Saturday, February 28, 2015

McCrory & Tillis Duck Out of Memorial Service

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Erskine Bowles was asked to speak rather than either McCrory or Tillis, but this intercepted email asks a burning question:

"I thought I'd share this little story with you from the Dean E. Smith memorial service last Sunday. My wife and I were lucky enough to be in the area and had the chance to go. It was a beautiful service for a true leader of North Carolina culture and students for many decades. At the beginning, Woody Durham politely recognized that Pat McCrory and Thom Tillis were in attendance, sitting side by side, no less. After nearly an hour of the service had gone by, I looked down on the court to see that both McCrory and Tillis had LEFT. They left before Dean's preacher had spoken, before the benediction, before the Alma Mater. Where did those two have to go that was so important they couldn't finish a Sunday afternoon service for a North Carolina legend? That really burned us up, and I thought someone else should at least hear about it."

Blow-by-Blow, #UNCBOG, Friday, Feb. 27

All 32 voting members of the Board of Governors (BOG) of the University of North Carolina system are political appointees, with 16 appointed by the Republican-dominated NC Senate and 16, by the Republican-dominated NC House.

Just before the "review process" was launched by the BOG which climaxed yesterday with the unanimous vote to close three progressive centers of study at three member institutions, both the Pope Foundation and the Civitas Institute had called for the review of centers of study as a cost-cutting measure.

Both the Pope Foundation and the Civitas Institute have a long history of animosity toward the UNC System. Conservative millionaire Art Pope chaired the Civitas board until 2012 when Gov. Pat McCrory appointed him state budget director. In that position, Pope rejected the UNC System budget and sent it back to the BOG for revisions. (Pope resigned as budget director before the general elections last year.)

Uprising of UNC Students
Actions by the Republican-dominated General Assembly, and their handmaiden Gov. McCrory, have sparked the Moral Monday movement as opposition to extremism in government has spread wide in the state. And now the actions of the political tools on the BOG appears to be sparking a backlash among students (and faculty) that could become an even bigger comeuppance for the overlords.

Yesterday at the BOG meeting in Charlotte, protesting students temporarily shut it down, forcing the Board to abandon the room and violate the spirit at least (if not the letter -- see below) of the Open Meetings Law by moving to a smaller room and barring the public. The ejected students stood outside and chanted.

But first, the BOG demonstrated its attitude toward "access to higher education" by voting to raise tuition and fees, the first slap in the face that the students endured. From there we follow the action via tweets from reporters in the room:

The Carolina Mercury @NCMercury · Feb 27
Measure to increase UNC system tuition & fees passes 18-9. #UNCBOG

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
Discussion on centers/institutes up now at #UNCBOG. Proposal would shut down academic policy centers, including @uncpovertycntr #ncpol

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
#UNCBOG Jim Holmes, chair of working group on centers, on resolution to shut down 3 centers. Would leave campuses no wiggle room to oppose

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
#UNCBOG Jim Holmes, on funding: “State funding was one of the criteria, it was not the driving criteria.” (Poverty Center gets no state $)

Students now interrupting meeting, reading statement about university system ideals.

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
Now Fennebresque calling on police/security to take students out of room. One person escorted out.

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
Students singing "what side are you on? You're on the freedom side!"

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
Fennebresque goes into recess. Meeting stopped

Students seem to be invigorated by recess of meetings. "Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like!"

No official statement yet, but the entire #UNC Board of Gov. has left room.
Here's the Update. Board of Governors moved to a smaller room. Keeping most members of the public out, press (including me) allowed in.
Students shouting outside "If we don't get in, Shut it down" Hard to continue meeting.
Fennebresque: "Let's get the doors secure" Can't hear anything over shouts of student chanting right now. #ncpol #UNCBOG
#UNC Pres Tom Ross came in from talking to students. Shouting too loud from outside to hear what #UNCBOG Jim Holmes trying to say
apparently audio and video may not be working in other room. Everything on hold. Students still shouting/chanting outside.
UNC-Charlotte Chancellor Dubois: tells BOG, "My position is that we don't want to remove the students. It'll be far worse."
#UNCBOG Chair John Fennebresque trying to start meeting again. Honestly can't hear what he's saying over shouting outside
Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
Okay, meeting continuing, with #UNCBOG Atty Tom Shanahan talking about political activity aspect of reports center. Near impossible to hear
Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
#UNCBOG Jim Holmes saying that the advocacy/political participation piece of reports wasn't to threaten free speech, as students kept out
Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
#ncga @SenatorBobRucho (R) among those that made it into moved #UNCBOG meeting


Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
#UNCBOG Jim Holmes (who chaired group on centers) had mic turned up, teeny bit easier to hear. Student chanting "Let us in" making it tough

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
Students whooping and hollering right now .. meeting still going on, though I can't really hear much of what being said. #UNCBOG

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
#UNCBOG Jim Holmes: “Out of the 240 centers, we’re recommending three for discontinuation.” Pausing for questions now #ncpol

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
#UNCBOG Henry Hinton, saying that Board not saying poverty shouldn’t be studied, but “we’re just saying the current setup’ not best #ncga

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
#UNCBOG Jim Holmes "This is not a commentary on poverty." #ncpol

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
Sorry everyone. It's not really easy to hear what's being said. #UNC CH Chancellor Carol Folt is up there

Sarah Ovaska @SarahOvaska · Feb 27
Vote is now on whether to accept report on centers/institute. Passes unanimously.

The transparent political calculation in closing the UNC Poverty Center, whose director Gene Nichol has been outspoken in criticism of the BOG members' political patrons in the General Assembly, is visible from outer space.

BOG Chair John Fennebresque has felt constrained -- exposed? -- enough to issue a further statement on the action yesterday:
...after careful review of the Center on Poverty – which included an opportunity for the center director to fully describe its work – the board concluded the center was unable to demonstrate any appreciable impact on the issue of poverty. We also felt the center did not enhance the educational mission of the university, did not work across disciplines to effect change and did not have the financial support to sustain it – the same criteria used to evaluate all 240 centers.
In response, a UNC faculty member posted this on Facebook:
I think that the BOG is perhaps better when it keeps its mouth shut. Really, Mr. Fennebresque? Out of 240 centers, it just randomly happened that one of the three the "objective review" found it necessary to close was the one that is bringing perhaps the MOST public attention of any center in the entire system to the problem that it was set up to address? Which just happens to be a problem that is getting worse b/c of policy decisions of the current party, which, it just happens, this Center's director liked on a regular basis to point out? And, upon which it is presently very difficult to have any "appreciable impact" because of decisions by the current GOP leadership not to expand Medicaid and that sort of thing? Whatever we are out here in the public, we are not fools. Some of us did graduate from the university at stake here and learned some critical thinking skills, and this "reasoning" just will not fly.
"Will not fly"? We look forward to students and faculty across the UNC system standing up against this political crap. The next meeting of the BOG may be even "hotter."

Sam DeGrave is reporting this morning:
All students were barred from entering the new meeting room, a move which Amanda Martin, general counsel to the N.C. Press Association, said was likely not in accordance with North Carolina’s Open Meeting Law, despite the fact that the board streamed the rest of the meeting on projection screens in the original room.
“I don’t think a public body can pick and choose who to let in, in a discriminating fashion,” Martin said. “The law is clear that they can remove dissidents, but—in my opinion—this was a violation of the Open Meeting Law.”

Meanwhile in Watauga: Not Quite 'The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius,' But Closer Than We Were

The second day of the budget workshops clinched the impression that the Watauga County Commission (still 3-2, Republican advantage) has gone decidedly moderate since the departure of former Chair Nathan Miller. Under new board Chair Jimmy Hodges (a former Democrat, ahem), there's a whole new tone of expansive progressivism. Or maybe we should hedge our bets and borrow presidential candidate Jeb Bush's term for the campaign he intends to run: "an inclusive conservatism."

I knew we were in very different post-Nathan Miller territory when Democratic Commissioner Billy Kennedy pushed yesterday, on the final afternoon of the budget workshops, for a $10,000 grant for the Hospitality House. If you'll recall, under the Nathan Miller Regime, funding for most non-profits was either greatly reduced or zeroed out. The Hospitality House was a particular target for zeroing out, and for the last few budget cycles it got nothing from the county while providing social services that would otherwise fall on the county to provide.

