Thursday, September 27, 2007

Long time no blog.. I have to apologize for those of you who actually check out the blog. First, yes I missed you too! Ha ha..

Anywho, it has been an absolutely insane week since I last blogged here. I was about to cover a story on small businesses and what the owners think of these corporate incentives last Friday when a plane crashed into McCalls BBQ in Clayton. I was the closest one to the door and spent the next six hours covering it!

Monday, I was busy taping a Cary mayoral debate that will air this Monday night. At the same time we were short reporters in our Fayetteville office so I spent the next two days in Moore and Cumberland Counties covering the Emily Haddock murder case. She's the 12-year-old who was murdered by the suspects who broke in and shot her while she was home sick.

Between the plane crash and the murder case it was like my old days of reporting when I covered whatever happened that day. The murder story was interesting because it was on a rural road in a rural county. A couple of the suspects live on the same street as the girl so it wasn't exactly easy getting interviews.

Makes me appreciate all these slick politicians and advocates that are available at a moments notice to do interviews!

However, I was told I might be covering pumpkins on Friday. The drought and Halloween you know. Guess you can't say I'm not versatile right!

Monday, however, I will be back in the government/political saddle as I hit the road to New Bern. That's where Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue is making it official that she's running for Gov.

In the meantime we have a really interesting Political Connections this weekend on the reliability of political polling. We have the chief pollster from Elon in as well as Justin Guillory from PPP. It airs at 6pm Friday and Sunday 11am. For those of you in the Triangle we are also airing a 30 minute Cary Mayoral forum right after the statewide Political Connections.

It's good to be back in the swing of things. Hope you haven't forgotten about me and forgive me!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Glazier running for.....the state House. There was talk of him running for Congress but Rep. Rick Glazier sent out an email late last night announcing he's running for re-election in the State House of Representatives.

And if you want to hear more from Rep. Glazier watch Political Connections tonight on News 14 Carolina. He and Rep. Paul Luebke join us for a very interesting talk about economic incentives in light of the recent Goodyear legislation.

It airs tonight at 6pm and again on Sunday at 11am.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Historic day for NC voters.... If you forgot to register for the October elections don't sweat it. You can register and vote for the election as long as you do it before the end of the day on Oct. 6th. Today marked the first time ever you can do that as a new law went into effect.

Cary voters are also making history by using an experimental instant runoff ballot. Essentially, you pick your first choice then pick a second and third as well. This prevents the need for a special and costly runoff election with few voters if a candidate doesn't get a majority. If it goes well expect to see this on all ballots in a few years. The state could use it on a statewide race as early as next May.

A new law changes the way we cover elections now too. The amendments prevent us from shooting video of people voting unless we have permission from the precinct official and every single person that could be in the shot. That means if we shoot a wide shot of 20 people voting they all have to agree.

We can no longer get those shots of the ballot going in the machine either. The new changes prevent us from shooting ANY video of a ballot once it has been completed.

It shouldn't make our lives too much more difficult but it does indeed change it quite a bit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Counties getting PR training. It was an interesting morning at the Quorom Center in downtown Raleigh. County commissioners from across the state met to learn how to run a good PR campaign.

Essentially, these county commissioners were learning how to beat the realtors.

Thanks to the General Assembly, counties now have the opportunity to raise a sales tax or land transfer tax on their own. The can put one or both on the ballot but can only use one tax at a time. They must also get voter approval.

Counties say they desperately need the money to pay for schools, water and sewer, and other needs to deal with the old problems and incoming ones with growth.

The Realtor's Association put up a huge and expensive campaign to fight the plan but lawmakers approved it anyway. The fight's not over though, as the realtors take the fight to the local level.

27 counties are asking for approval of one or both this November already. Six more are planning on it next May and the list continues to grow.

County Commissioners will tell you the training was more about convincing voters the need for the increase but make no mistake this training was as much about fighting the realtors.

I'm told by the communications chief for the association that this is a rather unusual event that's never been done before.

Definitely adds an interesting twist to the election season!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

OLF love...It appears the Navy and the State of North Carolina have made up. After months and months of battles over a proposed landing strip in eastern North Carolina, there appears to be a new beginning.

A Gov. Easley study group met with Navy officials today. There was a huge difference in tone from both sides. Environmentally, state and local leaders aren't budging on being against the Washington/Beaufort County site. The Navy wasn't budging either, but now it appears the Secretary of the Navy may reconsider other sites. He has a list and will make a decision by November 15th which ones he might consider.

