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Carolina Journal Radio No. 800: Carolina Journal Radio celebrates episode No. 800

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
September 17, 2018 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 800: Carolina Journal Radio celebrates episode No. 800

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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September 17, 2018 12:00 am

As Carolina Journal Radio marks its 800th weekly episode, we look back at some of the most interesting guests who have analyzed political, public policy, and historical developments over more than a dozen years. You’ll hear from Fred Barnes, Arthur Brooks, Charles Cooke, Steve Forbes, Robert George, Jonah Goldberg, Mary Katharine Ham, Andrew McCarthy, Deroy Murdock, Charles Murray, Peggy Noonan, Michael Novak, P.J. O’Rourke, Ramesh Ponnuru, Virginia Postrel, John Stossel, Cal Thomas, and Walter Williams. New data released from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction help tell the story of student performance in the state’s public schools. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the most important information emerging from the latest DPI report. The N.C. Historical Commission recently rejected Gov. Roy Cooper’s request to move three Confederate monuments from the State Capitol grounds to a historic battlefield site in Johnston County. But commission members hold a range of views about the best way to deal with the monuments. You’ll hear highlights from two members with contrasting viewpoints. UNC-Chapel Hill has attracted national attention after protesters toppled the Silent Sam Confederate statue just as the new school year started. The university system’s Board of Governors has ordered Chapel Hill campus leaders to develop a permanent plan by Nov. 15 for dealing with Silent Sam. You’ll hear Chancellor Carol Folt’s initial reaction to that timeline, along with concerns from BOG member and former state senator Thom Goolsby. State legislators have formed a new subcommittee to look into a nearly $58 million fund set up in connection with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, explains why lawmakers have questions about Gov. Roy Cooper’s role in establishing that discretionary fund.


From Cherokee to current attack from the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio I go guy during the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state.

No numbers from the state Department of Public instruction help tell the story of student performance in North Carolina's public schools will seek experts help making sense of those numbers the state historical commission recently rejected a proposal to remove Confederate monuments from the state Capitol grounds here are highlights from a debate on the topic will also hear competing perspectives about the future of UNC Chapel Hill's silent Sam statute plus will highlight a new group set up to investigate $58 million connected to the Atlantic coast pipeline. Those topics are just ahead. But first, a look back at some of the history of this program.

Carolina Journal radio the following words marked a new era in North Carolina. Radio this week from Carolina Journal, another big hole in North Carolina state budget. That's the voice of John Locke foundation Pres. John Hood announcing the launch of this program was Carolina Journal radio or than 15 years ago. Hood is now the Locke foundation's chairman and the organization is seeking other changes. One constant Carolina Journal radio now marking its 800th weekly episode. Let's review some highlights when you look at the great crises we found that it was a government policy that brought about the crisis in each case the private sector, free markets, get the blame.

That's Forbes media CEO and former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes was made more than one visit to Carolina Journal radio.

I think of the American people realize that the Washingtons program of been spending raising taxes, trying to take over healthcare is not the way were going to get our country a good growth path in the future. Forbes is one of many Carolina Journal radio guests with tell that the value of America's system of free enterprise another American enterprise Institute Pres. Arthur Brooks road to freedom is effectively for enterprise the road to freedom as a society is free enterprise and the reason I say this is in response to a common stake that people make in the conservative movement unsteady for enterprise is nothing more than economic alternative is not an economic alternative is a moral imperative and overly meddlesome federal government could stand in the way of economic growth. Libertarian economist Walter Williams warned us that state governments can AP growth as well. Many state governments may give or make a verb or difficult environment for businessmen to operating this law that regulates the activities of all kinds of taxes for North Carolina. If I were the government I would eliminate those disincentives for businessmen to come in several guests and focused on the important role America's 40th president plaguing our nation's history. Peggy Noonan wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan.

He knew how to persuade Tina how to bring people along with them but he did. They didn't put the bully in the bully pulpit know it was not much of a bully that the biggest thing about him.

Of course, was that it had a very special kind of political courage, and it was the political courage of someone who swings against the tide rubbished a new rule of national review discussed Ronald Reagan's relevance today we stick to those old principles apply to new circumstances and that's in fact what Reagan did you know he didn't just run on Barry Goldwater's campaign platform of 1964 looked around and saw there was a different world. There were different challenges Americans wanted different things and she didn't really deviate from conservative principles, but he had practical solutions to the challenges of that time.

