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

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On being called a liar by the Pope/Civitas team

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Let me see if I can manage the right level of umbrage about this. On the one hand, do they have so little to do over at the Pope Empire that they have to make up a story about me? On the other hand, though, they are calling me a liar because of this post from last week. If I had more time, I'd make a little video of me flicking this off my shoulder, Obama-style. (Loved that, by the way.) As I'm in a bit of a hurry, I'll just note that my piece was about what I did...

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Art Pope and the future of education in North Carolina

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 1:58 PM

photo by Bob GearyMembers of NC Student Power parlay about Pope. The bus behind them came to Raleigh courtesy of Patriot Majority, a progressive, anti-Koch Brothers group. First off, I want to 'fess up for that headline. I wrote something the other day and pitched it on Facebook with the word denouement in the header. This prompted a friend (she writes for the attention-grabbing Huffington Post) to remind me that words like denouement are not how you cause readers to click on your stuff. That said, yesterday I dropped in at the Doubletree Hotel to hear Art Pope's remarks at...

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Partisan? The Wake school board majority's problem isn't that they're partisan —

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM

This just in: Wake County Board of Education Chairman Kevin Hill and Vice Chairman Keith Sutton will be available in the Board Room at 12:30 p.m. today to comment to the media. The Board Room is located on the first floor of WCPSS Central Services, 5625 Dillard Drive, Cary. I've been corresponding on Twitter with two friends this morning who are bemoaning the partisanship of the Wake County Board of Education in the aftermath of Tony Tata's dismissal. "We had five Republican a—holes in charge and now it's five Democrats," is the gist of what one said. (The other was...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Updated: Tata's out; Breaking: Wake board debating motion to fire Tata

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Update: 4:51: Tata's out, 5-4 vote. He receives a $253,625 severance. Update, 4:24 p.m., Tuesday: The Wake County Board of Education is currently debating a motion to fire Superintendent Tony Tata. Republican John Tedesco, who supports Tata and was among the board members who hired him, said, "This will cost $250,000 [to buy out Tata's contract], a waste of a quarter-million dollars when we're about to ask the public for money in the bond issue. This is an epic failure. I wouldn't trust this board with my lunch money." Debra Goldman, a board member and Tata supporter: "We're losing our...

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Raleigh's Union Station: Future rail to "lop off" Citrix?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 7:09 AM

photo by Bob GearyA freight train chugs past the West Hargett Street intersection: When the rail corridor is widened, it will slice into the Citrix buildings On Friday, we reported the good news about Raleigh's Union Station, Phase 1: It's fully funded at $60 million. In the buildup to that announcement, I heard one other, discordant note. If and when Raleigh adds commuter-rail and high-speed rail service to the current, very limited repertoire of Amtrak trains running through town, the rail corridor coming into the Union Station complex will need to be widened. Why? To make room for additional sets...

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Breaking: Tony Tata may be shown the door by school board

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Update, 4:24 p.m., Tuesday: The Wake County Board of Education is currently debating a motion to fire Superintendent Tony Tata. The Wake County Board of Education met behind closed doors for a little over three hours this afternoon on a "personnel issue" widely understood to be the status of Superintendent Tony Tata. When the session ended, the board met briefly in open session to debate whether to add an agenda item to a previously scheduled meeting tomorrow — a move that required two-thirds approval, or six votes out of nine, because it lacked the statutory 48 hours notice. With the...

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Friday, September 21, 2012

The good news in Raleigh: Union Station, Phase 1, is fully funded at $60 million

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 4:05 PM

I see that it was just 15 months ago — last June — when the state DOT made its first public pitch for turning the old Dillon Supply fabrication building, also known as the Viaduct Building, into a new Amtrak station for downtown Raleigh. file photo by Bob GearyThe Viaduct Building inside — it needs work!Today, federal, state and city officials gathered there to annnounce that $60 million has been cobbled together from a variety of funding sources, enough to do the work on the station and associated track improvements. The finish date? Sometime in 2016, DOT Deputy Secretary Paul...

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

More on the Wake school assignment plan, v. 3: The still-unsettled question of diversity

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 4:59 PM

[Update: And sure enough, while I was writing this, the board majority has reversed course and decided to publish the staff's list. Hope it works out for them.] The original post — Like most people, I think, who were listening to the discussion at the Wake school board Tuesday night, my first response to the question of whether parents should be able to look online for their base assignments starting Friday — tomorrow — was why not? It's always best, isn't it, to get information out sooner rather than later? And by the way, the public has a right to...

