The op-ed by Parkdale Mills’ Dan Nation in regards to NC Senate Bill 559 should be required reading for all senators in the NC legislature and the NC Utilities Commission (“Duke-backed bill will raise utility rates for all,” July 5).
A primary purpose of the bill seems to be to allow Duke to substantially increase rates with reduced scrutiny which could be financially damaging to all, but mostly to the poorest among us. There does not appear to be any benefit to ratepayers, only to shareholders. Unfortunately, Duke did not plan well with respect to the coal ash issues, and now they are attempting to find a way to get ratepayers to pay for their failures.
This once again illustrates the problem with having a monopoly system rather than private enterprise, where businesses fail or flourish based on their success and they cannot ask their clients to cover for them by buying politicians’ votes. Nation estimates rate increases across the board at 40 to 50% with residencies possibly above 50%. We should all expect our senators to vote against this bill and hold them accountable if they do not.
Choose our representatives
There is a growing consensus that partisan gerrymandering is wrong. In the recent Supreme Court decision, the court majority decided they do not condone gerrymandering, but they simply lack the power to make things right. A majority of NC House legislators (67 out of 120, including Republicans and Democrats) have sponsored one of six pending redistricting reform bills in this General Assembly session.
Three powerful men hold the keys to whether or not these bills will receive any consideration: NC House Speaker Tim Moore, NC Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, and Representative David Lewis (Chairman of the NC House Redistricting and Rules Committees). In 2009, back when Democrats were drawing the maps, each of these men sponsored an Independent Redistricting Commission bill. It is hypocritical for them to now prevent these bills from being discussed and voted upon.
No matter which party is in the majority, it is time for voters to choose their representatives, instead of the other way around. Please call these leaders to insist that they allow our legislators to discuss and vote on these bills:
Bob and Susan B. McClanahan
The July 4th commemoration of Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech is a great way to honor a great American. However, in many ways his March 26, 1860 speech in Glasgow, Scotland is more important. It made the argument that the Constitution of the United States was anti-slavery, as opposed to the opinion of most abolitionists. Douglass’s argument that “The Constitution may be right, (but) the government is wrong” was supported by his strict reading of the Constitution. He said: “The American Constitution is a written instrument full and complete in itself. No Court in America, no Congress, no president, can add a single word threreto…. and can only be altered, amended, or added to by the people [and] only the text, and not some commentaries or creeds written by those who wish to give the text a meaning apart from its plain reading, was adopted as the Constitution of the United States.”
Frederick Douglass’s confidence that a strict reading of the Constitution of the United States was the basis for setting free slaves should also be remembered on the 4th of July.
At the Raleigh City Council’s evening meeting July 2, the city manager scheduled a hearing on a proposed 40-story high structure early on. The local media drew attention to the proposal and the public was interested. The proposal could impact traffic and affordable housing, issues that rank high with Raleigh citizens.
What’s mind-boggling was the listing on the agenda: “Zoning Conditions TCZ-1-19.” Many people might have stayed for this hearing if the agenda simply called it what it is: “Request to rezone a property to provide up to 300 units of housing with more than 80% dedicated for ages 55 and up.” The city manager not only scheduled this hearing late in the meeting, he and staff didn’t correctly describe the project and didn’t notice a landlocked adjacent home. Affordable housing is an important issue. I question both the competence and priorities of the city manager for not giving this zoning case the attention it deserved. It was very unfortunate to see this clear win for affordable housing go to committee over a tree buffer, a driveway and an out of touch staff.
David Ulmer, Chair Libertarian Party of Wake County