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

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Edwards verdict: He should be guilty. (Update x 2: But he isn't.)

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 5:07 PM

[Update 4: From WRAL: Edwards is acquitted of one count; mistrial is declared on the remaining five.] [Update 3: CNN has a succinct report. The jury remains deadlocked on five of the six charges against Edwards, including the conspiracy charge. It reached agreement only on Count 3, which involved Bunny Mellon's money. The defense moved for the judge to announce the verdict on Count 3, obviously in the belief that it was the weakest charge and most likely to be the one they'd acquit on; it wanted the judge to declare a mistrial on the remaining five charges. The judge...

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WakeUP to Paul Coble & Co: Stop blocking a public vote on the 1/2-cent transit tax for Wake

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

It's been three years since the General Assembly passed the bill allowing voters in Wake, Durham and Orange counties to decide whether they want to build a public transit system, i.e., add a 1/2-cent sales tax for transit in their respective counties. Durham voters approved the 1/2-cent tax last year. The vote in the referendum was lopsided in favor. Orange hasn't voted yet, but the Orange commissioners are expected to put the question on the ballot this year. And then there's Wake. Wake hasn't voted, and unless the solid bloc of Republicans (Chairman Paul Coble & Co.) opposed to letting...

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Sunday at the Capitol, 2 p.m.: Show support for equality, distaste for Amendment One

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 11:43 AM

The bitter taste of Amendment One is still in our mouths as we approach a holiday weekend dedicated to the men and women who died fighting for — well, we say freedom. We say equal rights for all. Some of us, as Jane Lynch narrates in the video below, are still striving to make it happen. Our friend Seth Keel is one of the organizers, with Carly Campbell, of a "Rally for Equal Rights" this Sunday, 2 p.m., at the State Capitol. (The link is to a FB page.) Their message: "Don't mourn. Organize!" In the wake of Amendment One,...

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Perdue: I'll be in charge on fracking, thank you

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Gov. Bev Perdue issued an executive order telling DENR and Commerce to study how fracking can be undertaken safely in North Carolina. The two departments are to form a working group and reach out to the General Assembly, which is considering a couple of different Republican bills aimed at allowing fracking. The order is open-ended — no time limit is set. Here's the order: Perduefrackingorder.pdf Perdue's statement: “North Carolina needs a strong set of standards in place before we allow fracking here. If done safely, fracking can be part of a larger energy solution to create jobs and help lower...

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Too scary? Efforts to curb N.C. voting in 2012 recall state's 1898 coup

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Democracy NC Democracy North Carolina is, as its slogan says, of, by and for the people. Above all, it's for the people's right to vote — and to cast an informed vote about who's on their side and who isn't. For that reason, Democracy NC is fighting efforts to curb early voting, put an end to same-day registration and voting (on early-voting days) and throw roadblocks in the way of people being able to cast a vote. Roadblocks like the nefarious Voter ID bills pushed by Republican leaders here and in many other states that are aimed at reducing voter...

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Frank Eaton, Mary-Ann Baldwin, Don Vaughan: Next N.C. Dems chair?

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Raleigh City Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin did, indeed, announce her candidacy for state Democratic Party chair. That was yesterday, I gather, when she sent an email to Democrats and copied the N&O. Today, Frank Eaton joined the race. He's on the Democrats' state executive committee, so he may have a leg up with the voters that way. He certainly has a leg up in terms of his video skills. Watch this (his announcement follows below): FILMMAKER FRANK EATON SEEKS NC DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMANSHIP WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Longtime Democratic Party activist Frank Eaton today announced his candidacy for the chairmanship of the...

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Obama video: Barack rocks Romney on marriage issue

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 11:16 AM

It's short:...

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Charlotte's showing Raleigh a thing (transit) or two (same-sex benefits)

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Interesting story in the Charlotte Observer about the Queen City's new budget. Check it out: Money for infrastructure investments in underdeveloped parts of Charlotte. (Is there a Southeast Raleigh analogue?) And a plan to offer insurance benefits to same-sex partners of city employees. (Raleigh, so far, has ducked this one.) Thus, in Charlotte: US DOTThe city would spend $119 million to continue building a streetcar line through uptown. The first 1.5 miles is expected to open mid-decade. This project would extend both ends of that starter line past Presbyterian Hospital and to Johnson C. Smith University. How about a streetcar...

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

President Obama backs same-sex marriages: Let the Amendment 1 repeal campaign begin

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 4:04 PM

President Obama finally declared himself: He thinks same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. He said he once favored civil unions as a way to recognize same-sex relationships without running into the "that's not a marriage" buzz saw. But you know what, civil unions — if properly defined in a statute — are the same as a marriage in the eyes of the law. And the law is all that politicians should care about. Leave the sacred trappings outside government's door. It's obvious that the President waited until North Carolina voted to put himself on the record. Had he spoken...

