Rocky Mount NC – Council looks at rental codes

City leaders will look at putting an inspection system into place for rental properties in Rocky Mount to better track rental properties and enforce housing codes.

During a Committee of the Whole meeting, members of the Rocky Mount City Council agreed Monday afternoon to further investigate the pros and cons of a rental unit inspection program. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Rocky Mount NC – Feds help city target repeat gun offenders

Rocky Mount police and federal prosecutors declared it “harvest season” for indicting repeat offenders who commit firearm violations in the city.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Rocky Mount police, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina gathered to brief media on “Operation Disarm.” (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Wilson NC – Group airs grievances with costs of utilities

WILSON — A group of Rocky Mount residents spoke Wednesday to members of the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency Board of Commissioners, seeking answers to the agency’s high wholesale electric rates. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

See related:

Electric Rates Cause A Stir – WITN TV


Citizens Addresses NCEMPA Commission Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wilson NC – Citizens From the East Addresses NC Eastern Municipal Power Agency Commission Today in Wilson NC

Today I attended my first (NCEMPA) NC Eastern Municpal Power Agency Commission meeting in Wilson NC. The meeting was very interesting and well organized.

There were 4 speakers George Fisher (Rocky Mount), Thomas Joyner (Nashville), Jessie Frazier (Rocky Mount), and James Smith (Washington). They all did a great job.

You will be able to see the entire NCEMPA meeting on the DCN TV later tonight. When the link below is blue it will be available.

Go to  Citizens For Fair Utilities to see George Fisher’s presentation and the questions that were turned in.

See related:

Electric Rates Cause A Stir – WITN TV


Citizens Addresses NCEMPA Commission Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rocky Mount NC – Community Forum on Children’s Special Needs

Community Forum on Children’s Special Needs

Sponsored by The Beacon Center Community Collaborative

Where: NC Wesleyan College: Dunn Center in the Carlton


Date & Time:  Thursday, March 26th @ 6pm

Do you have questions about the services available to children and their families in Nash and Edgecombe Counties?

Do you wonder where to get help and who to call? When to call? Or When to be worried about a child’s difficulties?

Come and get responses to your questions from the professionals most likely to have the answers.

NC Representative Angela Bryant will moderate a panel discussion with Gladys Branch of Nash/Rocky Mount Schools, Karen Salacki of The Beacon Center, Lewis Pitts of NC Legal Aid, Pat Adams of the Children’s Development Services Agency, and Cornelia Singletary of the Down East Partnership for Children among others.

Durham NC – Duke historian John Hope Franklin dies

John Hope Franklin, the revered historian who chronicled the South and gave definition to the African-American experience, died this morning at age of 94.

Franklin, the James B. Duke professor of history emeritus at Duke University, died this morning at Duke Hospital, said Ddavid Jarmul, a spokesman for Duke University. (News & Observer)

Durham NC – (Press Release) The NC Coalition for Verified Voting urges the Durham City Council to resist lobbying efforts for Instant Runoff Voting Experiment


North Carolina, March 25, 2009 / NCVVNewswire/NC Coalition for Verified

The NC Coalition for Verified Voting urges the Durham City Council to
resist lobbying efforts for Instant Runoff Voting  Experiment.
North Carolina’s Instant Runoff Voting Pilot is still as flawed as the
one run in 2007 and still violates key election integrity laws.
Efforts to make IRV fit are much like trying to put a square tire on a

The City of Cary has chosen not to repeat the experiment.
Two weeks ago the Town Council of Cary just voted 6-1 to switch to non
partisan plurality elections and not be a guinea pig for IRV again.
Cary experienced the effects of one botched IRV election in Oct 2007 and
has chosen not to participate this year.

Why we care:  My organization, the NC Coalition for Verified Voting is a
statewide grassroots organization that worked to pass the paper ballot
law (S323 August 2005) that has been highly complimented by national
organizations such as the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, and
the Electronic Frontier Foundation. We have worked hard to protect that
law, fighting off special interest groups and even going to court
against Diebold.
Instant Runoff Voting threatens standards in the much touted Public
Confidence in Elections Law as well as other sections of the law
that have long stood to protect our votes from fraud. Instant Runoff
Voting is very complicated to count.

