Wednesday, April 29, 2009

T. Cline, Esq., Paragon of Ethics (Updated)

[Update, Wed. 11.35am:

The post below notes how, in her first months as Durham County's “minister of justice,” Tracey Cline slashed the salaries of two of the office ADA's most associated with ethics reform in the aftermath of the Mike Nifong era. Simultaneously, and despite the massive budget crunch facing the state government, she awarded 10 percent raises to (1) a most intimate ally whose withholding of evidence Judge Hudson had compared to Nifong's misconduct; (2) an ADA who publicly hailed Nifong's good character in an interview with the New York Times.

Cline has declined to explain the rationale behind these unusual decisions.

Is this not an appropriate matter for oversight by the North Carolina legislature--which, after all, funds the Durham DA's office?

I urge DIW readers to contact the relevant members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, whose names and e-mails are below, and urge an inquiry into Cline's spending habits:

Senate Judiciary Committee--leadership

Chairman
Sen. Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr.
email: Fletcher.Hartsell@ncleg.net
Vice ChairmanSen. Austin M. Allran
email: Austin.Allran@ncleg.net
Vice ChairmanSen. Don Vaughan
email: Don.Vaughan@ncleg.net
Vice ChairmanSen. Ed Jones
email: Edward.Jones@ncleg.net


House Judiciary Committee--leadership:

ChairmanRep. Deborah Ross
email: Deborah.Ross@ncleg.net
Vice ChairmanRep. Melanie Goodwin
email: Melanie.Goodwin@ncleg.net
Vice ChairmanRep. Paul Stam
email: Paul.Stam@ncleg.net
Vice ChairmanRep. Bonner Stiller
email: Bonner.Stiller@ncleg.net

Senate Judiciary Committee--other members: Sen. Tom Apodaca, Sen. Bob Atwater, Sen. Stan Bingham, Sen. Charlie S. Dannelly, Sen. Joe Sam Queen, Sen. Doug Berger, Sen. Julia Boseman, Sen. Katie G. Dorsett, Sen. James Forrester, Sen. W. Edward (Eddie) Goodall, Sen. Jim Jacumin, Sen. John Snow, Sen. A. B Swindell

House Judiciary Committee--other members: Rep. M. Alexander, Rep. Blust, Rep. Bryant, Rep. Hall, Rep. Harrison, Rep. Insko, Rep. Martin, Rep. Mobley, Rep. Neumann, Rep. Stevens, Rep. West]

Original post:

No one can say that Durham voters didn’t know what they were getting when they chose Tracey Cline as their next “minister of justice.” In the past three years, Cline has made her contempt for ethics known in virtually every way possible.

Consider:

During the campaign, Cline at best misled voters and at worst outright lied about her role in the lacrosse case, most notably by denying the written record that she developed the idea to initiate the legal case through a procedurally preposterous non-testimonial order against all 46 white lacrosse players.

As the campaign proceeded, the Nifong Coalition rallied behind Cline, as Cline received the backing from the same four key institutions that bolstered Mike Nifong—the Herald-Sun, the Independent, the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, and the People’s Alliance.

During the transition period after her election, Cline ordered all prosecutors in the office to re-apply for their positions, and listed the qualifications she expected from Durham’s assistant district attorneys. Her list of desired attributes did not include a commitment to prosecutorial ethics.

For her inauguration, Cline invited as her special guest none other than disbarred ex-DA Nifong, a move whose symbolism she recognized and a move that indicated contempt for all prosecutors in her office who actually followed the ethics requirements laid down by the North Carolina State Bar.

Shortly after taking office, Cline found herself on the witness stand—defending herself from allegations of ethical misconduct.

With this record, it should come as little surprise that Cline has punished those prosecutors in her office who have demonstrated a commitment to ethics.

Consider:

  • Cline reduced the salary of Mitchell Garrell—who challenged Cline in the Democratic primary for district attorney, when he campaigned on a platform of restoring ethics to the office of the Durham district attorney—by 7.5 percent, from $86,546 to $80,064. The clear inference: Cline is retaliating against Garrell for trying to block her bid to become the county’s “minister of justice.”

  • Cline reduced the salary of Steven Storch—an assistant DA with a doctorate in philosophy and specialty in ethics who was hired by interim DA Jim Hardin in part to show the office's renewed commitment to ethics—by 6.7 percent, from $41,100 to $38,350, and removed the position’s permanent status. The clear inference: Cline doesn’t want anyone with an ethics focus in her office.

