Category Archives: Fixing Democracy

Redistricting Committee Public Comments Session


HPTA WAS THERE! Public comment session for redistricting. A major issue is that people think the maps have already been made. This is a big deal because, public input and Redistricting Committee consultation is supposed to happen first. However, Rep. Lewis insists that he did not direct the drawing of any maps. Sure, this is probably true. But notice the wording … it leaves out the possibility that map-making consultant Dr. Hofeller has been working on his own, paid by private and GOP entities, for the last year… independent of orders by the Redistricting Committee Chairs. The perfect maps…. legal enough to pass, but biased to the utmost degree could have been created at any point and are just waiting in the wings.

This is Where The Magic Happens

The true HOT BED of North Carolina politics — The State Legislative Building. Recently, we were in the vicinity for the first Redistricting Committee Meeting, which was held in an adjacent office building. We got the chance to peek into the Legislative Building when nobody was in session  … the place was completely deserted. What an pleasure to explore in silence.

The State Legislative Building opened in 1963 and certainly has the feel of that era. Some things are dated perhaps, but some elements are simple and timeless. Probably the most “retro” looking appointments are the iconic circular brass chandeliers that are part wagon wheel and part food service warming lamp.

In a news article, Mike Hill, a research historian with the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources said, “This building had many critics who derided it as a pagoda or more befitting the Hawaii legislature than North Carolina’s”  — in reference to the pyramid-shaped roofs and indoor fountain complete with palm-leaf plants.

Images: 1) the terrazzo mosaic of the North Carolina State Seal, which is outside in front of the main entrance, 2) the rotunda ceiling sky lights, and 3) the rotunda fountain and brass chandelier.

The architect of The North Carolina Legislative Building was Edward Durell Stone, who also designed the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Comparing the two buildings you can see obvious similarities in form.  Although The Kennedy Center is certainly more famous, North Carolina has copper pyramids, roof gardens, and brass doors that weigh 1700 lbs each!

Plus, MORE dramas have been played out in The North Carolina Legislative Building than all of the Kennedy Center operas COMBINED.

North Carolina Legislative Building, c. 1964
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.




Anti-Gerrymandering Display at NCGA


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district 48HPTA attended the first meeting of the new Redistricting Committee on July 26th , 2017. To show support for redistricting reform, we filled a coffin with images of the 28 illegal racially gerrymandered NC legislative districts from 2011. We offered up the idea that Democracy was DEAD in those districts, a fact that is really something to mourn.  HPTA issued the following statement:


Death by Gerrymandering:

The Lost Districts

We have gathered here this day, July 26th, 2017, at the North Carolina Legislative Building, in memoriam of the twenty-eight North Carolina voting districts that were lost during the 2011 redistricting. These districts suffered the cruel fate of illegal, racially-biased gerrymandering. True democracy is DEAD for those that dwell there, and, strictly speaking, for all the citizens of the State of North Carolina.
However, a new hope is rising. Today, as the Redistricting Committee comes together at this time, we believe the process of healing can finally begin. New life and fair democracy can return to each of the twenty-eight districts, but ONLY if the legislators of the General Assembly remain true in their avocation. We, the citizens, must remain ever vigilant.
  • We call for Representative David Lewis to voluntarily step down from the Redistricting Committee. His direct role in creating the illegal districts in 2011 should well disqualify him from ANY involvement in the process, let alone leading the House Redistricting Committee as its Chairperson.
  • We call for redistricting to be taken out of the hands of legislators. Their long history of biased districts has destroyed the democratic process. The best remedy is to enact an independent, impartial, nonpartisan commission for redistricting that also allows transparency and public input.




Video – Interview with Common Cause NC


Coffin Transport I (coffin handles!)
Coffin Transport II, (coffin wheels!)










Dressed in black for a day of mourning
Quoth The Raven: End Gerrymandering NOW!


Opening Night – NC Gallery of Gerrymandering


Gakk@4xThe debut of HPTA’s North Carolina Gallery of Gerrymandering featured many of Hillsborough’s finest up-and-coming artists! The Fixing Democracy Team hosted a booth at Hillsborough Arts Council’s “Last Fridays” event on July 28th , 2017.

Each visitor picked a gerrymandered district outline and envisioned what the shape could be. We certainly got our fair share of zoological oddities, mythical creatures, and amusing shapes! There were dragons, turtles, striped elephants, snakes, whales, poodles, skunks, kittens, sharks, and some kind of dinosaur think wearing a wig(?). Of particular interest was the now-famous McKissick Moodeerelk, which has been mailed directly to District 20 Senator Floyd McKissick Jr. in Durham.

The creativity was not dampened by the weather, although some of the pages might have gotten a little smeary.



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We also passed out postcards for people to write their elected officials in support of fair redistricting legislation.  




Check out HPTA’s information on gerrymandering — Fair Democracy