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Rhino Times - 2018-01-11
Magazines / Newspapers | Government 2018-01-11 00:00:00
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    Vol. VI No. 2 Greensboro, North Carolina www.rhinotimes.com Thursday, January 11, 2018 BJ Barnes U Coming to a Church Near You John Hammer Rhino Welcomes New Cartoonist to the Herd plus Under The Hammer, Uncle Orson Reviews Everything AND MORE

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    2 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, January 11, 2018 | www.rhinotimes.com THE WEEKLY Hammer The Weekly Hammer by John Hammer It was sad news that the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite was not chosen for the Toyota- Mazda plant. It would have provided the manufacturing jobs that Greensboro needs. Nobody would talk about it on the record, but off the record, up until this week, the feeling was that the Toyota-Mazda had chosen Greensboro and was waiting to make the announcement. Tuesday night, Jan. 9, when asked, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said she didn’t want to talk about it. Wednesday, after the announcement was official, Vaughan explained, “I didn’t want to concede if there was any chance we might get it.” Close But No Toyota Vaughan said it was the supply chain that did the Greensboro- Randolph megasite in. Alabama already has three automobile manufacturing plants, so the supply chain for auto manufacturing is in place. And since North Carolina doesn’t have a car manufacturing plant, we don’t have the supply chain for one. So, in the end, North Carolina didn’t get an auto plant because we don’t have an auto plant. Who knew that automobile plants were like automobile dealerships and they all like to be in one place. Vaughan said that making it to the finals on this selection process puts the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, not just on the national map, but on the world map for anyone who is looking for an advanced manufacturing location. She added that after the attempt at the Boeing plant, “we took a look at the airport and measured its strengths and weaknesses.” She said a lot of changes have been made to the airport to make it a more attractive site and that she imagined the same type of analysis would take place at the megasite. She said, “You know, the megasite is not very old.” Vaughan noted that the Randolph County Board of Commissioners had voted to buy the missing piece of the puzzle for the site on Monday night. It was a 300-acre piece that had not been acquired and, with its purchase, the border of the site is rounded out. She said, “That makes our megasite the largest in the state.” Vaughan said that it showed a lot of courage to go ahead and buy the property, but that the Randolph County commissioners had been committed to the site for five years and spent a lot of money acquiring land, as had the Bryan Foundation. The state legislature and Vaughan have not always seen eye to eye, but she said, “I’d like to give a big thank you to the North Carolina legislature. They stepped up in a huge way. I was told they were prepared to vote on an incentive package tomorrow.” Vaughan said, “I can’t understand people in our own community who seem to bet against us every time.” Although it is called the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, it is entirely in Randolph County, and Greensboro’s main contribution is to run a sewer line to the site. According to Vaughan, the city is continuing to acquire the right of way for that line and has a $7 million grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation to start construction when it is needed. So there is a silver lining to the black cloud, which is that the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite was a finalist. The selection did come down to Greensboro or Alabama, and that is a huge step in the right direction. The site selection experts know what we have and have an idea how much the state is willing to pay to attract a large manufacturing operation to the state. It certainly should put the Greensboro-Randolph site right up front with the other megasites in the state and region. With the economy continuing to grow and the new tax reform legislation that is encouraging manufacturers who had fled overseas to come back home, it may not be long before Greensboro-Randolph has another shot at an advanced manufacturing plant that has the potential to change the region replacing many of the jobs that have been lost. We didn’t get Toyota-Mazda, but to be honest I didn’t much want to have to drive a Toyota anyway. RHINO TIMES BUSINESS AND SERVICE DIRECTORY For information to advertise in our Directory call (336) 763-4170 Reach over 50,000 in our Service Directory. Reserve your space by calling (336) 763-4170 or emailing sales@rhinotimes.com

