matthillnc's blog

Everyone knows mass transit is key: Light-rail funding restored

An update to last week's post, "Everyone knows mass transit is key: CLT, Raleigh GOPers scramble to assure constituents."

The funding for light-rail projects in Charlotte is back -- at the request of Speaker Tillis. Why? Because everyone knows mass transit is key. You can tell by the way the GOPers scrambled to explain the potential cuts to their Charlotte and Raleigh metro constituents. Lordy be... there's a good feeling that comes 'round from being right.

More after the jump...

Everyone knows mass transit is key: CLT, Raleigh GOPers scramble to assure constituents

(Crossposted from Sex, Cash & Politics)

A new study from the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis (HCRA) at the university’s School of Public Health provides as much reason as we’ve ever had before to support efforts to build public and mass transit systems.

Just as the North Carolina Senate unveils and debates their Charlotte-light-rail-stripping proposals — and as Charlotte and Raleigh GOP politicians scramble to assure their constituents that such projects are still viable — this new study shows a direct correlation between increased traffic congestion and public health costs stemming from premature deaths and other health risks resulting from air pollution caused by vehicle emissions, in particular fine particulate matter (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx).

Real journalism debunks Charlotte media's gay public park sex myth

In late February, Charlotte news station WBTV aired a report on supposed and "alleged" sex acts occurring between men in one of southeast Charlotte's public parks.

The story was prejudiced and biased and furthered stereotypes of gay men as sexual predators. What's worse, the story contained no fact and was based on nothing more than anonymous online postings to a hook-up website.

In my role as editor at QNotes, the LGBT newspaper based in Charlotte, I reached out to WBTV reporter Steve Crump and their news director, Dennis Milligan. Neither were ever willing to acknowledge the problems with their report.

This weekend, QNotes published an investigative commentary that tracked down police records on charges and arrests for soliciting crimes against nature. What did we find? See the infographic at right (click to enlarge) and read the excerpt after the jump...

N.C. legislators ignore discrimination, honor Boy Scouts

On Monday, both the North Carolina House and Senate adopted resolutions honoring the Boy Scouts of America in recognition of their 101st anniversary yesterday.

Unsurprisingly, neither resolution (House, Senate) mentions the Scouts' anti-gay and religious discrimination against youth members and adult leaders. And, unsurprisingly yet again, not a single member of the legislature had the courage or conviction to vote against the resolution.

Dear state lawmakers, do you actually care about children -- all children -- or just the straight and religious ones?

(Crossposted from

UNC System prez: Eliminate duplication to save funds

UNC System President Tom Ross spoke to Charlotte's WFAE in a story posted online today. In it, Ross (pictured right) says elimination of duplicated programs might be key to saving system funds in the face of the state's $3.7 billion budget shortfall:

But what we want to look for is unnecessary duplication; that is places where there is there's a duplication of programs, and perhaps that may lead to the elimination of some programs, or it may also lead to better collaboration among programs that could end up being more efficient and more effective.

Gay youth in rural Carolina

From Q-Notes, the Carolinas' leading source of LGBT news:

ruralgayyouthRural gay youth struggle for acceptance
Close friendships provide strength against adversity

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

When pondering North Carolina’s beautiful western mountains, most people will conjure up images of grand rolling hills, breathtaking views and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Almost no one will think of these vistas as places to encounter a rowdy crowd of openly gay teens. But, in the first decade of the 21st century, there they are.

Brandon, Michael, Kirk, Damien and Brian range in age from 15 to 21. Together, they are not social outcasts, but best friends, free from the daily struggles imposed upon them by their rural surroundings. With the help of one another, along with their families and other friends, they have created a safe space for support, growth and love.

Wife of N.C. state senator pens hate-filled op-ed

maryforresterCHARLOTTE, N.C./ -- The wife of a conservative North Carolina state senator sponsoring an anti-gay, anti-family marriage amendment has penned a hate-filled, factually inaccurate opinion piece for the radical Right-wing Christian Action League website.

The piece, written by Mary Frances Forrester, the wife of Sen. James Forrester (R-Gaston County), was published Feb. 29, but it took me quite a bit of time to sift through information on some of the topics she addressed. I was going to make a rebuttal to Mrs. Forrester's op-ed the focus of my next Q-Notes editorial, but repeated attempts to contact Mrs. Forrester failed. Because I could never get in touch with her to get a list of sources she used in constructing her op-ed, I didn't feel comfortable writing on it for the paper.

Neal reaches out during N.C. precinct meetings

jimnealcapsmallCHAPEL HILL, N.C./ -- On Tuesday, March 11, tens of thousands of North Carolinians will head to their local precinct meetings to elect delegates to county conventions. The meetings are the beginning of the long trek to the state convention, the national convention and for choosing delegates to represent Democrats at both.

For Senate candidate Jim Neal, the meetings also represent a chance to reach out to more than 20,000 highly involved and attuned Democratic Party activists and likely primary voters. He has sent campaign materials for every meeting - bumper stickers and buttons - to distribute to local activists, along with a letter thanking attendees for their civic involvement.Neal’s campaign has also called and talked personally with 1,200 precinct chairs across the state.


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