The Morning Roundup: Early Voting, Chatham Zoning, Wake Schools, Tim Kaine | News
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Early Voting, Chatham Zoning, Wake Schools, Tim Kaine

Posted by on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 8:53 AM

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Good morning to you. Today's news: 

1. Battle for early voting in North Carolina continues.

A federal appeals court smacked down North Carolina's racist voter-ID law last month, but that's not the end of the story. Fights over early voting hours and locations are currently playing out in counties across North Carolina. The Nation rounds up the situation:  
By virtue of holding the governor’s office, Republicans control a majority of votes on all county election boards and yesterday they voted to cut 238 hours of early voting in Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County, the largest in the state. “I’m not a big fan of early voting,” said GOP board chair Mary Potter Summa, brazenly disregarding the federal appeals court’s opinion. “The more [early voting] sites we have, the more opportunities exist for violations.”

Republicans are very cognizant of the fact that Barack Obama carried Mecklenburg County by 22 points in 2012 and that 70 percent of African-Americans used early voting in the county during the last presidential election versus 48 percent of white voters.

There’s no evidence early voting increases the likelihood of voter fraud, but cutting early voting does lead to longer lines at the polls, like we saw in Florida 2012—when that state cut early voting from 14 to eight days and there were seven-hour lines in cities like Miami, deterring 201,000 people from voting.

Mecklenburg isn’t the only county where this is happening. Republicans in Watauga County, home to Appalachian State University, refused to approve a voting site on ASU’s campus, where 15,139 votes took advantage of 215 hours of early voting in 2012, and will have only one early-voting site for the county—in the “tiny office on the first floor of the County Courthouse,” writes local blogger Jerry Williamson.
McCrory's lawyers on Monday officially asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the overturned law

2. Chatham approves countywide zoning. After several contentious months, the Chatham County Commission on Tuesday formally voted to zone all of the county. As the INDY has reported, many rural residents out west considered zoning to be a case of the government poking its head in where it don't belong; those in favor have argued it's necessary, given the development interests making their way deeper into the county. Chapelboro has the scoop on last night's meeting: 
Chatham County Commissioners voted 3-2 to apply zoning to the remaining portions of the county that were previously unzoned at its meeting Monday night.

The vote means that the newly zoned portions of the county will now fall under R-1 or R-5 zoning regulations.

R-1 will allow “low to moderate density residential development in residential and agricultural areas (approximately one residence per acre).” R-5, meanwhile, calls for approximately one residence per five acres in areas adjacent to rivers and streams.

Bona fide farms, which are defined by state law, are exempt from the zoning regulations as long as they continue using the property for agricultural purposes.
3. Wake schools will be less clean this year. Budget cuts in Wake means Wake schools will be vacuumed less in 2016. The News and Observer reports
In the face of a $17.5 million budget shortfall, Wake County school board members agreed Tuesday to make a painful series of cuts that include reducing how often schools are cleaned and how much money is spent on instructional supplies.

Middle and high schools will go from being vacuumed and swept three days a week to twice a week. But in a last-minute compromise Tuesday, the board backed a plan that will reduce cleaning in elementary schools to every other weekday instead of twice a week. Elementary schools will be cleaned five days every two-week period, or one fewer day than the current schedule.

“I want to express my frustration that the budget right now, at what is viewed as the second year, or maybe third year of our ‘recovery’ after the Great Recession, that we’re talking about how often we’re going to vacuum our rooms,” said school board member Kevin Hill.
Temperatures in the schools will also be raised a degree in the summer and lowered a degree in the winter, which is expected to save about $400,000. 

4. Kaine in North Carolina. After participating in an Asheville hoedown on Monday, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine appeared in Fayetteville on Tuesday and called Donald Trump "unfit to lead." ABC 11 was there
He stopped in Fayetteville on Tuesday and told a crowd of about 280 people at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, that "we are not in North Carolina by accident. We are here because we're going to win North Carolina."

Kaine says the campaign will continue investing in the battleground state. 

The Virginia senator, whose son is serving in the Marines overseas, played to his audience. He ripped Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for calling the military "a disaster."

"Anybody who says the military is a disaster is unfit to be commander in chief. He's unfit," Kaine said.

He stressed the important of creating jobs, especially for military families. He said there needs to be better job training for service members once they transition to civilian life, and veterans need greater health care support.
5. Southern Season to be auctioned off on Friday. The Chapel Hill-based gourmet food and housewares store filed for bankruptcy in June. It will be put up for auction this Friday, the N&O reports
321 Capital Partners, a Maryland-based investment banking firm, is soliciting bids from private equity firms that specialize in buying distressed retailers to take over Southern Season and continue to run it. At a hearing Monday, Ervin Terwilliger, 321 Capital’s managing partner, testified about the need for a quick sale.

One of Southern Season’s lawyers, John Paul H. Cournoyer, asked Terwilliger: “Do you believe that a rapid sale timeline is necessary in this case and if so why?”

Terwilliger responded: “I believe it’s absolutely a necessity to receive the highest value for the business. The business won’t survive another week without funding. It’s been made very clear to me throughout my conversations that there is not future funding for the business.”

If Southern Season does close its doors, Terwilliger said the business would be worth far less at auction.

Terwilliger said his company has secured an opening bid of $3.5 million from The Focus Properties. Terwilliger said 13 companies had seriously looked at the company’s books and he expected eight companies to potentially participate in Friday’s auction.
That's all for now. Enjoy your day. 

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