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

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Light rail to go OVER the Boylan Avenue Bridge?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 5:25 PM

This image of an elevated light-rail line is from India — i.e., general idea only I know y'all were planning to get to the next round of TTA transit planning sessions starting March 22, but just to whet your appetite: I've heard it twice now from well-informed Raleigh officials that the TTA's latest scheme for getting light-rail transit through downtown Raleigh is to go OVER the Boylan Avenue Bridge. (As someone just said on an email thread, you mean under? No, I mean over.) [TTA's response, according to a spokesman, is that they aren't proposing any single option to serve...

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Calendar: Tata to take the NC HEAT on Thursday

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 2:58 PM

photo by D.L. AndersonTony Tata shakes on it with Monserrat Alvarez and Seth Keel of NC HEAT Call it Round 2: When Wake Schools Superintendent Tony Tata debuted in Raleigh at the Wake County Taxpayers Association meeting in January, protesting NC HEAT members were there to greet him, as seen above. Since Tata was spending time with the conservative and anti-diversity taxpayers group, they asked him, how about meeting with the members of our progressive, pro-diversity HEAT organization? (HEAT stands for Heroes Emerging Among Teens.) Sure, Tata said, and the meeting Thursday was born. It's at Martin Street Baptist Church,...

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Make state taxes fair (or fair-er, anyway): What Perdue could've done

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Last time I checked, there was a philosophical difference in this country about taxes. On one side, "fair tax" (a.k.a., tea party) folks think everybody should pay taxes at about the same rate. On the other side, progressive-minded people like myself think people's tax rates should reflect their ability to pay. That is, the rich would pay at higher rates than the poor and the middle-class because they can ... and because they're benefitting from a well-ordered society to a greater degree than others. (That's often, e.g., because they inherited property and, as tempting as it might've been to...

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gov's budget splits the education baby

Posted By on Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Progressive groups were worried that Gov. Bev Perdue actually meant it when she said in December that extending the "temporary" '09 tax increases into 2011-12 wasn't on her radar screen. How else to explain that when Perdue's $19.9 billion budget was unveiled today, with just a partial continuation of those temp. taxes — and only the regressive (sales tax) part at that — and with $777 million taken out of education budgets, the progressive groups cheered? Cheered that state aid to schools would be slashed, UNC and community college tuitions hiked, and 3,000 actual state jobs lost (of the advertised...

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

HK on J Five: Historic thousands come to Jones Street

Posted By on Sat, Feb 12, 2011 at 5:12 PM

photo by Bob Geary (Update: To get on the list for text messages from the HK on J coalition as the General Assembly session moves forward, send your text to 46988 with ncnaacp as your message.) Picture postcard day in Raleigh. That helped the turnout for HK on J, no doubt, as did — don't you think? — fresh images of people power from Egypt. I'm guessing between 2.500 and 3,000 were there in front of the General Assembly building. And for sure, a diverse crowd. White, black, brown, for labor rights, immigrant rights, education rights — equal rights. In...

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Alves/WEP/Chamber Plan: Parents choose the schools — mostly

Posted By on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 9:56 AM

(Update: Will the Alves/Chamber/WEP Plan avert the creation of high-poverty schools? I think that's a huge question — it's THE question — especially since the plan includes no hard trigger to signal that student achievement levels in a school are unacceptably low. I've added something about this in the form of a comment at the end.) As of 10 a.m., when the veil is officially lifted, the proposed student assignment plan we've been calling the Alves Plan (for consultant Michael Alves) should henceforth be known as the Wake Education Partnership's plan, or perhaps the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce/WEP...

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Utter foolishness," or why you can't be squeamish about equal education, the Rev. Barber and HK on J this Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 3:38 PM

(Update: This was written yesterday. The Stevens bill on charter schools, SB-8, was amended in committee this morning to weaken somewhat the independent governing commission referred to below and add some language about diversity — while not exactly requiring it. I'll have more on the charter school bill in coming posts.) At a Super Bowl party Sunday I was introduced to a white liberal minister (our mutual friend said he’s as liberal as anyone can be, to which he nodded) and we got to talking about the Wake schools imbroglio. He’s pro-diversity, no surprise there. He did make a point...

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Alves plan for student assignment to be unveiled Friday

Posted By on Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Just fyi, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Wake Education Partnership announced today they'll be unveiling consultant Michael Alves' plan for student assignments in Wake on Friday morning at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 201 Harrison Oaks Blvd. in CAry. Start time is 8 a.m. (Update: The meeting for Chamber board members is at 8. The media briefing, to which the general public is invited, begins at 10.) The Alves plan is long-awaited and arrives none too soon: The Wake school board majority is in the process of piecemeal reassignments affecting 3.500 students next year — and not in a...

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

National NAACP prez joins Feb. 12 HK on J march in Raleigh to fight "separate and unequal" schools

Posted By on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 3:18 PM

National NAACP President Ben Jealous will be back in Raleigh a week from Saturday. His presence is meant to focus the 5th annual HK on J march on the issue of school resegregation, with the Wake County battle over student assignments continuing to be an enormously important test case. The march — which calls for Historic Thousands at the General Assembly on W. Jones Street (HK on J) — is scheduled to kick off at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12. From the NAACP national office: Thousands Will Rally in Raleigh To Fight Segregation NAACP Pledges “Forward Ever, Backwards...

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Politicians beware: Raleigh is cracking down on panhandling

Posted By on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 10:22 AM

See how many of these new panhandling rules, listed in a City of Raleigh press release, your local candidate or political organization may be violating. (e.g., no asking for money in groups of three or more; after 8 p.m.; under the influence of liquor; in a dining area — these do apply to everybody begging for money, yes?) And also, no threats allowed that if you don't fork over some cash, they will [via a "statement, gesture, or form of communication that a reasonable person would perceive as a threat"] see to it that you'll regret it: APPROVAL GIVEN TO...

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's Charlotte: 2012 Democratic National Convention coming to NC

Posted By on Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Raleigh does hockey. Charlotte's revenge is getting the 2012 Democratic National Convention. This just in from Michelle Obama (she wrote to me personally): Bob — I am thrilled to make sure you are the first to hear some very exciting news. Charlotte, North Carolina, will host the 46th Democratic National Convention in 2012. Charlotte is a city marked by its southern charm, warm hospitality, and an "up by the bootstraps" mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South. Vibrant, diverse, and full of opportunity, the Queen City is home to innovative, hardworking...

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