RALEIGH, N.C. — Republican lawmakers are attempting to kill a land deal for a new Raleigh park, and City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin has turned to social media to express her outrage with the help of her dog, Jack.
Baldwin on Friday posted a photo on Facebook of her Maltese-Yorkie mix. The dog named for "Jack Bauer," the anti-terror agent from the TV show "24," is relieving himself on a marble column outside the North Carolina General Assembly.
The Democratic councilwoman concedes the image is undiplomatic, but suggests it is emblematic of the Republican-dominated body's treatment of the state's citizens.
"I figured, what better way to get my frustration across than with humor?” Baldwin said.
Bills introduced Thursday would essentially tear up a contract allowing Raleigh to lease the grounds of the closed Dorothea Dix mental hospital for a regional park. GOP lawmakers say the deal is not good for taxpayers.
"It’s beyond me how lawmakers, who are supposed to uphold the law, can think they can undo a legally binding contract," Baldwin said. "This is nothing more than bullying and intimidation by some members of the General Assembly."
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger wasn't amused by Baldwin's actions.
“We ask Raleigh’s city leaders to take a step back, look at this issue from the perspective of taxpayers from across our state and then calmly review the bill," said Berger spokeswoman Amy Auth. "Once they read it, they will see it allows them to continue to move forward with a world-class park while helping our state’s mentally ill population and being mindful of our taxpayers.“
Gov. Pat McCrory hasn't taken a stand on the proposed legislation. Spokeswoman Crystal Feldman said Friday that McCrory supports Raleigh's effort for a park, but he also would like to keep state Department of Health and Human Services employees there.