When You're Gone From Raleigh for a Week, You Miss a Lot
Things in Raleigh always look a little different when you step away and view them from afar, or don't pay close attention to state government for a few days while on -vacation. As best as I can tell, here is some of what I missed in Raleigh in the last week.
The General Assembly gives final approval to a state budget that leaders of both parties misrepresent; the Democrats downplay the effect of more damaging cuts to -education and human services while the Republicans -complain because the budget spends too much instead of making more cuts they never got around to suggesting.
State Republican Party Chair Tom Fetzer questions the integrity of the State Board of Elections that investigated former Gov. Mike Easley and other Democratic officials because it didn't find evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Gov. Bev Perdue. Fetzer refuses to believe the board is doing its job unless it concludes that Democrats broke the law, even though the board's chief investigator is the wife of the Republican Party's chief legal counsel.
House and Senate leaders disagree on how tough new ethics laws should be in the wake of the recent political scandals in Raleigh. Just take the toughest proposals and make them tougher, and you will be headed in the right direction.
Democratic legislative leaders are the featured guests at a fundraiser for the Democratic Party the night before House members began debating the final budget and ethics reform. That understandably raises the eyebrows of reformers and gives Fetzer yet -another chance to appear on television talking about ethics, though he doesn't mention that House Minority Leader Phil Berger sent out a fundraising appeal for the Republican Party the same week.
Sen. Fletcher Hartsell issues a -subpoena to UNC-TV to force the -network to produce unaired footage for a planned documentary on the -controversy surrounding Alcoa's use of the Yadkin River and the environmental impact of the plant on the -surrounding areas.
UNC-TV officials agree to comply with the subpoena, and a spokesperson for the network says that "neither the public's right to know nor UNC-TV's ability to use this material for reporting purposes would be compromised in this instance."
Maybe not, but think about the -principle involved. Raw footage to a television reporter is like a newspaper journalist's notes. Mr. Curliss, bring all your notepads about Mike Easley to the Legislative Building at once.
The chief spokesman for the Gang of Five majority on the Wake County School Board that is hellbent on -resegregating the schools claims that people shouldn't question his motives in abolishing the nationally recognized diversity policy because he has dated African-American women. That's so bizarre, it's hard to think of a comment.
Lobbyists for the N.C. Pork Council derail legislation that would crack down on puppy mills. That's not a -misprint. It is the Pork Council. It only makes sense when you consider that the NRA has been claiming that it is all a nefarious plot by the National Humane Society to ban hunting. In a related story, the black helicopters are drawing closer to the Legislative Building.
The inappropriate text messages sent to a female co-worker by a -high-ranking official in the N.C. Highway Patrol are released after the official resigns. Gov. Perdue says she is tired of the problems with the Highway Patrol. We are too.
That ought to about cover it. Did I miss anything?
Chris Fitzsimon is executive -director of N.C. Policy Watch. Contact him at email@example.com.
More like this story