The push for IRV is not coming from citizens of North Carolina, but has
been engineered by outside national special interest groups.
These outside groups even went as far as to send a national alert to
urge all members to lobby the Cary NC city council.

Below is a writeup on Cary’s decision to switch to non partisan
plurality elections, and what that means:

*Saturday, March 14, 2009*

Cary North Carolina turns down second bite of Instant Runoff
Voting Pilot, process still too flawed

North Carolina’s Instant Runoff Voting Pilot is still as flawed as the
one run in 2007. The Cary City Council has turned down a second stab at
instant runoff voting based on concerns with flaws and complications in
the process. The vote was 6-1.
<> This instant runoff
pilot still violates key election integrity laws. Efforts to make IRV
fit are much like trying to put a square tire on a wheel. Apparently the
Cary City Counsel realized that and plans to avoid another poorly
developed election experiment. The “new” pilot is the same as the “old”
pilot in that ballots will be carried away from the polling places
before the 2nd and 3rd choice votes are counted. The confidence in the
election outcome will be strained.

Instant runoff voting cannot be administered within compliance of
current election laws. Cary was one of two participants in NC’s first
instant runoff pilot, the other was Hendersonville. Raleigh, Rocky Mount
and Asheville turned it down cold after public discussion.

Luckily, this time, jurisdictions cannot be forced by Boards of
Elections to participate in Instant runoff pilots. Instead the governing
bodies have to agree to participate. And that is what the Cary City
Council discussed yesterday at their Town Council meeting.

Cary’s city council conceded that proponents of IRV were focused on the
front end of elections, while, opponents of instant runoff voting were
focused on the “back end”, which is election transparency and integrity.

*No matter how you slice it, Instant Runoff Voting Pilots cannot be
conducted within existing election law.* Let me outline that for readers:

*The new guideliness do not address § 163-182.2(1) which requires
the counting of votes where they are cast.

*The SBOE has stated that IRV is one election, not several, so by
law these votes should be counted where they are cast. This is a
basic tenant of election integrity.

*Moving votes before they are counted opens the election up to fraud.

*Current guidelines still mandate secret votes that are not ever
counted or made public in any way.

*There is no overvote protection to alert voters if they make the
mistake of ranking the same choice 2 or 3 times, (thereby negating
their 2nd nd 3rd choices). The Help America Vote Act mandates either
a) overvote protection/warnings from voting systems or b) voter
education to alert to risk of overvoting.

There are many types of “instant runoff voting”, and North Carolina’s
pilots would use what is known as “Sri Lanken Contingency Voting”. This
is also known as “Top Two Batch Elimination” style, where after the
first round of voting, all votes but except those for the top two
candidates are eliminated from the counting.

So, if you did not rank either of the top two candidates as your
choices, then you do not have a vote in the “runoff”.

Since this is all done in one election, you have no way of knowing who
the top two candidates would be, so you might not get to vote in the runoff.

Wake’s BOE proposes new procedures to help sort the Instant Runoff
ballots using the optical scanner to reduce manual sorting. This will
require changes to the voting machines after the first round of votes
are counted, and before each round. Questionable!

*Problems are not eliminated by Wake BoE’s suggested procedure to use
optical scanners:*

*This does not eliminate the hand sorting and shuffling of ballots
that can lead to miscounting of votes.

*This does not eliminate the problem that 2nd and 3rd choice votes
will not be counted where cast, but will still have to be counted at
a central location

*This does not solve the problem that the optical scanners cannot
report election night results for 2nd or 3rd choices

*This does not solve the problem that some of the votes cast (2nd
and 3rd choices not for the top two candidates) will never be
counted and never be reported to the public.

*Violating our election transparency laws puts the public in the
position of having to “trust” our officials.* While we do hold our
election officials in high esteem, the confidence in our elections can
have no other basis than the transparency and integrity of the process.

Regardless of how you feel about Instant Runoff Voting, it should not be
used in our state until it can be done without damaging election

/The NC Coalition for Verified Voting is dedicated to election
transparency and protecting the individual vote.

//Joyce McCloy//

NC Coalition for Verified Voting
Since Sept, 2003