Speaking of presidents, multiple guests have discussed the impact of our 44th president that includes syndicated columnist Cal Thomas lot of people calling socialism. I don't know what you would call it, but it's certainly being done without the permission of the public. We don't elect dictators in this country. The best advances are done by consensus by bringing the public along author and columnist Jonah Goldberg raised concerns about efforts to stifle dissent from Barack Obama's policy proposals.

This quest for unity. This quest for silencing dissent is in that climate, that history's greatest mistakes and crimes are made, and regardless whether or not you agree with Obama's rhetoric, Obama's programmer agenda. Let's keep in mind that you know I don't think dissent is the highest form of patriotism, but I think it's really scary in our hearing. The dissent is the lowest form of racism Fred Barnes of Fox News and the weekly standard says reelection allowed Barack Obama to reveal more of his left wing ideology she got about raising taxes optically raising taxes on the wealthy is on the bottom. Of course it doesn't seem to care whether that will have an adverse effect on the economy, which it certainly would just something he wants to do, Mr. Roy Murdoch panned the president's signature piece of legislation. I don't think the advocates of Obama care, thought through this proposal at all.

I don't think they thought about the unintended consequences. I think they're really living in a fantasy land where they think they can bring 30 million people in the system were not in often coverage and have Cosco down rather than up is a basic abrogation entire concept of supply and demand Andrew McCarthy of national review raised questions about federal law enforcement agencies different treatment of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump every person, whether he is the president or the lowliest person is supposed to be equal not only before the bar of justice but also how they are regarded by the federal and the and the other police and intelligence agencies.

And when when we see that you know if your one particular striper person. You get one quality of justice and that everybody else gets a quite different quality of justice. I think that's very alarming to and it should be TV host John Stossel made the case for libertarian policies, including a more market-based approach to pharmaceutical regulations arena.

Through this new heart drug say 14,000 American lives a year and all the reporter said great what it takes 10 years and $1 billion to get a drug approved so if you're saving 14,000 this year with the new drug that mean they killed 14,000 people last year and the year before that back 10 years did mean that Charles Cook of national review spelled out in conservatory and approach to public policy. How can we move forward on the right and try to accommodate all of the various factions not just libertarians and conservatives for younger conservatives and older conservatives as well and I hope what I've done is given a blueprint roadmap for that also works doubles perhaps as a roadmap for how to fix a divided country conservative television analyst Mary Catherine Hamm explain why she fights efforts to shut down political debate seem to be a lot more topics that are off-limits are scary to talk about resort of walking on egg shells and even more concerning than that is where public figures we take on some language policing as part of our jobs, but just regular people are feeling this sort of becoming pariahs being called racists or homophobes or whatever the-ism of the day is just for expressing a political position on Facebook and we felt like maybe this is not the America we want to live in author Virginia Poss drill highlighted the role of glamour and politics thing about Glamour is it always contains an element evolution hides costs. It hides details.

It hides distractions. It gives you the picture that you want to project yourself into and think if life can only be like that and that can be very inspiring. It can be very positive in an individual's life that when you bring it into the public policy sphere. It often hides the details that actually are going to be what it's like to experience that policy scholar Charles Murray highlighted the negative impact of the collapse of marriage among low income Americans. That's a stunningly large diversions between classes just 50 years because were talking about the central cultural institution. When marriage changes everything changes. That has meant, among other things, social capital collapses behavior of men changes because we also know social scientists demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that marriage symbolizes meant in addition to the big issues of the day Carolina Journal radio has explored history satirist PJ O'Rourke discussed Adam Smith's classic economics text. The wealth of Nations is fundamental.

Free markets has to do with individual liberty and and and property rights.

Starting with our right to ourselves, our right to our own self possession are right to be free people philosopher Michael Novak discussed the founders emphasis on American virtue.

You cannot have Republic special form of government without liberty. And you cannot have liberty without virtue, that is if people don't have really good habits. I think taking responsibility for their actions. Thinking about the consequences. Taking responsibility for their own destiny. They can't do that. How can a practice of government Princeton Prof. Robert George emphasized civic virtue.

If all we had to rely on where the formal mechanics of the Constitution.

Our liberty would pretty quickly disappear. It takes a certain kind of people certain kind of culture a certain kind of civic culture in which people exercise in exhibit a certain kind of virtue to make liberty actually flourished Carolina Journal radio has highlighted hundreds of interviews over the forward to many more mature with another interview and just about government plays a key role in your life affecting your paycheck the way you educate your kids the way you do business. How can you tell if government is doing a good job making the right choices.