$10,000, Commissioner Kennedy proposed, and Chair Jimmy Hodges said, "I'm okay with it." That comment was not lost of the other two Republicans, Blust and Yates, who now appear out-numbered on that issue. Jimmy Hodges has become the unpredictable swing vote on the Commission.

What happened in the discussion yesterday is by no means final or official. It was a "penciling in" of an amount for the County Manager and his finance team to juggle in coming up with a final budget that will be voted on later this spring. So we'll see if Mr. Hodges continues to be "okay with it."

Other Issues
County Manager Deron Geoque plans a modest cost-of-living increase for county employees ("but not for county commissioners!" Perry Yates almost shouted. He didn't like the perception of a salary increase for elected commissioners).

Matt Vincent, head of the Tourism Development Authority, said he wanted the county to take over maintenance of capital improvements, like greenways and bike trails, because the fear of maintenance costs was preventing the Tea Party element (my words, not Mr. Vincent's) on the TDA from initiating grant applications for more capital improvements. Commissioner David Blust, who's always complained about maintenance costs, remained conspicuously quiet at that moment.

The Republican majority on the commission expressed love for Horn in the West and unified hostility toward the restoration of the Appalachian Theater in downtown Boone. Commissioner Kennedy was urging his fellow commissioners to give equal support to both the Horn and the theater as community-building venues for the performance arts, but Boone-hatred is still pretty much the modus operandi of county Republicans. "Not enough parking," Yates groused, and Chairman Hodges focused on "bars" downtown and "intoxicated people" as reasons the theater will never succeed. But the commission agreed to invite the people in charge of the theater restoration to a meeting soon to 'splain themselves and (presumably) beg for money.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Don't Look to Senator Tillis If You Want 'Net Neutrality'

Senator Dung-Hands Von Fecal-Fingers led the NC House in 2011 when the General Assembly passed a law saying that a North Carolina city could not offer broadband to its citizens below cost. He did that because he loves freedom so much.

He especially loves freedom for AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon, and they have returned the compliment with $$$.

The city of Wilson, NC, appealed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to lift the restriction, which the FCC did yesterday.

The Senator promptly had a hissy fit ... because, you know, he loves freedom too too too much. He promised to introduce a bill in the U.S. Congress to prohibit the FCC from overriding state freedom laws broadband restrictions.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A New Tone on the Watauga County Commission (Hurray!)

The Watauga County Commission, in its post-Nathan Miller honeymoon phase, is a decidedly different place. Case in point at the two-day budget workshop that started today:

Right off the bat, the commissioners heard a consulting firm's feasibility report on a new county recreation center, with a whopping bottomline of $25,169,200 (including "soft costs"). The question that County Manager Deron Geoque posed to the sphinx-like Republicans: Do we proceed with more feasibility costs on this project, namely civil engineering (detrmining the water table, for example), surveying, etc.

Everyone was waiting for new Chair Jimmy Hodges to speak, and he finally did. He said he was in favor of a new rec center ("I support this," were his exact words), but he threw a curveball as he began channeling his inner real estate broker. Hodges wants to pursue acquiring new property for the project, namely the original Lowe's property where Appalachian State University now has its warehouse and purchasing department.

Hodges has a vision of a new county recreation center operating in tandem with the new school of nursing and an expanded medical center campus, which is indeed an arresting, in fact invigorating, vision for a county that has been extremely cramped for any progressive vision since, oh, 2010.

God knows how this will play out, but without Nathan Miller sandbagging their thought processes, the other two Republican members of the Commission appear ripe for seduction by a more liberal spirit on the board.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Trying To Make Itself More Important, NC GOP Just Makes Itself Smaller

NC GOP "jobs plan"
Here's the thing: Republican big-wigs in the NC General Assembly thought it would be too cool if they rewrote the law and forced the state's presidential primaries waaay up into February, or to be more precise, to the first Tuesday after the South Carolina presidential primary.

See, 'cause, those early presidential primary states get all this MONEY pumped into campaigning, and NC Republican politicians got all starry-eyed at the thought of, say, Jeb Bush battling it out with Scott Walker and Rand Paul (or whoever). Plus there's also the national prominence of appearing to actually matter. Because North Carolina's usual primary day in May is long after everything has been decided (usually). So North Carolina's presidential preferences get a big national "meh" ... unless it was when Democrats chose Obama over Clinton in the May primary of 2008.

