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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wake Dems endorse Nancy McFarlane for Raleigh mayor, Christine Kushner in District 6 schools race

Posted by on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 2:33 PM

City Councilor Nancy McFarlane
Any lingering doubt that the Wake County Democratic Party would get behind City Councilor Nancy McFarlane in the Raleigh mayor's race — because she's an unaffiliated voter and an independent officeholder — was just dispelled. The party's executive committee met and endorsed McFarlane, according to an enthusiastic statement from Wake Dems Chair Mack Paul.

McFarlane is running against two Republicans, Randall Williams and Billie Redmond. Redmond has the official Wake GOP endorsement.

In the contested District C race for City Council, the Dems endorsed the incumbent, Eugene Weeks, over fellow Democrats Corey Branch and Shelia Jones. Racquel Williams, an unaffiliated voter, and Republican Paul Terrell are also running in District C.

Incumbent Councilors Russ Stephenson and Mary-Ann Baldwin are the lone Democrats running for the two at-large Council seats. Both were endorsed, as were incumbent Thomas Crowder, who's unopposed for re-election in District D, and newcomer Randy Stagner (in the initial post I neglected to say he's also an unaffiliated voter), who's running for McFarlane's District A seat.

Like Crowder, the remaining incumbent Council members, Republican John Odom in District B and the unaffiliated Bonner Gaylord in District E. are running unopposed.


In the District 6 school board race, the only one with multiple Democrats running, the party as expected endorsed Christine Kushner over the late-announcing Mary Ann Weathers and the folksy George Morgan, both of them retired educators. Kushner, a policy analyst by trade (and a former journalist), started her campaign months ago and had an impressive roster of supporters already.

Kushner's main opponent in District 6 is Republican Donna Williams, co-founder and first president of the Northern Wake Republican Club, which I can report from first-hand observation is about as all the Wake Democratic clubs put together. District 6 should be an easy win for the Democrats, however, unless there's some sort of Tea Party tide running out there.

Oh, and let us not forget, the school board races and the Raleigh and Cary municipal races are nonpartisan. That doesn't mean all the candidates are, or that the parties aren't involved. (In olden days, North Carolina only had one party. And even when there were two, school board issues remained above the fray for many years — but no longer.)

What nonpartisan means today is that the ballot won't tell you which candidates are "D" and which are "R" and which are "UNA" or "L" for Libertarian. If you want to know, you need to find out before you go into the pollng place.

Here's the statement from the Wake Democrats, which includes all of their endorsements in municipal races:

Nancy McFarlane for Raleigh Mayor, Five Experienced Candidates for School Board

For Immediate Release - August 30, 2011 Raleigh, NC - The Wake County Democratic Party issued official endorsements following a vote of the County Executive Board. The Party is endorsing a full slate of candidates in the October 11 and November 8 elections.

In the hotly contested Wake County School Board elections the Party endorsed:

Wake District 3 - Kevin Hill
Wake District 4 - Keith Sutton
Wake District 5 - Jim Martin
Wake District 6 - Christine Kushner
Wake District 8 - Susan Evans

Wake County Democratic Chairman Mack Paul said, “The five candidates that we have endorsed exemplify everything that Wake County citizens deserves on our School Board. They are experienced, they are consensus builders and they will bring true stability to the Board. Two years ago Ron Margiotta, and the rest of the School Board Majority, made a number of empty promises to voters that they have not met. They have divided our county and made us a national punchline. It is time for a change. When our endorsed candidates are elected, they will lead us out of the mess that the Board Majority has created.”

In the Raleigh Mayoral race the endorsement went to City Council member Nancy McFarlane. McFarlane is a registered unaffiliated.

“Nancy McFarlane has served with distinction on the City Council,” said Paul. “She is well positioned, by virtue of her business experience and civic leadership in Raleigh, to carry on Charles Meeker’s legacy of reasoned, forward thinking leadership. The Wake GOP may disagree given their recent attacks but Mayor Meeker’s leadership has been instrumental in driving Raleigh’s growth, the revitalization of downtown and more.”

The Democratic Party endorsements for Raleigh Council went to Mary-Ann Baldwin (At Large), Thomas Crowder (D), Randy Stagner (A), Russ Stephenson (At Large) and Eugene Weeks (C).

“Our endorsed candidates will lead Wake County forward with the same type of forward thinking and reasonable leadership that our Democratic and independent leaders have offered in recent years. It is time to elect candidates that can unite Wake County and build on the progress of those who came before us. Our endorsed candidates will work with every citizen of Wake County to build a stronger County for all of us,” said Mack Paul.

Other October 11 Endorsements:

Cary Mayor
Harold Weinbrecht

Cary Council at Large
Lori Bush
Cary Council District B
Jeff Foxx
Cary Council District D
Gale Adcock

November 8 Endorsements:

Apex Town Council
Bill Jensen

Fuquay-Varina Mayor
John W. Byrne

Fuquay-Varina Board of Commissioners
William (Bill) Harris
Ed Ridpath
Jason Ora Wunsch

Garner Mayor
Ronnie Williams

Garner Town Council
Ken Marshburn
Amaka Flynn
Jackie Johns

Holly Springs Town Council
Otis G. Byrd
Ken Henke
Ray Riordan
Arthur (Pete) Utley, Jr.

Knightdale Mayor
Jun Lee

Knightdale Town Council
James Roberson

Morrisville Council at Large
Pete M. Martin
Morrisville Council District 1
Linda Lyons
Morrisville Council at Large
Steve Rao

Wake Forest Board of Commissioners
Ben Clapsaddle
Sherry Ward

Wendell Mayor
Harold Broadwell

Wendell Board of Commissioners
James W. Parham

Zebulon Board of Commissioners
Glenn York


Paid for by the Wake County Democratic Party:

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Contributions are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

[Updated with must-read info] Tata announces Q&A sessions on student assignment plan this Wednesday and Thursday

Posted by on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 4:21 PM


Yes — this just in: Superintendent Tony Tata's been talking about holding some public information sessions on his new student assignment plan sometime in September. All of a sudden, five sessions are scheduled, and the first four are this week ... two of them on Wednesday ... two more on Thursday. The fifth one is next week.

[Update: Tuesday at 5:25 p.m. Tata just changed the whole schedule. The first two sessions are still tomorrow night and Thursday, but after that — Here's the whole thing, just as it was sent via email two minutes ago:

Information Meetings Scheduled to Update Student Assignment Proposal
August 30, 2011 - Please disregard the previous press release about the upcoming community student assignment meetings. The previous information was incomplete.

Members of the Wake County Public School System's Student Assignment Task Force will lead a series of community information meetings during the next three weeks to provide the community an update on the development of a staff student assignment proposal and to answer questions from the public.

The most significant updates to the assignment proposal are the addition of proposed feeder patterns and the modification of choice options for students whose most proximate school is a magnet school. These choice options will include a broadened list of regional schools, including two high performing schools, an additional magnet school, and an underutilized school. You can find the proposed feeder patterns on the "Next Steps, Q&A" page at

We will gather community feedback at these meetings. Below is a complete list of the community information meetings, which will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the following dates.

Wednesday, August 31 at Middle Creek High
Thursday, September 1 at Wakefield High
Wednesday, September 7 at Apex High
Thursday, September 8 at Southeast Raleigh High
Tuesday, September 13 at Broughton High
Thursday, September 15 at East Wake High


Here's what I posted on Monday — yesterday — based on the first schedule from Tata:

What's the rush? Tata is supposed to brief the school board on details of the plan at its meeting next Tuesday, Sept. 6. At a meeting in a Southeast Raleigh church last night, Tata said the plan "is in the home stretch." He also said it could be "blown off course." It sure could.

Two months ago, and again 10 days ago, we heard from Ron Margiotta, chair of the school board and a candidate for re-election in October, that the conservative board majority is "not close to finalizing any plan on school assignment" — especially if it contains anything that smacks of diversity.

Tata's plan has diversity as a central element, though how strong it will be in practice — versus the other elements of proximity, stability and choice — remains to be, first, defined, and second, made operational.

So the questions arise: Will Tata and the board majority square off over diversity? Or will Tata agree to make diversity an element of the plan that has no force — i.e., it's included, sort of, but the number of inner-city kids who can actually choose AND BE ACCEPTED AT high-achieving schools outside of their neighborhoods is so limited as to be an empty promise.

I don't know if Tata's intention is to build community support for his plan before he takes it to the board. Maybe.

Anyway, this is the statement just sent by Tata's office:

Members of the Wake County Public School System’s Student Assignment Task Force will lead a series of community information meetings this week to provide the community an update on the progress of the development of the draft student assignment proposal.

The community information meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the following dates:

Wednesday, Aug. 31 at East Wake High and Middle Creek High
Thursday, Sept. 1 at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High and Wakefield High
Wednesday, Sept. 7 at Apex High

Task force members will share information about the proposal with the community and collect feedback at each meeting. These meetings are similar to the sessions the task force held in June to solicit community feedback. This is not a public forum.

Superintendent Tata and the task force presented the draft proposal to the school board on Aug. 16. This followed the community online test drive of an early draft proposal in which more than 21,000 people participated.

Superintendent Tata and the task force have been developing the proposal since February when Tata asked the school board for the responsibility of developing a long-range student assignment proposal that focuses on maximizing achievement for every student while providing families with more stability and choice.

The task force will accept comments on the proposal through Sept. 15 via the website Superintendent Tata and members of the task force will review comments/feedback and make modifications as appropriate.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Planned Parenthood, in federal court, wins round one against the Republican General Assembly

Posted by on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 9:02 PM

A federal judge has intervened to block the state of North Carolina — a.k.a. the Republican General Assembly — from declaring war on Planned Parenthood. This is a temporary injunction and will hold until the judge hears both sides in court and decides the case. That said, it's a big win for Planned Parenthood of Central NC and a setback for the Republicans, who wrote a prohibition into the 2011-12 budget against any Planned Parenthood chapter even applying for federal funds administered by the state's health agency. At least $200,000 a year, and valuable services for the public, are at stake in the case.