Spending tax dollars wisely. Carolina tackles those questions every day. The John Locke foundation publishes Carolina Journal imprint each month and on the web each day at Carolina. you'll find exclusive investigative reports on topics. No one else is covering what else a rundown of the best new stories, editorials and opinion columns in North Carolina. John Hood's daily Journal news stories and important public and the voices of the newsmakers themselves at Carolina Journal radio and print on the air and on the web.

You can find the information you welcome back to Carolina Journal radio and Donna Martinez are North Carolina school kids learning what they need to. That is the heart of the discussion.

It's now underway following the release of new state test scores and accountability measures.

Dr. Terry stoops is vice president for research. Also, the director of education studies, the John Locke foundation.

He has been analyzing the data and joins us now to talk about all of that, Terry. Welcome back to the show. Thank you. First of all, your general impression. What is the headline for you out of all of this new data with her hasn't been much improvement in the metrics that we used to measure student performance and that includes graduation rates rates of growth, year-to-year growth and proficiency rates. We've seen some incremental changes over the last five years but really the story is the same as it was last year and that students don't seem to be doing better on state tests were graduating at greater rates than they did in previous years have essentially reached a plateau in this state where were just not able to really budge one way or another. It's it seems that way and we've not only plateaued overall but we've plateaued in our subject areas, especially the ones that we test the most, which is reading and math, and those, of course, of the areas that we want to see some progress in because we been investing quite a bit of money in especially reading instruction so those two areas in particular were not seeing the type of growth that we really need to.

And considering the investments that we've made, we would, according to those who believe that more money helps start to see some payoff talk a little bit more if you would about reading and math and what we're seeing is it declines that were seen were not saying declines necessarily. If you look at the five year trend. For example, in math we seen about a five percentage point increase in proficiency but in reading only a one percentage point increase proficiency over the last five year sourcing very incremental growth and is not really meaningful when you look at it because you know those are probably just variations that we see year-to-year and not really the kind of growth that we would expect, so we would hope to see in our test scores in most concerning is the test score growth in grades three through eight because these are the really the fat lay the foundations for literacy and math skills and were not saying growth in those grades and meaning in wreck seasoning reading and math as well. Terry, as I was reading through your analysis of this which is There were a couple of data points and analyses from you that really just jumped out at me. I want to talk about those bit you write this. Simply put, around half of North Carolina students are not on track to be prepared to further their education or enter the workforce after graduation.

Now, to me that's pretty stunning, particularly since the top line number on graduation in North Carolina is pretty darn high. That's right, we've seen an 18 percentage point increase in graduation rates since 2006. So you would assume that we've made such great progress in graduation rates that were graduating even better folks than we have, but there's really no indication that that's the case were still seeing students who graduate that continued to struggle.

Whether being college or career, the half that our career in college ready, which is what the state uses for those who achieve levels four and five on our five tier system are the ones that, of course, score the highest on the state tests but also the ones that have the skills that are necessary to be successful were not seeing much growth in that area and this year we hit 49% say in the college and career ready. Overall that's never really we we should be aiming to increase because Wilde's grade level proficiency which is called level III is important we should make sure that students really are prepared for what comes after graduation. You also did a little bit of digging into what are termed the subgroups and essentially then the different demographics of the kids there, sliced and diced different ways. You know, to in terms of of data and you write this shockingly only 39.7% of black students in elementary and middle school grades are proficient in reading and 36.5% are proficient in math.

That's terrible. We should be so concerned about that we absolutely should be. It's appalling and it has been that way for very long time for decades. In fact, in the fact that we see so few news stories about in so few people speaking up about the fact that these students are falling way behind when you're getting in a situation where roughly 4 out of every 10 African-American students just hit's grade level proficiency were not even talking about career and college readiness.