Four of them are in the extreme northeastern part of the state in the middle of nowhere and two others are in the southeast part of the state.

However the southeast ones are likely out of the equation because the Rear Admiral present today said it should be closer to the Virginia Naval Base than North Carolina (Cherry Point) because it will be used much more.

The site would be an airstrip for F-18 Super Hornets to simulate night landings and takeoffs on aircraft carriers.

Cautious optimism for a happy ending was the theme from pretty much all sides.

Monday, September 17, 2007

June Atkinson says she wants a full term in office! She was elected in 2004 but if you remember she didn't take office until late the following year because the race was contested for so long.

The State Superintendent of Public Schools announced she's running again today. She's likely to face an interesting and potentially tough opponent-Eddie Davis from the NCAE-North Carolina Association of Educators. It could get particularly interesting if it becomes a public financing race too.

On another note, Judge Howard Manning spoke to a State Board of Education testing committee today. He told me he's having another hearing next Wednesday at 10am. He was blunt as usual in his speech.

A few new things though this time. It appears he's now been convinced the problem in high schools is in a big part because the kids are coming from middle schools with issues.

Does that mean middle schools are next to see him?

He was also pretty critical of teachers this time around. Typically he's been more critical of principals.

Head over to to see the full story. I'll link to it when it gets up on the web. In the meantime the interviews for this past week's Political Connections are on the right of this screen.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Elections offices are busy getting ready for upcoming elections. A new law allows registration and voting at the same time during early voting. North Carolina law requires voters to register 25 days before an election.

The new law still won't allow voters to register and vote on election day, but will allow anyone to register and vote during early voting.

I talked with Cherie Poucher from the Wake County Board of Elections today. She said to remind voters if you're going to take advantage of the new law to make sure you bring a driver's license with you because you need ID. You also need current proof of address if your license isn't up to day. That would mean you have to show a utility bill or something like that.

Wake County also has an experiment beginning Thursday with a new runoff process. In the past if a candidate did not get a majority of votes there would be a runoff election. That's expensive and very few voters show up for a runoff. The new instant runoff allows voters to pick a first, second, and third choice. This means there's no need for a second election and about a week later once the original election was certified we would know who won the runoff based upon those special instant runoff ballots.

If this works, expect the legislature to expand this pilot program.

Enjoy the rain this weekend and stay in to watch Political Connections! It airs tonight at 6:00 and Sunday at 11am. This week we talk about immigration with U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx and NC Rep. Ruth Samuelson.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I have to apologize for not posting in several days. Earlier in the week lawmakers were back. Then, I learned I'm hosting debates on News 14 Carolina for the Cary and Durham mayoral debates. As glamorous as my job may seem (ha ha) I don't have a secretary and had to call the candidates (and their staffs) myself and had to get both sides for both races to agree on a date and time and then make sure it jived with our production schedule. Needless to say it has consumed me these past few days in addition to my daily reporting duties and working on Political Connections.

More details on times for the debates but please email me questions you want me to ask for these 4 candidates. I always love viewer input.

Shoot me an email at
News 14 Carolina to host mayoral debates

RALEIGH – Senior Political Reporter Tim Boyum is moderating two debates on News 14 Carolina.

One debate is between the Cary mayoral candidates and the other between the Durham mayoral candidates.

Let your voice be heard – send Tim your questions for the candidates. Some of them may be used during the debate on News 14 Carolina.

Click here to send your question to Tim in an email. Make sure to include your name and hometown.

The Cary Mayoral Debate between incumbent Ernie McAlister and Harold Weinbrecht will air Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m. and Sept. 30 at 11:30 a.m. The Durham Mayoral Debate between incumbent Bill Bell and Thomas Stith will air Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. and Oct. 14 at 11:30 a.m.

The debates will also be available on and Carolina on Demand, Digital Cable Channel 1234.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Goodyear compromise now law. I'm in a rush running on another story, but check out my story on News 14 for full coverage of the special session.

Late this afternoon the Governor signed it into law after hours of debate and passage at the General Assembly today.

Here's the comment from the Gov.
"This tool is a fantastic statement by the General Assembly that North Carolina is focused on the future and determined that our citizens will compete and win in the new world economy. This legislation will create cutting edge economic competitiveness in North Carolina, unlike any state in America. It requires huge investments -- each more than $200 million -- by companies that accept the challenge to build world-class facilities here that are the most technologically advanced on the globe. The bill ensures workers' job security, wages, benefits and advanced training as part of the incentives. It is performance based with clear criteria for earning any incentive.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

So lawmakers are back in town and I'm not there to say hello. Kinda weird that I'm not there as News 14 Carolina's political reporter huh?

