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

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Hark! The Occupy rally & march in(to) Raleigh is tomorrow afternoon

Posted By on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 3:50 PM

The OccupyRaleigh encampment as it looked a week ago "Tis the season to Occupy something, yes? (I mean, other than a checkout line at the mall?) So tomorrow — Saturday, December 17 — the Walking Occupation marchers from #OWS will reach Raleigh, the halfway mark in their trek from New York City to Atlanta. They'll march into Raleigh in time for a 3:30 p.m. rally at Mordecai Historic Park. At 4:30, they and all who join them will step off toward the State Capitol. From the Capitol, the march will move to the Occupy Raleigh encampment in "the triangle" —...

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Perdue upholds Racial Justice Act, vetoes Senate Bill 9

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Gov. Perdue putting the veto stamp on a previous Republican bill Gov. Bev Perdue today vetoed Senate Bill 9, upholding the Racial Justice Act of 2008. The Republican-passed SB 9 would've repealed it. Reactions as collected by WRAL: Republicans are mad, Democrats glad. Opponents of capital punishment — and proponents, too, for that matter — will be justified in questioning whether any murder cases will lead to an execution if the standard for killing a convict is: 1) h/she must absolutely be guilty of the crime beyond any doubt whatsoever; 2) the crime must be especially heinous compared to other...

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Family members of murder victims urge Perdue: Keep Racial Justice Act, veto SB 9

Posted By on Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 2:17 PM

photo by Bob GearyAndre Smith and Jean Parks (looking at him), each of whom lost a family member to a murder in Raleigh, were among those who met with Gov. Perdue Family members of a half-dozen victims of murder in North Carolina met this morning with Gov. Bev Perdue, urging her to veto Senate Bill 9 and preserve the landmark Racial Justice Act. The RJA allows death-row inmates to challenge their sentence on grounds it may have been racially motivated. If they prevail, their death sentences would be changed to life in prison without possibility of parole. Perdue signed the...

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Friday, December 9, 2011

TGIF: MoveOn.org guy looks a lot like —

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 11:39 AM

They're activists, but it's so dangerous out there. Behind the Scenes at MoveOn.org from Steven Weber...

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trespass case of Occupy Raleigh's Margaret Schucker pushed to January

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Margaret Schucker, the disabled Occupy Raleigh participant arrested at the State Capitol October 27 for sitting in her chair on the sidewalk, was in a Wake County courtroom this morning expecting her case to be heard. It wasn't. According to her lawyers, the prosecution didn't intend the case to be tried today and scheduled it instead for Jan. 10. Schucker was charged with second-degree trespass when she refused to get up from her little folding chair after the Capitol Police ordered all of the OR demonstrators to get their stuff off the sidewalk. The demonstrators were told they could stay...

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

McFarlane and Baldwin: Rivals on the Raleigh Council?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 3:55 PM

A postscript to what I wrote yesterday about Mayor Nancy McFarlane's "team" on City Council. McFarlane's committee assignments unfolded as I thought they would. In Raleigh, the mayor names committee members, usually based on what they want but not always; the seven councilors don't vote on it, however. McFarlane's appointments were made without comment. But the council does vote on the mayor pro tem. I'd forgotten that, because under Mayor Charles Meeker, no council member ever questioned his choice of which council member it would be. And yesterday, when McFarlane attempted to name Russ Stephenson as her pro tem, her...

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

[Updated] Leading the new Wake school board: Hill and Sutton (not JT)

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 9:07 PM

[Update, 8:45 p.m.: Back from the meeting. Guess what? Despite the low, low (free) price of my good advice, the new majority tossed Tedesco out as vice chair. Kevin Hill is the new chair, Keith Sutton is vice chair. Both by 5-4 or 5-3-1 votes. (A convoluted process; the vote for Hill as chair happened ... and then it happened again ... the reason doesn't matter.} Jim Martin, new member, made the good point that organization meetings, as a rule, should occur after elections — in December — not in June, as they do now. Martin wants the dates changed,...

