Growing list of coastal municipalities oppose offshore drilling


Swansboro joins in the dissenting opinion:

Commissioners voted 3-1 at the board’s Tuesday night meeting to adopt a resolution opposing offshore oil and gas development and drilling and related seismic blasting activities off the North Carolina coast.

Commissioner Jim Allen said he wasn’t comfortable taking a stand against an issue that state leaders are working on with the federal government. Gov. Pat McCrory serves as chairman of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition. “I don’t think we need to be putting up roadblocks in their way,” Allen said.

If that pro-drilling group were composed entirely of government officials, there *might* be a sliver of credibility in Jim Allen's concern. But those Governors have allowed themselves to become nothing more than oil & gas industry mouthpieces:

Big surprise, Republican boondoggle doesn't work


Which guarantees an extension of the project:

“These preliminary results indicate that nutrient related water quality conditions did not significantly improve in areas of the lake where SolarBees were deployed,” said the report by the state Division of Water Quality, which was sent to the General Assembly on Oct. 1.

“We’ve made a significant investment that pales in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars that existing Jordan Lake rules would cost municipalities,” Gunn said. “I think, while we did not see movement yet, one summer is not long enough to see if there’s a positive trend. I certainly would have loved to see something more optimistic. But I remain optimistic.”

Yeah, you remain optimistic the Solar Bee distraction will give you a few more election cycles to rake in campaign contributions from your developer buddies and profit from your own real estate sales. We're supposed to believe you give a shit about municipalities in your District? Then why did you vote (twice) to take sales taxes away from Burlington, Graham, Elon, Gibsonville, etc., amounting to over $1.3 million per year? The only thing you care about is flipping properties while preserving your bottom line.

Lee Roberts utilizes "fuzzy math" to justify prison contract

The trail of evidence gets slimier by the foot:

A study submitted to the General Assembly by top prison officials had concluded that private maintenance would result in “no significant savings” for taxpayers, but State Budget Director Lee Roberts criticized that study as flawed.

Roberts said his review was different from that conducted by the governor’s office: “They don’t have the time or the ability to review technical matters.” In December, Roberts said his budget office analysis showed the state would save $1 million a year. (Keith had said the annual savings were $413,000.)

When Art Pope "retired" as Budget Director for McCrory, it was generally accepted that his replacement would be less influential in the Governor's Cabinet. I'm not so sure anymore. Not trying to "excuse" McCrory from any wrongdoings in this fiasco, but he is definitely not a "mastermind" of anything. The new Budget Director (Roberts) and the prison maintenance contractor (Keith) have one possibly big thing in common: They are both deeply involved in the murky world of land/real estate investment and development. And those transactions dwarf the mere $12,000 in campaign contributions Graeme Keith gave to McCrory. Just food for thought, as you ponder which slice of pie you might be able to squeeze in on top of all the other stuff.

NC's African-American voters made to suffer by county BOE's

Long distance runaround:

Last year, North Carolina's Board of Elections changed the locations of many of its hundreds of Early Voting sites across the state. No one seems to have noticed that those changes added more than a third of a million miles to the distance between black voters' homes and their polling places, while affecting white voters' aggregate distance-to-poll hardly at all.

(Author's note: I was going to include this in my Tuesday Twitter post, but after perusing the data, it became evident it needed better exposure.) We've long suspected there was a concerted effort to disenfranchise certain voting demographics by relocating polling sites, but now we have the data to back that up. It also increases the likelihood (by a factor of ten) there was/is a state-wide conspiracy to make voting more difficult for people of color; you don't get these numbers by accident:

Another lawsuit to stop GOP's racial gerrymandering emerges

Bringing the total active cases to four:

Another challenge of North Carolina's 2011 legislative districts based on accusations of racial gerrymandering is back in court. Three federal judges scheduled a Monday hearing in Greensboro to hear motions in the lawsuit filed by registered voters against the state and legislative leaders.

They say lines drawn by Republican lawmakers for nearly 30 House and Senate districts are illegal because they relied too much on race.

The GOP's mapmakers weren't nearly as clever as they thought they were, and the more detailed the inspection, the more likely the truth will eventually come out. It's been almost five years since these new districts were shoved down our throats, but the fight still continues. Why? Because "wrong" doesn't get better over time, it gets worse.

DEQ spins off "fracking" division

The key to keeping secrets is compartmentalization:

The energy group will be comprised of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality's Energy and N.C. Geological Survey sections of the Energy, Mineral and Land Resources division. Van der Vaart is also creating an energy executive director who will lead the group.

“The governor made it clear from the start of his administration that one of his top priorities is to develop and implement an all-of-the-above energy strategy that fits North Carolina’s needs,” van der Vaart says in a video announcing the plan. “I fully support the governor’s energy initiative and feel very strongly that affordable energy is vital to growing the economy, maintaining good quality of life and bringing us closer to energy independence.”

And yes, when you see the phrase "all-of-the-above" used in reference to energy, it's code for fracking and/or offshore drilling. I think they latched onto the phrase in the hopes renewable energy advocates would be less anti-fracking if they thought it was all one big, happy family, playing together on a level playing field. There is no such thing. And by separating this new division from others at DEQ, their activities will no longer be common knowledge amongst state regulators, some of whom might be a little concerned about water quality and such. From the DEQ's Energy section:

Mercenaries providing security at Carter-Finley?

Sometimes the cure is worse than the illness:

NC State is ramping up security at Carter Finley Stadium for its final two home games.

School officials say there will be increased security and law enforcement officers inside and outside the stadium, in the parking lots and in areas surrounding the stadium as a precaution.

I hesitated posting this, because a) I could very easily be mistaken, and b) If I'm not mistaken, publicizing Tiger Swan's involvement could (theoretically) cause additional security issues at the events in question. But people deserve to know if private military contractors are operating in their presence.


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