“Mostly what we did was pray and sing.”

The Moral Monday protestors who were arrested were offered a deal, which many of them didn’t take:

Although I have never met Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, according to news reports he has kindly offered me a deal. To avoid Wake County’s mounting court costs, he wants me to forgo my court date Monday and instead perform 25 hours of community service at an agency of my choice. Then my record would be wiped clean.
You see, on May 6, I was arrested in front of the appropriately colored golden doors of the N.C. General Assembly chambers. I was charged with three misdemeanors: failing to disperse when ordered to by the chief of the Capitol Police, illegally assembling with three or more people and singing, shouting and waving a placard. More than 900 other people decided to join me in the pokey. If all of us Moral Monday arrestees go to trial, the Wake County Courthouse will be a very busy place for the next several years.
I am not going to accept his nice offer as I did nothing wrong. I did not resist arrest, and the legislature continued its sessions without interruption. All that we protesters did was shine a light in the darkness of the actions of Gov. Pat McCrory, Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Phil Berger.

It’s good they didn’t take the deal, because the testimony at trial has been interesting:

North Carolina police covertly spied on protesters who were part of the widespread ‘Moral Monday’ demonstrations that shook the state this summer, according to testimony given at a trial for a protester who was arrested in an act of civil disobedience.
At the hearing of Saladin Muammad, a U.S. Army veteran and labor activist arrested on May 13 while at a Moral Monday protest, General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver testified that he received advanced intelligence reports from officers about protesters’ plans ahead of events in which arrests were made.
Deck-Brown told AP over the phone that a plain-clothes officer attended two meetings at the Davie Street Presbyterian Church on May 6 and May 13 at the height of the Moral Monday protests.
“The purpose of the officer’s presence was to determine how many people were expecting to be arrested to allow the department to gauge the sufficiency of the logistical support, such as transport vehicles, available at the Legislative Building,” Deck-Brown told AP.
As Weaver testified that his department had targeted “anarchists” in the region and collected intelligence on them, there was “a murmur of disbelief among the many lawyers attending the Wake County District Court hearing,” the News & Observer reports.
Weaver said his officers, who worked with Raleigh city police, scanned the many Moral Monday rallies for who they believed might be anarchists.
State NAACP president Rev. William Barber said that news of the Raleigh police behavior was concerning. “It’s not like we were planning a bank heist,” Barber said after learning of the surveillance. “Mostly what we did was pray and sing.”

Art Pope is a wealthy person who purchased a political appointment to run the State of North Carolina. Mr. Pope early on developed an extensive database on the protestors, so I’m not clear why police had to spy on them.

Here’s a thought experiment. What if this were happening to members of the Tea Party? Full-bore national scandal with 24/7 media coverage? Some political speech is more equal than others, I guess.

Remember the African-American college student North Carolina county officials tried to keep off the ballot?

He won.

And now for some good news

Via TPM:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation Monday to expand the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

The expansion is expected to expand health coverage to more than 300,000 Michiganders in its first year and nearly 500,000 eventually.

When the Supreme Court ruling came out that decided the Feds were offering too good, and therefore too coercive of a deal to expand Medicaid, I guessed that within six to eight months forty or so states would have either expanded Medicaid or been in the process to expand Medicaid.  I figured states that had unified Democratic control would do so quickly for social justice reasons.  I figured split states and states with non-batshit insane Republicans in leadership positions would pass expansion with a coalition of Democrats who were responding to their base and Republicans who could count to eleven with their shoes on. 

I was wrong.

Michigan is what I expected to see in most Republican controlled state governments.  Michigan did the math and figured they would lose a boat load of money and make major donors worse off (and by the way, half a million people) for a stupid ideological stand, so a coalition of Democrats and Republicans who could count to eleven passed a bill. And a governor with budget woes took the money.

The only downside of Michigan’s decision to take the money so late is that the Republican controlled legislature decided to delay the expansion until April 1 out of spite

“Nothing wrong with being a tax and spend Republican!” is how I’ll greet her

I wrote here about helping with a campaign to pass a public school bond issue.

This is a majority Republican town, and this is the first time I’ve worked with the same group of people we usually work against in elections. I think The Committee for the school levy is made up almost entirely of Republicans because the leader of the effort is an executive at a manufacturer here and he’s a Republican donor, voter and GOP Party person. His employer has given him as much company time on this as he needs because it’s a genuinely local company, they’re privately held and they believe the school issue is important to their ability to attract sales people and managers. The (now-retired) CEO of this company asked the school board to request an evaluation by the state public school facilities commission on the feasibility of renovating versus replacing our schools in 2009 and the state came back with all but the high school as “replace” so that drove their decision to head up a new school building campaign rather than a renovation.

