Pete's Prep: Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018

SBI have Mandy Stone's phone

Well, this is interesting.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the State Bureau of Investigation has former County Manager Mandy Stone's county-issued mobile phone.

County officials did not say why or when  investigators took Stone's phone, nor did they provide further  information on the longtime employee's abrupt retirement.

The news comes as court filings continue to hint that investigators are looking into others beyond Wanda Greene and her son.

You'll recall that Stone abruptly resigned in June, in the wake of a bizarre public statements from the County.

Stone was county manager until she retired this summer, giving Chairman  Brownie Newman her notice less than a week after federal officials  announced another indictment against Greene.


In her final days running county operations, Stone was  named as the anonymous employee who claimed to have spoken about life  insurance policies with then-board Chairman David Gantt. The policies  cost the county more than $2.3 million and are tied to money laundering  and fraud charges against Greene.

Commissioners previously claimed that none of them knew the policies existed. 

Gantt  strongly denied the claim, and emails later revealed that Stone  directed the release of information without commissioners' prior  knowledge.

Emails show Stone stopped communicating  with her county address by noon June 7, the day before she would notify  Newman of her retirement.  

A text message obtained  by the Citizen Times through a public records request shows a note  then-Human Resources Director Lisa Eby sent to Stone that afternoon:  "Such a deep sense of sadness and grief. I hope you are OK." 

The screenshot provided by the county shows Stone responded, but it is cut off.

NC Democrats: We can be trusted to describe these radical proposals objectively

The Republican leaders of the General Assembly called last week's special legislative session in order to ensure the language of the six constitutional amendments on the ballot would accurately reflect the lawmakers' proposals.

Why? Because rumors began swirling that the two elected Democrats who would lead the ballot-writing exercise might not be completely impartial.

Yesterday, those two Democrats proved the GOP leaders were right to distrust them.

From the News & Observer:

The first meeting of a state commission responsible for explaining  constitutional amendments to voters turned into a nearly hour-long  criticism of some of the proposals.

Voters will see six proposed  changes to the state constitution on their ballots this fall. The  Republican-led Legislature pushed them onto the ballot, despite  Democratic legislators’ objections to some of them. 

Attorney General Josh  Stein and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, both Democrats and members  of the Constitutional Amendment Publication Commission, bashed some of  the proposed amendments, raising points that were muted or absent from  legislative debates. The third commission member, Republican Paul Coble,  did not attend the meeting, which gave Stein and Marshall the chance to  offer their views without rebuttal. 

Senate Leader Phil Berger called the meeting a spectacle.

N&O editors make a right call

It's not very often I agree with the premise of a nameless editorial published by the News & Observer, but today it one of those times.

Naturally, the editors rely on hyperbolic partisan rhetoric to make it clear that they really hate the Republican-led General Assembly. But, looking beyond the boilerplate outrage, we see the writers are longing for a Democratic Party to believably occupy a moral high ground in the political arena.

Of course, the Democratic Party does no such thing. But the editors really want them to.

It’s the wrong way to represent the people of our state, Democrats  say. And they’re right. Since Republicans took power in the General  Assembly in 2010, they’ve been a national laughingstock — a model of how  not to govern.         

But this month,  Democrats have had an opportunity to stand behind the principles they  trumpet. Instead, they’ve looked a lot like the lawmakers they’ve  scorned. 

The editorial urges Democrats that if they "want to persuade voters that you’d handle power better than the party that has it, you should act like it now."

In this sentence, we see the fundamentally flawed assumption that fuels so much animosity towards the "mainstream media" - particularly the News & Observer.

The truth of the matter is that Democrats will NOT handle power better than the GOP.

We have more than a century of evidence proving that this is a fantasy indulged only by those who are inclined to support the Democratic Party. History shows the Democratic Party in North Carolina was utterly corrupt and engaged in truly awful acts to preserve their own power.

Democratic strategist Thomas Mills all but confirmed that Democrats are, in fact, not better than the Republicans when it comes to dirty tricks and power politics. 

The editorial reminds me of the old saying, “Never carry a knife to a gun fight.”

This is confirmation that these are the rules of the game and we should expect Democrats to continue playing by them. Which is not surprising, considering that this is how Democrats governed when they ruled the roost.

If Democrats recruited [Supreme Court candidate Chris] Anglin, then they only succeeded where  Republicans failed. Had the GOP succeeded in their effort to recruit  candidates to split the Democratic vote, then Democrats would have  looked foolish for not having done the same thing. They have no reason  to apologize. This is the rough-and-tumble world of North Carolina  politics and the GOP calling foul is laughable.

This is the way politics has been played in this state for decades.

This is not news.

Except maybe to the editors of the News & Observer.

But, wait! There's more!

Parents of murdered children have their day in court today. They're suing human refuse Alex Jones for defamation.

Does North Carolina's pre-K program actually work?

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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