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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Meeting on Community Engagement Board Focuses on Talks from NCSU Profs

Posted By on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 3:33 PM

A Monday Raleigh City Council meeting aimed at starting to define Raleigh's new Community Engagement Board relied on mostly general presentations from two N.C. State professors, with some Raleigh-specific discussion and response from members. The concept of a Community Engagement Board passed on a 5–3 vote during a May 2 council meeting, but many details remained up in the air afterward. Raleigh residents, including members of Raleigh's venerable citizen advisory committees, saw the new board as diminishing their decades-old role in helping the city council make decisions on zoning and other matters. Council member David Cox, who came to public office on the...

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Cora Cole-McFadden Plagiarized Parts of Her People's Alliance Candidate Questionnaire

Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 5:04 PM

It sure looks like longtime Durham City Council member Cora Cole-McFadden, who is seeking reelection to her Ward 1 seat, copied parts of a candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent out by the People's Alliance, an influential PAC that endorsed Cole-McFadden's opponent, DeDreana Freeman, in this year's elections. Cole-McFadden's answers contain word-for-word passages from Internet sources. Reached for comment Monday afternoon, Cole-McFadden responded that she often uses outside sources for research. She said she unintentionally left out citations because she was in a hurry. “I should have done that. Usually, I do cite sources, but those are just things I'm...

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Raleigh Mayoral Race Rhetoric Heats Up Over Candidates' Dueling Views of LGBTQ Support

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 7:21 PM

Gay rights have emerged as a contentious issue in the Raleigh mayoral race, creating some of the most heated rhetoric of the contest to date. Incumbent Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Democratic challenger Charles Francis both refer to themselves as strong supporters of LGBTQ rights and people. However, both have encountered sometimes oblique recent criticism of their records on the subject. On Monday, Equality NC's political action committee rescinded its endorsement of Francis, whom the group had co-endorsed along with McFarlane. The PAC cited Francis's lack of public advocacy on the issue, along with his campaign contributions from conservative politicians and...

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Lawsuit Alleging Illegal No-Hire Agreement Between Duke and UNC Reaches Partial Settlement

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 5:30 PM

A judge has granted preliminary approval for UNC to settle a lawsuit over allegations that a no-hire agreement between the university and Duke violated antitrust laws. The lawsuit was filed in 2015 on behalf of Danielle Seaman, who was an assistant professor of radiology at Duke, who says she was passed over for a similar job at UNC because of an agreement between medical schools at the two institutions not to hire each other's employees for positions of the same rank. The law firm representing Seaman announced the partial settlement news this morning. Duke has not settled in the case. Duke...

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Special Master Appointed in N.C. Redistricting Case: What Does That Mean?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 2:54 PM

A short while ago, news broke that the federal judges in Greensboro overseeing the Covington v. North Carolina gerrymandering case appointed their own special master to help them determine whether nine redrawn legislative districts pass muster and to redraw them if they don’t. The special master is Nathaniel Persily, a professor of law at Stanford Law School who has helped several states draw their districts. You can read the whole order below. Before we dive in, some background: last year, the three-judge panel unanimously ruled that the legislative districts the General Assembly had passed constituted racial gerrymanders, meaning they diluted the...

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North Carolina Filmmaker Debuts a Harrowing Film of the Real-Life Handmaid's Tale in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 1:46 PM

The documentary, Birthright: A War Story, begins with a single, powerful quote: “All wars have collateral damage. This one is no different.” If you could boil down the premise of the searing and thoroughly researched film by Civia Tamarkin and Luchina Fisher, this is it. In the battle for women’s reproductive health access and bodily autonomy, we have become accustomed to a familiar old paradigm: Choice vs. life. Progressive vs. conservative. Republican vs. Democrat. But as Tamarkin and Fisher would say, the real story is so much bigger than that. It’s about the various ways U.S. women are caught...

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Raleigh Mayoral Candidate Francis Received $20,600 in Donations from Antigay Former Senator Fred J. Smith, Smith's Wife, and Two of His Sons

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Charles Francis, Democratic candidate for mayor in a November 7 runoff, has received a total of $20,600 in donations from former Republican state Senator Fred J. Smith, Smith's wife and two of his sons, campaign records show. In an interview, Francis strongly disputed the relevance of the funds, which amounted to about 10 percent of his total donations from individuals. Fred J. Smith has become part of a campaign controversy because he was a supporter of the 2012 anti-same-sex-marriage Amendment 1. The donations from the Smith family arose from Francis’s longtime business association with Fred Smith, with whom he helped...

