Sunday, May 01, 2016

Mr. Keep-Our-State-Straight Is a Graduate of AppState

NC Senator Eldon Sharpe "Buck" Newton III made some headlines this week at a pro-HB2 rally in Raleigh that was characterized yesterday on the editorial pages of the Charlotte Observer as a hate-fest worthy of the darkest days of the 1950s.

Buck Newton wants to be Attorney General of North Carolina. Of such are nightmares made.

Buck Newton graduated from Appalachian State University with a political science degree and went immediately to work for Jesse Helms. Now he's working to rid North Carolina of difference and drive us down the hole that Jesse Helms started digging so many decades ago.

In response to Buck's "coming out" at the HB2 rally, this got posted on Facebook:
I knew Buck Newton when he was in college. He was always very opinionated, angry, looked down on others, always saw things in simple terms, always quick to jump to conclusions, always claimed things were "common sense". He was always very judgmental and used bully tactics on others to make his opinion appear correct. He was always full of confidence based on simple, black and white views of the world. Several of us thought he was an idiot because of his lack of ability to see and understand what was beneath the surface of issues. This bill/law sounds exactly like something college-kid Buck would do. Apparently, he has not grown much. There are many smart and wise people in North Carolina who see God's creation as it truly is - a very complicated marvel, so it is absolutely shocking that such a person of low understanding could rise to such power based on such a superficial foundation. Shocking. At one point in time, the earth being flat was "common sense", blacks being inferior was "common sense"... And, here we are... again.
Taylor Batten wrote in his Charlotte Observer editorial:
Supporters of House Bill 2 have dubbed it the Bathroom Bill, as if the legislation isn’t much broader than that, as if it doesn’t take North Carolina back to the days where discrimination is an accepted way of life. The rest of us have to decide if that is OK.
It ain't okay, and there's something bad wrong with Buck Newton.

NCGOP, Bow to Your New Leader

Robin Hayes!

Robin Hayes?

The Robin Hayes who as a U.S. Congressman from the NC-8 cast the deciding "yes" vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement in 2005. Which makes Robin Hayes about as un-Trump as you can get in the Republican Party.

Which is exactly what the Tea Partiers supporting ousted NCGOP Chair Hasan Harnett -- yes, they ousted him yesterday -- thought all along, that the establishment, country-club Republicans are not capable of sharing power with the insurgents. Evidently Dallas Woodhouse is fine with Robin Hayes, which is what matters.

Insurgent blogger Brant Clifton immediately called Robin Hayes "the big dummy" and predicted renewed civil war in NCGOP ranks. It may be a hot summer.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

NC Republicans, Are You Ready for a Purge?

It may be spring in North Carolina, but this is the winter of Hasan Harnett's discontent.

He's about to be the first chair of the North Carolina Republican Party ever ousted from his post (not even a full year after he was elected to it). The NCGOP leaders are meeting in Raleigh this Saturday for an "impeachment-like trial" of Harnett (or a kangaroo court?). Harnett himself says he's out of the country and won't attend. That'll certainly make it easier to take away his title.

The tea party wing of the NCGOP, which put Harnett into his job, has lost the power struggle with Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the state party. The only question that remains after Saturday's auto-da-fé: can/will the NCGOP pull itself together in time to save Governor Squishy's ass this fall?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Toxic Legacy of Commissioners Miller, Hodges, Yates, and Blust

While Watauga County Commissioners Jimmy Hodges, Perry Yates, and David Blust were turning a deaf ear to the pleas of citizens to appeal the Maymead asphalt decision to Superior Court -- because it would cost too much -- they were paying out to Eggers Eggers Eggers & Eggers over $47,000 to intervene in the Boone ETJ lawsuit.

[Above: the accounting of what's been paid to Eggers x 4 in the matter of the Boone ETJ lawsuit intervention]

Priorities? Yeah, both the Maymead decision and the ETJ lawsuit intervention reveal very clear priorities. If Boone loses its ETJ, there goes any zoning restrictions that would keep an asphalt plant, a cement facility, a race track from imposing their charms on a Boone ETJ residential neighborhood.

That's where commissioners Hodges, Yates, and Blust stand.

To be fair, the decision to intervene in the Boone ETJ lawsuit was initiated by then Commission Chair Nathan Miller (who's also represented both the fairgrounds race track and the cement plant in their efforts to subvert Boone's land-use regs). Both Yates and Blust went along with Miller. They share the blame. They must also now share the fall-out.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Fact-Checking Claims on Both Sides RE HB2

We should thank God for PolitiFact for keeping politicians honest. Or for sweeping up after the elephant parade has gone by. You can read full discussions of these fact-checks here.

1. "There are 31 other states and 10,000 other cities that have the same type of policies that we just passed."
-- Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, N.C. House Speaker pro tem

Rated Half True.