But there's a worm in this rose bud. The Republican National Committee will punish North Carolina Republicans severely for messing up their carefully calculated presidential primary schedule. Moving a presidential primary to an earlier date is called "jumping the line." Florida did it and lost the bulk of its convention delegates in retaliation. Florida did not like that.

If North Carolina does indeed hold a presidential primary on the first Tuesday after South Carolina's presidential primary -- which is actually the law at the moment, signed by Governor Squishy -- then NC will have its National Republican Convention delegates cut from 72 to 12.

Why would 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls spend big advertising bucks, not to mention salaries for field representatives, for just 12 convention delegates?

They won't.

Long article detailing all the infighting, which is most interesting because it quotes Josh Putnam, a professor at Appalachian State University, "who runs the web site Frontloading HQ, which covers the presidential primary system in obsessive detail." We do have a weakness for "obsessive detail."

NC Senate Bill Would Bully Same-Sex Couples

Soucek & Jordan
S2, the Phil Berger law that would make discrimination by Register of Deeds offices legal in North Carolina, quickly passed through an NC Senate committee yesterday on a voice vote and was expected on the floor of the full Senate today. It'll sail through there too -- you bet! -- with Senator Dan Soucek joining the chorus of "We want another of our laws overturned as unconstitutional!"

S2, which would allow magistrates to shirk their duty to marry same-sex couples because of "a sincerely held religious objection," will be struck down as unconstitutional even faster than the General Assembly's ultrasound requirement. Here are some of the arguments that will doom it as another unnecessary embarrassment for the state of North Carolina:

1. A "sincerely held religious objection" is never defined. Does that apply only to those who go pale at The Gay or also, say, to Catholics who don't approve of second marriages?

2. The law singles out a class of individuals for unequal treatment. You can't do that, dudes.

3. The law would impose a religious test on a single class of individuals by elevating the individual religious beliefs of a public official as a legal hurdle to equal access to a basic right.

4. The law was conceived and written as a way to deny or at least hamper equal access to marriage for same-sex couples and is capricious on the face of it.

So go ahead, Republicans -- especially you, Senator Soucek and Representative Jonathan Jordan -- waste more time and taxpayer money passing this stink-bomb of a law. It will never go into effect, and you will once again be proven the autocratic bullies you've always been.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Republicans: Just Stop Talking About Women's Bodies. That Is All

Okay ... all together now ... The mouth's connected to the esophagus, the esophagus is connected to the stomach, the stomach is connected to the ... vagina?

A Republican lawmaker in Idaho, who's pushing for even less access to abortion, wondered aloud why a woman couldn't swallow a little pill containing a camera and thereby have her lady parts examined remotely by a doctor.

“It cannot be done ... simply because, when you swallow a pill, it would not end up in the vagina,” a doctor testifying before the lawmaker's committee answered.

They laughed at the Idaho Republican when that doctor pointed out the obvious. Note to Republican muckety-mucks everywhere: It's a short step from laughter to rage, you idiots.

Maybe some Republican lawmaker would like to propose a Drone Pregnancy Test Enablement Act, since there's a whole new technology now available for snooping.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Duke Energy Admits Guilt, And the World Didn't End

The three U.S. attorneys for the Eastern, Middle, and Western districts of NC filed criminal charges against Duke Energy yesterday for illegally dumping coal ash at coal-fired power plants in Eden, Moncure, Asheville, Goldsboro, and Mt. Holly.

Simultaneously, Duke Energy said that it has already negotiated a plea agreement under which it will admit guilt, pay diddly squat $102 million in fines, restitution, and community service, and make their shareholders bear the costs of the settlement rather than pass on the costs to its electricity customers.

"We are accountable for what happened at Dan River and have learned from this event," said Lynn Good, Duke's president and CEO.

Pigs just took flight. "We are accountable," said Duke Energy, the same company that has spent years stoutly denying any fault on their part.

"It's not just a slap on the wrist," said Kemp Burdette, of Cape Fear River Watch. "A $100 million fine is a significant one." "Anybody who agrees to pay $100 million is confirming that they did something wrong," said Frank Holleman, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. "Duke Energy cannot buy its way out of its coal ash scandal. It has to clean its way out."

