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.
The State Board of Elections and county elections offices begin accepting candidate forms at noon Monday. The filing deadline is Feb. 28.
Voters this year will decide whether to re-elect U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan or one of her rivals. They'll choose members of the U.S. House delegation, all 170 members of the General Assembly and dozens of judgeships. There will also be scores of county commissioner and school board elections.
The primary is May 6, with runoffs July 15 if needed. The general election is Nov. 4.
If you are planning to run, go ahead and file now. It will narrow down the list of races in which a candidate may need to be found, and it will help potential donors decide where best to dedicate their resources.
Democrats have been weakened in Raleigh and their party leadership has been in disarray of late, but liberal groups, some business groups and others disaffected with legislative decisions on public education are laying the groundwork for challenges to vulnerable Republican lawmakers. Democrats don’t expect to win control of either house, but they see a chance to reduce their disadvantage heading into 2016’s elections, when they hope to bounce Gov. Pat McCrory.
Is that really the best we can hope for? Maybe getting rid of the Veto-proof aspect of the Republican majority in the General Assembly so a Democratic Governor taking over in 2017 can (try to) block some of their idiotic policies? I think we can do better. Am I crazy?
Last week, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum equated Obamacare with Apartheid. This week, state Sen. Bob Rucho joined others who have equated Obamacare to Nazism (among other evils). Their obvious purpose is to inflame an uninformed electorate to be against something using terms representing atrocities. While imperfect, complex and rolled out poorly, to equate something that is trying to help people gain access to healthcare insurance as akin to Apartheid and Nazism portrays ignorance or deception.
Not sure we need to pick. Ignorance and deception probably share equal credit for this effort to enflame, and Rucho's obstinacy in refusing to apologize is evidence he realizes he was guilty of both.
During both of his gubernatorial campaigns, Pat McCrory promised better transparency and said he would make it easier for the public to know what is going on in state government. Apparently he left out the disclaimer — “as long as they’re willing to pay for it.”
McCrory’s administration is setting a chilling precedent that could make it more difficult for average North Carolinians to get copies of public records that by law belong to the people. They’re your records, compiled and stored by people paid with your tax dollars. But McCrory and his top administrators have interpreted state law to mean they can charge exorbitant fees for fulfilling public records requests.
Just like everything else for sale in North Carolina's Republican-led government, information about the activities of this administration will cost you whatever the market can bear. That's what "running government like a business" is all about, and the only way to bring back sanity is to put the NC GOP back where it belongs, in the minority. Which brings us to the second (and more important) reason for putting up barriers to public records requests: to keep politically damaging facts from being exposed.
Submitted by scharrison on Fri, 11/29/2013 - 11:07am
The "say anything" Governor doubles-down on his prevarication:
This time, he got caught twice in the same interview. First, McCrory said that Duke Energy and IBM had stopped offering their employees health insurance because of Obamacare. That’s not true. That’s not even a rumor. He just made it up on the spot.
Next, he said that he and the legislature didn’t cut unemployment benefits. That’s not true either. Again, it’s not even being disputed. They cut the length of time a person could collect benefit, they cut the amount of benefits and they denied 170,000 unemployed North Carolinians long-term benefits that would have been covered by the federal government.
While politicians often bend the truth to fit their narrative, the stuff coming out of McCrory's mouth has been deteriorating into the absurd as his tenure progresses. Which is what happens when your previous lies aren't thrown back in your face very hard. And when you've made a habit out of avoiding the truth, the last thing you want to do is make it cheap and easy to acquire:
Q: So you were saying you need to change how you oversee it, but in terms of money wasted, you weren’t saying that. In terms of actual malfeasance, your findings weren’t of that nature.
A: You’re exactly right. That is not what my audit says. I can take you through about 10 points that ... my audit, the whole thing about how we denigrated them, all these things my audit supposedly says, you won’t find that stuff in my audit.
I’ve said in interviews that ‘broken’ is the governor’s term. I never said it. My audit doesn’t say it. The governor said it was broken before my audit ever came out.
The only thing I would accuse Beth of being is naïve. She wants to perform her job in a neutral, non-partisan fashion. But that's simply not possible when the GOP has control over her purse strings and her mission, and has demonstrated countless times that it will twist any findings presented to the NCGA to meet their ideological goals. And while this might be true:
Fisher, during an interview this week, accused N.C. NAACP President William Barber of being inflammatory. “Some of the things he’s saying are not in the bill,” she said.
Fisher, who has long supported voter ID, said when one strips away the misconceptions and confusion, the measure simply ensures that only citizens vote.
“It is not a voter suppression effort in any respect. If it were something like that, I wouldn’t stand for it,” she said.
And if the bill was merely what you say it is, it wouldn't be 38 pages long. This kind of outright misleading rhetoric won't get very far with African-American voters, although it might be readily accepted by the readers of NC Renegade, of which Dr. Fisher is a frequent contributor. And yes, if you're a black woman wanting to be accepted on that site, you better know the magic anti-government incantations. Such as this one:
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