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dueling Endorsements Try to Sway Voters in Raleigh's Mayoral Runoff

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 2:57 PM

Endorsements in this year's Raleigh mayoral elections have been crossing paths all over the electoral map, because of an unusual blend of partisan loyalties and unexpected twists. In the first round of balloting October 10, Democratic voters turned out both for unaffiliated incumbent Nancy McFarlane and Democratic challenger Charles Francis. In three previous successful runs for mayor, McFarlane had no significant Democratic opposition, allowing her to attract voters from both parties. It’s officially a nonpartisan race, but the leadership of the Wake County Democratic Party endorsed Francis in July as the party’s only candidate in the mayor’s race. The state party...

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Brace Yourself: Thom Tillis Wants DC Politics to Look More Like North Carolina

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 10:28 AM

Thom Tillis is all about the comparisons these days. Last week, it was reminding people watching the imbroglio between Trump and Gold Star families that Obama was way more disrespectful toward the troops than the current leader of the free world, who is presently picking fights with a grieving widow. But that's old news. This week, the North Carolina senator wants you to know that Washington could use a little more North Carolina-style hardball politics—the tactics that eventually caused the Supreme Court to throw out the redistricting maps that Tillis himself oversaw, and, more recently, were called into question...

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Civitas Institute's Francis De Luca Loses Lawsuit Over Smithfield Foods Agreement

Posted By on Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 4:25 PM

A Wake County judge ruled earlier this month against a lawsuit filed last year by Francis De Luca, the president of the conservative Civitas Institute, over a 2000 settlement between Smithfield Foods and the state attorney general to fund a multimillion-dollar experiment to find more sustainable methods of disposing of hog waste. The news was first reported by NC Policy Watch. The lawsuit, filed in October 2016 by De Luca, claimed that then-attorney general Roy Cooper had diverted money from public schools to environmental projects in conflict with state law. The money at the center of the lawsuit was the result...

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Raleigh Mayoral Candidates McFarlane, Francis Work to Score Points in Debate Leading to November 7 Runoff

Posted By on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 8:00 PM

Like high-stakes gamblers in a pivotal game, Mayor Nancy McFarlane and challenger Charles Francis sat across from each other Friday and worked to make the most of the cards they were dealt. The mayoral candidates were playing the odds that they could reach voters in the Nov. 7 election with persuasive answers to questions posed by Spectrum News anchor Tim Boyum In a lightning round of sorts—the debate only lasted 30 minutes—three-term incumbent McFarlane pushed her experience in government and business, while Francis pledged to operate the city more efficiently and to take more vigorous steps to reach some of...

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Most Raleigh City Council Members Reluctant to Endorse Either Candidate in Mayoral Runoff

Posted By on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 7:15 AM

We asked the seven Raleigh City Council members who will take office in December whom they're backing in the November 7 mayoral runoff. Only two would give a definitive answer. Members Corey Branch, Russ Stephenson, Kay Crowder, and David Cox, all incumbents who earned new terms, chose not to make public their pick in the runoff between incumbent Mayor Nancy McFarlane and challenger Charles Francis. Newcomer Nicole Stewart joined them. Mostly, all maintained that the city will thrive in either instance. Dickie Thompson says he is supporting three-term incumbent McFarlane. And newcomer Stefanie Mendell supports Francis. McFarlane won the...

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Bill Bell Endorses Farad Ali for Mayor of Durham

Posted By on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 7:06 AM

In a surprise press conference Thursday afternoon, Durham mayor Bill Bell threw his support behind former city councilman Farad Ali to serve as his successor. Bell had already made a public endorsement in the Ward 1 city council race, supporting incumbent and mayor pro tem Cora Cole-McFadden, but had yet to weigh in on the mayor's race, which will see Ali go up against current city councilman Steve Schewel. In a primary earlier this month, the two earned the most votes out of seven candidates on the ballot.  The general election is November 7 and early voting is underway. ...

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thom Tillis: Trump Has Shown "More Respect for Our Troops in Nine Months" Than Obama Ever Did.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 10:02 AM

President Trump set off a firestorm earlier this week when he falsely claimed that Barack Obama never contacted the relatives of fallen soldiers. Since then, he has been dogged by revelations calling into question the sincerity of his relationship with Gold Star families. The mother of a soldier slain in June claimed the president disrespected the family in a condolence call, telling his widow her husband "knew what he was signing up for" and referring to him merely as "your guy." The story took a local turn yesterday, when the father of a soldier from Wake County, who was gunned...