Okay, okay. Guess we'll have to take your word for it, Mr. Burdette and Mr. Holleman. But for the largest energy producer in the nation, and for such a flagrant scofflaw, seems like a puny fine to us. But we'll let that go.

LEST WE FORGET, there is still this other small piece of history: 
After numerous environmental groups sued to force Duke to clean up its act -- because North Carolina's regulators weren't doing their job -- the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources blocked the citizen lawsuits, intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority under the federal Clean Water Act to take "enforcement action" in state court.

The administration of Gov. Pat McCrory, who worked at Duke for 29 years, then proposed a sweetheart deal under which Duke Energy would have paid fines of just $99,111 to settle violations over toxic groundwater leeching from two of its plants. That agreement, which included no requirement that Duke immediately stop or clean up the pollution, was pulled amid intense criticism after the Dan River spill.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Hawk Squawks

Oh, Lindsey Graham, you're so cute! Thinking you might productively run for president of these United States! Showing up in Iowa and New Hampshire now to "test the waters"-- by which we assume he means he'll drink a glass of water in Nashua and then a glass of water in Iowa City and evaluate them for e-coli.

“We’re going to talk to folks about their view of what’s there for a guy like me,” Graham said. “And we’re going to meet some people who, I think, can be very helpful to us down the road.”

"A guy like me." Isn't that adorable?

Among the many things about Jon Stewart we're going to miss: his impression of Lindsey Graham as Aunt Pittypat.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Getting Rid of People Who Displease the NC GOP, One At a Time

Art Pope
The expensive charade of pretending to "evaluate" over 200 centers of special study at North Carolina's colleges and universities -- in a transparent scheme to get rid of a major critic of Republican policies in the state -- finally ground to a halt yesterday with a recommendation from the Republicans on the "evaluation committee" that the UNC Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity be eliminated.

The director of that center, Gene Nichol, has been an outspoken critic of the governor and of the NC General Assembly. He has published op-eds in the Raleigh News & Observer which pointed out that laws passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. McCrory are hurting the citizens of this state.

In response to the news, Nichol has a statement that was posted on the News&Observer site late yesterday. In it, he says,
I have been repeatedly informed, even officially, that my opinion pieces have “caused great ire and dismay” among state officials and that, unless I stopped publishing in The News & Observer, “external forces might combine in the months ahead” to force my dismissal. Today those threats are brought to fruition. The Board of Governors’ tedious, expensive and supremely dishonest review process yields the result it sought all along – closing the Poverty Center. This charade, and the censorship it triggers, demeans the board, the university, academic freedom and the Constitution.

Read more here:
"External forces," the higher-ups warned, "might combine in the months ahead." Yep. The most potent of those "external forces" was and is Art Pope, who's had a hard-on for molding the university in his own image. He's also built his empire on exploiting poor people with his junk merchandise at his dollar stores. Art Pope wasn't on the "evaluation committee," but his ideology most definitely was. Art Pope-ism has infiltrated everything in this state, like radioactive dust swirled up by the denotation of a thermonuclear device.

Gene Nichol
Gene Nichols' Poverty Center runs on an annual budget of about $120,000, none of which comes from the state but rather from private grant funding. That money will have to be returned to the donors. However, Gene Nichols himself is also a tenured member of the School of Law at UNC and will continue in that role. "When the Poverty Center is abolished, I’ll have more time to write, to speak, and to protest North Carolina’s burgeoning war on poor people," Nichols said in his statement. "I’ll use it."

Two other centers were also fingered for elimination, and from their names/locations, perhaps you can guess why: East Carolina's Center for Biodiversity and N.C. Central University's Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change. Nothing gets the Right Wing's back up like any hint of "social change," and the Pope Empire has long carried a grudge against "diversity" of all kinds, especially the "bio" sort.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More Pay-to-Play in McCroryWorld

A $25,000 campaign contribution from Alvarez & Marsal, a Washington, D.C., consulting firm, funneled through the Republican Governor’s Association in April 2012 to help the campaign for NC governor of Pat McCrory, has produced big freakin' rewards for Alvarez & Marsal, which got a big, fat, greasy no-bid contract to manage the state's Medicaid, originally worth about $3.2 million, a no-bid contract which has suddenly grown to almost $8 million.