We meet in the company conference room. It’s nice to have this big local employer behind something I support (for once) with all these fabulous resources. I could get used to it. I now understand the lure of wing nut welfare.

I’m finding that the Republicans involved in the campaign bring up the fact that I’m a Democrat a lot more than is strictly necessary. I’m not clear why this is. My sense is it’s to let me know that while we may be working together on this there will be no concessions as far as Conservative Principles. After they tell me I’m a Democrat they bring up the Kasich tax cuts. I think they keep hitting on this with me to let me know that while they’re for this particular tax increase, they’re still solidly in the “job creators get huge income tax cuts so as to grow the economy” camp. Their argument is that Kasich cut income taxes so therefore people should support increased property taxes for schools. It’s a wash!

I don’t agree with it as a practical matter and I also think it’s a lousy campaign tactic. This is a school district where 40% of the kids qualify for free or reduced lunch. Income tax isn’t a huge issue for the younger, lower income “sporadic voter” parents we need to reach if we want a winning turnout, although it’s clearly a huge issue for the Republicans on The Committee. The fact is Kasich’s income tax cut won’t benefit those families at all and Kasich increased sales taxes, so the parents I hope to reach will pay more taxes, not less. In addition, we have lost 1.6 million a year in state operating funding for our public school system under the Fox News personality-turned-governor. Despite my concerns, they’re in love with this “it’s a wash!” idea, so hopefully it flies with higher-income Republicans like them because they’re not budging.

Although I think their tax argument is dumb and based more on partisan fervor than facts or voter demographics or persuasiveness, I don’t hate all of their campaign ideas. One thing they’re saying that appeals to me is that the schools we use now were built beginning in 1917, someone paid for them, and it wasn’t the people who use the schools now. “It’s Our Turn” is the slogan.

One thing I hate about modern conservatism is what I see as the dead-beat, moocher nature of the Republican approach to replacing or maintaining public assets. I’m baffled by people who rely on a public asset like a public school (or park or swimming pool or road or library) yet seem to believe those things spring from the ground spontaneously the day they arrive and then disappear the moment they personally and individually no longer need a 2nd grade classroom or a walk in a park or a swim or a route to work or a library book. I like this slogan. Harkening back to citizens of yore is also a good approach because local history is a hobby here. The newspaper does a monthly feature with photos from the Olden Days and there is a section of the public library devoted to town history.

I asked for suggestions on the campaign in the last post and The Committee picked up one of the suggestions I made (given to me by a commenter here) that goes to the It’s Our Turn idea, and it’s this:

scav says:
August 9, 2013 at 12:23 pm
Is there anything interesting to be gained from looking into, publishing past efforts the community made into building schools? When was the first one built, how many since, old photos of ground-breakings, graduations, etc. Schools did provide built foci for communities etc and emphasizing that historical and ongoing effort might help with some people. Might pull one or a few short priming newspaper articles out of it. An effort, a commitment rooted in the past and builing toward the future, that sort of thing. Dick and Jane through the periods and generations?

It’s about to get weirder because I’ll be working on GOTV with the woman who was the local volunteer lead for Romney’s campaign. I meet with her next week. I know her (slightly) and she’s a bona fide wing nut, so we’ll see how that goes.

Obviously, he needs the long-form vault copy “original” of his birth certificate, certified, with the raised seal

Back to North Carolina again, with new developments in the student voter + candidate story:

Within hours of Gov. Pat McCrory signing a Republican-backed bill this week making sweeping changes to the state’s voting laws, local elections boards in two college towns made moves that could make it harder for students to vote.
The Pasquotank County Board of Elections on Tuesday barred an Elizabeth City State University senior from running for city council, ruling his on-campus address couldn’t be used to establish local residency..

William Skinner, the panel’s lone Democrat, sharply dissented with the other board members. He argued King had clearly shown ECSU was his permanent residence, supported by his right to vote in local elections. He urged the board to dismiss Gilbert’s challenge. “If you are able to vote, you should be able to run for office, barring any restrictions against you, which we have found none,”

The Elizabeth City State University senior who wants to run for city council is Montravias King:

images mk

King said he plans to continue to run for office, and considers Gilbert’s challenge part of a broader Republican effort to discourage student voting. “I don’t see this as personal, I see this as an attack on college students across North Carolina,” he said.

The County Board of Elections made the decision to disqualify Mr. King first as a voter and then as a candidate based on residency. Mr. King has now appealed that decision to the state board of elections:

Ms, Kim Strach
Executive Director, State Board of Elections
Mr. Don Wright
Counsel for State Board of Elections
Dear Ms. Strach and Mr. Wright:
Please find enclosed the appeal by Mr. Montravias King from the August 20th order of the Pasquotank County Board of Elections disqualifying Mr. King as a candidate based on residency. From my telephone conversation with Mr. Wright, it is my understanding that the Pasquotank County Board has been directed to not print ballots for the October election until the State Board decides the merits of this appeal. If my understanding is incorrect or the status of Pasquotank’s ballot printing changes, please let me know immediately so I can file a motion to stay the Pasquotank’s Board’s order pending these proceedings.

