The worst legislature in living memory

Opinion Column by Jim Meredith, Randolph County Democratic Party Chair. Published in the Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, NC April 22, 2016

Thoughtful North Carolinians, regardless of party, consider this the worst legislature they can remember. What a track record. What a travesty.check your rights

Not since the establishment of Jim Crow over a century ago has a North Carolina Legislature been so mean-spirited, so cynical, so lacking in conscience, so devoid of moral authority. Never before has a North Carolina legislature been so oblivious to the tide of history. Never has a Legislature been so careless, so irresponsible, and so heedless of the impact of their actions on the well-being of our state and its citizens.

Although I am a well-known active Democrat, I have lived most of my life in Randolph County and I have no shortage of Republican friends and relatives. Some of those Republican friends and I have found ourselves agreeing about HB2. People of both parties want their LGBT friends and relatives treated with kindness and respect. People of both parties are using phrases like “mean spirited”, “legislative overreach”, “intrusive”, and “authoritarian.”

As a Republican acquaintance told me, “This is, in no way, small government.”

The high profile “bathroom” provisions of HB2 have generated most of the national outrage. That may be what our legislators intended. They may have cynically assumed that the majority of North Carolinians had gut-negative attitudes toward the LGBT community and wouldn’t pay attention to the rest of the bill.

In 12 short hours, they ran roughshod over democratic principle and due process. The rushed schedule prevented people from having time to adequately review and challenge the law. The result was a law that prevents employees who are unjustly fired from filing claims of discrimination in state courts.

It takes away power to set non-discrimination policy from local governments, regardless of the will of the citizens who live there, and it prevents local governments from setting local minimum wage policies.

Across the nation, we see cities taking matters into their own hands when state governments are unwilling to tackle problems at the state level. North Carolina legislators clearly do not trust democracy and are making sure that local officials, answerable to local voters, do not have the rights they have in other states.

There are other examples of arrogant, dictatorial rule by our legislature. In previous legislation, they have denied local governments the power to restrict or regulate “fracking” in their jurisdictions, even if local citizens wish their governments to do so. The legislature has also passed laws to confiscate local resources, developed and paid for by local governments, such as the Asheville water system and the Charlotte Municipal Airport.

Our legislature, for ideological reasons, cut education spending and denied Medicaid expansion that was already paid for by North Carolina’s taxpayers. For political reasons, they would rather have our tax money subsidize health care in other parts of the country than help North Carolina citizens in need, or reap the local economic benefits that would have resulted if we had accepted those federal dollars.

A Republican friend told me this is the worst North Carolina legislature in history. I agree with him.

How can our legislators be so fearless and arrogant?

It’s simple. They believe they are untouchable. They feel safe and secure in gerrymandered voting districts. However, it is possible to override the effects of gerrymandering if enough people turn out to vote and I hope that is what happens this fall.

I should also mention that the Randolph County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution earlier this month in support of HB2. It was not a unanimous decision. One member was absent and one member voted against it.

I don’t believe the commissioners thought through the implications of their resolution before passing it. Although, Randolph County is relatively conservative, its citizens still want economic growth and the jobs that come with it. They want tourists to visit and spend their dollars here. They want businesses to move in and young families to take up residence.

By claiming that Randolph County supports HB2, the commissioners are advertising an unwelcoming and intolerant attitude that will discourage tourism and dissuade businesses, families and young people from moving here. That cannot have been their intent and it is my hope that in May, the commission will have second thoughts and rescind their harmful resolution.

web1_Jim-Meredith-mug-2015-web201642116023411_0* Jim Meredith is a member of The Courier-Tribune’s 2016 panel of guest columnists. An information technology manager at Replacements Ltd. in Greensboro, he and his wife, Beverly, live near Liberty with their children, Suzanne, Tia and Wilson. He is also chair of the Randolph County Democratic Party. Contact:jimbev90@rtelco.net

Read this article at Courier-Tribune

Community Cleanup POSTPONED – April 30, 2016

THE COMMUNITY CLEANUP AND COOKOUT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER.

