. Who knows, you could be the next deputy secretary of something. *** Or, share your ideas with Pat. He...

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Obama: You guys .. are the source of my hope and my strength and my inspiration

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Obama thanking his campaign staff in Chicago and talking about his adult beginnings — and theirs. I put off watching this until I could sit down and appreciate it. If you haven't seen it, do not miss it....

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McCrory off to a bad start: Pearce

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Ah, the social media. Saving me lots of time today. Governor-elect Pat McCrory took the stage yesterday surrounded by Art Pope minions, Art Pope himself and a dollop of ever-lovin' Duke Energy ... which leads me to tweet Gary Pearce: Pearce nails it. RT: Bad Start, Pat talkingaboutpolitics.com/Home/tabid/36/…— Bob Geary (@rjgeary) November 9, 2012...

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Saturday night: 4th annual Couture for a Cause at Marbles

Posted By on Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Photo by Chris Florio, courtesy Activate GoodDesigns by Kristin Robbins at 2011 Couture for a Cause I first encountered Amber Smith five or six years ago, not long after she started the nonprofit organization called ME-3 that, with a new name, has grown up to be the very excellent group called Activate Good. I wrote about Smith two years ago in the Indy when we gave her a 2010 Citizen Award. She and her organization continue to merit her good citizenship medal. Activate Good's mission is to promote volunteerism, recruit people to be volunteers and help worthy nonprofits find volunteer...

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Message of 2012: Moderation, in DC and in Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 1:13 AM

Obama a decisive winner, though the popular vote is close. Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin head a cast of new Democrats in the U.S. Senate, which stays Democratic by 55-45. The House is Republican. Averting the fiscal cliff and moving the country forward now requires — what? Compromise. Pat McCrory wins the governor's office for the Republicans, who dominate both houses of the General Assembly. They can do what they want, but North Carolinians split down the middle for lieutenant governor, and most of the Council of State went Democratic. Obama lost North Carolina, but not by much. Our state is...

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Election predictions? Mine are as follows —

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Obama gets 51 percent of the popular vote nationally, net of what the Republicans can suppress or disqualify. He carries North Carolina and Florida by a hair. I said the other day that he'd lose Colorado and wind up with 338 electoral votes — not a landslide, but close. Colorado, because of the marijuana referendum, is the one place that Libertarian Gary Johnson may draw support, and if he does, it probably comes out of Obama's total. I think now that Obama will also carry Colorado ... but for consistency's sake, I'll stick with 51 percent and 338 electoral votes...

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From Alternet: A must-read on white men of the South

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Today's must-read by Lynn Parramore, once (and still) of Raleigh, urges her fellow progressives to get past the redneck stereotype in their heads about the southern white male. If they do, they'll realize: What liberals and progressives don’t seem to understand is that you don’t counter a myth with a pile of facts and statistics. You have to counter it with a more powerful story. Because I married southern, she's talking about some people I love — a.k.a., the Republican base. The piece is so good I just tweeted it! This is just excellent! "What if Liberals and Progressives Could...

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bill Clinton in Raleigh Sunday at Pullen Park: Tickets are free, online

Posted By on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 10:48 AM

The announced start time is either 3:30 or 4, depending on which Obama announcement you believe. That's when they open things up. "Get there early," they say. Expect Clinton to begin ... well, who knows? I'm guessing 5? The entrance to Pullen Park is on Ashe Avenue. I wouldn't try to drive on Ashe, however. It's a very small street. There's lots of parking in the N.C. State lots, many of which are within a 1/2-mile of Pullen Park and open to the public on a Sunday. Or park somewhere on the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus, which isn't that far...

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Friday, November 2, 2012

(Updated: Now, it's on Sunday, details still TBD) Bill Clinton coming to Raleigh: N.C. in play

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 3:59 PM

So yesterday we learned that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney has N.C. on their travel schedules for the rest of the campaign. Then we learned Michelle Obama will be in Charlotte Monday. And now we know that Bill Clinton is due in Raleigh on Saturday morning Sunday. [Update: The campaign has moved it back a day.] Where in Raleigh? Don't know. When? Early, I think — but don't know. I'm sure the campaign is scrambling to find a suitable venue — and have it help with Early Voting turnout, not get in the way. N.C. State, maybe? More when...

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

N.C. not on Obama, Romney schedules thru Monday — so far

Posted By on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

From NBC News guy (h/t Jonathan Kappler) — Obama's travel plans: Obama's final sked: THU — WI, NV, CO; FRI — OH; SAT — OH, WI, IA, VA; SUN — NH, FL, OH, CO; MON — WI, OH, IA— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) November 1, 2012 Romney's plans, with a hole on Sunday: Romney's final sked: THU — VA; FRI — WI, OH; SAT — IA, NH, CO; SUN: —TDB; MON —NH— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) November 1, 2012 But then there's this, a new Obama ad with Colin Powell's endorsement: Obama goes up with new TV ad in North Carolina, a...