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Raleigh Mayoral Rivals Nancy McFarlane, Charles Francis to Tape Debate That Will Air Friday and Sunday

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 6:23 PM

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Democratic challenger Charles Francis will tape a debate on Friday afternoon to be aired by Spectrum News. The debate will have no live audience, but will air at seven thirty p.m. Friday and ten p.m. Sunday, the station said. "Spectrum News is committed to hosting a televised debate for the Raleigh's mayor's race," Spectrum assistant news director Walter Campbell wrote McFarlane during discussions on the program. McFarlane, who is unaffiliated politically, ran some thirteen percentage points ahead of Francis in the October 10 balloting but failed to reach the majority needed to avoid a runoff. Francis, a...

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WaPo: Trump Stiffed a Local Gold Star Family Out of $25,000

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 4:25 PM

In early June, Dillon Baldridge, a twenty-two-year-old soldier from Zebulon, was fatally gunned down by an Afghan police in a suspected insider attack. A few weeks later, President Trump called Baldridge's grieving father to express his condolences and offer him $25,000. He also vowed to create an online fundraising campaign for the family. Neither of those things happened, according to the fallen soldier's father, Chris Baldridge. These revelations come from the Washington Post, which published an article this afternoon detailing Trump's offer to the Baldridge family and his rocky relationship with Gold Star families. Although Trump claims that he has spoken to every family...

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Durham Applies for a Federal Grant to Two-Way the Loop, and It’s About Damn Time

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:06 AM

This morning, the city of Durham announced that it had applied for a $12 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER Grant to convert the hated downtown loop into a two-way street. If the city wins the grant—part of a $500 million discretionary pool of money that the feds use for infrastructure projects—it would use it to change pavement markings, modify traffic signals, and construct roundabouts. “For decades the downtown loop, and the system of other one-way downtown streets, has been widely viewed as confusing, unsafe and a detriment to revitalization,” the city said in a press release. “The loop,...

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Breaking: Research Triangle Regional Partnership Sends Amazon a Bid to Bring HQ2 to North Carolina

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 6:22 PM

The Triangle region sent off its bid Tuesday to become the site of the mega-corporation Amazon's second headquarters, potentially bringing fifty thousand highly paid workers and $5 billion in investments to North Carolina, a Research Triangle Regional Partnership executive said. Aided by the regional body, consisting of ten counties and Research Triangle Park, the area sent off information in response to the request for proposals, or RFP,  that Amazon made public September 7. A task force cochaired by Raleigh-Durham International Airport Authority chairman and Durham mayoral candidate Farad Ali and Citrix vice president of project management Nate Spilker worked with local and...

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FERC Approves Atlantic Coast Pipeline, But N.C. DEQ Can Stop it in its Tracks

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Last week, the INDY published an in-depth look at the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $5 billion infrastructure project by Duke Energy and Dominion Energy that would carry fracked gas through West Virginia, Virginia, and eight counties in eastern North Carolina. If approved and constructed, the pipeline would cross six hundred miles of the Southeast and transport about 1.5 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas to customers in North Carolina and Virginia. Since the project's introduction, it’s been controversial. In North Carolina alone, it would cross more than 320 waterways and directly pass through the properties of about a...

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McFarlane Bashes Francis for Speaking to Wake GOP Meeting, Links Him With Trump

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 12:28 PM

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane lashed out Tuesday against electoral challenger Charles Francis, associating him with “Donald Trump and his America First policies” after Francis spoke to a Wake County Republican Party meeting Monday night. Francis responded that he's a proud Democrat who wants to reach out to voters all over Raleigh. McFarlane, who is politically unaffiliated, faces Democrat Francis in a November 7 runoff following an October 10 election in which she garnered 48.45 percent of the vote to Francis's 36.67 percent. The officially nonpartisan race has seen both Francis and McFarlane receive campaign donations from high-profile Republicans and Democrats....

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Mayoral Candidates Nancy McFarlane, Charles Francis Trade Barbs as Race to November 7 Runoff Begins

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 3:52 PM

Raleigh, get ready, for the train of speeches. Democratic candidate Charles Francis's request for a November 7 runoff against Nancy McFarlane in Raleigh's mayoral race kicks off another round of rhetoric, door-knocking, fundraising, and, very likely, a sharper new tone. Francis, a banker and lawyer, came out punching from the day in July when he filed to run, calling McFarlane "aloof" and disconnected from many parts of Raleigh. McFarlane, a three-term incumbent, mostly kept the gloves on during the campaign, but that started to change by election night. She almost reached the vote count needed to avoid a runoff,...