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[Updated] Raleigh council takes stand vs. anti-LGBT amendment; vote is 6-2 against discriminatory measure

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 3:31 PM

[Update, Tuesday, 3 p.m. The newly installed Raleigh City Council, led by new Mayor Nancy McFarlane, voted 6-2 this afternoon to go on record in opposition to the proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment. The action was swift. Councilor Eugene Weeks made the motion to follow the recommendation of the city's Human Rights Commission (see below). His motion passed by a 6-2 vote. Councilors Bonner Gaylord and John Odom dissented. Gaylord said he was torn. His 10-year marriage needs no defense, he said, from an anti-gay amendment to the constitution allegedly aimed at "defending" marriage. But he said the Raleigh council...

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McFarlane's team: Stephenson, Weeks get key posts on new Council

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 8:17 AM

The new City Council: (seated, from left) Eugene Weeks, Russ Stephenson, Randy Stagner, John Odom, Bonner Gaylord, Thomas Crowder, Mary-Ann Baldwin. Mayor Nancy McFarlane's inaugural speech last night was cheery. Raleigh's the greatest city anywhere; she plans to keep it that way. Better transit is needed. The Dix tract should be our Central Park one day. A new zoning code — the so-called Unified Development Ordinance — is coming. Details of these and other issues TBD. Well, not the time perhaps. More interesting, to me anyway, was the list of Council committee choices McFarlane circulated yesterday. She'll make them public...

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Next Wake Dems chair: Dan Blue III in the running

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 2:09 PM

We don't usually call him Sen. Dan Blue Jr., but we may need to start now that his son, Dan Blue III is beginning to make a mark in Wake County. Dan Blue III is a lawyer in his dad's firm, an officer in the Wake County Democratic Party and a new member of the Downtown Housing Improvement Corporation's board, among other things. He's also a front-runner to succeed Mack Paul as chair of the Wake Democrats when Paul steps down at the end of the year. An email circulated yesterday by an unhappy Democrat objected to Paul's "endorsement" of...

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Sister Helen Prejean on the death penalty: "The people know the thing doesn't work"

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 2:34 PM

People of Faith Against the Death Penalty kicked off a new campaign to abolish capital punishment in North Carolina today with a press conference featuring Sister Helen Prejean, renowned death penalty opponent and author of the very influential Dead Man Walking. Our Triangulator blog carried a post yesterday about the PFADP effort. At the press conference, Sister Prejean was the first of numerous speakers and was brief but to the point: The death penalty is on its way out in the United States. She spoke for about 4:00. (The video is a little shaky to begin with, but then I...

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Gov. Perdue "thinking hard" about capital punishment and the Racial Justice Act?

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 2:19 PM

In the Indy this week, I wrote about the N.C. Senate's vote to repeal the Racial Justice Act, a law meant to prevent executions in murder cases where the death sentence was a product of racial bias. The bill to repeal it, Senate Bill 9, passed both houses on party-line votes, with nearly every Republican voting yes and every Democrat voting no. So now Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, is "thinking hard" about whether the RJA should be repealed or not? That's what she says. As quoted in the N&O: "I'm a real strong supporter of the death penalty,"...

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Mack Paul stepping down as Wake Democrats chair

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 1:31 PM

He's going out on top: Mack Paul, who led the Wake County Democratic Party in 2011, announced his resignation today, effective Dec. 31. The Democrat-backed slate went 5-for-5 in the Wake school board elections this fall, ousting the Republican majority. Democrat Harold Weinbrecht was re-elected mayor of Cary, and Nancy McFarlane, an independent with Democratic backing, beat a pair of Republican opponents to be the mayor-elect of Raleigh. Five Democrats will sit on the new Raleigh Council along with McFarlane's hand-picked successor, Randy Stagner, an independent who won her District A seat, and District E Councilor Bonner Gaylord, also an...

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