GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEWS
Legislative leaders’ latest claims about NC education funding are bogus
NC Policy Watch // Kris Nordstrom // September 10, 2018
Summary:Since the beginning of August, Republican leaders have been peddling a weird claim to demonstrate their supposed dedication towards funding public schools. According to Speaker of the House Tim Moore, Republicans have “doubled the share of new state spending for public schools since 2011, compared to eight years prior of Democrat leadership in the legislature.” This would be a weird number to hang one’s hat on, as “share of new state spending” tells you nothing about the adequacy of state spending. After all, would you rather have a small share of Jeff Bezos’s income, or a large share of my income? But it’s an especially flimsy claim when it relies on fake numbers.
GOV. COOPER NEWS
'We will get through this': Gov. Cooper speaks to ABC11 about Florence's potential impact
ABC 11 // Tim Pulliam // September 10, 2018
Summary: Governor Roy Cooper said emergency management teams and first responders are spread out across the state and are working around the clock to get prepared for Florence's impact. Cooper is encouraging people across the state to get ready. "One thing we know is that the people of North Carolina are resilient. We will get through this," Cooper said. He said people should consider their pets as they put together their safety kits, and collect non-perishable food items and water.
NC 'In The Bullseye' Of Hurricane Florence, Get Ready Now: Gov. Roy Cooper
WFMY // Staff // September 10, 2018
Summary: Take Florence seriously. Very seriously. That was the message North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper delivered Monday morning. Cooper and state emergency management officials held a media briefing about the state's preparation for Hurricane Florence, which strengthened to a category 4 storm. Cooper asked for a federal disaster declaration on behalf of North Carolina to ensure the state can get federal aid as soon as possible. It has since been approved from his request earlier made. It will help speed up federal aid to our state.
7 NC coastal counties begin evacuations ahead of Florence; SC evacuates whole coast
Herald Sun // Mark Price, Abbie Bennett // September 10, 2018
Summary: North Carolina’s coastal areas began issuing evacuation orders on Monday, beginning with Hatteras Island, where islanders and tourists led off what is expected to be a complete evacuation of several coastal counties. While South Carolina’s governor ordered a mandatory evacuation of the state’s coast, North Carolina allowed local leaders to make the call. “In North Carolina, when to evacuate starts with a local decision because local officials know their communities and their people best. The governor urges residents to follow evacuation orders issued for their areas,” Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said in a news release on Monday. “We face three critical threats from Florence: ocean surge along our coast, strong winds, and inland flooding from heavy rain,” Cooper said in a statement. “Wherever you live in North Carolina, you need to get ready for this storm now and you need to evacuate if asked to.” Cooper also signed an executive order on Monday to waive “certain fuel vapor regulations to ensure adequate supply of fuel as Hurricane
KEY TARGET NEWS - SENATE
This Republican state senator from Mecklenburg just picked up an unusual endorsement
Charlotte Observer // Ely Portillo // September 10, 2018
Summary: A Republican in a tight race for the N.C. Senate has picked up an unusual endorsement in this polarized, partisan climate. State Sen. Joel Ford, a Democrat, is featured in a new ad that’s set to start airing this week for Sen. Jeff Tarte, a Republican. Ford, who ran for Charlotte mayor unsuccessfully in 2016 and lost his primary race this year, represents part of north Charlotte. “Jeff’s a friend,” said Ford. “As a friend, he asked me for help, and I feel comfortable providing that help, based upon ... his integrity and his service for the state of North Carolina.” The ad will start airing Tuesday on cable channels in Mecklenburg County, Tarte campaign adviser Larry Shaheen said, as well as on digital platforms. The ad buy is in the six figures, and could increase from there.