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Friday, October 13, 2017

How the Legislature Screwed Up Raleigh’s Runoff Elections

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 4:29 PM

Under state law, Raleigh mayoral candidate Charles Francis has until noon Thursday, October 19, to decide whether to request a runoff against incumbent Nancy McFarlane. Under a different state law, however, early voting for the November 8 election is scheduled to start Thursday morning—before Francis has to actually make a decision—which would seem to make the balloting process somewhat difficult. (Francis says he’ll make an announcement Monday, so perhaps the Board of Elections will be off the hook.) The whole snafu originated with ongoing efforts by state legislators to make it more difficult for black people to vote, according to...

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Make Way for the NIMBY Raleigh City Council, as Newcomers Nicole Stewart and Stef Mendell Oust Bonner Gaylord and Defeat Stacy Miller

Posted By on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 8:05 PM

OK, maybe it's a little strong, calling the new configuration of Raleigh's governing body the NIMBY City Council. But with business-friendly incumbent Bonner Gaylord and well-funded challenger Stacy Miller deciding against runoffs for City Council seats Thursday, Raleigh can look forward to a panel replete with neighborhood advocates. They will include newcomers Nicole Stewart and Stef Mendell, as well as victorious incumbents Russ Stephenson, Kay Crowder and David Cox.  Mayoral challenger Charles Francis's decision on whether to seek a runoff against Mayor Nancy McFarlane will be closely watched for its effect on the council to be sworn in December. Gaylord...

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NAACP Elects Greensboro Pastor to Succeed William J. Barber II as Its NC President

Posted By on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 12:20 PM

The North Carolina NAACP has announced that its new president: the Reverend T. Anthony Spearman, a Greensboro pastor with many years of leadership experience in the organization. In an announcement Thursday, Spearman signaled that he will be following the course set by the Reverend William Barber II, who announced earlier this year that he would leave to head the Poor People's Campaign. Spearman was elected at the recent NAACP convention in Raleigh. In a press release, Spearman, pastor of Clinton Tabernacle AME Zion Church and recently third vice president of the state NAACP, said he is grateful that Barber has...

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mayoral Challenger Charles Francis Among Three Raleigh Candidates Undecided About Runoff

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 7:08 PM

Raleigh mayoral candidate Charles Francis said Wednesday that he wants to check with supporters and see final vote tallies before he makes a call on a runoff with incumbent Mayor Nancy McFarlane. In addition, city council candidates Bonner Gaylord and Stacy Miller had not made decisions by Wednesday afternoon on whether to ask for runoffs in their races. Because of a quirk in state law, State Board of Elections officials were urging candidates across North Carolina to decide quickly on whether to request runoffs. McFarlane, an unaffiliated politician, outpolled Francis, a Democrat, by more than six thousand votes but would...

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IN WASHINGTON IN PERSON
PLAYWRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS PENNED

"DACA DADA/IMMIGRATION BRAILLE"

IN MIDST OF BUILDING SEIZURE
DIRECTOR …

by CRITIC on "DACA Is Gone, But We're Still Here": Youth Activists Stage a "Death of DACA" Rally in Downtown Raleigh (News)

innocent bystander: You really hit the nail on the head. Nice job. …

by MJKopechne on Wildin Acosta Dropped His Asylum Case and Switched Legal Strategies. Will That Save Him from Being Deported? (News)

This story is all over the place. Starts off with media interviews in a parking lot, dabbles in legal strategy …

by innocentbystander on Wildin Acosta Dropped His Asylum Case and Switched Legal Strategies. Will That Save Him from Being Deported? (News)

I have a problem with your assertion that Councilor Mendell campaigned on a "slow growth" platform. I think a much …

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This "anti-growth" talking point is not supported by the facts. According to the city of …

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IN WASHINGTON IN PERSON
PLAYWRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS PENNED

"DACA DADA/IMMIGRATION BRAILLE"

IN MIDST OF BUILDING SEIZURE
DIRECTOR …

by CRITIC on "DACA Is Gone, But We're Still Here": Youth Activists Stage a "Death of DACA" Rally in Downtown Raleigh (News)

innocent bystander: You really hit the nail on the head. Nice job. …

by MJKopechne on Wildin Acosta Dropped His Asylum Case and Switched Legal Strategies. Will That Save Him from Being Deported? (News)

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