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Opinion Roundup: The case for an impartial judiciary

Posted September 12
Updated September 13

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Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the role of North Carolina's judiciary, an education error that led to an apology, a look at how many N.C. homeowners have flood insurance and more.

POLITICS & POLICY
MARCIA MOREY: Justice in North Carolina under attack (Durham Herald-Sun column) -- After 18 years serving the public in Durham as a judge, I left the bench in April and took a giant leap into the lion’s den of the legislature. While I understood that my new role as a member of the N.C. House would be in a highly charged political environment compared to my nonpartisan role as a judge, I did not anticipate this year’s systematic attack on the independence of North Carolina’s judiciary.

BETH MONAGHAN: One company was missing from Charlotte’s Pride parade, and I’m still upset about it (Charlotte Observer column) -- We might need some different leaders representing us in Raleigh. We need more folks who embrace non-dual thinking; more folks who don’t focus on Republican vs. Democrat, Charlotte vs. Raleigh, but instead on what’s in the best long-term interest for North Carolinians. And North Carolinians will have a chance to make that change in 2018.

North Carolina House panel revisiting judicial redistricting (AP analysis) -- House Republicans are still interested in redrawing districts for North Carolina trial court judge and local prosecutor elections that supporters say would make boundaries more uniform but critics contend would swing some positions to the GOP.

RICK SMITH: John Kane says government must 'lead the efforts' to land Amazon HQ2 (WRAL-TV/TechWire column) -- John Kane, the mastermind behind the continuing evolution of Raleigh's North Hills into one of the southeast's premier multi-use developments, sees the Triangle as being a legitimate contender for Amazon's mammoth HQ2 project. But he also says government has to take the lead in wooing Jeff Bezos and company for the deal.

All the Observer’s picks for Charlotte’s primary races (Charlotte Observer) -- Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts faces a stiff challenge, and City Council seats are at stake in Tuesday’s primaries.

DREAMers are not our enemy (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Immigrants, legal or otherwise, who commit violent crimes should be deported. But we cannot, and should not, deport all 11 million who are here without documents. We need a pathway so that law-abiding productive residents can come out of the shadows and, at some point, seek citizenship.

Campus sex assault is a matter for police, not kangaroo courts (Wilson Times) -- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is under the microscope after announcing her office will overhaul the Obama administration's rules for college sexual assault investigations. DeVos can outflank her critics by improving services for survivors while simultaneously restoring accused students' due process rights. The way forward is to use the United States legal system, whose scales of justice are already calibrated better than those of campus kangaroo courts.

MATTHEW BURNS: Audit: Highway Patrol doesn't enforce trooper residency policy (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Several high-ranking State Highway Patrol members lived up to 187 miles from where they worked last year, in violation of agency policy, findings of a state audit revealed.

EDUCATION
KELLY HINCHCLIFFE: State apologizes for mistakenly claiming six NC colleges failed to pass enough education students (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Officials with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction apologized Monday for mistakenly reporting that six colleges failed to pass enough students in their teacher education programs last school year.

ADAM RHEW: Coaches, science projects, and pizza (EdNC column) – A group of educators from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are participating in the Charlotte Teachers Institute, a partnership between CMS, UNC-Charlotte, and Davidson College. The program serves 104 teachers annually. They receive stipends to participate in developing new curricula they hope will inspire their students. For two hours each month, they work with university professors—in this case science scholars—to create modules that align with CTI’s four pillars: content knowledge, creativity, leadership, and collaboration.

STEPHANIE CARSON: Educating With Three Rs: Reading, 'Rithmetic and Rights (Public News Service) -- The current climate of the state and country when it comes to talk of race and civil rights is not lost on North Carolina students, and one school in New Bern is aiming to address that. This year, the Peletah Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) opened its doors to a small group of students. Its goal is to give students tools to be active participants in their democracy, in light of recent events, and focuses on an approach called trauma-informed education. The school's superintendent, Dawn Gibson, says the model aims to help children exposed to a range of difficult experiences.

D.G. MARTIN: Tripping back to college (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- At your age, could you go back to college and get some of the experiences that you missed?

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
JASON DEBRUYN: Most NC Homeowners Lack Flood Insurance (WUNC-FM analysis) -- Even as Hurricane Irma pummeled the Florida coast and Texans began to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, more North Carolinians stare potential financial disaster right in the face.

ASHLEY WINCHESTER & SHIVANI VORA: Travel Companies Have a New Clientele: Hurricane Evacuees (New York Times analysis) -- HomeAway, the Austin-based marketplace that focuses on vacation rentals, has listed nearly 100 properties in St. Martin, Puerto Rico and Florida as well as in destinations likely to attract evacuees including parts of North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Its inventory comes from HomeAway as well as VRBO and Vacationrentals.com, two sites the company also operates.

EMERY DALESIO: Chemical company agrees to reveal more about discharges in Cape Fear River (AP analysis) -- A chemical company that for years has discharged compounds with unknown health risks into a major drinking-water supply is under court order to provide more details to North Carolina investigators.

JENNIFER ALLEN: Day at the Docks Celebrates Coastal Culture (Coastal Review column) -- A celebration of community, heritage and living traditions of the waterman with seafood, live music and tributes is how organizers describe the annual Day at the Docks event set for this weekend in Hatteras Village.

HEALTH
MICHAEL OLLOVE: Protecting Student-Athletes From Heat, Head Injuries (N.C. Health News analysis) -- In 2014-15, the last year for which there are statistics, 22 high school athletes died, 14 of them football players.

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