Good Tuesday morning, folks. We hope you enjoyed a fun, relaxing three-day weekend with loved ones.
It's time to play a little "catch-up" with the state's news, shall we?
1. Greensboro police decide against providing security at Cleveland's
RNC Convention in July. From ABC News
The Greensboro Police Department in North Carolina has rescinded its offer to send 50 police officers to Cleveland in July to help secure the
Republican National Convention, citing a lack of workers' compensation insurance provided by the city for visiting officers, as well as staffing challenges and a failure of logistics and planning for the large-scale event.
Lt. Brian James, Greensboro deputy chief of police, told ABC News that police administrators in other jurisdictions have also expressed a lack of confidence in Cleveland and its preparedness for the upcoming event. He said some departments are declining to send officers while others are still “on the fence.”
“Police work is dangerous by nature. But of course in any situation, we try to plan and prepare as best we can,” James said. “Of course, we will be officers working out of jurisdiction, so we are totally reliant on the Cleveland Police Department for direction. We didn’t have enough information at this time to send our officers there, so we decided we are not going to send them.”
Jeez, what are they so worried about, any way?
2. Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger is your hero. Really. Don't believe it? Let him tell you all about it, in his opinon piece that ran Sunday in some North Carolina papers:
President Obama is attempting to bully North Carolina into complying with his radical agenda. Last week, I took legislative action to block him.
On Wednesday, I introduced an amendment which specifically prohibits the Obama Administration from withholding certain federal money awarded to North Carolina. My amendment passed 227-192, with full support from North Carolina’s Republican Congressional delegation.
Why was this amendment necessary? Obama and members of his administration have repeatedly threatened to withhold federal funding from North Carolina as punishment for not aligning with Obama’s political views.
He's talking about this amendment :
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday night approved an amendment to a spending bill that would seek to bar several federal departments from withholding funds from the state of North Carolina if it fails to abide by the Obama administration policy that transgender people be allowed access to bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identities.
Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger offered the amendment, which passed on a voice vote. Democrats requested a formal roll call vote, likely to be held later in the evening. In a brief speech on the House floor, he accused the administration of “bullying tactics.”
Never mind that...
So, what's up with all the showboating? It's re-election time (he hopes) of course! Pittenger is in a three-way June 7 primary race for his 9th District seat. His opponents are Charlotte pastor Mark Harris, and former Union County Commissioner Todd Johnson. The winner takes on Democrat
The White House said Thursday that it doesn't plan to withhold federal funding from North Carolina while the state and the Justice Department fight a legal battle over an anti-LGBT law.
Christian Cano in November.
The back-and-forth between Harris and Pittenger is getting nasty, as The Charlotte Observer notes. Harris seems to be getting under Pittenger's skin with his attack ads, such as this one:
The conservative pastor starts by talking about his hero dad, a decorated World War II pilot who was shot down and held for the remainder of the war in a Nazi POW camp, Then he starts hacking way at Pittenger as “a congressman who has evidently given in to the sway of special interests.”
And here it comes: “I don’t have an FBI investigation ongoing.”
Ouch. Pittenger does.
He was required by ethics rules to step down as manager of Pittenger Land Investments when he was elected to Congress in 2012, He officially turned management over to his wife, and the company recently reached a legal settlement with disgruntled investors.
The Observer has previously reported that federal investigators are looking into personal loans and contributions Pittenger made to his 2012 congressional campaign. The FBI and IRS are examining whether Pittenger improperly transferred the money from PLI.
Pittenger’s attorney, Ken Bell, has said that he has not seen anything that “even suggests criminal activity” by his client and that he hopes authorities “act quickly and publicly to absolve” the congressman.
Or as Pittenger would say while snapping his fingers off to the side: "Look over here! Obama is a bully!"
This 9th District race is definitely one to watch — with a big bowl of Jiffy Pop handy.
3. The State Board of Elections meets today, and will decide if Durham needs a new primary. This comes after the Durham Board of Elections decided it "would not be unreasonable" for the state board to do so.
Commissioner candidates Michael Page, the incumbent chair, and Elaine Hyman protested the alleged mishandling of provisional ballots in the March 15 primary. Page and Hyman finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in a race for five seats..
On Friday, the Durham board punted the matter to the state:
"The Board of Elections is mindful of the fact that it no longer has jurisdiction over this matter and does not wish to interfere with the ongoing process of the State Board of Elections," the Durham County board said in a statement. "It is very important for the State Board of Elections to understand and acknowledge the level of public anxiety relating to this matter. The Durham County Board of Elections does not have enough information in its possession to make any recommendations on this matter at this time. However, we believe it would not be unreasonable for the State Board of Elections to consider ordering a new primary for the Durham County Board of Commissioners to address the public's concerns."
4. The head of the DEQ finds "the irony... palpaple." As reported Monday by
The News & Observer, Donald van der Vaart, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, came out opposing a coal ash bill that's expected to clear the General Assembly.
Governor Pat McCrory says he'll veto it. That's no surprise:
[I]t would reconstitute an oversight commission to regulate the cleanup of coal ash, estimated to cost several billions of dollars depending on how extensive the task is.
The original Coal Ash Management Commission was
disbanded in March:
Gov. Pat McCrory had challenged legislative appointments to the commission on constitutional grounds. In January, the N.C. Supreme Court agreed with him.
As for van der Vaart,
he's no fan of political alliances, apparently.
Van der Vaart says Duke Energy helped draft the bill, which also drew alliances among two of House’s staunch environmentalists: [Rep. Chuck] McGrady and Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Democrat from Greensboro. McGrady said Monday that Duke Energy, environmentalists and others had input into the drafting of the bill.
“The irony is palpable here,” van der Vaart said of the alliances. “It helps get the legislation through, and the way they’re doing that is they’re going to join forces with those in the General Assembly still smarting after the landmark (Supreme Court) ruling.
5. This year's crowd for the High Point Market was "slightly" thin. That's what furniture manufacturers were worried about after HB 2 was signed into law.
According to numbers released Friday by the High Point Market, this year's registered attendees — including buyers, exhibitors, media and students — totaled slightly more than 79,000. That represents a decrease of 1,000 from the previous year, and a reversal for the market. Attendance at last year's spring event rose 2.5 percent from 2014.
Eh. Who needs furniture, anyway? Chairs, especially, are more trouble than they're worth.
... Buyers for Williams-Sonoma Inc. retail outlets, including Pottery Barn and West Elm, were among those boycotting the five-day event.
Have a great day, folks. And whatever you do, may you land safely.