Allred to resign Monday.

May 29, 2009

Submitted by ryanteaguebeckwith on May 29, 2009 – 1:15pm.
Tags: Cary Allred | Douglas MacArthur | ethics | legislature | Linda Daves | Under the Dome

Embattled state Rep. Cary Allred will resign.

The Alamance County Republican submitted a letter to House clerk Denise Weeks after noon today saying he will leave the legislature effective 2 p.m. on Monday.

It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Alamance County and the 64th District in the House of Representatives.

As General Douglas MacArthur said, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”

With that, I bid thee farewell.

Calls to Allred’s home and cell phone were not answered Friday.

Allred, who faced ethics questions after inappropriately hugging a teen-aged page, said Thursday that he might step down in September, but also hinted he might resign as early as Monday.

He had previously changed his mind about leaving the Republican Party, however, so some observers, such as Greensboro News-Record reporter Mark Binker, were skeptical.

State Republican chairwoman Linda Daves called on Allred to resign earlier this month.

Update: “It’s for the good of the House,” said Rep. Paul Stam, an Apex Republican and House minority leader. “Everybody needs to remember he had a 30 year career and I hope everybody won’t judge him on one or two events. He did a lot of good.”

The resignation would end the ethics inquiries against Allred.

“If he’s not a member of the House there’s no reason to go forward with it,” said Bill Holmes, a spokesman for House Speaker Joe Hackney.

State Rep. Allred says he’s leaving Republican Party

May 22, 2009

Published: May 22, 2009

State Rep. Cary Allred, facing calls from fellow Republicans to resign his seat, declared Thursday that he plans to reregister as unaffiliated after a report critical of his behavior on April 27.

In that report, other GOP lawmakers harshly assessed the Alamance County Republican’s actions. 
Some said he smelled of alcohol, and most said they thought he behaved inappropriately during debate and toward a young volunteer that evening, the News & Record of Greensboro reported.

“I think I’ve been stabbed in the back by my Republican colleagues,” Allred said Thursday.
When asked if he was sure he would switch his party affiliation to unaffiliated, Allred said, “I’m pretty damned sure. 

**NOTE** – Kudos to Daves!

Perdue now ‘vigorously opposes’ Alcoa license

May 22, 2009

Gov. Bev Perdue unexpectedly filed papers Thursday in the Alcoa relicensing saga that support the opponents of a state-issued permit.

Earlier this month, state water-quality officials issued a permit Alcoa needs to renew its federal hydroelectric license for the Yadkin River.

The permit from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources was the final approval needed before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issues the license.

Perdue, however, has asked the commission for a four-month delay in which to make her case that the license should be denied to Alcoa and returned to the state.

Alcoa has called Perdue’s involvement a government attempt to seize private property.

The Yadkin Riverkeeper and Stanly County, which are concerned about contamination in Badin Lake, near Alcoa’s former aluminum smelter, appealed the permit in a state administrative-law court.

At a hearing Wednesday, the Riverkeeper and Stanly County asked for a temporary stay of the permit.

The state environment department didn’t oppose the request, agreeing that a stay is in the public interest.

Then a lawyer representing Perdue unexpectedly appeared. He asked the judge for permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief on Stanly County’s side.

The brief, filed Thursday, said Perdue “intends to vigorously oppose” Alcoa’s license. Stanly, it said, “has raised questions going directly to the welfare of our environment, the life of the Yadkin River and, ultimately, the health and safety of the people of this state. …”

The environment department’s view, the brief said, is that the Badin Lake contamination is stable and presents no health risks. Stanly disputes that, it said, claiming the contaminants could spread, tainting fish and downstream waters.

State water-quality officials, in issuing the permit, attached seven conditions including that Alcoa monitor contamination. Those conditions, they said, would protect the Yadkin’s water.

We’re Back!

May 22, 2009

Sorry its been so long, but things are slowing down and I’ll be posting some more.

Foxx Honors Women Veterans at Arlington National Cemetery

May 21, 2009
Written by Adam Hicks
wednesday, may 20 2009

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx participated yesterday in the 12th Annual Women in the Military Wreath Laying Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Foxx released a statement about these women saying, “Women have served our nation from its birth to the present and have willingly laid down their lives for the cause of liberty.  Today we give honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

Foxx’ spokesperson, Aaron Groen, said the ceremony not only focused on women who were killed in the line of duty, but those who are currently enlisted in the armed forces.

N.C. senators’ tobacco plan fails

May 21, 2009

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday rejected a plan from Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan of North Carolina to avoid tobacco regulation by the Food and Drug Administration.

Burr, a Republican, and Hagan, a Democrat, worked together on their most significant issue yet to protect tobacco farms, manufacturers and companies — an industry of historic importance to North Carolina.

Both sit on the Senate health committee.

Feds probe Mary Easley hiring

May 20, 2009

Federal prosecutors Tuesday ordered the chancellor and provost at N.C. State University to appear before a grand jury this week, making it clear that investigators have opened a wide-ranging criminal probe of dealings surrounding former Gov. Mike Easley.

The FBI served subpoenas to Chancellor James Oblinger on Tuesday afternoon as he left the main administration building, Holladay Hall, to appear at an event across campus.

“This university will do everything to cooperate fully,” Oblinger said.

Investigators want to talk with Oblinger and Provost Larry Nielsen about the hiring, promotion and salary of former first lady Mary Easley, according to the court documents.

Grand juries investigate matters and weigh possible criminal charges; their proceedings are secret. Subpoenas become public records when served on state agencies or officials.

