Under the Dome

Dome: Trouble for Voller continues to mount

Staff writersJune 16, 2013 

Mayor Randy Voller, newly elected Chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party

There's more trouble for state Democratic Party chairman Randy Voller.

The Rutherford County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee on Thursday passed a resolution calling on Voller to resign, citing “irresponsible and controversial decisions (that) lost the confidence of Democratic voters, elected officials, and longtime financial supporters.”

Earlier in the week, Nina Szlosberg-Landis, the party’s vice chair, resigned, citing her inability to work with Voller.

Over the weekend, an online petition cropped up calling on Voller to convene a meeting of the full executive committee – we’re talking more than 700 people – earlier than the scheduled August gathering to determine if he should remain in office. Bylaws require the state party chair to call an executive committee meeting within 30 days up receipt of a written petition signed by 40 percent of the committee, according to the petition website at change.org. Petitioners can sign up and keep their names from being public, according to the site.

Voller, the Pittsboro mayor who was elected in January, has come under fire because some of his spending decisions, including a fundraising trip to Las Vegas with friends.

Fight of DVR cams launched

Rep. Walter Jones has introduced a bill to prevent new technology for digital recorders (DVRs) from infringing on the privacy of individuals.

Called the “We Are Watching You Act,” the legislation is in response to several companies who have filed patent applications for devices that would collect personal information about consumers while they are watching TV in order to target advertising.

The new technology would watch and listen to consumers with a camera and microphone, determine age and gender, note thermal image, and include facial recognition capabilities. “Allowing this type of technology to be installed in the homes of American citizens without their consent would be an egregious invasion of privacy,” Jones, a Farmville Republican said in a statement. “When the government has an unfortunate history of secretly collecting private citizens’ information from technology providers, we must ensure that safeguards are in place to protect Americans’ rights.”

The legislation, sponsored by Jones and Rep. Michael Capuano, a Democrat from Massachusetts, would require companies to give individuals a choice between opting in to the new technology or using an alternative product that would provide identical services without the recording service.

Ornstein blasts GOP leaders

Norman Ornstein, a political scientist who is one of the most veteran Congress watchers, writes about Democratic Rep. David Price’s frustration with the partisanship in a recent edition of The National Journal.

I watched David Price of North Carolina give an eloquent, anguished speech on the floor of the House as it debated the Homeland Security appropriations bill,” Orstein writes.

“Price had a distinguished career himself as a congressional scholar before he came to Congress, and he continues to write insightfully about Congress from the inside. More important, he is an institutionalist to his core, a longtime member of Appropriations who venerates a deliberative process, bipartisan cooperation and action, and regular order.

“Why was Price so distraught? The Homeland Security Subcommittee, on which he is the ranking Democrat, had brought a balanced, sensible bill to the floor, crafted with the participation and cooperation of members on both sides, to protect our homeland within severe budget constraints. The work inside the subcommittee had been a model of how the process should work – but for a second year in a row, its work was threatened by a poison-pill amendment offered by that poster boy for radical nihilism, Steve King of Iowa. The amendment blew up the Dream Act, taking away all discretion from the Department of Homeland Security to focus its deportation resources on criminals and miscreants and forcing the department to end any deferral in the deportation process that enables ‘dreamers’ to stay in the United States.

“By his own admission, King was trying to blow up any chance for a comprehensive immigration bill to pass the House. But the amendment was also a key test of whether the current Republican leaders of the House, and especially the members and leaders of the Appropriations Committee, valued this model of bipartisan deliberation and decision enough to keep its model bill intact.

“They failed the test. Miserably. Not a single Republican on the Homeland Security Subcommittee voted against the poison-pill amendment.”

Staff writers Rob Christensen, Craig Jarvis

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