Sen. Trudy Wade targets hometown paper for payback

Sen. Trudy Wade is in a feud with her hometown paper in Greensboro, and so is going after a revenue source.
Sen. Trudy Wade is in a feud with her hometown paper in Greensboro, and so is going after a revenue source. 2015 file photo

From the (Raleigh) News & Observer:

There never really was any mystery about why Republican Sen. Trudy Wade of Guilford County sponsored the original bill to allow (government) website-only publication of legal notices, thus taking the business away from newspapers, where they have traditionally had to be published.

Sure, the notices are a source of revenue for newspapers, but they serve a purpose of providing a clear, non-governmental place for those in search of legal information regarding suits or debt obligations, etc. The longstanding tradition is valuable as well to those who for whatever reason don’t have convenient access to computers. In addition, allowing governments to put the information only on their websites opens the possibility – not necessarily the likelihood – that local governments could somehow limit access without answering to anyone.

This longstanding policy was of benefit to people, and of harm to no one. But then Sen. Wade got mad at being criticized in the state’s press, so she legislated against newspapers. Her bill now has re-emerged in a final form that’s on Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk as part of a bill addressing worker’s compensation issues. And guess what? The website-only option now would be limited to Guilford County and its municipalities.

“This is not a pilot program,” said Rep. Amos Quick, a Greensboro Democrat. “This is a target program. The target is the News & Record newspaper of my hometown, Greensboro.”

The governor should stand in the way of this kind of bullying. For that matter, Sen. Wade’s colleagues shouldn’t have stood for it. It’s a low point in this edition of the General Assembly.

(Charlotte Observer editor’s note: The bill also appears to open the way for statewide papers such as the North State Journal to pluck off legal-notices business from local papers. That’s fishy, to say the least, given that the North State Journal is published by a former Gov. Pat McCrory staffer, and Republican Rep. Justin Burr is an investor in the paper’s parent company. That aspect of the bill, along with Wade’s targeting of the Greensboro paper, combine to make this bill look like a self-serving, penal effort rather than a way to help the public. Gov. Cooper should veto it.)

Welcome, summer

From an editorial in The (Winston-Salem) Journal on Friday (and first published eight summers ago):

Summer wasn’t officially here until the other day, but it feels as if it’s been here since Nixon was president. And it won’t leave with its official end date in August, either. That’s just the kind of guest summer is. So take a deep breath of balmy air and enjoy it.

The real problem here is that we’re adults and have to work while children splash in pools and linger at the beach.

Summer is certainly not without its pleasures, chief among them being the long days made longer by daylight-savings time. We can actually work late and still have time to savor some rays while walking, paddling, gardening or just playing. Then when it’s time to go in and go to bed, the heat makes you appreciate ceiling fans and air conditioners all the more.

So even we working stiffs get what enjoyment we can from summer – especially when we’re on vacation, riding a wave at the beach or sightseeing in the cool mountains. For a few stolen days we can see the world through children’s eyes.

And maybe, despite its heat, that’s what summer is all about. So welcome the guest in. Just recognize that he won’t leave until he’s good and ready – in late September. By then, those first cool days of fall seem like a godsend.