Archive for North Carolina
As if the legislature hand not pissed off enough citizens in North Carolina, this item has been flying largely under the radar. Hold onto your groundwater, people, these frackers mean business and they mean to force you into theirs:
Known as compulsory pooling, or forced pooling, the policy allows drillers to tap local natural gas, even if property owners don’t want drillers probing under their homes and farms. Critics compare it to a government’s right to seize private property for the public good, except in this case the parties claiming rights to the land would be for-profit businesses.
“That’s just unfair,” said Therese Vick, a community organizer for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. “They’re taking control of your property – your neighbors, the government and a commercial interest – and making you sell your resource.”
The idea is not a new one and has been on the books since 1945, just rarely used writes the News & Observer. Now energy companies want to. The delicately named Compulsory Pooling Study Group will be holding a public meeting Wednesday in Raleigh and forwarding recommendations to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. It may be the last public meeting before the issue moves to the legislature.
Wonder ow all those “No Zoning” folks out in our bright, red counties will respond once they find out control of their their property has been sold to the highest donors?
Don’t forget, those frackers will need water to frack with. Lots of it.
This Saturday, you have the chance to stand together with people who are ready for our clean energy future. Gordon Smith for City Council campaign volunteers will be canvassing Saturday at 10am (details here – FB event page), so consider making a day of it! From the Beyond Coal: A Rally for our Future Facebook event page:
Let’s move Asheville beyond coal! Come take action and call on Duke Energy to retire the Asheville power plant and lead our state in renewable energy. Come out on August 24th from 2-4pm Pack Square and take action! There will be music, kids activities, and speakers, and much more! #ActOnClimate, #FearlessSummer
Currently our electric energy comes the Asheville coal-fired power plant, which is the largest single source of CO2 in Western North Carolina; amounting to over 500,000 extra cars on the road. It is polluting our air, our water and our communities. Not only that, but the coal that we are burning comes from mountaintop removal, which is destroying mountains, sickening communities, and harming the air and water of communities in Appalachia.
With music, kids games, speakers, and much much more!
Speaker Program includes:
Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign director
Terry M. Bellamy, Mayor of Asheville
Ian Somerhalder, actor (Lost & Vampire Diaries)
Hartwell Carson, French Board Riverkeeper
Drew Jones, Climate Interactive
Dr. Richard Fireman, retired MD
Nick Mullins, coalfield resident
Moments after Gov. Pat McCrory left the stage, former Secretary of State Colin Powell took aim at North Carolina’s new voting law Thursday, saying it hurts the Republican Party, punishes minority voters and makes it more difficult for everyone to vote.
“I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote,” said Powell, a Republican, at the CEO Forum in Raleigh.
“It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs,” Powell continued. “These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away.”
In one comment, he seemed to rebuke McCrory for suggesting that voter fraud likely exists but is hard to detect. The governor had compared it to insider trading.
“You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,” Powell said. “How can it be widespread and undetected?”
Powell, who served under President George W. Bush, also said the new sends the wrong message to minority voters. “What it really says to the minority voters is … ‘We really are sort-of punishing you,’” he said.
That’s exactly what’s happening in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where Register of Wills Mr. Bruce Hanes began issuing licenses to same-sex couples a month ago. He believes that the Pennsylvania state law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that enforcing it is inconsistent with his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. History tells us similar stories – of public officials and leaders who reached a point where they could no longer in good conscience enforce discriminatory laws. Will an elected official in the South stand up in this way? We’re going to keep asking the question and keep taking action to resist laws we know to be discriminatory.
UPDATED with video.
Not to be outdone by the Republican-led state legislature’s efforts to limit student voting, Watauga County targeted Appalachian State students this week, with Kathleen Campbell, the lone Democrat dissenting:
Amid shouts and boos from an audience of about 60 people, the board — with Campbell’s disapproval — eliminated the early voting site on the ASU campus and recombined the Boone precincts into one with 9,340 registered voters and one polling place.
They also approved a new public comment policy that accepts feedback only in writing and assigned new rules to Board of Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges and employees.
Republicans also looked to further restrict the equal treatment of college-aged voters on the east end of North Carolina, this time at Elizabeth City State University.
Tuesday, the 2-1 Republican-majority on the Pasquotank County Board of Elections voted to disqualify Elizabeth City State University students who live in the country from running for local office. The board ruled that Montravias King, a student at the university who lives on campus, had not established permanent residency. The county’s Republican chairman had challenged King’s eligibility and vowed to challenge the residency of other students in Pasquotank County and around the state — a process made easier under McCrory’s new suppression law.
Someone trolling on Facebook the other day asked why a student with a California driver’s license should be able to vote in North Carolina. Uh, Symm v. United States, 439 U.S. 1105 (1979)?
In a letter to the News & Observer, Karen Lewis slams North Carolina House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam for condescending and sexist remarks about June Atkinson, the superintendent of public instruction for North Carolina.
