Leading from the Left

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Golden State Doesn't Look So Golden

I just read that California may close up to 220 state parks. Wow, that’s pretty hard to imagine. California has a budget shortfall of over $20 billion dollars.

There are a lot of reasons why California is in such a mess; it’s a complicated tale starting with the passage of Prop 13 in the late 70’s, but the bottom line is that state is teetering on bankruptcy and is virtually ungovernable. It’s sad to watch.

It puts North Carolina’s proposed budget cuts in perspective, I suppose, but doesn’t make it any easier to swallow the draconian measures being considered by our General Assembly: teacher layoffs, cuts in school construction funds, huge cuts in mental health services and other social services, etc .

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kevin Foy to Retire

Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy announced late this afternoon that he will not be seeking another term in office. Kevin is serving his 4th two year term as Mayor.
My tenure as Mayor of Carrboro coincided with the first 4 years of Kevin's service as Mayor of Chapel Hill. It was my distinct pleasure to work with him on issues of mutual concern.
I've always been impressed with Kevin's commitment to put sound policy above immediate political concerns. He's a public servant rather than a politician; those are few and far between.

While I'm sorry to see Kevin retire, I certainly understand that 8 years leading a dynamic town like Chapel Hill is tiring. It's a sign of his wisdom that he knows when the time is right to leave.

Thanks, Kevin, for serving your community with distinction.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Tale of The Gay Apple

The ABC News report shows us just how silly anti-gay prejudice can be. Some folks in Hendersonville are upset over a 'gay apple' in their downtown.

There might just be more important things in the world to worry about.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

At Cross Purposes

Our own Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina is working to undermine one of the key components of Obama's health care reform plan. That's a shame. Read about it here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Economic Argument for Equality

A new study reports that Marriage Equality has pumped over $100m into the Massachussetts economy since that state equalized marriage rights in 2004. Governor Perdue, you've got a big budget gap to fill. How 'bout it....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oh, For Pete's Sake

The Republican National Committee will be entertaining a resolution to rebrand the Democratic Party as "Democratic Socialists." You can't make this stuff up. Not even their Chairman, the ever silly Michael Steele, thinks the resolution is a good idea.

"Start Spreadin' the News"

Last night the New York State Assembly passed a marriage equality bill by a very strong 89-52 margin. The bill now goes to the State Senate where passage is not assured. Governor Paterson, a marriage equality supporter, has promised to sign the bill and is working hard on it's behalf.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for word from NH Governor John Lynch as to whether or not he will sign that state's marriage bill. And the California Supreme Court should come out with a ruling any time on Proposition 8. And so we wait....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wanda Sykes at Correspondent's Dinner

You've gotta watch this video of Wanda Sykes skewering everybody in sight at the Correspondent's Dinner last night.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Wish There Were More R's Like This Man

The following is an excerpt from remarks made the debate on marriage equality in Maine's State House this week. As the House prepared to vote, this arch-conservative New England Republican rose to his feet, and quietly, dispassionately explained why he would vote for equal rights. It's worth a read. Wish there were more like him.

"But a few days ago when I was selfishly feeling a little too sorry
for myself for having to make this decision, and selfishly feeling a little too
concerned about how my friends here and at home would feel about my decision, I
finally came to the realization that it is not about my problems, and it's not
about me, and it's not about my traditions, or my values, or the many respectful
and decent differences of opinion that will be voiced in today's debate.
It's about gay people who would like the freedom to get married; and the
fact that they, like it or not, have to receive the permission of others...our
legislators...and our governor...before they can do that.

It is awkward being a legislator at times, especially days like this. But like
all of you in this great chamber, I asked for this duty and knew full-well there
would be days like this. We all sought the honor of representing the
People, and perhaps we feel that honor the greatest on the miserable days like
this. I know that there won't be many pleasant phone messages on the machine
when I get home late tonight. But as I said, it's not about me. It's
about gay people seeking the right to marry. My job is to represent them like I
would represent all others, the very same way I would want that they represent

Thursday, May 07, 2009

University Lake Regs Under Assault

The following is a text of an email Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton sent to various parties the other day. It was forwarded to me, and I'm posting an abridged version here because I think the issue is very important. Apparently there is an effort underway to increase develop in the University Lake Watershed.

Carrboro's progressive era was cemented in place in 1987 when Ellie Kinnaird and others concerned about water quality fought for strong regulations to protect the Watershed. Ellie got elected Mayor, and environmentalists such as Jay Bryan and Frances Shetley were elected to the Board of Aldermen.

We shouldn't go backwards on this issue. I urge you to read the following message from Mayor Chilton and let the Carrboro Planning Board and Board of Aldermen know where you stand: on the side of strong, progressive watershed protections.

"A proposal is being considered by the Carrboro Planning Board to
allow for increased development in the University Lake Watershed this
Thursday May 7 at 7:30 at Carrboro Town Hall.

I am concerned that this proposal will compromise our drinking water quality and will also set a very bad precedent of eroding the strong water quality protections that the environmental community has worked so hard to promote over the last 20 years. This proposal is being promulgated by some members of the planning board and could easily be pushed forward. The Planning Board needs to hear from our
community about this issue.

Thanks for any help you can lend."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Slow, Steady March

Governor Baldacci of Maine signed a bill today equalizing marriage rights for gay people. Maine becomes the 5th state to do so. The Bangor Daily News has the story.

Yesterday the Washington, DC City Council voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. And later this afternoon, the New Hampshire State House will likely give final approval to that state's same sex marriage legislation. No definitive word on whether or not NH Gov. Lynch will sign the measure. I'm betting he does.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Equality in the News: Friday Round-up

This was a big week for LGBT people and others who care about equality. Here's a list of the measures that passed this week with links to newspaper articles. Next week is shaping to being even more significant as both Maine and New Hampshire may finish the process of equalizing access to the institution of civil marriage. But first things first...

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act passed the US House by a wide margin.

New Hampshire's State Senate voted to legalize marriage for Granite State same-sex couples. The vote was a dramatic last minute reversal of what was thought to be a sure defeat only the day before. The final decision rests in the hands of Gov. Lynch (D) who may or may not veto. Follow developments on a great blog: www.bluehampshire.com.

Finally, Maine's State Senate also passed a marriage bill. As the House is even more liberal than the Senate, the bill is expected to reach the Governor's desk with a week or so. Gov. Baldacci hasn't said whether or not he'll sign the bill. Bluehampshire.com is a good source of information as this unfolds, as is www.pamshouseblend.com or www.turnmaineblue.com.

When it rains, it pours.