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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Section 8 Voucher Holders Are Having a Hard Time Finding Housing in Durham

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Durham Mayor Bill Bell is challenging local landlords and the Durham Housing Authority to house another thirty homeless households with rent vouchers within in the next seven months. It's part of an effort, discussed Tuesday morning during the annual Mayor's Landlord Roundtable, to get more local landlords to accept rent subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8. The DHA administers the vouchers locally. Thirty is a small number compared with how many people need affordable housing, but, as Bell said, it's part of a larger "vision" to end homelessness...

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Primer: Senate Health Bill CBO Score—Fatal Blow or Flesh Wound?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 10:08 AM

Hey, y’all. There’s A TON of news today, and, as ever, I’ll move through it as expeditiously as possible. First, though, a teaser: later this afternoon, the INDY is going to drop part one of what will be a three-part series on North Carolina’s pork industry and its effect on the state’s environment and hog farms’ eastern North Carolina neighbors. Reporters Erica Hellerstein and Ken Fine have been working on this project for months. It’s deeply reported and a very (in my estimation) important read. Keep an eye out for it. Anyway, let’s begin. 1. CBO SAYS 22M WILL LOSE...

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Primer: Trump Is Thinking About Firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 10:27 AM

Happy Tuesday, everyone. There’s a lot in the news, and we’ll get to it straightaway. But first, may I ask a favor? Our first Primer seemed to go well; the response was overwhelmingly positive. But if you are experiencing any problems or have any suggestions about how we can make this newsletter more readable—e.g., if the formatting looks wonky on your computer or device—please pass them along to jbillman@indyweek.com. This is a new venture, and we’re learning as we go. So with that said, let’s go. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. HE WOULDN’T DARE. (WOULD HE?) THE GIST: According to one of...

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Sessions and Trump Are Reportedly At Odds, Comey Set to Testify Tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 8:49 AM

First things first. Our annual "Best of the Triangle" edition is on the racks, so go grab one and congratulate the many winners you guys chose. Now let's check out Tuesday's headlines. 1) The Sessions/Trump bromance is reportedly over. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly upset that the president isn't allowing him to do his job. How upset? He offered his resignation. From The New York Times: Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered to resign in recent weeks as he told President Trump he needed the freedom to do his job, according to two people who were briefed on the discussion....

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Supreme Court Rejects Racist Legislative Districts, Durham City Council Rejects Publix

Posted By on Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 9:48 AM

A lot happened around the Triangle Monday. Let's review. 1) Supreme Court confirms that district lines were racially gerrymandered. It's unclear whether special 2017 elections will occur, but the high court delivered a blog to the GOP-controlled legislature. From the INDY: This morning the Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision that twenty-eight state legislative districts in North Carolina are racially gerrymandered, but vacated the court's order to redraw the maps and hold special elections in 2017. The Supreme Court's three-page order zeroed in on the panel's decision to call for new maps and special elections, explaining its decision to...

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Friday, June 2, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Trump Kicks Planet in the Face

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 8:55 AM

It's Friday, but there's really not much to celebrate. 1) Trump pulls U.S. out of historic Paris climate accord. It's not exactly shocking that President Donald Trump made good on a campaign promise and pulled the U.S. out of the most significant climate agreement in history. But it's still a disaster. From The Washington Post: President Trump announced Thursday afternoon that he is withdrawing the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement, an extraordinary move that dismayed America’s allies and set back the global effort to address the warming planet. Trump’s decision set off alarms worldwide, drawing swift and...

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blame Trump and the Republicans for Blue Cross’s Massive 23 Percent Rate Hike Request

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 2:06 PM

Earlier today, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that it was seeking an average rate hike of 22.9 percent for individual plans on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace, a staggering increase for the half-million people insured by BCBS in North Carolina through the Obamacare exchange. On the surface, this hike—along with news that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City is abandoning the ACA marketplace altogether, leaving twenty-five Missouri counties without an Obamacare insurer—lends credence to Republican claims that the health care law is “collapsing” and in a “death spiral.” Dig a little deeper, however, and the truth...

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The Morning Roundup: GOP Health Care Plan Leaves 23 Million Without Insurance

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 9:09 AM

Wednesday was another banner day for the GOP. Let's take a stroll through some headlines. 1) Obamacare replacement would leave twenty-three million out in the cold, according to the CBO. Premiums would go down (at least for the young, wealthy, and healthy), but costs would go up for people with preexisting conditions. And more than twenty million would lose coverage altogether. From The New York Times, by way of the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office: A bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that narrowly passed the House this month would leave 14 million more people uninsured next year than under...

