Expanding the Courts

The Judicial Branch of government in North Carolina is established as a co-equal branch of our state government under Article IV of the State Constitution. North Carolina’s court system, called the General Court of Justice, is a unified statewide and state-operated system consisting of three divisions: the Appellate Division, the Superior Court Division and the District Court Division. The Appellate Division is composed of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.

Short Memories
John Hood | November 12, 2016

Pope v Easley
Decided: December 18, 2001
“On 30 June 2000, the General Assembly of North Carolina enacted, and the Governor of North Carolina signed into law, Session Law 2000-67, which authorized, among other things, the expansion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals from twelve to fifteen judges.”

House Bill 1840 / S.L. 2000-67
§ 7A-16. Creation and organization.
“…On or after December 15, 2000, the Governor shall appoint three additional judges to increase the number of judges to 15. Each judgeship shall not become effective until the temporary appointment is made, and each appointee shall serve from the date of qualification until January 1, 2005. Those judges’ successors shall be elected in the 2004 general election and shall take office on January 1, 2005, to serve terms expiring December 31, 2012.”

NC Democrats: So opposed to court-packing, they did it in 2000
Sister Toldjah | American Lens | November 21, 2016
“There’s only one problem with their criticism [of expanding the court]: It’s already been done in North Carolina. By Democrats – when they controlled things. In 2000.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

HB2 and Tourism

3/29/2015: People in the travel and tourism industry in the Asheville area and across the state are waiting nervously to see how many people avoid North Carolina because of their displeasure over HB2. Some say they are already seeing negative impacts, a few say it may not affect the bottom line and others expect problems in the future, with the big question being how large the effects will be.

4/27/2016: Tourism losses related to House Bill 2 are rising toward $2 million in Asheville, according to tourism officials, and that number represents only the measurable impact.

7/11/2016: In Asheville, business owners are taking stock of what HB2 means for sales and considering the economic impacts of the boycotts and government-funded travel bans that have resulted from the legislation.

TODAY: Dollars continue to surge into Asheville tourism sector: Asheville and Buncombe County’s tourism industry continued to thrive during the past fiscal year, which concluded at the end of June. The area set an occupancy record for lodging properties with an average rate of 73.3 percent, said Stephanie Brown, executive director of the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau. That broke the previous year’s record of 72.6 percent.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Body Cam Law

The Bill
House Bill 972, Law Enforcement Recordings: bit.ly/2d4iMTt
Session Law 2016-88
Signed: July 11, 2016
Effective: October 1, 2016
House Vote: bit.ly/2dlfayv
Senate Vote: bit.ly/2davFgy

UNC School of Government: http://unc.live/2ddVXeG
NCHouse103: bit.ly/2disX6H
Gov McCrory: bit.ly/2crHCPG
Elon University: bit.ly/2cN9bRP
Engstrom Law NC: bit.ly/2di80rQ
Rep John Faircloth on the Pete Kaliner Show: bit.ly/2dey5Lm

Committee Testimony
The ACLU of North Carolina pointed out the problems with existing body cam laws in legislative process leading to H972 (March 9, 2016): bit.ly/2dauI7L

Local Policy
Char-Meck PD body worn camera policy (Pg. 273): http://bit.ly/2drls1s

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tami Fitzgerald on HB2

The Pete Kaliner Show
August 30, 2016
Guest: Tami Fitzgerald on HB2 and the latest court ruling:


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Teacher Raises in County Budget

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that at the August 25 CIBO candidate forum, “Newman asked Archerd if he would have supported a recent proposal that favored a property tax cut over raises for teachers.”

Newman to Archerd (54:21): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaYQ0r6Fzqo

“Um…so…kinda going back to the previous question about the funding of the schools, and I’ll try to make this as specific as I can: so, in the budget we had this year, there was a, the county manager presented the budget, Commissioner Moffitt proposed an amendment to the budget that would have, um, providing no pay increases for local teachers but would have reduced the tax rate. I proposed an amendment to the budget that kept the tax rate the same but gave a pay raise to teachers. How would you have voted on those amendments?”

