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

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rights groups: Zebulon cops targeting Latinos as they go to church

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 11:02 AM

The ACLU-NC, the N.C. Justice Center and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice want to know what's going on in Zebulon, where Latino congregants at a Spanish-speaking church, the Iglesia de Dios Catedral de Jesus, report that they're getting stopped at checkpoints by the local police as they arrive for services. "Members of the congregation report that police officers routinely 'wave through' Caucasian and African-American drivers, stopping only those drivers who appear to be Latino," the groups said in a statement released this morning. (The full statement is below. Note: An earlier version of this post said the church was...

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Simple: Vote for Lanya Shapiro

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Click here to cast your vote. You'll see why. Never heard of her? (That hurts. She was an Indy Citizen Award winner.) Here's a precis: Lanya Shapiro is a social entrepreneur, a tireless activist and organizer, and part of the vanguard of the modern progressive movement. Her most recent cutting-edge endeavor is Traction, a Durham, N.C.-based offline social network designed to turn young voters into energized and engaged activists who will, over time, power the progressive movement as volunteers, donors, board members and elected officials. By putting a creative spin on classic progressive issues, Traction helps the forward-thinking nonprofits with...

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Ex-School Board Members' Statement: "Ensure equal opportunity for every child"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Not quite "Ex-Presidents" (Saturday Night Live), but the 19 former Wake County school board members—including 10 former chairs—were an impressive, and bipartisan group when they gathered Monday in Raleigh. They came together with an offer of help, and an admonition about the importance of diversity, for the new school board majority. Their full statement is below the fold. (Note: The number of signers is now 23.) According to Yevonne Brannon, who heads the Great Schools in Wake coalition, the 19 included every living ex-board member since 1976, when the Raleigh and Wake County school systems were merged, who wasn't out-of-state...

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Tedesco's vision: Choice, stability ... and diversity?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Five months in office, and for the members of the new Wake County school board majority, it had come to this: In a hastily called special meeting that began at 4 o’clock last Friday afternoon, John Tedesco — their guy — was struggling to explain how a new school assignment plan might be crafted to allow parental choice without resulting in a segregated system. “I’m talking about setting the choice-application draw patterns and the algorithm different,” Tedesco said. What? He was trying to say that some unpopular school assignments made by the old school board might’ve been more popular if...

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why aren't derivatives regulated? Why is Wall Street allowed to get away with economic murder?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 2:18 PM

So here's your civics test: Guess how much money Wall Street securities and investment firms and their partners contributed to candidates for national office since 1998? By the way, the two political parties and their candidates got roughly the same amounts, unlike what press releases today from the offices of U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, and NC GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer might've led you to believe. For extra credit, answer the question: Why doesn't Congress crack down on the Wall Street gang and prevent them from rolling out the next crazy credit explosion that makes them tons of money...

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Wednesday, April 28: Farmers Market opens in City Plaza

Posted By on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 8:16 PM

There are at least four good reasons to be downtown between 10 am and 2 pm Wednesday. One, the return of Wednesday Farmers Markets. Two, a Pig Pickin' courtesy of The Pit. (What goes better with fresh vegetables than, uh, pig?) Three, Old Habits is playing. Four, it's in City Plaza, which — if you haven't gotten down to see it yet — is a big downtown plus. Oh, and make that five: Mayor Meeker's remarks are at 11:15. It's all in the press blab from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which is copied below the fold....

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A "Tuesday Night Massacre" in the Wake school system: "Shock and Awe"

Posted By on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM

With all of the turmoil around the Wake school board's stance on diversity and student assignment, the fact that the new board adopted a cut-the-budget plan Tuesday and immediately terminated 68 employees got far less attention than it merited. What followed — career employees "riffed" (fired) in a manner apparently taken from the CIA handbook — was absolutely horrifying. One of the employees at Project Enlightenment (the building is shown at left), a valuable pre-school intervention program in Raleigh for at-risk children and their parents, sent me a column about the way she was treated — or, to be...

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Friday, April 23, 2010

A balanced plan for Wake's schools: The WEP says it's possible ... and vital

Posted By on Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 9:43 AM

The Wake Education Partnership's report on student assignment policies is out this morning. It's not a plan, the WEP emphasizes. But it is a roadmap to how the new Wake school board majority should approach the making of a plan — one that retains diversity and socioeconomic balance in the schools while also offering stability to Wake families. It's a must-read, if possible before John Tedesco gets up this afternoon with his thinking on the subject. Creating a plan that serves the county well won't be easy. It never was easy, and the bigger the county gets, and the...

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The WWW comes to Raleigh. (No, the other one.)

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Photo: Mark TurnerLooking for "web-critical thought leadership"? Or "business-changing" ideas for your, uh, business? Then the 19th annual International World Wide Web Conference, or WWW2010, may be for you. And for the first time ever, ever, it'll be held in the southeastern U.S., where WWW traditionally stood for wrestling until Raleigh, NC become the center of the creative universe. (Thanks, Sparkcon!) That's right, the WWW2010 will be in Raleigh at the Convention Center starting Monday, April 26 through Friday, April 30. With Google, Yahoo, Lulu and all your other favorite internet characters. See more below or check the website....