That's a whopping quid of pro quo. And they say that gratitude is dead!

Best part? "The company’s three principals have billed the state at rates of $473 an hour; five directors billed at $394 an hour; and nine analysts billed at $242 an hour. At least two of the consultants have since been hired by [the NC Department of Health & Human Services] in full-time jobs."

Those top dogs are charging more per hour than McCrory's lawyers will be earning when they have to defend him against corruption charges!

“A runaway no-bid contract that balloons from $3 million to $8 million is alarming enough,” said Gerrick Brenner of Progress NC Action. “But when the contractor is also a political contributor, it raises serious questions of ‘pay-to-play.’ Taxpayers have questions, and the governor should immediately come clean with answers.”

Oh, no. No answers from McCrory. He's waaaay too busy stepping on imaginary toes.

Austerity in NC, Unless You Work for a Republican Big-Wig

RALEIGH — N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore approved raises of more than 20 percent for several staffers who’d previously worked for him or his predecessor, Thom Tillis.
--Raleigh News & Observer

Holy crap! Policy advisor Sarah Newton went from $65,000 to $85,000, a 30.8% increase.

A spokeswoman for Moore said the higher salaries are justified because they reflect “expanded roles in the office.” Why, one senior advisor in now also in charge of pulling dead leaves off the potted plants!

Rob Schofield of the advocacy group N.C. Policy Watch said, “The thing that’s most striking is the disconnect between all of the rhetoric about shrinking government and at the same time adding more staff and pumping up salaries.”

Monday, February 16, 2015

Look at What Else Is Hidden in the NC Senate's Gas-Tax-Hike Bill

Phil Berger
If you were a mortgage borrower in North Carolina who got a "write-down" reduction on your mortgage, because the lending bank used out-right trickery and other abuses, then a provision in the gas-tax-hike bill the NC Senate just passed will treat that "write-down" as earned income.

Not making this up!

Someone who got a $20,000 reduction on his or her mortgage would suddenly owe another $1,160 in state taxes for the year.

So that's what the Republicans have been doing in Raleigh to deal with their $200 million budget hole!

But that's not all that's in the NC Senate's gas-tax-hike bill. "Another provision of the bill would end the state income tax deduction for tuition expenses," which means those little liberal communist college students, who also think they should get to vote in the state's elections, will get their own special tax hike, so take that, queers!

Our Nickelback Headache

Sunday, February 15, 2015

When Is a Lobbyist Not Like a Hooker?

Answer: When he/she operates in North Carolina:

"Consensual sexual relationships do not have monetary value and therefore are not reportable as gifts or ‘reportable expenditure made for lobbying.’ However, a lobbyist or lobbyist principal’s provision of paid prostitution services by a third party to a designated individual could constitute a gift or thing of value, albeit an illegal one, depending on the particular facts.”

The background, from the N&O: "In 2012, the [ethics] commission investigated two lobbyists who had intimate relationships with top aides to House Speaker Thom Tillis, according to documents The News & Observer obtained at the time. Tillis’ chief of staff resigned and his policy adviser was asked to resign.

"A key focus of that investigation, which did not result in any public penalties, was whether the lobbyists provided things of value to the public officials."

Friday, February 13, 2015

Inflation, the NC GOP Way

Speaker Tim Moore
Republican NC Senate leader Phil Berger and Republican NC House Speaker Tim Moore each have more than a dozen "partisan" staff members serving their manifest needs. Personnel data from the Financial Services Office at the General Assembly show the staffs' combined salaries total more than $2 million.

The top four partisan staffers in Moore's office:
Clayton Somers, chief of staff, $158,500
Andy Munn, deputy chief of staff, $120,000
Mitch Gillespie, senior policy adviser, $100,000
Sarah Newton, senior policy adviser, $85,000
The top four partisan staffers in Berger's office:
Jim Blaine, chief of staff, $158,500
Andrew Tripp, general counsel, $147,500
Amy Auth, deputy chief of staff for communications and operations, $112,500
Jeffrey Warren, policy analyst, $108,000