We will inform participants of the new date and time very soon. Thanks for all who were planning to participate. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Church St.Asheboro Litter Pick-up

To cap off the end of Earth Month, we are sponsoring a litter pickup in downtown Asheboro followed by a free cookout for all volunteers.  It all takes place on Saturday, April 30, 2016.  We will start from our headquarters (118 North Church Street) at 3:30 pm, and work our way south lead by Bob Langston of Keep Randolph Beautiful.  The cookout at Memorial Park begins at 5:00pm.  We need volunteers to help with the litter pickup, work on the cookout crew, and donate desserts.  
 
Sign up for this event

6th District Candidate Pete Glidewell – Letter to the Editor

Walker’s response to Springsteen unsatisfactory

The offer by Congressman Mark Walker to “explain intellectually” North Carolina’s new law called HB2 to Bruce Springsteen is interesting. This is just after calling Mr. Springsteen a “bully” for canceling a rock concert in protest over the law. If Mr. Walker’s main qualification prior to election was that of being a pastor, using the term “bully” in the context of LGBT issues shows a remarkable lack of sensitivity to what these citizens experience every day. Mr. Walker’s solution is that he is going to a Justin Beiber concert.

What Mr. Walker should intellectually explain to his constituents is why over 130 corporations have written a letter to the governor asking him to repeal the bill. Please explain why he thinks PayPal would bully us by denying us 400 promised jobs. Please explain why 13 conventions are cancelling their Charlotte location. Please explain why a $15 million research grant has been pulled from UNC. Please explain why we would want to inflict economic suicide in the middle of a tepid recovery when our district’s unemployment is higher than the state and the national average.

When he is neither acting like a pastor nor understanding the total repercussions of laws that he endorses, why is he qualified to be our lawmaker?

Pete Glidewell

Candidate for U.S. Congress (NC-6)

PeteGlidewell.com

Follow Pete Glidewell for Congress on Facebook

http://courier-tribune.com/opinion/letters/walker-s-response-springsteen-unsatisfactory

 

 

Candidate Lois Bohnsack Responds to Hurley’s Comments on HB2

HB2 gives our state a national black eye

The Courier-Tribune asked our state lawmakers to respond to questions concerning HB2, Lois Bohnsackand their responses were in the April 5 issue.

The legislators seemed to agree that the outcry over passage of the bill was due to liberalsand the left-wing media. I will let the liberals and the left-wing media speak for themselves, but the way I read and understand the situation, it is the General Assembly that has overreacted to the Charlotte ordinance, and as a result, has given North Carolina a national black eye and wasted $43,000. The state will spend additional dollars defending this legislation in the courts.

The passage of the bill has had enormous economic impact on Randolph County and our state already. The loss of PayPal’s new global operations center in Charlotte with its 400 jobs and average wage of $51,000 is only one of many companies rethinking investments in or travel to our state. Some companies are expected to bypass the High Point Furniture Market this year because of the legislation. This didn’t seem to be a concern to Randolph’s legislators.

The legislators speak of preserving the state’s values. Are they saying that discrimination and demeaning a group of our citizens (the LBGT community) are the state’s values? The N.C. Constitution speaks of equality and inalienable rights. These are the state’s values and mine.

Enforcement of the law seems to be downplayed by the legislators. But this can be a real problem. Will citizens have to carry their birth certificates with them and then disrobe to prove they are in the right bathroom? And taking the law literally, if I see a mother taking a little boy in the women’s bathroom, do I need to call security and have the boy arrested?

The law clearly needs to be repealed.

Lois Bohnsack
Archdale

HB2 gives our state a national black eye

Randolph Democrats Hold Convention – April 16, 2016

 

reality-clipart-demonstrationThe Randolph County Democratic Convention will be held at the Randolph County Courthouse, 176 E. Salisbury St. in Asheboro on Saturday, April 16, at 9 a.m.