Excerpt from appeal:

The North Carolina Constitution Article VI § 1 guarantees that “Every person born in the United States and every person who has been naturalized, 18 years of age, and possessing the qualifications set out in this Article, shall be entitled to vote at any election by the people of the State, except as herein otherwise provided.”
Article VI § 2(1) states: Residence period for State elections. Any person who has resided in the State of North Carolina for one year and in the precinct, ward, or other election district for 30 days next preceding an election, and possesses the other qualifications set out in this Article, shall be entitled to vote at any election held in this State.

Equally fundamental is the right of a qualified voter to run for elected office. Under
North Carolina Constitution Article VI § 6, “[e]very qualified voter in North Carolina who is 21 years of age, except as in this Constitution disqualified, shall be eligible for election by the people to office.”

Candidate Montravias King is a rising senior at Elizabeth City State University who has resided on campus since the fall of2009 and who has been an active member of the college community. Ruling on a challenge to Mr. King’s candidacy based on residency, the Board held that a dormitory address could not be considered a permanent address. Combining the Board’s conclusions of law, the Board’s ruling can be summarized as “We do not know where Mr. King resides because he cannot claim to reside here.” The Board’s conclusions oflaw are illogical. Under their conclusions, any student who abandons their former home and goes to a dormitory would be completely barred from establishing domicile anywhere. The Board’s conclusions of law classifying dormitories as insufficient addresses for voting purposes would effectively disenfranchise every student who attempts to register at his or her college dormitory address, in clear violation of United States Supreme Court precedent and holdings of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Evidence presented at the August 13th hearing showed that Mr. King established 1704 Weeksville Road as his permanent address by:
• Registering to vote at that address in 2009 and voting in subsequent elections
• Attending classes every semester and during summer school at that address
• Using that address for the place where he does his banking
• Using that address for medical records
• Obtaining employment in Elizabeth City and using that address with his employer
• Changing his driver’s license to that address
• Removing treasured possessions such as photos and mementos from his parents’s home and keeping them with him in Elizabeth City
• Actively engaging in community life by serving as President of the ECSU Chapter of the NAACP
• Testifying that he intends to stay in the Fourth Ward after graduation

via election law blog (pdf)

Show your hand


I saw that Cuccinelli in Virginia released his education plan (pdf) so I thought I’d compare his work to model bills churned out by ALEC, the corporate-owned state law factory.


Review and reform teaching requirements and establish paths to teacher licensure external to education institutions.

Model Law that corporations wrote:

Offer teaching credentials to individuals with subject-matter experience but no education background with the Alternative Certification Act, introduced in seven states.


Create and expand Virtual Classrooms. Provide legislation that will eliminate barriers to successful implementation of a virtual school curriculum such as seat-time, pupil-teacher ratios and high school course hour requirements.

Model law that corporations wrote:

Send taxpayer dollars to unaccountable online school providers through the “Virtual Schools Act,” introduced in three states, where a single teacher remotely teaches a “class” of hundreds of isolated students working from home. The low overhead for virtual schools certainly raises company profits, but it is a model few educators think is appropriate for young children.

Ohio was the poster child of online for-profit K-12 scams for years, but now I think Pennsylvania has us beat. Here’s great reporting out of Maine with details on all the sleaze. As usual, there’s a Bush brother involved.


Enact Parent Empowerment And Choice Act Legislation For Parents In Failing Schools.

Model law that corporations wrote:

Create opportunities to privatize public schools or fire teachers and principals via referendum with the controversial Parent Trigger Act (glorified in the flop film “Won’t Back Down”), introduced in twelve states.

Here’s an inspiring story about how parents in Florida banded together and beat Michelle Rhee’s lobby shop when they parachuted into that state to sell Parent Trigger. I’m waiting for a movie about how grass roots public school parents beat Michelle Rhee and Jeb Bush but I’m not holding my breath. That’s a movie that will never be made.

For the second straight year, significant parent opposition to “parent trigger” legislation in Florida has led to defeat in the legislature despite powerful supporters, including former governor Jeb Bush. The parent trigger campaign in Florida has recently been marked some unusual episodes, including the gathering of signatures on a pro-parent trigger petition by StudentsFirst, Michelle Rhee’s advocacy group, that includes names of people who didn’t sign it. Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano said in this piece that the petition backfired: The petition was supposed to prove this pro-charter school legislation had grass roots support among parents, but instead it highlighted what critics have been saying all along: This law is about pushing Jeb Bush’s education agenda, and little else.

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