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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Democracy NC: Early voting favored Dems

Posted by on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 2:30 PM

Confirming what we knew by Election Night, Democracy North Carolina has crunched the state's voting numbers and found:

  • Obama, Hagan and Perdue each led by more than 300,000 votes after Early Voting, then lost on Election Day
  • North Carolina's turnout rate was 70 percent, the highest since 1968. Wake and Durham counties were in the top 10.
  • The "under-vote" problem turned out not to be a big problem. There was widespread fear before Election Day that many people would fail to vote for president because that race is not included in a straight party ticket vote in North Carolina. But under-voting affected only 1 percent of ballots cast, after election officials -- and the Obama campaign, of course -- worked hard to educate voters.

This information is not yet posted on Democracy NC's web site, but you can see the numbers here.

For more election analysis, check out Facing South's outstanding coverage.

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Ferris wheel in Raleigh, yes .... Location in Pullen Park, no

Posted by on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 10:51 AM

I'm with Dana at gogoraleigh.com -- buy the Ferris Wheel. (N&O story conveys Mr. Garrabrant's vision.)

But Pullen Park is small and already bursting with folks on a nice summer weekend. Why not put it in Chavis Park, a beautiful site with a great view of downtown, easy access from Western Boulevard and not a lot of activitity nowadays. Or patch it into those Capital Boulevard transit/redevelopoment plans. If Dix 306 ever happens, and the city acquires some or all of the Dorothea Dix land for a park, put it up there. (h/t: Charles Meeker, 01/07.)

Or it could go in Glenwood South somewhere, if equipped with a breathalyzer.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's next move?

Posted by on Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 10:02 PM

President-elect Obama is making plans for his own appointments to the Federal Communications Commission. So Martin, the North Carolina native appointed by President Bush, is looking for a new job.

At a dinner in Washington this week, Martin reportedly joked about running for mayor of Wilmington, the first media market in the country to make the switch to all-digital broadcast signals, or becoming a wardrobe consultant for Janet Jackson.

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Downtown Raleigh's parking problem: It's too cheap

Posted by on Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 12:16 PM

The city brought in a consultant. There was a task force -- suits -- that paid careful attention to his powerpoints. Bottom line: City Administration wants to jack up the on-street meter rates to (for starters) $1 an hour, meter every spot & push cars into the half-empty parking decks. Why? People come downtown once a year for lunch/meetings, they don't see any on-street parking, so they think there isn't any parking available ... and they never come back. They don't see any on-street parking spaces because, @ 2 hrs. for $0.50, or in many places 2 hrs. for $0.00, downtown workers take 'em and play musical cars all day. On top of which, there's the phony handicapped parking problem.

Meanwhile, consultant says, there is more than enough parking available downtown.

Next move: City Council.

A new blog reports on the presentation to the City Council yesterday. (but C. -- fix that headline!) (Update: It's fixed.)

(h/t NewRaleigh.com)

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How an idea becomes a bill

Posted by on Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 11:01 AM

While not exactly dishy, Gerry Cohen's blog Drafting Musings is an interesting window onto Jones Street. Today, the North Carolina General Assembly's director of bill drafting presents an explanation of how the process works.

Notable: 884 bills became law in the 2007-2008 session, out of nearly 5,700 requests made of the 15-member bill drafting department.

The initial request that comes in the door may be just a fleeting idea, an issue paper, an article from from the popular press or an academic journal, a constituent inquiry, a request from a lobbyist on behalf of a client, or perhaps just the idea that propelled the member to run for office. [...] Or, heaven forbid Franklin, something from the Governor’s office! Many requests also come from local governments, as North Carolina has granted cities and counties only limited home rule.

It's up to the bill drafter to vet the request to see if it's constitutional. The staffer may have gotten a similar request from another member, or may have written another version of the same bill just last year. But he or she must tread carefully when sharing that information, Cohen says. "Remember, not only the content of the request but even its existence is confidential under a specific attorney-client exemption to the Public Records Act."

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Online at WRAL: N.C. Supreme Court hears case on doctors & executions

Posted by on Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 5:53 PM

For nearly a century, state law has required that a physician be "present" during executions. But does present mean merely that a doctor is on hand to pronounce death, as it doubtless did in 1909 when the state centralized executions in Raleigh and started using the electric chair instead of hangings? Or does present mean, now that lethal injections have replaced the chair, that the doctor is available to take an active role?

