Saturday News: Riding Matthew's coattails

MCCRORY TURNS MATTHEW SUFFERING INTO CAMPAIGN PHOTO OP (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory’s latest campaign ad burnishes his image as a leader during Hurricane Matthew and the disturbances in Charlotte following the police killing of a man there. Attorney General Roy Cooper’s campaign is crying foul, accusing the governor of politicizing the storm. “For Governor McCrory, partisan politics always comes first,” Ford Porter, campaign spokesman for Attorney General Roy Cooper, said in an emailed statement.

Friday News: The company you keep

ROSS LAUNCHES FIRST AD TYING BURR TO TRUMP (Roll Call) -- On the first day of early voting in North Carolina, the Senate race got a little more crowded. For the first time, Democrat Deborah Ross launched a TV ad that tied incumbent Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr to Donald Trump. Facing a barrage of attacks over her past criticism of a sex offender registry, Ross is trying to use the Republican presidential nominee to undercut the GOP’s main attack against her.

McCrory's office directly tied to "your water is just fine" message

Endangering the health and welfare of his constituents:

Gov. Pat McCrory's communication office directed state health officials to use the controversial language telling well owners near coal ash pits that their wells met federal standards despite objections from a state scientist, according to a deposition released Thursday.

In her sworn statement, Department of Health and Human Services Communication Director Kendra Gerlach says language on state Health Risk Evaluation forms came "from the Capitol building," a reference to the Governor's Office.

Pay-to-play corruption is bad enough, but when you actively deceive residents about the dangers of their industry-tainted drinking water, you've crossed a line that can't be walked back.

N&O loses libel suit to the tune of $9 million

Still waiting on the GOP to whine about tort reform:

The arguments on punitive damages were held Wednesday morning as a trial-within-a-trial. As a guide to their deliberations, the jurors were told by Judge Shirley that as of Aug. 28, The News & Observer Publishing Co. had a net worth of $248.2 million.

During the arguments on punitive damages, Johnson urged the jurors to send a strong message to the newspaper. “Do they get that? Do they understand?” Johnson said. “It’s almost like they consider Beth collateral damage in a war. When you bomb a village, people get killed, but it’s not our problem.”

Before any readers arrive at the conclusion the N&O got its "just desserts" for reckless reporting, keep in mind their series on the SBI revealed some serious flaws in their evidence gathering and analysis. Flaws that contributed to the incarceration and even execution of innocent people. The gathering of information, especially when interviewing sources (who may or may not be prejudiced), is an extremely difficult task. And legally precarious, if those sources later recant, or claim the item wasn't discussed. Not saying that's what happened in *this* case, but I find it hard to believe Locke would intentionally misquote somebody, knowing that individual would read those words when published a few days later. It's not logical. Then again, human beings are very often not logical.

Thursday News: The stench of desperation


REPUBLICAN PARTY TO FILE ETHICS COMPLAINTS AGAINST COOPER (WBTV-TV) —Officials with the North Carolina Republican Party said they plan to file complaints with the state bar and the State Ethics Commission against Attorney General Roy Cooper for comments that he made during a televised debate Wednesday night. More than 35 minutes into the debate, Cooper said, "If you want to talk about political contributions, governor, you're the one who now has an FBI criminal investigation." "As attorney general, you should resign right now for saying that," McCrory replied. "That is absolutely not true. There is no FBI investigation. You should apologize right now."

Voting "Yes" on transit in Wake County a no-brainer

The demographics demand it:

The need for a comprehensive transit plan is urgent. Wake County is growing by 62 people daily – 22,600 annually. With a total population that exceeds 1 million, people need to be able to more easily get from place to place.

This transit referendum is Wake County’s chance to catch up with its neighbors with an adequately funded plan that will be coordinated with systems throughout the Triangle. Over the 10-years of the program, the modernization of the transportation system in the region will further enhance its attractiveness for economic development and job growth.

Every time I visit Raleigh for a meeting or event, I dread getting in and out of there. And no matter how much buffer time I add for traffic, I'm almost always late. It would be interesting (and depressing, I'm sure) to calculate all the lost production and earnings this traffic causes. Although Raleigh-Durham (sorry, I know some are sensitive to the marriage of the two) is not on this list of the top ten, it probably will be fairly soon:

Civitas files lawsuit to derail environmental management

And Fran DeLuca's timing couldn't be more inappropriate:

The head of a conservative-leaning group says money paid annually by pork producers from a 2000 settlement with North Carolina must go to public schools rather than grants designed to improve the environment.

Francis DeLuca of the Civitas Institute sued Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper in Wake County court Tuesday. DeLuca wants a judge to force Cooper — also running for governor this fall — to stop the payments of up to $2 million and to recoup those funds back to 2014. The complaint cites a 2005 state Supreme Court decision in its arguments.

The settlement with Smithfield came in the wake of Hurricane Floyd, and the horrific environmental disaster that resulted from the flooding of hog farms and lagoons. Sound familiar? I don't know if Art Pope and Colonel Francis are doing this to set up an 11th hour television ad saying, "Why doesn't Roy Cooper want our precious children to have money for their schools?" or something equally noxious, or if they're doing this as part of their crusade against environmental protection in general. But whatever their reasons, the settlement itself is very straightforward, and re-purposing those dollars could violate and nullify the agreement:


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