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, January 11, 2018 | RHINO TIMES 3 table of CONTENTS 2 WEEKLY HAMMER BY JOHN HAMMER 5 RHINO WELCOMES NEW CARTOONIST TO THE HERD BY JOHN HAMMER 6 SHERIFF BJ BARNES UNIVERSITY COMING TO A CHURCH NEAR YOU BY SCOTT D. YOST 7 INAUGURAL COUNCIL TOWN HALL MEETING DOES NOT DESCEND INTO CHAOS BY JOHN HAMMER 8 COUNTY WON’T BE PAYING $600K IN LEGAL FEES TO SOUTHERN COALITION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE BY SCOTT D. YOST 10 FEDERAL JUDGES CONTINUE PUSH TO TAKE REDISTRICTING DUTIES BY JOHN HAMMER 12 ALTHOUGH NEW AIRPORT NAME FAILS TO TAKE OFF WITH PUBLIC IT DOES HAVE ITS FANS BY SCOTT D. YOST 15 UNCLE ORSON BY ORSON SCOTT CARD 23 YOST COLUMN BY SCOTT D. YOST 35 UNDER THE HAMMER BY JOHN HAMMER 4 RHINO SHORTS 17 REAL ESTATE 18 NYT CROSSWORD 19 CHILDREN’S SCHEDULE 19 SUDOKU 21 SOUND OF THE BEEP 27 PUZZLE ANSWERS 26 NEWS OF THE WEIRD 28 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 34 EDITORIAL CARTOON Cover by Anthony Council PUBLISHER Roy Carroll EDITOR-IN-CHIEF John Hammer managing editor ELAINE HAMMER county editor SCOTT D. YOST contributing editor ORSON SCOTT CARD GENERAL MANAGER Joann Zollo creative director ANTHONY COUNCIL advertising consultant DONNA GOODWIN cartoonist BILL LUNSFORD 216 West Market Street, Greensboro NC 27401 P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro NC 27429 | (336) 763-4170 (336) 763-2585 fax | sales@rhinotimes.com | www.rhinotimes.com

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    4 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, January 11, 2018 | www.rhinotimes.com RHINO SHORTS by John Hammer Looking over the comments on the Rhino Times Facebook page, I believe that Central North Carolina Airport Authority has managed to do something that even President Donald Trump has been unable to do. Take an action that everyone agrees is bad. If there are folks who think the CNCI airport was a good move, outside of those who made the decision and those who because of their jobs feel obligated to say they think it’s a good idea, we aren’t hearing from them. Changing the name reportedly took hours of discussion, although from what they came up with the decision making could have used a few more hours. The name change isn’t free. From signs to stationary, everything has to get the new name, not to mention the highway signs that the taxpayers will pay for. And to what end? Piedmont Triad International Airport was not a great name, but people had gotten used to it. If the name had been changed to something like one of our personal favorite suggestions – the Howard Coble International Airport – to honor the late congressman from Greensboro that would at least be understandable. It might be hard to get Winston- Salem to go along with the vote, but Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County have enough votes to pass it. Perhaps the problem was coming up with a name that could get unanimous approval, which guarantees it won’t mean anything. As everyone says now, you are entitled to your opinion but not your own facts. News & Record Editorial Page Editor Allen Johnson wrote that the City Council might not have voted for something controversial like the two new downtown parking decks if they hadn’t been elected to four-year terms. But we know that they would have voted for the parking decks if they were serving two-year terms because they did – and in an election year no less. It’s one of the questions Mayor Nancy Vaughan had about the opposition: Why now, when we have already voted in favor of these decks twice? The final vote to allocate the money was by the new four-year City Council, but the previous votes to enter into agreements to build the decks and allocating the $4 million for design had been by the old council elected for two years. Like a lot of folks, we had a frozen pipe during the recent cold spell. Unlike other folks our frozen pipe was entirely my fault. We have a water pipe that freezes if the temperature gets below about 25 degrees. But there is an easy solution. If we leave the cabinet under the sink open, the pipe doesn’t freeze. I can’t count the times I’ve gotten up out of a warm bed to go check and make sure I didn’t close the cabinet out of habit before going to bed. It’s not obsessive behavior because about half the time I have. Saturday morning I got up early and closed the cabinet, as I usually do in the morning, ignoring the fact that it was 10 degrees and not getting much warmer for hours. So when I got home at about 10 a.m., the pipe was frozen. I think it’s the first time it’s ever frozen during the day. But I did learn a lesson; it’s not the darkness that freezes the pipe but the temperature. The good news is that after spending about 10 minutes in the crawl space with a blow dryer, the water started flowing through the pipe like it’s supposed to, and after that it was obsessive behavior because I constantly checked to make sure that door was open. Retailers use their membership clubs that give customers a discount to collect all kinds of information about them and then send out personalized advertisements. But there must be some kind of glitch in Barnes & Noble’s formula. I buy Moleskine reporter notebooks from Barnes & Noble with some frequency. So I recently received an email from Barnes & Noble that said because I buy reporter’s notebooks they thought I would be interested in some children’s books on sale. I can’t for the life of me figure out what the connection