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Yes, Virginia, North Carolina is a total tossup too for president: New Elon University Poll

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The headline from the Elon University Poll is that Obama has pulled into a tie with Romney in North Carolina among likely voters, 45-45. Way down is the news that Obama leads by 2 points with registered voters. Also, the poll was conducted Oct. 21-26, meaning that the first two days preceded the final presidential debate, in which Obama dominated. So, if anything, the poll may over-estimate where Romney stands in N.C. today. Elon is one of the few live-interviewer polls, and its relatively large sample size of 1,200-plus reduces the margin of error to below 3 percent. In the...

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

(Updated w/ McCrory's passable answer) Does N.C. gov't need an auditor? A serious question for Pat McCrory

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2012 at 12:02 PM

[Update, 10-25: So yes, I did watch and McCrory was asked the Goldman question. He said he was "very concerned" at what he was reading about Debra Goldman's behavior and wondered if it was "appropriate for an elected official." Which behavior? He didn't say, and he didn't come right out and say what should be obvious, which is that Goldman, even if you give her the benefit of every doubt, isn't qualified to be state auditor. [On the other hand, McCrory did give a shout-out to Democrat Beth Wood for "a good job" as auditor, which was the political equivalent...

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mayor McFarlane, UNA, comes out for Obama re-election

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Mayor Nancy McFarlane is an unaffiliated voter on the rolls but a "D" at heart. Today, she joined Durham Mayor Bill Bell, a "D" for sure, at the Boylan Bridge Brewpub, which sounds like it was fun. And she endorsed President Barack Obama's re-election bid, which is a surprise only in that I would've thought she'd already done so. Anyway, for the record, here's what the Obama for America NC folks had to say: Raleigh, NC — Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane today endorsed President Obama alongside Durham Mayor Bill Bell at the Boylan Bridge Brewpub overlooking the site where Raleigh's...

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Monday, October 22, 2012

GOP out to suppress the Ohio vote — as in 2004.

Posted By on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Last week I wrote in the Indy about early voting as an antidote to Republican efforts to obstruct the voting process. I mentioned the Republican Party's post-1965 history of "ballot security" campaigns to discourage minority voters, as in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004. if space permitted, I'd have gone back to my first experience with voter suppression, which was Tony Imperiale and his armed Italian-American Republicans "guarding' the polls in Newark, New Jersey in the 1970s. I did mention the billboards in minority communities warning residents about the penalties for voter fraud. So over the weekend we've had these stories....

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Early Voting II: Lessons from her great-grandmother

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 3:25 PM

photo by Bob GearyFrom left: Pota Vallas, her great-granddaughter Maya Eriksen, and her granddaughter Stephanie Eriksen Goslen A post-script to my Early Voting post yesterday. When I arrived at the Talley Center (N.C. State), I was greeted by a pair of Democratic poll workers: Stephanie Eriksen Goslen, who's been in the Indy before, including as part of the Code Pink contingent honored in our 2005 Citizen Awards, and Stephanie's grandmother, Pota Vallas. Vallas, who used to own the National Art Interiors furniture and design shop on the corner of Hillsborough Street and Glenwood Avenue, is 104. That's right, she's been...

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Early Voting "stars" — and starts — today: Especially handy for college students

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 4:20 PM

photo by Bob GearyOutside the early voting site at N.C. State. I followed my own advice and voted today. In the Indy, I focused on the wisdom of early voting 1) to be sure you do vote; 2) to help get that bandwagon moving to the polls; and 3) to deal early with any challenges, obstacles or fear tactics that may be coming your way — especially in minority communities — in an effort to keep you from voting. Here, I want to emphasize how easy it is to vote early — how easy I found it to be, anyway,...

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

I guess this is funny. Wasn't funny last night ...

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Found near the scene of last night's mugging in Denver: Somebody_sdebatenotes.pdf...

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Presidential debate grades — Obama: INC. Romney: DQ.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 11:04 PM

I have to say I got very little out of that mess. The moderator let Romney run all over the so-called time limits early, while Obama listened and tried to stay cool. But after awhile, Obama started taking extra time too, so Romney took more. But hey, Lincoln and Douglas didn't have any stinkin' moderator and went at it for hours, and their debates are the stuff of legend. But I think they probably stuck to the issues (slavery, no slavery) and the facts a bit more. At the end of 90 minutes, Romney has no platform left whatsoever. He's...

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Gubernatorial debate grades — Dalton: B. McCrory: F.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

If you follow me on Twitter @rjgeary, you'll know I graded the debate as Dalton, B ... McCrory, F. Someone accused me of grading on a curve. I did give Dalton some extra credit for improving as the hour went on. (Any teacher would.) He almost knows too much about state government, and he's handicapped by not being willing to say that additional revenues — i.e., a tax increase — would help the state. Still, he takes the job seriously. McCrory simply evaded every question except the one on fracking, which he enthusiastically supports. On top of that, McCrory offered...

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Public service: "Empowering people to work for themselves"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM

This will take less than 3 minutes of your time, and it will lift your spirits about politics. (h/t BlueNC)...

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