The legal dispute over that issue, as fought out between the N.C. Medical Board and the Easley Administration's Department of Corrections -- represented by the Attorney General -- has created a de facto moratorium on capital punishment here since August, 2006. The dispute reached the N.C. Supreme Court today. Oral arguments, an hour long, can be viewed online at WRAL.com.

Continue reading…

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Q: What does Glenwood South need? A: Its own Carolina Ale House

Posted by on Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 1:13 PM

In an economy like this, you just can't have enough places to drink off your sorrows -- even in suds-rich  Glenwood South. So good news there: Triangle Business Journal reports that Lou Moshakos, he of the many Carolina Ale Houses, is buying the last old Pine Street Creamery building on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh, the "visually challenged" one at 500 Glenwood, and plans to put a third floor on it, which will be a rooftop C.A.H.

The first two floors? Story says other restaurants. How about some stores?

(Oh, that's right, the only thing selling now is hootch.)

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Bowser, Page eye top post in Durham County

Posted by on Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Durham County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow has indicated she may step down as chairwoman of the board in December, opening the door for a new board-elected leader. Reckhow has said she would vote for current Vice Chairman Michael Page, who is eying the job. However, returning Commissioner Joe Bowser--who was ousted from the board in 2004--tells the Herald-Sun that he expects Reckhow to return the favor for his vote to elect her chairwoman, six years ago. Quid pro quo, Joe?

The Herald-Sun reports (reg. required):

According to Bowser, Reckhow promised to support his future bid to become chairman if he supported her in 2002 -- and says now she's reneging. He said "she felt that a number of things had changed" in the intervening years.

"I don't remember the conversation six years ago very well," Reckhow said, "but I would say that given his hiatus from the board, I think it's important for him to gain some experience on our board, on our current board."

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Monday, November 17, 2008

NBAF decision may be delayed

Posted by on Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 2:23 PM

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security may postpone deciding where to site the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, thus putting it in the hands of the Obama administration.

Butner is among the five finalists for the animal disease research center. San Antonio, Texas; Manhattan, Kans.; Athens, Ga.; and Flora, Miss. are the others.

The Hattiesburg American reports that a final environmental impact statement is due within the next few weeks. However, the final decision is not expected until after Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama takes office.

Although Butner initially scored the highest on Homeland Security's site assessments,  local citizens and most  elected local, state and federal officials are strongly opposed to locating the NBAF in North Carolina.

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New farmers' markets for 2009

Posted by on Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 2:04 PM

The Triangle’s growing farm-to-table movement may sprout two new local markets next spring. Organizers for two new potential sites in Cary and Pittsboro will hold public discussions about the possibilities over the next two weeks.

Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., residents of the Amberly subdivision will host a meeting about establishing a farmers’ market in their neighborhood, which is on the border of Wake and Chatham counties. A survey of 300 residents resoundingly supported a new market there, organizers say.

The Western Wake Farmers' Market at Amberly meeting will take place at the Residents' Club, 1075 Residents' Club Drive in Cary. RSVP to Mia South at mia_south@yahoo.com or 380-4035.

In Pittsboro, Robert Poitras, the owner of Carolina Brewery, will host an informational meeting at his restaurant Thursday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. Poitras is pitching the idea of a Saturday morning market starting in spring 2009. Pittsboro currently has a farmers’ markets only on Thursday afternoons during the growing season, which is held at the Chatham County Fairgrounds.

Light food and refreshments will be served at the meeting. The Carolina Brewery & Grill is located at 120 Lowes Drive, in the Bellemont Station shopping center along U.S. 15-501 just north of downtown. Poitras is requesting RSVPs at robert@carolinabrewery.com or 545-2330.

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Comments

This is a Triangle-wide problem now. As bad as it is in Durham, it's worse in Raleigh. Rents are skyrocketing …

by Rob Ridings on Durham development: What's being built where and who can afford it? (News)

Good for her. It would be nice to see a trial schedule published, so that interested parties might bear witness.

by seanc on N.C. protestors refuse deal from courts (News)

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