"Top 9" for 2019

At the end of 2018, I wrote a “Top 8 for 2018” post that included links to the 8 most-viewed blog posts on this site for the calendar year.

I’m a fan of tradition, so here’s your top 9 posts for the year 2019:

9. Cumberland County Commission Districts are Unconstitutional: This post examines the racially gerrymandered nature of Cumberland County’s Commission Districts and discusses recent court opinions that call into question their constitutionality.

In short: The districts are drawn on racial lines without a compelling government justification. They need to be redrawn.

8. Historic Pandering in NC-09 Congressional Race: This post discussed the political history of the Lumbee Tribe and recent Republican gains in Robeson County. It will be interesting to see whether Robeson County supports Trump in the 2020 election.

7. The Case for At-Large Seats – Fayetteville City Council: I wrote this one after abysmal turnout in last year’s municipal elections. Fayetteville’s City Council Districts chop the City into 9 in-congruent parts. At-large seats would give Fayetteville voters the ability to choose more than one member of their city council and would create council members accountable to the entire city, not “their” particular districts:

“Council members have an incentive to look after “theirs” without regard to the needs of those in other districts or the city as a whole. As it stands today, the Mayor is currently the only decision-maker on Hay Street that is accountable to all of us. “

6. The Giving Trees of Fayetteville: This post analyzed the controversy over the City Council lowering fines for cutting down large trees in town. I pointed out a mistake in the Fayetteville Observer’s coverage of the issue and took the position that the fines were excessive, angering some of my readership.

5. When the Law Says it All: This post examines the legality of Fayetteville’s Downtown Development Project (a parking deck) under the North Carolina Statutes governing these projects.

Facility for a public purpose??? You be the judge…if the deck ever opens.

4. Dirty Bucks and Studies (Downtown Fayetteville): In this post I compared the parking infrastructure problems in downtown Fayetteville to the shoes I used to wear to church as a young man.

Image result for dirty bucks

You also have the double entendre of “dirty” money in politics. I had fun writing it.

3. Prince Charles Holdings Under Scrutiny: This one discussed the News and Observer’s investigation into Fayetteville’s downtown development partners:

Readers of this site know I’ve been critical of the parking deck deal with Prince Charles Holdings for well over a year. I don’t believe it is a good allocation of tax payer resources, and it arguably violates the public purpose requirement of the North Carolina Constitution. In short, it’s an economic windfall for Prince Charles Holdings. But should we be surprised??? These guys literally wrote the book on how to do these deals. Of course they’re going to come out on top.

Today, the massive crane kept lifting steel in the air as construction continued downtown. The stadium should be done in a few months with the parking deck to follow. We seem to be stuck in this deal, despite the cost overruns. It’s going to happen.

In the last analysis, it’s a sad day for the City of Fayetteville when our downtown “business partners” are being exposed in “sunshine week” at the News and Observer.

Play Ball!!!

2. “Write-In” Campaign Gains Traction in City Council Race: This one was a case-study in Fayetteville politics: we often chirp an awful lot about things that don’t really matter. In this case, Mayor Colvin and Val Applewhite helped start the commotion around Dominique Ashley’s write-in campaign for city council. I fell into the trap, as did many others. On election day, Ashley was trounced by the incumbent, Tisha Waddell.

1. Full Court Press Downtown: This post is the culmination of all the problems I’ve had discovering the details of Fayetteville’s downtown development project. The plans for the deal have evolved into some kind of ephemeral legal smoke, and you can’t get a straight answer from anyone that should know what is going on. It’s frustrating, to say the least.

I can honestly tell you (and I hope I’ve gained your trust after these few years) that our City leaders have no idea what’s going on with this deal. Someone else is driving the ship.

In the end, it’s an irresponsible way to play with the full faith and credit of the City of Fayetteville.


I’ll try to keep shining a light in 2020. Maybe we’ll get somewhere.

Thanks for reading.

Cumberland Left Flank May Flip 8th District in 2020

Cumberland County has long since been carved into congressional districts that run a three-mile drive west. When your geographic voting block is on the flank of a district and cut in half, you lose political power, and hence, importance.

Congressional candidates (all seemingly from the western half of the District) will stop by from time to time if a new road or factory opens or they need money a few weeks before an election, but that’s about it.

This hasn’t been good for those of us that live here. We can’t elect one of our own and we get little attention.

But all that may change next year…

Washington Insider

Republican Incumbent, Richard Hudson, was groomed by the G.O.P. to be the 8th District’s Congressman. Robin Hayes held the seat from 1999 to 2009, and Hudson was Hayes’ District Manager for over half of that time. Hudson learned the ins and outs of the District along the way, and he’s never faced a serious challenge since first winning the seat in 2012.

Hudson’s “mentor” has since been indicted for corruption and bribery charges.

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As far as I can tell, Hudson’s never had a job outside of Republican politics. He is, however, very effective at touring all of the places where real people work.

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Hudson even married inside the beltway. Hudson’s wife is the Chief of Staff for Kellyanne Conway.

