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

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Video: Tata bringing "choice" assignment plan to the board Tuesday; no vote until after Election Day

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Are you ready? Wake schools superintendent Tony Tata will present his student assignment plan to the school board on Tuesday, with the board slated to vote on it at its October 18 meeting. That's a week after the October 11 elections. In between, the board has scheduled a public hearing — one — on the plan for 5 p.m. Thursday, October 13 at Broughton High School. Tata holds a meeting with reporters most Friday mornings. Our friend Greg Flynn attended today's confab and he's posted the video. Greg also sent along a handout that Tata read from with "key points"...

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Same-sex marriage? Elon Poll finds 62 percent of N.C. adults are fine with marriage or civil unions

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Elon Poll takers gave the folks three choices regarding same-sex marriage: I support gay marriage with full rights; I support civil unions but not full marriage rights; I oppose any legal recognition of same-sex unions. The result was one-sided in favor of LGBT rights: Fully 33% of those surveyed back same-sex marriages, and another 29% support civil unions. Add up those opposed to any recognition (34%) plus the "other" answers (2% and no responses (2%), and you have less than 4 in 10 who may want to add an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage and civil unions....

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Talk is cheap. Margiotta talks good schools, at no cost, in District 8 school board election debate

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 4:36 PM

The finale of last night's District 8 school board debate was stunning. Out of his New Jersey past, the incumbent School Board Chair Ron Margiotta suddenly declared that funding for the Wake school system is "woefully inadequate." His opponent, Susan Evans, had the last word, and she used her closing statement to say that if elected, she'll "put politics aside" and "champion a highly efficient, balanced school system." When Evans finished, the room literally exploded with applause — the first of the night. The moderator, a no-nonsense type, had warned the audience not to react, not even to breathe,...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

District 3 school board race: Heather Losurdo's problems mount

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 2:59 PM

(l to r) Kevin Hill, Heather Losurdo, Jennifer Mansfield, Eric Squires To say it's been a rough week for Heather Losurdo, the Republican Party's candidate in the pivotal District 3 (North Raleigh) school board election, is like saying a drowning woman is a little wet. First, Losurdo's penchant for crackpot commentary — don't call it humor, because it isn't funny — was exposed by a new political organization of the progressive stripe, Progress NC. "Heather Losurdo: The Queen of Extreme" is itself a bit over the top in blaming her for the extreme right-wing views of a website on which...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Honolulu residents booking Raleigh vacations — why?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 4:40 PM

The reason why is that Honolulu came in 3rd on BusinessWeek.com's list of Best Cities in the U.S. Whereas Raleigh came in — exactly! — No. 1, baby. SOOO — Curious Hawaiians are sure to be scoping out Raleigh soon to see what we're got (Deep South? Slim's?) that they don't. Get your list ready....

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

(UPDATED) Senate passes anti-LGBT constitutional amendment; voters to decide in 2012 primaries

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 1:36 PM

The Senate vote was 30-16, with 30 needed for passage. A second and final vote was taken immediately. The Governor can't veto a constitutional amendment, but the voters can — SB 514 sets the referendum for the first primary election of 2012, which is scheduled for May. Click here for the vote: 30 Republicans out of 31 voted yes (Hartsell, an opponent, was absent). Zero Democrats voted yes. There's a chance the primary could be postponed because of redistricting. But whenever it's held, expect a no-holds-barred attack on gays by amendment supporters. This is not going to be a proud...

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Monday, September 12, 2011

(UPDATED) This is democracy? House passes anti-LGBT amendment with no hearings, ever

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 4:52 PM

photo by Bob GearyHouse Majority Leader Paul Stam moves the bill in committee [Update, 8:30 am, 9/13: I heard from several good sources late last night that the outcome in the Senate today is uncertain. Three or four Republicans, including Sens. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus, and Richard Stevens, R-Wake, were said to be unwilling to vote for the new SB 514. Whether any Democrats would vote for it wasn't known. With a 31-19 majority, the Republicans can't afford to lose many and still get the three-fifths vote — 30 votes out of 50 — needed to put the issue on the...