is. Are reporters known to have a lot of children? Or perhaps Barnes & Noble has found that reporters like to read children’s books in their spare time. Reporters notebooks = children’s books. It’s a connection I don’t see. I never thought I’d be waiting for it to reach the balmy temperature of 25 degrees so I could take my constant companion for a long walk. But that was the case Sunday. I may be a wimp, but my attempt to take her for a long walk failed on Saturday because by the time I got on enough clothes to be somewhat comfortable outside I could barely walk. I was like one of those small children who get so bundled up by their mothers that they totter around because they can barely bend their knees. We walked around Lake Townsend, and if you want to see how destructive nature can be, take a walk down the Townsend Trail off Yanceyville. The area around the first bridge you come to has been clear cut by beavers. It is amazing what a couple of beavers can do to a forest. I have walked there a lot and I didn’t recognize the place. Regular Rhino Schmoozers Kimberly and Tim Watts in Charleston, West Virginia. Send your Rhinos Around the World to letters@ rhinotimes.com or 216 W. Market St., Greensboro, NC 27401.

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, January 11, 2018 | RHINO TIMES 5 Rhino Welcomes New Cartoonist to the Herd Bill Lunsford by John Hammer Cartoonist Bill Lunsford is joining the Rhino herd (which as I just learned is also called a crash) this week and will be providing weekly cartoons that will run on the page facing Under the Hammer. His cartoons will be about both national and local issues. We hope to have a healthy mix of each. The late Geof Brooks was the Rhino cartoonist from 1992 until he unexpectedly died of a heart attack last February, but in one of those oddities of life, Geof introduced us to Bill. Geof was taking a class in cartooning from Bill at Randolph Community College and talked about how much he had learned. So when we needed a cartoonist, we contacted Bill and he said he was interested. Bill has been a cartoonist and advertising illustrator for 30 years. He has done political cartoons for both The High Point Enterprise and the News & Record. As well as teaching at Randolph Community College, Bill is finishing up a degree there. Once he gets through studying he said he hopes to be able to devote his time to teaching and drawing cartoons. Here are some samples of his work, and his first Rhino cartoon is on page 34.

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    6 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, January 11, 2018 | www.rhinotimes.com Sheriff BJ Barnes University Coming to a Church Near You by Scott D. Yost The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is a county department, not an institution of high learning; however, recently, Sheriff BJ Barnes and his officers have gotten very active when it comes to educating citizens about certain dangers in today’s society, as well as about best practices for fighting crime and preserving public safety. Barnes has said several times in recent months that community outreach for law enforcement is more important than ever these days in light of a nationwide distrust of law enforcement officers. He said it makes it harder to hire and retain offi cers and it often leads to citizens treating offi cers with disrespect. More interaction between officers and members of the community helps in that regard, the sheriff said. In late 2017, after the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department began offering on-site classes in church safety and security, and, with 2018 rolling in, the department is stepping its focus on church safety up a notch. The department is also starting up a new Sheriff’s Citizens Academy, meant to teach interested citizens about the Sheriff’s Department’s practices and operations. Barnes said this week that the response from citizens to the safety classes after the Texas church shooting was so overwhelming that the department decided to hold more. “Attendance was remarkable,” Barnes said of the seminars held in late 2017. The sheriff said that, among other things, offi cers explained gun laws to churches, looked for unsafe practices, did a safety check of the premises and tried to fi nd ways to make area houses of worship more secure. “Some want deacons or guards armed at services,” Barnes said. “We tell them what the law is. They choose who they want to have weapons.” Barnes said the department addresses the church safety issues from all angles. “I carry a SWAT team member with me and a crime resources person as well as an attorney,” Barnes said. The events include training for religious leaders on ways to prevent threats, how to handle them when they arise and how to respond properly once an event has occurred. The new round of classes will be held on Mondays in late January and early February. The first will be on Jan. 22 at Shiloh Baptist Church on South Eugene Street in Greensboro, followed by a Jan. 29 class at Saint Pius X Catholic Church on Elm Street, with the third held on Feb. 5 at the Church on NC 68 South. There may be other events