Legal experts said that a demand for testimony and documents does not indicate wrongdoing. The former governor, a Democrat who left office in January, said in a statement last week that he is “comfortable” with any review of his years in office. Mary Easley has refused numerous attempts to speak with her.

Mary Easley secured a job at N.C. State – North Carolina’s largest university – in 2005. Last summer she was given expanded duties and an 88 percent raise, bringing her salary to $170,000.

Her hiring took place after former board Chairman McQueen Campbell suggested it to the chancellor, UNC system President Erskine Bowles said, citing a conversation he had last week with Campbell. Oblinger said he is embarrassed he doesn’t remember it, but acknowledges his practice would have been to pass such a suggestion to the provost, who is the university’s chief academic officer.

Campbell, 38, a Raleigh real estate broker, is a longtime Easley friend and supporter whom the former governor twice appointed to the N.C. State Board of Trustees. Campbell, who was chairman of the board the past two academic years, resigned his trustee position late last week. Nielsen also resigned as provost last week, effective Friday. Both deny wrongdoing.

Top university officials on Monday began publicly seeking Mary Easley’s resignation, saying it’s for the good of N.C. State. By late Tuesday, she had not agreed.

Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, was asked Tuesday whether Mary Easley should step aside. She said only that she wants the situation resolved quickly.

Nielsen to testify

Federal agents want Nielsen to provide testimony Thursday, as well as documents about Mary Easley’s job. Nielsen has publicly said and written in e-mail messages that he created the position for Easley and that it was his idea.

“When I created the first position,” Nielsen wrote in an e-mail message on July 23, 2008, “I was convinced that N.C. State could seize an exceptional opportunity by employing Mrs. Easley to create and direct a new universitywide seminar series – an idea that I had been considering for some time.”

A series published May 9 and 10 in The Charlotte Observer and The (Raleigh) News & Observer showed that Nielsen was the interim provost at the time the Mary Easley position was created. Nielsen met with Campbell days before Mary Easley faxed her resume to Nielsen at N.C. State. A call was made to Campbell’s cell phone from the Easleys’ home in Southport. Nielsen then created the job, waived a job search and hired Mary Easley on May 26, 2005.

At the time, four candidates were in the running to become permanent provost and had already appeared at campus forums. Nielsen was not among them. Oblinger later announced Nielsen would be a candidate, and hired him for the job, citing widespread support.

Several months after he was made provost, Nielsen gave a speech on campus and said he had little autonomy to make decisions on his own as provost. He said he had to constantly navigate a “clingy environment” of vice chancellors, trustees, legislators and others.

But university officials said that Nielsen alone conceived of the big raise last summer for Easley; he expanded her job to include creating a public safety leadership center. The raise, along with about 30 others, was offered in violation of UNC system rules and was the subject last year of a review by the UNC Board of Governors. The board ultimately approved the five-year, $850,000 contract.

“I am convinced that this decision was Larry Nielsen’s – and Larry Nielsen’s alone,” Bowles said at the time.

Federal authorities have conducted interviews or requested documents related to Gov. Easley’s private air travel, his family’s use of cars and a land deal in Carteret County where he got a good deal on a waterfront lot. The state Highway Patrol is expected to deliver records today; Alan Melvin, former head of Easley’s protection detail, has been subpoenaed to testify today.

State elections officials have opened a criminal investigation of the Easley campaign related to the flights and use of a car. A lawyer for Easley says the campaign is working to update disclosure forms.

Benjamin Niolet contributed.

Burr, Hagan oppose tobacco bill

May 20, 2009

WASHINGTON — U.S. senators began debate Tuesday on legislation that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate cigarettes, an idea that has the strong backing of public health advocates across the country.

Standing in their way were the two senators from North Carolina. Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Kay Hagan teamed up for the first significant issue in their short time together in the Senate, offering arguments to weaken the effects of a popular bill that, they fear, could decimate a historic industry in their state.

North Carolina is the nation’s top producer of tobacco, growing $686 million worth of leaf last year on 12,000 farms. The state’s tobacco manufacturers, from the behemoth R.J. Reynolds to boutique companies, put 10,000 people to work.

Smoke-Free: Shift in smoking policy was once unimaginable

May 20, 2009

Published: May 20, 2009


Yesterday was a historic day for North Carolina, the nation’s largest tobacco-producing state, Gov. Bev Perdue said as she signed into law a statewide ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.

Smokers and business owners have some time to prepare — the ban doesn’t take effect until Jan. 2, 2010.

With a celebratory ceremony and a few strokes of her pen, Perdue made official a policy shift that was once inconceivable.

“It’s been a long road, but major changes in public policy can take a while to get there,” said state Rep. Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, who has spent five years pushing for major restrictions on public smoking. “I think this bill is a huge step forward for public health in North Carolina.”

It may not be the last step.

The bill that Perdue signed does not go as far as Holliman and other anti-smoking advocates wanted. They would like to ban indoor smoking in virtually all businesses, because they say all workers should be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke. 


**NOTE** – High Five~! We just ruined the state!

Biden time: Vice president tells Wake Forest students that he is optimistic about the future

May 18, 2009

Published: May 19, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden told 1,500 graduates at Wake Forest University yesterday that they are entering the world at a special time in history.

Fundamental changes are needed in the country’s economic, educational and environmental policies. Health care needs to be revamped.

“Throughout the span of history though, only a handful of us have been alive at times when we can truly shape history,” Biden said. “Without question, this is one of those times, for there’s not a single solitary decision confronting your generation now that doesn’t yield a change from nonaction as well as action.”