Senate Leader Says Cooper Should Defend Amendment

RALEIGH — State Senate leader Phil Berger says Attorney General Roy Cooper should defend North Carolina’s same sex marriage ban in the wake of a federal appeals court ruling striking down Virginia’s law.

The Rockingham Republican said after the Senate session on Monday that Cooper should stand up for the people of North Carolina and uphold its constitution.

More than 60 percent of voters approved the amendment in 2012.

Cooper said at a news conference earlier in the day that his office would not defend the state’s ban on same sex marriage, saying the ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, made it highly likely North Carolina’s ban will be overturned.

North Carolina is part of the 4th Circuit.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/senate-leader-says-cooper-defend-amendment/

Carrboro Voices Frustration With Duke Energy Flat Rate Fees

CARRBORO – Mayor Mark Chilton says Duke Energy’s flat-rate fees are discouraging the town from installing high efficiency street lights in some areas of Carrboro.

“We pay Duke Power for our electrical bills for our street lights in Carrboro,” Chilton says. “The way that those are handled is by estimation of the amount of electricity used rather than metered, and Duke has a flat policy of charging a certain rate for street lights.”

Earlier this year, the Town intervened in the Duke Energy Carolinas rate case before the State Utilities Commission, which was taken successfully to the N.C. Supreme Court by Attorney General Roy Cooper. In August, Cooper filed again with the Utilities Commission to oppose the latest rate-hike request by Duke Energy.

Chilton and the Carrboro Board of Aldermen hosted a presentation by Piedmont Electric, which provides electric service to parts of Carrboro, about the possibility of using LED lights in Anderson Park, replacing the less efficient mercury vapor (MV) and high pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures.

“Here Piedmont Electric is being flexible and is working with us and is going to reward us with lower bills if we install these LED lights, using less electricity, where Duke Power is not offering us any other similar sort of deal,” Chilton says.

Chilton says that it is not advantageous for the Town to use energy-saving, cost-effective lights in Duke Energy’s territory.

“If we invest in LED technology, we will be using a lot less power. Duke’s rate structure needs to recognize that,” Chilton says. “They need to give us a break, in other words to charge a different rate for those of us who are using the super high efficiency LED lights.”

Piedmont Electric says it would replace some of the less efficient fixtures at no additional cost until a preliminary evaluation has been completed.

Duke Energy could not be reach for comment.

http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/carrboro-voices-frustration-with-duke-energy-flat-rate-fees/

NC Democrats – Following a Lead and Finding a Leader

How are the North Carolina Democratic Party and the National Republican Party alike?

That is easy. Both lost elections this fall and do not know what to do about it.

It is particularly humiliating for North Carolina Democrats. They have to face a legislature totally dominated by Republicans, who have gerrymandered so effectively that it is hard to see how Democrats could regain control in the foreseeable future.

Thus, they are scratching their heads when they hear and read about how the Republicans lost their way and the Democrats won a great victory in November. Or, when they hear that North Carolina demographic trends favor Democrats in the long term.

So, what should the North Carolina Democrats do now?

One party activist told me they should follow the example of national Republicans and “and get some new leadership at the state and district level willing to critically evaluate our mistakes.”

He read that the Republican National Committee has a plan to review the 2012 elections to determine what worked and what did not. Their Growth and Opportunity project will address issues like “campaign mechanics and ground game, messaging, fundraising, demographic partners and allies, third-party groups, campaign finance issues, presidential primaries, lessons learned from Democratic campaign tactics.”

Assuming North Carolina Democrats are willing to follow the lead of the national Republicans, what should they be doing? Before they can follow anybody’s lead, they have to find a leader or a leadership group.

For the first time in 20 years, the Democrats do not have a governor who could claim responsibility to recruit party leadership. Nor are there senior legislative leaders up to the task.

That leaves statewide elected political leaders such as Council of State members Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Attorney General Roy Cooper, Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin, Treasurer Janet Cowell, Auditor Beth Wood, and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson. None of them, of course, has the clout of a governor. But all have statewide contacts and supporters. Marshall and Cooper have high-profile positions and have earned widespread respect. Goodwin and Cowell have built good networks and are potential candidates for higher office.

Any of them who garnered enthusiastic support from the others would be a good candidate to take the lead in rebuilding the party.

The other major statewide elected official is U.S. Senator Kay Hagan. In recent years, North Carolina Democratic senators have not been active in state and local party matters. They have built their own organizations and fundraising efforts.

Hagan, too, has her own support group, and she is a successful fundraiser. Arguably, she should stay out of state party politics. But she has more to gain than any other statewide elected official from a strong active party. She is up for reelection in 2014 and her prospects would be improved by an enthusiastic, well-organized, and unified party.

Once Hagan or some other individual or small group takes responsibility, the first task will be to recruit and persuade the party organization to select a party chair and executive director who will bring unity and energy to the task. For an example, they could look back to the 1980s, which were also challenging times for North Carolina Democrats. People like current Congressman David Price, popular Raleigh lawyer Wade Smith, and current public relations executive Ken Eudy were recruited to party leadership positions where they helped strengthen the organization and prepared it for a string of successes.

For today’s North Carolina Democrats, time is wasting. The 2014 campaign begins in just a few days.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Fridays at 9:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage. A grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council provides crucial support for North Carolina Bookwatch.
This week’s (December 28, 30) guest is Kevin Duffus author of “War Zone—World War II off the North Carolina Coast.” Bookwatch Classics (programs from earlier years) airs Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4). Wednesday’s (January 2) past guest program features Lee Smith author of “The Last Girls.”
For a North Carolinian who is interested in World War II, here is a perfect suggestion: “War Zone—World War II off the North Carolina Coast.” Author Kevin Duffus reviews the first seven months of the war when German U-boats destroyed U.S. ships off the North Carolina coast at will. He also tells some of the human interest stories that accompanied military action in the North Carolina zone of that war. (Dec. 28, 30)

http://chapelboro.com/columns/one-on-one/nc-democrats-following-a-lead-and-finding-a-leader/