Legislators Throw Mentally Ill Under The Bus - Tomorrow is a Day of Action

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{Division of Medical Assistance Team Forsaking North Carolina's mental heatlh service recipients}

Tomorrow BlueNC will join with bloggers across North Carolina to urge our readers to contact legislators and bureaucrats in an effort to reverse a killing blow first mentioned here yesterday. This post is a background piece for the action tomorrow.

In 2001, North Carolina undertook a massive reform of its mental health system. The network of publicly funded providers had grown bureaucratic, bloated and stagnant. While individual practitioners continued, in most cases, to provide excellent care, the system was buckling under its own weight and lacked innovation.

Squeezing the sponge, Bob?

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When you're running for governor in the Party of Greed and you're not a multimillionaire like Bill Graham and Fred Smith, it's gotta be rough. Which might explain why Judge Bob Orr is having such a hard time cutting the strings that connect him to Art Pope. After years of toiling in the Pope's employ, Orr appears reluctant to bid the Puppetmaster farewell and strike out on his own.

A vocal critic of incentives used to attract businesses is preparing to sue because of tax breaks worth millions that the state recently promised Google. Bob Orr, executive director of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law in Raleigh, said Monday that the group's directors have authorized the institute to "move forward in its research and preparation of a legal challenge."

April 16 Support Smithfield

Dear Triangle-area Supporters,

On Monday, April 16th at 7PM, former Smithfield worker Lorena Ramos will join a worker from a Tyson poultry plant and a farmworker to describe the unjust, dangerous and sometimes unlawful practices of Wal-Mart's food suppliers. This free, public event is part the the Wal-Mart Food and Agricultural Worker Tour. Don't miss your chance to hear stories behind Wal-Mart's everyday low prices! Sponsored by Duke Students Against Sweatshops and the Duke Muslim Student Association, this event will take place at 7PM in Old Chemistry Building, Room 116 (West Campus) on Monday, April 16. Here's a link to a campus map with the Old Chemistry Building highlighted: http://map.duke.edu/?bidw06

Do the right thing

After years of listening to the anti-tax zealots at the Art Pope Puppetshow, the North Carolina General Assembly has lost its sense of decency and perspective.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get much worse for families in North Carolina relying on the state’s mental health system for support, state officials gave them an unwelcome Easter surprise Thursday afternoon.

It came in the form of a memo announcing that the state was slashing by a third the amount it will pay for community support services provided to children and adults with mental illness. That is likely to mean some of the most vulnerable people in the state will no longer get the help they need.

We the People were out ahead of Dole and Burr on opposition to the OLF. And we are out ahead of our scaredy-cat representatives in Raleigh when it comes to social services.

Burr Finally Against OLF

In Case anyone missed it, WRAL TV just reported that Senator Richard Burr has finally come out against the proposed OLF in Washington County. The following is from the WRAL website:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Sen. Richard Burr said Monday he opposes the Navy's plan to build a practice landing field for jet fighters near a wildlife refuge in eastern North Carolina.

In a letter to Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter, Burr said the Navy's preferred site in Washington and Beaufort counties for the outlying landing field, or OLF, would be an "untenable proposition."

Attached to the letter was a nearly two-page list of concerns in which Burr, R-North Carolina, said the proposed site would be detrimental to the environment, would negatively impact the local economy and could threaten the safety of military pilots.

Monday afternoon Ex

Via Ex:

This week's column looks at annexation fights and an astroturf battle royale over the transfer tax fixin' to crank up.

Angry Suburban Ethos

As I write these words I can see the line just beyond the back fence where gently — for now — laps that rising tide known as the municipal limits of the town of Chapel Hill.

My neighbors and I know that one day we’ll be engulfed by that tide, absorbed into the town, offered its services and taxed accordingly. Some of us will go willingly or without struggle—others will put up a fight.

Such is the fate now of thousands of North Carolina homeowners each year as the urban boundaries in this urbanizing state swell. And while the number of us living unincorporated-style shrinks, so grows the ranks of angry suburbanites.

Puppet ploy: Can Rick Martinez really be this stupid?

The few real journalists remaining at the N&O must cringe with embarrassment every time Rick Martinez, Art Pope's planted Puppet at the paper, comes out with a new column. His most recent is truly laughable.

First off, in his infinite wisdom ignorance, Martinez questions the viability of conservation, preferring instead to build more coal-fired power plants that would hasten the demise of the planet. True to his Puppet roots, Martinez has never met a thoughtful approach to planning he didn't like.

The latest chapter in North Carolina's growing record of civic selfishness occurred early Tuesday morning in the Buncombe County town of Woodfin, a few miles north of Asheville. In a room packed with 150 or so people, the town's Board of Adjustment rejected Progress Energy's request for a conditional use permit to build a small, 130-megawatt peak power plant.

It was a mistake

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I don't know who Joe Sinsheimer is, but he sure seems to have a lot of clout. He writes a personal letter to Joe Hackney alleging ethics problems in North Carolina politics, and boom, the news media are all over it. 'When will Hackney respond?,' they ask. 'I'll get to it when I get to it,' he says.

In the spirit of Joe Sinsheimer, I am also writing letters. Mine are going to Joe Hackney, Marc Basnight, and Mike Easley. And like Sinsheimer, my letters are about ethics in North Carolina politics.

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Gentlemen,

By now it is clear that the so-called North Carolina Education Lottery is an idea whose time has come and gone. The desired income is not materializing, and new proposals to fritter away additional proceeds to stimulate more participation are too reminiscent of pushers hooking teenagers on crack. Today's story in the News and Observer lays the sad situation out for all to see:

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