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Opinion Roundup: Voters' say in the N.C. redistricting saga

Posted August 25

Voters line up outside Dillard Drive Elementary in Raleigh on Nov. 8, 2016.

Friday, Aug. 25, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the format of this week's public redistricting hearings, the anger that emerged at a local GenX water crisis meeting, the state's efforts to stem the tide of education staff cuts and more.

POLITICS & POLICY
N.C. GOP fails again in drawing maps (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) – The North Carolina General Assembly is poised to approve new district maps for the state House and Senate that are little better than the ones rejected by the courts time and time again.

SUSAN LADD: Redistricting 'hearings' were a model of suppression (Greensboro News & Record column) -- An awkward and unworkable format for public hearings is one more example of GOP mapmakers ignoring and insulting the voters.

BILL BLANCATO: Here's an innovative way to create jobs (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- The money in our economy is consumer spending. Politicians talk about job creators, but never acknowledge the real job creators, consumers. Consumer spending is 70 percent of our GDP. Businesses hire employees and invest in plants and equipment to meet consumer demand for their products. Without demand for their products, businesses will not hire or invest.

Settlement Should Help Black Candidates In Jones County (ElectionLawBlog) -- A court settlement over election districts in a rural North Carolina county should help black candidates get on the local governing board after an absence of two decades.

Global TransPark an expensive failure for N.C. taxpayers (Wilson Times) -- A full 25 years after the Global TransPark project began, the colossus of a cargo air depot in Kinston remains largely vacant, and state lawmakers seem content to keep throwing good money after bad with no end in sight. Many in Lenoir County still see the GTP as a source of pride, but to eastern North Carolina and the state as a whole, it's a blunder, a boondoggle, an albatross around our collective necks.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
KIRK ROSS: Legislative Commission Gets Earful At GenX Contamination Hearing (N.C. Health News/Coastal Review analysis) -- A House and Senate environmental oversight committee toured a water plant here, heard a heated debate between the local delegation and got an earful.

After the eclipse (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Following the historic Aug. 21 solar eclipse, social media was all a-twitter, pun intended. The event lived up to its billing.

EDUCATION
KELLY HINCHCLIFFE: State board 'trying to avoid any more staff cuts' to NC education department (WRAL-TV analysis) --In the past month, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has laid off 10 employees, cut pay for 19 staffers and eliminated eight vacant positions due to mandated budget cuts. With $737,000 in budget cuts yet to be made, the State Board of Education chairman said he's hopeful the department's remaining employees can keep their jobs.

FERREL GUILLORY: Turning the teacher pipeline into a mighty flowing river (EdNC column) -- There is a story that deserves attention as North Carolina confronts the multiple, intricate issues involved in addressing the shortage of teachers and in filling the teacher pipeline with a steady stream of high-quality teachers. The story emerges from data and research over several decades, synthesized in a 2013 study commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study looked at more than 3,000 teachers in seven major metropolitan areas, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

ANDI WEBB: Thank you matters. Thank a teacher today (EdNC column) -- Every teacher anywhere in the world has most likely heard the very true statement that a child does not care how much you know until they know how much you care. It is a cliché, but it holds true. Parents want to know the person they are leaving their child with all day cares about their safety, well-being, and overall success. Children want the person who guides them all day each day to care for them. We all want to feel we matter.

HEALTH
Quiet health crisis plagues North Carolina (Charlotte Observer) -- Opioid and heroin abuse is rampant in North Carolina. Here are strategies for addressing the crisis.

AND MORE
LINDELL JOHN KAY: Mayor faces state probe of real estate deal (Rocky Mount Telegram analysis) -- Rocky Mount Mayor David Combs faces an upcoming state disciplinary hearing for his role as a real estate agent in relation to an unfinished subdivision that was foreclosed on three years ago.

Blitzer confession reveals corruption (Greensboro News & Record) -- Craig Blitzer’s confessional should win him no sympathy. “I sincerely regret my actions in connection with this matter,” the former Rockingham County district attorney wrote in an affidavit. “While my only motivation was the love I have for Cindy, I accept full responsibility.” And Clyde only robbed banks to express his love for Bonnie.

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