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by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond 

City of Greensboro threatened with legal action over landfill

Greensboro City Manager Rashad Young received warning on Tuesday from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a Durham-based nonprofit that works on behalf of low-income communities of color, that reopening the White Street Landfill “would disproportionately impact Greensboro communities of color, thereby subjecting the city to legal challenges.”

The nonprofit asked the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources last week to deny a permit application submitted by the city in February to discard municipal solid waste in Phase 3 of the landfill. The nonprofit’s letter cites a clause of state law requiring the department to deny application for a permit for a waste management facility if it “would have a disproportionate adverse impact on a minority or low-income community.”

Staff attorney Chris Brook wrote in his letter to Young: “Four of the largest five municipalities in North Carolina have MSW landfills in their general vicinity. However, none of them dispose of their MSW as close to their population and business centers. The MSW landfill serving Charlotte is 19 miles from downtown, the MSW landfill serving Raleigh is 13 miles from downtown, and the MSW landfill serving Winston- Salem is eight miles from downtown. Bt way of comparison, the White Street Landifill is only four miles from downtown, next to thousands of city residents, and the only portion of the city capable of supporting future residential and business expansion.”

Opponents of reopening the landfill plan to travel by caravan from New Garden Friends Meeting to the White Street Landfill to demonstrate that residents of west Greensboro also oppose reopening of the landfill, along with those who live in the northeast quadrant of the city that would be most directly affected. — JG

Perdue addresses potential cuts to education during WSSU forum

North Carolina is well positioned for future job creation due in large part to the state’s investment in public education, Gov. Beverly Perdue said during a town hall meeting at Winston-Salem State University on April 8. Perdue touted the fact that her proposed 2011- 2012 budget does not cut any state-funded teacher or teacher assistant jobs and addressed the fact that Republican lawmakers have set a budget target that would cut $1.4 billion from her education budget.

“I will veto any budget that’s sent to me that does not fund every single state-funded teacher and teacher assistant in North Carolina,” Perdue said.

Chuck Kraft, executive director of Smart Start of Forsyth County, asked the governor if she would veto any budget bill that made “draconian” cuts to early childhood education programs Smart Start and More At Four. Perdue praised Smart Start as critically important but said her one line in the sand involves cuts to teachers and teacher assistant positions.

Despite the current recession, Perdue said there are signs the state’s economy is on the road to recovery. She pointed out that North Carolina is one of only six states with a triple-A bond rating and noted that in the past year Forsyth County has added 1,700 new jobs.

Perdue recalled the budget crisis of 2009 when the state was staring down the barrel of a $4.6 billion budget deficit. Perdue said she presented a balanced budget to the General Assembly by making “hard choices” based on a specific set of criteria.

“Any decision I make is about making sure that North Carolina is stronger than it’s been before and that we’re more poised for recovery and that all of our children and grandchildren have a shot at the future,” she said.

The town hall meeting was part of Perdue’s two-week “jobs tour.” Perdue touched on remarks made by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham, Guilford) earlier that day. Berger described Perdue’s jobs tour as “a diversion from focusing on the failed policies that got us to this point.

“It appears to me that the one job that Gov. Perdue is worried about is her own,” Berger said.

Despite the tone of Berger’s comments, Perdue vowed to remain above the fray.

“I’m the adult in the room,” she said. “I’m not a child in the sandbox. I have what it takes. I’m tough enough to get the job done and I’m smart enough not to try to pick a fight in the schoolyard, because at the end of the day, I am the adult.” — KTB

Greensboro tea party to feature Wake school board member

For the second year in a row, Conservatives for Guilford County is hosting the Tax Day Tea Party at Governmental Plaza in Greensboro. This year’s event takes place on Friday, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Featured speakers include Wake County School Board member John Tedesco, part of a majority faction intent on restoring a neighborhood school assignment plan and — according to their critics — re-segregating students by race, along with 2010 Libertarian Senate candidate Michael Beitler and conservative activist Isabella Adkins. A number of organizations representing small-government, pro-life and gun owners-rights causes attend. — JG

Miller protests republican budget imperatives

Few lawmakers were fully satisfied with the compromise that averted a shutdown of the federal government on April 8, but perhaps no one came out of it more frustrated than US Rep. Brad Miller, who represents North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.

“I have proven repeatedly that I am willing to compromise, but the demands that almost resulted in a shutdown were an embarrassment to our republic,” Miller said in a prepared statement. “It is reprehensible that House Republicans held pay for our military, for instance, hostage to demands that had nothing to do with the budget, such as gutting environmental protection and making one healthcare provider, Planned Parenthood, ineligible for women’s healthcare programs.” — JG

Guilford deed recorder requests new rules for MERS

Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen and John O’Brien, register of deeds for Southern Essex District in Massachusetts, co-wrote a letter to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller last week asking for a requirement that the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, or MERS, file assignments of deeds of trust and mortgages in local recording offices. Miller heads a 50-state group of attorneys general that is reviewing MERS’ role in the foreclosure crisis.

“First, the filing of all assignments would help recover the chain of title that determines property ownership rights that has been lost and clouded over during the past 13 years because of the scheme that MERS has set in place,” Thigpen and O’Brien said. “Second, transparency and confidence in ownership rights would be restored and this would prevent the infringement upon those rights by others. Third, this action would support a return to sound fundamentals in our economy between the financial services industry and public recording offices.” — JG

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