Tag Archives: Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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TILLIS’ “TRANSFORMED” NORTH CAROLINA A ROSY FANTASY: Sen. Thom Tillis so desperately wants to make North Carolina a red state he’s taken to wearing rose-tinted glasses. Tillis, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, discusses tax cuts he helped ram through the General Assembly while he served as House speaker. Readers perusing the piece could be forgiven if they came away thinking the former state House speaker had paved the streets with gold, made public school teachers’ supply closets overflow with resources, given state workers big raises, ended waiting lines at the DMV, slashed costs for university students and made sure everyone had easy and affordable access to health care. While Tillis claimed he held off hordes of special interest lobbyists seeking special tax breaks in his so-called tax reforms, the truth is he worked hand-in-hand with the business lobbyists to deliver a huge corporate tax cut that hasn’t stimulated the economy, nor led to further investment.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATIVE LEADERS SEEK TO TURN NC INTO BANANA REPUBLIC: There are regimes in the world that, barring disasters, cancel elections. They are derisively called Banana Republics, run by juntas whose strongman rulers aren’t quite sure they’ve rigged the voting to come out in their favor. Unfortunately these days, we don’t have to look beyond our borders – or even our state – to see this kind of undemocratic behavior. Senate Leader Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, House Rules boss David Lewis are the junta and North Carolina is a banana republic. They are cancelling the 2018 judicial and district attorney primaries because their efforts at rigging the elections through their latest gerrymandering scheme might not completely do the trick. Primaries for state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals will also be cancelled – even though they’re statewide votes and not connected with any redistricting.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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RICHARD BURR’S OBSTINANCE MAY HELP FARR BUT DOESN’T FURTHER JUSTICE: Burr blocked two very qualified African-American judicial candidates for years. But when Trump was elected, he heartedly backed a lawyer who has defended the most racially segregated legislative and congressional districts in the nation. What does all this say about Sen. Burr’s motivations? What conclusions should we reach? He’s a career politician – 22 years in Congress — whose profile is so below the radar that last month a quarter of the state’s voters were unable to say if he’s doing a good job or not. During the 2016 campaign Burr announced it would be his last – supposedly signaling that lame-duck status would grant him independence from partisan rigidity and the big-money right-wingers. He’s led us to expect better. But his positions on the Graham-Cassidy health bill and this critical judicial appointment don’t measure up to his own expectation.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IN OUR DEMOCRACY VOTING IS A DUTY, NOT OPPORTUNITY OR PRIVILEGE: It makes you wonder why the leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly work so hard at making it more difficult for people to vote. While many of their legislative efforts have been thwarted by the courts, North Carolina’s voters seem to be helping legislators along even without the bad laws. Look at the miserable voter participation in last month’s local elections in Mecklenburg County. Turnout in the election, which included a hotly-contested primary for Charlotte mayor, couldn’t even get 8 percent of the voters to the polls, only 43,434 of 544,908 eligible voters participated. Let’s be clear. Voting matters. It makes a difference. It is no cliché, nor mere homily to say that people have fought, given their lives, to keep or gain the right to vote. That sacrifice should not be casually ignored.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO END GOVERNING BY WHIM, DECREE AND AMBUSH: Unfortunately the autocratic behavior of legislative leaders is now reflected by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors – who are appointed by the legislature – in its latest effort to tell UNC President Margaret Spellings how to organize her office. Again, all done without any prior consultation with those most impacted. Again and again, the current legislative leaders preach that government should be operated like a business. But no well run business operates – or survives – the way Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore try to run the state. Their primary motivations are settling fictitious scores with Democrats like Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein. They must change and be more deliberative and open. If not, even the most severe gerrymandering won’t blind voters to the malfeasance on display over the last nine years.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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STANDING STRONG FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS BEST SCHOOL CHOICE: As the General Assembly sends money to big business and the wealthy, it deprives public schools by diverting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to private schools through a voucher scheme. By the end of this decade, at the current rate, North Carolina will spend more on private school vouchers than on textbooks and digital resources for 1.5 million public school students. In the last century, public education has transformed North Carolina into a beacon of opportunity. Public schools have made – and can continue to make — a dramatic impact on generations of families. But we must make a choice: Instead of sitting quietly through the systematic dismantling of public schools, we should stand strong for the heart and soul of our state—a thriving public education system.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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CIVIL RIGHTS CENTER MISSION CENTRAL TO UNC’S BEST TRADITIONS: Frankly, while I’ve found our nation’s private sector has made great strides in civil rights, the same has not been true for the public sector, where many citizens – especially those with the fewest resources to advocate for their interests –suffer daily injustices at the hands of too many elected officials and government bureaucrats. This isn’t to suggest that most government workers aren’t dedicated to serving the public, but that all citizens have the right — through fact-finding and the courts — to determine if discriminatory practices exist within the very agencies we support with our tax dollars. It is certainly reasonable to review the work of the Center to assure it is in accord with N.C. State Bar requirements. However, it would be unwise to cease work that meets such a pressing need and provides important and positive contributions for all North Carolinians.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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AS LEGISLATURE BUMBLES AND DELAYS ON REDISTRICTING, COURT NEEDS TO BE SWIFT AND DECISIVE: What has become amply clear is that the legislative leadership is doing as little as possible to comply with the federal court’s redistricting order. Rather than take the opportunity to actively inform and involve the public in the process, legislators have been content to do the least they can get away with. As anyone who sought to follow Tuesday’s public hearings learned, the many technical glitches and disorganization reflected a token effort at best by legislators who obviously have their minds made up. There are even Republican legislators, knowing what was coming even before the latest plans were disclosed, who already have announced future political plans. It’s clear the skids are greased and the public hearings were merely for show. The people of North Carolina deserve better.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

DON’T PERMIT NC TO BECOME A SAFE-ZONE FOR BIGOTRY: The pictures of a torch light procession, with marchers on the University of Virginia campus chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans were all too reflective of horrific images out of fascist nations 70 years ago. Legislators should review recently passed laws, such as the so-called “Campus Free Speech Act” to be sure they haven’t inadvertently turned University of North Carolina campuses into safe zones for bigotry and potential violence. Freedom of expression is particularly integral to the learning mission of our universities and the appropriate presentation and discussion of controversial and unpopular ideas is critical to a good education. However, unfettered access to campuses by violent radicals while simultaneously institutionalizing punishments for those who challenge hateful acts is not what is intended in the law. It must be reviewed before it is too late.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IDEOLOGICAL FEUD IGNORES STUDENTS NEEDS, DAMAGES UNC: It is an ideological feud run amok. The roots are in the clichéd notion that North Carolina’s public universities are incubators of socialist, environmentalist, gender-liberating, non-Christian politics. Ideologues who claim a religious, conformist, free-market mantel are on a crusade to cleanse the halls of academia. And so now the clash has devolved into an on-going battle between out-spoken University of North Carolina Board of Governors member Steve Long and equally outspoken UNC Law School professor Gene Nichol, who advocates on behalf of the financially disadvantaged and for civil rights. As has been too often the case lately, the priorities of the privileged, well-financed special interests are of greater concern than the interest of citizens and the institutions that our legislators in general, and our UNC Board of Governors in particular, are supposed to promote.
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