BYH to the one who thinks that we are energy independent because of this president. The initiatives you speak of began...

Republicans abandon principles in public notices vote


Sen. Trudy Wade


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Businesses whose survival depends on adapting to market conditions are more innovative, more nimble — and thus more effective — than government when it comes to delivering consumer services. That conservative canon was a permanent plank in the North Carolina Republican Party platform.

Until last week.

State lawmakers decided that county, city and small-town officials can do a better job of informing the public than newspapers. They decided this with all available evidence pointing to the contrary, and after our state’s Democratic governor called them out for growing government at the expense of private industry.

With the passage of Senate Bill 181 on Oct. 5, local governments in Guilford County now have the option of posting public notices on their own websites instead of placing legal advertisements in newspapers, and the county can compete with local papers by charging citizens and law firms a fee to post private legals online.

Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford, revived her bid to change the rules in her home county yet again after her stand-alone bill was voted down in a House committee and her amended version of House Bill 205 earned Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto stamp.

This time, she hijacked Senate Bill 181, which had been introduced to amend the Winston-Salem city charter. Sen. Paul A. Lowe Jr., D-Guilford, sponsored the initial bill, but he voted against Wade’s hostile takeover of his legislation.

Wade’s amended draft cleared the Senate 30-16 and squeaked by in a 58-57 House vote. Because SB 181 is a local bill — a tag applied to legislation affecting 15 or fewer counties — it cannot be vetoed.

Wade argues that public notice requirements give newspapers a government subsidy. That’s just another way of saying cities and counties have to pay a fair market value for a private service they aren’t equipped to perform. Multiple newspapers in a given county can qualify to publish the notices and have to compete on price.

Now, why would the conservative Republicans who rule the roost in Raleigh take a free-market function like publishing legal notices and shift it from private business to government?

It isn’t because cities and counties can inform more people for less money. They flunk the first test and haven’t even bothered to price out the second.

Wade says letting government agencies post notices online “modernizes” the process. But newspapers have been placing public notices on their websites for years. Where does the modernization come in?

A head-to-head comparison of web traffic data shows, unsurprisingly, that people visit local newspaper sites (which are updated around the clock with breaking news) a lot more often than government sites (which are largely static repositories of information).

Newspapers also publish legal notices in print, a cost that cities and counties won’t bear. If governments have to update their software, upgrade web hosting platforms and hire workers to handle public notices, self-publishing could wind up costing taxpayers just as much or more than leaving it to the professionals.

When Cooper vetoed Wade’s previous public notices bill, he scolded Republicans for the glaring ideological inconsistency.

Letting counties compete with newspapers for paid legal advertising on a tilted playing field, Cooper noted, “used the levers of big government to attack important institutions in our state who may disagree with them from time to time.”

A Democratic governor took the correct conservative position, outflanking Republicans who love to spout pro-business bromides. Turns out the GOP’s free-market flirtations don’t extend to the free press.

The backstory here is that Wade, an influential third-term senator, has a long-running and well-publicized grudge against her hometown newspaper, the Greensboro News & Record. She wanted to punish the paper for unfavorable coverage.

Proponents of online-only, self-published legal notices say newspapers are becoming irrelevant, but their standard-bearer sure doesn’t think so. She’s willing to allow her vendetta against the News & Record to undermine her small-government rhetoric and define her entire Senate term.

Fellow GOP lawmakers were quick to play legislative lemmings and follow her lead down the cliff of hypocrisy. Republicans sold out their conservative principles to appease a powerful colleague hell-bent on abusing the power of her office.

The Wilson Times


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


December 16, 2018

All journalists enjoy getting recognition for their work. But by nature and tradition, they’d much rather tell the story than be the story.

What motivates reporters, from Maryland to Myanmar, is not the desire for fame. It’s the hunger to break news, explain the world and hold the…


December 15, 2018

The Trump administration on Nov. 30 gave five companies permission to conduct seismic airgun blasting off the coast of the Carolinas and other states, a major step toward offshore oil and gas drilling.

Here’s what that would look like, directly off the Carolinas’ coasts and extending…

Offshore Drilling Lawsuit

December 14, 2018

Thomas A. Farr was a woefully bad choice to be a federal district judge in North Carolina.

Thank goodness Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, stood up for principle over blind party loyalty and announced that he would oppose Farr’s nomination. With all 49 Democrats in the Senate…

Congress Judicial Nomination

December 13, 2018

North Carolina corporations, again, are about to get another huge tax break — a break they do not need. It will make it more difficult for the government to meet the obligations it has to provide a quality education to the state’s children and high quality of life to all its…

N.C. Legislative Building

December 12, 2018

In his 1991 confirmation hearings, C-SPAN noted on Friday, former attorney general William Barr declared that "nothing could be more destructive of our system of government, of the rule of law, or Department of Justice as an institution, than any toleration of political interference with the…

Trump Attorney General-2

December 10, 2018

While the National Flood Insurance Program covers only 134,000 households our of North Carolina’s 3.8 million, it will likely pay for repairs costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Add all the damage in other states this year, from Florence and later from Hurricane Michael, which flattened…

Harvey-Flood Insurance-4

December 09, 2018

It is almost a truism in criminal investigations that those who flip early and help prosecutors build their case against higher-ranking figures are shown greater leniency than those who try to gut it out.

Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Trump’s national security adviser, is…

Trump Russia Probe Flynn

December 08, 2018

In June 1948, after the College World Series and graduation day at Yale, young George H.W. Bush packed up his cranberry-red Studebaker (a graduation gift from his father) and headed the car’s distinctive nose in a southwesterly direction. The little car got him to Odessa and to a shotgun…

Obit George HW Bush-3

December 07, 2018

In the week since the state Board of Elections declined to certify the results of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election, journalists and others have begun to fill in the details of a troubling case of apparent ballot fraud. In Bladen County — and perhaps other counties…

Election 2018 North Carolina Congress

December 04, 2018

As many as 670,000 North Carolinians could gain sorely needed Medicaid coverage if Gov. Roy Cooper and members of both parties in the legislature will work together to help them.

Now that voters have restored some balance to the state’s power structure, that idea isn’t so far-fetched…

83 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 9
        Next Page»   Last Page»