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Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Morning Roundup: More Bad Press for McCrory, Hillary Clinton's Got Ads

Posted by on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge Organize 2020 - HTTP://WWW.ORGANIZE2020.COM/2016/06/11/CAUGHT-GOVERNORS-ATTENTION-2/
  • http://www.organize2020.com/2016/06/11/caught-governors-attention-2/
  • Organize 2020
Good morning, all, welcome to Thursday. 

1. Fourteen teachers from public schools grassroots group Organize 2020 were arrested yesterday as they protested Governor McCrory's education policies and other issues

McCrory is popular with exactly no one these days, so unpopular in fact that some teachers from Durham were willing to march twenty-three miles to Raleigh to try to air their grievances with him.

The teachers were promised that they could speak with two top McCrory aides instead because the governor had a scheduling conflict, but when they showed up to McCrory's offices at the Capitol building, the doors were locked.

They took their fight to the intersection of Morgan and Fayetteville Streets, which is when the arrests started. 

From the News and Observer:

“What would be the harm in him sitting down with teachers and students and parents to talk about the state of education?” said Todd Warren, a Spanish teacher from Greensboro who was one of the protest organizers. “Obviously, we’re not getting the governor’s attention. He was last night at a fundraiser for (presidential candidate Donald) Trump, catering to the wealthiest 1 percent.”

Raleigh police loaded the protesters into two prisoner transport vans and took them to the Wake County Detention Center. The department said they will be charged with impeding the flow of traffic and resisting, delaying or obstructing law enforcement officers. A police news release said the group “declined to follow multiple directives to disperse.”

McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis said the group initially didn’t respond to an offer to meet with the governor’s deputy chief of staff, Jimmy Broughton, and senior education adviser Catherine Truitt. The group arrived after the Capitol building closed at 5 p.m., Ellis said, and Broughton and Truitt later went outside to meet the protesters.

“We found them with locked arms in the middle of a rush-hour intersection,” Ellis said. “We usually prefer not to hold meetings in the intersection of a main road.”

Last week, Organize 2020 released a report card giving McCrory “F” grades in areas such as “provided sufficient funding for public education,” “secured a living wage for our students’ families” and “protected our students from discrimination and criminalization.”

The protesters’ chants included a wide variety of causes: “Spend the surplus, expand Medicaid, repeal HB2.”

“This budget surplus is no surplus at all,” Warren said, referring to the projected $237 million surplus in this year’s budget. “That comes from the cuts to programs for poor people. It came from increased taxes on the middle class. Our students are going without. That’s why we had to do what we did.”
And, lol, McCrory's response was to blame the whole incident on Attorney General Roy Cooper, since the North Carolina Association of Educators—with which these teachers are affiliated—endorsed him in the race for governor. 
“Not only did this demonstration inconvenience drivers, it wasted law enforcement resources during rush hour,” campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz said in a news release. “If Roy Cooper is in charge of enforcing the law in North Carolina, why would he send his campaign surrogates to break it?”
Just no, Gov. McCrory. 

2. A nutrition bill in Congress could be very bad for North Carolina's low-income children.

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams says a nutrition bill, currently in the House, that would offer nutritional block grants could harm low-income children by limiting their access to healthy food at school. Under the bill, schools would receive a fixed amount of federal funding for meals with no flexibility for changing enrollments. 

From a McClatchy report:
“While we want our children to learn, oftentimes they go to school to get a meal,” said Adams. The bill “fundamentally harms the program’s ability to respond to changes and reduce children’s needs.”

And hungry students, Adams said, are more likely to have behavioral problems, health-related problems, a lack of motivation and the inability to concentrate.

“It’s not doing our kids the very best that it can do for them,” she said.
...
The proposed block grant pilot could mean a loss of $24 million for North Carolina, according to the School Nutrition Association, which also opposes the bill.

Many critics worry this is the first step before implementing a national school meal block grant, which they say would hurt schools’ ability to adjust to possible increases in students who need free or reduced-price meals.

