Ugly Power Grabs vs. PRETTY ONES




Our local paperthe first and only lesbian-owned and -operated thrice weekly Nobel Prize-nominated community paper in The Carolinas — is beside itself about those dastardly Republicans in Raleigh. Specifically, the newsroom’s ire is aimed at legislation —  currently moving on Jones Street — to clear out several appointed state boards:

The leadership of the N.C. General Assembly, newly reinforced by a Republican governor, appeared to show its true colors this week. And they weren’t pretty.

Among other things, the Senate Rules Committee pushed through a nakedly partisan and vindictive bill that would immediately sack every last member of eight key boards and commissions overseeing a great many critical services and regulations. That’s a total of 131 experienced members fired.

These appointive bodies range from the N.C. Turnpike Authority and the Coastal Resources Advisory Council to the Lottery Commission and the Utilities Commission.Under this blatant power grab, their positions are to be filled with appointees who “are more like-minded and willing to carry out the philosophy of the new administration” of Gov. Pat McCrory, according to the author of the bill, state Sen. Bill Rabon .

What we have here is a purge – something jarringly out of tune with the tenor of government to which North Carolinians are accustomed.

North Carolinians are also unaccustomed to GOP governors — a total of THREE in about 150 years.  Those boards are in place to make recommendations to the governor and carry out his — or her — policies.   The Democrats have controlled Raleigh for eons, and have had plenty of opportunity to load these boards up with their cronies.

The media has been woefully irresponsible in reporting Bev’s last minute hiring and promotion marathon.  She stocked state boards and agencies — positions normally reserved for appointment by incoming governors — with reliable Democrat hacks. Insider sources tell me Team McCrory hired several people for state agency posts who showed up for their first day of work only to find a Bev hack sitting in their office.

For the next four years, Democrats will have little to no impact on the operations of the executive, judicial, or legislative branches in Raleigh.  I am sure the thinking was:  Wouldn’t it be nice to have our people muck up the works from within?  If an outgoing GOP governor had done that to an incoming Democrat, you would STILL be hearing the howls of protests from the media.

I’m old enough to remember the election of 1988, which saw the reelection of GOP governor Jim Martin and the election of Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner– the first and only GOPer to hold that spot in the 20th century.  How did the Democrat majority on Jones Street react?  They immediately stripped pretty much ALL of the lieutenant governor’s powers, basically sitting Gardner in the corner for four years.  Never mind that the people elected him to possess and execute the same powers Bob Jordan and Jimmy Green had at their disposal.  Banana Republic political shenanigans at their finest.  I don’t recall ANY mainstream media outrage over that move.

I’ll have to admit that messing with the Utilities Commission is a touchy subject — with all of the Duke Power veterans in the legislature and in the executive branch.  But, in the end, democracy will not be damaged by this current legislation.  It gives Gov. Pat a clear shot at implementing his agenda in the state bureaucracy.  It gives Gov. Pat to truly OWN the next four years at the state level.  If things go bad, Democrats can say, at the next election, “We had nothing to do with it.  It was ALL PAT.”