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Would single-sex academies in Wake be single-race too? And other notes from the District 6 debate

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Here's something I learned last night at the District 6 school board election debate. Superintendent Tony Tata's been talking up the idea of single-sex academies in Raleigh, specifically an all-male academy at the Longview School next door to Enloe HS and an all-female academy in the former Raleigh Charter HS in Pilot Mill. (Raleigh Charter moved to a new location this year. The tiny Longview School, an alternative school program, could move out and be merged with Mary Phillips HS, Tata suggests.) The two academies, Tata says, would be grades 6-12 and could open as soon as 2012-13. His...

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9-11 ceremonies on Sunday in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza Sunday will mark 10 years since the deadly events of 9-11, Sept. 11, 2001. How many days in American history have had a greater impact on our sense of what America is, or should be, than 9-11? A few, perhaps. But not many. Does the United States matter, and if so, why? Are we confident? Afraid? Whatever your answers, there's no doubt that the last decade was a time of decline for the country and for the world. 9-11 is seared in our minds, as it must be. Ten years later, we bring...

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

About that anti-gay marriage amendment: Watch out for collateral damage

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 3:03 PM

The NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence came out against the anti-LGBT marriage amendment today, warning that a similar constitutional change in Ohio wrecked havoc with its laws protecting people — married or unmarried — in domestic violence cases. In Ohio, the DV law protected unmarried folks who lived together "as if married," but of course, once the state constitution said that the only "union" that state law could recognize as valid was a marriage between a man and a woman, that part of the DV law was ruled unconstitutional. The coalition's statement is copied below. Meanwhile, there was the...

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Forum tonight with the Sierra Club's endorsed candidates: McFarlane, Stephenson head the list

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 11:28 AM

photo by Bob GearyRaleigh Councilors Nancy McFarlane and Russ StephensonThe Sierra Club's NC chapter — very influential with local environmentalists — is out with its list of endorsed candidates in the Raleigh City Council elections. It will host a public forum with them tonight at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship meeting hall, 3313 Wade Avenue. Doors at 6:30 pm, program 7-8 featuring Q&A with the candidates. Wine and appetizers after — free — the public is invited. A separate event for the endorsed candidates in Cary will follow, they tell us. The list is below. *** For mayor of Raleigh, the...

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Anti-gay marriage amendment? NC voters see it like this —

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Human Rights Campaign logo Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling in Raleigh spells out the voters' views in a short, very understandable piece that confirms everything else I've seen in other surveys: Ask NC voters if they're for gay marriage, and mostly they're not. Ask them if they support an amendment to the state constitution declaring gay marriage and civil unions "invalid" and for most, the answer is also no — because that would be discriminatory. A lot of people (obviously) view marriage as a religious sacrament. In that sense, they may be opposed to gay "marriage." On the other...

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Food trucks OK'd in Raleigh—with lots of restrictions

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 4:09 PM

The City Council voted 6-2 this afternoon in favor of TC-5-11, an ordinance allowing food trucks to operate in a very limited number of places under a very restrictive permitting regime. Still, it's a beginning for the upstart vehicular food emporia, and it only took how many months of squabbling? In the end, Councilors John Odom and Thomas Crowder were the lone no votes. Crowder's not a fan of food trucks setting up shop in a business district that borders a residential neighborhood — a commonplace in his District D, especially around N.C. State University — and being allowed to...

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rezoning Raleigh: A forum on Sept. 7, 6-8 pm, on the proposed new zoning code

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Staff at the planning department and their very capable Code Studio and other consultants have been working on a total rewrite of Raleigh's zoning ordinances for the better part of two years. The new zoning code — a Unified Development Ordinance, or UDO — would give life to the concepts embodied in Raleigh's 2030 Comprehensive Plan, which City Council adopted in the fall of 2009. The UDO exists now in draft form online. Only a very few have read even part of it. Done well, a new UDO would describe — and show with specificity — the type and...

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