Archive for North Carolina
“He was a champion for the common man, his friends said, and always had what was best for the people of Western North Carolina in his heart.” – AC-T
Rest in peace, Martin Nesbitt. Your labors were great, and your legacy will endure.
Your Buncombe County Democratic Party needs you. We’re getting organized to make some change in 2014 elections, and every registered Democrat is invited to be a part of it. After the jump please find the time and location of your precinct meeting. Not sure which precinct you’re in? Use this handy tool.
Roger Hickey of Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) sums up what makes this moral movement work:
Long years of organizing and networking had built trust among groups representing various parts of the North Carolina community. And attacks on “my group” coming at the same time as attacks on “your group” forged stronger bonds. An inclusivePeople’s Agenda was forged, supported by an impressive list of coalition partners – from faith groups to labor unions to LGBT rights organizations to women’s groups and environmentalists. Look at these two links, which can both be found athttp://www.hkonj.com/about. They are models for almost every state coalition in the nation.
Isaiah Poole, editor of OurFuture.org, CAF’s blog), quotes Chapel Hill-based education activist, Jeff Bryant:
“With the current dysfunction of government at the national level, these state movements will begin to get more attention as they become more of a visible new dynamic contrasting to the stalemate we see in Washington, D.C.,” Bryant said. “And the messaging around morality rather than values of economic efficiency and financialization that have been the heart of neoliberalism over the past two to three decades will strike many Americans as a better direction forward.”
Isaiah graciously allowed me the last word:
“I expect the movement to build,” Sullivan said. “Fifty years ago, it was ‘segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!’ until it wasn’t, until the weight of the world’s collective moral judgement broke it. Same with apartheid. Same with this tea-party nonsense.”
The News & Observer opines that the broad coalition of protesters that assembled in Raleigh on Saturday represents mainstream North Carolina, not that the Republican-led legislature acknowledges it, or cares:
To see the long ranks of protesters was to wonder how much longer North Carolina’s Republican leaders can dismiss them as a rabble, as outsiders, as “takers,” as agitators, and not see them for who they are: The People. Their issues include labor conditions, pay for public employees, environmental protections, voting rights, fair taxation, help for the unemployed, gay rights, abortion rights and civil rights.
But another of their issues is one they hold in common: They feel they are not being heard. And the deafness of the state’s political powers is deliberate. Legislative leaders and the governor can’t hear above the sound of the corporate money that steers their agenda. And even if they could, they wouldn’t listen. The people in the streets holding signs and chanting are not people they consider “the mainstream” or “real Americans.”
Led by NC NAACP president Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the Forward Together movement may be indigenous to North Carolina, but Saturday’s mass rally showed that its influence is expanding. Moral Monday protests are starting in Georgia and South Carolina. Over two dozen states sent marchers to Raleigh on Saturday — from neighboring southern states to New York, Florida and Missouri.
Not just a coalition of single-issue groups, this fusion movement recognizes that their varied interests are connected in their struggle against the “extremism” of North Carolina’s General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory. Forward Together set five demands for 2014:
• Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that insure economic sustainability;
• Provide well-funded, quality public education for all;
• Stand up for the health of every North Carolinian by promoting health care access and environmental justice;
• Address inequalities in the criminal justice system;
• Protect and expand voting rights for people of color, women, immigrants, the elderly and students to safeguard fair democratic representation.
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
That was the original title for this essay generously published in the Mountain Xpress this week. Click through to read the whole thing. Excerpts:
I’m proud to be a part of a city where people care about each other. One recent study cited Asheville as one of the most generous cities in America, whose residents volunteer lots of time and money to make the world a better place. This is a community that knows we’re all in it together, and that’s why we’re going to be able to rise to the challenges facing us today.
We love living here, but we’re acutely aware of the fact that Asheville has a very high cost of living and very low median household income. Helping us get that median wage up are Living Wage Certified businesses that have made human value and dignity central to their business models. Great businesses like New Belgium Brewing, Linamar and PLI are helping too. The sad fact, however, is that too many employers here pay low wages for an honest day’s work. No one who works a full-time job ought to live in poverty. The city, county, Economic Development Coalition and Chamber of Commerce are working hard and all rowing in the same direction: toward better paying jobs. Asheville is examining our economic-incentive policies to better support homegrown entrepreneurs who pay living wages.