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Suspecting Fraud, State Treasurer Dale Folwell Requires Proof of Dependents' Eligibility For State Health Plan

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 8:20 PM

If you’re employed by the state, you’ve likely received a letter informing you that you have until July 31 to prove your spouse is your spouse and your children are your children, or they will be dropped from the State Health Plan. The proof—tax returns, marriage and birth certificates, and/or adoption papers—must be submitted electronically. The letter recommends scanning the documents or taking “a photo with your smartphone” and uploading them to the State Health Plan website. Here is the notice state workers received: One concerned state employee contacted the INDY, asking: “1) Is it really legal for them...

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Trump Follows Up Bad Tuesday With a Really, Really Bad Wednesday

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 8:27 AM

Not to be outdone by his horrible Tuesday, President Donald Trump had a really bad Wednesday. For the sake of maintaining order amid the chaos, we'll go through it chronologically. 1) Comey is summoned by Burr, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In a rare show of backbone, North Carolina’s own Richard Burr summoned former FBI director James Comey to testify about his interactions with the president and that memo he reportedly sent that informed his colleagues at the bureau that Trump wanted him to drop the investigation into Mike Flynn. From the INDY: It appears the Trump-Russia investigation got a kick in...

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Durham Budget Proposal Would Raise Property Taxes to Address Affordable Housing, Public Safety

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 8:13 AM

As part of a $429 million budget proposal, Durham's city manager is recommending a 1.79-cent property tax increase for the 2017–18 fiscal year to help address affordable housing needs in the city. The city's current tax rate is 56.07 cents per $100 of property, including one cent dedicated to affordable housing. A budget proposal presented Monday night by Thomas Bonfield would raise the tax rate to 57.86 cents and double the dedicated housing portion to two cents. It would also dedicate 0.79 cents to public safety initiatives. “Addressing priority gap areas in the city’s affordable housing strategy all start...

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Friday, May 12, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Legislature Backs Big Pork, Trump Loses His Sh*t on Twitter Again

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 9:28 AM

It's Friday. You made it. Congrats. 1) Senate completes HB 467 veto override. It seems state legislators aren't too concerned about new research that shows the presence of pig feces on and inside the homes of pig farms’ neighbors. Thursday, the Senate completed an override of Governor Cooper's veto of HB 467, a bill that limits financial liability in agricultural nuisance suits. From the INDY: Cooper vetoed the bill last week, shortly after lawyers representing hundreds of plaintiffs involved in twenty-six federal lawsuits against Murphy-Brown LLC, the hog division of Smithfield Foods, submitted new evidence showing that fecal matter from the...

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

N.C. House Backs Big Pork, Votes to Override Cooper's HB 467 Veto

Posted By on Wed, May 10, 2017 at 4:37 PM

Governor Cooper's veto of House Bill 467, a bill that would limit liability in agricultural nuisance cases, is halfway to being overridden. The N.C. House voted 74–40 in favor of the override; the vote was mostly along party lines, with Republicans voting for it. The timing is interesting, given that less than a week ago, lawyers representing hundreds of plaintiffs involved in twenty-six federal lawsuits against Murphy-Brown LLC, the hog division of Smithfield Foods, submitted evidence they say proves fecal matter from hog farms is ending up on and likely inside the homes of people who live near them. As...

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Trump Shafts North Carolina After Hurricane Matthew Relief Request

Posted By on Wed, May 10, 2017 at 12:58 PM

What do you get when your state helps elect a president and then requests $900 million from his administration to help rebuild after one of the worst natural disasters in its history? If you're North Carolina, not much. In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Governor Cooper requested nearly a billion dollars from the Trump administration. Last month, Cooper announced in a press release this morning, he learned that the state would only receive $6.1 million—less than 1 percent of the ask. “Families across Eastern North Carolina need help to rebuild and recover, and it is an incredible failure by the...

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Clinton Talks Election Loss, Resistance; Trump Tweets

Posted By on Wed, May 3, 2017 at 9:06 AM

It's Wednesday, so go out and grab a copy of the INDY. The graphic in Triangulator alone is worth it. Let's check out some headlines: 1) Clinton talks about Russia, Comey, and Trump. The decisive winner of the presidential popular vote said a whole lot yesterday about Russia, Wikileaks, and why she thinks she lost the White House. From The New York Times: “The reason why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last 10 days,” she said, arguing that based on the available data: “If the election had been on Oct. 27, I’d be your president.”...

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Poll: Trump Tanking in North Carolina

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 11:43 AM

As the nation prepares to mark President Donald Trump's hundredth day in office, a new poll suggests that the man who captured nearly fifty percent of the popular vote in North Carolina is no longer feeling the same level of love from the Old North State. The Elon University Poll conducted a live-called survey of more than 500 registered voters between April 18 and April 21 and the news was less than spectacular for Trump. From the report: 41.6% of North Carolinians approve of how Trump is handling his job as president. North Carolina voters’ approval of Trump tracks closely with...

