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

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

A p.s. in the Easley investigation: Ruffin Poole asserts his 5th Amendment rights

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 5:13 PM

What was Ruffin Poole's secret "privilege" that caused a Superior Court judge to rule that Poole need not testify before the State Board of Elections in its investigation of former Gov. Mike Easley's campaign finances? Was it attorney-client privilege? Some sort of executive privilege, since Poole was Easley's general counsel for a time? No, it was the privilege not to be forced to supply testimony if it might be self-incriminating -- a basic 5th Amendment right. Poole, a fellow dubbed Easley's fixer by The News & Observer, went before the Board this afternoon -- the judge's ruling having been stayed...

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Bett Padgett's house concerts ruled a business; the limit is three a year.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 5:22 PM

The Raleigh Board of Adjustment, after a nearly three-hour hearing, voted 4-1 to uphold the inspections department's decision that Bett Padgett's house concerts violate the city's residential zoning. The fact that she hosts more than three concerts a year, the board decided, makes them a business even though she doesn't sell tickets, doesn't make any money or try to (and spends her own money on refreshments), and they're in her living room. She does accept donations and gives the money to the artists. Freedom of assembly? Board Chair Larry McBennett thought so; but four other members decided that, even if...

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Community forum on Wake schools set for 6 pm Wednesday in Raleigh

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 11:20 AM

The Wake school board meets tomorrow (Tuesday). A day later, the YWCA and WakeUP Wake County are co-hosting a community forum on school issues. For the activists, it's a chance to compare notes with each other and board member Keith Sutton. For those concerned about the schools who haven't been active as yet, it's a chance to make some acquaintances -- including Mr. Sutton -- and get in on the ground floor of the still-forming "Great Schools in Wake Coalition." The forum starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the YWCA, 554 E. Hargett St., Raleigh -- five blocks east of...

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Students launch online petition to preserve magnet schools in Wake

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 2:07 PM

What critics term "busing" in Wake County -- or sometimes "forced busing" -- is in reality a web of policies mixing neighborhood schools, year-round schools, and magnet schools  with a limited number of assignments (usually for kids from low-income neighborhoods) to somewhat distant schools for the purpose of maintaining socioeconomic diversity in all schools. Pull the diversity thread out of the web, add a new policy of "equal funding for all schools," and you may begin an unraveling that ends with the collapse of the magnet system. Thus, though new Board of Education Chair Ron Margiotta has written recently [his...

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wake school board meeting Tuesday has a COW -- early arrival advised

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 1:10 PM

(Update 2: Word from Ron Margiotta is, there will be no controversial issues on the COW agenda Tuesday. Staff is putting it together, his email says, but he's sure diversity will not be part of it. Hence all the x-outs below where it used to say otherwise, you know, about having a COW.) (Update 1: WakeUP Wake County will coordinate the formation of a "pro-excellence" coalition; name is the "Great Schools in Wake Coalition." This from Yevonne Brannon, WUWC's board chair. "Groups and individuals concerned about the impact of decisions made by the Wake Board of Education" are invited to...

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tired of the health care reform debate? (The industry thanks you.)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 3:05 PM

(An update from Faulkner Fox, who's helping to raise money following Rhonda's seizure yesterday: TO DONATE TO A FUND FOR RHONDA'S MEDICAL EXPENSES: please send a check made out to "Southern Coalition for Social Justice" with "Rhonda Robinson fund" written in the note line on the check to: SCSJ Suite 470 115 Market Street Durham, NC 27701 IF ANYONE HAS IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO HELP RHONDA GET HEALTH INSURANCE, please contact Faulkner, faulkner@durhamforobama.org TO SEND A NOTE OF SUPPORT TO RHONDA, please write to:  Rhonda@durhamforobama.org) I can't help you on the subject of what they're doing with health care reform...

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City's crime crackdown: Step a-w-a-y from the house concerts, Bett Padgett.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 10:44 AM

(Update: The decision is in; I have a post up about it -- here's the link.)  The question before the Raleigh Board of Adjustment on Monday: Are the house concerts hosted by Bett Padgett at Bill and Bett’s Little Lake Hill home—all proceeds go to the musicians—a very nice thing to do? Or an illegal business? The city’s inspections department says they’re illegal, a violation of the rules limiting the types of business you can operate in your house. Little Lake Hill, off Dixie Trail, averages nine concerts a year with audiences of up to 100, says Inspections Chief...

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wake's GOP Commissioners -- all three -- make asses of themselves

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Great reporting by the N&O's Josh Shaffer, which allows only one conclusion: Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley, pretender to the chairman's seat, has lost his mind, perhaps in the same location where his fellow Republican Commissioners Joe Bryan and Paul Coble lost theirs. It's a must-read ... and a must-remember. One question: Democrat Betty Lou Ward has been on the Board of County Commissioners for 21 ydears, and she didn't know that when she left the room without asking to be excused, she was opening the door to the Republicans' trick? Of course she did. Still, the Republicans's behavior, which...

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Wake school board majority debuts, and it's a fiasco

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 11:53 PM

As the first meeting of the "new" Wake County Board of Education ended last night, more than five hours after it began, I listened in as former board member Carol Parker and former candidate Curt Stangler were discussing what they'd just seen. Parker said she was furious about the majority's preemptory tactics.  Stangler, not disagreeing, predicted better times ahead -- because how could things get worse? I should immediately add that Parker's not the furious type, and Stangler even less so, if that's possible. You're looking for solid moderates? Reasonable people who'll listen to every side? They are all of...

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