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Guest View— State superintendent, school board battle

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It’s true that Mark Johnson, elected as state superintendent of Public Instruction last year, won the office fair and square. But Johnson has an outsized idea of what his powers should be in an agency that has a traditional line of authority that starts, really, at the State Board of…

The wrong way to reform the courts

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ROB CHRISTENSEN Syndicated Columnist This is the story of how two North Carolina legislatures approached court reform — one with prudent professionalism and the other with seat-of-the-pants politics. This is the 50th anniversary of a major overhaul of North Carolina’s court system, essentially creating the modern system of District Courts,…

Syria and the danger of elite consensus

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TREVOR THRALL Guest Columnist There was near consensus in Washington, D.C. in support of the U.S. strike on Syria. Voices from the left supporting President Donald Trump’s action include Hillary Clinton, most of America’s European allies, Tom Friedman and a large number of former Obama officials. On the right, the…

Our View— County should rethink government center

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Lincoln County commissioners recently put a pause on a massive construction project that will cost the county millions upon millions of dollars. They should take it a step further and stop the construction of the County Government Center in its tracks. The county, facing a budget shortfall of more than…

Judicial restraint can be disastrous

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JOHN HOOD Guest Columnist During a March 27 talk at North Carolina State University, Georgetown University law professor Randy Barnett told the assembled faculty, students, and other members of the audience that many of his allies on the political right were wrong. Barnett is a libertarian who has helped craft…

Mulvaney’s plan to reform the government

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CHRIS EDWARDS Guest Columnist President Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released a “Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce.” The 14-page memo from OMB director Mick Mulvaney creates a process for executive branch leaders to produce a detailed plan to…

Almost absolute power is corrupting in Raleigh, absolutely

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CHRIS FITZSIMON Guest Columnist Here is something you may not know about the way the General Assembly works these days. The odds are that your senator and representative have almost no say in what happens to controversial legislation. None. This week when the Senate considered a proposal from the House…

Reader’s Forum

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Thanks for new library This is written to express appreciation to Ms. Loretta Beam and the Lincoln County commissioners for making possible a new West Lincoln Library and a park contingent to it. Beam gave this 35 acres of land to the county and the commissioners unanimously accepted it. It…

Guest View— On raising the age

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North Carolina is moving to stop putting all 16- and 17-year-olds in the adult criminal justice system. Good. While many states provide adult trials for younger defendants accused of heinous crimes, only North Carolina and New York automatically treat everyone 16 or older as an adult. There were 89 inmates…

Schoolyard brawl over calendar law returns to Raleigh

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MARK BINKER Syndicated Columnist If you want to pick a fight at the General Assembly in no time flat, just say two little words: school calendar. Debates over a pair of recently vetted House bills that would send students back to their books by mid-August brought back memories of some…