Matt Leclercq: The threat is real, and it is scary
Fayetteville Observer // Matt Leclercq // September 10, 2018
Summary: The Observer rarely publishes opinion on its front page, but Tuesday’s paper will be one of those times when we break that rule. The threat of Hurricane Florence is real, and it is scary. Everyone reading this needs to make sure he or she is prepared, and we’re not talking about an extra loaf of bread. Not since Hurricane Fran has Fayetteville seen winds as strong as what’s predicted for Thursday night and Friday morning. Florence could be stronger than Fran, because the projected path brings it within a few miles of our city. Never in recorded history has a named hurricane come so close to Fayetteville, according to longtime weather reporter Chick Jacobs. And as a possible Category 1 hurricane when it hits Fayetteville, we could see 75 to 85 mph sustained winds. If you weren’t around for Fran in 1996, trust me, it was a nightmare. Falling trees left thousands of people without power for days.
EDITORIAL: A flood-weary Coastal NC prepares for worst -- again
Star News // Editorial Board // September 10, 2018
Summary: Since 1999’s Floyd, we’ve come to the conclusion that with hurricanes, water is the new wind. Smarter construction methods -- from beefed-up building codes to plain old common sense -- seem to have helped mitigate damage solely from wind and, to a lesser extent, storm surge. We do, however, add these caveats: 1. Your roof might withstand strong winds, but that’s little comfort when a tree crashes through it; 2. North Carolina has not been hit by a Category 3 hurricane (111–129 mph winds) since 1996’s Fran. Still, with Hurricane Florence bearing down on our region, Hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Floyd have taught us how devastating, deadly and widespread river flooding can be -- regardless of a storm’s wind strength. In fact, one of our region’s biggest concerns is not the speed of a storm’s winds, but the speed at which the storm itself is moving. A stalled or slow-moving system is terrible news. And, so far, that’s exactly what meteorologists are predicting: exceptionally heavy rain and a strong possibility that the storm will make landfall on the North Carolina coast and then sit over the region for an extended period. That’s a recipe for … well, we all know -- we saw it (and too many of us experienced it) with Matthew and Floyd.
FEMA stages relief supplies at Fort Bragg
Fayetteville Observer // Drew Brooks // September 10, 2018
Summary: FEMA has begun staging supplies at Fort Bragg as Hurricane Florence barrels closer to the Carolina coast. And soldiers and airmen across the installation are working to mitigate damage to infrastructure and military equipment. Florence is the first major storm of this year’s hurricane season and has the potential to bring devastating winds and rain to the region. “Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our soldiers, civilians and their families,” said Lt. Col. Mike Burns, a spokesman for the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. “We understand that Hurricane Florence has the potential to impact our community and we are doing many of the things you would expect to prepare.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency has already delivered some relief supplies for staging at Fort Bragg’s Simmons Army Airfield, according to post spokesman Tom McCollum.
Big Weather's hurricane emergency kit
ABC 11 // Don Schwenneker // September 9, 2018
Summary: Do you have a weather emergency kit ready to go? With two named storms out there, it's a good time to think about having one. Here's Big Weather Don Schwenneker's hurricane essentials list.
‘Anger is a great motivator.’ A guide to the GOP’s biggest 2018 fears
McClatchy // Katie Glueck // September 10, 2018
Summary: President Donald Trump is caught in an unrelenting swirl of scandal, and President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is still intact. Democratic energy is unbridled, and Republican enthusiasm is uncertain. Republicans enter the homestretch of the 2018 campaign season gripped by a long list of anxieties as they attempt to maintain their majorities in both chambers of Congress, a mission that, to some top strategists, looks increasingly daunting. But their biggest fear, according to conversations with a dozen GOP strategists and pollsters, is that Republicans won’t be able match the motivation of an expanding Democratic base that is enraged and emboldened by Trump’s presidency. “Midterms are about anger management and failed expectations,” said veteran North Carolina-based GOP strategist Paul Shumaker. “That’s applicable to either side, depending on who is in the White House. This time, it’s applicable to Republicans.”
Voter backlash to Trump, bathroom law has put conservative N.C. legislature in play.