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Wake school board: Taking the public out of public education

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 2:44 PM

The Great Schools in Wake coalition is out with a statement ripping the new school board majority for its seat-of-the-pants approach to policymaking. You can read it below. It prompts me to write a quick post about the "public meeting" the majority is holding tomorrow and announced yesterday with barely the legally required 48 hours notice. What kind of public body holds a meeting at 4 pm on Friday afternoon to do anything, let alone take up a presentation that should've been heard in a committee that never seems to meet at all? That's what's happening. The Student Assignment...

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Vote early and often (and by April 28) for one of these local nonprofits ...

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Five organizations are vying for a $5,000 grant and recognition as "most innovative" in addressing growth and diversity issues in the Triangle. You and I will be voting on it at the Triangle Community Foundation's website — short videos are posted there for each contender. I went to the website thinking I'd cast a quick vote for Builders of Hope, a very cool organization I wrote about last year (a BOH email pointed me to the competition). But, doggone it, the other finalists include Sparkcon, one of my favorite groups, and the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina (CRA-NC),...

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tedesco to reveal his plan for school zones Friday, 4 p.m.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 4:41 PM

As we reported in today's Indy, Wake school board member John Tedesco's been showing his "community assignment zones" plan to various and sundry, but he's never shown it to the full school board nor has he called a meeting of his phantom Student Assignment Committee to discuss it. Not sure who talked with whom, but all of a sudden there's a "special called meeting" of the school board on Friday, 4 p.m. for the sole purpose of hearing what Tedesco has in mind. From the WCPSS website: OPEN SESSION CALL TO ORDER — 4:00 P.M. QUORUM DETERMINATION APPROVAL OF MEETING...

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On again: Hillsborough Street bike lanes

Posted By on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Those Hillsborough Street bikes lanes? They're on again — maybe. The Raleigh City Council voted unanimously today to go ahead with them IF the state DOT approves. (Hillsborough Street = Route 54 = State Road.) See our February story on the issue here. The city has a release out on what happened today and what's next: CITY COUNCIL GIVES CONDITIONAL ENDORSEMENT TO BICYCLE LANES FOR HILLSBOROUGH STREET The City of Raleigh will ask the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to consider installing bicycle lanes along Hillsborough Street. The City Council voted unanimously today to authorize City staff to...

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Gov. Tedesco? Hey, Sarah Palin was a local yokel before she was governor

Posted By on Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Think John Tedesco is focused on the Wake school board? Watch him at the Tea Party in Raleigh yesterday, attacking "social engineering" and then, yes, Gov. Bev Perdue. There's no shortage of demagogues in the N.C. Republican Party these days, but have you seen anyone smoother, or more nakedly ambitious, than JT? (Or, as someone today dubbed him, Tea Party Tedesco.) (Update: This just in: Nobody's ever heard of most of the Republican "leaders," including Tom Fetzer. So the way is clear, JT. Not that you hadn't thought of that already. Incidentally, I didn't post this video to YouTube; the...

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Falls Lake fiasco: Or, top 10 signs you have a very bad zoning case

Posted By on Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Photo by D.L. AndersonThere are bad zoning cases, and then there are bad zoning cases like the one involving Falls Lake that was approved Monday by the Wake County Board of Commissioners. Yes, approved by a 6-1 vote, with all four Democrats and two of the three Republicans in the majority. This case was bad enough to prompt a David Letterman-like list of the top 10 ways you know you’ve got a very bad zoning case: 10 — Commissioner Tony Gurley, the Republican who stole the chairman’s seat when Democrat Betty Lou Ward went to the bathroom, casts an heroic...

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Monday, April 5, 2010

In our name? Q & A with Scott Horton, keynote speaker at Duke conference April 8-10 on torture, renditions and citizens' responsibilities

Posted By on Mon, Apr 5, 2010 at 11:16 AM

"Accountability" is the subject of an important conference at Duke this week (Thursday-Friday with an invite-only meeting for organizers on Saturday). Specifically, are we accountable here in North Carolina — indeed, is anyone accountable — for the abuses in the so-called War on Terror that our government is conducting in our name? Abuses that include the "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects from places of U.S. jurisdiction around the world to prisons in other nations where torture is routine. Extraordinary renditions carried out in some cases, it seems, using aircraft and personnel based at the Johnston County (NC) Airport. So far,...

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Corporate "free speech" in a local election (or, don't mess with Alcoa)

Posted By on Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 5:07 PM

In the fight ("Give back the Yadkin, dammit", Indy, Nov. 18) between Stanly County and Alcoa for control of the Yadkin River and its profitable hydroelectric power generation, the local officials standing against the rapacious multinational corporation were — are — Republicans. Now comes word from Carter Wrenn, a solid Republican if ever there was one, that Alcoa is throwing the big bucks into the local primaries in an effort to unseat a trio of Republican county commissioners. Wrenn's point: If you thought the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, the one sanctioning unlimited corporate spending on...

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