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

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Elections board makes criminal referral in the Easley case, fines his campaign $100k

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 12:27 PM

By a 5-0 vote, the State Board of Elections this morning sent the issue of who's lying, former Gov. Mike Easley or his friend McQueen Campbell, to the Wake County District Attorney for review. The Board's resolution referred to evidence heard during its four days of hearings this week that, "if believed, would tend to indicate that criminal violations of the state election laws and campaign finance laws have occurred." The resolution named Easley personally, "and perhaps others" -- an apparent reference to Campbell. Easley's lawyer, Tommy Hicks, says he expects Wake D.A. Colon Willoughby will send the case on...

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Elections board weighs criminal referral against Mike Easley

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 7:54 PM

The State Board of Elections just concluded four days of hearings into former Gov. Mike Easley's political campaigns and their relationship to the N.C. Democratic Party, with Chairman Larry Leake saying they'll meet in closed session tomorrow morning at 9 to figure out what they're supposed to do. We'll know, he said, as soon as they do. Three things are clear from the testimony. First, enormous sums of money and favors -- free airplane travel prominently among the latter -- are available to a governor who'll take them. And Easley, as self-indulgent a character as has ever appeared on the...

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Election Board hearings: Mike Easley is accused of pilfering campaign funds.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Former Gov. Mike Easley, at the outset of hearings into possible violations of the state's campaign finance laws, stands accused -- by a friend -- of being a petty grifter. The accusation is that Easley took $11,000 in campaign funds to pay for repairs to the house he owned on East Lake Drive in Raleigh, a house he rented out during the eight years he occupied the Governor’s Mansion. He hid the transactions by misreporting what they were for, the friend testified. The repairs were contracted and paid for by McQueen Campbell, Easley’s friend and someone who, according to...

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Public option -- opt-out variety -- will be in Senate health care reform bill: Reid

Posted By on Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 5:58 PM

The American political system is resistant to change, and it undertakes reform -- progressive reforms, I mean -- incrementally if at all. So no one should be foolish enough to think that the health care reform legislation coming out of Congress this year, or perhaps early next year, will produce immediate improvements to health care delivery, either in terms of coverage, quality or cost. And lord knows, the reforms on the table are at least two decades overdue, if not five or six. (Truman wanted universal health care, after all). Nonetheless, the announcement today by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid...

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tiered water rates put off again -- this time until mid-summer 2010

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Raleigh City Council just voted 5-3 to increase water rates by 13.5 percent while also postponing the effective date of tiered water rates -- a major conservation initiative that would've resulted in a rate cut for low-usage residential customers -- by another seven months. (Update: Raleigh's rules require that a second vote be held in November since the rate hike did not pass by a super-majority of 6-2 or better. A city press release is copied below the fold with some additional information.) Councilors Russ Stephenson, Thomas Crowder and Rodger Koopman -- a lame duck since he was defeated for...

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Truitt drops out, warns against resegregation of schools in Wake

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Cathy Truitt ended her campaign for the District 2 Wake school board seat this morning with a stinging declaration that there is a middle ground between forced busing for diversity and resegregating the school system via "neighborhood schools" -- but nobody was listening to her when she spoke up for it. The middle, Truitt said, is "diversity through choice," with no one forced to attend a school against their (or their parents') will, but everyone given a choice between a year-round school, a traditional school and a magnet school in their "neighborhood." Moreover, every student should be given a choice...

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Truitt will drop out of District 2 race tomorrow, cementing "neighborhood schools" majority

Posted By on Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Cathy Truitt will hold a press conference Monday to make a "major statement" about her campaign. The statement is that she's out of the race against John Tedesco for the District 2 school board seat in Wake County because, as campaign adviser Brad Crone just told me, it's not a winnable race. Truitt called for a runoff when Tedesco fell just short of a majority on October 6 with 49 percent of the vote to Truitt's 24 percent. Her decision makes it a clean sweep of the four school board district races by "neighborhood schools" advocates over "diversity" candidates, giving...

