Archives by: Billy Ball

Billy Ball

About the author

Billy Ball, Managing Editor, joined Policy Watch in January 2016. In his 15+ years as a North Carolina reporter, he’s covered public schools, state and local politics, courts, the environment, criminal justice and immigration for publications like The Independent Weekly, The Sanford Herald andThe Monroe Enquirer-Journal. During that time, he’s won more than 20 state, regional and national awards for his reporting, including first place awards for education reporting and news feature reporting in 2016. His 2014 reporting on the death of Michael Anthony Kerr, which earned him a national award for “media impact” from The Media Consortium, exposed the mistreatment of a North Carolina inmate with mental illness in solitary confinement. His reporting led to ongoing reforms in how the state handles prisoners with a mental illness.
billy@ncpolicywatch.com
919-861-1460

Billy Ball's articles and posts

Original Commentary Top Story

On Sunshine Week, newspapers cope with the dark clouds in their future

It’s Sunshine Week, and things have never been gloomier for the newspaper industry. This year’s annual celebration of public information has been more funereal than most, and I’m the sort who enjoys a rote walkthrough of public records law.

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How a high school basketball controversy in Charlotte encapsulates inequality in North Carolina schools

When a West Charlotte High basketball player excoriated the “B.S.” that grifted a home court playoff game from his school this week, his palpable anger made sense on many levels, just one of them actually involving sports.

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The state of the state? Divided, volatile and—maybe—on the rise

Gov. Roy Cooper’s Monday address to both chambers of the legislature – the “State of the State” – was, of course, pageantry. Not that it’s entirely low-stakes, that it doesn’t mean something for the governor, strolling into chambers so dominated by his nemeses in the Republican Party...

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What was missing at Superintendent Johnson’s private education summit

There was much talk this week and last about state Superintendent Mark Johnson’s Tuesday night limelight, the “big” announcement you might have missed because you, like most of North Carolina, were not invited. Public education advocates buzzed with speculation, or was that trepidation?

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News Top Story

Monday Numbers: What the numbers tell us about Trump’s border wall

President Trump’s national emergency declaration, long teased, is in effect. Let the lawsuits begin. The president told reporters last week that his declaration will...

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Trump may be on the ropes, but ICE is building its own wall

Surely, it would be folly to suggest that ICE’s hardened reputation as a home-wrecker was earned by the Trump administration alone. Our bloviator-in-chief may be fond of the anti-immigrant dog-whistle, and his Quixotic obsession with a doomed border wall...

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Why North Carolina needs state leaders, not the Koch brothers, to save public education

Public education advocates in North Carolina are ablaze these days, after a report from The Washington Post in late January teased a nebulous plan hatched by the conservative Koch network to spend boatloads of cash on a massive, as-yet-unnamed, K-12 initiative in five states. If North Carolina is one of the five, state leaders and the Kochs are...

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Original Commentary Top Story

When will Republicans’ patience with President Trump run out?

Republicans, we need to talk. Not about the shutdown. I get the ceasefire, I get that the air traffic slowdowns may have finally spooked the president and D.C. Republicans, even if only for a temporary respite.

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With election fraud investigation underway, Mark Harris should take a seat and wait

Hurry up and wait. That’s the message for Republican candidate, Baptist minister and aspiring track star Mark Harris this week, who asked a Superior Court judge to do what North Carolina’s election honchos won’t – suspend disbelief and declare him the victor in Congressional District 9.

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UNC’s Carol Folt, no longer silent on Sam

At long last, we’ve learned who UNC Chancellor Carol Folt is, just in time to say farewell. Folt’s impending departure – marking the second time in a matter of months that a top UNC chief cut ties with a reckless and feckless Board of Governors – made for a stunning bit of political drama Monday.

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