Haywood LP Opposes Emergency Management Ordinance

The Haywood County Libertarian Party is leading the opposition to the county’s emergency management ordinance, which gives the county manager unlimited and unchecked authority during emergencies. Nearly 60 people attended their meeting Wednesday to hear Sheriff Greg Christopher speak about his position on the ordinance.

Don't Tread on AnyoneThe most troubling section of the ordinance, according to Haywood LP Chair Jess Dunlap, allows the county manager to confiscate your food, livestock, money and other property, without notice, without compensation, against the owners will and with armed force.

“The wording upsets me. It’s unconstitutional,” Dunlap said, referring particularly to language allowing the seizure or condemnation of property without following individual protections built into existing law and the U.S. Constitution.

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Public-private partnership is not privatization

Leaving aside the observation that the term “public-private” partnership is an oxymoron, the fact is that such an arrangement is merely a cover for corporate welfare.

The proposal by Gov. Pat McCrory’s Department of Commerce to “privatize” several functions is a case in point. Republicans either are afraid to stand up for the values they supposedly believe in, or do not understand what “private” means. (“Speed, sweep of NC Commerce restructuring raise concerns,” News & Observer, Dec. 6)

Using “authority” supposedly granted in a brief, vaguely worded section in the budget bill – and guidelines in a bill that did not even pass the General Assembly – Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker created a public-private partnership called the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

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Libertarian elected, but can’t serve

One Libertarian was elected to a municipal office Nov. 5, but unfortunately he won’t be able to serve. According to unofficial results, Matt Hoerner was elected to the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners in Cumberland County. But he’s serving as a federal government civilian employee in Korea. He said if his election was certified, he would resign.

He emailed the county board of elections in October withdrawing from the race. Hoerner wasn’t taken off the ballot, however, because the BOE needed a signed written statement. He received 551 votes (10.81 percent).

Andrea Boyer ran a classic door-to-door, grassroots campaign for Woodfin town alderman. This was her first run for office. She received 179 votes (15.9 percent) in an unsuccessful bid for one of four seats on the board.

But she told her supporters, “I am not going away – see you around town! Many thanks and lots of love to everyone who voted for me, supported the campaign, and sounded your voice! Your voice needs to be heard at town hall in the weeks and months ahead!”

In Charlotte, Eric Cable received 7,459 votes (2.12 percent) for city council at-large and fellow Libertarian Travis Wheat got 443 votes (4.55 percent) in the district three race.

“Historically speaking these were great results for Charlotte,” Cable said “I was expecting one to two percent and got 4.55 percent, and Eric (Cable) broke two percent in an at-large race, I believe getting more raw votes and percentage than we did in the last two at large races.”

Cable also noted that more than 63 percent of voters choose a straight Democratic Party ticket. That will not be possible in future elections.

Jason Varner is another candidate who said he’d be back. He got 619 votes (6.19 percent) for Thomasville City Council in Davidson County. He placed eight in a 12 candidate field vying for seven seats.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during this election process,” he told his supporters on Facebook. “While I regret to inform you that I fell a little over 300 votes short, my race is not over. 2015 will be here before you know it. I will never quit.”

Bill would allow forced annexation of ‘doughnut holes’

The Stop NC Annexation Coalition has issued a “heads up” to annexation opponents concerning a bill to allow Wake County to forcibly annex areas considered to be “doughnut holes.”

H.B. 486 Wake Municipalities/Doughnut Annexations would allow municipalities in Wake County to forcibly annex so-called “doughnut holes,” areas that municipality has surrounded by annexation.

In 2011, the General Assembly approved a bill to require municipalities to conduct a referendum to allow affected residents to vote on annexation. Previously, the law allowed for a petition signed by 60 percent of affected-area landowners to halt the forced annexation.

“The stealth erosion of the new annexation laws has begun,” said Cathy Heath, StopNCAnnexation Coalition director.

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Election law bills filed in the General Assembly

In the first two days of the N.C. General Assembly, four election law bills were introduced. A controversial voter ID bill was not among, even though House Speaker Thom Tillis listed it as part of the Republican Party’s agenda. The GOP is expected to use its veto-proof majority in both house to push the bill rapidly through the legislature.

Free the Vote NC, a ballot access reform group, is expected to have a bill ready in the next few weeks which would dramatically lower the barriers for third parties and independent candidates to get on the ballot. It will be similar to a bill which passed the House last session, but failed in the Senate.

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Durham should privatize forensic analysis

Durham should leave behind a “broken system” and turn over forensic analysis to a private lab, rather than hiring State Bureau of Investigation analysts, said the chair of the Durham-Orange Libertarian Party.

“The purpose of a crime lab is to objectively analyze forensic evidence from a crime scene in order to produce an unbiased assessment of the facts,” wrote Jason Melehani in an op ed published in the Durham Herald-Sun. “Unfortunately, government-operated crime labs present a serious and direct conflict of interest in administering justice.”

Melehani noted that an independent investigation by two former FBI agents requested by state Attorney General Roy Cooper uncovered gross corruption in the SBI lab which lead to the execution of three innocent men. The investigation found more than 230 cases over a 16-year period that were manipulated unfairly to produce results intended to help secure convictions.

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Forced annexation ends

Forced annexation is now history in North Carolina. Gov. Beverly Perdue allowed H.B. 845, the Annexation Reform Act to become law without her signature. The key provision of this bill allows property owners in an affected area to stop a forced annexation if 60 percent of the property owners sign a protest petition. The bill would also require municipalities to provide free water and sewer hookups for property owners in the proposed annexation area.

“This represents a huge change to a very bad law that was a blemish on the State of North Carolina,” said Cathy Heath, director of StopNCAnnexation. “This is a change of historic significance.”

StopNCAnnexation was formed eight years ago by a Wake County group fighting a forced annexation with a mission to use the internet to organize citizens across North Carolina into a cohesive effort, to assist each other and convince the legislature to end forced annexation.

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Municipal broadband bill creates ‘faux market’ not free market

Gov. Beverly Perdue should have vetoed a bill that eliminated financial advantages municipalities had in setting up broadband service, a Libertarian Party of North Carolina spokesman said Friday.

“The governor should have vetoed this blatant intrusion into the free market and city business,” said Matt Drew, state party chair. While Libertarians do not believe municipalities should be in the business of providing broadband service, he said this bill does not create a “level-playing field” for private competition as supporters claim.

“The playing field is already tilted heavily, in the other direction — in favor of big service providers such as Time Warner Cable,” Drew said. “Supporters of this bill want to create a ‘faux market’ rather than a free market.”

“In a faux market, laws and regulations are written by and lobbied for by large incumbent corporations, with the intent of suppressing competition and protecting their market position,” Drew explained. “This bill is intended to protect these large incumbent service providers from city-owned network competition, closing a previously unnoticed gap in their market position defenses.”

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