North Carolina

Capital vs. education at UNC

I'll admit I haven't had time to fully read and digest The Independent Weekly's cover story on "UNC, Inc." Not only does it include in-depth reporting (by a UNC professor emeritus), I want to commend the Indy for posting a lot of the source material for this story on their website.

Is there a common force at work here that has moved both our university and our hospital system to improve their rankings at the expense of their missions? I would argue that there is.

Congratulations Speaker Hackney!

Joe Hackney, who represents Orange, Chatham, and Moore Counties was chosen by the Democratic caucus as its choice for Speaker of the House tonight. Barring some sketchy dealing making with Republicans, he'll be elected Speaker when the House convenes in two weeks.

I'm thrilled! Here's a column I wrote on the topic two months ago.

As printed in the Chapel Hill Herald on November 18th, 2006:

With Democrats increasing their majority in the legislature and Jim Black's re-election status still unclear as a recount looms in Mecklenburg County, it seems pretty clear that a new speaker of the House will need to be selected.

It's a decision not to be taken lightly for members of the Democratic caucus. I think hardly anyone is exactly sure what's been going on in Raleigh over the past few years but it sure doesn't smell right.

So the first attribute I want in a new speaker is that he or she be absolutely beyond reproach. The individual needs to be of impeccable integrity. Whether it's fair or not, the House doesn't have a very good image right now, and its new leader will need to inspire confidence among peers and the state's citizenry.

Going For the Green

Sustainable North Carolina will be giving out its annual Sustainability Awards on Monday, October 30. Formerly known as Save Our State, the organization's goal is to promote "sustainability" in business and government sectors. Heavy hitters such as Weyerhauser, Progress Energy, IBM, and Dupont as well as Advanced Energy Corporation, Burt's Bee's , and the Environmental Defense Fund are involved with this organization.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce sponsors the "Foundation for a Sustainable Community" and it is a finalist for this year's Sustainability Award from Sustainable North Carolina (I'm beginning to feel sustainable myself after repeatedly typing this powerful word...).

The Other Stuff on the Ballot 2006 Edition

Let's take a look at the non-partisan elections on the ballot this November.

Local Judicial Races

There are plenty of judicial races, but there's only one local competition: The much discussed Superior Court race in which we get to pick two from a list of four. The candidates are The Hon. Carl Fox (former DA), The Hon. Allen Baddour, Attorney Adam Stein and The Hon. Chuck Anderson (currently a District Court Judge). Plenty has been said about this race already on another thread so I will leave it at that.

District Court Judge Joe Buckner is running for re-election, but is unopposed on the ballot. He certainly deserves and will get another term.

The state-wide judicial races are also non-partisan, although, as it happens, all of the races have one Democrat and one Republican running. There will be no indication on the ballot as to which party the judicial candidates belong to.

North Carolina Supreme Court

Stein Volunteer Mixes Campaign Signs and Highway Beautification

As printed in the Chapel Hill Herald on October 7th, 2006:

I never knew how much trash local residents throw out on the road until I spent last Sunday putting up yard signs with Chatham County resident Staples Hughes.

Hughes, who spends his weekdays advocating for low-income accused criminals in the North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender, has spent many weekends over the past 15 years putting up signs for candidates he knows or respects along the roads of Chatham County.

The lucky beneficiary of Hughes' handiwork for this election cycle is Superior Court candidate Adam Stein. And there is no doubt that Stein is lucky -- Hughes has this banal but necessary part of local election campaigns down to an art form.

He knows most every intersection in Chatham County and how many signs should go at each of them. He knows that you should ideally put seven staples each on the left and right sides of the folded sign to hold it together.



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