Perhaps, it could be argued, Cline’s actions simply reflected a broader, office-wide commitment to economy, given that the recession has hit North Carolina with particular severity (it has the 7th-highest unemployment rate of any state in the country), prompting talk of a state budget freeze. But, in fact, Cline elected to boost salaries for her cronies:

  • Jim Dornfried: a whopping 10 percent raise, from $86,340 to $94,974, went to this most intimate ally of the "minister of justice." In early 2008, Judge Orlando Hudson compared Dornfried's conduct to that of Nifong after Dornfried withheld evidence from defense counsel by turning over an edited version of a police tape, rather than the complete tape. Said Hudson, "You can't make a tape come out the way they want it to come out. That's what's wrong with this situation. I don't see that being any different than people working with the DA's office and deciding certain DNA shouldn't come out."

  • Shamieka Rhinehart: an equally whopping 10 percent raise, from $56,035 to $61,638. This beneficiary of Cline's current largesse made the New York Times in May 2006, giving Nifong a huge kiss after Nifong prevailed in that year's Democratic primary. Exclaimed Rhinehart, "He's a good man. I'm so proud of him." That analysis testifies to Rhinehart's ethical core.

That Cline has given her cronies raises while simultaneously targeting the members of her office most associated with ethics is fitting for a figure that saw fit to turn her inauguration ceremony into a celebration of Mike Nifong.

Cline did not respond to a request for comment. Her official website contains no explanation for the spending priorities she has pursued as “minister of justice.”

[Update, 1.30pm: Ms. Cline responds, "The District Attorney cannot speak about an employee's personnel file without a waiver from that employee. Contact each employee and attach their waiver and I will be more than happy to meet with you and that employee in my office."

It would seem, based on this reply, that the only people who could get explanations for Ms. Cline's salary adjustment rationales would be members of the state legislature; moreover, the meeting procedure that she lays out in this email would seem more appropriate for counsel to one of her ADA's than a reporter or a blogger.]

50 comments:

bill anderson said...

Whenever I have suggested that a Durham jury would have convicted the three Duke lacrosse defendants, people from Durham respond that most potential jurors in Durham saw through Nifong's lies. As I watch the "Nifong II" regime with Nifong's protege at the helm, I think I stand by my original statements.

What I don't forget is that Tracey Cline was going to be the Second Chair in the upcoming lacrosse trial, and she was not going to be deterred by the evidence. Her strategy was as follows:

1. She would tell the jury that she had been raped;
2. Crystal Mangum also claimed to have been raped, this time by RCD;
3. Therefore, RCD were guilty.

Please don't tell me that Durham jurors -- after what we have seen of Durham voters -- would not have bought that logic. With Crystal on her Rehabilitation Tour, and Durham's Usual Suspects still insisting that "something happened," nothing that Cline or anyone else in political power in Durham would do city could surprise me.

Durham seems to be wanting to become the Detroit of the South. Like Detroit, it has a hard-left governing coalition of people who are addicted to federal money (as well as the "free" money from the Guilty Uncle known as Duke University). Murders are a regular occurrence both in Detroit and Durham, and it seems to me that the people in political power in both cities are not exactly ethical in their dealings.

I'm glad that K.C. had been shining the light on the politics of Durham, North Carolina. The lacrosse case and all of its abhorrent dishonesty is not something that could have happened in many places, save Durham or Detroit. Yes, juries all over this country wrongly convict innocent people and it seems that American prosecutors vie with one another to see who can most abuse the system.

But at least most prosecutors do not openly lie and openly admit that they can do what they want when they want. Most judges would not openly tolerate a sham hearing as we had in the summer of 2006 with Duke's lawyers and Nifong pretending -- as officers of the court -- that Duke had not given FERPA-protected information to Nifong.

Yet, Nifong could not have done what he did and pushed the case as far as he did without the help of Durham's political establishment and Durham's largest and richest employer, Duke University. Nifong did not act alone; he had the voters, politicians, academics, ministers, and other "leaders" of the "Bull City" to aid him at every step.

If Durham has not yet become the Sister City of Detroit, I would recommend that Bill Bell and the city council explore that option. It would seem to be a perfect fit, and if Kwame wants to find a new place that will accept him as mayor, Durham no doubt will openly accept him after Bell's term runs out.

skwilli said...

Ah, back to a skewering of the true villains of the case! I nominate KC for a 15% raise in friendly comments. It is hard to believe what passes for justice at the Durham DA's office. Could more suits be pending?

Debrah said...

LIS!

A picture really is worth a thousand words.

That photo has always been my favorite because it illustrates so effortlessly the core of the Hoax.

What Nifong had to do and for whom.

And how they adored him for it.

Mikey was riding high!

(As a side bar, that photo also illustrates how important it is to get some dental work done if you're going to dance around in public and get your picture taken in the throes of such high drama.)

Debrah said...