Then there is a crisis on hand in a crisis that we need to address immediately. Unfortunately, we don't see the kind of urgency either from the media from my elected officials in addressing these huge achievement gaps. The truth is that they've existed for very long time. They're not going to be easy to close, but the first thing that we need to do is to admit that they exist, and judging from what we seen in the media these last 24 hours after the test scores were released. There didn't seem to be any urgency in addressing this issue. What is it that we aren't dealing we know it had a huge focus on money and per-pupil funding over the last several years, a huge public discussion and general assembly involved budget people involved and has been an increase in spending on K-12 education, but clearly monies not the number one answer here it's part of the answer is you have written about many times but we need to do what we need to get the best teachers and in front of these children and that's easier said than done, obviously, but part of the answer is making sure that we get the very best teachers in low income and low performing schools and that may require some financial incentives and other incentives to make sure that we get great educators in these areas but I think we also need to offer these kids choice. A lot of the schools that they attend have been failing for very long time and sometimes just a change in scenery will improve make vast improvements in student performance for students that are stuck in failing schools.

So if we can't get the kind of educators we need in the district schools these children attend.

Let's give him a choice to go to a charter school, a private school.

Whatever school best meets their needs. Let's think about what their needs are first rather than the demands of the system. We talked about a number of these a very challenging data points here but down.

There is a lot of data in this report, and I know that you've looked at at much of it for you. What is the bright spot in the data that's coming out about the last year for me is charter school performance for years. Charter schools lags behind their district counterparts when it came to student performance and we heard every year in the media of the charter schools are falling behind. Well, proximally six or seven years ago.

Charter school started outperforming school districts and now we see that this trend is continued. There are more a and B schools and school performance grades than there are in charter schools and aren't district schools and there are fewer C&D schools and charters and districts. So when you look at what how we grade schools, we find that charter schools are outperforming the district counterparts and that's a story that needs to be told you can start to understand exactly what's going on here with our students in North Carolina by reading Dr. Terry stoops piece on this Terry, thanks very much. Thank you stay with us much more Carolina journal radio to come in just a moment. If you have freedom we got great news to share with you now. You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups across North Carolina all in one place North Carolina It's one-stop shopping.

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You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carolina reporting and quick takes Carolina journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and let foundation analysts, opinion pieces and reports on higher education from the James Dean Martin, Center for academic renewal, commentary and polling data from the scimitar's Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council. That's right, all in one place North Carolina that's North Carolina spelled out North Carolina Try it today. North Carolina is changing not just day-to-day but outward to our minute to minute and 2nd to 2nd, how can you keep up with the changes, especially the ones that affect you, your family, your home, your job, make the John lock foundation and Carolina journal part of your social media diet on Facebook like the John Locke foundation like Carolina. Journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal news, insights and analysis you'll find nowhere else. Thanks to the experts at the John Locke foundation and thanks to the first-class investigative reporting of Carolina journal. Don't wait for the morning newspaper wait for the evening news if it's happening now it's happening here the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal. Have you covered with up to the second information like us on Facebook the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal did you know you can now advance freedom and free markets just by shopping with Amazon it's true online shopping is now a great way to support the John Locke foundation just shot using the Amazon smile program and designate as the mark foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop and Amazon donates money to assess the John Locke foundation.

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One of the hottest topics in North Carolina politics in recent months involves the fate of Confederate monuments state historical commission recently weighed in and addressed the future of Confederate monuments at the state capital was fondled is a history professor at UNC Wilmington the past and is often good but sometimes bad and ugly. We cannot alter or change history or write past roles and injustices by attempting to race it toppled or relocated symbols. We should study history to remind us teach us guide us and inspire us to be better persons and better citizens. By my calculations based on the comments posted on the public portal department natural cultural resources website and comments made to the Confederate monuments study committee during this public form in March 2018. More than 80% of North Carolinians are not in favor of relocating the three Confederate monuments, statues and memorials hold different meanings to different people spite the fact that no one living today condone slavery, while readily conceding the evil and inhumane bondage system.

The denied African-Americans their freedom and agency songs.

I write may represent the sacrifice of ancestors who were killed or God brothers the southern soldier sense of duty to family and state.

However misguided the calls for which they fall, at least indirectly, that is to maintain slavery, fondled, voted to keep state capital monuments in place voting to move them. Valerie Johnson Prof. of women's studies at Bennett College issue of Confederate parliaments on the North Carolina state capital ground is actually a question of identity. We have an opportunity to reshape and reframe how we understand ourselves as North Carolina will.

This is not erasure act of ventilation active using the absence of these monuments to create an accurate statement regarding North Carolina and her constituents is re-unlatching citizenship and more truthful and inclusive way at the center of the Civil War was the continued enslavement of African people. As such, the monuments represent the commitment of North Carolina took care of the Confederacy. These monuments are a continuum of visual presence of the ideology of my supremacy there really member oils more appropriate to a cemetery space Museum if the Museum contextualizes them appropriately listening to highlights from the North Carolina historical commission's recent debate about the future of Confederate monuments on the state capital ground overture with more Carolina journal radio with a moment where doubling down on freedom at Carolina journal radio were proud to bring you stories that impact your life and your wallet.

