Saturday, July 27, 2013

Last Call For Hometown Disaster

Some pretty brutal flooding in the part of North Carolina where I grew up this weekend:  Catawba County and my hometown of Hickory got up to 12 inches of rain since Friday night, and that's put a lot of people and places I grew up with in a hell of a lot of danger as the Unifour area is facing record flooding.

Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright declared a state of emergency, telling residents to stay indoors and away from flooded roads and washed-out bridges.

“This is a time for all of us to be very careful and patient,” Wright said. “The cleanup is going to take a while.”

Heavy rain pushed into the Charlotte area early Saturday afternoon, when a nearly stationary weather system dumped more than 12 inches of rain in some parts of Catawba, western Lincoln and northern Cleveland counties.

Some 50 to 60 roads were closed in Catawba County, and at least six were expected to remain closed for at least three months, the Hickory Daily Record reported.

The heavy rain sent large volumes of water into streams and creeks that feed into the Catawba River. High Shoals Lake in Catawba County was a foot above full level Saturday evening, and the water level rose nearly 5 feet between 4 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

ZandarDad says he and ZandarMom are fine, but things are pretty bad in low-lying areas, including one of the streets I used to live on being completely washed out.  He hasn't seen anything this bad since Hurricane Hugo came inland and drew a line from Charleston to Charlotte to Hickory back in '89.  It could be months before some roads are open again, and bridges have been pretty badly damaged along the Catawba River and Lake Hickory.  States of emergency have been declared, and I hope the federal government comes through.

If you're back in my old neck of the woods, guys, keep safe.

What The Loss Of Section 5 Means

As Joey Fishkin at Balkinization points out, the real losers with the elimination of Section 5 are local and county races in pre-clearance states where there was nobody but the DoJ looking over the shoulders of voting officials.  Take the example of school board elections in Beaumont, Texas:

This is a convoluted tale, as these tales often are. But in brief, three candidates who lost in the last election to three of the four black school board members are trying to get a state court to oust those three black incumbents and install them (the losing candidates) instead. The losing candidates pulled off a sneaky, and rather brazen, subterfuge: they filed candidate papers for a special election that had not yet been announced, and then subsequently convinced a state court that state law required ordering the election, with a retroactive filing deadline that had already passed. Since the three black incumbents did not file candidate papers—understandably, since no election had been called for their seats, and they are only halfway through their terms—the non-black challengers say the court should just install them, the challengers, as winners by default.  

Now, with Section 5 in place, the DoJ shut that nonsense down.  Section 5 is now gone.  Guess what that means?
What a difference a couple of months makes. Today, because “things have changed in the South,” Beaumont is out from under Section 5. Consequently, the federal court has just declared that it lacks any jurisdiction over this dispute.  It has sent the case back to state court, where the non-black candidates have renewed their mandamus motion for a court order ousting the black incumbents and installing themselves as the new school board.

And there's basically nothing to stop them.  Three duly-elected black school board members are simply going to be thrown off the board because white people can now get away with it.  The argument is that what the DoJ did to make elections fair in Beaumont is now 100% illegal, so those elected under those standards should be tossed from office.

This will happen in states across the South, which is why Section 3 is now so vital...because what Republicans mean when they say "Voter ID" is "Voter Suppression".

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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