The Morning Roundup: Raleigh Budget Deets, Elton John on HB 2, and a Defecation Mystery Solved | News
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Raleigh Budget Deets, Elton John on HB 2, and a Defecation Mystery Solved

Posted by on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 7:50 AM

Michael Speciale
  • Michael Speciale
Hello, Wednesday. Your headlines: 

1. Food desert program under attack from N.C. Republicans. A measly $300,000 program that would help put healthy food in convenience stores located in food deserts is being targeted by pricks in the N.C. House. Per the N&O, the program would "provide $6,000 grants to install refrigerators in convenience stores serving communities that don’t have access to grocery stores." 

Michael Speciale, a trash person who represents New Bern in the N.C. House, wants to remove the program from the House budget proposal. He gave as his reason the following statement: 

“Not many people go to convenience stores to buy fruits and vegetables,” Speciale said. “We go there to buy honey buns and Cokes.”

Hey, Michael Speciale: That you can only get honey buns and Cokes at convenience stores is literally the reason for this program's existence. Speciale then added: “If people were willing to buy this stuff, it would already be in convenience stores."

What do you even do with a guy like this? Do you pity him because he's dumb? Resent him for being evil? Both? What happened to him, or didn't happen to him, along the way that caused him to think this way? Please e-mail me if you have answers to any of these questions. 

2. Raleigh wants to raise taxes to pay for Dix Park. From WRAL
City Manager Ruffin Hall proposed Tuesday an $858.6 million budget for Raleigh for fiscal 2016-17 that includes a tax increase to provide more money for affordable housing and to help pay the debt the city took on last year with its purchase of the Dorothea Dix property.

The budget includes a 2-cent increase to Raleigh's property tax rate – after rolling back the rate following last year's countywide property tax revaluation – that would add $30 to the annual tax bill of a $150,000 house.

Half of the tax increase, about $5.7 million, would help pay down the $52 million the city borrowed last year to buy the Dix property from the state. The city is still in the planning stages of converting the 306-acre site, which formerly housed a psychiatric hospital, to a major park near downtown.

The other half of the tax increase would go to affordable housing, which Hall called a critical investment for Raleigh's neediest residents. The money would help fund a 60 percent increase in affordable rental units, from 200 to 325, across the city. 
The proposed budget also includes a 3.5 percent raise for city workers, $850,000 for public art, and $1.5 million for police body cameras, among other things. There'll be a public hearing on the proposal on June 7, with a final vote set for June 27. 

3. Pooping bandit apprehended. At Rockfish Elementary School, in Hope Mills, a mystery person has been taking shits on the playground for several weeks now. Staff morale plummeted (I assume). Yesterday, a break in the case. WNCN with the report
Bruce Morrison, Rockfish’s safe schools coordinator, installed cameras around the playground to catch the culprit in action.

A suspect was captured on video soon after the cameras were installed. That footage was shared with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

Robert Christopher Elliott, 18, of Hope Mills and his juvenile brother were identified as being the suspects caught on camera.

Deputies said not only did they defecate on the playground but they also took photos of it.
Took photos! Elliot was slapped with second-degree trespassing, injury to real property and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His little brother got second-degree trespassing. Let this be a lesson to those who would defecate upon the sacred asphalt of a school playground. 

4. Elton John weighs in on HB 2. Sir Elton wrote an op-ed on HB 2 for The Hill yesterday. He notes: 
Forcing transgender people to use the bathroom of a gender with which they don’t identify isn’t just inconvenient or impractical. For many, especially young students still grappling with their transition, it can be traumatic, and at worst, unsafe.

The failure of [Gov. Pat] McCrory and other lawmakers to see this is a failure of compassion, a failure to recognize the difficult and frequently unwelcoming world transgender people must navigate every day, stigmatized by the fear and ignorance of others.
Read the full editorial here

Go forth and be glad. 

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