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

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wishing Harold Webb a speedy recovery

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 12:22 AM

Wake Commissioners Chair Harold Webb was taken to Rex Hospital Tuesday afternoon after suffering a stroke, according to WRAL. (Update: Rex reported Webb in serious condition on Wednesday morning -- but not critical, fortunately.) The former Tuskegee airman's always been one fit man -- and as nice a guy as I've met. Here's hoping we see him back in top form soon....

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mary-Ann Baldwin takes China tour with campaign cash; McFarlane pays own way

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 8:47 AM

The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and a tour company named Citslinc International have put together one sweet sightseeing deal this fall -- a 9-day trip "to experience the wonders of China" for just $1,999. (Non-chamber members pay $100 more.) Among the 300 folks signed up so far: Raleigh City Councilors Mary-Ann Baldwin and Nancy McFarlane. McFarlane says she's paying her own way because it's sightseeing. Baldwin, though, says it's an economic development trip, and she's paying for it with contributors' money from her campaign account, including a $1,799 check to the Chamber reported on her most recent campaign...

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Monday, September 28, 2009

There he goes again: "Positive voice" Van Dyk attacks Crowder

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 10:04 AM

District D challenger Ted Van Dyk, running as "A Positive Voice for Raleigh," went the negative route again over the weekend with an attack postcard aimed at, of all things, incumbent Councilor Thomas Crowder's good work with neighborhood leaders on the comprehensive plan. Think of it as a kind of minor-league Swift Boating, where you try to undermine your opponent's strength (John Kerry's Vietnam service) by hinting darkly that if we only knew more about it, it woudn't be a strength. So Crowder meets once a month with neighborhood folks, mostly (but not exclusively) neighborhood association and CAC leaders? This...

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Friday, September 25, 2009

ACORN's eight N.C. staffers still working, but without pay, McCoy says

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 12:08 AM

Our story this week about ACORN's work in North Carolina contrasted its tiny budget (in this state, between $400,000 and $450,000 a year, according to state director Pat McCoy) with the "crime of the century" treatment ACORN's national operations have been getting from Fox News, other media and the Republican Party. Today we learned that ACORN's eight N.C. employees -- that's right, this dangerous organization employs all of eight people in a state of 8 million -- have been working sans paychecks for about three weeks. McCoy told us this afternoon that the cutoff began because private fundraising had fallen...

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

And then there were nine Ty Harrell replacement wannabees -- so far.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 8:57 PM

Wake Democratic Party Chair Jack Nichols updated us this evening on the list of folks interested in replacing ex-state Rep. Ty Harrell, who resigned his District 41 seat this week. There are nine thus far. They include, as we reported earlier, Cary Town Council member Gale Adcock and Chris Heagarty, the former director of the N.C. Center for Voter Education, who's now a third-year law student at N.C. Central. Also on the list: former state Sen. Linda Gunter, western Wake Dems activist Matt Danielson, and John Shaw, who's a leader in the Sierra Club and in WakeUP Wake County. The...

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Chris Mintz is an embezzler; he was Ty Harrell's '07 Democratic primary foe

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Chris Mintz, who worked as a financial advisor and broker's representative, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of embezzling more than $1 million from accounts he controlled for two elderly clients. Mintz, you may recall, was the ex-pat Republican who ran against Ty Harrell in the 2006 Democratic primary for the District 41 House seat. Harrell won and went on to oust Republican incumbent Russell Capps in the fall election. Now Harrell's out -- forced to resign -- and Mintz is almost certainly headed for prison. Sad. But at least in Mintz's case, not completely unforseen. At 78, Capps is...

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Save us from a strong public option (or else we could lose our top-37 ranking)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 3:01 PM

From Funny or Die (Will Ferrell et al) and MoveOn.org, a plea on behalf of your friends in the health insurance industry: Protect Insurance Companies PSA from Will Ferrell And in case you missed it, here's that toe-tapping tune that toured the internets last week called "We're Number 37" -- something every American can enjoy:...

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Ready, set ... It's go-time for Ty Harrell replacement wannabees

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 10:15 PM

The ink on Ty Harrell's resignation letter is barely dry, but Wake Democrats today were focused on finding a replacement for him who can hold his District 41 seat in the 2010 elections. As of about 5 p.m., Wake Democratic Chair Jack Nichols said he'd already fielded calls from five folks interested in being that replacement. "And I've heard other names," Nichols added. Nichols said the five were all at the stage of "checking with spouses or bosses" about whether their hats should be in the ring, and he didn't want to name any names. So we're left with rank speculation....

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Future of Five Points area is the subject of city charrette on Saturday

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 5:45 PM

City staffers will no doubt be armed with colored dots and paper rolls -- the stuff of your basic planning charrette. Be there or be unaware of what's coming next around the key Five Points intersection. Do RSVP, y'all. Details from the city are below: CITY OF RALEIGH TO HOST CHARRETTE FOR FIVE POINTS AREA ON SATURDAY At the request of business owners in the Five Points area, the Raleigh Department of City Planning and the City’s Public Works Department will host a charrette on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1500...

