News: CJ Exclusives

N.C. politics week in review: October 12-18, 2019

Each week, staff at Carolina Journal looks back at the week in N.C. politics and chooses what we think are some interesting, relevant stories you may have missed. Here’s a week in review:

ECU Poll: A new poll from East Carolina University offers mixed messages on the future of President Trump. The poll found 50% of North Carolina voters not in favor of impeachment and removal of Trump from office. But 44% of respondents support the effort. A little more than 50% are ready for someone new in the Oval Office, while 44% favor Trump’s re-election. The poll surveyed 1,076 N.C. voters Oct. 2-9. The margin of error is plus or minus 3%. 

Disaster declaration: Residents living in communities hit by Hurricane Dorian will get additional resources to recover. The U.S. Small Business Administration granted Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for counties impacted by Hurricane Dorian. The Small Business Administration’s approval of North Carolina’s disaster request is an important step to getting more resources to the people affected by Hurricane Dorian,” Cooper said in a news release. The SBA granted a disaster declaration for Carteret, Dare, Hyde and New Hanover county and the contiguous counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Craven, Currituck, Jones, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Tyrrell, and Washington. 

Keith Poston resignation: Keith Poston, president of Public School Forum of N.C., is leaving his job Oct. 31. Poston said he plans to focus on family matters. Michael Priddy, former chairman of the Forum’s board of directors, will serve as acting president and executive director until a replacement is found. Poston has served as president since January 2014. He hosted the weekly “Education Matters” TV show, which featured a variety of experts discussing education in North Carolina.

Campaign announcement: E.C. Sykes has a new team member in his campaign to defeat current N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. Buck Newton will be Sykes’ campaign chairman. Newton is a former state senator and 2016 Republican Attorney General nominee. “We have a golden opportunity in this election to finally take back the Secretary of State’s office and institute policies that will improve the business climate in our state, finally putting North Carolina back on the right track,” Newton said in a news release. 

TeamCFA resignations: Charter management organization TeamCFA has lost several senior officials. Tony Helton, formerly the chief executive officer of TeamCFA and Achievement for All Children, has resigned from both positions. Jill Burleson, formerly the chief of staff at TeamCFA, has left the job. Gregg Sinders was listed as North Carolina director of TeamCFA, but the News & Observer reports he’s acting as a consultant for non-TeamCFA schools. While TeamCFA isn’t closing shop, the organization’s future is unclear.

Disaster spending: North Carolina is no longer classified as a “slow spender.” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has released a report classifying the state’s disaster spending as “on pace.” HUD reported that North Carolina has spent more than $4 million in each of the past three months. Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has long been criticized for its slow pace in doling out the Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery program funds. 

NCAA warning: U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, put the NCAA on notice over its treatment of student athletes. “We’re coming for you,” Romney said, as reported by the News & Observer. “We’re coming to help these young athletes in the future, and the athletes of today, make sure that they don’t have to sacrifice their time and sacrifice, in many cases, their bodies without being fairly compensated.” Romney made the comments during a roundtable discussion with U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C. about compensation for college athletes. Walker introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act in March to remove a restriction preventing student athletes from being compensated for the use of their name and image. California recently passed the Fair Pay to Play Act, allowing college athletes to endorse products or get paid for signing autographs.

Solitary confinement: The N.C. Department of Public Safety is being sued. North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services and the ACLU of North Carolina filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of four men subjected to years of solitary confinement while in prison. The lawsuit contends the practice of solitary confinement violates the state’s ban on cruel or unusual punishments. “There is a clear medical consensus that solitary confinement is virtually guaranteed to inflict serious pain and create or exacerbate mental illness, doing nothing to rehabilitate people or prepare them to reenter society,” Irena Como, acting legal director for the ACLU of North Carolina, says in a news release.

Biden visit: Former vice president Joe Biden is coming to Durham. The contender for the Democratic presidential nomination will hold a community event Oct. 27 to hear from voters. Biden will make his case for why he should be the Democrats’ choice to challenge Trump in November 2020. A location for the event hasn’t been announced.