There's nothing closer to a banana-republic than the way Durham is run.

With all the problems they have they always find resources to give big raises to their "leaders".

One of their former city managers, Marcia Conner, who screwed up constantly while she was in Durham took her brand of leadership elsewhere and screwed up there.

And now, amid all the financial woes, crime problems, and corruption Mayor Bell is off to Saudi Arabia.

Anything for a free trip.

Perhaps Bell will also get to witness a beheading in the public square as is a frequent feature.

I didn't see any Jews or women mayors invited on this most significant journey.

One hopes that Bell will learn how Durham can control crime and corruption while in Saudi Arabia.

I'm not sure it would sell, but someone could write a volume of books on the incompetent, yet well-paid, nuts who have held key positions in Durham.

What on earth propels voters and residents to keep installing such people to run the place?

jamil hussein said...

Has there been any progress with the civil suits against Duke/DPD/Nifong?

I gave up Hope for DOJ civil rights investigation. As KC has mentioned several times, DOJ is hopelessly politicized and they won't touch this case.

Justice is slow, now it also seems that justice is blind.

Anonymous said...

It is important to note that Roy Cooper sent two of his people, including Jim Coman, to testify in support of Cline's actions and Hudson did rule in her favor. This is a capital murder case and the defense lawyers are just doing their jobs in using every means at hand to defend their client. The witness was killed and the protective order (keeping his witness statement under seal) later vacated. In gang related violence cases this order provides the witness some protection. Hudson agreed that the substance of the witness statement was provided to the defense and ruled against dismissal. It is sometimes hard to get witnesses to testify in gang related violence cases for fear of being targeted by gang members.

Anonymous said...

Cline is a pig, obviously. The real, underlying problem (in defense of Durham voters), is that NOBODY of any substance wanted to run for that office. Cline won because she was the only candidate with any experience, good or bad. The Durham DA's office has become such a cesspool that nobody wants to work there except, well, that which belongs in a cesspool.

2008 GOALS said...

I'm sure we'll see an editorial in the local paper soon about these same issues--NOT!

Anonymous said...

Bill Anderson's comments sum up the situation. When you have the attitude (as expressed by Steel) that things can be sorted out on appeal then one knows that there are serious problems. I thank my lucky stars that none of my children (true southerners at heart) found their way to the Durham areas for their schooling. What I cannot understand is why the good people of Durham allow themselves to be governed by such an ethically challenged group.
cks

Anonymous said...

Over the weekend, I went back and watched the TV reports (which I had recorded) on the day AG Cooper declared RCD innocent. On Nightline, KC Johnson said that this was the biggest case of prosecutorial misconduct in memory.

I have a longer memory than KC, as I was a college freshman during the trial of Clay Shaw, prosecuted by New Orleans DA Jim Garrison in 1969. Garrison deliberately prosecuted an innocent man for the heinous crime of conspiring to murder the President of the United States, supposedly to attack the Warren Commission. Garrison was a far more powerful political figure than Nifong, and he carried it farther.

Some of Garrison's employees did refuse to take part in prosecuting Shaw. Most went along, either because of fear of Garrison, or because of promises of judgeships.

Garrison had Oliver Stone make him into a hero with Stone's movie, "JFK." He has more supporters today than Nifong, by far. An excellent book on the subject is "False Witness," by Patricia Lambert.

DN

Anonymous said...

While looking at the DA's official website I noticed that C. Destine Couch is no longer listed as an ADA.

No justice, no peace said...

An interesting article that is relevant to the Duke rape hoax AND the lack of transparency and losses at the Duke endowment. This is a bona-fide double-double that may even qualify as a triple-double since one of the expert quotes comes from a Duke professional.

How Group Decisions End Up Wrong-Footed (WSJ)(THIS says so much about the Klan of 88, the Duke BOT, and the abettors...)

"The best groups will be better than their best individual members," says Robert Sutton, an organizational psychologist at Stanford University, "and the worst groups will be worse than the worst individual." That is because committees and other groups tend either to follow the leader in a rush of conformity or to polarize into warring camps..."

(THEN THIS...)

"..For committees and other boards to work well, they must be made up of people with differing perspectives and experience who are unafraid to speak their minds, says Richard Larrick, a psychologist at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business..."

(TOO RICH...coming from a Duke professional...speaking as an authority on the fear of speaking-up.)

Debrah said...

For anyone interested in this most important post and the exchanges that followed on the N&O's Zane blog last Spring, please make a copy of its entirety.

It isn't likely to stay up indefinitely since Zane no longer works for the N&O.

I'm sure there is something here that will need revisiting.

Debrah said...

I just sent John Drescher this post.

There are so many questions that should be asked about Cline's selective behavior.