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ty Harrell resigns his House seat

Posted By on Sun, Sep 20, 2009 at 10:07 PM

Meteoric rise. Knocked off Russell Capps and his future was all in from of him ... but clearly he went at things too fast. Like my dad used to say, pride goes before the fall. His resignation, though, gives Democrats a chance to appoint someone who may be able to hold onto this seat in the swing 41st District. The district map is below. Harrell's replacement must live in it when he/she is sworn in. Selection is by elected Democrats, including precinct chairs and vice chairs, who live in the district. ...

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Top 10 list at the Raleigh election forums: No. 10 --

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 3:37 PM

WakeUP Wake County and the League of Women Voters combined to put on a candidates forum Thursday -- City Council candidates only. Last night, the four mayoral candidates joined in at the University Park Homeowner Association's forum.  Goodness, these were genteel events. Everyone there was so nice. (No Joe Wilsons.) But not everyone was there. Top 10 things said and heard:...

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Carolina Rollergirls bounce back to take 5th place in Eastern regional

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 12:34 PM

(Cross-posted from Triangle Offense.) Your (our) Carolina Rollergirls put on a great show this weekend, playing host to the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's Eastern Regional tournament at Dorton Arena in Raleigh. The home team, unfortunately, was upset in the opening round Friday night by Boston, which cost them any chance to advance to the nationals in November. They bounced back Saturday to drub the team from Virginia, and on Sunday grabbed 5th place (out of 10 teams) with a convincing win over the Providence, Rhode Island club. "What happened Friday was a big surprise to us," said Pink...

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama on the public option: We'll trigger it in four years unless ...

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 10:51 PM

One of the little-noted details of all the health care reform bills floating out of congressional committees everywhere is they don't take full effect until 2013. The state-level insurance exchanges -- basically, a list of the private insurance products available to small businesses and individuals, plus (perhaps) a public insurance "option" something like Medicare -- aren't slated to go into effect for four years. The insurance industry reform aspects of the bill -- no excluding folks because they have pre-existing conditions, or over-charging them, or dropping them when they sick, or all the other vile ways insurance companies make a...

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

1,000-plus at health care rally chant: Public option! Yes, we can!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 11:31 PM

Excellent turnout in downtown Raleigh for the pro-health care reform rally put together by President Obama's Organizing for America bunch -- easily 1,000. (Update: DNC says 1,500, which I wouldn't dispute; I've copied their press release below the fold. Amazing how the local media just about ignored this event -- for the "why" on that, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne is worth reading.)  Interesting that they weren't all that cranked up by OFA Deputy Director Jeremy Bird the first time he spoke, nor by Congressman David Price, though they liked both. It wasn't until Rhonda Robinson, as she was winding...

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Brother, can you spare a dime for my Raleigh City Council campaign?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 2:36 PM

Updated Friday, September 4 and again Tuesday, September 8. Times are tough, I know. And yes, we all deplore the sway of big money in politics. But c'mon, if you can't raise any money from anybody, isn't that kind of an indication that you, uh, don't have any supporters? Either that or you're not very good at asking people for help -- which, money aside, is a bad trait in a public official. And on that score, the early returns from our Raleigh City Council candidates, when I perused them yesterday, were pretty punk. Doesn't John Odom have any friends?...

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Obama rally brings change -- now it's at Progress Energy Center, Thursday 5-7 pm

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 11:29 AM

The big pro-Obama health care reform rally you're going to read about in the printed Indy today when it hits a coffee shop near you -- the Let's Get It Done: Raleigh National Bus Tour Stop (Health Insurance Reform Now) rally that was scheduled for Thursday night, 5-7 pm at the WakeMed North campus -- well, they've changed the venue. No, really. I just talked to Lindsay Siler, who is state coordinator for Obama's Organizing for America operation. (She's in Greensboro today, btw, delivering petitions to Sen. Hagan. She's got a lot on her plate.) The WakeMed site fell through...

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Van Dyk won't say if he pushed the anti-Crowder poll in District D race

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 8:52 AM

After the fifth or sixth person asked me if I knew who was behind the push poll in District D (Southwest Raleigh) last week, I started calling it "the push poll" myself. But since push poll is such a dirty term in politics, let's not jump ahead of ourselves. There was some automated calling done in the district. A recorded voice asked "questions" about the District D incumbent, City Councilor Thomas Crowder -- questions that were not really questions at all. They were along the lines of: Would you vote for Crowder if you knew that he (insert criticism or...

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Council's 5-3 vote chops the head off the comp plan's FLUM monster

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 7:42 AM

Opponents termed it a monster's head, a dragon's head, a clenched fist aimed at their Pullen Park/West Morgan neighborhoods. It was the western-reaching appendage of the new comprehensive plan's FLUM (Future Land Use Map) that sought to extend the Central Business District -- as shown in red in the graphic -- to an assemblage of property at the intersection of West Morgan and Hillsborough Streets known to the community as the Bolton tract. But the dragon won't be eating the neighborhoods, at least any time soon. Because after months of political in-fighting, the City Council Monday voted 5-3 to chop...

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