Representative Thomas Wright has been indicted. Just like Jim Black, Wright seems determined to hold onto power as long as possible. While many think he should have been asked to leave long ago, I must admit that watching his political allies try to ignore the obvious provides great entertainment for those of us who think Black should have a lot of company in prison.
Listening to Black's political heir, current Speaker Joe Hackney, talk about Wright is painful. Hackney's comments prompt the following question: Which is worse, stealing a few dollars or stealing the power to steer millions of dollars by stealing votes?
A couple of weeks ago, in Gerrymandering 101 (November 30, 2007 edition of The County Edge), I explained how the Black/Hackney team gerrymandered North Carolina to retain power. To me, what they did was a far greater crime than any of the charges against Wright that are getting so much attention.
Perhaps if the Black/Hackney team hadn't gerrymandered NC, Wright wouldn't even be in the House. Pender County Commissioners brought the case challenging the current gerrymander, but Wright s county, New Hanover, was part of the illegal gerrymander. (Not just my opinion that what was done was illegal. . . the NC Supreme Court has officially ruled that it was illegal.)
Of course, if the Black/Hackney team hadn't gerrymandered, Hackney might not be in the House. Clearly someone had the staff conceal the correct census numbers, so Orange County could have 3 reps rather than being part of a 2-member district. Since Hackney is elected from the Orange-gerrymander district, you have to suspect he knew what was happening.
So here's the question: What did Hackney know about the inaccurate census numbers used for Orange County and when did he know it? If Hackney plans to preside over a session seeking Wright's dismissal, someone needs to ask him about the bigger theft.
Editor's Note: Fern Shubert served North Carolina from Union County. She stepped down from the North Carolina to run for Governor in 2004. Previously she served three terms in the North Carolina House before being elected to one term in the NC Senate, according to the not-always-reliable Wikipedia.
Your blogger and her husband, Rob, voted for Sen. Shubert in that 2004 GOP primary and feel that North Carolina lost a great chance at an excellent governor.
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