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Opinion Roundup: The Amazon HQ2 bidding war

Posted September 21

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the battle for Amazon's second headquarters, the effects of North Carolina's new principal pay schedule, the actions N.C. and other states are taking to fight climate change and more.

POLITICS & POLICY
ALISSA SKELTON: Why Virginia thinks it's got a shot at Amazon's 2nd headquarters (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot analysis) -- Gov. Terry McAuliffe has decided to hire a consultant to help the state recruit the Seattle-based company and create 50,000 jobs.

NOAH SMITH: The case for a place like Raleigh for Amazon’s HQ2 (Fayetteville Observer column) -- The competition to host HQ2, as Amazon’s planned second headquarters is called, has captivated the nation. The lucky city can expect an economic bonanza: 50,000 jobs, plus the tech ecosystem that the online retail giant’s presence will inevitably attract. But the winner doesn’t have to be a big metropolis.

ALLAN MAURER: At last: It's ready, set, go for crowdfunding in NC (WRAL-TV/TechWire analysis) -- North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall told the second day CED Tech Venture Conference lunch audience that the state's crowdfunding law has "All the required governmental stuff completed." The first company to take advantage of it will be announced soon, she said.​

GARY ROBERTSON: Judicial nominee says he’ll follow N.C. voter ID ruling (AP analysis) -- The nominee to fill an 11-year vacancy on North Carolina’s federal judicial bench says if he’s confirmed, his future rulings wouldn’t ignore an appeals court decision on voter identification that went against his clients at the General Assembly.

MARGE BAKER: Judiciary Committee Should Reject Thomas Farr’s Nomination (People for the American Way news release) -- On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of members of People For the American Way, I write to express our opposition to the nomination of Thomas Farr to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

THOM TILLIS: Tax Reform Transformed North Carolina. Congress, Take Note (Wall Street Journal column) -- After Tar Heels overhauled their code in 2013, the economy went on a tear—and so did state revenue.

LAURA LESLIE: Cooper's confirmation battle resurfaces (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Attorneys for Gov. Roy Cooper told the state's appeals court the Senate's newly required confirmation process for cabinet secretaries violates the separation of powers.

Our Way-Too-Early 2020 Democratic Primary Draft (fivethirtyeight.com) – Noted political website’s Micha Cohen gives N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper a mention it is “way-too-early 2020 Democratic primary teams” picks.

RANDALL KERR: Feds say convicted ex-lawmaker hiding assets to avoid paying restitution (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Federal prosecutors have accused former Republican state House member Stephen LaRoque and his family of hiding thousands of dollars in assets to avoid paying the restitution a judge ordered when he was convicted two years ago.​

ALLAN MAURER: John Doerr blasts gender inequality, climate change deniers, NC General Assembly (WRAL-TV/TechWire analysis) -- John Doerr, who backed many of the most successful digital entrepreneurs as a partner with Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers in the U.S., including the Google and Amazon founders, expressed some controversial political opinions at the CED Tech Venture Conference.

LISA LEVENSTEIN: Protests at Charlotte abortion clinic go too far (Charlotte Observer column) -- Abortion protesters at A Preferred Women’s Health Center in Charlotte are stepping over the line on constitutional rights.

Colorado baker asserts First Amendment right to his creative freedom (Wilson Times) -- Defending free speech often means siding with scoundrels, as allowing even the shrillest voices to be muted erodes First Amendment protections for every American citizen.

TODD WERTHERINGTON: God and Country Banquet joins Christianity, politics in Havelock (New Bern Sun Journal) -- State and local leaders gathered in Havelock to discuss the role of religion in the United States. During an evening that mixed politics and religion, speakers argued that Christianity, which was described as under siege, should play a larger role in the nation’s public life. The 24th annual event featured keynote speaker Paul Newby, an N.C. Supreme Court Justice, and N.C. Rep. Michael Speciale (R-Craven). Also in attendance were U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, N.C. Sen. Norman Sanderson, Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jackson, N.C. Reps. Beverly Boswell, Pat McElraft, George Cleveland, and Bert Jones, and Craven County Commissioner Scott Dacey.

EDUCATION
ALEX GRANADOS: The principal pay situation in N.C. (EdNC analysis) -- As the new school year begins, many are considering the ramifications of the new principal pay schedule passed during the long session of the General Assembly. Critics say some principals will have their salaries reduced under the new plan, but at least one prominent education legislator said fears are overblown.

KAYLI WATSON: New plan has changed North Carolina principal pay (Daily Tar Heel analysis) -- North Carolina principals are subject to pay changes under a new pay plan implemented this year by the North Carolina General Assembly.