scheduled in the future. At the start of 2018, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office is also offering a Sheriff’s Citizens Academy to Guilford County for county residents who are interested in learning more about the department. Those classes start on Thursday, Feb. 1. The stated goal of the Citizens Academy is “to improve law enforcement/community relations through a formalized educational process.” The Sheriff’s Citizens Academy presents a condensed form of Sheriff’s Department training in an effort to familiarize citizens with the department’s mission and it is meant to give the students an idea of the requirements placed on officers as they carry out their duties. Sheriff’s Department officials hope the citizens academy will benefit the officers as well the citizens who attend. The course materials state, “The Sheriff’s Office will become more aware of the feelings and concerns of the community, as expressed by attending citizens, and improve communication in an area where some law enforcement officers across the country have come under criticism for the way they have handled various situations.” It adds that the teachers and students will explore together “some of the traditional suspicions and misconceptions generally harbored by both citizens and sheriff’s deputies.” Just as sheriff’s deputies have to go through a background check, so do the students of the citizens academy. The classes are open to everyone 18 or older that hasn’t been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor (or who got a prayer for judgment for those crimes). Students also can’t have pending charges for a felony or serious misdemeanor. The application guidelines state that the students cannot be current or former gang members or members of any organization “that advocates the overthrow of any local, state or federal government.” The citizen academy classes, which will be held at the Sheriff’s Department main administrative office in the Otto Zenke building at 400 W. Washington St. in downtown Greensboro, will meet on Thursday nights for two months. There are also some additional Saturday labs.

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, January 11, 2018 | RHINO TIMES 7 Inaugural City Council Town Hall Meeting Does Not Descend Into Chaos by John Hammer The first town hall-style meeting of the Greensboro City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 9 in the Council Chambers appeared to go without a hitch. According to Mayor Nancy Vaughan, 17 people spoke and the meeting, which began shortly after 5:30 p.m., adjourned at 8:05. This was the fi rst attempt at a new City Council plan to deal with the often raucous meetings that usually resulted from speakers from the fl oor on nonagenda items. In the past, all City Council meetings have begun with a public comment period where speakers can come to the podium and speak about any topic they wish. Starting Tuesday, the City Council won’t have a public comment period at its business meeting on the third Tuesday of the month. The belief is that the public forum portion of the meeting often got the meeting off to such a bad start it never recovered. People will still be allowed to speak on agenda items at all regular meetings. Most of the speakers on Tuesday night urged the City Council to do something for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigrants, which is definitely not a city issue. The City Council did agree to vote on a resolution in support of a Clean Dream Act at its regular meeting next Tuesday, Jan. 16. After all of the speakers on the Dream Act had spoken, City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy said, “Dreamers and their families absolutely deserve our support.” She added, “I believe that no human being is illegal.” Vaughan urged people to call their From the invoices, it appears the administration – for which the city is paying the developer $160,000 – consists mainly of accepting the invoices from Kimley-Horn and forwarding them to the city. congressmen. She said, “I support the resolution, but it is really nothing more than a piece of paper.” She added, “I hope that Congress will have a heart and create a path to citizenship for everybody.” Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “I agree with the mayor 100 percent.” Councilmembers Goldie Wells, Yvonne Johnson, Sharon Hightower and Tammi Thurm all offered their support. The City Council likes to pass resolutions, but the idea that a resolution from the Greensboro City Council is going to change national policy is a bit optimistic. The second most popular topic for the speakers – who were given fi ve minutes each to address the City Council – was the proposed downtown parking decks. A number of speakers from Democracy Greensboro cited concerns about the decks and the lack of information available to the (continued on page 11)