“Child hunger is a serious problem in North Carolina, and across the country,” Lynn Harvey, chief of North Carolina’s child nutrition services, said during the conference. “It’s not just about a meal skipped here or there. Child hunger is real. Often children leave school at the end of the day not knowing when they’ll eat after school.”

In North Carolina alone, nearly 60 percent of students qualify for some type of reduced meal, she said, and more than 27 percent of students are at risk for chronic, debilitating hunger.

“There are simply not enough funds in the state’s coffer to cover their needs,” she said.
3. Margaret Spellings has $240 K to spend on hiring a homegrown political crony to be her "senior adviser" for a year.

Said crony is Peter Hans, former chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, and he will be a "special consultant on strategic planning, online learning and other projects," according to an internal letter obtained by the N&O.  

Hans is a veteran of the UNC board, having served 12 years, including two terms as vice chair and one as chair. He stepped down in 2015 and served on the State Banking Commission. He also previously served on the State Board of Community Colleges. He earned an undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s from Harvard University.

Hans was a policy adviser to three North Carolina Republicans – former Sen. Lauch Faircloth, then-U.S. Rep. Richard Burr and former Sen. Elizabeth Dole when she ran for office. Hans was rumored to be the preferred choice of key lawmakers for Spellings’ job during last year’s presidential search.

“I’m just pleased to be part of the great team that Spellings is assembling,” Hans said Wednesday, adding that his fee would be paid with non-state funds. “I think she has an optimistic and inclusive vision for higher ed in North Carolina, and she’s going to be very successful.”

Spellings has reorganized the UNC system’s General Administration in Chapel Hill, cutting 25 positions, thus freeing up $2.5 million for the creation of new jobs and other priorities. Of the 25 job cuts, eight people were laid off and six were transferred to UNC campuses. Four temporary jobs ended, and four vacant positions were eliminated. The restructuring followed a $1 million study by Boston Consulting Group, funded by an anonymous donor.

Spellings, the former education secretary under President George W. Bush, began the job in March after a tumultuous year for the UNC system that included the board’s action to end the presidency of Spellings’ predecessor, Tom Ross, a Democrat. The board, which is overwhelmingly Republican, has come under fire for its decisions from faculty groups and student protesters. Spellings, too, has been a target of protests.

The Hans hire represents the first North Carolina insider she has brought in for a top position. Otherwise, she has looked to conservatives with experience in Washington.
That Hans won't be paid using state funds makes this all slightly more palatable, but still, more of the same. 

4. Hillary Clinton, who is campaigning in Raleigh next week, has early ads airing starting today in North Carolina markets and in the markets of seven other battleground states in an eight-figure buy.

Two of the ads focus on Clinton's work with the Children's Defense Fund, on education reform and on her role in creating the Children's Health Insurance Program for low-income families in 1997. Another, embedded here, goes after Trump.


5. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, waged a fifteen hour long filibuster into the early hours of the morning to demand key gun control votes.

Murphy yielded the floor after 2 a.m., when he said he had secured commitments from five top Republicans to hold votes on amendments to expand background checks and ban gun sales to suspected terrorists. The AP reports that Murphy spent much of the time speaking about the Sandy Hook shooting in his home state four years ago. 

Democrats have revived the gun debate after 49 people were killed at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida early Sunday, the worst such incident in modern history. The fight pits strong proponents of the Second Amendment right to bear arms against those arguing for greater restrictions on the ability to obtain weapons.

Murphy's call for the two votes came as presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would meet with the National Rifle Association to discuss ways to block people on terrorism watch lists or no-fly lists from buying guns. The same day, Trump told a rally in Georgia: "I'm going to save your Second Amendment."

Murphy was joined by more than 30 Democratic colleagues on the floor, many of whom angrily told stories of mass shootings in their own states and called for action.

"The next time someone uses a gun to kill one of us, a gun that we could have kept out of the hands of a terrorist, then members of this Congress will have blood on our hands," said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., asked: "Where is our spine?"

Attempts at compromise appeared to collapse within hours of surfacing in the Senate Wednesday, underscoring the extreme difficulty of resolving the divisive issue five months from November's election. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who had been involved in talks with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said there was no resolution.
Depressingly, the measures are unlikely to pass. 

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