Lots of news to get to on this beautiful Friday morning. But first, a quick reminder: Full Frame is in full swing, and there are lotsandlots of flicks worth checking out.
OK, let’s go:
1. Stop fighting, guys!
The Democratic presidential primary has gotten ugly—not ugly on the level of Donald Trump’s hands, but ugly by the standards of what to now has been a mostly high-minded contest. The metrics of the race haven’t changed—Bernie is doing better than anyone thought; Hillary still has a basically insurmountable delegate lead—but the tone has, with the candidates going back and forth on who’s qualified and who started it.
The contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders grew increasingly nasty Thursday with a series of testy exchanges that have prompted widespread concern among Democrats that their rivalry is doing lasting damage to the party and the eventual nominee.
With both candidates launching 10-day sprints here ahead of New York’s April 19 primary, the strain and resentment of a hard-fought and unexpectedly long contest boiled over repeatedly in interviews, speeches and other public appearances. The senator from Vermont refused to retract his assertion that Clinton is not qualified to be president. Clinton dismissed that claim as “silly” and countered that Sanders has repeatedly made promises he can’t keep.
In an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday, Sanders stood by his view that Clinton is not qualified — but he also pledged to support her if she is the nominee.
Halfway through his address, Erica Mines, a Hunting Park native, started yelling at Clinton over several issues, including his 1994 crime bill. Mines argued that the Clintons’ record has been one of detriment to the black community.
She and another man held up alternating signs, one reading: “Clinton crime bill destroyed our communities!” The former commander in chief responded to the sign, saying, “Let’s talk about that,” as Mines continued yelling over his responses.
“I like protesters, but the ones that won’t let you answer are afraid of the truth,” Clinton said, prompting loud cheers. He went on to say how he thinks the bill, and his wife, helped the black community.
“Because of that bill we had a 25-year low in crime, a 30-year low in the murder rate, and because of that and the background check law, a 46-year low in deaths of lives by gun violence, and who do you think those lives were that mattered? Whose lives were saved that mattered?” Clinton asked.
Bernie Sanders voted for that bill, by the way. Hillary Clinton supported it, too. As did most of the Congressional Black Caucus. (There’s a tendency now to forget how much fretting there was back then about inner-city crime.) Both both Hillary Clinton and Sanders have expressed regrets about the disproportionate impact that law has had on African-American communities. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, seems bound and determined to defend his record—and that crime bill.
The Republicans reacted to news that PayPal was pulling out of Charlotte with a predictably defensive vitriol, criticizing the company for doing businesses with unsavory actors across the globe. Yeah, about that:
After PayPal said Tuesday that it would cancel a 400-job expansion in Charlotte because of concerns over the new state law concerning LGBT rights and other employment and discrimination issues, Republican leaders shot back.
“PayPal did business in Cuba, Sudan and Iran, but has a problem with North Carolina?” the state GOP said in a news release Tuesday.
PayPal was fined $7.7 million in 2015 after it reported that it had violated U.S. economic sanctions against those countries.
There had been no mention of the violations less than a month earlier, when Gov. Pat McCrory announced PayPal’s Charlotte expansion – and $3.7 million in state incentives the company is now giving up.
North Carolina taxpayers have paid millions of dollars in incentives to other companies under federal scrutiny for working in Iran and Sudan. And exports to Cuba account for millions in revenue for North Carolina businesses.
Yet, Cuba has become a punching bag for supporters of the new state law, popularly called HB2.
UNC system President Margaret Spellings has issued guidance to chancellors about how to comply with the new law known as House Bill 2, and gay rights advocacy groups were quick to denounce the university’s stance.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that the University of North Carolina has concluded it is required to follow this discriminatory measure at the expense of the privacy, safety, and well being of its students and employees, particularly those who are transgender,” said a joint statement Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and Equality NC. “By requiring people to use restrooms that do not correspond to their gender identity, this policy not only endangers and discriminates against transgender people – it also violates federal law.”
Since the controversial law was passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, university officials have tried to walk a fine line, saying they were studying the law for its impact while expressing support for the LGBTQ community.
Spellings’ memo says campuses aren’t required to change their nondiscrimination policies, but must designate, with signage, that multi-stalled bathrooms and changing facilities are for use by a single biological gender. Single-occupancy bathrooms can remain gender-neutral.
“Like all public agencies, the University is required to fulfill its obligations under the law unless or until the court directs otherwise,” said Spellings’ memo, dated April 5.
According to HB2, woman are only allowed to use the women’s bathroom. If they want to use the men’s room, it’s considered illegal. The problem is, no one will enforce it, and even if they did, the bill doesn’t list any punishments.
“The intent of this law was basically symbolic,” ECU professor Carmine Scavo said.
North Carolina’s HB2 law says a lot of things. The one thing it doesn’t say is how to enforce it. Right now, there’s no penalty or punishment. If anybody breaks the law, there are no guidelines on what happens next.
Dr. Scavo said, “I don’t think at the time that they passed it that they ever thought they were going to have to defend it or enforce it.” Dr. Scavo added that the legislature passed the law to make a statement. He said lawmakers knew it couldn’t be enforced.
And yay! More national ridicule for this transphobia trend that NC has so gleefully embraced:
Raleigh’s affordable housing plan for the year starting in July calls for using $5.9 million in federal funds and $4.2 million in city money to complete 200 rental units and issue 20 homeowner rehabilitation loans, among other initiatives. But city leaders want to do more.
During a budget workshop Wednesday, council members Mary-Ann Baldwin and Corey Branch said they want to bump up the property tax rate one-cent, creating an additional $5.7 million that the city could use on affordable housing. The money would pay for 125 more rental units and 10 more homeowner rehabilitation loans.
The council should add affordable housing soon so that it complements the Wake Transit Plan, Baldwin said. The transit plan, which county commissioners want to fund through a sales tax referendum this November, would add new bus routes and a commuter rail system between Raleigh and Durham by 2027. Housing low-income residents along the transit line makes sense, Baldwin said, so the city should look for development opportunities before property values rise along the corridor.
“If we have to make the commitment to transit, we have to make the commitment to affordable housing,” Baldwin said, adding that the council could raise even more through a bond referendum next year.
Mayor Nancy McFarlane, meanwhile, says she wants to wait until she sees the city manager’s budget proposal in May before making such a move.