Well, today former Durham novelist and now convicted killer Michael Peterson (jury found him guilty of beating her to death-he says she fell down the stairs) had his day in front of the NC Supreme Court.

Back in 2003, before I was moved into my role of politics, I was a general assignment reporter covering Durham and Chapel Hill. I covered the entire trial (3 months) and the circus that surrounded it. So, considering that it was decided that I should cover his appeal and another reporter would go to the General Assembly and cover that circus.

Speaking of that circus, the House is now on it's 357 recess. Negotiations are going on behind the scenes to try and avoid a vote on a veto. It must be going slow considering all the recesses.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Nifong behind bars...So, I was the reporter sent to get Mike Nifong heading into the Durham County Jail.

Let me tell you that was an experience. All of the sudden I see someone running and I get up and we sprint to the end of the block. As I look up, I see a huge group of people with two signs in front. The signs say "We believe in your integrity and goodness". They start coming toward us and I can't see Mr. Nifong. Suddenly, I do see him. 30 supporters or so were litereally surrounding him.

The supporters clearly were not happy to see us. I will admit we can be pushy and don't move fast when we try to get the shots, but it was a mob. A couple of the supporters kept telling me to get my microphone out of their face when it was no where near them. Then they kept putting their hands in front of our camera lenses and then one started trying to grab my microphone and knock it down. Another photographer could be heard "don't touch my camera" several times. Nifong and his supporters said nothing beyond that.

His supporters say "we love you" as he was sent in.

On another note-watch Political Connections tonight. LOL.

We take on the water supply issue. The head of Water Resources and the League of Municipalities join us for the show! 6:00pm tonight and 11am Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sinsheimer is at it again...the former Democratic strategist and now at times private political investigator hand delivered the following letter this morning.

September 5, 2006

Leslie Merritt
Office of the State Auditor
2 S. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27699-0601

Dear Auditor Merritt,

I am writing to ask you to reconsider your decision to serve on the local Board of Directors of the Four Oaks Bank in Zebulon as a paid Director (per your August 21, 2007 letter to the North Carolina State Ethics Commission).

In April of this year, your office announced that you were discontinuing your side business of providing financial advice to clients and that you were closing the business because it was proving to be a distraction “to the good work that this office is doing.” That was a good decision that is now being undercut by your efforts to seek outside employment again. The North Carolina constitution does not make provisions for a part-time state auditor. Quite simply, we don’t need a state auditor that moonlights, and your repeated attempts to garner outside income while in office have undercut your moral authority as the state taxpayers’ watchdog.

I also would caution you to avoid using your office for partisan attacks. Your criticism of the State Board of Elections earlier this year, as well as your 2007 audit of the governor’s corporate recruitment efforts, spoke more to a partisan agenda than efforts to improve state government. North Carolina taxpayers deserve a full-time, non-partisan Auditor.
The recent scandals in state government remind us that there is much work ahead to make our government more transparent, efficient and accountable. I believe that the Office of the State Auditor can play a vital role in that effort but only if is led by someone who is dedicated to the task and above reproach.


Joe Sinsheimer

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So, the Goodyear incentive bill that Gov. Easley vetoed and Speaker Hackney is looking at a special session to override took an interesting twist today.

A group called Americans for Prosperity claims it garnered an email from Hackney's press aide. I'll put it below, but it's essentially plans for a media assault this week to drum up support for the Goodyear bill. This happens all the time, however we rarely get a glimpse of it and it's particularly rare to see it from somewhere like the Speaker's office. The good thing, from my perspective, is it makes me think about making sure to get both sides of the story. This is a prime example for many of you what goes on to get coverage and how to "spin" things. It's just interesting that's the best way I can put it. They're argument has a right to be heard and we will air it along with the anti-incentive opinions to create an objective story and let the viewer decide. But it's interesting to see the lengths and tactics people/organizations/groups will go to get what they want. This is not an opinion about anyone involved in this email exchange or the Goodyear bill. To me it's just a fascinating read to see how we can be "worked" for a story as much as we "work" others. Below is the Speaker's office email sent to me by American for Prosperity.

