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For ex-lawmakers, retirement pays nicely

It pays to be a legislative leader --- even when you're gone. Or out of prison.

Former leaders head the list of those receiving pensions under North Carolina's Legislative Retirement System.

At the top of the list: former Democratic House Speaker Jim Black of Matthews, who served time in prison for corruption. He gets $3,607 a month, according to the state Treasurer's office.

His predecessor, Republican Harold Brubaker of Asheboro, gets $3,444 a month to supplement his income as a lobbyist representing more than a dozen clients including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and GlaxoSmithKline.

Wiser, former legislator, dies

Former state Rep. Betty Hutchinson Wiser, recently died while on vacation in the Bahamas. She was 78.

Wiser represented Wake County from 1985-1990, where she was noted as an expert on aging, Rob Christensen reports. She sponsored legislation to expand benefits for poor children and pregnant women.

She was defeated in the 1990 Democratic primary, after she joined with a group dissident Democrats and Republicans headed by Rep. Joe Mavretic to oust powerful House Speaker Liston Ramsey in 1989.

Wiser was long active in community affairs, serving as executive director of the Wake County Council on Aging, and president the N.C. League of Women Voters. At the time of her death, she was serving as co-chair of the Osteoporosis Prevention Task Force.

She was buried March 1 in Ohio.

Claims dept: McCrory's 'Henry' radio ad

Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory's new radio ad criticizes Democrat Beverly Perdue for her negative ads. before hitting her in his own.

What the ad says:

Henry: Hey ... aren't you Pat McCrory?

Pat: Yeah.

Henry: I'm Henry.

Pat: Hi Henry.

Henry: Pat ... been hearing some negative stuff about you from Bev Perdue...

Pat: Yeah, I heard three of her negative ads about me just today and heck I wouldn't even vote for me after hearing them

Henry: Then why don’t you go after her?

Pat: Bev, She believes she can get elected by tearing me down. I believe in telling you what I'm going to do as a leader ... and not untruthfully attacking my opponent?

Henry: So what about that Yankee garbage?

Pat: It's pure Garbage, Henry. It's so ridiculous. No one including me wants to dump garbage in our beautiful state.

Henry: What about our roads?

Pat: Well, our roads are a mess. Bev Perdue has proposed taking road money for things like a teapot museum. This is the culture of corruption that I want to change. I'll fix our roads and build a good system interconnecting the whole state.

Henry: I heard Speaker Joe Maveretic say you couldn't believe a word Bev Perdue says ... guess he's right...

Pat: Yeah and he was a respected Democrat leader. I'd appreciate your vote for positive change.

Henry: You got it, Pat.

Pat: I'm Pat McCrory, candidate for governor and I approved and paid for this ad.

The background: McCrory proudly proclaims that he hasn't run negative ads and essentially repeats that in this ad ... moments before he attacks Perdue.

McCrory and the N.C. League of Municipalities opposed legislation restricting landfills that could import trash from other states, but their opposition was based on a tax it imposed on cities and towns not because anyone wanted to ship in garbage.

As lieutenant governor, Perdue does not help write the state budget, including in 2005, when the budget included a $400,000 appropriation for a then-proposed teapot museum in Sparta. That money was arranged by then-House Speaker Jim Black, who also received campaign contributions from museum supporters.

Former House Speaker Joe Mavretic, a Democrat, has repeatedly questioned Perdue's trustworthiness. Perdue pledged to join a bipartisan coup in 1989 to oust then-House Speaker Liston Ramsey with Mavretic. The morning of the coup, Perdue backed out. Mavretic still won the vote.

Is the ad accurate: Yes and no. There is no evidence Perdue played any role in the teapot museum money. She doesn't even vote on the budget unless there's a tie, which there wasn't. The claims about Mavretic's views and McCrory's defense of his thoughts on roads and landfills is accurate, however.

— Mark Johnson

Mavretic's interview about Perdue

An interview with former House Speaker Joe Mavretic about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beverly Perdue on the "Talk of the Town" show with Henry Hinton from earlier this year.

McCrory goes negative on radio

Pat McCrory boasts that he has never run a negative ad in his campaign.

Not anymore.

And McCrory manages in his new radio ad to bash Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, the Democratic candidate, for her negative ads before hitting her in his own.

The ad features a conversation between McCrory "Henry" — though not the same one as in a recent Perdue radio ad — about why McCrory doesn't "go after" Perdue.

"Bev, she believes she can get elected by tearing me down. I believe in telling you what I'm going to do as a leader ... and not untruthfully attacking my opponent?" McCrory says in the ad.

He then argues that recent attacks over landfills and road policies are inaccurate and unfair.

But during the ad, McCrory also argues that Perdue wants to spend road money on "things like a teapot museum," while "Henry" says he heard former House Speaker Joe Mavretic said you can't believe her.

After the jump, the script.

McCrory radio ad

Who would replace Vance, Aycock?

If Democrats rename Vance Aycock, who would they name it for?

State Treasurer Richard Moore, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, suggested renaming the party's annual dinner after former Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt, former speaker pro tem Marie Colton of Asheville or the late N.C. Speaker Liston Ramsey.

But in a post on This Old State, Charlotte Observer editor Jack Betts argues that Ramsey is a bad choice because of his "ironclad control" of the House in the 1980s.

They ran a rigid pork-barrel system that so disturbed both Democrats and Republicans that a coalition threw him out of office in 1989 and installed Democrat Josephus Mavretic in his place.

Betts says other options, including the late U.S. Sen. Sam Ervin, have their own problems. He suggests naming it for the late state Sens. Herbert Hyde or Jim Richardson.

Um, how about just calling it the Grove Park Inn Dinner?

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