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Truitt versus Tedesco: It matters.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 5:10 PM

The question of the hour is, does Cathy Truitt have a chance against John Tedesco in the District 2 Wake school board runoff? Because if she doesn't, if it's a lock for Tedesco, then there may be no stopping the Republican right from rolling their wrecking ball over 30 years worth of successful school policies. Which is not to say that the current school board did everything well, and in fact a lot of progressives (I'll include myself) are just waking up to the fact that the board's response to complaints from the suburbs -- and the school administration's response...

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October 24: Raleigh Wide Open 4

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Raleigh Wide Open 4 will be the first time all of Fayetteville Street really is wide open all the way from the Capitol to Memorial Auditorium. For previous RWOs, only the four blocks closest to the Capitol were open. The rest were under construction some way of other. But with the underground parking for the Convention Center completed and City Plaza completed -- it's getting there; not to worry -- the construction fences can come down. A 10 a.m. parade will mark the event. What does everybody think of the Jim Gallucci-designed light towers? I was downtown last night and...

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"It's beginning to look a lot like ..." -- Rockefeller Raleigh?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 5:24 PM

There's gonna be ice skating on Fayetteville Street this winter -- from December 4 to the end of January. Did you know that Winterfest is a Raleigh tradition? Me neither. But it's going to be, says the newly re-elected Mayor Meeker. It's all in the press release from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance -- below the fold -- and on the RaleighWinterfest.com website:...

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Now that the rabid-right Republicans run the Wake schools, will they wreck them?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 2:18 PM

If I have the math right, John Tedesco was within 50 votes of finishing off a Republican takeover of the Wake school system last night. GOP-backed candidates won three seats outright; their fourth candidate, Tedesco, got 3,247 votes out of 6,576 cast in the five-way District 2 race. With 50 percent plus one, he'd have been elected. Some provisional ballots must still be reviewed and, if legit, counted, so the exact numbers will change a bit. But Tedesco came very, very close. Now the runner-up, Cathy Truitt, is reportedly talking about a runoff against Tedesco in which she would...

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Cary Council: Robinson runs first in "A", but Bush may call for runoff

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 3:14 AM

Incumbent Jennifer Robinson squeaked by challenger Lori Bush by 247 votes in District A, but it may not be enough to thwart a runoff. According to unofficial results from the Wake County Board of Elections, with all 11 precincts reporting, Robinson received 49.47 percent of the vote, compared with 42.54 for Bush. Under election rules, the second-place finisher can ask for a runoff if the first-place finisher doesn’t receive 50 percent plus 1 of the vote. According to the Bush campaign, the candidate and her advisers are considering asking for a runoff. A runoff election would be held Tuesday, Nov....

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Raleigh Council: Crowder crushes Van Dyk in "D"; Odom ousts Koopman in "B"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 2:55 AM

The "Meeker Majority" is no more. Mayor Charles Meeker was re-elected, as expected, but if goes looking for four progressive City Council members to make a 5-3 majority, he'll have trouble finding them now that District B Councilor Rodger Koopman's not on hand. Koopman was beaten rather easily by former Councilor John Odom. The Republican-over-Democrat result was helped by a big turnout in the District 9 (North Raleigh) school board election, won by the GOP-backed Deborah Prickett. (Complete results here.) Koopman's loss means the progressive majority that came together around such issues as higher impact fees on development -- a...

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Wake schools to come apart? Will the new school board fire Del Burns?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 2:10 AM

"Neighborhood schools" candidates went 4 for 4 in the Wake school board elections. Actually, it was 3.99 for 4. One could be facing a runoff, but he got 49.4 percent of the vote, and the runner-up less than half that amount -- and the runner-up is for neighborhood schools too. (District by district results here.) So long story short, there are now five members of the school board who represent suburban Wake County districts and four who represent Raleigh districts. And the question is, will the suburban representatives act to separate their schools from the city schools, which is --...

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wipeout: 4 school board seats to diversity foes, Koopman loses; but Crowder wins easily

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 8:03 PM

Results are coming in -- and they're not close. In Raleigh, Meeker, Baldwin, Stephenson, McFarlane, Crowder, West re-elected; Bonner Gaylord in, John Odom back, Rodger Koopman out. Cary: Robinson-Bush not over (quite), but Robinson ahead; Smith in, and Robeson. School board: Malone, Tedesco, Goldman, Prickett in; diversity out....

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