2. "We have not taken away any rights that have currently existed in any city in North Carolina."
-- N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

Rated False

3. "Towns, cities and counties in North Carolina are still allowed to set stricter non-discrimination policies for their own employees if they choose."
-- N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

Rated Half True.

4. "Will [HB2] threaten federal funding for public schools under Title IX? No, according to a federal court which has looked at a similar issue."
-- N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

Rated Half True.

5. Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance would have "opened all bathrooms to all sexes at all times" if it hadn’t been overturned by HB2.
-- N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest

Rated False.

6. "The city of Charlotte passed a bathroom ordinance mandate on every private-sector employer in Charlotte."
-- N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

Rated Mostly False.

7. North Carolina spent "almost as much as it spends on government rape crisis programs in a year" to convene a special session for HB2.
-- LGBT Progress

Rated Mostly False.

8. "There have not been any public safety issues" in cities that allow transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as.
-- Equality NC Director Chris Sgro

Rated Mostly True.

9. "Attorney General Roy Cooper refuses to do his job" by not defending House Bill 2 in a lawsuit.
-- N.C. Senate President pro tem Phil Berger

Rated Half True.

10. The Human Rights Campaign is "more powerful than the NRA."
-- N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

Rated False.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Henion Family Raising Money to Take Maymead Asphalt Case to Superior Court

Randall & Carolyn Henion, who are neighbors to the Doc & Merle Watson Scenic Highway and to the Maymead asphalt plant (set down squat on that highway), are raising money through GoFundMe to appeal the Watauga Board of Adjustment's decision to reinstate Maymead's permit to make asphalt and ruin the neighborhood.

The Henions are going forward with an appeal because the Republican majority on the Watauga County Commission would not.

Visit their GoFundMe page and give if you can.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Boone Town Council Does Not Approve High-Rise Student Housing in Downtown But Also Does Not Reject It

Go figure.

At their regular monthly meeting this evening, the Boone Town Council didn't have much good to say about the proposed Rivers Walk development at the corner of Rivers Street and Water Street. Too huge. Too "rent-by-the-bedroom" and aimed at students. Too out of character with the rest of downtown Boone. Too little parking. Too big a building, which will run for over 700 linear feet next to two-lane Poplar Grove Rd. and tower over it, creating a kind of experiential "tunnel."

Yet, on the motion of Councilwoman Loretta Clawson, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Lynne Mason, to reject the proposal, only Clawson voted in the affirmative. Even Lynne Mason would not vote for the motion she seconded.

Then what? It's frankly unclear, but the bottom-line is that the Council majority couldn't bring itself to say no. There'll be more meetings between the developers, their lawyer Jim Deal, and the Council, or between the developers, their lawyer Jim Deal, the Council, and the Planning Commission (which last week voted in favor of the project with provisions that town attorney Allison Meade said this evening were unenforceable).

Negotiation with the developer, we guess. Interesting concept in this context ... negotiation. Especially considering that the out-of-town owner of that property shouted out in the meeting, when it was clear he wasn't going to get an affirmative vote, "We're trying to negotiate with you, but you don't know how to negotiate!"

I'd have to agree with that assessment.

"A Special Kind of Ignorance" Infects the Ashe County Commission

On Monday night, the Ashe County Commission, which apparently didn't want The Guv and the General Assembly to feel lonely in their quest to become the laughing stock of the nation, unanimously passed a resolution of support for HB2. The meeting was full of the kind of "out there" statements that Phil Berger, Roy McCrory, and other supporters of HB2 have spread around -- that somehow grown men, a.k.a. "sexual predators," were by the grace of God and the passage of HB2 now being prevented from going into women's rooms to molest small girls.

That fantasy is so far off the known gravitational pull of earth as to be laughable, but the Ashe Commissioners were eating it up, and the preachers were slopping the hogs.

We wouldn't necessarily have noticed the overwhelming aroma of self-righteousness and self-induced hysteria emanating from Ashe County had not a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel took pen to paper and sent in a letter to the Jefferson Post blasting the "special kind of ignorance" that had propelled the Ashe elected officials into the netherworld of the culture wars.

"It takes a special kind of ignorance to waste time on a frivolous resolution rather than focusing on improving the lives of their fellow Ashe Countians," Ken Lynn wrote. "It takes a special kind of ignorance to inflict this craziness on fellow citizens. How do the county commissioners intend to enforce this law? Will we be required to carry a copy of our birth certificate? Will a new Bathroom Compliance Officer position be created so body parts can be checked against our birth certificate before we enter the restroom?"

Having known a few dozen preachers in my time, I feel fairly certain that self-reflection will fail them yet again, and Mr. Lynn is more likely to be the subject of their sermons this Sunday, rather than their own ignorant and destructive crusade against some of their fellow citizens.