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

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Virtually dead: Judge rejects company's bid for online NC charter school

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 3:54 PM

If you've been following the efforts of the very profitable K12 Inc. (we talked about them in this story) to open a virtual charter school for students in North Carolina — ostensibly it would be a school "based" in Cabarrus County, but in (virtual) reality the school would've consisted of online courses only, plus some tellers to cash the checks — it's been blocked by Superior Court Judge Abe Jones: Judge rules that state edu board doesn't have to review #ncvirtual charter - its silence earlier was in effect a denial #ncga— Sarah Ovaska(@SarahOvaska) June 29, 2012 Sarah Ovaska's been...

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Bad budget: Perdue will give GOP's work the old veto — for 20 reasons

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Gov. Perdue held a press conference this morning and announced that she will indeed send the General Assembly's budget back at them. The Republican-led G.A. has the option of: 1) Negotiating with the governor — and truly, her requests have been on the very small side in terms of dollars (but, as in the eugenics issue, sometimes the point isn't the sheer dollars) — or, 2) Taking their ball and going home — because, remember, the budget enacted a year ago is for two years, and what's before the body now is a bill to amend that two-year plan. If...

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Perdue vetoes GOP bill gutting Racial Justice Act

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Gov. Bev Perdue acted today to protect the Racial Justice Act from the GOP-led General Assembly's effort to gut it. The ACLU of NC is out with a reminder that the fate of the veto hangs on whether three House Democrats (Brisson, Hill and Owens — see below) will stand with her or — as they did when the measure was on the floor — with the Republicans. First, from the Governor's Office: Governor Vetoes Senate Bill 416Senate Bill 416, “An Act To Amend Death Penalty Procedures” “As long as I am Governor, I will fight to make sure the...

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Read the Court's opinion(s): Obamacare upheld by 5-4 vote

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, survived the Supreme Court today by the narrowest of margins. In fact, five justices out of nine found that Congress does not have the power to mandate health-insurance coverage under the Commerce Clause. However, four justices said it does have that power, and Chief Justice Roberts made it five in favor by declaring that Obamacare is a tax measure, not (strictly) an effort to regulate commerce, and is constitutional on that basis. Here's a link to the decision and the various opinions if you care to dive in. *** And the...

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No school vouchers bill this year: Advocates throw in the towel

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM

House Majority Leader Paul Stam's bill to support private schools with public funds — a.k.a. vouchers — won't be law any time soon. Despite his high status in the Republican Party, Stam couldn't get his plan funded in the state budget, and his efforts to get the bill enacted separately are apparently at an end today as the current "short" legislative session heads to a close. Stam's bill failed, on an 11-11 vote, to win the House Finance Committee's approval this morning. I read that he filed a minority report and might try to bring the report to the House...

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fate of Racial Justice Act likely hangs on three House Democrats

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Gov. Bev Perdue is expected to veto Senate Bill 416, which essentially guts the historic Racial Justice Act. According to the ACLU of North Carolina: The North Carolina House and Senate have approved a bill that would effectively repeal the Racial Justice Act, which allows death-row inmates to appeal their sentences and receive life without parole if they can prove that race was a significant factor in their sentence. Whether Perdue's veto will be upheld in the House (it won't be in the Senate, apparently) seems to depend on getting three House Democrats who voted for SB-416 to turn around...

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Raleigh 5th-graders rock a music video winner. About algebra.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM

The kids at Pleasant Union do math What's the secret sauce that'll lift our public schools to better results? I think the recipe contains getting kids on their feet more ... and encouraging them to work in groups, helping each other so everyone does better. Working alone is tedious; and, if your parents can't help, it's so much harder. Groups are fun. Presenting as part of a group is fun and a real-world skill that can take you far. Why shouldn't learning be fun? Anyway, I love seeing stuff like this. (h/t: Mike Charbonneau at the Wake schools office.) It's...

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

N.C. House District 35 race: It's not for a seat on the Wake school board, and yet —

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 1:33 PM

With redistricting, N.C. House District 35 is essentially new and wide open, with no incumbent in residence. The Republican nominee is Chris Malone, who lives in Wake Forest and is currently a member of the Wake County school board — one of the four who remain from the erstwhile Margiotta Majority. (Now, with ex-board chair Ron Margiotta ousted, they could be known as the Malone Minority.) The Democratic nominee is former Wake school board member Lori Millberg, who lives in Wendell and who served before Margiotta & his Republican mates took control in 2009. I just looked at the stats:...