Asheville aspires to be a city of equal opportunity for all. Increasing incomes and offering affordable transportation options are two parts of a three-pronged approach to ensure a thriving city for generations to come.
The third leg of that three-legged stool is affordable housing, defined as spending no more than 30 percent of your income on housing costs. We all want a vibrant city where economically mobile citizens can get a leg up, and where the elderly and disabled can live in dignity. We want an Asheville where residents can save money toward homeownership, business startups, tuition and increased opportunities for their children. Without affordable housing, a big part of our Asheville family struggles just to stay afloat.
When the NC General Assembly political advertisements rain down upon us later this year, you’ll be hearing a lot about the tax cuts being peddled as good for the little guy. Yes, the cuts will further reduce resources for education, mental health, and other important services. Yes, the cuts will give the wealthiest North Carolinians some nice wallet padding, some of which will trickle down into campaign coffers. The thing that NC Policy Watch wants everyone to know is that these tax cuts are actually a tax increase on most of us. Please bookmark this post – you will need it to counter the coming disinformation campaign from the ruling party.
66—percentage of tax cut passed by the 2013 General Assembly that will go to the wealthiest one percent of North Carolinians (“Final tax plan puts at risk what makes North Carolina great,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, August, 2013)
940,000—amount in dollars of annual income of wealthiest one percent of North Carolinians (Ibid)
80—percentage of North Carolina taxpayers—the bottom 80 percent—who will pay more under the tax plan approved by the General Assembly this summer that also allows the state Earned Income Tax Credit expire for low-wage workers (Ibid)
2,898—amount in dollars of tax INCREASE for married non-elderly couple with two kids with a small business income of $80,000 (Ibid)
262—amount in dollars of tax INCREASE for married couple with two children with an annual income of $20,000 (N.C. General Assembly Fiscal Research Division)
2,318—amount in dollars of the DECREASE in taxes for a married couple with two children with an annual income of $250,000 (Ibid)
23—number of days since state tax deductions ended for retirement income, small businesses, unreimbursed job expenses and college 529 savings plans, all part of the 2013 tax plan passed by the General Assembly
This is a guest post from Asheville’s very talented Jen Bowen. Thanks for sharing your story, Jen.
“Having an affordable, safe place to live has been my key to staying in Asheville and continuing to invest in this community.”
Flashback to early summer 2009 – I’m renting a small house in downtown Asheville, just finishing my ‘Faces of Asheville’ photography exhibit, considering a run for City Council to represent the arts sector for Asheville, and employed as an Office Manager for a wonderful locally based national touring arts organization.
Then, due to oops & miracles, I found myself pregnant. Faced with a difficult decision I decided to proceed with the pregnancy and make the best of the situation. The first half of the pregnancy was horrible, filled with debilitating morning sickness at all hours of the day. Within a short time it was obvious that the effects of the pregnancy were not going to allow me to keep working a full-time schedule. I was left with no other option but to resign my position and live off my savings for a period of time.
Jump forward a few months to the winter of 2009, and I find myself ready to burst and living in the spare room at my parent’s house, savings dwindled away in four months. It’s difficult to find part-time jobs that pay better than $8/hr (for the record a living wage in 2009 was $11/hr – currently it hovers around $13/hr – and those rates are for people who do not have any dependents), not to mention a job that holds any personal meaning or will even consider hiring an obviously pregnant woman. Thankfully due to community service in the arts sector I was fortunate enough to stumble across a new part-time position with the Cultural Arts Division at the City of Asheville. It was pretty much my dream job opportunity, and due to the nature of the position I was able to work from home with my baby for the first few months. The only downfall? The position was such that it would never come with a raise or promotion, and it was capped at $10K a year. I decided that for my daughter’s early life I would resign myself to doing my best and use government and other community programs to make ends meet. I set a goal of 5 years or less to get into a place where I would no longer need government assistance.
ALEC’s corporate members consult with legislators across the country, working in secret, fearing to push their radical agenda in public like ordinary citizens.
Unencumbered by Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act courtesy of the Roberts Supreme Court, Gov. Pat McCrory decides he can leave almost one million North Carolinians without a representative for nearly a year.