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Which leads me to Donald J. Trump….which leads to me to 2020, where we find that the 8th District is not quite as safe as it once was for Mr. Hudson.

The District went from “red” to “pink,” as one might say on a farm somewhere in Montgomery County.

Hudson still had a reason to smile after the changes. Pink is better than blue or purple for a guy like him. But after a particular announcement last week, Hudson knows he’s got some serious work to do to hold onto to his seat.

Cumberland Challenger

Former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson thinks she can win a pink district and has decided to challenge Hudson in 2020.

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I think she may be right, and it will all start with her hometown.

2020 will be a referendum on Donald Trump. Democrats are sick and tired and will vote like it.

You’ll also have a highly contentious race for Governor up for grabs.

Image result for dan forrest roy cooper"

Roy Cooper will be fighting for his political life. Dan Forrest is a smart, eloquent politician and is going to come after Cooper with a boat-load of money behind him. As a result of these high-profile races, there will be massive turnout.

Cumberland County will show up to the polls in 2020. Just trust me on that.

If Timmons-Goodson does what she should do in her home county and steals enough women voters from Hudson throughout the District, she can flip this seat.

More to come on this one in 2020.

REMATCH.

If you were reading this blog last year, you’ll note that I covered the Kirk deViere – Wesley Meredith battle for North Carolina’s 19th Senate District extensively.

You could say I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this race. Last year, I publicly predicted each candidate’s share of the vote within .03 of a percentage point, two days before the election. It’s one of the greatest success stories in the history of Cumberland County political punditry.

In all seriousness, it looks like “Senator” Meredith didn’t take kindly to sitting out this last term, and he’s raising money for a rematch:

Someone’s gotta pay for those glossy, glittery ads.

If you’d like to help ensure our mailboxes are painted pink next year, I’m sure Meredith would love to see you at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

This “swing” district is a microcosm of the partisan battle going on in this state. The race is worth your attention if you care about politics, at all.

Just be careful this time around. That glitter gets everywhere.

N.C. House Dems Caught Sleeping

Something happened on your way to work this morning.

Democrats in the North Carolina House washed several months of hard work down the drain:

Sneaky or smart, depending on your perspective:

Image result for winnie the pooh sleeping gif

I draw a couple of lessons from what happened:

  1. The “game” of politics is childish at times.
  2. Always know the rules of the game.

Republicans only need to flip one vote in the NC Senate to override Cooper.

Go back to bed Democrats. Rest up for 2020.

Image result for winnie the pooh sleeping gif

Dog Days: NC-09 Poll

The legislature has ground to a halt, as has the fishing. High of 97 with a 40% chance of showers. Wash, rinse, repeat. Everyone’s ready for the first air of autumn.

The phrase “dog days of summer” come from the Ancient Greeks. The star “Sirius” is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major:

Image result for sirius canis major

In the late summer, Sirius rises in the eastern sky at dawn, just before the sun. To the ancients, Sirius represented oppressive heat, drought, disaster, and destruction. Here’s Homer’s description in The Illiad:

Image result for sirius rising

“That star which comes on in the autumn and whose conspicuous brightness far outshines the stars that are numbered in the night’s darkening, the star they give the name of Orion’s Dog (kynos Orionos), which is brightest among the stars, and yet is wrought as a sign of evil and brings on the great fever for unfortunate mortals.”

I think Homer’s being a tad dramatic here. Evil? Unfortunate Mortals? Maybe the dog gets a bad rap. He’s just following his master, and like most loyal canines, wants to go hunting when the sun comes up (which is the best time, by the way).

In the last analysis, I’ve got to give it to Homer because August 2019 is living up to his promise. We’ve got mass shootings, a spike in Fayetteville murders, a wild stock market, bored elementary school kids, and a general feeling of irritated restlessness (or is that just me?).

But all is not lost, for we are fortunate in Southeastern, North Carolina. Politics are coming early this year! We have an election in less than a month. On September 10, Democrat Dan McCready will face Republican Dan Bishop in a special election for our 9th Congressional seat.

The only show in town has become a bit of a donnybrook as of late, and it will get worse as more money is spent on negative ads as election day draws near.

The horse-race is shaping up as we head around the last turn, and internal polls are showing a close race:

But the national betting markets are favoring the Republican, Bishop. As of today, on Predictit, Bishop is holding a 2-1 advantage:

So it’s time for our own “internal poll.” Our readership is unbiased and has a greater knowledge of the 9th District than these folks, right! Let’s show everyone that we know what we’re doing. Please vote:

I’ll close this one with some poetry to match the season:

“Wet your lungs with wine: the star is coming round, the season is harsh, everything is thirsty under the heat, the cicada sings sweetly from the leaves, the artichoke is in flower; now are women most pesilential, but men are feeble, since Seirios parches their heads and knees..” Alcaeus, (C7th to 6th B.C.).

Watch out for pesilential women this August. If you can’t, here’s the full version: