My latest at Independent Journal Review is an opinion piece that discusses Pure Pizza, a trendy pizzeria here in Charlotte that has been thrust into the national spotlight after a customer and friend of the owner recently posted a picture of the owner’s unisex bathroom policy on social media, in place for five months or so. The image went viral, news outlets started writing about it, and now people are talking.
I hope you’ll click on the link and read it in full because it provides context and background, but I wanted to expand on it a bit here.
Thumbs Up for:
1) This was a business-level decision, customer-driven. The government didn’t step in and demand the owner, Juli Ghazi, install a unisex restroom. She took it upon herself.
2) It’s not the only restroom. There’s also a women’s restroom. There is a related “thumbs down” on this which I’ll get into later.
3) It was implemented as a good-faith gesture not just to accommodate “transgender” people, but other customers who have conflicts over which restroom to utilize due to the following circumstances – at least one or more with which many of us can identify:
Single Dads with daughters
Single Moms with sons
Parents with disabled children
Adults with aging parents who may be mentally/physically disabled
4) The unisex bathroom in question has stalls with “sturdy doors and locks”, according to the owner. It’s not a urinal.
Thumbs Down for:
1) There is not a mens restroom anymore. Men probably have less issues with having to use a “gender neutral bathroom” but some will have an issue (though they’ll probably keep it to themselves), especially dads with young boys.
2) In response to a Yelp reviewer in early December who complained about the “no men’s restroom” issue, the owner said she was considering making the women’s restroom unisex as well to “avoid confusion.” Not a great idea, IMO. For women, it’s different. It’s their “getaway”, their “safe space” when out on the town, with friends, daughters, etc. I expand on this more at IJ.
In my conversation with the owner on Twitter, she stressed it’s just a consideration at this point and nothing more as the current set up works. Hopefully it will stay that way. My issue isn’t with unisex facilities in and of themselves. It’s when they are the ONLY option.
@sistertoldjah consideration is far from making it happen. What we have works w/out issue.
— Pure Pizza (@PurePizzaCLT) January 15, 2016
If the current set-up is working for her and her customers, great. My ideal solutions aren’t always going to mesh 100% with everyone else’s. That’s ok. It’s life. It’s a free country.
This issue has become a hot button issue in Charlotte over the last few years, so much so that our city and county elected leaders – dominated by Democrats – are even divided over how to handle it because as, with everything else under the sun, the people demand government “resolve” the issue and so they claim to be trying. Ms. Ghazi has found one that works for her business right now, and it’s one that is not that far off from what many like me who have concerns would propose and/or be comfortable with (and have suggested in the past) going forward.
And here’s the bonus: The best solution of all, detailed below, would make almost everybody happy. The few who would continue to complain are just people who want to hear themselves talk. Always gonna be people like that.
If the government wants to “help”, here’s what they should do:
1) Don’t mandate unisex facilities. I’m not just talking about bathrooms, but also locker rooms, dressing rooms, etc. Let it be decided by individual owners, and what their customers request of them. The law of supply and demand and all that. If enough people want it, they will build it. And if there is demand and the demand isn’t met, the customers will go elsewhere. Or so it goes. Which brings me to:
2) Create a tax incentive (GASP!) for business owners to install unisex facilities in addition to the traditional male/female facilities they already have. If they have the room to add them, the tax incentive could cover the cost of adding the facility so it’d be a win win. Hello?
3) While we’re at it, create that same tax incentive for business to add changing facilities for babies in MEN’s & unisex restrooms as well. Actor Ashton Kutcher, for all his faults, got this one right.
Ok, I’ve said about all I can say on this – for tonight, anyway! Your thoughts?
PS: I hope to get by Pure Pizza in the next month or so, where the owner has offered me a free pizza and sit-down conversation. Woohoo. The words “free” and “pizza” work so well together. I’ve got my eye on the T-Rex craft pizza …
In my latest at IJ Review, I discuss how North Carolina gearing up to change its presidential primary from May to March could potentially be good news for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker more so than the rest of the crowded but diverse GOP field:
In years past, if you were a Republican seeking the GOP presidential nomination, the state of North Carolina wasn’t too high on your list of states to target. The Tar Heel primary has traditionally been held in May, at which point there already was (usually) a presumptive nominee. And, at least until 2008, the state was regarded as safely red for the general election.