And now get twice as much freedom when you also listen to our podcast headlock available on iTunes headlock is a little bit different. It's a no holds barred discussion that challenges soft headed ideas from the left and the right, like Carolina journal radio headlock is smart and timely but with headlock you'll hear more about the culture wars get some more humor as well. We guarantee great information and a good time double down with S. Listen to Carolina journal radio each week and listened Locke to remember, you can listen to head or subscriber download each week iTunes Carolina journal radio and headlock just what you need to stay informed and stay entertained both brought to you in the name of freedom by the John Locke foundation will Qubec Carolina journal radio amateur coca. One of the hottest topics in North Carolina political news involves the fate of the toppled silent sand monument at the UNC Chapel Hill campus.

The UNC system's board has ordered the campus to come up with a plan for dealing with that monument by November 15.

Shortly after that announcement Chancellor Carol Fuld addressed reporters were grateful for the support of the board of governors chair Harry Smith and Pres. Margaret spelling on a proposal to develop and provide a plan for the future of the Confederate monument to the board by November 15, 2018 in their resolution. They recognize that we have been the Board of Trustees and the leadership team have been engaged in considerable work to explore options regarding the Confederate monument and they can't also say that they asked. We expect to be in a position to provide a plan for a lawful and lasting path to protect public safety reserves the monument and its history and allows the University to focus on its core mission, education, research, economic stimulation and creating the next generation of leaders, says the university is considering its options. We will look at all options, including one that features a location on campus to display the monument in a place of prominence honor, visibility, availability and access where we can ensure public safety ensure the monuments preservation and place in the history of UNC in the nation. Rows of filing appropriate processes to secure any needed approvals from the Board of Trustees, the board of governors North Carolina historical commission and or the North Carolina Gen. assembly to still worry about the danger of protesters continuing to surround the site that once housed the monument said from the start that I think safety is a paramount issue. I think were going to be working on Apple vanity was consider others options and as we make a plan that considers risk and longevity and I think we are in a very timely public safety is on my mind every minute of the day so this gives us a chance to identify plan can be a legal solution which allows us to have a safe and protect what this full week about the University systems order for a November 15 plan in dealing with their resolution. I think we have the opportunity in time to make a plan that we believe can be lawful and achievable time focusing on that right now. What are some of the options you would see might explore if silent Sam doesn't return to its old spot to tell you that since I just got the resolution about 10 minutes ago. I'm not ready to give you an answer.

We have been looking at things for a long time, considering all sorts of options. So I think will start moving pretty quickly, but I do think it's a bit, it would be thoughtful for me to start speculating on it within just minutes of having a chance to think about it, but will certainly be out there talking to people and and I think I'm looking for that kind resolution. What are you and see Chancellor Carol fold priorities, as this issue moves forward to two major missions that a great university that's going right now we have hospitals we have coming in and on campus and so we have to always be very mindful that we keeping all that going and say and at the same time we have to be really directing our efforts towards providing safety, so I do think that our police have already begun working with all the partners that they knowingly work with their resolution agreements that bring officers from around the state to assist. They are well underway.

Considering that and I do really think they will do everything necessary to keep the peace at that moment and keep us going forward. That is, those are the two things that we have to really be mindful of, and we get to that plan and we get to the other things that we need to do this work. Some critics have complained that you would see is taken too long to resolve this issue. Response always sympathetic of people that want things done faster. That is the era where in, but in the end I'm going to do it in a lawful way that is sustainable and sometimes that doesn't get done as quickly as people like Ty, I tend to respect all that voice and concern that I'm still very, very focused on the safety I'm keeping University going hand really meeting the desires of this plan and I think we have to do what's the message. The Chancellor sends to supporters and critics of the silent Sam monument will do what we've done in the past is try to give our community picture of what's happening and how were trying to handle it. I try very hard to tell students because I believe this I believe in free speech. I believe in the right to protest, but I also believe in safety first so I think as we assess it. Were going to do our best to keep the emotion out of it and the fact in itself. That's how we'll try to deal with each one of these protests. My job is that those rights and have safety at the same time.

