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Sunday, October 16, 2011

First General Assembly — Occupy Chapel Hill

Posted by on Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Dispatch #1

The formal name is actually Occupy Chapel Hill/ Carrboro, but there is a strong argument that Carrboro has been "occupied" for years.

Regardless, the first General Assembly of Occupy Chapel Hill, started around 2:30 p.m. Sunday after a three hour rally at Peace & Justice Plaza in front of the Franklin Street Post Office.

The plaza is so named because it was site of numerous civil rights and anti-war rallies during the 1960s and 70s and has been a rallying point for movements of all kinds since.

>The assembly of about fifty people was organizational in nature, a straightforward discussion of the concerns and logistics about what to do next. Had they stopped to listen, the lack of strident anti-capitalism speeches might have disappointed the occasional hecklers interspersed through the crowd of UNC and Miami fans spilling out of Kenan Stadium after the football game.

Some fans stopped for a while to take it in, standing in full Carolina blue regalia as the assembly discussed phone trees, supplies and legal issues.

After a long discussion about the possibility of a longer stay, a group of 30 participants opted to camp out and began assembling tents and supplies. Another General Assembly is scheduled for 6 p.m. today (Sunday).

You can tune it at http://occupychapelhill.org/

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    The formal name is actually Occupy Chapel Hill/ Carrboro, but there is a strong argument that Carrboro has been "occupied" for years.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

State auditor: N.C. Board of Elections has significant accounting problems

Posted by on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 3:48 PM

The N.C. Board of Elections has significant accounting and auditing problems, including a backlog of 30,000 unaudited campaign finance reports.

These are among the several shortcomings noted in a state audit released today. You can read it by clicking on this icon.
boardofelections_audit.pdf
According to the audit, the board failed to transfer $452,000 to the Office of State Budget and Management, as legally required, a state audit released today found. Instead, the money went to the state’s general fund.

The money came from fines, penalties and forfeitures of anonymous campaign contributions or those that were unlawfully collected by campaign or political committees during the 2011 fiscal year.

The board of elections attributed the error to the lack of a dedicated staff person with a governmental accounting background. In the future, the board told auditors, it will submit a monthly request to the state Department of Administration of amounts that need to be transferred.

There were other deficiencies in the board’s financial recordkeeping, including the amount of money owed to the board. The misstatements resulted in $478,000 in money that was owed to the board.

The board did not comply with campaign finance reporting requirements that deal with penalties and delinquent reports. In some cases, money from the penalties was not collected at all.

And finally, the board had not audited more than 30,000 campaign finance reports, including some dating to the 2000 election. Sixty percent of the campaign finance reports from the 2010 election cycle had not been audited.

The board promised to strengthen internal controls to address some of the deficiencies. Concerning the backlog of unaudited campaign finance reports, the board noted that the four-month audit requirement has never been accomplished in the 40 years since the Campaign Finance Reporting Article had been implemented. “Until electronic filing is mandated [paper filing is still allowed], and Campaign Finance receives additional resources, this deadline will always be a challenge,” the board wrote.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bedford no longer running unopposed, faces seven competitors in CHCCS race

Posted by on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Chairwoman Jamezetta Bedford thought she had no opponents in her re-election bid. Today, eight days before the polls open, she learned she has to contend with seven other candidates also running for school board seats.

Jamezetta Bedford now finds herself fighting for one of five seats instead of easing her way to victory in an unopposed race.
  • Photo courtesy of Jamezetta Bedford
  • Jamezetta Bedford now finds herself fighting for one of five seats instead of easing her way to victory in an unopposed race.
Bedford thought she was running unopposed for a rare two-year term that opened when board member Joe Green moved out of town.

Seven other candidates, including three other incumbents, filed for four seats, all four-year terms.

But today, Bedford learned that she can't just run for a two-year term. The Orange County and North Carolina board of elections overlooked local election law passed in 1975 that requires all candidates to run in the same pool. The top four finishers will earn four-year terms, and the fifth place candidate will be awarded the two-year term.

Continue reading…

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Photos of Occupy Durham

Posted on Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Tim Mainiero, who participated in Occupy Durham on Sunday, shared the following photos with us.

To learn more:
Occupy Durham on Twitter
Occupy Durham on Facebook

And Jillian Johnson offered her photos here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jillyfish16/sets/72157627804961102/

Continue reading…

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    Images from Sunday's demonstration

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The New Yorker takes on Art Pope

Posted by on Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Politics in North Carolina is drawing quite a bit of interest this morning thanks to several pages of daylight in the New Yorker. Reporter at Large Jane Mayer laid out the influence and operation of Art Pope and Co. in this week's Money issue.

Art Pope Citizens United and North Carolina Politics

Yet Pope’s triumph in 2010 was sweeping. According to an analysis by the Institute for Southern Studies, of the twenty-two legislative races targeted by him, his family, and their organizations, the Republicans won eighteen, placing both chambers of the General Assembly firmly under Republican majorities for the first time since 1870. North Carolina’s Democrats in Congress hung on to power, but those in the state legislature, where Pope had focused his spending, were routed.

This is not big news among progressives. Pope's effort to shape the GOP and the state has been pretty obvious and was spelled out in great detail by the Institute for Southern Studies and the Indy earlier this year. But Mayer uses Citizen United to spell out the consequences of the very wealthy unchecked and unfettered in the political arena and how politics and as we have most recently seen public policy now has a price.

The article, which opens with a very perceptive look at the losses by Democrats Margaret Dickson and John Snow in 2010, is a cautionary tale for every state in the country. Each one has its own Art Pope or two or three and each one is vulnerable to what has happened here in the Old North State.

Go read it.

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