This year, however, the low priority of North Carolina for challengers for the Republican nomination looks to be changing, as state legislators are putting the finishing touches on a plan to push the state’s presidential primary to March 15th:
Read the rest here, and please make sure to like and share on Facebook, and retweet on Twitter. Thank you!
PS: It’s important to note that the change in North Carolina is for the presidential primary only – not for other races.
One has to do with the emerging issue in the south of Confederate monuments/memorials being vandalized, and North Carolina has become no stranger to the issue. There were two back to back in Charlotte last week, and more have hit the area and across the state this week.
Related to all of this – and in light of the widespread calls by our “thought leaders” to remove all traces of remembrances of the Confederacy from public view after the Confederate battle flag was permanently removed from in front of the SC statehouse earlier this month, the North Carolina House passed a bill yesterday that would make it all but impossible for “objects of remembrance” (like Confederate monuments) in the state to be torn down/moved without the General Assembly passing a law allowing it. The Senate passed the bill back in April. Governor McCrory has not yet declared whether he will sign, veto, or allow it to become law without his signature. The General Assembly has a veto-proof majority.
And speaking of the Governor, in response to the horrific domestic terrorist shooting rampage last Thursday at Chattanooga, TN recruiting centers that left 4 Marines and 1 Naval officer dead, McCrory ordered stepped up security measures at all National Guard facilities across the state. It was not specified as to whether or not that included arming recruiters and other military personnel at these installations.
Thanks for reading!
My latest at Independent Journal Review details two recent incidents of church vandalism in Guilford County, North Carolina that saw windows busted out, landscaping being overturned, and walls and parking lots being spray painted with rainbows and messages like “Gay is OK!” and “Straights Approve!”
Law enforcement officials are still investigating. Stay tuned…
In my latest at IJReview, I noted NC’s GOP Governor Pat McCrory has signaled he doesn’t think such laws are necessary for this state. In fact, he indicated Monday he would veto in its current form a bill currently under consideration in the GOP-led state legislature that would give magistrates the option to opt out of performing a gay wedding ceremony if they feel it violates their religious faith.
“What is the problem they’re trying to solve?” McCrory asked during Monday’s broadcast of WFAE’s Charlotte Talks program.
North Carolina’s proposed version of the RFRA was introduced last week in both the state House and Senate. House Speaker Tim Moore said Tuesday that the bill deserved careful consideration in terms of how passage could impact NC’s “brand”:
RALEIGH – As opposition to a new Religious Freedom Restoration Act appeared to grow, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore Tuesday signaled that lawmakers will take a hard look at its potential fallout.
Moore called an unusual, impromptu news conference in his office to say the House will be deliberate as it considers the bill.
He said while the bill is important to a number of House Republicans, the session’s primary goals are job creation and improving roads and education. He said he wants to find out how the religious freedom legislation accomplishes those objectives and what it does to improve North Carolina’s “brand.”
“I think we need to show that if we approve this bill, that it will improve North Carolina’s brand,” he said. “Anything we do, we have to make sure we don’t harm our brand.”
Moore alluded to the current backlash in Indiana after GOP Gov. Mike Pence signed a similar bill into law.
Major industries, including Eli Lilly and Co., have urged Indiana officials to change the law so it can’t be used to justify discrimination. The head of the NCAA, scheduled to hold its Final Four this weekend in Indianapolis, said the law “strikes at the core values of what higher education in America is all about.”
Moore noted that Indiana is feeling repercussions from passage of its religious freedom law. He’s met with business leaders, and North Carolina’s bill has come up.
Another Republican in the House, Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Huntersville) gave off the distinct impression that he wouldn’t support such legislation:
GOP Rep. Charles Jeter of Huntersville said the N.C. proposal differs from the federal law in another respect.
“The difference is how it’s intended to be applied,” Jeter said. “And while some people may not like it, society grows over time. I think this (proposal) is specific to the homosexual issues, the same-sex issues, the gender issues.”
Jeter said existing laws already protect religious freedom.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R) doesn’t sound too enthused about the issue, either:
So, would the North Carolina’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act measures, which have been filed in both the House and the Senate, contribute to that economic boom?
