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.
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.
The golf championships are being played in back-to-back weeks at the same venue for the first time. McCrory said Commerce Secretary Sharon Allred Decker has told him to "wipe my schedule clean for those two weeks."
"We are going to be meeting with business development people at the two Opens," McCrory said. "In fact, we’re going to use the Women’s Open to concentrate on Asian companies because of all the Asian golfers.
Right, because Asians are all one type, and they hold off on their important business decisions until their female golfers finish the tour. What if they play poorly? Aside from the fact that North Carolina is already well-known for its golf courses, the popularity of the game itself has been on the decline for several years:
If by "elevating the dialogue" you mean ignoring all but the worst examples of prejudicial human behaviors, and/or trying to carry on an intelligent conversation with somebody who would conceal their bigotry by spinning a convoluted argument that employs slippery-slopes that don't exist and red herrings marrying bluefin tuna (or is it tunas?), then no. We won't be elevating the dialogue anytime soon.
Last week, Gov. Pat McCrory and his fellow Republican legislative leaders announced that starting salaries for public school teachers will be raised when the General Assembly goes back into session in a few months. It’s an important boost for young teachers in the state’s public education system.
The cynics among us will say that McCrory’s and the GOP leaders’ move is all about politics. The naïve among us will say that it had nothing to do with the upcoming November elections. But those among us who want to see reforms and improvements to North Carolina’s public education system will say this move is one that has been needed for years in order to address an identified problem among young teachers.
Mixed metaphors aside, this is an issue Democrats may need to take a second look at. As a few folks mentioned on social media, this is actually a victory of sorts. Most of us can agree this move on the part of Republicans would not have happened were it not for the Moral Monday protests and the threat of teacher walkouts that followed. But like most GOP initiatives, the plan itself is seriously flawed and will leave a majority of teachers holding nothing. So, what do we do? If we reject it outright, we're also losing the opportunity to claim it as a victory. If we support it, we're giving both legitimacy and our tacit approval to a flawed and politically-motivated move by the GOP. What say you?
Our editorial last Sunday praised the Moral March in Raleigh as an effort by engaged citizens to show that there is broad and deep discontent. That brought a letter from a reader that is distinctive for its sweep and its summary of the raw conservative grievances against those protesting.
Gay rights? I personally don’t condone homosexuality, I guess due to my Baptist upbringing. I do oppose same-sex marriage. I think the decline in morals will be the downfall of our country. I am entitled to my belief as much as all these protesters. What [annoys] people like me is that these protesters act as though I have to like and condone their views. I can’t be entitled to my view anymore.
Both you and Ned Barnett need to understand something: your opinion about how somebody else should live their life is not at the same level as that person's right to live their life as they see fit. Same-sex marriage has no impact on your life, no matter how many demons your twisted mind might create. And as for the author himself, you need a lesson in false equivalency:
Video inspection of a second, 36-inch pipe shows “it has the potential by configuration to release ash material in a way similar to the 48-inch conduit,” a state dam-safety engineer wrote Duke on Friday afternoon. Steven McEvoy, a state dam safety engineer, wrote Duke that videos of the reinforced concrete pipe’s interior showed it was laid in four-foot sections with numerous joints.
McEvoy noted water was dripping through a number of those joints. In three places the flow was under pressure, forming what the engineer called “water jets.” He also saw ponding water inside the pipe. One joint near the pipe’s outfall to the river had separated, he wrote.
Once this situation is resolved, hopefully without another spill, these video inspections need to be done on all coal ash ponds across the state. And the ones where riverkeepers have reported contamination from leaks need to be at the top of that list.
Submitted by scharrison on Sat, 02/15/2014 - 10:29am
Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat its mistakes:
The NC NAACP filed an Amicus Brief Wednesday in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina’s new private-school voucher program. The brief gives a history of the role private-school vouchers have played in maintaining racially segregated schools in North Carolina.
This Report and the Pearsall Plan were adopted by the General Assembly in 1956. Governor Luther Hudges told the legislators at the opening of the session that “the people of North Carolina expect their General Assembly and their Governor to do everything legally possible to prevent their children from being forced to attend mixed schools against their wishes.” Governor’s Address to the General Assembly, July 23, 1956, 10 Senate Journal.
Regardless of the Republicans' stated motives in creating a dual school system, the end result is a separation of students and their learning potentials and the dilution of resources we as taxpayers set aside for the education of NC's children. And once these institutions are in place, the unfairness lingers:
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