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Bigots and drunks: Adventures in the state House

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Welcome, dear readers, to another exciting session of Ask Boomer With Attitude, live from Charlotte, where pro basketball teams come and go with semi-regularity. We have real reader questions this week, along with one that was made up. See if you can spot the fake.

Dear BWA: Whatever happened to the anti-bullying bill in the General Assembly? You don't see much about it in Charlotte media. -- Sue Bougain

Dear Sue: The anti-bullying bill was passed by the Senate and is now being debated in the House. Parts of the House debate have been truly hilarious in spots, as one social conservative after another has sputtered and moaned over the ramifications of the bill, which, they claim, would promote gay marriage. Some of the comments by Republican legislators have been priceless. For example, Rep. Pat McElraft, of Emerald Isle, asked, "Can you tell me if a male teacher, who decides to come to school dressed as a woman, in high heels, wig, etc., if he is laughed at by children in the class, would they be considered 'bullying' him?" Not to be outdone in the sexual confusion sweepstakes, House Minority Leader Skip Stam told his colleagues, "Sexual orientation and gender identity are so much larger than what people think they are -- it includes pedophilia for example," after which Stam said the bill was a "Trojan horse." In other words, as the BlueNC site said, Stam feels the bill is just an excuse to launch required courses in sexual exploitation of children. At least the Republican Party will be able to provide a qualified professor for such a course: Rep. Cary Allred of Alamance County, who is being investigated by the House after, on the same day, he was stopped for driving 102 mph in a 65-mph zone, showed up with alcohol on his breath on the floor of the House, and kissed and endlessly hugged a 17-year-old intern.

Dear BWA: I want to know why the Concord Mills shoplifter is being charged with second-degree murder and the two cops who chased him at high speed aren't charged with anything. -- Tired of Speeding Cops Killing Innocent People

Dear Tired: First of all, congratulations on having the longest nickname in "Ask BWA" history. The answer to your question is that the case straddles two different jurisdictions. Like you, I'd like to know how in the world two Concord policemen thought it was a good idea to engage in a lengthy, dangerous chase of someone who had shoplifted a pair of sneakers -- pursuing him three miles from the mall into Charlotte, and endangering many innocent citizens -- as if the thief had committed a deadly crime. Since the suspect, Demetrio Rollins, ran head-on into a car, killing an 84-year-old woman inside Charlotte city limits rather than in Cabarrus County where the mall is located, he was arrested by Charlotte police. The Concord officers' actions are under the jurisdiction of Cabarrus County. The Concord Police Department is supposedly investigating whether the two officers violated department chase policies, but considering that the town's police chief, Merl Hamilton, has already defended the two policemen publicly, I wouldn't advise you to hold your breath until the pair is disciplined.

Dear BWA: Why don't you write something about the county trying to rip off people who own big houses by forcing them to pay higher storm water fees? -- Taxed to Death

Dear Taxed: I would if I agreed with you, but I don't. Sorry. Some owners of big houses are mad about proposed changes to the county's storm water fees. Homeowners pay the fees according to the amount of impervious surface -- areas where rainwater cannot soak into the ground -- on their property. The more impervious surfaces in a community, the higher the chance of flooding and water pollution. The county's Storm Water Services wants to shift more of the burden to the largest homes in the county, so that homeowners with more than 5,000 square feet of impervious surfaces would pay $200 per year rather than the current $96. The smallest homes would see a slight decrease. This seems like the only fair way to avoid having owners of smaller homes essentially subsidizing owners of larger homes' storm water runoff. I commend the county for adjusting the rates to create more equity and fairness in the system.

Dear BWA: Hey, how about that big teabagger march on City Hall? Impressive, huh? -- Native Son

Dear Native: No, it wasn't. Thirty-five grumpy guys in a restaurant parking lot do not an effective demonstration make. It was kind of funny, really, since they never even marched to City Hall because it started raining. Wow, that kind of dedication to a cause is hard to top, boy. From the advance publicity, you'd have thought the demonstration and march would be Tea Party 2, a passionate show of strength by local conservatives. But no, it started raining and ruined the revolution-in-the-making. Needless to say, the teabaggers' goal of presenting a big show of strength is now, so to speak, dead in the water.

Your questions are welcome. Just e-mail at john.grooms@creativeloafing.com. If you want to use a nickname, please let us know.

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