Atkinson said private schools funded under the new voucher program should be evaluated using the same tests as public schools so parents can compare apples to apples. “The public needs a consistent measure of reading achievement in particular,” Atkinson said. New legislation allows private schools to select which national tests to us and allows some to opt out of reporting results.
Stam suggested that Atkinson “stick to her own knitting.”
Setting aside for the moment the appallingly condescending and sexist rhetoric Stam chose, I propose that he do the same thing he calls on Atkinson to do. Voters elected him and his cohorts to create jobs and restore economic prosperity to North Carolina, but they’ve instead rolled back personal freedoms, voting rights, access to medical care and, yes, funding of the very public schools Atkinson has been elected to lead.
Thomas Mills at Politics North Carolina has a must-read post entitled, “Fifty Years of Democrats”. Go read the whole thing. Excerpt:
“And therein lies the fundamental difference between North Carolina Democrats and the current breed of Republicans running our state. Democrats believe that if we invest in people, infrastructure and institutions of learning, that businesses will come. We believe that wise management of our natural resources creates as much opportunity as exploiting them. We believe that government can work in partnership with business to create a high quality of life and sustainable jobs. We believe that because that’s what we’ve done.”
Transcript of exchange between Chris Pelly and Tim Moffitt – August 5, 2013. Taken from video shot at the event by another attendee. It’s my understanding that neither Councilman Pelly nor Representative Moffitt were aware they were being recorded.
Pelly: If we wanted to join the Culture and Recreation Authority, does the current legislation allow that to occur?
Moffitt: No, we took that away from you. When you filed your lawsuit, we… You did three things: First of all you filed your lawsuit, ok, so we’re not going to let you file the lawsuit on this side and sue the state and charge your taxpayers money but at the same time be the benefactor of this because it’s going to cost people outside the city some of their hard-earned money, so until the lawsuit is settled, we took the Authority away from the city.
Pelly: And does any other city in Buncombe County have the right to join the Authority?
Moffitt: Right now Buncombe County has asked for two years to not allow anybody to join. So they feel it’s going to take two years to kind of get the foundation set, for them to undertake that. So the limitations are going to be based on what the County is willing to do.
Pelly: And there’s a lot I could argue with you about about the issue of the water system, but this isn’t the place to do that…
Moffitt: Well, you know the history I’m talking about, Chris, you can find it. The history you’re talking about, I’m not sure.
Pelly: I have just one question for you.
Pelly: Later on today there’s going to be a rally in downtown Asheville, your hometown…
Pelly: …and the newspapers are estimating thousands of people are going to be there.
Pelly: Does that give you pause that….
Pelly: decisions you’re making in the legislature are concerning people?
Pelly: Does it concern you that 86% of Asheville residents voted against the water referendum, for the water referendum that retains the water system?
Moffitt: What really concerns me is that you would actually put a referendum on the ballot that was not about the issue that was actually being discussed. As far as the folks that are participating in Moral Monday, we predicted this would happen in 2011 when it started in Wisconsin and Michigan. We predicted it would be 18 months before it hit North Carolina because North Carolina is considered a purple state. So North Carolina is seen by the unions as a state that they can flip, and if you go back and look at the chatter regarding Moral Mondays, it’s really a union driven event and doesn’t really…
Pelly: Does it affect the future of education and voter identification or any of those issues?
Moffitt: It affects people’s opinions on those things, but a lot of those opinions are not based on fact.
With the North Carolina state legislature in recess, Moral Mondays – the Forward Together Movement – began a march across the state, starting in Asheville on August 5 with the largest protest yet. The crowd “well exceeded” the 5,000 the Asheville police department had prepared for, with early police estimates to 10,000.
“You can’t do wrong in Raleigh and then hide back home,” said NC NAACP president the Rev. William Barber. Firing up the crowd as he has in Raleigh, Barber condemned the actions of the state legislature as “constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible and economically insane.” Barber and other speakers called out local and state legislators by name, some of whom were in the crowd.
“From the mountains to the coast, we’re sick of this mess,” Barber declared. “This is no momentary hyperventilation or liberal screaming match; this is a movement. We have a governor that has decided to be on the wrong side of history. We have a legislature that is bragging and boasting about its power and is legislating on the basis of lies and discrimination. Though they have temporary power, the future does not belong to them.”
Barber and other speakers addressed education, labor, LGBT rights and a bill seizing the local water system. Asheville local, Heather Rayburn, spoke surrounded with a group of other civil disobedience protestors arrested in Raleigh. Keeping with the moral theme, Rayburn reminded the crowd, “This group of jailbirds and I believe in the Golden Rule. That we should treat people the way we would want to be treated. And politicians should live by the Golden rule too.”
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
Going? Not Going? Have links to photos/video/whatnot? Curious to know if the wonder twin duo of TP/MM will bring their creepy and misogynistic trolling of @JeanneBonds4NC, and others, out from behind the keyboard and into the light of day? Bring us your thoughts/reactions/observations here.