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This week in disappointment: greenways, guns and landfills

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"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." —Mahatma Gandhi

The GOP has entered the ridicule stage, judging from a screed written by state Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-Wilmington, whose editorial about Moral Mondays appeared last weekend in the Chatham Journal.

An excerpt of his finely honed prose:

"Several hundred people—mostly white, angry, aged former hippies—appeared and screeched into microphones, talked about solidarity and chanted diatribes. It was 'liberal theater' at its best. Just like having a honey bun and double espresso for breakfast, the impact of it all left the participants jittery and empty in the end.

"Never short on audacity, the Loony Left actually named their gathering 'Moral Monday.' Between the screaming, foot stomping and disjointed speeches, it appeared more like 'Moron Monday.'"

Yes, this was written by a state lawmaker, who resorted to name-calling in order to marginalize the protesters as loony moronic hippies—as if being a hippie is something to be ashamed of. (And how did Goolsby conclude the crowd was composed of "mostly aged former hippies"? A card check?)

This editorial is from the mind of a man who co-sponsored bills against expanding Medicaid, to repeal the Racial Justice Act, to allow consumer finance companies to prey on low-income people by raising interest rates and borrowing limits, and to make Bible study an elective in public high schools.

OK, let's study the Bible. At www.biblegateway.com, I entered the search terms "moron" and "loony."

Sorry, no results found.


Do you enjoy walking and biking in nature away from noise and cars? Would you like your home value to increase? Tough luck. The Senate budget eliminates $1.2 million from the Department of Transportation that would have provided state matching funds for greenways. Previously, the state provided 20 percent of the funds to get 80 percent of federal money for bike and pedestrian projects.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has listed 29 projects that would lose funding, three of them in the Triangle:

Durham
• Garrett Road bike lanes and sidewalks
• U.S. 15–501 multi-use path connector

Wake
• Neuse River Greenway, missing link connector

For context, it cost $4.8 million to add one lane to an exit ramp from I-540 to westbound I-40. The project extended about 2 miles.


Other disappointments: Senate Bill 325, which meddles in the Wake County school board elections to favor Republicans, passed the House 70–42 Monday night. All Triangle House Republicans voted for the bill; all the area's Democrats voted against it. The bill goes to the Senate for concurrence; it does not need Gov. Pat McCrory's signature to become law.

Since 2010, there have been at least 12 shootings on college campuses, and more guns aren't going to solve the problem. That's why police chiefs from all 17 UNC System campuses have publicly opposed HB 937, which would allow people with conceal-carry permits to bring guns on campus. The House passed the bill last month; it is now in a Senate judiciary committee.

Social justice and environmental advocates oppose HB 328, which would limit regulators' ability to consider all the impacts of landfills on minority and low-income neighborhoods when permitting those facilities. Current state law requires denial of the permit application if the landfill would harm those communities protected by the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Greenways, guns and landfills."

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