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

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Tata on student assignment, budget: Stay "between the ditches"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Our Tata cover in JanuaryFriday mornings at 9, Tony Tata briefs the press about the Wake County school system in a format much like, I imagine, a military press briefing from his olden days in the Army. Topics this morning included Tata's progress toward a new student assignment plan and his assessment of the damage in store for the schools if the House Republicans' budget should prevail in the General Assembly. Discussing student assignment, Tata let loose with an old military metaphor — he's trying to position his plan "between the ditches." In the middle of the road, in other...

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

(Update) McFarlane jumps in for mayor: Who's on her team?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 3:17 PM

courtesy MMI Public RelationsCity Councilor Nancy McFarlane[Update 2, 4/27] City Councilor Nancy McFarlane did announce her candidacy for mayor this morning at City Hall, promising to build on Raleigh's strengths with "careful planning." Exactly, she made no stunning policy moves today. The most interesting thing about McFarlane's announcement was the group that showed up in support. It included Councilor Russ Stephenson, an at-large Council member of the progressive (and Democratic) stripe, and such leading Raleigh Democrats as Nina Szlosberg-Landis, Sig Hutchinson, John Burns, Cynthia Ball and Charles Malone. They mixed with a group of neighborhood activists including Bill Padgett, Octavia...

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(Updated) Meeker era to end: Mayor won't run for a 6th term

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Mayor Charles Meeker has a press conference this morning at 10. He'll announce that five terms as mayor is enough and he won't seek a sixth. Meeker was first elected in 2001, defeating incumbent Paul Coble and ending a decade of conservative leadership in Raleigh under ex-mayor Tom Fetzer and then, for two years, Coble. Meeker's motto was to "lead from the middle." During his tenure, downtown Raleigh came back to life with the reopening of Fayetteville Street and construction of the new Raleigh Convention Center. The opening next weekend of the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM Raleigh) on West...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tea Party for Two: Losurdo follows in Tedesco's footsteps

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 5:55 PM

How many Tea Party members does it take to screw up the Wake school board? Just jokin' with ya, Papa Ron. But seriously, last year it was Johnny Tedesco on the TP circuit. This year, school board hopeful Heather Losurdo took the stage to declare that the Wake school system is keeping kids from reaching their full potential by, uh — well, she didn't say how, but I know she didn't mean that it's because they go to school with "those" kids. "Picture you, upon my knee/Just tea for two, and two for tea." Still, I can't argue with Losurdo's...

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NC Appeals Court raps knuckles of Wake school board majority

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Photo by Art HowardMarch 23, 2010: No admission to the school board without a ticket At the tumultuous March 23, 2010 meeting when the "new" Wake school board majority voted to strike diversity from Policy 6200, the student assignment policy, did the board violate the Open Meetings Act? Yes, it did. But a three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals today ruled unanimously that, while the act was violated, there's no need for the school board to reconsider the actions it took that day. The full ruling can be read here. It upholds Superior Court Judge Bill Pittman's decision...

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Jimmy Creech, author of "Adam's Gift": An authentic hero

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Jimmy Creech at Quail Ridge Books. That's Peter Rumsey at right, who's giving "Adam's Gift" to each of his four grandchildren. "Hero" is an overused word in our vocabulary today. When I think of heroes, I think of men and women who've risked everything for a cause they believed in, not for pay, not because they were conscripted, and not because it was popular, but because — despite the public ridicule and the certainty that what they were doing would cost them dearly — they followed their conscience. Or in the case of Jimmy Creech, followed their understanding of what...

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

(Updated) Wake GOP fields a school board candidate against Kevin Hill

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 8:42 PM

from the Losurdo campaign{Update: Video of last night's meeting is below.] It's Heather Losurdo, erstwhile head of the newly potent Northern Wake Republican Club. She's ready to take on Kevin Hill, whose District 3 seat on the Wake school board is considered the one most vulnerable to a GOP challenger — of the four seats not currently controlled by the Republicans. (The other members who aren't Republicans: Anne McLaurin, Carolyn Morrison and Keith Sutton.) And if Hill's seat is vulnerable now, wait until GOP lawyer Kieran Shanahan's done redrawing all the districts. Who "likes" Losurdo? Well, Ron Margiotta does, and...