This woman is like a bulldog.

Debrah said...

This might be something many will want to do.

Submit any question you have to Roy Cooper.

It will be posted May 12.

Anonymous said...

If the rumor that Dan Blue will replace Bobby Steele as Chair of the Duke University BOT is true, I find a small measure of encouragement. Perhaps the chain of inevitable events has begun and President Dickie Brodhead will soon announce an appointment as the head of a benevolent foundation somewhere in the midwest.

Let's all dream for right to prevail.

No justice, no peace said...

Now that the WHO has raised the pandemic alert from 3 to 4, one wonders if the media or any of the Klan of 88 will have questions or lines of study regarding the relationship between pandemics and illegal immigration.

Level 4 means there is sustained human-to-human transmission in at least one country. Of course we know that the flu has spread to multiple countries.

All I've seen today in the press is talk that governments could, "set trade, travel and other restrictions aimed at limiting its spread."

We may be about to see the immigration debate defy claims that illegal immigration is race-based. Public health trumps race, gender and class warfare, or at least it should.

Are any of those deep-thinkers at Duke considering the relationship between pandemics and illegal immigration? Is the NIH funding any studies that even consider the question?

How is political correctness on campus and the media different from that in the medical arena and media? What am I missing here? This is my third attempt to post something that is relevant to political correctness and timely in that former Presidential candidate was recently booed off the UNC campus for wanting to discuss immigration. I'm beginning to think they didn't make it through the filter and were not due to operator error on my part.

No justice, no peace said...

US newspaper circulation sees biggest decline yetAre the radical drops really due to the new media - the Internet?

Or are the circulation drops due to a lack of trust? Should they not, at a minimum, consider asking obvious questions. Questions that may consider the impact of illegal immigration on the spread of pandemics?

Just like the Duke hoax, the press will ignore the obvious in order to advance a dangerous political agenda at the expense of innocent people.

One Spook said...

As I read this very excellent post, it dawned on me that it was precisely the type of report that a good "courthouse reporter" in days gone by would have written.

It was factually accurate and reported on public salary data that is available. It mentioned the background and "politics" of the persons examined and showed a clear trend of favoritism and cronyism that is all-too-common today.

By any reasonable measure, a new DA honoring a former DA who was disbarred from the practice of law and jailed for illegal activity in office should be a matter of great shame for a County government of the people.

A report such as this post used to be a pet topic of reporters who truly cared about such craven behavior in government by elected officials, and who forged the reputation of the traditional media as a true "watchdog" which it no longer is.

The dead tree media loves to blame its demise on the "new media" and such buzz words as "business models" but that is only a small part of the story. If people believed what they read and saw in the media, and if the media was truly an independent watchdog, then circulation numbers would rise and advertising revenues would increase.

The only change in the past 10 years or so is that advertisers finally got the message: People pay little or no attention to the major print media outlets; they are nearly irrelevant as valid communication organs.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

The best analogy of Durham to appear on this blog is Bill Anderson's comparison to Detroit. Both have city councils filled with race baiting near do wells who don't have a clue how to govern. All one has to do is watch a video on YouTube of a council meeting in Detroit to see the level of ignorance and incompetence that prevails there. The question should be asked: "How did it take so long before the population began to flee into the suburbs"?

Anonymous said...

While I would agree with Bill Anderson's comments about Detroit and Durham, sad to say, there are any number of other localities which are saddled with the same sort of incompetents. The suburbs are not immune either. It is the same small coterie that runs things for their own gain. Whether a big city or small town - the "small town old boys network prevails more often than not. This makes it easy for injustice and inequality to take root and flourish as no one want to cross those in charge because the social, economic, and political consequences can be too great. It also explains why, when a member of the power structure engages in illegal behavior, his (or her) hands are slapped lightly if at all.
cks

Debrah said...

I think the best way to explain the Cline issue to those who need to look into it is to include a link to this post.

Easy and efficient.

No justice, no peace said...

Since my post yesterday regarding the PC treatment of pandemics and illegal immigration the following have happened in my area: one child has died, at least one school has closed, a school district has canceled all school and non-school sanctioned events at the school, the state athletic ruling body (UIL) has suspended all events (athletic, band, etc.), and the WHO has raised the pandemic level from 4 to 5. That is what we know. I am quite certain there is much more we do not know.

I'm unaware of any campus guests speaking about immigration being booed off a stage since yesterday. Has anyone seen or heard any discussion in the media or on any campus linking the spread of pandemics and illegal immigration?

In prior postings months, or even years ago, when I said political correctness would kill us, I was referring to our western culture. Now I mean it literally.

Anonymous said...

