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Go Vote

i-voted-sticker.gifWe’ve been busy the past month or so talking to lots and lots of North Carolinians. To be specific, we’ve spoken to over 12,000 registered voters in and around Wake and Mecklenburg counties over the past three weeks, urging them to vote, and giving them the tools and information they need to do so. We’ve been busy asking these folks what is important to them, what needs to be done to improve in their communities, and what we can do help.  

In short, we’ve been really, really busy.

We've heard a number of complaints and concerns about voting from a number of you, so we wanted to address a few of them here, on election day, so that you can go out and vote with a clear mind.

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Multiple personalities

multiple-personality.jpgIf you had the stomach to make it all the way through last night’s debates (yes, there was a NC gubernatorial debate as well), then congratulations to you: You now know less about the candidates than you did before you started.

Ok, not exactly. But if you’ve been following any of the campaigns for the past few months, you were probably rather surprised to see which version of each candidate showed to debate last night. We had “aw, shucks” McCrory, a surprisingly animated Walter Dalton, a less-than-polished Obama, and, most surprisingly, a quasi-moderate Romney. What the heck is going on?

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Sandalwood/Heritage Park On Slow Mend

IMG_20120712_182352.jpgIf you know anything about rental properties in Charlotte, NC, you know it can be quite a mixed bag.  There are some excellent apartment complexes and others unfit for any creature larger than a cockroach.  Sandalwood, now known as "Heritage Park," falls somewhere closer to the bottom than the top, as any resident will tell you.  However, improvements are underway...though slowly. 

Residents are still meeting roughly every six weeks with Torian Priestly, an asset manager for The Benoit Group tasked with gathering the much-needed funds to fix the apartments.  Issues like black mold, which can be fatal, and bug infestations are still common in the apartments, though some tenants have seen improvements.  At a meeting eight weeks ago residents and Priestly agreed that, first on the list of improvements had to be the electrical system.  The fear of fire from faulty electrical wiring is very real for many.  In a meeting held Thursday, September 19th, Priestly agreed that finding the funds to fix the electrical system had taken longer than proposed, but assured residents that the assessment of apartments would begin within a week.

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Quite a character

relatability.JPGThere’s having a relatability problem, and there’s having a relatability problem. And then there’s Mitt Romney’s  relatability problem.

The trouble with seeing everything in black and white is that you always miss the grey. And if ever there was a person who views the world in black and white, it’s Mitt Romney. It is this singularity of vision that served him so well in his professional life. Profit and loss, win or lose. These are absolutes that he can grasp, analyze, and conquer.

But people are not numbers. Our actions, ideas, and opinions can be quantified, for sure, but there is always something lost in the process. Some will say it is our humanity, our very essence of being, that is lost, but I think it’s something even more basic we lose when we try to quantify people: we lose our character.

I mention this not because I think Mitt Romney lacks character, but because he fails to understands ours. In reducing us all to a simple paradigm, he instantaneously created a chasm where one previously did not exist. The gap between those who pay taxes and those who do not does not exist in the minds of most people. Who thinks that way? More importantly, why would you think that way?

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Holding the line

holding_the_line.jpgAsk your average man or woman on the street what the unemployment rate is, and they will probably get it pretty close. Why? We are bombarded by it all the time. When the official number comes down from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for both the nation and our state, it gets reported on the news. Every time a politician opens his or her mouth, we are reminded how he or she will “create jobs” and “turn our economy around”, and they always cite the unemployment rate. It’s everywhere. It’s ubiquitous. People care about it.

But there is an even more important economic indicator what was released yesterday by the US Census Bureau, and there’s a good chance you haven’t heard anything about it: the poverty rate. Granted, the poverty rate is only calculated once a year, for the previous calendar year, and much more goes into its calculation and analysis than seasonally adjusted jobless claims, but it is incredibly important.

So, what is the poverty rate? It’s pretty bad: 46.2 million people, or 15 percent of all US residents, lived in poverty last year. Keep in mind that the official poverty level for a family of four in 2011 was $23,021, so we are, in reality, talking about many, many more people struggling mightily. This might not sound so bad, except that this comes on the heels of years of increasing poverty in the United States.

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