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wake school assignment plan v. 3: Return of the Jedi (or, Place Takes Base)

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 3:22 PM

In our first installment, a.k.a. the 2009 elections, the Republic came under attack by, er, Republicans, who soon overthrew the old regime of student assignments in Wake County's public schools. Diversity as a goal was out. Base assignments were out. Choice was in. In the sequel, the 2011 elections, the Republic struck back, ousting the Republican majority on the Wake school board. Base assignments were again in favor. Diversity too. Choice? OK, but not so much. So now it's time for Version 3 of student assignment, which according to the new school board majority's directive, is supposed to have base...

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Case closed: Two years later, remaining Buen Pastor defendants free of deportation threat

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 3:48 PM

It was Easter weekend in 2010 when members of a small Hispanic church, Iglesia Buen Pastor, while returning from a religious exercise in Texas, were pulled over by federal agents in Louisiana for looking suspiciously like they might be immigrants — undocumented immigrants, even. Those with no children were deported immediately. Those with children were threatened with deportation, and they've been fighting it since. We reported on their case last year. Today, we have good news from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. They won't be deported. And it only took two years — Immigration Charges Dropped For 22 Raleigh...

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This weekend: Kids, paint, wall, Sparkcon! BESTRaleigh!

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Raleigh Children Invited to Paint Downtown Raleigh Mural this weekend. ow.ly/dDkJT— BEST Raleigh (@BESTRaleigh) September 11, 2012...

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Democrats in Charlotte: From their hearts.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 4:51 PM

I'm back in Raleigh and collecting my thoughts about the Democratic National Convention for an Indy story next week. My logistics in Charlotte were tricky and didn't leave time for blogging after Monday morning. blurry photo by Bob GearyMy vantage point Tuesday at the Time Warner Arena. Fortunately, I could watch on the big screen too.So I haven't had a chance to say what a profound experience it was for me to take in the convention, especially Tuesday night. I've been telling people it was like taking an immersion course in what Democrats believe and who they are — correction,...

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Who built it? Workers built it. A Labor Day message from Charlotte.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 3, 2012 at 12:00 PM

The Democratic National Convention doesn't kick off officially until tomorrow. But the all-but-official start day is today, Labor Day, as thousands of delegates, media types, activists and interested citizens pour into Charlotte. I was here yesterday for the March on Wall Street South, a demonstration and march by about 1,000 of our progressive friends from around the country, some (most?) but not all of whom will be voting for Obama in November and prefer the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, though in a lot of cases not by much. I'll be writing about it for the Indy this week....

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Meeting tonight: The new Raleigh zoning code and the problem of accessory dwelling units

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Accessory dwelling units. They sound so benign, and in many cases they are — you put up a little cottage out back for grandma, or a college student, or as a place for your guests to stay if they're staying and, uh, staying. But now picture this. Your neighbor builds an ADU, a honkin' two-story pad behind his house; but wait, it gets better (worse): your neighbor doesn't actually live in the house. No, he rents it out to four college students, and in the new "accessory dwelling unit," four more college students are suddenly resident, and they're living just...

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Indy sold!! But wait, what about me?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 10:25 AM

It's a rule of old-school journalism that you are never the story. I'm going to violate it today to say that when the Indy is sold, my role will be changing. I'll be writing a column for the paper rather than, as now, doing the job of staff writer. What's the difference? I don't have a simple answer. If I did, I'd be — well, a columnist! Seriously, I've had the luxury at the Indy of writing in whatever style suited me or, better, best suited the material. I've done some straight news reporting, a lot of opinionated reporting, some...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

State must provide pre-K schooling for all at-risk 4-year olds: N.C. Court of Appeals upholds Judge Manning's order

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

The three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Superior Court Judge Howard Manning's ruling. You can read the decision here. Manning found, as part of his years-long ("Leandro") analysis of what the state constitution requires in the way of elementary and secondary education, that pre-K preparation is critical if at-risk kids, i.e., poor kids, are going to have a decent chance of success in the K-12 system. So he ordered the state legislature to step up and provide enough funding so that every such child can be served. Gov. Perdue agreed. But she didn't convince the Republican-led...

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Saturday: Packapalooza is NCSU's 125th birthday extravaganza on Hillsborough Street

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Hey, the kids are back in town, and it's N.C. State's 125th birthday, so there's going to a blow-out on Hillsborough Street tomorrow. Number 1 fact: Hillsborough Street will closed to traffic from early morning to after midnight between the Pullen Road roundabout and Brooks Avenue. Number 2 fact: Free parking on campus. What does this mean? Come into the campus off Western Boulevard for best access to the parking lots and decks. The festival is from 2-10 p.m., with a big red finish promised at the Bell Tower. The main stage will be there with four bands: Liquid...