“I think what we’ve done over the past four years would be the thing that has put us in a position where our economy is performing most other states,” said Berger, R-Rockingham. “I think what we are going to be focused on, as we have been over the past four years, is doing things that will move us in that direction. That means we’re going to deal with economic development, continuing tax reform, our regulatory climate, all of those kinds of things.”
So, it doesn’t sound like the RFRA is part of that group, does it?
“It’s been filed. A decision will be made as to whether or not we move it forward,” Berger said.
Everything at this point that happens with this type of legislation here in North Carolina needs to be viewed through the post-passage-of-the-Indiana-law prism. As I wrote on Twitter last night:
— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) March 31, 2015
— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) March 31, 2015
— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) March 31, 2015
— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) March 31, 2015
Simply put, GOP leaders in North Carolina are are already giving off vibes that they no longer want to deal with the hassle of trying to defend themselves and their state in front of a national audience as they’ve had to do over the last couple of years, thanks to the left’s relentless targeting and bullying of their reform agenda, this time over a law that some of them clearly fear could have a negative impact on our still-recovering local economy if the boycotts threats begin.
Color me a bit disappointed so far by what I’m hearing. BUT, as they say, stay tuned….
My latest at IJ Review discusses how the national NAACP has stepped in to investigate the Winston-Salem, NC branch after allegations and complaints surfaced of vote tampering, paper ballots (supposedly against the rules), and campaign literature being illegally distributed at a January election of executive board members.
Because there had been so much dissension last fall among the Winston group over the nominating process, the state NAACP – of which Moral Monday “leader” and vocal voter ID opponent Rev. William “Bill” Barber heads – was called in to “oversee” that January election … and failed. As a result, the situation has escalated to the national office.
In short, a city-based NC NAACP election for president was voided by the national NAACP after complaints alleging improper vote tampering and illegal campaigning at the January 10 election – which was overseen by the state NAACP, which happens to be a vocal opponent of the type of voting laws that aim to prevent future instances of vote fraud in government elections.
Can’t make it up …
My latest at IJ Review is about how a new group of so-called “centrist” elected Democrats in the North Carolina state house have formed in an effort to show North Carolinians that not only are there still some pro-business Dems left in NC, but also that not the entire party has gone off the deep end. Their hope is to try and turn the party around to where they are winning elections again and are no longer alienating moderates and conservatives that used to be well within their ranks but who are becoming increasingly dissatisfied at some of the positions state and national Democrats have taken. Judging by how the “progressive” Moral Monday movement has taken hold (see photo above), I’d say their concerns about the direction of their party are well-founded.
I’ve talked about this for the last couple of years in how the “modern” version of the state Democrat party here has quickly turned into a state version of the national party, which hasn’t sat well with some long-time state Dems who see “their side” as veering too far off to the left. Will be interesting to see how this works out – and IF it will work, as “centrists” who have formed coalitions within various state and national arms of the Democrat party across the country in recent years haven’t had too much success.
Grab the popcorn ….
Yours truly is now officially a contributor to the Independent Journal Review, and my first piece is on the NC tax reform laws that went into effect last year and how, as a result, some residents of this state might be perplexed on how to fill out their state tax returns come tax-filing time.
Very excited for the opportunity to write for the IJ Review! The NY Times did a surprisingly nice profile on them last November – make sure you read it to understand why the site has become a big deal for conservatives, and make sure to bookmark the site and visit back often.
Yeah, so this happened – and it wasn’t even supposed to.
I didn’t have much time to spend at the blog writing about my experiences the last few months of the US Senate campaign battle between (outgoing) Senator Kay Hagan (D) and (now-Senator-Elect) NC House Speaker Thom Tillis (R). But suffice it to say – if you weren’t paying attention to social media prior to the election – that new media had a LOT to do with driving the narrative and focus of the local and national press in the final couple of months of the campaign, and I was proud to be a part of it alongside some fantastic, never-say-quit people here in NC and elsewhere.
One of these days when I get an extended amount of free time to organize everything (links, etc), I’ll try to write about it here just for the record. It was truly one of the most stressful things I’ve ever been a part of and – in the end – extraordinarily rewarding. As the headline above notes.