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Welcome to this week`s edition of SPINCycle. Due to technical difficulties we learned that the Thursday edition did not launch, so here it is, better late than never! Enjoy.
This week on NC SPIN we are delighted to welcome young people from North Carolina’s 4-H Clubs. We are very impressed with this organization and these young people and look forward to hearing what they think about a variety of national and statewide issues. They’ll give us their thoughts on the gulf oil spill, the wars our nation is involved in and they’ll give our president a letter grade. They’ll tell us what they think are the biggest issues our state is currently facing and will also share their thoughts on education.
This week`s panel includes: Sarah Osborne from Graham; Will Farlessyost from Mars Hill; Curtis Crump from Wadesboro and Ashten Bergstedt from Winterville. The show will be moderated by Tom Campbell.
Tom Campbell`s Spin
Tom’s birthday this week was one of those milestone events. Check out Tom’s weekly column, “Getting Older”.
Heard on the Street
Barber and Tedesco to appear on NC SPIN August 15th
NC SPIN announced Wednesday (July 28th) that the Reverend William Barber, state President of the NAACP, and John Tedesco, Wake County School Board member, have agreed to appear together on the August 15th airing of the statewide talk show.
“What is taking place in Wake County has implications throughout our state,” NC SPIN executive producer and moderator Tom Campbell said in announcing the joint appearance. “With so much drama and noise surrounding public education in the largest school system in our state it is time for the two most visible leaders of this debate to sit down in an intelligent discussion on issues such as diversity, school assignment and student achievement. I commend both John Tedesco and William Barber for their willingness to participate in a civil debate, demonstrating that people of good will can have honest discussion that will benefit our children. We are excited about having them on NC SPIN.”
Campbell added that regular panelists Chris Fitzsimon and John Hood will also be featured on the show. “We want Reverend Barber and Mr. Tedesco to be the principals in this discussion, but John and Chris have many years of experience discussing public education and will enrich this debate. I pledge to our audience this program will continue our high standards of civility, will give both sides equal time to be heard and will be fair to all.”
The format of the program will be much the same as normal NC SPIN programs and will be pre-recorded so that the show can air on the NC SPIN network of stations across the state. Campbell was quick to add that viewers will see the entire, unedited half hour debate on August 15th. “We believe this program will be significant, with implications in most every school system in our state. We encourage everyone interested in education to watch this show,” Campbell concluded.
Wake County School Board members and citizens heard a presentation from consultant Michael Alves about student assignment using a program he called “Controlled Choice.” The presentation contemplates creating districts within each county, ensuring each district passes a test of practicability and fairness. Parents would be given their choice of schools within the district in which they reside and, according to Alves, most parents would receive either their first or second choice. “The Devil is in the Details,” NAACP President William Barber told us this week. The plan sounds good but there are many questions left to resolve. School board member John Tedesco favors the plan but agrees there must be much done to assure fairness. Once again the diversity yardstick is being applied. We will talk about this subject on next week’s NC SPIN, to set up the Tedesco-Barber debate the following week.
4-H students shine
This week’s NC SPIN is one you will want to catch. We feature four of North Carolina’s best and brightest on our show, ranging in age from 13 to 17, including Curtis Crump from Wadesboro, Sarah Osborne from Graham, Will Farlessyost from Mars Hill and Ashten Bergstedt from Winterville. We were blown away by their great observations on both world and state issues. You will be also. Catch it over the air or you can video stream the show by going to our website www.ncspin.com on Sunday morning.
Alocoa renewal issue not dead
Alcoa’s relicensing of power generation facilities on the Yadkin River drew a lot of press attention before the legislature adjourned. We wanted to know where things now stand and here’s what we found out. A group of concerned citizens in Lexington are meeting tonight in the home of Commissioner Cathy Dunn to discuss the future of the Yadkin River. We understand the sponsors of this event are opposed to Alcoa’s relicensing.
Meanwhile we checked in with Eszter Vajda, who produced a documentary for UNC TV which was subpoenaed by a Senate Judiciary Committee in the closing days of the session. Vajda reports that UNC TV management has made it clear they want nothing more to do with the Alcoa documentary. But Vajda reports that the airing of segments on UNC-TV has created a wave or responses from former employees and their families, as well as folks in other states, telling us there are facts which have not been released and that she is working on her own time to complete the project.
We will keep you posted on future developments as this has implications for many folks in our state.
Why not just give them the state?
It seems that we can never do enough in financial incentives to corporations. Governor Perdue is grousing because the recently passed bill that exempted didn’t go far enough. The bill raised the cap film productions can take from 7.5 to 20 million dollars. Perdue says we are in competition with other states over a Nicholas Sparks movie and she doesn’t have enough tools in her toolbox to compete. How much is enough? Will we ever give out enough incentives?
