The law firm was founded in 1991 by Clint Bolick and Chip Mellor. In the firm’s early days, Bolick was known for his work opposing affirmative action legislation, and acted as one of the top strategists endeavoring to hold up the passage of the 1991 Civil Rights bill.
And, according to the New York Times, he is one of the prime architects behind school voucher plans in Milwaukee and Cleveland, which have come under intense scrutiny for no better or worse academic outcomes for its students as compared with public schools and numerous incidents of fraud and abuse of the programs.
Vellucci makes $168,000 a year. He received a $23,284 raise last summer so he wouldn’t leave the job.
Looks like DHHS and DENR are in a shootout to see who can hit rock bottom faster. With Wos driving DHHS deep into the ground, and Skvarla stepping up as McCrory's fall-guy, it's sure to be a close contest.
On Feb. 7, McCrory’s general counsel, Bob Stephens, fired back, saying, “This administration is committed to transparency, open government, and broad access to public records.” In his letter, Stephens argued that many governmental entities charge more for “extensive requests.” “In response (to large requests), cities like Charlotte and Asheville have instituted special service charge policies,” he wrote.
“We don’t charge for requests, other than occasional costs for duplication,” said Dawa Hitch, the city of Asheville’s public information officer. Carolyn Johnson, a senior deputy city attorney for Charlotte who often handles public records requests, said that the situation is similar in her city.
“We charge our actual costs to copy paper documents – 3 cents a page, because that’s what it costs us,” Johnson said. And most often, she said, public records are delivered to requesters electronically, free. “We don’t charge for the staff’s time (spent gathering records), and not on the IT side either,” she said.
Whether the high charges are due to simple greed or a calculated effort to stifle public records requests, the end result is the same: a hefty pricetag on something we should be able to see for free.
If people in the McCrory administration had as much integrity as they do chutzpah, we'd be home free. But sad to say, it ain't so. Case in point? John Skvarla's comments about his oh-so-close partnering relationships with environmental organizations who are working to clean up all the messes made by Duke Energy.
John Skvarla, the secretary of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said Wednesday that the Southern Environmental Law Center is a “partner” in DENR’s lawsuits aimed at protecting water against pollution documented at power plant sites owned by Duke Energy.
“We consider the citizens group to be on our side of the table,” Skvarla said during a news conference. Court transcripts paint a different picture.
Submitted by teddyrooseveltp... on Wed, 02/19/2014 - 12:30pm
Breaking from WRAL - The federal probe into McCrory's DENR and Duke Energy has expanded to included "specific employees" and to _all_ of the coal ash sites in North Carolina.
In a separate subpoena also released by the state Wednesday, federal prosecutors ask for information related to certain Department of Environment and Natural Resources employees. Among the information those employees are commanded to produce are "All documents related to payments ... received by you from any of the Relevant Parties" and "All documents relating to receipt of an item of value received by you from any of the Relevant Parties." The relevant parties include Duke Energy and the company once known as Progress Energy, which Duke acquired two years ago.
Confusion over the state’s ash-pond policy began Monday when McCrory said in an on-campus news conference that Duke Energy must respond to the Dan River incident by “moving the ash ponds,” which environmental groups said Tuesday morning is their fondest desire.
But then, on Tuesday afternoon, McCrory’s press office suggested he did not mean to specify any one preferred method. “Moving the coal ash is one option available at this point, and everything is on the table in order to best protect our people and the environment,” Ryan Tronovitch, McCrory’s deputy director of communications, said in an email.
No doubt McCrory received a heated phone call about the costs of moving these coal ash ponds, and it probably didn't dawn on him to ask the billion-dollar question: "Why did you idiots put these toxic containment ponds right beside our water resources in the first place?" Common sense will tell you Duke Energy did so with the intent to get rid of some of their coal ash using the water to transport it away from the site. There's no other reason (I can think of) to have it so close, but until somebody in the media or the courts asks that question, it won't get answered.
Submitted by Stephanie Goslen on Wed, 02/19/2014 - 11:41am
In my recent post I wrote of what I perceived to be a struggle with in the democratic party over the past administrations. I was accused of not putting forth any new ideas. In this post I will put forth an idea that could change the course of this election. This grassroot idea is elegant in its simplicity thus very doable.
It is a Letter Writing Campaign
1. This is where a members log in to a website (which I am being trained on it now) and pull a list of up to twenty (20) names and addresses. Or makes a request for twenty names and they are emailed to them so that we have a gate keeper and we do not have to make a website.There could be a coordinator for each county or groups of counties. We need to target letters for targeted races. Letter writers would return when they were ready for more names, each member would be encouraged to write at least t 40 letters
Submitted by teddyrooseveltp... on Wed, 02/19/2014 - 7:35am
Via the Greensboro News and Record, the Rockingham County Board of Elections is considering a proposal to move polling places out of schools. The proposal would impact nine of the 15 voting sites in the county, including all in Reidsville. Critics notes that the move would cost $22,000 and that they wouldn't be able to find alternatives for all of the sites.
In explaining their vote against using schools as voting sites, Toni Reece, the election board’s chairwoman, and board member Velma Loy — both Republicans — had concerns about voters wandering away from polling locations and into areas where there are students.
Sorry, I don't buy this - public schools have been used as polling places for decades with no problem.
Submitted by Martha Brock on Tue, 02/18/2014 - 9:44pm
'In NC politics, women are noticeably absent'
BY LESLIE MAXWELL
A recent N&O front page featured a photo of a beaming Gov. Pat McCrory surrounded by Rep. Thom Tillis, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Sen. Phil Berger, Rep. John Faircloth and Guilford Schools’ Superintendent Maurice Green. The photo accompanied an article about the proposed salary increase for teachers with fewer than 10 years’ experience.
Brannon cast his candidacy in the mold of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has endorsed him, and it played well with Beck. By the end, the conservative firebrand talk show host declared he had "a man crush" on Brannon.
"I've talked to a lot of candidates and it usually takes me a while to warm up to them before I trust them," Beck told Brannon on The Blaze program. "You are so well read, so well thought out. I believe you. You are perhaps the best candidate I have ever talked to the first time out of the shoot [sic]. You are amazing. You are amazing."
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