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Opinion Roundup: Charting a course toward fair districts

Posted August 4

Legislative Building

Friday, Aug. 4, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the slow-moving process to redraw gerrymandered N.C. districts, the tough realities behind President Trump's border wall promise, the need for order to combat the opioid crisis and more.

POLICY & POLITICS
Toward fair districts (Winston-Salem Journal) -- A legislative redistricting hearing is scheduled to meet for a second session today. The GOP leadership better heed the word from federal judges and get serious about moving ahead with this crucial process, including by finding a new mapmaker who can enjoy bipartisan support.

SUSAN LADD: N.C. General Assembly, the Middle District has your number (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Court-ordered redistricting order has strict timelines and guidelines to counter many of the GOP's standard maneuvers to preserve gerrymandering.

KIRK ROSS: West not certain to avoid changes as lawmakers redraw districts (Carolina Public Press column) -- Although the political geography of more than half of N.C. could shift under a new redistricting plan, district lines in the western region seem likely to remain as they are.

Politics over policy (Greensboro News & Record) -- A week after his inauguration, President Donald Trump told his Mexican counterpart in a phone call that the border wall was “the least important thing we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important.”

PAYTON McGARRY: HB2 replacement puts me at risk (Wilson Times column) -- I am a lifelong North Carolinian, born and raised in Wilson. Now I’m a full-time student at UNC-Greensboro, where I study economics, am a member of a fraternity and play trumpet in many on-campus bands. I am also a transgender man.

HEALTH
Call the opioid crisis what it is: A national emergency (Fayetteville Observer) -- If newly named White House Chief of Staff John Kelly succeeds in bringing some order to the chaos that has so shaken the Trump administration, we hope he’ll get the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ponder this: the interim report of the president’s commission on opioid abuse. If they follow the commission’s advice, they will save thousands of lives.

ROSE HOBAN: Community Health Centers Face Funding Cliff Unless Congress Acts Soon (N.C. Health News column) -- Congress created a funding problem for the centers, which serve about a half million patients in North Carolina. Now, the centers’ leaders are hoping Congress will fix the problem.

EDUCATION
FERREL GUILLORY: Roiling politics, the Boy Scouts, and schools (EdNC column) -- Not only for boy scouts and girl scouts, but also for teachers of students in middle school, high school, college, and universities, it is important, I think, to reflect on both the president’s speech and the scout leader’s response. I say this as someone preparing to teach a course at UNC-Chapel Hill designed to engage students in deeper debate and deliberation on the condition, strengths and weaknesses, of American politics.

KATE SINCLAIR: Klansmen Survive Campus Upheavals (New York Times column) -- Racist historical figures have had a legacy-lashing on campus over the last year. Statues have been toppled and buildings rebranded across the land. After student protests and internal review, at least five universities, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to the University of Texas at Austin, have renamed buildings that originally honored Ku Klux Klan members. Other universities have not.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
The fight for a cleaner river needs a strong leader (Fayetteville Observer) -- One institution is trying to tie together all the interests of the river basin’s residents. The Cape Fear River Assembly was founded in 1973 to advocate for good management of the river, its tributaries and the land around it. The assembly has kept a fairly low profile in recent years — too low, considering the serious problems that the river and its users are facing. But that appears to be changing.

Pelican Award Winners Announced (Coastal Review) -- The North Carolina Coastal Federation’s 2017 Pelican Award recipients have shown exceptional commitment to preserving, protecting and restoring our state’s coast. Individual winners are: Mary Ann Hodges, Manteo; Dan Lewis, Southern Shores; John Fussell III, Morehead City; Kathleen Lester, Swansboro; Tom Looney, Cary; Mayor Eulis Willis, Navassa; David Paynter, Wilmington.

AND MORE
LAURA BAVERMAN: Loading Dock Raleigh to help consumer product companies learn, pack, ship and grow (WRAL-TV TechWire column) -- Construction begins in August on an expansion to the coworking space inside an old Winn-Dixie distribution facility in Raleigh.

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