The Morning Roundup: Redistricters, Judge Blockers and Bodycam Shockers | News

The Morning Roundup: Redistricters, Judge Blockers and Bodycam Shockers

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North Carolina's congressional map
  • North Carolina's congressional map
Good morning, especially if the words "messy morning commute," as WRAL meteorologists put it, fill you with that get-up-and-go attitude that gets you through a Tuesday.

On the relatively bright side: Rain, not ice, is putting the messy in your morning, so that's a good thing. In fact,  Greg Fishel says ice is history by daybreak, so that's an even better thing. 

Still — be careful out there, please. And now, the news:


1. State redistricting hearings got off to the start you'd expect. That's right — angry as hell. First, you should read Jane Porter's excellent report yesterday in The INDY. We looked around the interwebs, and there's really no better account.

An excerpt:

The highlight of today’s Joint Select Committee on Congressional Redistricting public hearings came about forty minutes in, when state Representative Bill Brawley could be heard on the audio feed from Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte yelling at constituents. 

A particularly eloquent speaker named Gene Millsaps had just wrapped up his comments urging members of the General Assembly to “restore proper citizen representation” to North Carolina’s 1st and 12th congressional districts. People applauded.

“I have already said there will be no shoutouts, there will be no demonstrations, this is not a sporting event,” Brawley screamed, clearly rattled, as Senator Bob Rucho, running the six-location video conference from the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh, tried to drown Brawley out. 


Read on, and find out how state Republicans are pointing fingers at federal judges for ruining their beautiful racial gerrymandering system at the worst possible time! Why Democrats are the ones who started that whole mess anyway! And how partisan gerrymandering is state GOP chair Dallas Woodhouse's solution to racial gerrymandering!

2. Block heads. That's our new name for GOP senators who twist themselves into advanced Kama Sutra positions, as they try to come up with reasons President Obama should not appoint the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of Winston-Salem announced over the weekend that he's a blocker. And now, junior Sen. Thom Tillis earns the nickname, too. (Hey, it beats "poopy hands.")

From The News & Observer:


“Unfortunately, the uninhibited expansion of President Obama’s administrative state and his penchant for executive orders that contort the rule of law suggest an utter contempt for our nation’s system of checks and balances.

“It is highly likely that the President will nominate someone who shares his views and will rubber-stamp his unilateral actvideo footaions, which run counter to the original intent of our Constitution. This is why it is incumbent upon the Senate to assert its co-equal authority in the constitutionally prescribed process of determining the make-up of the highest court. I firmly believe the voice of the American people should be heavily weighted in that decision and their voice will soon be heard on Election Day."


If Tillis's defense of "our Constitution" made coffee come out of your nose just now, we apologize.


3. The Durham PD bodycam vote got delayed.  At Monday night's City Council meeting, three councilpersons pushed back against  "a Durham police policy of keeping video footage secret," so a vote on buying the cams has been postponed until March.

From WNCN:



Durham Councilman Steve Schewel said before the meeting that planned to put forward a motion at Monday night’s meeting to delay the vote by two weeks.  He’s said he was pushing for the delay because of a controversial plan by the Durham Police Department to keep body camera video footage secret.

A last minute provision added by DPD to allow citizens who make complaints against an officer to access, but not copy body camera video did not satisfy Schewel and councilmembers Jillian Johnson and Charlie Reece.

Both Johnson and Reece said before the meeting that they planned to vote no to buying the cameras because of the public access issue.



Reece later confirmed the delay in a Facebook post. 

And while we're on the subject of Durham:

4. Pull up a chair:
Mayor Bill Bell's State of the City address on Monday had a more relaxed, less formal feel than is customary, as the mayor sat beside lifelong Durham resident Bill Shore to deliver his speech, followed by questions from the audience.

As reported by WRAL, the topics included crime:

“When we came into office in 2001, we looked at incidents of crime per 100,000 people, probably at a high, and we’ve seen that constantly go down until the year 2013 and we saw an uptick in 2014,” said Bell.


And transit:


“We developed corridors for a light rail system between Orange and Durham County. We just recently received news that the environmental impacts statement that we accepted was accepted by the FTA and is now open on our website for people to look at,” said Bell.
And affordable housing:

Bell said the city has recently hired a consultant to look at the issue and expects to get a report during the next city council meeting.

That's it for today's Morning Roundup. Keep on sloshin'.

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