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), yet another. The Institute for Emerging Issues, a Jim Hunt creation that looks at the big picture, and the Kramden Institute, an on-the-ground group that puts computers in the hands of needy kids, round out the field.
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:
CALL TO ORDER — 4:00 P.M.
APPROVAL OF MEETING AGENDA
1. VISION FOR COMMUNITY ASSIGNMENT ZONES
Student Assignment Chair, John Tedesco will share a presentation of a conceptualized
vision for Community Assignment Zones and how he will lead through the planning
process over the next 9-15 months. Fiscal Implications: To be determined.
Recommendation for Action: For information only.
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 approach NCDOT about the proposal. Because Hillsborough Street is a State-maintained road, NCDOT would need to approve changes in road striping for the bicycle lanes.
The bicycle lanes would be installed on Hillsborough Street from Enterprise Street to Gardner Street. The cost to add the bicycle lanes would be $40,000. Council members endorsed striping the bicycle lanes on the condition that it not interfere with construction and completion of the ongoing Hillsborough Street Roundabouts Project-Phase I. The council also stipulated that the bicycle lanes be paid for with any funds remaining in the budget for the $9.92 million street improvement project after the work is complete.
Furthermore, the City Council authorized a public hearing on a proposal to revise the bicycle component of the City’s Comprehensive Plan to be consistent with the bicycle lane recommendations for Hillsborough Street. The public hearing will be held on July 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chamber at the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 W. Hargett St.
The Hillsborough Street Roundabouts Project-Phase 1 is scheduled to be complete by September. The project will convert Hillsborough Street to a two-lane, median-divided facility with on-street parking on both sides, a seven-foot wide raised median, curb extensions at the intersections and mid-block crosswalks, and several pedestrian signals. Two roundabouts are being constructed, at Hillsborough Street and Pullen Road and at Oberlin Road and Pullen Road Extension/Groveland Avenue. The project also includes replacing water and sewer utilities, replacing the existing concrete and brick sidewalks, putting overhead utilities underground, adding infrastructure to accommodate possible future charging stations for electric plug-in vehicles, and installing LED street and pedestrian lighting.
Also today, the City Council approved the following recommendations from the Hillsborough Street Community Service Corporation:
• Install parking pay stations along Hillsborough Street that accept credit card and cash. The pay stations will replace existing parking meters;
• Increase to two hours the maximum time limit for on-street parking on Hillsborough Street from Oberlin Road to Gardner Street Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and,
• Allow free parking with no time limits on Hillsborough Street from Oberlin Road to Gardner Street from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 5 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Monday.
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 person who did misspelled JT's name, obviously.)
10 — Commissioner Tony Gurley, the Republican who stole the chairman’s seat when Democrat Betty Lou Ward went to the bathroom, casts an heroic dissenting vote.
9 — Ward, who chairs the commissioners’ land-use committee, says the case is nine months old, and it’s unfortunate that nearby residents, who’ve shown up to object, didn’t hear about it until a couple of weeks ago.
8 — Ward is the nearby residents’ representative on the commissioners’ board—and their neighbor in the Falls Lake watershed.
7 — The case isn’t even a rezoning. It’s an amendment (“text change”) to the county’s zoning ordinance designed to grease the way for a specific property owner’s redevelopment plans; the amendment was written not by the planning staff but by a private lawyer representing his client.
6 — One reason the planning staff couldn’t have written it: The commissioners recently abolished the position of county planning director.
5 — The Upper Neuse Riverkeeper wants the amendment rejected.
4 — Leaders of the Watershed Protection Council want the amendment rejected.
3 — The mayor of Raleigh, the Raleigh City Council and the Raleigh Planning Director want the amendment rejected, saying it will undermine regional efforts to protect the Falls Lake water supply.
2 — Before voting to approve the amendment, Democratic Commissioner Stan Norwalk calls on what’s left of the planning staff to figure out how the county can better protect the Falls Lake water supply.
1 — What part of “shopping centers don’t belong in the Falls Lake watershed” don’t you understand?
So far, there's been near-zero accountability on these subjects in the United States. Waterboarding? Just an "enhanced interrogation" technique. Renditions? What renditions? Poor Scooter Libby got a legal scolding, but Dick Cheney remains the biggest star in the right-wing firmament, and President Obama is doing his best to avoid holding anyone accountable for Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, or any of the other horror shows put on by our military intelligence agencies.
In 2007, the Indy recognized the extraordinary efforts of the N.C. Stop Torture Now group with a Citizens Award. Before and since, this group has stood for justice and accountability in the face of the national state of denial and North Carolina's official "not my job" response.
This week, Stop Torture Now is partnering with the Duke Human Rights Center and programs at the Duke and UNC-CH law schools to sponsor a free public conference, "Weaving a Net of Accountability: Taking on Extraordinary Rendition at the State and Regional Level." All events are at Duke, starting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. with an interfaith service on torture at the Duke Divinity School. The full agenda is available on the conference website.
In January, Horton published "The Guantanamo 'Suicides': A Camp Delta Sergeant Blows the Whistle" — it came out in print as the March, 2010 cover story in Harper's. It is a must-read.
For starters: Three terror suspects, never charged, died one night in June, 2006 in the prison at Guantanamo. Their deaths, according to the Pentagon, were suicides. But Horton's reporting casts that account into serious doubt. Drawing on a study of the [heavily redacted] official report done by at Seton Hall Law School, and the accounts of guards at Gitmo who came to Horton after reading his earlier article on the Seton Hall study, Horton suggests that the deaths may have been the result of torture in a black-box prison unit at Gitmo called Camp No — "No," because nobody acknowledges that it exists.
Horton's reporting virtually demands that the Obama Justice Department open a new investigation into the Gitmo deaths — except that the Justice Department maintains that it already looked and — in the vein of Hogan's Heroes' Sgt. Schultz — it saw nothing.
On his blog, Horton often asks "Six Questions" of somebody. So, in anticipation of his arrival this week, we asked Horton six questions. the Q&A follows below the fold.
Wrenn's point: If you thought the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, the one sanctioning unlimited corporate spending on political campaigns, was a mistake — well, consider the case of Alcoa's corporate treasury in any little county it thinks it should own.