Illegal immigration is not the cause of the flu spreading. Stop blaming swine flu on Mexican immigrants. That's a republican lie.

No justice, no peace said...

Ft. Worth and Cleburne ISDs closed. Both are large Texas school systems. Several other day care and private schools are also closing.

The DHS Secretary says. "You would close the border if you thought you could contain the spread of disease, but the disease already is in a number of states within the United States." One wonders what she has to say about condoms and AIDS?

Any word from Duke medical about the relationship between illegal immigration and pandemics? What about the social justice of pandemics?

The aforementioned quote is likely the most dangerous thinking you see all week.

By the way, the local CVS is out of hand sanitizer and my son's swim team has indefinitely stopped their practices due to a lack of facilities.

Has Duke issued any public safety suggestions for students?

Will Richard Brodhead cancel another season in order to protect his students?

Anonymous said...

No Justice, No Peace;

In prior postings months, or even years ago, when I said political correctness would kill us, I was referring to our western culture. Now I mean it literally."


An unfortunate but accurate analysis.

Ken
Dallas

Anonymous said...

Is Cline a Communist?

Anonymous said...

These employees of the DA's office are state employees. I would think that such things as salary are subject to review and approval beyond Tracey Cline. There could be a number of reasons a current employee's salary could change up or down. If an employee feels they have not been treated fairly there is a process they can go through to have it reviewed.
Did Garrell or Storch contact you with concerns about this, or do you have information that they were unhappy or felt they were not treated fairly?
As far as Cline being "on the witness stand", it was previously pointed out that Roy Cooper supported her position on a tough issue and the judge also ruled in her favor.

Anonymous said...

Cline left out another requirement for speaking with her about the strange raises some on her staff have received during these tough economic times. Professor Johnson, you also must clean out all of the stables at Pimlico before the Preakness Stakes, and you can't (she underlined "can't") change the course of Chesapeake Bay to help you. Good luck!

*********************

At a minimum, you'd think a local, "traditional" reporter would latch onto the story to find out why Cline deems it necessary to hand out 10% and 9.8% raises in these tough economic times. It's not that law firms are hiring, and it's not that these are the crème de la crème of the legal profession. So, why?

*********************

To No justice, no peace:

Are you saying that people who are immunologically sound enough to withstand a 10-day hike across a desert or 4 days in the back of a van or trailer with no air conditioning are a big viral threat? What about the 62,217,000 people who arrive by airplane every year to the United States? (Those are 2000 numbers, see link).

http://www.esrresearch.com/Immigrationbyair.htm

Or, are you suggesting that a really, really bad case of the sniffles and perhaps 24-36 hours of mild to severe inconvenience will bring the downfall of the United States of America? Interesting. MOO! Gregory

No justice, no peace said...

KC, given the Kentucky Derby is this weekend I must ask you to spread your professional wings?

Who do you like in the Derby?

1. Pletcher’s “Dunkirk” with Prado on top out of Unbridled at 4:1 with one of the highest speed ratings at 108, four consecutive bullets, and a 2nd at the Florida Derby,

2. “Pioneer of the Nile”, also at 4:1, in the 16th hole with wins at the Santa Anita Derby, San Felipe Derby, the G2 RBLewis and another G1 with Gomez on top and Baffert training, or

3. “I Want Revenge” the current favorite at 3:1, out of A.P.Indy and recent G1 wins at the Wood and Gotham (113 speed), or

4. what about, “General Quarters” the gray/roan that is no slouch since he won the Blue Grass, and interestingly is owned and trained by Tom McCarthy, the retired Louisville teacher who goes off at 12:1 out of the 12 hole, or

5. “Chocolate Candy” at 20:1 with Mike Smith up top, who finished an impressive and gamely 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby after going 5-wide, or

6. the Arkansas Derby winner, “Papa Clem” who finished 2nd in the Louisiana Derby, at 20:1 coming out of the attractive #7 hole, or

7. “Friesan Fire” out of Seattle Slew and A.P. Indy, who put up a 104 speed rating in the slop, finishing 2nd, at the Louisiana Derby after going 3-wide in the first turn, and having been bet to 6:1, or

8. the Keeneland purchase ($407,000) “Hold Me Back”, trained by Mott and ridden by Desormeaux coming out of the #5 hole, or

9. "Musket Man” ridden by Coa with a 1st in the Illinois Derby at 20:1, or

10. are you a dosage purist?

