Loading...
BYH, it is so not surprising that after going ballistic for a year over Clinton's e-mails, Fox 'News' (state-run TV)...

King of the hill is not good goverment

Tom Campbell.jpg
Loading…

Saturday, August 11, 2018

What we are currently witnessing in state government feels like watching the movie “Groundhog Day.” Our legislature passes a bill, the governor vetoes it, lawmakers override the veto, then the issue goes to court. These political games of “gotcha” are a lousy way to run a government. It is time consuming, costs money (taxpayer dollars) and distracts us from issues we need to address.

Why do we repeatedly go through these charades? In years past we boasted of being a “good government” state but the current rancor, hyper partisanship and political maneuvering don’t come close to such a claim. What we’ve got resembles the childhood game we played called “King of the Mountain,” where the biggest and most powerful lorded over those below.

Here’s what I believe most of us want. We want competitive elections where either candidate could win and the one with the best ideas prevails. Instead we get nasty elections that ignore issues and feature character assassinations. We want elected representatives who work for the common good, not for lobbyists, special interest groups or even just their own caucus.

We want representatives who insist that the best legislation comes from open public hearings and compromise, where public input and amendments are allowed, not from behind closed doors by an elite few. And we’re tired of tired claims that the other side did it first. We want citizen legislators for whom this isn’t a career, who serve for a time, then return home to be an average citizen.

Without taking sides with either political tribe or with one government branch over another there are two obvious changes that will help improve state government. The first is to return to a time when legislative leadership changed regularly. Prior to 1977, the house speaker served only one two-year term and leadership in the Senate came from the elected lieutenant governor, limited to one four-year term. This practice upheld the guiding principles of our founders, who were fearful of placing too much power in too few hands. Now senior legislative leaders serve almost as long as they like.

Former House Speaker Joe Mavretic makes the case. “The first four years,” Mavretic says, “they work for the people. After that, they work for their friends and special interest groups.” Remember these powerful leaders were not elected by the majority of the 6 million voters in our state. They were chosen by a few thousand voters in a particular district, then, by whatever means they could employ, were able to convince the majority of members of the majority party in their respective chambers to give them the power.

Our founders were fearful of giving the governor too much power but at least our executive is elected by all the voters. Not so with House or Senate leadership. This needs changing.

The second change is to end gerrymandering, where politicians choose their voters instead of the other way around. North Carolina is not a ballot initiative state, meaning a large number of citizens are unable to force an issue to a vote. Change must be made by legislators, who obviously don’t want to give up power.

Here’s how we get it done. When a legislative candidate asks for your vote, ask him or her to sign a pledge to set up an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission. If enough do so we can end gerrymandering, then work on terms for legislative leaders. Both will help in restore good government to our state.

Tom Campbell is former assistant state treasurer and creator and host of NC SPIN, a statewide panel discussion that airs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday on UNC-TV and 10 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday on the North Carolina Channel.Contact him at www.ncspin.com.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

November 21, 2018

If Democrats are trying to reassure anyone that they won't impeach President Trump, they are not doing a very good job of it.

Just days after her party won control of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi made clear that Democrats might impeach the president even if Trump-Russia special counsel Robert…

Byron York

November 21, 2018

Despite the manufactured panic of the migrant caravan, the midterm's so-called "referendum on Trump," the nation's nonsensical gun laws, and an election that often seemed a direct rebuke of misogynist GOP leaders and policies, the pollsters told us the 2018 election would begin and end with health…

Billy Ball

November 21, 2018

Recent hurricanes Florence and Michael, and the damage to our coastal region, highlight two things: Sea level rise and unequal distribution of wealth.

Unfortunately, both of these are political as well as scientific. The current hyper-partisan atmosphere for discussing solutions is toxic and…

JimLeutze

November 21, 2018

Much of today's incivility and contempt for personal liberty has its roots on college campuses, and most of the uncivil and contemptuous are people with college backgrounds. Let's look at a few highly publicized recent examples of incivility and attacks on free speech.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch…

Walter Williams

November 20, 2018

Voters handed the leadership faction in North Carolina’s General Assembly a couple of black eyes this month.

First, two proposed constitutional amendments — which would have turned court appointments and the elections board, essentially, over to whoever’s running the legislature…

November 20, 2018

Disappointed after the midterm elections, Republicans are trying to decide which voters should be the party's top priority.

In recent elections, they have been losing votes from white college graduates, often in the suburbs, while gaining votes from whites without college degrees. Should…

PONNURU

November 20, 2018

I've got a confession to make: Back in 2006, I didn't vote.

It's not that I didn't want to. I'm one of those people who feels strongly that it's a basic duty of citizenship to vote in every election. I judge people who don't vote.

My excuse was that I was a UNC-Chapel Hill student still registered…

Colin Campbell

November 19, 2018

A false alarm in a North Carolina school this month was a sober warning all the same: Serious gun-law reform in this nation is long overdue.

Preliminary news reports suggested a school shooting could be in progress at Topsail High School north of Wilmington.

At around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning,…

November 19, 2018

VIENNA, AUSTRIA — Democracy is on the wane, even in this land of happy soft-spoken people; even in this broad boulevard, tree-lined city steeped in the ubiquitous strains of Strauss and Mozart.

They like most of the democratic people’s of the world have taken their democratic lead from…

douglascohn.jpg

November 19, 2018

Not that it is really in my interest to say this, but many of our political debates are a waste of time.

They may well be about important issues. But they go nowhere. The two different “sides” disagree strenuously without making a real effort to understand what their foes are saying.

So…

john hood.jpg
309 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 31
        Next Page»   Last Page»