BRENDA BERG: N.C.’s new principal pay schedule, explained by BEST NC (EdNC column) -- The new principal salary schedule provides the average North Carolina principal a 10 percent raise, built on a student-focused, nation-leading foundation. Because it is so different from the way principals have historically been paid, it also raises important questions about design and implementation.

ANNE MARIE CHAKER: Schools target morning drop-off madness (Wall Street Journal analysis) -- This fall, some schools are devising new ways to quell the increasing chaos of morning drop-offs: the long lines of cars, the parade of yellow buses, crossing guards herding kids across busy roads and everyone trying to make it before the bell.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
BRAD PLUMER: How Can U.S. States Fight Climate Change if Trump Quits the Paris Accord? (New York Times analysis) -- Fourteen states have vowed to uphold the Paris climate pact with or without the federal government, and a new analysis suggests their efforts are having an impact.

MIKE VILENSKY: States Team Up To Fight Climate Change (Wall Street Journal analysis) -- A group of states, including North Carolina, adhering to the initial U.S. commitment to the Paris climate accord are on track to meet their environmental targets, despite the federal government planning to pull out the global pact.

STEPHANIE CARSON: Hurricane Matthew Still Plagues NC Coast as Other Storms Loom (Public News Service analysis) -- Hurricane Maria is expected to impact weather on the North Carolina coast at the top of next week, and the rainfall expected to follow will be another strain on already struggling communities. Some counties only now are receiving Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars almost a year after Hurricane Matthew. While cleanup and rebuilding still are ongoing, there is a growing concern about the infrastructure in place in the event of future extreme weather.

EMERY DALESIO: Duke Energy refuses online access coal ash disaster maps (AP analysis) -- The country's largest electric company is refusing online access to federally mandated maps showing the scope of disaster resulting if a coal-ash pit burst and spilled its toxic muck onto neighboring properties.

JOHN DOWNEY: N.C. court upholds $60,000 fine against advocacy group over solar project at Greensboro church (Charlotte Business Journal column) -- Duke Energy won another round in its battle against NC WARN over a solar project the advocacy group built at a Greensboro church, selling the church the power it produced.

KEVIN MAURER: Toxic GenX: The ‘canary in the coal mine’ (Wilmington Star-News analysis) -- For people who work to protect the environment, the chemical’s presence in the water highlights what’s wrong with the regulatory process

HEALTH
ROSE HOBAN: Blue Cross Will Continue as the Face of State Employee Insurance (N.C. Health News analysis) -- The three-year contract was awarded despite the fact that the insurer remains in a contract standoff in western counties with Mission Health.

DILLON DAVIS: $400 million Mission project expected to pump millions into local economy (Asheville Citizen-Times analysis) – A $400 million medical center currently under construction is expected to inject millions of dollars of new income and tax revenue into a North Carolina county. The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce said an economic analysis of Mission Health's Mission Hospital for Advanced Medicine estimates it will provide $160 million in new income to Buncombe County and add $3.8 million to local tax revenues while under construction. It is also estimated to provide 2,300 jobs at the height of construction.

Helping the innocent victims of addiction (Wilmington Star-News) -- The law can be as wise as Solomon or dumb as an ox. We saw each on display in a pair of stories Tuesday on how the local heroin crisis affects children, born and unborn. First the bad news: A pregnant woman on drugs can’t be charged with harming her unborn child. Under state law, merely having drugs in your system isn’t illegal. Officials can be left helpless to intervene.

TAYLOR KNOPF: Stein Widens Investigation of Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors (N.C. Health News analysis) -- Attorney General Josh Stein signed onto an investigation of companies that sell opioids over potential improper marketing practices.

ADAM WAGNER: N.C. Attorney General discusses opioid manufacturer probe (Wilmington Star-News analysis) -- Josh Stein visited Coastal Horizons and Brunswick County, a day after announcing he and 40 other attorneys general were expanding their investigation.

AND MORE
INSIDE WRAL: David Crabtree to retire from WRAL in late 2018 (WRAL-TV) -- After 35 years delivering the news on radio, television and the web, WRAL’s David Crabtree is planning to retire near the end of 2018.

Former state legislator Edward Shelton Holmes (Obituary) -- Edward Shelton Holmes, 87, of The Cedars of Chapel Hill, and formerly of Pittsboro, died suddenly Tuesday, Sept. 19th. His family, his friends, and North Carolina have lost a quiet and modest but effective leader, but his legacy lives on in legislation, his service to education, the results of his law practice, and most of all in the values he passed on to family and others. The family will receive friends on Friday, Sept. 22 from 1PM to 3PM in the Fellowship Hall at Pittsboro Presbyterian Church. There will be a Celebration of Life at The Cedars Clubhouse on Sunday Sept. 24, 4:30-6:30.

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