OR

Are you breaking it down like the Klan of 88, Durhamites, Duke Administration, and the abettors:

1. #8 because it isn’t a gelding though it should be - all of the others for that matter should be - and there are no fillies entered, or

2. #18 because it has won the least amount ($100,099) and like the Klan of 88 and Richard Brodhead is in way over it’s head and is only there because better thoroughbreds were not put up for entry, or

Are you boycotting because:

1. All of the entrants are brown, gray, roans, dark brown, and yet, horrifyingly, none...zero...are black, and/or

2. Since none of them have gone to stud, we cannot yet determine their sexual preference?

In what must be a very difficult job as a former track announcer I would appreciate your opinion.

Debrah said...

LOL!

Just got off the phone with a Herald-Sun editor.

I believe his name is Neil Offen and that he used to be at the Chapel Hill Herald which is a part of the H-S.

My advice was that some of his reporters might want to take a look at this issue and referenced this post as the starting point.

He seemed pleasant and interested enough until I began a litany about the Durham justice system and that Cline is merely an extension of Nifong.

I could tell that he was anxious to end the conversation.

It will be telling if the Herald Sun will step up and cover this story.

Do they have the guts this time?

I'm amused as I read some comments from people on other blogs.

Many want to create the fantasy that this story is over and done.

Well, some wish to believe that, but the fact that Cline is the DA and that she runs the office like an offshoot of the Idi Amin regime is proof that nothing has fundamentally changed.

The same mechanisms of corruption are in place today as in 2006.

A Duke Dad said...

Seems that:

1) None of the enablers of the hoax have suffered, at all. Nifong is still walking free.

Crystal is now a public speaker who has addressed college audiences.

The 88'ers (probably no relation to the Nazi 88 mm artillery) are still in power and getting promoted.

Tracy Cline & Friends are doing well.

SANE nurses get hired in New England

Reporters who did not get caught in downsizing are still ok.

2) The civil law suits are moving at a glacial pace. The Wheels of Justice do grind Slowly.

With appeals and delays from gaming the system, even Al Gore says we'll be in the next Ice Age before there is any final resolution.

KC Johnson said...

To the 8.23:

My post speaks for itself. The information I cited is all in the public domain.

As you point out, there may very well be an innocent explanation as to why--in an office that became nationally known for ethics misconduct--the newly elected DA, after inviting the ethically disgraced Nifong to her inauguration ceremony, slashed the salaries of two people in her office associated with ethics and raised the salaries (by a huge amount, given the context of the times) of two people strongly associated with the Nifong Era.

Ms. Cline has declined to provide that rationalization to me. Perhaps she will provide it to the state legislators, and they can judge how credible her explanation is.

No justice, no peace said...

MOO! Gregory - yes.

Unfortunately this little flu thingy is hitting closer to home. One of my employees, who my entire family has been exposed to, just received a call to come pick up her daughter from school due to a high fever.

Both the annual Scout Show and a big competitive weekend swim meet were just canceled.

Does anyone who has been following the hoax trust the media or for that matter the CDC or WHO to honestly present what is happening?

My institutional trust has been weak for ages. Maybe instead of a "Misery Index" we can come up with various Institutional Trust Indice.

No justice, no peace said...

Swagger? Did someone say something about swagger?

CNN anchor Kyra Phillips teased the segment by saying, "If you look closely, you might notice ________ has more swagger than Mick Jagger" . .

JPJazz said...

Many of us frequently lambaste the media for their scare tactics. For a change, CNN got it right this week, putting the flu scare in proportion.

> Regular flu has killed thousands since January

> There had been no confirmed deaths in the United States related to swine
> flu as of [`until' would now be correct] Tuesday afternoon. But another
> virus had killed thousands of people since January and is expected to
> keep killing hundreds of people every week for the rest of the year.
>
> That one? The regular flu.
>
> [...] But even if there are swine-flu deaths outside Mexico -- and
> medical experts say there very well may be -- the virus would have a long
> way to go to match the roughly 36,000 deaths that seasonal influenza
> causes in the United States each year. [...]

link

Anonymous said...

Have you considering placing a limit on the number of times a poster can post one one of your articles?

Anonymous said...

"These employees of the DA's office are state employees. I would think that such things as salary are subject to review and approval beyond Tracey Cline. There could be a number of reasons a current employee's salary could change up or down. If an employee feels they have not been treated fairly there is a process they can go through to have it reviewed."

Employees of the DA's office are "at will" employees and are so at the will of the elected official. (This is dictated by NC General Statutes) They are exempt from the protections and benefits other state employees share, e.g. there is no earned sick leave or vacation pay (that policy is set by the elected official, not state personnel policy). Being an "at will" employee also allows the elected official to circumvent many of the due process policies that protect normal state employees. So there is no practical recourse for an employee of an elected official in NC whose salary has been cut for arbitrary reasons.

Debrah said...

Mayor Bell answers questions at the WRAL website in 2008.

Almost every question involves a negative topic.

Roy Cooper's session will be published on May 12.