VIDEO: CIBO Candidate Forum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaYQ0r6Fzqo

This question mis-characterized the trade-off proposed.

The minutes state that Moffitt proposed that the county ask the school board to use a portion of their unnecessary accumulated $12 million reserve fund to pay the balance of the teacher raise request of $3,371,504.

$1.6 million was already on the table. That leaves $1,771.504 to be funded from school board reserves.

The Moffitt Proposal: fully fund teacher raises at $3.3 million.


June 21, 2016
Re: Adoption of FY2017 County Budget
County Board Minutes: http://bit.ly/2bJP9YT
County Board Video (37:15): http://bit.ly/2bGMdvT

“The County Manager gave a brief overview of the budget as presented for adoption. She listed the county schools requests including the teacher’s supplement.

Commissioner Moffitt said that he introduced Senate Bill 888 during his time in the NC House and it was just passed by the current members saving the County’s fund balance $5,000,000. He moved to adopt the budget with the following changes:

  1. reduce the tax rate [one penny] to 59.4;
  2. give County schools $1.6 million to fund the Enka Intermediate and Nesbitt STEM [Discovery] Schools;
  3. fund $500,000 for non-certified school employee raises, asking that the County schools use their fund balance to fund the remaining request. [$3,371,504 request minus $1.6M offer leaves $1,771.504 to be funded by $12.5M school board reserve fund]; (The Moffitt Proposal: fully fund teacher raises at $3.3 million.
  4. that the County take the Asheville City Schools portion out of County fund balance;
  5. accept staff recommendation on the outstanding community development funding requests that had previously been found not to be economic development issues.

Commissioner Fryar seconded the motion. The motion failed…

Vice Chair Newman moved to adopt the budget as submitted with:

  1. additional support for teachers by funding $1.65 million for the supplement this year and next year;
  2. support all of the community development organizations at the funding level as recommended by staff;
  3. fund $75,000 to Asheville Museum of Science; fund $500,000 for non-certified teacher supplement for city/county schools;
  4. to increase funding for Greenways by $100,000 and include in the capital plan 2021 $1 million be invested in the 1-26 infrastructure multi-model project to preserve connectivity above and beyond the basic design;
  5. funding for the opening of the Enka Intermediate and Nesbitt STEM School as well.

Commissioner Frost seconded the motion. Based on this motion, the Manager asked that she be allowed to use up to $75,000 from the fund balance if necessary. The motion passed…”


Mark Cates: “I suspect Emily Patrick “fact-checked’ this with the same rigor as she did Commissioner Newman’s false accusation.”


Emily Patrick: “What point are you two trying to make, exactly? These minutes show, as we have reported, the Moffitt plan did not include raises for teachers. That plan included raises for non-certified school staff.”

1. The minutes show that Brownie Newman does not fully fund teacher raises that were requested. His proposal funded raises at $1.65 million. That’s half the $3.3 million amount requested. A correction might be in order.

2. Moffitt’s proposal FULLY funded teacher raises at the requested $3,371,504—in part from a $12,505,121 school board reserve fund; which they are not required to hold.

3. While the minutes are accurate they are somewhat vague. A better record is the video where Tony Baldwin admits on record that he is sitting on $12,505,121 accumulated reserve fund from previous allocations that were never used (link below). Meanwhile, teachers are buying school supplies for their students and the school board is coming to the county with hat in hand.

VIDEO: Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting (June 21, 2016)


1. The county school board has $12,505,121 in a discretionary reserve fund accumulated over time from unused previous allocations.

2. The county has 1,800 certified staff positions, not all are teachers. For our purposes, let’s say they are all teachers.

