Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Donald Trump - Replay of Gorgeous George?

Image result for gorgeous george
Gorgeous George

One of the problems of growing older is that one remembers too much.

As I watch and listen to the commentariat puzzle over the Donald Trump phenomenon, it occurs to me that Trump is following the very successful model of the professional wrestler, Gorgeous George.

You can look it up:

My original observation was that watching Trump strut about the stage, arms akimbo, he bears a great resemblance to the fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. There's some truth to that, as well.

I think the main difference is that Mussolini took himself and his outrageous fantasies seriously. Gorgeous George did not. He knew he was putting on a show.

The big question is, does Donald Trump understand this?

Who knows?  Gorgeous George turned professional wrestling into a great, money-making show in the early days of television. It was also a fantasy show for children.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

2016 NC Election Update

Last week's news of the death of Associate Justice Scalia has already had an effect on the 2016 election in NC. Before Scalia's passing, the US Supreme Court might have granted North Carolina's petition to stay the Federal Court ruling on redistricting. Afterwards it became unlikely.  Last Friday, Chief Justice Roberts announced there would be no stay.

Also on Friday, the General Assembly adopted a revised redistricting map and changed primary elections for the US House of Representatives to June 7th. All other primaries will be held as scheduled on March 15.

The June 7th primary date still depends on the Federal Court's approval of the proposed redistricting.

And that's not all:

NC Supreme Court - in 2015, the General Assembly passed a law changing the procedure for incumbent Supreme Court justices from an election against opponents to a retention election with no opponents. That change is being challenged as a violation of the NC constitution. Last week, a three-judge panel including Superior Court Senior Judge Ben Alford  of our own court announced plans to strike down the law. If that decision stands, the Board of Elections will have to open a filing period for Supreme Court candidates. Whether there will be a primary election depends on how many candidates file. Many uncertainties at this point;

Voter Identification Verification Act - under challenge in Federal Court. Federal judge has issued injunction against enforcing three provisions of the law. Final decision expected in June. More uncertainties.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Federal Judges Throw Out NC Redistricting Of House Districts - Throw March 15 Election In Turmoil

Three federal judges on Friday threw out the congressional voting maps the Republican-led General Assembly drew five years ago, ruling that congressional districts one and twelve were gerrymandered along racial lines.

The judges ordered that new maps be submitted to the court no later than February 19th and that no elections for House of Representatives are to be held until new maps are approved by the court.

It appears that  action by the state will require calling the General Assembly into special session. In any event, the March 15 primary election will be disrupted, at least to a certain extent. Some absentee ballots have already been mailed to voters for the March 15 primary. It is probable that congressional district boundaries will be altered not only for the two affected districts, but also for any adjacent districts whose boundaries are changed. Boards of election will have to send out revised voter registration cards to all voters affected by revised boundaries and voting machines in affected districts will have to be reprogrammed.

It seems likely that Pamlico County's districts will not be directly affected, but there will still be some reprogramming.

This could become chaotic. 

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rethinking The Oriental Growth Management Ordinance And Comprehensive Plan

Good for Janet Alexander.

A couple of days ago, she asked a good question on the Oriental Facebook site:

"Now what happens to the walmart property? Will the land be annexed to town before a new business moves in?"

A reader advised her to look at Town Dock.
She replied: "I have been reading town dock but did not see anything about the property being formally annexed to town."
Larry Summers commented: "The state legislature has substantially blocked any annexation except voluntary. They have even reversed some prior annexations. In addition,the Town of Oriental's Ordinance Changes five or six years ago prohibit any building over 6000 square feet. That would eliminate Walmart, Dollar General, Town and Country several of the churches and fish houses. The ones that are currently inside the town limits are grandfathered in."
Some thoughts:
1. We need to act now;
2.  Oriental's Growth Management Ordinance is just an ordinance and can be amended;
3.  Oriental's Long Range Plan omits any planning for annexation;
4.  Oriental has no business or commercial district - the town has only residential and mixed use;
5.  A decade ago the Town flubbed the ball on extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ);
6.  NC general statutes still allow involuntary annexation - just with more hurdles;
7.  Without effective planning, we will continue to drift. 
These facts feed in to an obvious plan.

More later.
More later.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Flip Flops

I get a bit tired of candidates accusing each other of "flip-flops."

I suppose no one remembers Ralph Waldo Emerson, who penned perhaps the last word on the subject:“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. ”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Mahatma Gandhi also touched on the subject; he often changed his mind publicly. An aide once asked him how he could so freely contradict this week what he had said just last week. The great man replied that it was because this week he knew better.

--- Gandhi

"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

--- John Meynard Keynes