Democracy inaction

The General Assembly adjourned last week, so we relatively safe — for a while. You might have been taught that democracy is the “rule of the majority. Critics say democracy is really “rule by the majority who show up.”

This session provides a more accurate definition of democracy: “rule by the minority of special interests groups, lobbyists, and government employees who get access to entrenched incumbents to get what they want, despite the demands of the majority of the people.”.

Despite two study commissions, several pubic hearings attended by thousands of opponents of forced annexation, and a deluge of email and calls demanding annexation reform, legislators kowtowed to the taxpayer-funded League of Municipalities and did nothing.

On the other hand, Marc Basnight, Senate president pro tem used his power to ban the use of plastic bags by large retailers in Outer Banks counties. It’s unclear whether the restaurant he owns in the area will be affected.

Following up on the “success” of the welfare grants to Google and Dell, the GA gave $12.5 million to Apple Computer. Small businesses didn’t fare so well. Bars and restaurants will take a hit when the state ban on smoking in their establishments goes into effect January 1.

The governor who during the election proclaimed she’d be “in charge of education” sat idly by while the legislators cut teachers salaries and other parts of the education budget. She ordered teachers to take time off and initiated across the board cuts in state agency budgets, the worst way to cut spending.

Then she hired “communications policy advisor” for a salary of $136,00) to join a communications director (salary $115,2OO), a senior adviser for government relations (salary $153,000) and a policy director (salary $160,000) already on her staff.

Worth reading in the News & Observer:

Legislation is tailored for a state in transition

Wins, losses, near misses and hangers: Session recap

The session’s big winners and losers

The Generous Assembly