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    8 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, January 11, 2018 | www.rhinotimes.com County Won’t Be Paying Southern Coalition for Social Justice $600K in Legal Fees by Scott D. Yost Guilford County got word from federal Middle District of North Carolina Judge Catherine Eagles that the county will not be forced to pay attorneys’ fees for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in a 2015 case brought against the Guilford County Board of Elections. The Southern Coalition’s victory, along with the City of Greensboro in the 2015 case, overturned the State of North Carolina’s redistricting of Greensboro and this week county offi cials said they were relieved by Eagles’ decision regarding attorneys’ fees and added that any other outcome would have been a travesty of justice. In the 2015 lawsuit that led to the attempt by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice to get reimbursed for attorneys’ fees, the county’s Board of Elections was sued as the body responsible for overseeing Greensboro City Council elections – even though the Elections Board didn’t play any role in redistricting Greensboro or even so much as have a dog in the fi ght. In April 2017, in US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Eagles found in favor of Greensboro and the coalition. Three months later, the Southern Coalition fi led a request to be reimbursed its attorneys’ fees in that case. Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne and other county offi cials have argued for months that it made no sense whatsoever for the Guilford County Elections Board to be required to reimburse the legal fees of the Southern Coalition, which fought the state’s attempt to restructure Greensboro government. But in July 2017, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice fi led suit against the Guilford County Board of Elections to recover just over $600,000 in legal fees and associated costs that the coalition claimed it incurred fi ghting the state’s redistricting attempt. This summer, when the Southern Coalition fi led to collect those legal fees from the county, the move outraged some Guilford County commissioners who said at the time that the attempt to collect fees was “nuts” and “morally reprehensible.” County offi cials have stressed for months that it was in no way, shape or form fair to hold Guilford County accountable for attorneys’ costs in a case it wanted nothing to do with, and they say Eagles’ decision is a just one. That decision, which Eagles handed down on Wednesday, Jan. 3, is a big blow to the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which uses victories in lawsuits such as this one as a way to fi nance its operations. Under the law, there’s a presumption that the losing party in this type of civil rights case – where an unconstitutional law is challenged and overturned – will pay the attorneys fees of the party that brought the suit. The court can override that presumption in cases such as this one where there are superseding concerns. Eagles’ ruling notes that this case is an exceptional one in which the winning party isn’t (continued on page 31) BASEMENT WATERPROOFING CRAWL SPACE REPAIR CONTACT US FOR A FREE ESTIMATE FOUNDATION REPAIR 877-222-6502 BasementNeighbors.com WE LIFT CONCRETE! - DON’T REPLACE IT RAISE IT!

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, January 11, 2018 | RHINO TIMES 9

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    10 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, January 11, 2018 | www.rhinotimes.com Federal Judges Continue Push To Take Over Legislature’s Redistricting Duties by John Hammer It appears the federal courts are attempting to overturn the North Carolina Constitution and take the right of redistricting away from the state legislature so that the federal court itself can do the redistricting. On Tuesday, Jan. 9, it was announced that a panel made up of three federal judges had ruled the redrawn North Carolina congressional districts illegal because of political gerrymandering. In the past, the courts have upheld the right of the majority party to redistrict to benefit the candidates from that party. A case is currently before the US Supreme Court where a similar ruling by a lower court was made. It is quite curious that these rulings against state drawn districts are being made against Republican legislatures and most of the judges involved were appointed for life by Democratic presidents. For over 100 years in North Carolina, the Democrats drew districts to favor Democratic candidates, but when a Republican legislature does the same thing it is deemed illegal. If the federal court ruling is upheld, it will mean that the congressional districts will be redrawn again. Sixth District Congressman Mark Walker was first elected in 2014 and reelected in 2016 from a radically different district after the courts ordered the districts be redrawn. It appears he may be running in 2018 from yet another new district. A couple more terms and Walker may have at one time or another represented everyone in a 10-county area. In another state redistricting matter, a hearing was held in federal court before a three-judge panel in Greensboro on Friday, Jan. 5 on the new North Carolina state House and Senate districts drawn by a special master, Nathaniel Persily, hired by the judges to redraw the offending districts drawn by the state legislature, which the