Probe into Cope's financial irregularities gets serious

Not exactly sure how serious, but SEANC's 55,000 members deserve better answers than they've gotten so far:

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Monday she is asking the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a criminal inquiry about possible financial improprieties at the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

Freeman said the SBI inquiry is one step short of a criminal investigation. The SBI will review and attempt to validate information provided to Freeman. "Regardless of how outrageous people may feel the conduct has been, the question is whether there is evidence a crime has occurred," Freeman said. "Poor judgment and abuse of authority does not necessarily equal criminal activity."

Fan mail from a flounder

Hi Patsy.

James here, representing the disillusioned faction of independent Democrats. I'm writing to wish you the very best, and offer some simple advice.

  • Don't lie. I don't know what it is about leaders, but a lot of them seem to drift toward secrecy, which leads to lies, which leads to trouble. Practice radical transparency. It's the easiest way to get people engaged.
  • Fear not. There is a strong and reliable populist base here in North Carolina, the kind of base that communicates actively, turns out to vote, and gets friends to the polls. We live online. Don't be a stranger.

There you go. Fan mail from a flounder.

Preserve the Preservation tax credits

For many rural townships, it's the only economic tool they have left:

Last year, Paul Norby, the director of the City-County Planning Department, told the Journal editorial board that the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, using these credits, “has generated $200 million or more in economic investment.”

We’re not alone in benefiting from these credits. For some rural areas in the state, preservation tax credits could play a significant role in spurring economic and community revival. In a lead up to Wednesday’s address, McCrory toured the Hotel Concord on Jan. 30, which local officials hope to restore, and talked about hosting executives who consider investing in the region. “And the first place they want to go to is the center city, to see is there blight or decay or is there a future,” he told The Associated Press.

Republicans like to talk about bringing back old-fashioned values and such, so it's a little confusing why they would casually discard a program that restores historical structures. Their answer, which is becoming a pat response, is for government to "get out of the way" and let private investors do the work. I can tell you with absolute certainty that government is not standing in the way of investments in small towns or historical sections of larger cities. The truth is, those investments are simply waiting for a catalyst, and that catalyst is the government-sponsored refurbishing of key structures that will anchor the revitalization of a district.

Daily dose: Tribute to Dean Smith

Dean Smith dies at 83; N.C. coaching legend (LA Times) – A blue line, 10 inches wide, awaited North Carolina basketball players at the arena's entrance each day before practice. They knew it as the spot where competition began. It was to be crossed only after both shoes were tied, practice jerseys were properly tucked, and minds were prepared. It was just a line on the floor, but it was also much more: It was a metaphorical border of what celebrated coach Dean Smith called “the Carolina Way” — a sense of humility, teamwork and just plain hard work that came to be seen as the university’s ideal.
http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-dean-smith-story-20150208-story.html

Rest in peace, Coach

We lost a beloved member of our family Saturday night. Dean Smith, former head basketball coach at Carolina, died at the age of 83.

I am one of those Tar Heels who grew up knowing Coach Smith as the only coach of our beloved basketball team. I was born in 1962 while my father was a law student at UNC. My mother was a rabid Carolina basketball fan and I have very early memories of my polite southern mother cursing like a drunken sailor during the games.

Dana Cope's questionable spending of SEANC funds

It's good to be the King Executive Director:

A memo justified the check as computer work done by the D.C. company with a name very similar to the local landscaping company. The owner of the computer company said he closed the firm in 2003 and never worked in North Carolina. Cope and SEANC’s general counsel admit the memo is phony but will not explain beyond saying it’s a personnel matter.

There was irrigation work done at the SEANC building four months later. But that work cost $685.25 and was done by a long-established company in Garner, records show. Since last March, Cope has directed SEANC to write checks totaling $109,078.50 to Perspective Landscape Concepts, the company also working on projects at Cope’s Raleigh home, or to its owner, Perry Pope.

Pope, the owner of Perspective Landscape Concepts, declined to say whether SEANC money had paid for work at Cope’s house. “I don’t want to answer that question,” Pope said. “I don’t have to answer that question.”

For those SEANC board members wringing their hands over this, you have nobody to blame but yourselves. We've been calling for Cope's ouster since before any of these checks were written, for several good reasons. And when you continue to support him as you have done and apparently still are:

Daily dose: Stam's Medicaid expansion ignorance

LEGISLATURE 2015
FactCheck: Talking about Medicaid 'On the Record' (WRAL-TV) -- Reps. Skip Stam and Grier Martin debated the proposals from Gov. McCrory's State of the State speech in this week's "On the Record." We fact check a couple of Stam’s claims. … "Most of the people who would be in any kind of Medicaid expansion are already getting large subsidies on the federal exchange, several hundred thousand probably," Stam said. He also added, "The other thing is to realize every dollar that's spent by the federal government for Medicaid expansion is being borrowed from the Chinese." The two claims came within a minute of one another, both overstate their points and leave out important context, and taken together they receive a red light on our fact-checking scale.
http://www.wral.com/fact-check-talking-about-medicaid-on-the-record-/14428311/

Patsy Keever is Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party

It only took one round of voting and it was overwhelming.

Ron Sanyal 6 votes,
Constance Johnson 9 votes
Janice Covington Allison 8
Marshall Adame 169
Patsy Keever more than 368

There are a lot of folks leaving.

Some of us probably would have been penalized for excessive celebration if this had been a football game. :)

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