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

(Updated) Extortion worked in Washington, so GOP tries it out in Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 4:39 PM

(Update: Did I say extortion? Governor says so too — see below.) Congressional Republicans were ready to shut the federal government down if they didn't get their way on the budget. So President Obama let them have their way — shutdown averted. Lesson learned by Republicans leaders in the General Assembly. They announced today they won't extend unemployment benefits for some 37,000 jobless North Carolinians unless Gov. Perdue gives them their way on the state budget. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis spelled out their surrender terms to the press this morning — a short...

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Let's negotiate over whether the country is worth it. Not!

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 1:39 PM

The United States Treasury I admit it, I'm weary and too blase about ridiculous Republican politics and the failure of the Democratic Party to stand for anything. Obama gives the Republicans $38 billion in spending cuts when their opening bid was $33 billion? Par for the course. Perdue says hey, we don't need that whole 1-cent sales tax to balance the state budget, how about 3/4th's of it? (And we don't need that income-tax surcharge on the rich at all because, uh, er, Obama just gave them an enormous tax cut? Right, it makes no sense whatsoever ... but I...

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Friday, April 8, 2011

(Update) Art Howard's excellent photographic adventures; PBS show on global warming premieres Sunday, Tuesday

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 10:38 AM

"Earth: The Owners' Manual," Geoff Haines-Stiles ProductionsArt Howard on the fast-melting Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand Raleigh photographer-videographer Art Howard's work (we have some examples below) is at the heart of a major new project on global climate change called "Earth: The Operators' Manual." I wrote about it this week in the Indy (link coming when the story goes online, with a slideshow.). ETOM is a public television series, a book, a school curriculum and a website, all underwritten by the National Science Foundation. Its goals: 1) To show why climate change (global warming) is is real and worsening...

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

House OK's bill to have lots of charter schools; will Perdue nix it?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Photo by Jeremy M. Lange Senate Bill 8, the Republican legislation to lift the cap on the number of charter schools and see where the dust settles, won House approval this afternoon by a 69-48 vote. A second House vote is required to pass it, and that vote is scheduled for Monday night. Then assuming the Senate concurs in the House amendments, as it will, it will be on to Gov. Bev Perdue ... and today House Minority Leader Joe Hackney predicted that Perdue will veto the legislation. Hackney, at a press conference with fellow Democrats, ripped the bill and...

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(UPDATED) Two NC DREAM TEAM members arrested in Ga; Raleigh vigil planned

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 11:23 AM

photo by Bob GearyViridiana Martinez (seated) early in last summer's hunger strike[UPDATE 4/7: The seven were released today with no deportation process initiated. I've posted their statement below the fold. The Raleigh vigil is still set for 6:30-9:30 tonight.] Seven people who are the undocumented children of undocumented immigrant parents were arrested today at a protest on the Georgia State University campus in Atlanta. Two, Viridiana Martinez and Jose Rico, are North Carolinians and members of NC DREAM Team. Martinez was one of the three NC DREAM Team members who conducted a 13-day hunger strike in Raleigh last summer during...

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Wake busing statistics in the N&O: Remember the three kinds of lies?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 7:41 PM

That was one strange banner headline on the front page of the N&O today: "Data hint how far may tell how well bused students do." (I see they've changed the headline online.) The odd phraseology is perhaps due to the fact that the "data" discussed in the story under it, as the headline writer certainly recognized, is presented as meaning one thing about the Wake schools diversity policy when it plainly means something else entirely. The headline writer could hardly have chosen the most suitable title: "What a crock of sh-t this story is." So instead, he or she...

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