There's still time to post a question to him.

Anonymous said...

To the 10:25 who said:

"Employees of the DA's office are "at will" employees and are so at the will of the elected official. (This is dictated by NC General Statutes) They are exempt from the protections and benefits other state employees share, e.g. there is no earned sick leave or vacation pay (that policy is set by the elected official, not state personnel policy). Being an "at will" employee also allows the elected official to circumvent many of the due process policies that protect normal state employees. So there is no practical recourse for an employee of an elected official in NC whose salary has been cut for arbitrary reasons."

So Cline was within her rights to reduce someones salary as well as increase others. I guess she could have fired those two because it was her "will" as well and it would be considered a normal practice as well. I don't see this as a reason to start a letter writing campaign against her. Her stance regarding the issue she was on the witness stand for was backed up by both Roy Cooper and the judge. So we are left with the debatable possibility that she "misled voters". Wow, that is a new one for a person running for office. As far as inviting Mr. Nifong to her ceremony, she was obviously entitled to invite whoever she wanted to and she made it clear that was a personal decision and one she does not have to justify. We may disagree with that decision and voters could certainly take that into account at the next election but does it amount to a legitimate reason to start a letter writing campaign? What exactly are we asking these State judiciary committee members to do and why exactly are we asking them to do it?

KC Johnson said...

To the 9.25:

My apologies--I had thought the post was quite clear on "what exactly are we asking these State judiciary committee members to do and why exactly are we asking them to do it." In case you don't have time to re-read the entire post, here was the sentence that answered your question: "I urge DIW readers to contact the relevant members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, whose names and e-mails are below, and urge an inquiry into Cline's spending habits."

I never denied that "Cline was within her rights to reduce someones salary as well as increase others." Indeed, that was the whole purpose of the post.

The question, of course, is why she took the specific actions that she did: slashing the salaries of two people in her office associated with ethics; and giving enormous raises to two people in her office who had, in one case, publicly celebrated Nifong's good character; and in the other, had conduct that was publicly compared by Durham's senior judge to Nifong's. In an office that came under national attention for its lax approach to prosecutorial ethics, that record strikes me as a troubling one, and one that the legislature might want to explore. Perhaps Cline has a good explanation for her four decisions, an explanation she has declined to share with the public, but one that she would share with the legislature. In that case, a legislative inquiry would remove the appearance of impropriety that Cline's decisions have created, and would serve the interests of justice.

It sounds, from your post, as if you see nothing troubling with Cline's actions. In that case, you might consider writing the legislature to that effect.

Anonymous said...

Who is Cline's chief administrator (not sure if that is the correct title)?

Cline was Saacks' when Saacks was interim DA and Saacks was Nifong's when Nifong was DA.

Also, it would be interesting to see who is no longer with the DA's office since Cline's election and if the departures (if any) were voluntary.

Debrah said...

I'd like to get an unvarnished opinion from Jim Hardin---the former Durham DA who is supposedly so ethical and who successfully prosecuted Michael Peterson---on all this.

Anonymous said...

The 9:25 had a strange argument, which went like this: "Cline was wrong to do this but she was within her rights, and Cline was wrong to do this other thing but we don't know for sure what the details are, and Cline was wrong to do this, but everyone does it, etc...."

Even Cline supporters don't have much to offer in her defense. Moreover, what kind of standards should people expect from an elected official?

I guess it IS Durham.

Debrah said...

A stupendous comment from Silicon Valley today in The Chronicle:
******************

Bill in Silicon Valley
posted 5/01/09 @ 4:37 PM EST
I recently attended a conference (OnHollywood) and Ariana Huffington (Huggington Post) was speaking regarding the fate of conventional media going forward. The demise of traditional media is less about challenges from Craig's List, and more about the blatant lack of objectivity. Media today, as evidenced in the Duke Lacrosse Case, is more about pushing a particular agenda, or the plight of an offended group. I asked Ms. Huffington: "Do you think that political correctness--emanating from our academic institutions--is making it increasingly more difficult for traditional journalists, bloggers, etc., to be truly objective?" Her answer: "Cite for me an example where the media was not truly objective due to this so-called political correctness." So when I hosted my own panel the next day I got to "resurrect" once again the Duke case--and how it was driven by the foolish and utterly biased faculty at Duke that opted to maliciously attack students based on their status as "privileged," rather than "protected" human beings. The Duke case will live on in the American consciousness as the best example of how political correctness on campus has become the new McCarthyism--and its proponents the new oppressors of truth and Civil Liberties. So for KC Johnson, I would encourage him to "blog on." And special "kudos" to the brave members of the Duke faculty and student body who stood up for truth and fairness--what a great thing to observe, even from an outside perspective not caught up in the drama of the moment.