Wilkes County On My Mind
WAPO // Amy Gardner // September 11, 2018
Summary: The owner of a small vodka distillery near this traditionally Republican enclave in suburban Raleigh says he is so fed up with GOP leadership in the state capital that he took leave from his job to try to defeat a state senator. A popular local weatherman in the state’s Appalachian Mountains with no experience in politics threw himself into a race to unseat a four-term GOP member of the state House. And the daughter of a legendary former governor is taking her first crack at a run for office by challenging a Charlotte-area state House Republican with a promise to renew the legacy of her father, Jim Hunt, as a champion for education funding. An unusual political battle is raging across North Carolina, where national and state Democrats have recruited an army of candidates and are pouring millions of dollars into a campaign to loosen a years-long Republican grip on a state legislature that has turned an otherwise evenly split state into a bastion for some of the country’s most conservative laws. Among them: a limit on transgender access to bathrooms that was ultimately repealed under pressure from business leaders, congressional district maps that courts have ruled were designed to curtail the voting power of African Americans and education spending levels that have sparked mass protests at the state Capitol.
Watauga Watch // JW Williamson // September 11, 2018
Summary: Unlikely contest? Wilkes is notoriously Republican. Democrats are beaten just about every time. Sometimes Democrats don't even run. But L.B. Prevette could be Wonder Woman in horn rims. Listen to her talk. Read what she's written. She's smart, has a wry sense of humor, and talks a straight, plain English that wholly captures her intelligence. "We're the people that work," she declares and wonders why that isn't enough. She's native to Wilkes County down five generations of farmers, which frames a good story about return of the prodigal: "As a farm family we lived paycheck to paycheck. I didn’t have the nicest clothes, didn’t fit in, and my internal clock counted down to the day I could leave Wilkes County and never look back." "My father died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 39 when I was just entering my sophomore year at Wingate; and that was the end of my world. Dad was my world. He was a wonderful man, the definition of a servant leader who worked on the farm all day and then came in for a glass of grape Kool-Aid before heading out to help a neighbor on theirs."
Absentee ballots will be available Sept. 21
Does requiring a photo ID to vote discriminate against minorities? NC leaders weigh in.
N&O // Camila Molina // September 10, 2018
Summary: More than half of North Carolina leaders who responded to a new survey said requiring photo ID to vote discriminates against minorities. Voters across the state will see six constitutional amendments on the ballot for the November election. One amendment would require voters to show photo identification in future elections. Sixty North Carolina leaders in education, politics, business and advocacy were asked open-ended questions about race relations in the state as part of the NC Influencers series for The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. They were asked if race relations had changed in North Carolina within the last 10 years and whether they had experienced discrimination because of their race. They were also asked about showing identification at the polls.
N.C. supporters kick off $5 million campaign for a victims’ rights amendment
Charlotte Observer // Jim Morrill // September 10, 2018
Summary: In what could be North Carolina’s most expensive single campaign of the fall, former Gov. Pat McCrory Monday helped kick off the effort to pass a constitutional amendment designed to ensure the rights of crime victims. Organizers have pledged to spend $5 million to pass the amendment known as Marsy’s Law. Similar amendments are on the ballots in five other states. The amendment would guarantee crime victims’ rights, including the right to “reasonable and timely” notice of criminal proceedings and to be present at any proceeding involving a defendant’s plea, sentencing, parole or release. “Victims too often feel abandoned and we need to give them a voice,” McCrory told reporters in Charlotte.
Hickory Record // Kevin Griffin // September 10, 2018
Summary: Absentee ballots will be available later than usual as a result of action by the North Carolina Supreme Court. Typically, absentee ballots would have been available Friday. But the N.C. Supreme Court temporarily halted preparation of absentee ballots as part of a lawsuit by Gov. Roy Cooper challenging two amendments proposed for the November ballot. On Tuesday, the N.C. Supreme Court ruled against Cooper, allowing the preparation of absentee ballots to resume, The Associated Press reported.
