Gov. Pat McCrory is still trying to work the refs to get better headlines. The latest episode is described in a column by Charlotte Observer editorial page editor Taylor Batten. From his post in Charlotte, Batten has watched McCrory for two decades and his insights into struggling governor’s situation are insightful.
It starts: “Moderate voters in Charlotte and across the state are kicking themselves for supporting consensus-building “Mayor Pat” only to find that Gov. Pat McCrory can be quite different. But my interview with him last week and a breakfast with him a couple weeks earlier make clear he hasn’t changed a bit in one respect: This is a man obsessed with his image and how he’s portrayed. It’s clear he doesn’t go a day without being deeply frustrated by what he sees as unfair attacks on his good name.”
One example of how McCrory feels the media isn’t giving him enough credit is education -- an issue that Democrats are likely to use often in the forthcoming elections. And there’s much more. Batten ends with this kicker: “There’s much more he sees, but you get the idea. Most of McCrory’s troubles stem, in his mind, not from his support of policies that a majority of North Carolinians disagree with but from a media that, through bias or incompetency, just can’t understand his greatness.” Read the entire Sunday column here.
*** Miss the political headlines over the holiday weekend? Catch up with today’s Dome Morning Memo.***
The state Department of Health and Human Services will hold a “Twitter town hall” at 3:30 p.m. Monday, using the social media tool to gather reaction to the Crisis Solutions Initiative of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration. To participate go to www.ncdhhs.gov, or use the hash tag #ncmentalhealth on Twitter. You can also follow the Department on Twitter, @NC_DHHS, to see responses.
"Hagan’s polling numbers have taken a steep dive in recent weeks, as the problems surrounding President Barack Obama’s health care plan have surfaced.
"In fact, Hagan has been sort of like a cork, floating in an ocean – her popularity rising and falling based on the political waves in Raleigh and Washington.
"When Republicans were criticized for the federal government shutdown, Hagan’s numbers went up. As Democrats are criticized for the health care rollout, Hagan’s numbers go down.
"During her five years in the Senate, Hagan has not carved out a strong brand or image for herself." Read the full column here.
Wos, an appointee of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, has awarded a number of high-dollar contracts, including one worth $312,000 a year to former State Auditor Les Merritt and another worth $310,000 to a vice president from the company owned by Wos’ husband. But in both of those cases, and in at least four others, the department says it can’t locate any memos written to justify the contracts.
Department policy requires a justification memo for sole-source and personal-services contracts. Under state law, the documents would be public records. But do they exist? Read more here.
To comply with the legislation, some municipalities have had to change their local laws. While some community leaders have expressed outrage, gun rights groups say its time municipalities follow the law — and they're watching to make sure they do. If they don't, legal action could follow.
"The days when local government bureaucrats can ignore state law with respect to firearms are over," said Paul Valone, founder of Grass Roots North Carolina, a gun rights group. "We want these municipalities to comply with the law. I don't think that's too much to ask." Read more here.
Hagan has slipped in the polls the past several weeks as Republicans have linked her to the Affordable Care Act through ad campaigns. But Democrats argue that it’s too early to know what the public will think of the health care changes in the months ahead.
They also have to wait to see whether the health insurance shopping site, HealthCare.gov, starts working properly. The White House set Saturday as its own deadline for making it work for most people. Read more here.
House and Senate leaders are moving in different directions. And both are confounded by how to pay for the raises, especially after GOP leaders passed a tax law that cut the corporate tax rate and lowered the individual tax rate.
But any discussion about a pay increase starts as a math problem. A 1 percent raise for state employees and teachers would cost about $160 million a year, legislative leaders said. It’s unlikely lawmakers would give teachers a raise without doing the same for other state workers. “Cost is a big obstacle,” said Rep. Bryan Holloway, a Republican House budget writer. Read more here.
McCrary served 16 years as sheriff before later becoming a state legislator in the N.C. House of Representatives. He retired from politics 13 years ago having never lost an election. Read more here.
"Then Tesla turned out a lobbying weapon that, in the home state of stock-car racing’s hall of fame, spoke louder than money. It parked a Model S at the capitol and invited lawmakers and Republican Governor Pat McCrory to take it for a spin." Read more here.
“I plan to put responsibility where responsibility is due,” said Bill Peebles, president of Ambassador, whose theaters include the Rialto and Mission Valley Cinema.
The upcoming expansion of the state sales tax to a broad range of admissions charges – including movies, college and professional sporting events, concerts, plays and museums – means that arts patrons and sports fans alike will probably pay more to enjoy their favorite pastimes. Read more here.
Mecklenburg’s sweepstakes saga took another turn Sunday – the deadline for operators to close before facing potential investigation and prosecution.
Some owners, operators and manufacturers of the sweepstakes machines have said they would change their software to comply with the law – again – but an informal survey of parlors by the Observer showed most had their doors closed Sunday. Read more here.