Blueprint for a more democratic North Carolina

votingmachines.jpg

More than just bullet points:

The more than 20 state and national experts contributing to the report explore initiatives for North Carolina in six areas:

Improving voter registration and list maintenance;
Ensuring voting access and protecting voting rights;
Strengthening local election infrastructure;
Promoting fair redistricting and equal representation;
Heightening transparency and combating corruption;
Ensuring fair and impartial courts.

Looking at #2 & #3 in particular, the NC GOP seems to be doing the exact opposite. They are more concerned about adding vigilantes poll watchers to eyeball and intimidate voters than helping local election boards meet their needs, and now they are moving to block private donors from assisting those folks. Why? Because most of that private funding went to densely-populated areas where that money was needed the most, which just happened to also be heavily-Democratic areas. Let's dig into the report itself to look at list maintenance recommendations:

Friday News: Leandro Rules

gavelbanging.jpg

JUDGE WARNS LEGISLATURE TO PROPERLY FUND NC SCHOOLS: A state judge is warning that he may force lawmakers to act if they don’t begin funding a multi-billion dollar plan to provide every North Carolina student with a sound basic education. This week, state Superior Court Judge David Lee signed a court order approving a plan from the State Board of Education and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration that calls for at least $5.6 billion in new education funding through 2028. Lee said in the order that “time is of the essence” because so many children aren’t getting what they need educationally. “If the State fails to implement the actions described in the Comprehensive Remedial Plan … ’it will then be the duty of this Court to enter a judgment granting declaratory relief and such other relief as needed to correct the wrong,’” Lee wrote in the order. In a January 2020 court order, Lee said the state is further behind than it was in the 1990s in terms of providing students with a sound basic education.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article252022683.html

Asheville reparations program sets aside $2.1 million for funding

How that money will be spent is still undecided:

The Asheville City Council approved a budget amendment on Tuesday to pull the money from city land purchased in the 1970s as part of the city’s urban renewal programs that took apart Black communities, the Asheville Citizen Times reported. The city council also adopted a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth, the date which marks the end of slavery in the U.S.

The City Council has previously said the reparations do not require direct payments but would mandate investments in areas where Black residents face disparities. City Manager Debra Campbell on Tuesday said officials have not yet determined what those investments will entail.

Where they got the money from is just as important as the money itself. It's a tacit admission that the City is responsible for actions taken over a century after the Civil War concluded, and that slavery was only one part of the systemic repression of African-Americans in our state. It's long past time we took a harsh look at redlining and other segregational aspects of the 20th Century. The City is holding a forum today (6 pm) where speakers will discuss the current challenges and take public comments (limited to 2 minutes per). Trying to set up a livestream for later down here:

Thursday News: The answer, my friend

offshorewind.jpg

GOVERNOR COOPER SETS OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY GOALS FOR NC: N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper has announced the state’s first-ever targets for offshore wind energy development as part of an executive order, the latest in a series of steps to move the still-fledgling industry forward. North Carolina’s newly announced targets are 2.8 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040. Meeting the goal of 8 gigawatts by 2040 would power about 2.3 million homes with offshore wind, according to a press release from Cooper’s office. In addition to setting offshore wind goals, the executive order establishes the NC Task Force for Offshore Wind Economic Resource Strategies, or NC TOWERS, an effort led by the state Department of Commerce to boost offshore wind economic development efforts.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article251986733.html

Coal Ash Wednesday: 419 parts per million

coalburning.jpg

Breaking all the wrong records in the climate change fight:

Scientific instruments atop the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii showed that levels of carbon dioxide in the air averaged 419 parts per million in May, the annual peak, according to two separate analyses from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Those readings are about half a percent higher than the previous high of 417 parts per million, set in May 2020. Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas driving global warming and researchers have estimated that there hasn’t been this much of it in the atmosphere for millions of years.

I think it was 11 years ago when I attended a climate change summit hosted by NC WARN, featuring former NASA scientist James Hansen. At that time, atmospheric carbon was about 378 parts per million, and Hansen was adamant that we must keep it from passing the 400 mark. That was a tipping point that would very likely trigger the dissolving and subsequent release of methane hydrates in the permafrost and ocean floor. That is no longer a theory, it is happening right now:

Wednesday News: One-trick elephant

gopmoney.jpg

GOP BUDGET PACKAGE INCLUDES MASSIVE TAX CUTS FOR CORPORATIONS: North Carolina's top Republican lawmakers say they'll include tax cuts in a budget they plan to pass later this summer. Leaders in the House and the Senate released a statement Tuesday saying that, while they don't yet have a budget deal, they've agreed to include no more than $25.7 billion in the spending plan for the two-year period that starts in July. That would amount to a 3.45% increase in spending. It's significantly less than the $27.3 billion Gov. Roy Cooper proposed in his own budget plan. The legislative proposal also doesn't include Medicaid expansion, a top priority for the governor. Their announcement didn't provide details of the tax cuts, but Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, a House budget writer, said it will likely be similar to a package backed last month by the Senate that cuts both corporate and personal income tax rates.
https://www.wral.com/nc-budget-to-include-tax-cuts-infrastructure-spending-legislative-leaders-annou...

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed