Under the Dome

Dome: McCrory tosses ball, catches controversy

From Staff ReportsJune 12, 2013 

Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision Monday to throw the baseball around with one of his security guards is causing some grief.

Here’s what happened: A group of advocates against cuts to public education delivered petitions signed by 16,000 people to the governor’s office at the N.C. State Capitol. The petitions asked McCrory to keep the cap on class size and to oppose private school vouchers. The delegation, led by former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge and including a group of children, was told by an aide that the governor was busy in a meeting until 5 p.m.

But a short time after, one of the group took a picture of McCrory throwing the baseball around. The group said the photo was taken about 4:42 p.m. On Tuesday, Progress NC distributed the photo with the headline: “Pat McCrory Throws Kids A Spit Ball” and accused the governor of ducking out of the office to avoid facing the children.

Kim Genardo, the governor’s spokeswoman, said McCrory had been in a meeting when the group stopped by at 4:20, but it ended earlier than expected so that by 4:45 p.m. the governor had a few free minutes.

Genardo later released a statement that said:

“The photo being circulated today by that liberal advocacy group was taken AFTER the petitions were dropped off at the Capitol.

“Taking the advice of First Lady Michelle Obama, the governor each day attempts to get some exercise, yesterday throwing the baseball and today walking from N.C. State’s campus back to the Capitol.

“Governor McCrory will be back out tomorrow throwing the baseball perhaps with children who share his All-American passion.”

High-level Dem resigns

Nina Szlosberg-Landis, the first vice chair of the state Democratic Party, has resigned, citing her differences in working with embattled party chairman Randy Voller.

In a letter sent Monday night to friends, Szlosberg-Landis, a major party fund raiser from Raleigh, writes that she believes she could be more effective raising money for Democrats outside the party organization.

“I have been very concerned about the direction and practices of the new chairman,” she writes. “You have likely heard or read about some of the more public missteps, and felt that I could not accomplish the work I know needs to be done if I remain associated with him.”

Voller said Tuesday he was saddened by the resignation of his second in command, but ignored the criticism aimed at him.

In a statement Tuesday, Voller praised Szlosberg-Landis, saying “We are better because of Nina’s service and commitment to this party. ... She has served our party with grace, distinction and competence.”

Voller said the Democratic Party is “in a transition period” while it builds an effective opposition to Republicans.

But the resignation of Szlosberg-Landis is another indication of the difficulties that Voller, the mayor of Pittsboro, has had since his election early this year. He has been plagued with reports about past business debts from his real estate construction business, complaints about a fund raising trip to Las Vegas and his fund raising contracts with friends.

One Democratic activist, Frank Eaton, has called for the Democratic Executive Committee, to schedule a vote of confidence in Voller in August.

Jordan Lake pressure

Two radio ads are running this week that urge the legislature to keep the Jordan Lake clean-up plan, a plan that a Senate bill proposes to scrap.

After years of negotiation, new pollution limits for runoff into Jordan Lake were signed in 2009. They’ve never gone into full effect, but a Senate bill proposes to abandon the rules and start over.

The lake supplies water to Chatham and Wake counties.

WakeUP Wake County is running a one-minute ad on more than a dozen radio stations in the Triangle and the Triad supporting the clean-up rules. The Southern Environmental Law Center is running an ad on a Triangle country music station and a talk radio station this week. On Tuesday, business representatives delivered a letter to McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and other legislators signed by 40 small businesses supporting the rules.

Staff writers Rob Christensen and Lynn Bonner

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