TarGator's blog

House Republican Delegation Proves Loyalty to Oil Companies This Past Week

The listing of important votes in the House of Representatives by the Winston-Salem Journal says it all. The two major votes in the House this past week:
1) A vote to remove an amendment earmarking a $50 million subsidy to the oil industry; and
2) A vote on whether to allow oil drilling in the Artic National Refuge.

Predictably, all Republican representatives voted to allow the subsidy and the drilling (the subsidy lost and the drilling won). However, all of the Democratic representatives voted against the subsidy and drilling.

Taking on tolls in Wake

A new website has popped up to fight the making of I-540 toll (and to promote a candidate for NC Senate) called stop540toll.com. Gerry Bowles (D) is trying to unseat first term Republican senator Neal Hunt by jumping on the toll issue. As I have posted before, I hate the idea of toll roads for mainly local traffic, unless you are talking about a crowded downtown area.

However, Crosstown Traffic at the N&O has noted that Bowles does not even live in the area that would become tolled. Also, despite the fact that I support Bowles' cause regardless of where he lives, I do not know that the running for NC senate would be the forum that would best address it; there are many other transportantion and planning boards that could be a more effective outlet for this issue.

Millions from Bill Gates for North Carolina Education: Good or Bad?

The big news today was that Bill Gates decided to aid an initiative in North Carolina to create new small high schools dedicated to more intense education to the tune of $10.4 million (one of many articles here). The gift was in addition to an $11 million gift in 2003. I love the idea, and the Gates have definitely done good with the $1 billion in total donations to education they have made through their foundation. But I see this development as a little troubling.

If we are going to rely on donations of private individuals to continue providing quality education, there may be a compromise of the integrity of the content. Also, it is a fundamental belief of mine that there are certain services whose burden should be shared by everyone through our government; since the quality of our education system has a bearing on the quality of life for everyone in the country, I believe that education should be something that we all pay for. Another way to look at it is that the education system is so important that all citizens should have a stake in it.

General Assembly Moves to Reform State Landfills

Eastern North Carolina has been targeted by waste companies as the dumping ground for the rest of the country's trash; these dumps are usually megalandfills that import up to thousands of tons of trash a day into these relatively undeveloped areas that they target. The reason that eastern North Carolina is the target is that the state has a low impact fee on imported trash and the counties targeted are very poor (such as this post about attempts to place a megalandfill in Scotland county). In fact the two requirements a county seems to need to be a target are that it is poor and has an interstate to bring the trash in.

NC Conservation Network's Focus for Short Session

The N.C. Conservation Network has posted what they view as the most pressing environmental issues of the N.C. Legislature's short session. This is a good guide of what to keep our Democratic legislature's feet to the fire on this year:

Energy efficiency. North Carolina residents currently pay over $10 billion dollars each year to import coal and natural gas from other states. Energy demand is expected to grow faster than population over the next several decades and our utilities have proposed to meet this demand by building new polluting power plants and burning more fossil fuels – but there’s a better way...

The Kanoy Experiment

Kent Kanoy challenged incumbent David Price in what could only be called a protest race and lost by a huge margin. Kanoy essentially admitted in our interview with him that the only issues he had a beef with Price on were involved him not being against the Iraq war enough and not pushing to impeach Bush. So what to make of the fact that Price received over 90% even with having two opponents in this primary.

1) It is a given that incumbents are extremely difficult to beat, especially in a primary.
2) Some people were angry that Kanoy did not take on a broader progressive agenda. This certainly cost the votes of progressives that were not energized on Iraq or impeachment.

Early Results: No Surprises Yet

Update NBC 17 has more recent results.

I should be away studying for my final law school exam, but popped into the Board of Elections results site and wanted to share. So far, no results in local Wake races, but some in the 11th and 8th where front runners are all coasting:

US CONGRESS DISTRICT 08

Larry Kissell DEM 1,938
John Autry DEM 531
Tim Dunn DEM 516
Mark F. Ortiz DEM 310

Republican Primary May Lead to Court Battle

We always knew that elections could be rough, but this NC House primary is showing that the Republicans are not adverse to litigation despite their calls to close of courts to litigants:

State House candidate Marilyn Avila is threatening to sue her primary opponent because she claims he is spreading lies about her. Eddins, who represents far North Raleigh and a large chunk of northern Wake County, has sent out postcards saying Avila "doesn't pay her own taxes" and has run a newspaper ad that calls her "an embarrassment" because she "owes taxes on her failed businesses from 1988!"

Support Democratic Judges on Tuesday

On May 2nd, judges will be on the primary ballot with the top two in each race heading on to the general election. Since this has been an exam week for me, I have not been able to do a thorough analysis on each candidate (and with a final tomorrow at 9AM will not be able to do one now), but luckily the NCDP has put together a list of judicial candidates that have been long time Democrats here. Since judge's party affiliation will not be listed on the ballot and there is only one race that has more than one Democrat and in each the Democrat is the best candidate (in my humble opinion), this is a pretty good shorthand to remember when going to the polls.

North Carolina Supreme Court

Supreme Court Chief Justice (Parker Seat): Chief Justice Sarah Parker

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