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance Says Downtown Raleigh Is Growing Fast and Growing Right

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 2:02 PM

According to a lengthy report released Tuesday by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, the City of Oaks is growing rapidly and adding amenities indicative of the right kind of expansion. Among the highlights noted in the annual State of Downtown Raleigh report are: • $1.75 billion in recent, ongoing, and upcoming development; • 3,672 new residential units; • $200 million in food and beverage sales last year • An additional one thousand hotel rooms coming to the city's core; • The construction of three hundred acres of additional green space. If you have some time to kill, check out the complete...

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Berger: HB 2 Deal Reached. Debate Scheduled for Thursday Morning.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 11:05 PM

After an up and down day (and night) that seemingly saw the death of an HB 2 repeal, state Senate leader Phil Berger tweeted this: The announcement? A deal has been reached. Here is what we’re hearing it looks like: In short, it’s not much of a compromise at all, and it’s not entirely clear that this would satisfy the NCAA. The bathroom provision of HB 2 remains intact. So too does the preemption of local nondiscrimination or wage ordinances, at least until December 2020. It’s basically HB 2 with another name. According to Berger, this should all...

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The Morning Roundup: Raleigh Father of Seven Faces Deportation, the Never-Ending HB 2 Saga Continues

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 8:58 AM

The week is halfway home. Let's dig in. 1) NCAA makes threat re: HB 2. GOP agrees to "deal." Governor says there was no deal. The NCAA threw down the gauntlet Tuesday morning—telling the legislature it had forty-eight hours to kill HB 2 unless it wanted to lose hosting rights to all NCAA championships through 2022. Things got pretty crazy after that. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore held a press conference to announce they agreed, "in principle," with a compromise offered by Governor Cooper. There's just one catch. Cooper denies ever formally offering a deal. Here's...

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

NCAA Gives North Carolina Forty-Eight Hours to Kill HB 2

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 12:44 PM

You know how we feel about HB 2. If you don't, our editor made clear Monday that the debate over this legislation should be about more than economics and basketball and Springsteen. With that said, there's more HB 2 news breaking, from Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance executive director Scott Dupree: The legislature is on the clock....

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Friday, March 24, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Thom Tillis Speaks Up For ... Goldman Sachs?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 9:22 AM

It's Friday. We made it. Now, let's end the week with a little fun. 1) Thom Tillis says Goldman Sachs is a champion for the "little guy." Now that you've laughed out loud, read this while you're scratching your head. From the INDY: "I feel like sometimes I'm living a reality TV version of Atlas Shrugged," Tillis quipped during the confirmation hearing for Jay Clayton, Trump’s nominee for chairing the Securities and Exchange Commission. "There are a lot of people in this Congress that want to beat down job creators and employers. People want to demonize Goldman Sachs. That’s an...

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Durham Projects $4.7M Budget Shortfall, May Hike Property Taxes

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 1:32 PM

The city of Durham is looking at a projected shortfall of $4.7 million as it gets ready to craft a budget for the next fiscal year. The projection is based on expected costs, so depending on what projects are green-lighted before the city officially adopts a budget in June, that figure could change. At a preliminary budget meeting Friday, budget and management services director Bertha Johnson said it would take a property tax increase of 2.47 cents per $100 of property value to fully close that gap, provided no other sources of additional revenue are found. The city's current property...

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions Takes Aim at Transgender Rights

Posted By on Sat, Feb 11, 2017 at 7:14 PM

On the second day of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s tenure, the Justice Department filed a legal brief Friday that represents a beginning to the rollback of protections granted by the Obama administration to the transgender community. The Washington Post published the brief, which seeks to strip people of the right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. The Obama administration had argued that right was covered by Title IX. The Trump administration is now arguing that it doesn’t. From The Huffington Post: In a legal brief filed on Friday, the Justice Department rolled back an Obama administration move to...

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Friday, February 10, 2017

No More Free Rides, Kids: Parking Meters Coming to Downtown Durham

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 5:26 PM

We told you last year that it was coming—that metered parking would replace Durham's current follow-the-sign-and-hope-you-don't-get-a-ticket system. And in a few weeks, the Bull City will, indeed, be home to hundreds of meters, as officials look to alleviate the problem of having too many vehicles downtown at once. Here's a map of just where you'll find meters beginning February 27: And here are the answers to some questions one might have as he/she looks ahead to the prospect of having to feed a meter: So there you have it. And while the $1.50/hour rate seems a bit high for our...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pennies on the Dollar: A Tour of the North Carolina’s Gender-Wage Gap

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 2:17 PM

Yesterday, the N.C. Budget & Tax Center released new data on the gender wage gap in North Carolina—throwing more cold water on former governor Pat McCrory and the General Assembly’s much-touted “Carolina Comeback.” The data provides a statewide breakdown of North Carolina’s gender wage gap by race and ethnicity, outlining pay data for black women, white women, Asian-American women, Native American women, and Latinas. The results? Not great. Although women in the state already make less on average than their male counterparts (collecting 86 cents for every dollar that men make), women of color earn considerably less. Black women, for...

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