Meanwhile back in North Carolina
The National Conference of State Legislatures just released a report showing that North Carolina listed Texas, North Carolina, New York and California as the four states projected to have the biggest budget deficits next year. Our state’s projected $3 billion puts us in the big leagues. Are we having these budget problems because we aren’t giving out enough tax incentives?
Basnight fundraiser uses public e-mail list
We are surprised GOP Chair Tom Fetzer hasn’t been jumping up and down about this. The town of Kill Devil Hills keeps an e-mail list of residents so they can send out announcements such as utility problems, crime alerts and weather updates. But last month the public list was used to mail out an announcement of a fundraiser for Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight. Aw shucks, the town clerk says. She didn’t even think about the fact that this might be aiding Basnight’s political campaign. Right. Is this all there is to this story?
Rand nominated to be US Attorney
The Good Ole Boy Club in North Carolina is alive and well. President Obama, at the behest of Senator Kay Hagan, nominated Ripley Rand, son of political power figure Tony Rand, to be the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. He will have to go through confirmation hearings to get the job.
You can count on the fact that Rand will be asked about allegations of federal investigations for his dad.
Speaking of investigations, we pondered last week why US prosecutor George Holding was taking so long to move on the Easley investigation. More eyebrows are raised but there are suggestions that negotiations are underway for a plea bargain agreement with the former governor. Don’t be surprised if the subject of the agreement involves an issue that hasn’t been raised in the media to date.
Keeping drunks off the roads
The story of an habitual DWI offender who killed a 17 year old girl has created more cries for stiffer laws and more severe punishment in our state. Judges can require repeat offenders to wear an ankle bracelet that measures alcohol levels in the wearer’s sweat, but laws don’t permit more than 60 days of required wearing. We’re going to talk about this subject on next week’s NC SPIN. Be sure to catch it.
This week your intrepid reporter celebrated a milestone anniversary, one not necessarily to boast about but nevertheless one to mark. Operating under the premise that you might as well laugh and enjoy it, we dedicated our My Spin column to this seminal occurrence. Read Getting Older.
Highway Patrol panel meeting
Governor Perdue named a panel of notables to help advise her as to who should be the next leader of the Highway Patrol. The Governor obviously wants some shielding to her next selection. Most of the reaction we heard was that these picked to serve were safe selections, but some wondered why there were no average citizens represented. The panel is scheduling their first meeting today to discuss the new leader.
Marvin Austin and other athletes may have had illegal contacts with professional agents, according to UNC Football Coach Butch Davis. ACC Commissioner John Swofford and others in college sports are calling for tougher sanctions from agents who violate the rules. NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall has also started an investigation into these agents. NCAA rules are lengthy and complicated. Colleges and universities spend a lot of time trying to inform their student athletes about what is and isn’t appropriate conduct. No question the athletes must be accountable for their own actions, but Swofford says the NFL and other pro leagues need to institute tougher sanctions. We plan to talk about this on a future show.
Look for a big topic in this year’s Senatorial race to focus on whether or not the federal stimulus funds have helped North Carolina. Have we gotten too much or too little? Have they made a significant impact or not? Why do we have so much unspent? These are good questions worthy of response from our candidates.
Cooper on the warpath for Medicaid Fraud
Attorney General Roy Cooper fired a large shot across the bow of Medicaid fraud perpetrators today when he announced that Robin Pendergaft, director of the State Bureau of Investigation, is stepping down from her post to become a special prosecutor in Cooper’s office to investigate and bring to court those firms and individuals who have defrauded our state. We have been told there are hundreds of millions involved and Cooper plans to make it clear that North Carolina won’t tolerate people who cheat the system.
950 Million gallons per day
A recent special edition of National Geographic Magazine indicated that the average citizen in this country uses more than 160 gallons of water per day. With more than 9 million people in North Carolina, we need more than 950 million gallons of water a day to drink, bathe, cook, water crops and other needs. No wonder a growing number of folks are worrying about the impact of growth and climate on North Carolina’s water supply.
NC SPIN’s planning for a half-day water forum is shaping up. A steering committee of experts in the field has been assembled and is planning an informative program on October 12, 2010. It won’t be long before we begin accepting registrations, so mark your calendar and stay tuned for more announcements.
Health Care in North Carolina
The Health Reform legislation may have been passed by Congress but the debate is far from over. Look for more discussions as we approach the 2014 implementation of the laws. Blue Cross has implemented a new website to explain to our citizens the new laws. It is worth reading.
Until next week, watch out for the SPIN!
Claire Cox-Woodlief, Editor
Tom Campbell, Publisher
NC SPIN`s facebook page
Wake County Public Schools