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Today: Transit advocates want Wake Commissioners to give 1/2-cent tax a chance (w/ an update: "Fails")

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 9:03 AM

[Update, 6/19: Here are a few paragraphs from a story I wrote today for this week's Indy — First and foremost, Wake County will not vote in November on a ½-cent sales tax increase for transit, the only funding mechanism provided for local governments by the General Assembly. Wake County’s Republican-led Board of Commissioners continues to block the vote. Orange County voters will get to decide the question this fall. Durham voters approved the ½-cent tax last year; the county is waiting for one of its two Triangle partners to join it. But the Wake board not only won’t allow...

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Friday, June 15, 2012

RT: DREAM'ers gain with Obama immigration move

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Major news in Obama immigration policy: DREAMers won’t be deported -ow.ly/bBpoN #ncga #ncpol #ncdreamteam— NC Policy Watch (@NCPolicyWatch) June 15, 2012...

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Martin Marietta quarry rezoning, the "big pile of overburden" gets Raleigh planning commission's blessing

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Catching up with our story from a week ago, "North Raleigh residents fight quarry expansion," the Raleigh planning commission voted 8-1 in favor of Martin Marietta Materials' rezoning application, finding that it's in the public interest to let the company use a 97-acre tract it owns as a dump site for its RDU quarry rather than be required to comply with the city's comprehensive plan and the residential-commercial zoning that MMM itself sought for the property in the '90s. City of Raleigh If rezoned, part of the shaded area north of Wyngate Road would be a dump site; under the...

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Public $$$ for private and Christian schools, and the billionaires who want your money spent on them: Facing South

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Last week we reported on the Republican General Assembly's plans to send big chunks of public funding to private and Christian schools. [Inventively headlined: "GOP plan would send public funds to private schools"] Since then, the Republican scheme's been steaming along. The House budget contains money for it, and various reports suggest that the Senate will go along. Expect a budget veto from Gov. Bev Perdue. But last year, five Democrats in the House deserted her, and with their aid and comfort the Republicans overrode her veto in both houses. Today, Facing South is out with a detailed report on...

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

(Updated) Does the good Citrix news mean that Raleigh's grand Union Station plan is dead?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 8:09 PM

City of Raleigh(In the center) The two large buildings flanking Hargett Street would've been redeveloped as Union Station; now the one on the left, north of Hargett, is ticketed for sale. [Update, 6/8, 2:30 pm. I've spoken to several city officials now, including Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Councilor Thomas Crowder. Nobody wants to say anything on the record about Citrix. That's all very hush-hush and a real estate deal still to be made. But as to whether TTA told the city that it was planning to sell the warehouse building in the first place, all said they think the answer...

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paul Coble on the need to consider transit: "Nah."

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Orange County will be voting on the 1/2-cent sales tax for transit in November. That decision was made by the Orange County Board of Commissioners last night. Durham County, of course, has already passed the 1/2-cent tax in a referendum. And Wake? On Monday, at the Board of Commissioners meeting, Democrat Erv Portman urged that the subject of the tax and transit's future be put on their agenda for next week's work session. Specifically, Portman asked that County Manager David Cooke give a presentation on the updated Wake transit plan, something Portman said could be done in 30 minutes or...

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Colbert's wet kiss for NCGOP's ban on rising seas

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 2:45 PM

h/t BlueNC ("North Carolina becoming a national joke"): Sea-level rise of one meter or more? There's no way to know what that would mean. Because it's metric. And other Stephen Colbert gems about what our NC Republicans are up to that, unfortunately, are both funny and true. The Colbert ReportGet More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive...

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Travels with Carlie: Melbourne, Australia's street art

Posted By on Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Carlie Huberman, who grew up in Boylan Heights and graduated from American University last month, is now in Australia. She's on the first leg of a five-month backpacking adventure that will take her to enough different countries that, when she rattled them off, it made me dizzy. Naturally, I thought of John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley — though his explorations were across the U.S. My travel plans this year include a jaunt to Carrboro this summer followed by Charlotte in September to see who's protesting at the Democratic National Convention and why. (Yes, I am looking for sympathy.) So Carlie,...

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Saturday: A fair in Raleigh of, by and for 99% of the people

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Bicentennial Mall is the space between the Capitol and the General Assembly building, flanked by the state Museum of History and the state Museum of Natural Sciences. In other words, it's a good place to visit on any given Saturday. Tomorrow, from 11-3, it will be especially good as (at last count) 19 progressive organizations set up shop — tables — to let the public know what they're doing to make North Carolina a better place to live. courtesy SEIU.org The ON TRAC N.C. Community Engagement Fair has a Facebook page, of course. The Raleigh Action Collective (TRAC) is among...

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