The Follies

The Follies

- in Fitzsimon File

Resegregation: Truitt or false? 

If you are trying to keep up with the District 2 race for the Wake County Board of Education, your head must be spinning. In the voting two weeks ago, resegregationist candidate John Tedesco fell just short of a majority and second place finisher Cathy Truitt called for a runoff.  

Truitt’s position on ending the Wake County schools policy of using economic diversity in student assignment has been unclear. She has said she doesn’t like the student assignment policy but wants to keep the schools diverse and balanced.

Truitt withdrew from the race Monday morning but warned that Tedesco and the new majority on the school would resegregate the schools by ending the diversity policy.  Tuesday, Truitt endorsed Tedesco saying she met with him and he told her he would not resegregate the schools.

Truitt now wants the runoff cancelled even though the ballots have been printed and the election scheduled.  So far, the Wake County Board of Elections has not cancelled the runoff and the local chapter of the NAACP has asked them to conduct it as scheduled.

So if you are keeping score at home, let’s go over this one more time. The resegregationist candidate Tedesco led the field in the first election. Second-place finisher Truitt called for a runoff, then withdrew from the race and called Tedesco a resegregationist. Then the two candidates met and Truitt says Tedesco told her he wouldn’t resegregate the schools so she endorsed him.

None of that makes any sense. Whether he wants to admit it not, Tedesco and his newly-elected allies on the school board will most certainly resegregate the schools if keep their campaign promise to end the county’s diversity policy and create an exclusive neighborhood school system.

Tedesco soft-pedaled his position to the Independent Weekly, saying he wants to conduct a “community-wide visioning process” and that “nobody’s running in there roughshod.”  He also told the Indy that he didn’t know if converting to (exclusive) neighborhood school would resegregate the system.

He said he didn’t have an easy answer to that. Here’s one. Yes it would. Ending the diversity policy would absolutely resegregate the schools. Tedesco and his exclusive neighborhood school allies may not want to admit it, but it’s true. Truitt was right the first time.

Ominous numbers and tax reform

If you somehow still need to be convinced that North Carolina’s tax system is out of date and needs an overhaul, consider this. The $1 billion temporary tax package passed by state lawmakers this summer expires after the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

The state share of the federal stimulus package that provided $1.4 billion to help balance the budget expires then too.  And economists do not expect state revenues to recover fully until the 2013-2014 year. 

That means another massive budget crisis is coming unless lawmakers finally expand the state’s sales and incomes tax base to increase revenue collections in the short term and make future shortfalls less likely.

Member of the House and Senate Finance are meeting November 3 to begin deliberations about tax reform. Let’s hope they are serious about it.

Burr’s industry patrons

Republican Senator Richard Burr is a leader, but maybe not the kind he wants you think much about.  After the latest round of campaign finance filings, Open Secrets reports that Burr ranks first in the Senate in the amount of contributions from two categories of donors, the pharmaceutical and health products industry and the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.

Senator Burr is apparently their guy in Washington.

He also leads the Senate in contributions from leadership PACS, committees set up by other members of Congress. They must be worried about his reelection chances. 

Sounds like its time to call the pharmaceutical industry lobbyists back for more cash.

Term limits for sale

Republican Will Breazeale is putting a new and bizarre spin on the terms limits debate in his bid to unseat Democratic Mike McIntyre in 2010.

Breazeale took what the Right is describing as a “bonded term limits pledge,” promising to donate $250,000 to a private charity if he doesn’t serve only three terms if he is elected.

Term limits are gimmicky enough. Now they are “bonded.” That must mean that you should only run for Congress if you have $250,000 to give away.

Wonder if the “charity” he has in mind is the Locke Foundation?