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(Updated x 2) Amendment 1 passes easily, and other primary results

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 12:23 AM

You can follow the returns with me as they come in on the State Board of Elections website. [Update No. 2. It's midnight, and I've made one final pass at the numbers. With all the votes counted, the outcomes are the same as two hours ago. So again, I'll make a very few changes as needed and call it quits for the night.] [Update: It's about 10 p.m. Roughly two-thirds of the precincts are in, and almost 2 million votes are counted statewide. Not much has changed, so I'll change the text below only as needed.} Amendment 1 was approved...

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Amendment 1 opponents: "Our fight for fairness is not over."

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2012 at 10:17 PM

The Coalition to Protect all NC Families, which led the unsuccessful anti-Amendment 1 campaign, just issued a statement. Here it is in full: PROTECT ALL NC FAMILIES RESPONDS TO PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT ONE“No One Wins Tonight in North Carolina,” says Campaign Manager, Jeremy Kennedy Raleigh, N.C. — Tonight the discriminatory and overreaching Amendment One passed on the North Carolina primary ballot, enshrining discrimination into the state’s constitution. The amendment, which also bans civil unions and could strip rights, benefits and protections from children, families, battered women and seniors, made it to the ballot after Republicans took control of both houses...

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Marriage. "Just a Word." A short film by Mimi Schiffman

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I loved this earlier short by Mimi Schiffman called "Love = Love." I just don't see how you could vote for Amendment 1 after watching it. But then I am always the optimist. So here's another Schiffman gem. (Thanks for sending it, Mimi.) It's a four-minute film about love, marriage and two guys from North Carolina who went to Washington, D.C., a few days ago because there they could have both. She calls it "Just a Word." "You know, everybody says it's just a word, but there's more to it. There's a feeling of belonging," said Jeff Enochs of Charlotte,...

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Obama for America takes a pass on Amendment 1

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Just for the record, there was some thought last night during the anti-Amendment 1 conference call that Obama for America would include a recommendation to the President's supporters to vote against Amendment 1 when OFA issued its pre-primary email blast s today. President Obama, after all, issued a statement in March opposing Amendment 1. But no. Vote for Obama in the Democratic primary, is all that OFA says. And — uh — you know, make your voice heard at the polls. Here it is: Here's a great way folks in North Carolina can show their support for President Obama: Participate...

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Amendment 1: Opponents make final appeal and hope the polls are wrong

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM

photo by Bob Geary Fayetteville Street in Raleigh Saturday was out in force — OutRaleigh drew an estimated 10,000 folks, all of whom, it seemed, were loving the idea that Amendment 1 might be defeated on Tuesday, putting North Carolina in the forefront of what is undeniably a movement toward equal rights for the LGBT community. (See: Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday.) OutRaleigh, a project of the LGBT Center of Raleigh, is great evidence of the movement, come to think of it. It hasn't been so many years since a celebration of gay rights on Fayetteville Street in the...

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bill Clinton makes two presidents against Amendment 1

Posted By on Sat, May 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Former President Bill Clinton recorded a call to North Carolina voters urging them to vote against the anti-gay Amendment 1. That makes two presidents against it. President Obama issued a statement earlier. Here's the YouTube version of Clinton's call: The text, from the Coalition to Protect All NC Families: Statement from President Clinton: "Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. I’m calling to urge you to vote against Amendment One on Tuesday May 8. If it passes, it won’t change North Carolina’s law on marriage. What it will change is North Carolina’s ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and...

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[Updated] Vying for NC Democrats chair: Vaughan quits ALEC, Mary-Ann Baldwin among others in pursuit

Posted By on Sat, May 5, 2012 at 9:31 AM

State Sen. Don Vaughan, D-Guilford, the only announced candidate for state Democratic Party chair, said last night he is quitting ALEC. His statement follows below. In calling around yesterday, I heard from party sources that Raleigh City Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin is among several others who's been dialing for support; Baldwin is expected to announce soon that she's in the contest against Vaughan. Baldwin didn't return my call. [Update, 2:30 p.m.: I saw Mary-Ann downtown at the OutRaleigh event, working with the "Vote Against" volunteers. Good on her. She said she's been on the phone, will decide whether to throw her...

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Friday, May 4, 2012

New NC Dems chair? It's the first decision Dalton or Etheridge should make

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM

[Update, 5/5: Sen. Don Vaughan, the only announced candidate to replace David Parker, has quit ALEC following yesterday's disclosures. He sent a statement last night; I've copied it below.] Poor David Parker is out as state Democratic Party chair as of next Saturday, the victim of a sexual harassment claim by an ex-party staffer that he didn't know what to do with. So who should replace Parker? And replace him, I'd add, at a time when the Democrats are in danger of losing the Governor's office, the Lt. Governor's office and everything else that isn't nailed down in Raleigh ......

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Latest from PPP: Amendment 1 is (uh-oh) holding its lead

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM

It's just one poll, and a given poll can be off by the margin of error — which is 3 points in this one — or it can be wrong. (About one poll in 20 is simply incorrect, as we all learned in statistics). Still, when Public Policy Polling reported a week ago that Amendment 1's lead was down to 14 points, about half of what it was a few months ago, that was good news for the opposition. Because (and here's another polling maxim), once there's movement in a given direction, it tends to continue, even to accelerate. The...

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