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Police Chief Harry Dolan says bye, bye to Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 1:27 PM

city of RaleighPolice Chief Harry Dolan Harry Dolan's been in the news lately, at odds with a lot of his troops. is there a connection between that and his announcement today that he's out of here as police chief in a few weeks? City Manager Russell Allen heaps praise on Dolan, so much so that you wonder why he's leaving: Raleigh’s Chief of Police to Retire City Manager J. Russell Allen today announced the retirement of Chief of Police Harry P. Dolan, effective Oct. 1. Chief Dolan’s retirement after five years as police chief caps a law enforcement career spanning...

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

All-in? Money is speech, the Supreme Court says, and politics is a no-limit game. So, place your bets.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 4:01 PM

The town hall meeting in Raleigh Monday evening was informative and polite. All of the more than 100 people who packed into Quail Ridge Books & Music were able to express themselves on a topic of high public significance. Now imagine that each of us at the meeting, while retaining our power to vote at election time, would not be allowed to speak in this town-hall setting without paying for the privilege. With limited time, only a few slots would be offered, and they’d be reserved for the highest bidders—not necessarily the richest among us, but obviously nobody struggling to...

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Friday, August 10, 2012

4-year terms for Raleigh City Council? Mayor McFarlane and Councilor Baldwin go another round.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM

One follow-up to the Raleigh City Council retreat story from earlier in the week: In addition to their wanting some staff help and to push a bolder agenda of economic development tied to strategic transit and other infrastructure investments (click on the story if you missed all that), Council members were considering a change from two-year terms to four-year terms. Introduced by Councilor John Odom in February, the proposal is — was? — to have all eight council members, including the mayor, elected at the same time every four years instead of every two years as has been done since...

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sparkcon 2012: Filling Fayetteville Street once again

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM

So earlier, we reported that Sparkcon 2012 would be held, for the first time, in the tres-artsy Warehouse District. Great idea, but it turns out that getting all the necessary streets closed in order to have room for all the various "Sparks" wasn't possible ... or at least not this year. Maybe in some future year. Thus, this 7th edition (wow!) of Sparkcon will again be conducted on Fayetteville Street, which is where it all started and where, notwithstanding its amazing growth, all the sparks can still fly. This news comes from our 2012 Indies Arts Award winner Sarah...

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Friday, August 3, 2012

(Updated) Wake schools' test results improved in 2011-12; low-income students show gains. Added: Some thoughts on the so-what?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 4:17 PM

[Update, August 3: Returning to the subject of the good results announced yesterday (i.e., the "what"), let me see if I can add a bit about what they tell us about our school system (i.e., the "so what?"). And especially the so-what when it comes to student assignment and the ongoing "choice" vs. "base assignments" vs. "hybrid base-and-choice" debate. 1) I'm not a statistician, so I won't question the statistical significance of the relatively small gains overall. They are gains, no question about it as far as I know. And the gains were not small with regard to economically disadvantaged...

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We're beggin' ya: If you meant to dial area code 9-1-9, and you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake, DO NOT HANG UP

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 11:38 AM

So here's the deal. You have to dial the area code now. So you dial 9-1-9. Oops, you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake. In Wake County, that happened 5,655 times. In July. So you did that, and now what? Well, you just hang up, right? No. NO. 5,655 times NO! You stay on the line. Otherwise, the cops think you called 9-1-1 because somebody was breaking into your house and you hung up because that somebody just put a gun to your head. That's what they're paid to think. You want them to think that way. They send a patrol car....

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Romney endorses national health care system with price controls

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Price controls? I thought the Republican term for that was death panels? Still, at the risk of seeming to ask for intellectual coherence from politicians who'll say anything to get elected and have no principles whatsoever, I submit this story from the Los Angeles Times about Mitt Romney's admiration for the way Israel handles health care: Romney praised Israel for spending just 8% of its gross domestic product on healthcare while still remaining a "pretty healthy nation." "We spend 18% of our GDP on healthcare," he said of the U.S. "Ten percentage points more. That gap, that 10% cost, let...

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It's your anti-gay Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Or, in my case —

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Not. I have never made a big point, or any point, about not eating at Chick-fil-A. The company is anti-gay. OK, it's a free country. And I don't have to buy their products. Also, a free-country thing. *** But since, between the company and Mike Huckabee, it's now Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, when everybody who appreciates how anti-gay they are is supposed to show it by eating their stuff, I will take the occasion to say: I don't appreciate Chick-fil-A. And I don't eat there. Not saying you shouldn't. To each his own....

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