by Kenneth Fine
This morning the Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision that twenty-eight state legislative districts in North Carolina are racially gerrymandered, but vacated the court's order to redraw the maps and hold special elections in 2017.2) The Durham City Council denies a rezoning request that would have paved the way for city's first Publix.
The Supreme Court's three-page order zeroed in on the panel's decision to call for new maps and special elections, explaining its decision to vacate the order because the District Court "addressed the balance of equities in only the most cursory fashion."
Following more than two hours of discussion, the Durham City Council voted 6-1 Monday night against a proposal to rezone land at the intersection of Guess and Latta roads to make way for the part-commercial, part-residential North River Village development.3) Raleigh’s mayor rejects Trump's climate change decision.
Council member Eddie Davis cast the lone vote for the development.
"I think years from now we will regret this decision for north Durham," he said.
The other council members said the rezoning would not be consistent with the surrounding residential area. "A rezoning is not a referendum on a particular project. It's a land-use decision," said council member Jillian Johnson.
Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said Monday that she has signed on to a national Climate Mayors agreement opposing the United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate accords.4) A former Register of Deeds employee says he knew money was missing eighteen months ago.
McFarlane had already joined U.S. mayors in opposition through her membership in the U.S. Conference of Mayors, her office said.
"Mayor McFarlane is signed on to the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement through the US Conference of Mayors, a bipartisan effort that includes over one thousand mayors that have signed on from across the United States," her office said in a statement Monday morning.
In addition, McFarlane, who is seeking a sixth term as mayor in October, recently joined the group Climate Mayors. Both the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Climate Mayors group have spoken out against withdrawal from the Paris agreement of 2016.
State Bureau of Investigation detectives are going back ten years, examining many thousands of documents, in their probe of potential financial crimes in the Wake County Register of Deeds office, SBI officials and the county district attorney said Monday.Also:
This timeframe dramatically widens the scope of the investigation, which came to public attention when District Attorney Lorrin Freeman and county manager Jim Hartmann held a press conference March 31 to announce an SBI criminal probe into possible financial irregularities in the Register of Deeds office.
“We’re trying to follow the trail back to see if we can find when this started, and we are at a ten-year scope,” Freeman said Monday.
The disclosures came after a former employee of the Register of Deeds office spoke Monday at a Wake County Board of Commissioners meeting, stating that he had reported potential malfeasance in the department and had been forced to resign. Darryl Black, a former deputy director of the office, said he told his supervisors about discrepancies in transactions there eighteen months before the apparent missing funds came to light. Before raising taxes, Black suggested, commissioners should have an outside performance audit conducted of the Register of Deeds office.5) The Durham city council OKs $4 million for Durham Housing Authority to purchase Fayette Place.
Freeman said that Black has had several interviews with the SBI.
“Any information that Mr. Black has about money being taken from the Register of Deeds, I would hope that he has disclosed that in any of the conversations he’s had with the SBI,” Freeman said. “We welcome any information Mr. Black has to offer.”
The Durham City Council on Monday night approved a $4.162 million grant that will allow the Durham Housing Authority to buy back twenty acres of vacant land known as Fayette Place.Have a solid Tuesday. Remember, the INDY's "Best of the Triangle" edition drops tomorrow.
The money will come from the city’s general fund and can only be used to acquire the land and maintain it until it is sold or developed.
Development Ventures Incorporated, a real estate development company controlled by the Housing Authority, and Campus Apartments, which currently owns the land, have agreed to close on the deal no later than June 16. The contract stipulates that Durham Housing Authority cannot sell or transfer the property without written consent from the city.