BYH, when there is a solar energy spill, it's just called a NICE DAY. (this one has better wording than the other one I...

GOP legislative exploits do not cease


N.C. Senate and House leaders Phil Berger and Tim Moore.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

There is no better illustration to assess the excesses of the last seven years of leadership in the North Carolina General Assembly than the tragic mess that is the Ninth Congressional District election.

The unrestrained frustration expressed by a three-judge panel who ended their fourth temporary extension since October of the unconstitutional laws concerning the state Board of Elections, is more than ample proof.

“The voters of the Ninth Congressional District are entitled to have their elected representative in place by the time Congress convenes, or to know why they will not have their representative in place, and further to know with certainty what action is being taken to insure they are properly represented in the important matters before congress,” Judges Jesse Caldwell, Todd Burke and Jeffrey Foster said in their order.

Illegal gerrymandering, unconstitutional laws, manipulating basic government functions, undercutting state agencies and those responsible for carrying out the law, playing partisan political games. Since January 2011 those have been the order of the day for the General Assembly in ways that have few companions in our state’s history — and certainly none worth emulating.

Complying with the court shouldn’t be a tall order for a legislative leadership that recognizes its duty is to assure the government functions smoothly and meets the needs of the citizens they represent. But that’s not the way things have worked. North Carolinians have good reason to be angry.

For decades Republicans promised if they had the opportunity to control things in the state legislature it would be different — more open, greater opportunities for the rank-and-file to participate, less partisan obsession.

It was not so long ago that Republicans rightly expressed frustration with the heavy-handed leadership from the likes of mountain Democrats like the late House Speaker Liston Ramsey, Durham power Sen. Ken Royall and House budget czar Billy Watkins.

Democratic legislators would receive allotments of budget funding to distribute as they wished. In a still well remembered speech Senate Republican leader Larry Cobb of Mecklenburg County lambasted Democrats for “feeding lengthwise at the public trough” for the sake of their own political gain.

The reality is that when the current GOP leadership captured a veto-proof majority, they ridiculed and ignored the reforms that had been so fervently touted years earlier.

Pork barrel spending has comeback with a vengeance. Tax dollars have flowed unchecked into pet projects, agencies and friends of favored Republican legislators.

There is little to lament that the uncontested rule of Republican Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore is fading. Without the veto-proof majority it will be more difficult — if Democrats are organized and focused — to legislate in secret, instantaneously and by ambush.

Twenty-nine years ago a young one-term legislator from Nash County risked his political life to join with 19 other Democrats and 45 Republicans to oust the deep-rooted autocratic Democratic leadership in the state House of Representatives.

So, none of this is new to Gov. Roy Cooper.

No one who truly believes in participatory democracy and the rule of law should lament for a minute the demise of the unchallengeable dictatorship that has ruled the legislature and much of the state for the last eight years.

The real possibility of state government gridlock over the next two years may even be welcome as the hyper-partisan legislative leaders likely continues to exploit every opportunity to pick even the pettiest of fights with the governor.

While politicians bicker, the public education of North Carolina children will be neglected; roads, bridges and other infrastructure will crumble; concerns about clean air and water will be overlooked; the state’s reputation as a place for opportunity and business expansion will suffer; and concerns for the quality of life of every citizen will be ignored.

There may be 96 weeks until the next statewide election, but starting now voters should be focusing what changes need to be made to make the state function again.

Capitol Broadcasting Company of Raleigh


Humans of Greenville


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


November 03, 2019

More than 4,200 people have voted already in the 2019 municipal elections. Many of you who will vote on Tuesday already have decided which candidates will get your vote. For those of you who have not, here is a quick review.

In Greenville, five out of seven seats on the City Council are up for…


September 29, 2019

An annual state report released this month showed students in Pitt County public schools improved their scores last year on reading, math and other end-of-grade tests, but we still have a challenge ahead of us.

Based on the report’s School Achievement Scores, which include scoring from all…


September 15, 2019

It was daytime when the first bands of Hurricane Floyd began lashing eastern North Carolina and the Greenville area on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1999, 20 years ago today.

The Tar River was nearly 5 feet above flood stage already, thanks in good measure to two passes by Hurricane Dennis two weeks before.…


August 18, 2019

A nearly unanimous vote by the Greenville City Council this month to annex nearly 400 acres well outside the city limits raises questions about the rights of rural residents and the city’s direction when it comes to managing growth.

The council voted 5-1 with Rick Smiley in opposition to…


August 09, 2019

The Trump administration is considering a draft regulation to lower drug prices. North Carolinians have little reason to celebrate.

The administration’s proposal would impose price controls in Medicare. Rather than helping patients save money, this drastic step would stifle access to state-of-…

Mary Griswold.png

July 28, 2019

Everyone embroiled in the debate over the State Health Plan should be working toward the same thing: the best health care for the lowest cost for the people of North Carolina.

Unfortunately, disagreement over how to do that escalated into a feud and now has plummeted into a childlike spat.


Vidant medical center

July 21, 2019

“Send her back!”

The racist refrain, soft at first, crescendoed as the crowd at President Donald Trump’s “Keep America Great” rally on Wednesday in Greenville emphatically picked it up. On live television, sitting stage right of the President at East Carolina…

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