Bill Anderson said...

I think the fact that Cline was going to be second chair in the Duke Lacrosse Case speaks for itself. If she is so craven that she was willing to put people on trial even though the evidence demonstrated without a doubt that no crime was committed, then why are we surprised at her lack of ethics?

Cline is about pushing an agenda of power, period. In that regard, she is like many prosecutors today, who simply want to win cases, and do not care about evidence, guilt, or innocence. She is perfect for Durham.

Debrah said...

A vid of Cline and the peanut gallery as she took office.

She's there "to do the right thing".

Debrah said...

Interesting story from La Shawn Barber's Corner

2pigtails said...

Anon @ 9:25am:

Her stance regarding the issue she was on the witness stand for was backed up by both Roy Cooper and the judge.Misleading at best. Cooper & the DAs are on the same side, with the AG's office arguing against the vacating of the murder conviction.

Hudson had serious questions about the appropriate use of protective orders.

"I knew there was a problem the very first day the DA (Cline) brought this to me for a protective order," Hudson said.

Debrah said...

This is the best example I've read in a long time that illustrates how Durham works.

And why David Price will never go against the people who run the place.

But taxpayers are the ones who always pay for this unholy relationship.
*************************************


Price backs earmark for UDI plans

By Ray Gronberg : The Herald-Sun
May 4, 2009

DURHAM -- U.S. Rep. David Price, D-4th, wants colleagues to earmark $400,000 in the upcoming federal budget to support the UDI Community Development Corp.'s plans to revamp the corner of North Mangum and West Corporation streets.

Price -- a member of the House Appropriations Committee -- acted at UDI's request and will try to add the item to the fiscal 2009-10 spending bill for the federal departments of transportation and housing.

The congressman's spokesman, Phil Feagan, said recently that Price's asking for the earmark was "just the very first step of the process" and that he and his aides "don't really know the likelihood of funding now."

Earmarks are the term Washington insiders use to describe language in a bill that directs federal administrators to allot money from a department's budget to specific projects. They seldom if ever add money to the overall bill.

UDI's project, termed by Price's staff the "Durham Gateway," targets the southwest corner of the Mangum/Corporation intersection.

The nonprofit's plan is to buy a city-owned building and several properties controlled by Haskell Properties, the corporate arm of local landlord James "Fireball" White.

It would then build a multistory mixed-use project that combines retail shops and low-cost housing. Supporters have said the retail component would serve as a business incubator.

According to his congressional Web site, Price has told colleagues the area is "economically distressed." UDI would use the federal money to "revitalize [it] by acquiring, demolishing or restoring, renovating and rebuilding to create upgraded commercial space and affordable housing."

UDI Chief Executive Officer Ed Stewart said it looks like a project like the one the nonprofit has been pushing for a while now would cost $2 million to $2.5 million.

Stewart said his organization has secured the promise of a city grant, plus money from the state Golden LEAF Foundation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It also needs $600,000 to $700,000 in private financing and will need to "pre-sell" at least some of the project's condominiums to do it, Stewart said.

"That's going to be a major effort," he added.

Stewart also said UDI is interested in expanding the project to take in other buildings on the block, an effort that could boost its likely cost to around $6 million.

The nonprofit has told would-be grant providers the project would be an economic plus for the city, he said.

"We look at it as an investment by those who might grant some funds for it," Stewart said. "It's actually a revenue, tax-generating project."

UDI's moves always draw interest because its chief operating officer is Durham Mayor Bill Bell. Stewart said Bell has done no lobbying for the Mangum/Corporation project. "That would be a conflict of interest," he said. "We recognize it and want to be sure it doesn't happen."

The nonprofit's plan for the corner has been controversial among neighbors, in part because they'd like to see the buildings there renovated instead of demolished and in part because they're not particularly impressed by other UDI projects nearby. The nonprofit runs a business incubator across the street from the project site.

Critics have also questioned whether city officials are steering land at the corner to UDI, to the exclusion of other would-be developers.

An activist in the adjoining Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood, Natalie Spring, said Friday she hadn't previously heard of Rep. Price's move. She said the attention of neighborhood leaders has been focused on other things of late.

"We haven't talked about it," Spring said, referring to the UDI project. "We have been focusing on getting a lot of the vacant lots [in the area] cleaned up and getting people in the houses."

She added that last she'd heard of the project, "somebody had approached [UDI] to put a covenant on the property so they wouldn't tear down the structures there, and they said they wouldn't do it."

Stewart said his organization is talking with neighborhood groups and soon intends to hire a structural engineer to look at the existing buildings and offer an opinion on whether they're structurally sound.