Archived Opinion

Raleigh ‘magicians’ must be held accountable

To the Editor:

A key skill for magicians is misdirection. Look this way so you won’t see what I’m actually doing. For four years, our legislators in Raleigh have shown that they are exceptionally talented magicians. They have passed legislation that enflames their base, while the real point of the legislation was either against federal law, harmful or ridiculous. 

The magic has been to keep attention on the most inflammatory components of the bills while slipping the really dangerous components through with little scrutiny.

Consider fracking. This bill was a waste of time and your money spent in hearings, arguments and exploring for gas deposits. Because natural gas was abundant and cheap, fracking was not going to happen in North Carolina. Why on earth would a company drill into unproven and, at best, marginal reserves under those conditions?

What this bill was really about was stripping local governments of the ability to manage their own resources. In Western North Carolina we depend on tourism and recreation for significant parts of our economy. We need exceptionally clean water to support that economy. That bill also prevented private landowners from stopping fracking on their own land.

Next came the Voter ID law. Again, the legislature addressed a non-existent problem, but generated a lot of angst. What this bill was really about was preventing a lot of elderly, minority and student voters from voting. As the legislators were told ahead of time, this law was ruled unconstitutional. 

Now we have HB2. The financial damage to the state is in the hundreds of millions. What this bill was really about was preventing Charlotte from experimenting with a higher minimum wage to see whether it would help their economy. The ‘bathroom bill’ also prevented employees from suing for discrimination in state courts, forcing them to take their issues to federal courts that are backlogged because the U.S. Senate will not confirm judicial appointments. There is not much doubt that HB2 will be ruled unconstitutional.

Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, voted for all of these laws that bring ridicule to our state and limit your rights. Magically, he has not yet been held accountable for the damage.

John Gladden


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