A recent column by Kirk Ross in the Chapel Hill News makes very clear how increasingly relevant the N.C. General Assembly's shenanigans are to us here at the local level. In the past, many have debated the utility of municipal and county governments weighing in with symbolic resoluitions about state and national issues. Well pardon my French, but sh*t just got real in Raleigh this summer.
Kirk calls on candidates to make clear what they would do to deal with many draconian budget cuts that will be painfully trickling down to us in months and years to come. This also points to why we need local officials to stand up and lead by fighting back against Art Pope, ALEC, and the other forces that want to drag down our entire state. I may be biased, but my friends the five Orange County elected officals that got arrested at Moral Monday are a great example of this. If you didn't see it, please watch this video (embedded below) of Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton clearly explaining his constutional rights while being arested by the Capitol Police.
Back to Kirk:
Too often local officials get away with expressing frustration and promising to lobby the local legislative delegation for this issue or that. This year, expect to hear a lot of candidates say they are outraged, but ultimately powerless when it comes to what Raleigh does. That is unacceptable.
If you want to lead a town or a school system in this era you need a plan for dealing with the agenda of the state's far-right power structure and its consequences. And you owe the voters at least a glimpse of what that plan is, because that slash-and-burn agenda is not going to stop just because the session has ended. And next year, there are already indications that even more changes are in store for cities and towns and public education.
You may have heard about what the Legislature has done to Asheville's water system and Charlotte's airport and how the two cities are now suing the state. These may have come across as parochial battles, but they should be clear warnings to anyone in local government.
This is what leadership looks like:
I highly recommend regular reading of The Carolina Mercury to stay informed about how our state is being run.