The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

February 23, 2014

Running away from politics

Saturday, February 22, 2014 — RALEIGH — I often wonder whether all the partisan nastiness and money-grubbing that goes on in politics these days is increasingly leaving the political world, both nationally and at the state level, to know-nothings and rascals.

When you hear defenders of the current system speak as if the landscape is all good, that gobs of money ought to be spent when important policy decisions are at stake, that political polarization is about competing ideas, you won’t hear them mention the dumbing down of the political class as a potential consequence.

But I’m not sure what other explanation suffices for some recent events and matters that have come to my attention.

Just the other day, I received an email, sent either by a legislative candidate or his campaign helper, referring to the legislative district as a “State House Congressional District.”

Now, maybe it is just me, but if you aren’t sure whether you are running for the legislature or Congress, maybe you shouldn’t be running. Otherwise, if you win, you might be surprised when you show up in D.C. to be sworn into office.

About the same time, I saw a sitting state legislator go on statewide television to brag about how North Carolina is eighth in state public school funding, implying that any funding deficiency was the fault of local government. He went on to tell viewers that “the newspapers” will try to tell you something else. Wink, wink.

What “the newspapers” might tell you is that the gentleman has little understanding of state history or the funding structure of the state.

If he did, he might know that during the Great Depression, when local governments in North Carolina and across the South were going bankrupt, the legislature assumed responsibility for the operational costs of the public schools.

The 1931 and 1933 legislatures passed laws that specifically laid out those duties. The 1933 law made clear that the operational support was to be without the use of the local property tax.

Other states have different taxing and funding structures. None of that changes the fact that, on a per pupil basis, North Carolina’s total public school funding currently is near the bottom and state government is ultimately responsible.

A few days later, I watched as the head of a political organization proved that he knows nothing about politics.

The decision by Randy Voller, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, to fire an executive director steeped in political party organizing and try to replace him with controversial civil rights leader Ben Chavis proved predictably divisive among the party activists.

It also proved, once again, that Voller has no clue what a modern-day state political party organization is or what a chairman’s role is in it. (Here’s a hint: Go ask former state GOP chair Tom Fetzer.)

A lot of people might conclude that these events are disconnected.

But maybe they are symptoms of the same illness, that politics is being all but abandoned by anyone with good sense.

Scott Mooneyham is a syndicated columnist for Capitol Press Association.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon Fake news or sign of some more trouble?

    RALEIGH – Of the three situations I can recall where agencies receiving large sums of taxpayer dollars wouldn’t divulge employees’ salaries, two of them ended badly. The third – involving a group of charter schools in Southeastern North Carolina – is playing out right now.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    WASHINGTON - The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content