court said had been racially gerrymandered. Those districts include the state House and Senate districts in Guilford County. Although the state legislature said that it did not consider race when drawing the new state legislative districts, the three judges didn’t appear to believe it. When Persily said that he considered race, but it was not the predominate consideration, the judges appeared to believe him. The argument made in court by the state legislature represented by Phil Strach was that the special master did use race as the predominant factor in drawing the districts and the proof was the new districts had a black voting population of between 38.4 percent to 43.6 percent. The state also hired an election expert, Doug Johnson, who testified that it appeared a racial quota was used by Persily in drawing the districts. Persily said he had to consider race since he was redrawing districts that had been ruled unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering, but that there was no quota. It is worth noting that according to election experts the percentages right around 40 percent happen to be the percentage that is most beneficial to Democrats. The three-judge panel, made up of Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Wynn, and North Carolina Middle District Judges Catherine Eagles and Thomas Schroeder has not announced a decision, but judging from their comments during the hearing, it appeared they planned to accept the districts drawn by the special master they hired. Wynn noted that they didn’t have to hire a special master; that it was well within their authority to draw PHOTO BY JOHN HAMMER the districts themselves, and he complained that the state had not hired its own expert in time to offer advice on the special master’s plan but simply to criticize the plan. Wynn and Strach also disagreed on the authority of the court. Strach maintained that the federal court did not have the authority to interpret the North Carolina Constitution and Wynn said the federal court had that authority. Wynn also had some sharp comments for attorney Allison Riggs of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, who represented the plaintiffs. In the middle of the presentation by Riggs, Wynn told her she was simply rehashing the case when she was supposed to be talking about the maps presented by the special master. Wynn said the case had already been argued and this particular hearing was on the maps drawn by the special master. Riggs seemed to cut the rest of her presentation short. She had been talking about different “buckets” of information and it appeared she ran out of buckets. Guilford was the only county where both the state House and Senate districts were ruled unconstitutional and had to be redrawn. Also involved in the case were state House districts in Wake, Mecklenburg, Bladen, Sampson and Wayne counties. Both the plans drawn by the Persily and Johnson have Dist. 28 state Sen. Gladys Robinson and District 27 state Sen. Trudy Wade double bunked in the new district 27. It is widely assumed that if the court rules against the state and the current districts finding them to be racially gerrymandered, then the state will appeal that ruling. During the hearing, Strach noted that this was a racial gerrymandering case and not a Voting Rights Act case. He also noted that what was done for political reasons could be interpreted to having been done for racial reasons. The vast majority of black voters are registered Democrats, so if someone drawing districts is looking for Democrats to put in that district there is a good chance that the precincts chosen will be predominately black. So far it has been ruled legal to draw lines for political advantage, which is what the legislature has been arguing that it did. One problem is the Voting Rights Act versus racial gerrymandering. Because of the Voting Rights Act, the legislature is required to draw minority-majority districts to facilitate minority representation. But the courts have ruled that while race can be a consideration it cannot be the predominant consideration. Also, while minority-majority districts have to be drawn, according to the courts the districts cannot have too high a percentage of black voters in them. What the courts have not been willing to state is the exact percentage that the courts consider legal and illegal. This case with special master Persily drawing districts that had a black voting population of between 38.4 and 43.6 would indicate that is the range the federal judges consider legal. But the question the state kept asking is, how could the districts be drawn to such precise standards without using racial quotas, which is also considered illegal? It would appear that if the Supreme Court doesn’t make some definite rulings on what is and isn’t unconstitutional in redistricting cases, redistricting will be litigated endlessly. The litigation about the redistricting since 2011 has been continual. It appears that by 2020, the 2011 districts will still be in court. At the end of the hearing, Eagles asked when filing opened for the 2018 (continued on next page)

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