Outside the Box


Opinion Roundup: The backroom deals behind gerrymandered districts

Posted September 1

Voting map, redistricting

Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the decisions that led to one of the most gerrymandered N.C. districts, the state legislature's controversial move on a GenX funding bill, the governor's latest remarks on the opioid crisis and more.

CHRISTOPHER INGRAHAM: Take a look at one of the country’s most blatant gerrymanders (Washington Post analysis) -- A North Carolina state Senate district recently sprouted a mysterious new appendage that just happens.

Gerrymandering puts the wrong interest first (Fayetteville Observer) -- There are plenty of reasons why gerrymandering is a bad practice, but this is the one that underlies the rest: When political district lines are drawn, politicians’ interests come first and the voters’ interests are at best a distant second. We could cite all sorts of examples, but let’s just settle on a little one that’s recent, local and at least a little bit outrageous.

COLLEEN JENKINS: In N.C. County, Strong Support for Confederate Statue (Reuters analysis) -- Across the U.S. South and beyond, elected officials are stripping signs of the Confederacy from streets, schools and other public spaces, siding with those offended by memorials to the pro-slavery cause. But in Alamance County, a former textile hub that President Donald Trump won with 55 percent of the vote last November, county commissioners vow the granite and marble Confederate statue erected there more than 100 years ago will stand.

Speech or violence? (Greensboro News & Record) -- Richard Spencer is testing American universities. Did UNC-Chapel Hill pass or fail?

GINGER LIVINGSTON: Statue discussion has uphill climb on county board (Greenville Daily Reflector analysis) -- A suggestion that the Pitt County Board of Commissioners should discuss a letter to the General Assembly supporting the repeal of a law banning the removal of public monuments has met with mixed reviews from commissioners.

LAUREN OHNESORGE: N.C. Commerce secretary talks Toyota-Mazda possibilities (Triangle Business Journal) -- As Toyota and Mazda zero in on possible sites for a massive electric vehicle assembly plant, N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland says the state is “well positioned” for a win this time.

VERONICA CREECH: Wilson is bridging the digital divide (Wilson Times column) -- At EveryoneOn, a national nonprofit that creates social and economic opportunity by connecting everyone to the internet, we believe that community-level commitments to digital inclusion are paramount in ending this digital divide once and for all.

TRAVIS FAIN & TYLER DUKES: Utility calls for 'decisive' state action after more chemicals found in Cape Fear River (WRAL-TV analysis) -- The state House passed stop-gap funding for the state's response to GenX pollution in the Cape Fear River, tacking the funding into a bill that also repeals the state's coastal plastic bag ban and includes a provision on landfills sought by the solid waste industry.

KIRK ROSS: Funds to Address GenX OK’d After Bitter Fight (Coastal Review analysis) -- Funding to address the GenX contamination in the Cape Fear region’s drinking water was approved Thursday as part of a controversial measure that’s been on hold since April.

JEFF TIBERII: EPA Identifies Two More Chemicals In Cape Fear River (WUNC-FM analysis) -- There are more concerns about drinking water in Wilmington. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has identified two more chemical compounds that are discharging into the Cape Fear River.

Betting on Long (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Along with all the aid that North Carolinians will be sending to combat Hurricane Harvey’s flooding, Texas will be receiving assistance and guidance from one of our own: Brock Long.

SUSAN LADD: Trump's policies are worse than his demeanor in Harvey response (Greensboro News & Record column) -- President Trump promised Texans a "quick recovery," but his policies would cripple both hurricane preparedness and response.

REBECCA WALTER: Governor visits Asheville, talks opioid crisis in WNC (Hendersonville Times-News) -- Gov. Roy Cooper visited Western North Carolina Thursday to discuss the state’s opioid epidemic. Health insurance was a main point for the governor during his talk at Vaya Health, a public managed health care organization.​

MARK BARRETT: Health insurance, treatment required to fight opioid problem, Cooper says (Asheville Citizen-Times analysis) -- Helping people get health insurance is an important step toward dealing with the opioid epidemic that is now killing more people nationally than car wrecks, Gov. Roy Cooper said during a visit to highlight efforts to fight addiction.

AMELIA HARPER: Local programs fight opioid epidemic (Rocky Mount Telegram analysis) -- While the Twin Counties clearly has a problem with opioid abuse, solutions to the crisis abound here as well. Nash County, especially, is assuming a leadership role in the state as a model for ways a community can fight the opioid crisis.

FERREL GUILLORY: Spellings’ speech raises an array of key issues (EdNC column) -- UNC System President Margaret Spellings delivered an important speech a few days ago — important for what she had to say about unsettling discontent in this contentious political era and for what she signaled about strengthening the university’s engagement with elementary and secondary schools in North Carolina.

UNC J-SCHOOL GRAD: Larry Sherman, actor, journalist and Trump's first publicist, dies at 94 (LA Times Obit) -- Larry Sherman, 94, a journalist who played small roles in big movies and was Donald Trump’s first publicist, has died. He earned degrees in journalism and theater from UNC and worked as a part-time reporter for Newsday and the N.Y. Herald Tribune and was sports editor at the Long Island Press. He was the homeless man in “Midnight Cowboy” who collapsed and died outside Tiffany’s at the feet of Joe Buck; Cary Grant’s cab driver in “North by Northwest”; a reporter to Humphrey Bogart’s hard-driving editor in the crime noir classic “Deadline — U.S.A.”


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