Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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EDUCATORS BACK COOPER'S PAY RAISE VETO, LAWMAKERS MUST DO BETTER: Under the bill, teachers with 0-15 years experience would not have received any raise this year. Teachers with 16-20 years would see only $50 more a month before taxes. Teachers from 21-24 years of experience would get $150 more a month, while our most dedicated veterans with 25 years or higher would have salaries raised $60 a month. For school year 2020-21, teachers with 0-15 years would again get nothing, and teachers with 16 years or more would all get another $50 a month. As bad as this deal would have been for teachers, it would have been downright insulting for our non-certified staff and retirees. The vetoed legislation provided no cost of living adjustment for retired educators and would have increased pay for bus drivers, cafeteria employees, custodians and other classified employees by just $15-20 a month.
https://www.wral.com/justin-parmenter-educators-back-cooper-s-pay-raise-veto-lawmakers-must-do-bette...

Filing begins for 2020 Legislative races in two weeks

Last year Democrats broke the GOP's supermajority in both houses of the General Assembly, and Democrats also fielded candidates in all 170 contests. How much the latter contributed to the former might be a subject for debate, but we would be foolish to write it off as a coincidence. Having a full slate of candidates changed the dynamic, and it also served to provide every Democrat in the state with General Assembly candidates to vote for. It was a monumental task, to be sure, but we can do it again. Follow this link to a WRAL story of the new Legislative districts, where you will find interactive maps for both the House and the Senate. p.s. I would recommend an "outside in" approach to candidate recruitment, putting effort into finding good candidates in the hard-to-find, mostly rural districts first.

Saturday News: $6.5 Million wasted

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GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION FINALLY ENDS, WITH LITTLE ACCOMPLISHED: The second-longest legislative session in North Carolina history has finally ended, but it likely will be remembered for what was left undone rather than what was accomplished. Lawmakers adjourned Friday after adopting a new congressional district map and filling a vacancy on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. The map, which still must be approved by a state court, passed along party lines after much Democratic complaining that it was still too partisan. The 2019 session lasted 156 days, trailing only the 179-day session in 2001. It cost state taxpayers at least $6.5 million, and for all of that money, no state budget was passed, teachers didn't get raises, Medicaid wasn't expanded and even plans to shift Medicaid to a managed care system could be in jeopardy.
https://www.wral.com/friday-wrap-long-session-finally-ends-with-final-map-redraw-but-much-left-undon...

Does Gannett merger signal the death of local journalism?

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Being a little fish in a big pond usually means you get eaten:

The deal would combine the country’s two largest newspaper chains, with more than 260 daily papers, and hundreds more websites and community and weekly papers in 47 states. The new company, to be called Gannett even though New Media is the acquirer, would have a daily print circulation of 8.7 million, dwarfing the next largest chain, McClatchy, with daily circulation of 1.7 million. McClatchy owns The News & Observer of Raleigh and The Charlotte Observer.

The companies say the advantages of size and reach will attract more digital advertisers and save expenses by eliminating operations deemed redundant or expendable, helping to offset a two-decade slide in revenue from print advertising and subscriptions, which has imperiled the industry.

Bolding mine, because I'm pretty sure that's the exact same wording Berkshire Hathaway used just before cutting the Greensboro News & Record staff down to a skeleton crew. Admittedly, it's real easy for people like me to grouse about the erosion of investigative journalism, since I don't have to solve the financial problems that brought this about. But I am currently subscribing (paying) for 4 different news outlets, so I'm kinda doing my part. Needless to say, the journalists' unions are not happy about this:

Friday News: Gerry Mander lives on

GOP'S PROPOSED CONGRESSIONAL MAP GIVES DEMS 2 MORE SEATS: Wake County Rep. Darren Jackson, the top Democrat in the N.C. House, said the map looks like it has five safe Democratic seats, eight safe Republican seats and no swing seats. That means politicians don’t have to be as accountable for their actions, he said, adding that he hopes a court will strike down these maps as it has with other maps passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. And state Rep. Deb Butler of Wilmington said several districts are highly similar to the shapes they have in the current gerrymandered map. “I’m wondering why we didn’t take a better effort to get away from what was identified as problematic,” she said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article237362384.html

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