scharrison's blog

We need more balance in appointments to UNC BOG

HB730 would have made that happen:

Four candidates shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Four candidates shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. One candidate shall be appointed upon recommendation of the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. One candidate shall be appointed upon recommendation of the Minority Leader of the Senate. Two members shall be appointed by the Governor.

That would still leave Berger & Moore appointing 2/3 of the UNC Board of Governors (8) vs the Democrats 1/3 (4). But this bill was immediately buried in committee and did not survive the Crossover. Because in the minds of Republicans, the only thing more important than power is absolute power. This bill would also have slightly modified appointments to (each) Board of Trustees:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy rate increase begins June 1st

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It could have been much worse, but it's still not necessary:

Duke Energy Progress electric rates will increase by an average of 4.7% across all customer groups, effective June 1. The annualized bill for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month will increase to $119.83 from the current $113.53 over the next two years.

The specific increase for individual customer groups will vary, depending on the rate they pay. The average rate increase will be 5.3% for residential customers, 4.7% for commercial customers and 3.6% for industrial customers.

Duke Energy pays out about 75% of its earnings in stockholder dividends, and those dividends have grown by almost 10% in the last 3 years. In actual dollars paid to investors, it's now roughly $2.8 Billion, per year. Which makes this almost laughable:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

And the fact they "took no vote" does not lessen their culpability. It had the effect of a "No" vote, and one they could not justify.

Vaccine mandates for colleges follow political fault lines

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It's red state vs. blue state once again:

As of this weekend, only 34 — roughly 8 percent — are in states that voted for Donald J. Trump, according to a tracker created by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Nine of those were added on Friday, when Indiana University and its satellite campuses became rare public universities in a Republican-controlled state to mandate vaccines.

With many colleges facing falling enrollments and financial pressure, the decision whether to require vaccinations can have huge consequences. Particularly in Republican-controlled states, college presidents are weighing a delicate equation — part safety, part politics, part peer pressure and part economic self-interest.

Only one of those parts should really matter: Safety. Especially considering the clusters we saw on UNC's flagship campus this previous school year, requiring a vaccine is a no-brainer. With the state's premier private school (Duke University) requiring students be vaccinated, the situation with UNC System schools becomes even more absurd. Come on, UNC.

UNC BOG Chairman lied about having college degree

At least he didn't claim to be a brain surgeon:

Ramsey, a Beaufort businessman whose company sells custom yachts and sport fishing boats, earned a diploma through a one-year Marine Diesel Mechanics program from Carteret Community College in 1981. But until last month, Ramsey’s UNC System biography page said he graduated from the college with a degree in Marine Propulsion, which suggests he had a two-year Associate’s degree.

The UNC biography was changed as board members who have butted heads with Ramsey threatened to make it an issue in the upcoming election. The change was made by UNC System staff according Associate Vice President for Media Relations Josh Ellis. Ramsey was not involved in the change, Ellis said.

I don't consider it a "mitigating factor" that staff made the correction instead of Ramsey. It shouldn't have needed the correction in the first place. If you look at my Facebook bio it says I "attended" Campbell University. I didn't graduate, and I would never even contemplate claiming I did, much less in a high-profile biography like Ramsey's. And as usual, Marty Kotis totally misses the point:

Republican excuses, chapter 27: Gerrymandering made me do it

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You can't make this stuff up:

It’s now up to a judge to decide whether to accept the prosecution’s recommendation. And the judge overseeing the case has a history with Lewis, having been part of a three-judge panel that threw out redistricting plans that Lewis led the way in creating, calling them unconstitutional racial gerrymandering.

Howard wrote Wednesday that he hopes federal District Judge Max Cogburn can put that aside — and recognize that in many ways, that redistricting lawsuit was the beginning of a downward spiral for Lewis due to “the immense time and attention it mandated from David to the detriment of his health and farming interests."

Get that? It wasn't the guilt over what he had done; stripping the power away from voters to choose their representatives while also unfairly packing and cracking his Democratic colleagues. Oh no, it was being called to account for those actions that put him into a "spiral." And he also had the burden of having tons of money thrown at him:

NC GOP goes after mail-in voting with a vengeance

When voting on Election Day is no longer acceptable:

The county board of elections shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, a list in at least triplicate, of all absentee ballots issued under Article 20 of this Chapter returned to the county board of elections to be counted, which have been approved by the county board of elections, have not been included on the certified list prepared pursuant to G.S.163-232, and which have been postmarked by the day of the statewide primary or general election or county bond election and have been received by the county board of elections not later than three days after the election by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the statewide primary or general election or county bond election.

In case you're new to this game, the strike through sections are being removed, and the underlined sections added. In the minds of Republicans, a postmark is no longer relevant. Proof that you voted on time is no longer relevant. Keep in mind, Republicans (via Trump and DeJoy) screwed up the Postal Service, a big reason why that 3-day grace period had to be extended last November. And their "fix" for this problem is to throw out thousands of eligible ballots. Veto, with extreme prejudice.

Elliot Management buys large stake in Duke Energy

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Hopefully ratepayers won't get bitten in the process:

Elliott has not yet released any letters or presentations on the company, but based on past investments in this area and the level of engagement, we expect that they have a $1B+ investment in Duke. With the annual meeting recently passing, director nominations for next year are not due until January 2022, so management has time to prove itself.

However, we do not expect Elliott to sit by quietly during that time. We expect them to become vocal and engaged shareholders putting pressure on management to create value. The right plan could create tens of billions of dollars of value for shareholders.

I'm not even going to try to analyze this just yet, no amount or strength of coffee will aid me in interpreting Stock Talk. But that "creating value" thing has the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. That being said, this could also signal a quicker end to coal-burning power plants and a more aggressive move to renewables:

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