So in the past. If we are concerned we asked people. He suggested that they stay away because it may be difficult but with also said you can exercise your rights and will do our best to keep you safe. So I think I continue to want to say that and believe in it and that's what we'll do this fold have a response to those who criticize campus police for allowing protesters to topple silent Sam. I know the campus police. I see them all the time. I think that we have to be very mindful that they put themselves out in the front line every single day and I have immense respect for them there highly trained and very professional to tell you that you probably know this but the police are the first ones to want to do a postmortem after every single event so they don't fit and we did that ride to the next thing also questioning and evaluating their own performance and were completely welling to work with the board of governors, or others who want to really ask questions about that, but I have a lot of confidence in them and I turned to them again, and I particularly have confidence in their absolute quest to do things in the best possible way and there commitment to community only one member of the UNC board of governors voted against the resolution asking for a November 15 report in a video former Republican state senator Tom Goolsby outlined his concerns. I appreciate the commitment of the board of governors to obey the monument protection act but cannot support the motion as it is written, the timeframe is for to all, especially in light of the violence. The ongoing threats and the continuing danger to our campuses.

The lack of law enforcement strategy apparent training and support on the UNC Chapel Hill campus continues to disturb me.

I appreciate the chairman's appointment of toolbar governors, water, former North Carolina Sheriff that is Philip Byers and also Dr. Bob Mucha was served with in the Senate they're going to have a task force to investigate the rotting property destruction and violence of the Chapel Hill campus as well as the police action or, more appropriately, the police action. On August 20 an outside law enforcement expert will be retained before the end of this week to investigate this entire sordid matter of state law allows 90 days from the date the statue was torn down for its reinstallation. However, violent outside groups such as NT for who's been identified came on our campus to riot destroy property calls late him and they will not wait around UNC Board of Trustees figures out what happened and prepares a written report immediate action on our part is necessitated and required.

That's Tom Goolsby of you would see board of governors. He's just one of the policymakers responded to the ongoing concerns about the future of UNC Chapel Hill's silent Sam statute will return with both Carolina Journal rate commitment to truth and transparency in government. That is the mission of Carolina Journal and we are proud to deliver and now proud to tell you the North Carolina press Association has honored to members of our team with awards reporting and writing, that's right, we really do deliver award-winning journalism we shine the light on government spending, reveal the truth about boondoggles and dig deep into programs paid for with your tax money. We keep you in the know in a way other media outlets don't in our reach and influence are growing all of our outlets. We reach more than 1 million N. Carolinians each month so make sure you're one of them. Our monthly print edition arrives in your mailbox every month.

Our online daily news site Carolina has fresh stories, opinion pieces, and more. The award-winning Carolina Journal team I reporters make government accountable to you. Call 1866 JL FINF0 for your free subscription, welcome back to Carolina Journal radio I'm Donna Martinez.

Well it is making headlines again were talking about a $57.8 million discretionary fund created by Gov. Roy Cooper and attached to the Atlantic coast pipeline project in eastern North Carolina. Carolina Journal is reporting that state lawmakers have now created a special group to probe the who what where when and why of this fund is a fund that some say shows Gov. Cooper overstepping into fiscal matters that are really the purview of the Gen. assembly, Rick Anderson is editor-in-chief of Carolina Journal.

He's been following this story closely for a number of months now and joins us with the latest Rick welcome back.

Thank you. Remind us of the details of how this fund came about.

The coast pipeline is a natural gas pipeline deliver gas from Frak fields in West Virginia go through Virginia and then spur off into North Carolina have one terminal point around the Hampton Roads area, Virginia, and then another one in Ross County and pipeline itself was supposed to deliver this natural gas and can do so in a way of a higher volume than the typical gas lines will assess the plan and the during the course of approval of this somehow or another the Cooper ministration got involved in trying to cut a separate deal with the utilities that are building will operate the pipeline to provide some additional money for North Carolina, over and above the amount of money that these utilities are paying for any sort of environmental impacts that the pipeline will have during the process of construction or operation.

This fund has raised a lot of eyebrows among members of the Gen. assembly and and other folks outside of government as well. The problem with the fund is $57.8 million amount, which seems to of been somewhat arbitrary amount of money that was included is something that was negotiated outside the normal boundaries of the fund of mitigation fund is there called with private companies to handle environmental concerns, typical processes, there may be some sort of negotiation that takes place that involves officials from administration. But at some point the Gen. assembly gets involved in it because the North Carolina Constitution gives only the legislative branch.

