Once again I’ve gotta start this off with a quick apology — I took last week off mainly due to some end-of-session exhaustion and traveling to Wilmington for an early Fourth of July party. But I’m back in the game this week.
So here’s the deal: Each week I’ll highlight five editorials from across the state — avoiding anything in major metropolitan areas like Wake or Mecklenburg counties. The roundup might not have what most of us call “timely” editorials because some papers are weekly or don’t publish a daily editorial. I’ll try to keep them timely though. I’ll focus on hitting at least one paper from each of the state’s regions (or try to at least).
Why in the world am I doing this?: It’s simple — so many of us get wrapped up in our own little bubbles in Raleigh or Charlotte or where ever we are that we forget that there are cities and towns and villages in our own state that are battling some of the same issues we are. We often forget about the small towns, or we write-off their ideas as “Podunk” or “redneck.” We shouldn’t. It’s important to consume ideas and opinions from outside of your comfort zone. And this is what I’m attempting to do.
Here’s the rundown for July 3-7
The Wilson Times: “Free speech bill a reason to cheer on Fourth of July”
From the editorial: “Dissent will not be silenced under HB 527. However, demonstrations that turn to riots and force the cancellation of controversial assemblies, such as the violence and vandalism that scuttled Milo Yiannopoulous’ February speech at the University of California-Berkeley, must not be tolerated.
“If progressives can’t differentiate between peaceful protest and censorship by crowd, perhaps they need a refresher course in constitutional law. They can rest assured that even if HB 527 did impose excessive limits on student demonstrations, First Amendment protections still reign supreme.”
The Gaston Gazette: “In NC, ‘no’ doesn’t always mean no – but it should”
From the editorial: “Senate leader Phil Berger, however, said last week that there’s no hurry to address the issue. ‘I believe that if a woman does not consent, that should be a criminal offense, yes,’ Berger said. But he added that the question of whether there needs to be a new law needs to be carefully vetted.
“And at least one criminal defense lawyer has opined that the 1979 decision was corrected by the General Assembly and is no longer valid. But tell that to the state’s district attorneys — including Cumberland County DA Billy West — who won’t bring rape charges in such cases. And Professor Carissa Hessick at the UNC Law School says the new law was ‘silent/ambiguous’ on that point. She adds that in 1996 the state Supreme Court cited the 1979 case in another ruling. It’s pretty clear that a rewritten law is very much in order.”
The Rocky Mount Telegram: “Domestic abuse bill sends a message”
From the editorial: “It is important to send a clear message to abusers that domestic violence will not be tolerated. But, as Puckett and victim advocates pointed out, even more important to the cause of stopping domestic abuse is early intervention and awareness. Victims of domestic abuse need to know about the support that they have here in the community. Last year, My Sister’s House received a $1.7 million grant to start the Nash Edgecombe Family Justice Center, which offers resources and services from domestic violence advocates, nurses, doctors, officers, court officials, counselors and more — all in one location.”
The Washington Daily News: “Finding the right balance”
From the editorial: “Some people may not like to hear it, but raising the minimum wage to $15/hour is not a plausible idea. All it will do is make matters worse — i.e., some employees being replaced by touchscreen kiosks at McDonald’s. In a rural, Tier 1 county, officials should tread lightly in their support of a change that could potentially eliminate jobs.”
The Mount Airy News: “City should pursue food, beverage tax”
From the editorial: “Taxing a restaurant meal or a deli sandwich is less painful, simply because people can easily choose not to eat out if they can’t afford to. People running to a fast food joint or a nicer restaurant are opting into the tax, rather than having it imposed on them.
“Second, it taxes tourists as well as local residents. Tourism is and will continue to be an increasingly significant cog in the local economy, but one thing often overlooked is the cost of tourism.
“More than 20,000 people come into town every year for Mayberry Days. Visitors during Autumn Leaves Festival measure into the hundreds of thousands. And there’s a constant stream of visitors throughout the rest of the year.
“That puts wear and tear on city streets, sidewalks, no doubt increases the workload for city EMS and public service workers — all of which costs money.”
That’s all folks! As always, let me know if you have any thoughts or concerns about the roundup — I’d love any and all feedback.