ROBINSON GETS A TONGUE-LASHING FROM RELIGIOUS LEADERS: On Monday night, some liberal religious leaders from around the Triangle gathered outside Robinson’s office to give three demands: They said he needed to apologize, make himself available to the faith and community leaders for a conversation, and, if he didn’t meet the first two requirements, that he needed to resign. “Any person who chooses to be a leader of humankind, by seeking election to public office, knows that their words and their actions have the power to make life better or worse for the people they serve,” said Rev. Vance Haywood, pastor of St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church in Raleigh. “Those words and those actions can even put the lives of people at risk.” Rep. Cynthia Ball, a Raleigh Democrat, said she has asked several fellow N.C. House members in the Republican Party if they’d be willing to talk about Robinson’s comments, but none responded. “For them, I think it’s some kind of party politics,” Dahle said. It always is.
THIS IS WHY THE FBI IS INVESTIGATING THREATS TO SCHOOL BOARDS: On Sept. 29, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking federal law enforcement to investigate threats against school boards. The letter cited multiple incidents of threats, harassment and violence that have targeted school board members, school administrators and teachers across the nation. “As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” the NSBA wrote. The chairman of the Stanly County school board in North Carolina announced he was resigning after he had received death threats, The Stanly News & Press reported. Stanly County, about 100 miles west of Raleigh, is among the communities that have seen heated meetings over requiring face masks. “The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate,” Garland wrote in a memorandum issued this week. Good. These people need to learn their actions have consequences.
IT'S OCTOBER AND WE STILL DON'T HAVE A STATE BUDGET: More than three months into fiscal 2021-22, North Carolina still doesn't have a state budget, frustrating teachers and state employees waiting on raises. House and Senate leaders are negotiating privately with Gov. Roy Cooper's administration to avoid a repeat of the last two years, when a deadlock kept them from passing a budget at all. One of the key areas in dispute is the size of raises for teachers and state employees. For teachers, Cooper proposed a 10 percent raise over two years. The House offered 5.5 percent, and the Senate, just 3 percent. Teachers haven’t had any raise at all since 2018. Bryan Proffitt, vice president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said Monday that’s hard to stomach when the state has a surplus of nearly $8 billion. In a recent survey, about half of NCAE members said they have to have a second job to make ends meet. "People are working 50 or 60 hours a week at their first job, [and] then they have a second job," Proffitt said. "Lots of us have kids, right. So, the reality is, is that people are just at their breaking point."
DURHAM'S NEW POLICE CHIEF IS READY TO ROLL UP HER SLEEVES: Andrews, who will begin serving as police chief on Nov. 1, grew up in Durham and worked for the police department for nearly 20 years before leaving in 2016 to become Morrisville police chief. She called being chief in Durham her dream job. "I never assume that I can change the world, but I know that I can make a difference in one small corner of the world that I do tremendously love, and that’s the city of Durham," she told WRAL News in a one-on-one interview. Durham has recorded 34 fatal shootings this year, through Oct. 2, up 55 percent from the same period a year ago. The total number of shootings is down 17 percent from 2020, however. "We cannot arrest our way out of a crime rate," Andrews said, noting she wants to meet with community groups and her officers to discuss what's worked and what hasn't to develop a strategy to combat violent crime. She expressed support for Durham's new Community Safety Department, which sends unarmed social workers and mental health specialists to respond to some 911 calls, and the ShotSpotter technology, which some officials have repeatedly pushed for to respond more quickly to gunfire in Durham.
MARK ROBINSON'S BIGOTRY GAINS THE ATTENTION OF THE WASHINGTON POST: In a defiant Facebook video Saturday, Robinson said: “Let me tell you plainly right here and right now: I will not back down, I will not be silent, and I will not be bullied into submission.” Robinson’s office did not immediately respond to messages Tuesday. Criticism of the lieutenant governor has extended beyond the state and reached national levels. Deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates called Robinson’s words “repugnant and offensive.” “The role of a leader is to bring people together and stand up for the dignity and rights of everyone, not to spread hate and undermine their own office,” he said in a statement. The Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest gay rights groups in the country, released a statement saying Robinson’s rhetoric reinforces the need for the Equality Act, a bill that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. “This is not the first time Robinson has shared his discriminatory views, but it should be the last time he gets away with it as an elected leader,” said Joni Madison, interim president of the organization. “North Carolinians deserve better than these dehumanizing comments.” Of course he didn't answer messages about this, because he knows he's wrong and now the whole world knows what a jackass he is.