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Berger not happy with McCrory's position on Dix

It’s nice that the governor and Raleigh’s mayor are getting all bipartisan over the Dix deal and all, but it still ain’t right.

That’s the message from Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger on Thursday, following Gov. Pat McCrory’s and Mayor Nancy McFarlane’s news conference earlier in the day.

“We appreciate that the governor and Raleigh mayor are attempting to make things right for the taxpayers of North Carolina and the state’s mentally ill,” Berger said in a statement his office released. “But it is difficult to understand why they are extending an unlawful leave.

“This proposed agreement delays doing the right thing until 2014 – why not do the right thing today?”

Morning Memo: National gun debate to hit North Carolina TV screens

UPDATED: BLOOMBERG TO TARGET N.C. IN GUN DEBATE: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is preparing to launch a major TV ad campaign aimed at U.S. senators in swing states -- including Democrat Kay Hagan. From the NYT: "Determined to persuade Congress to act in response to that shooting, Mr. Bloomberg on Monday will begin bankrolling a $12 million national advertising campaign that focuses on senators who he believes might be persuaded to support a pending package of federal regulations to curb gun violence. The ads, in 13 states, will blanket those senators’ districts during an Easter Congressional recess that is to be followed by debate over the legislation."

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The Dix lease to the city of Raleigh hits the chopping block. The Senate convenes at 7 p.m. but won't consider the bill until Tuesday. The House convenes at 4 p.m. but no votes are expected. The Wake County delegation at 4 p.m. in room 643 of the legislative office building. (More on the meeting below.) Gov. Pat McCrory lists no public events on his schedule today.

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Senate advances bill to undo Dix lease

A bill that revokes Raleigh’s lease on the Dorothea Dix hospital property sailed through a Senate appropriations committee Thursday, with several legislators calling former Gov. Bev Perdue’s final major act “illegitimate.”

After a heated debate, the Republican-led committee approved the measure with a few Democrats dissenting. Supporters of the bill argue that the state signed away the property for less than it’s worth, and they want to craft a new lease with Raleigh that reserves some of the land for state offices.

“This was a lame-duck deal done by a lame-duck governor,” said Sen. Tommy Tucker, a Republican from Union County who co-sponsored the bill. “It was kind of an end run to the process. ... This is the point of the city taking property from state government – a power grab without question.” More here.

Perdue makes ceremonial splash with Dix lease signing

Gov. Bev Perdue and the Raleigh mayor signed a lease Friday giving the keys for the Dorothea Dix Hospital property to the city, the final step in a decade-long, controversial effort to preserve the 325-acre property on the edge of downtown.

The outgoing Democratic governor signed the document with ceremonial flourish in the old House chamber using 10 pens and an antique, hand-press stamp to emboss the document.

“We understand that preservation of God’s best resources, like Dix park, is part of the common good,” Perdue said, later quoting President Teddy Roosevelt, a passionate conservationist. “I’m proud of this for all the people of the state.”

Gov. Perdue, Raleigh mayor to sign Dix property lease agreement Friday

Gov. Bev Perdue on Friday will sign official documents with the City of Raleigh to lease the Dix Hospital property for use as a public park.

The two parties negotiated the terms of the lease after the Council of State approved the controversial deal in a Dec. 4 vote. The signing ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the old Senate chambers at the Capitol. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarland and the governor will take part.

Senate leader is looking to terminate just-approved Dix deal

Moments after the Council of State approved the Dix deal, a Republican legislative leader pledged to undo it. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said he is evaluating legal options to terminate the lease.

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that a majority of the Council of State caved into political pressure at the expense of good sense,” he said in a statement issued by his office. "The Senate will begin evaluating legal options to terminate this ill-conceived lease and reclaim this land on behalf of its real owners: the people of North Carolina.”

The state still owns the land, regardless of what Berger suggested. And its unclear if other Republicans would support him. House Speaker Thom Tillis has not yet weighed in on the decision, nor has Gov.-elect Pat McCrory.

Perdue, Council of State approve Dix deal

UPDATED: Led by Gov. Bev Perdue, North Carolina officials voted Tuesday to allow the city to develop a major park at the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus, in a lease that will cost Raleigh about $68 million over 75 years.

The Council of State approved the controversial deal by a 6-2 vote with one abstaining after a vigorous discussion about whether it is a good deal for the state. 

Morning roundup: Dix deal, McIntyre-Rouzer identity crisis

This story from earlier this morning sets up the Council of State vote on the Dorothea Dix Hospital grounds deal.

Columnist Barry Saunders misses Jesse Helms, because you always knew where he stood. Not so with Congressman Mike McIntyre.

Perdue puts forth Dix deal for Council of State vote Tuesday

Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue will ask state leaders to lease the 325-acre Dorothea Dix Hospital campus to the city for $68 million over 75 years – a move that would enable Raleigh to fulfill its vision for a major urban park on a valuable tract of state land just south of downtown.

The Council of State will vote on whether to enter the lease deal at its meeting Tuesday.

McCrory listed as advisor to Dix park plan he now wants delayed

The roster of leaders guiding the Dix Visionaries' effort to turn the Dorothea Dix property into a park includes one name that stands out: Pat McCrory.

The Republican governor-elect is listed among 80 members of the Dix Visionaries Business Advisory Council. But now McCrory is seeking to block an effort by the Dix Visionaries and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue to approve a plan in December to lease the property to the city for a park.

A spokesman for McCrory's transition team said Wednesday that McCrory has never been involved with Dix Visionaries. But the group disagrees.

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