The ability to appropriate funds now in some cases, such as the tobacco settlement. For instance, which happened because I don't know a couple of decades ago, the negotiations were taken place all outside the Gen. assembly.

The general summaries have signed off on it said were okay with it, but in this case, the general simply was not involved at all until Gov. Cooper restored Department of environmental quality announced it and it's recalled everybody off guard and the generals and we really try to get to the bottom of the services with the governor himself control this fund.

Yes, government would control the fund or the governor and whoever he designates to administer the fund would control the fund. He has said that the fund was going to spent be spent for environmental litigation purposes for an economic development projects mainly, but the problem, of course, here's the general simply has absolutely zero role where this money is going to go that's constitutional issue but people on a lot of sides of of the political spectrum have said is a real problem which leads us to the latest development at the general assembly. They have actually created a special subcommittee to take a closer look like this is through the joint.

The legislative commission. Government operations and so this is a this is a committee that looks at his sort of investigatory committee and incident reviews how different state agencies operate and the committee will be a member of mostly, I believe senators are not mistaken, who will look at the will have subpoena power.

The power to demand documents will have the power to compel testimony.

They're going to figure out exactly how this all unfolded, who was involved, who basically's set this up who started came up with the number 57.8 million and why this was done outside the normal process because the vinyl quality officials of Artie said that they arranged for $6 million from the utilities to handle wildlife relocation another wetlands restoration sorts of things like that that take place when you dig a major pipeline, most of which is going to go along existing right-of-way so is not as if there's a lot of additional damage it was to be caused by this to begin with, so they really want to get to the bottom of this. The only way they're going to do that since Cooper ministration has not been forthcoming with either general assembly or media about delivering any documents that were worthwhile.

Is it okay we got to actually appoint a special committee and give it subpoena powers.

Another source of investigatory powers that you would normally find legislative do we even know if this 57.8 million has been handed over and by whom and where it exists in a bank account somewhere. We're not sure we probably think not because the word what information we are from the administration talks about how the money delivering money being threatened actually say that none of the site is changed hands so they keep giving very very vague and obscure sorts of probe protests against this investigation by the general assembly, but they really have it sent directly where the monies ago was a go sit in the state treasurer has said as much.

I ended who would spend who would be authorized Smith okay so call me nave, but somebody's got to know whether it's been paid or not been paid and where it is or isn't having how is it possible that the Cooper administration could simply refuse to say, well until somebody actually has somebody swear under oath threatened with going to going to the Pokey unless they tell the truth, then there really isn't any way they could be compelled to do that because side issue with this is one of the issues with North Carolina's open records public meetings laws is that, essentially, if a state agency even if the general simply request the state agency delivers records that there is no way a way a recourse of getting those records. If the state agency decides not comply without filing a lawsuit or this case without having someone under oath, saying that they have records of this case.

If it goes to that extent, then you would have the legislative branch, essentially suing the executive branch to turn over the information we've never seen that before one branch of the other.

The updated civics course is right and that's one thing, it's that the outgoing Tommy Tucker brought up in the hearing committee hearing was that people getting tired of these lawsuits, but again sometimes it seems to be essentially because we had all of the number of different separation of powers disputes between the governor going back have a quarry of the Gen. assembly that is not unusual that this would rise could rise the levels well as it relates to this set new naming of this subcommittee to look into all this has the governor or his administration responded specifically to this. They have exactly call to which the company close to the governor hasn't quite gone to twitters or nobility. Pres. Trump yeah but that's what is almost getting that point but they've been very dismissive. I just said this is unnecessary.

This is something we have the right to do and you are preventing environmental protection from taking place live by doing this right now.

You are your tears you are interfering with the environment you're killing children back out there that kind of rhetoric coming from the governor's office about this because they don't want the stepdaughter of horses has applications for a couple of other funds that are are currently litigation will legal settlement involving a Volkswagen's clean air act of violations that also there's little going on now with the New Hanover County. That's taking place with the government have control over Smithfield funds for hog waste resolution goes back to the governor easily.

This is another when this can get very very interesting and Carolina journal will be following this story every step of the way we been talking with Rick Henderson. He is editor-in-chief of Carolina Journal thank you thank you that's all the time we have for the program this week.

Thank you for listening on behalf of my cohost Mitch.

Okay I'm Donna Martinez.

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