"From: Bill Holmes (Speaker Hackney's Office)
Sent: Sun 9/2/2007 12:05 AM
To: Carin Savel (Rep. Glazier); Rep. Rick Glazier; Rep. Margaret H. DicksonCc:;; Robin Johnson (SpeakerHackney's Office)Subject: RE: Request


Rep. Glazier said when we talked today that he and Rep. Dickson would courtsome other media folks in the Fayetteville area -- said a good editorialexpected tomorrow or Monday in the Fayetteville Observer and that inaddition to WTVD interview Monday he thought early they would try to reachother reporters from the area, maybe WRAL or whomever else has a bureauthere for other stories Monday or early in the week. He said he would askyou to touch base with some reporters to pitch the story since you know thatmarket so well. If you're tied up let me know, and I'll get to work on ittomorrow or will help you in whatever way you need.I let him know that I reached out to Jack Betts with the Charlotte O andElliott Potter with the Freedom Newspapers of eastern North Carolina and hesaid he was fine with that. I've also touched base with editorial writers Iknow in Burlington and Winston-Salem to pick their brains a little. I'll letyou know when I hear back from them.Below are some thoughts about this that I shared with the Speaker and someof my co-workers. He gave me the go ahead to work on this plan. I don'tthink there's anything magic in it, but I do think it's important that wetry to make this more about people and community, not policy.Please let me know what you think.I also mentioned to Rep. Glazier that the city and county leaders, economicdevelopers and some small business people should try to have a pressconference on Wednesday, preferably in Raleigh where we can more easilyreach reporters from the state's biggest papers, to talk about theimportance of Goodyear to that region. They need to share information aboutthe local economy, remind people about the Black & Decker closing, thechallenge because of expected BRAC growth and deployments and whatever elseis happening there that makes this need real and unique. Rep. Glazier likedthe idea and said today he'd call the local EDC to get that going. My wishis that it could happen Tuesday, but I don't know if that is realisticbecause of the holiday. We should try to bring in a good variety of peoplefrom the area, maybe even people from outside Cumberland who work at theplant or who are local suppliers to help support the idea of regionalimpact.I can follow up the press conference with a release with a widedistribution.I also have some thoughts below about what the company can do help. Theirstatement in the newspaper the other day sounded a bit petulant and a littlebit like they were trying to hold the state hostage. I think they need tosoften their tone and say they like Fayetteville, they don't want to leave,but they have the welfare of their company to consider. It would be great ifthey could maybe release an estimate of how much they've invested in theirplant over the years, how much they've paid in state taxes, what theestimated impact is of the salaries they pay, stuff that supports the ideaof them having an important presence in the area.What else do you think we should be doing?As for the facts and figures, I just need those by Tuesday when I get backto working the phones on this matter. Thank you for steering me to the rightfolks.> My thoughts on this are:>>_ We need to paint a fuller picture of the dire economic picture in> that region. Not just say that it's one of our 40 Tier 1 counties, but> explain what that means, to say that Goodyear pays twice the average> salary or whatever it is; that the economy of Cumberland County is> regressing (I believe it just slipped back into Tier 1 status); that> deployments have hit the area hard. I know we may be reluctant in this> case to appear as if we're hiding behind the flag, but I believe that> if we just explain the reality of the situation it will help the case.> We also need Goodyear workers to step up and explain the reality of> what they face. I think Mark Johnson (Mark has since said the story is a hardsell for his editors at this point. Rep. Glazier has talked to an N&O reporter.We may also want to talk to Barry Smith. His eastern newspapers may have aninterest because they're in military communities -- Jacksonville, New Bern,Kinston. I'll see if I can persuade Elliot to assign a story to him.) may biteon a story like that. He> asked a question yesterday that led me to believe he was heading inthat way. I think we can encourage local leaders and economic developers tohelp> with this.>>_ We need the company to say that they are considering other> locations, that this isn't just a ransom note. Not in a hostile way,> but just to make it clear that it's a real possibility. We also need> them to dispel the notion of cutting jobs. They haven't done this> effectively and it's part of the reason this job cut talk has> lingered. Rep. Glazier could help with this since he has been working> closely with the company and its lobbyist.>>_ We need to court the editorial writers in Fayetteville and the> surrounding area to stand up for their community. Rep. Dickson has at> least a friendly relationship with the editorial page editor and may> be able to approach him. I only know him through reputation. (You guys haveobviously handled Fayetteville already. What other other papers in the region weshould approach? Wilmington is already staked out against it.)>> I think we need to make it clear that this legislation was crafted to> help a community, not a company. We've tried but it hasn't soaked in> with the press."