Registration and breakfast (sold by the Democratic Women) will be at 9 a.m. in the lobby area. Candidates will be on hand to meet and greet during breakfast. The convention will be called to order at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 1B. Delegates will hear from candidates, elect delegates to the congressional district and state conventions, and vote on resolutions to be presented at the district and state conventions. The convention will adjourn at 11:30 a.m.

Join your fellow Democrats at the convention and still get out of the courthouse in plenty of time to eat lunch and mow your yard Saturday afternoon. For more information, email randolphdem@gmail.com or call (336)317-1182.

 

Bad law does more than make us look bad

Letter to the Editor by Jim Meredith, Randolph County Democratic Party Chair. Published in the Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, NC April 3, 2016

I oppose HB2. I love my state and have spent most of my life being proud of it. But now, thanks to our legislators, North Carolina is known to the nation as a leader in bigotry. But this bad law does far more than just make us look like homophobes. A lot of economic fallout comes with it.

According to a High Point Furniture Market press release, we need to be aware of the “significant economic damage that HB2 is having on the High Point Market and on the North Carolina economy. Based on the reaction in just the last few days, hundreds and perhaps thousands of our customers will not attend Market this April.”

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Until recently, North Carolina was considered a friendly and welcoming state. Tourism is one of our most important economic drivers. Now many tourists who might have come to enjoy the many great attractions our state has to offer, and to spend their money while here, may decide to vacation in “friendlier” and more hospitable places.

HB2 is about a lot more than where people are allowed to urinate. It eliminates local control over anti-discrimination measures and bans cities from setting local minimum wages. It allows businesses to refuse to serve people based on sexual orientation. It eliminates discrimination protections for military veterans.

It is ironic that the party of “small government” finds it necessary to reach into every aspect of our lives. Not only do they invade our bedrooms and our doctors’ offices, but they deny local governments (elected by local voters) the power to make local choices. These legislators think they have gerrymandered themselves into permanent job security.
I believe they have overreached this time. I hope they will reconsider and repeal the bill, and if they do not, I hope the voters rise up this fall and throw the rascals out.

Jim Meredith, Liberty
 

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Democratic Women, Senior Democrats, Fundraising Committee – March 26th

donkey-logoThe Randolph County Democratic Women will be having their monthly meeting at 9:30 AM on Saturday March 26 at the Headquarters. Bring a breakfast item and a friend. The meeting is open to all Democrats. Special guests will be Democratic candidate for US House District 6, Pete Glidewell and candidate for NC State Senate District 24, John Thorpe.

Immediately following the Democratic Women’s meeting, the Senior Democrats will have their monthly meeting in the front room of Headquarters.

Also immediately following the Democratic Women’s meeting, the Fundraising Committee will have a short meeting in the back room of Headquarters. If you would like to join this committee, please email randolphdem@gmail.com or edfhubbard@gmail.com. Or, if you’d prefer, just show up for the meeting. We’d be glad to have you!

We look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday as we gear up for a busy campaign season!

A Message from our County Chair, Jim Meredith

Photo by Paul Church/Courier-Tribune

One of the stalwarts of our party passed away on Election Day, this past Tuesday, March 15. Somehow that date seems fitting, given not only her political activism, but also her many years as chair of the Randolph County Board of Elections. Maria Bliss was one of the most committed party activists in Randolph County, an impressive leader, a mentor, an inspiring person and a good friend. Maria was passionate about her causes and not just in party politics. She was a school teacher and an ordained Methodist minister. Many of her projects and interests included protecting the environment, helping those less fortunate, and supporting women’s issues.

I learned a lot from Maria in the 11 years I knew her and I don’t believe I would have become chair if she had not urged and encouraged me to do so.
Maria’s memorial service is 2 pm Sunday, March 20 at First United Methodist Church, 224 N. Fayetteville St., Asheboro, NC 27203.
 
You can also read a nice article by Larry Penkava about Maria at: http://courier-tribune.com/news/bliss-long-time-political-activist-dies
 
We were graced and blessed by Maria’s time with us, and we are going to miss her.