3. If funding for classroom supplies were $200 per teacher, that would amount to $360,000.

4. Supplies for every classroom in the county could be funded for 2.8% of the reserve fund.


Buncombe County Commissioners Candidate Forum
September 22, 2016

Brownie: “The majority on the county commission voted to dedicate (extra funding for a) long overdue pay raise,” he said. “All the Republican members voted against it, and those are the facts that you can look up.”

VIDEO: Citizen-Times Candidate Forum

-Newman on teacher pay at 1:25:00
-Fryar’s rebuttal at 1:32:47
-Newman responds at 1:35:10 (interesting body language at the end)


Why is the Buncombe County School Board asking for a teacher pay raise while sitting on a $12.5 million fund balance?

Buncombe County School Board Fund Balances
2011: $11,992,045
2012: $14,712,366
2013: $15,071,244
2014: $13,502,069
2015: $12,505,121

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


A remarkable film.

“It’s more than truth. It’s poetry.”


Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqLvKhL2HbQ

Review by Daisy Miller: “With beautiful widescreen cinematography and gorgeous sets and costumes, YOUNG GOETHE IN LOVE (2010), a totally delightful 5-star German romance, captures the magic—and heartbreak—of first love. In 1772, the young, carefree, handsome, and wild Johann Goethe (an utterly charming Alexander Fehling) is devoted to his poetry. But his father wishes him to be a lawyer. After failing his law exams, Johann is sent by his father to a remote provincial court to reconsider his future among documents and legal records. But when the lovely Lotte (an enchanting Miriam Stein) enters his life, there is an immediate attraction. However, the young lovers are not aware that other plans are being made by Lotte’s father for her future. This is a classic costume drama that captivated my heart and senses. Not only are the actors exemplary in their performances, but their enthusiasm, their realism, and their raw emotions jumped off the screen and into my consciousness. I was dazzled and mesmerized—and didn’t want this delicious story to end. All period piece lovers and romantics take note! This is a beautifully filmed masterpiece that won’t disappoint anyone on any level—at least in my humble opinion.”

Trivia: Goethe’s autobiography is called “Dichtung & Wahrheit” (Truth and Poetry).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Tragedy of Don Yelton


Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Requirement

Don Yelton’s “Daily Show” appearance makes it into court ruling (PDF page 47)

yelton footnote

Court Ruling:
4th Circuit Court ruled state legislators acted “with discriminatory intent.”

Don Yelton’s “Daily Show” appearance:

7/29/2016: Today’s Pete Kaliner Show is dedicated to Don Yelton
3:00 – 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturns NC Voter ID Law
4:00 – State Lawmaker David Lewis about the ruling
5:00 – Last Night’s DNC

Buncombe County Republican Party response to Yelton’s buffoonery:

BCGOP Statement on Fourth Circuit Ruling
Friday, July 29, 2016

Asheville, NC — This afternoon, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated the commonsense reforms of North Carolina’s 2013 Voter ID law. While the Buncombe County Republican Party respectfully disagrees with the court’s decision, in reaching it, the court cited hateful and racist comments made by former Buncombe County Republican precinct chairman Don Yelton before the House Elections Committee and, perhaps most notoriously, on an episode of The Daily Show.

When those comments first came to light in October 2013, the Buncombe County Republican Party expressed its profound disappointment in Yelton’s remarks, deeming them “offensive, uniformed, and unacceptable.”

At the time, the local party demanded Yelton’s immediate resignation from his post as precinct chair — a post he also had been forced from just the year before in a separate incident which involved breaking party rules.

“Once again, our party has to apologize for people like Yelton,” said BCGOP Chairman Nathan West. “Yelton and his cronies are like a chronic case of hemorrhoids: a real pain in the ass that you can never seem to get rid of.


Flashback 2011: “Roscoe, arrest them Democrats!”

Don Yelton, Chad Nesbitt: The Carolina Stompers

4th Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Again, Overturns NC Voter ID Law
Posted on July 31, 2016, by A.P. Dillon

Pete Kaliner’s Blog: Don Yelton is the face of NC GOP? October 24th, 2013

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment