Monday, July 30, 2007

Legislature: 'The exuberance is gone'

Former Charlotte lawyer D.G. Martin has an interesting take on the atmosphere in the N.C. General Assembly these days in the wake of a couple years of revelations about legislative corruption and changes in ethics laws.
Martin knows a lot about the legislature even though he was away from it for a while. He was the UNC system’s lobbyist for years before retiring a decade ago, but came back earlier this year to temporarily run the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund while it was looking for a new director. Martin spent a lot of time at the legislature this year, and he reports some changes in a column entitled, “The exuberance is gone.” Here’s part of what he had to say:
“The legislature that I left 10 years ago was exuberant, even boisterous. Legislators and lobbyists alike projected cheerful self-confidence. Even in fierce battles, the contestants were often happy warriors. Even the roughest and meanest legislators loved their work.
“And, the rounds of eating and drinking together, admittedly most often at the expense of lobbyists, fostered camaraderie in the legislative building.
“Apparently all that came tumbling down with the recent scandals that shone a spotlight on the unholy connection between political fundraising, legal and illegal, and the votes and important actions of some legislators. The cheerful camaraderie that I missed this year had come to be seen as a breeding ground for secret deals and special favors.
“Ironically, as the legislature and I prepare to leave Raleigh and go home, the person most responsible for the changes in the legislature is going to a new home in a distant federal prison. Former house speaker Jim Black’s actions are as much responsible for the changes at the legislature as Richard Nixon was responsible for the nation’s post Watergate reforms.
“Quietly, almost whispering, many legislators and other insiders will still say that Jim Black was a good legislator who knew how to bring people together to get things done. Some call him a gentle persuader and an astute manager of the legislative process.
“In fact, the diminished spirit that this Rip Van Winkle noticed at the legislature this year, was, no doubt, a result of the sympathy, disappointment, and disheartenment that some, perhaps many, legislators feel as their disgraced former leader heads towards his new home.”

16 comments:

Gene said...

Awh, to bad. He only bribed/stole an election from nc voters and the Republican Party. Must not be a crime to Democrats since they quietly feel good about him. But then Democrats have been screwing voters for years.

Anonymous said...

The NC legislature is without question one of the most corrupt institutions in the history of the country. Forget Jim "I want to examine your kids' eyes between gin and tonics" Black, just look at this year's budget: a TEN PERCENT increase in spending while the economy stagnates, illegal aliens rape and kill, our schools graduate illiterate criminals, and a con artist on the take from the uptown mafia runs the local state University.

Of course none of this matters to D. G. Martin; as an attorney his only goal is thinking up the next swindle.

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" con artist on the take from the uptown mafia runs the local state University."

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Anonymous said...

What uptown group and which local university are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Philip Dubois, chancellor of UNC-Charlotte (excuse me, "Charlotte University" - cough - cough) conspired with the uptown mafia known as the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce to cook the books on a 100% dishonest "research paper" that was supposed to show that people use transit and that the CATS system isn't any more expensive than comparable systems elsewhere.

As part of the conspiracy to swindle the public, Dubois wrote chief Chamber goon Bob Morgan that they should fool the public about how the "research paper" originated:

"Why not just have Edd announce it as an initiative of the Institute 'in the public interest.' We have an obligation to serve as a forum for the debate of important public issues, yada, yada, yada."

Then UNCC (excuse me, "Charlotte University" - cough - cough) knowingly used false information in their "research paper".

The despicably arrogant Dubois needs to be fired immediately - with no "golden parachute" - or sent to China where they deal with corrupt and incompetent public officials properly.

David McKnight said...

D.G. Martin's view on the performance of the Legislature during the Jim Black era is disappointing because D.G. is among those Charlotteans who have learned through personal experience just how difficult it is for a person from Mecklenburg County to be accepted within the ranks of statewide leadership in the Democratic Party in this state.

Yes, people were perhaps more "at ease" and more willing to party and cut up during the previous era, but the N.C. House under Speaker Black was like an orchestra which used to be happy-go-lucky but has to adjust to a new conductor who doesn't seem to be as good a pal as the previous maestro. But after a couple of concerts, even skeptical members of the orchestra realize the symphony has begun to play at an even higher level of artistic achievement than in "the good old days" before.

Likewise, the North Carolina General Assembly, during Jim Black's tenure as Speaker, achieved one of its most impressive arrays of legislative accomplishments in many a session.

No, it wasn't as chummy, but it was pioneering and trailblazing in ways that will be evident for years to come.

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