China vows to respond if U.S. takes new steps on trade
NC DMV gets federal subpoena for voter information targeting mainly immigrants but also some citizens
Progressive Pulse // Melisssa Boughton // September 10, 2018
Summary: Any North Carolinian who didn’t fill out their voter registration form in English at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or who wasn’t born in one of the 50 U.S. states or the District of Columbia have been targeted as part of a federal criminal investigation. The U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued the DMV a subpoena at the same time they issued subpoenas to the State Board of Elections and the 44 county boards of elections — but the former was much more narrow than the latter and wasn’t made publicly available until today. Jamie Kritzer, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Transportation, said Monday that the agency’s counsel was reviewing the subpoena. NC Policy Watch submitted a public records request for any correspondence between the agency and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, but was told it may take some time to fill due to a high volume of requests and the impending hurricane.
Reuters // Ben Blanchard, Ryan Woo // September 10, 2018
Summary: China will respond if the United States takes any new steps on trade, the foreign ministry said on Monday, after President Donald Trump warned he was ready to slap tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports into the United States. On Friday, Trump said he was ready to levy additional taxes on practically all Chinese imports, threatening duties on $267 billion of goods over and above planned tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products.
NC Economic Development
Textile plant eyeing Fayetteville wants more worker interest
Fayetteville Observer // Paul Woolverton // September 9, 2018
Summary: The jobs would start at $10.50 per hour, Van Geons said, with opportunities to earn overtime and bonus pay. He said the company plans to offer paid time off and a company-supported retirement plan. It would pay at least 50 percent of the cost of individual and family medical insurance premiums. He said the plant could require 75,000 square feet, and he estimated it at $10 million. The textiles industry was once a leading employer in small cities and rural areas around North Carolina. But in recent decades, many factories closed as manufacturers pursued lower-wage workers in other countries.
Tricare to allow emergency prescription refills
Fayetteville Observer // Drew Brooks // September 10, 2018
Summary: The Defense Health Agency will allow Tricare beneficiaries in states expected to be impacted by Hurricane Florence to receive emergency prescription refills until Sept. 20 The agency announced the temporary change for those affected by the hurricane in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Tricare covers about 9.4 million active-duty and reserve component service members, retirees and their families. To obtain an emergency refill, take prescription bottles to Tricare retail network pharmacies. To find a network pharmacy, call 877-363-1303 or go to express-scripts.com/TRICARE/pharmacy.
Fort Bragg to inspect homes believed to have lead-based paint
Fayetteville Observer // Drew Brooks // September 10, 2018
Summary: Fort Bragg officials are developing a plan to inspect more than 1,500 homes believed to contain lead-based paint. The homes, built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978, are in seven neighborhoods across the nation’s largest military installation. They include Anzio Acres, Bastogne Gables, Casablanca, Corregidor, Hammond Hills, Normandy and Pope. Leaders from post and Corvias Military Living, which manages the privatized housing on Fort Bragg, addressed the issue during a town hall on Monday. Col. Kyle Reed, Fort Bragg’s garrison commander, said he believed officials are being proactive in addressing the contaminated homes.
Hurricane Matthew Recovery
Scars of Hurricane Matthew linger in empty lakebeds
Fayetteville Observer // John Henderson // September 8, 2018
Summary: John C. Lee remembers the first time he and his wife saw the scenic 70-acre lake in the Devonwood/Loch Lomond neighborhood a couple of years ago as they were house shopping. “This is what we bought it for when we came here. We were just like, ‘It’s our dream home,’” he said. Today, the former lake is an overgrown pit infested with rodents, reeking from pungent drainage streams and lined with docks to nowhere. It has been this way for nearly two years, since Hurricane Matthew unexpectedly dumped more than a foot of rain and destroyed the decades-old earthen dam. The drained lake, and at least 10 others in neighborhoods across Fayetteville, remain the most visible scars of Matthew’s disastrous flooding some 11 months later. And as yet another hurricane season revs up, with a potential hit from Hurricane Florence on the horizon this week, there is still no resolution in sight for the hundreds of homeowners here and in other subdivision whose backyard views look like barren wastelands. They complain of declining property values, but also a less tangible yet equally important loss of the sense of community that they say the lakes created by bringing neighbors together.