The budget, you'll recall, was enacted over Gov. Bev Perdue's veto.

Tonight's WRAL story is here. The N&O has an Associated Press story on its website. This is what I wrote about it when PPCNC went to court six weeks ago.

[Further Updating: WRAL posted Beaty's ruling — here's a link. Key phrase in the 35-page document: To obtain a preliminary injunction, Planned Parenthood needed to make a "clear showing" that it's likely to prevail on the merits when the case is decided. Which, obviously, it did.]

[Updating with this statement from Melissa Reed, VP of Planned Parenthood Health Systems Inc.:

Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc. applauds the ruling by Judge Beaty. The unconstitutional special provision in the budget passed by the NC General Assembly to ban funding to Planned Parenthood for preventive health care for women was an attempt to punish Planned Parenthood for our strong belief in advocating for and providing comprehensive reproductive health care for women and men in North Carolina. Judge Beaty's ruling will allow us to continue providing low cost birth control and life saving cancer screening to men and women in need.

Here's a statement out just now from Janet Colm, CEO of PPCNC, calling the injunction a huge victory (let me amend that — Colm didn't call it a huge victory; the statement arrived in a email entitled "huge victory for women"):

Statement from Janet Colm, President and CEO
Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina

Winton-Salem, NC—Today, U.S. District Judge James A. Beaty, Jr issued a preliminary injunction in Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina’s (PPCNC) case against the ban prohibiting Planned Parenthood from receiving state and federal funds. Despite a veto from Governor Perdue, the General Assembly passed a Special Provision in this year’s budget that bans Planned Parenthood from receiving state and federal funds for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention services.

For more than a decade, PPCNC has participated in state and federal programs to provide low-income North Carolinians basic health care and education, including life-saving cancer screenings, annual exams, birth control and prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. The General Assembly deliberately stripped Planned Parenthood of funding despite a shortage of health care providers in North Carolina available to care for the state’s most vulnerable populations.

“Our first concern is to our patients so we are deeply grateful that the Court has stopped the State from enforcing the ban prohibiting Planned Parenthood from providing much-needed preventive health care to thousands of North Carolinians,” said Janet Colm, PPCNC’s CEO.

“The court issued a strong ruling that Planned Parenthood is likely to prevail on all of our arguments and that an injunction is needed to ensure that uninsured and low-income women, men, and teens of North Carolina continue to have access to basic health care and education,” Colm said.

Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina is being represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), as well as attorneys from Wilmer Hale and Raleigh-based lawyer Jack Nichols, in the lawsuit against the state.

PPFA Senior Staff Attorney Helene Krasnoff explained, “Judge Beaty’s ruling confirmed what we already knew, and what our arguments and evidence made clear: this Special Provision is contrary to federal law, violates the constitutional rights of PPCNC and our patients, unconstitutionally penalizes Planned Parenthood, and has the effect of restricting access to health care for some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations.”

Last year, PPCNC provided family planning and reproductive health exams to almost 7,000 patients. This preventive health care included more than 1,000 Pap tests and breast exams, colposcopies to detect cervical cancer following an abnormal Pap test and more than 8,000 tests for sexually transmitted infections. The legislature’s move to ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state and federal funding disproportionately punishes uninsured and low-income women in North Carolina.


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

(Update) Lent Carr, would-be preacher and City Council member, sent back to prison

Posted by on Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 3:49 PM

(Update, 8/18): Poor Mr. Carr is officially off the ballot and in hot water for registering to vote while he was still on probation. The N&O was at the Wake Board of Elections today.

The original post from a week ago:

This really is more sad than anything. Lent Carr can sound quite rational, but he's obviously got some serious issues. Carr was on the ballot to run for City Council in District C. A judge waylaid those plans and sent him to prison for violating his parole.

WRAL did some reporting on him, but credit goes first to the anonymous author of, who told the truth about Carr's inability to tell the truth back in January.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wake GOP endorses Billie Redmond for Raleigh mayor over her fellow Republican Randall Williams

Posted by on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Courtesy of Billie Redmond for mayor campaign
  • Courtesy of Billie Redmond for mayor campaign
The executive committee of the Wake County Republican Party met Monday night. The result, just announced, is a party-endorsed slate of candidates in Raleigh that includes businesswoman Billie Redmond for mayor, not Dr. Randall Williams. The two Republican candidates are running in a three-way contest against City Councilor Nancy McFarlane, who is unaffiliated but generally aligned with progressive, Democratic positions.

The Republicans also announced their slate of Board of Education candidates and endorsements in other municipal races — no surprises. (See the list below.)

[Adding a bit to what I wrote earlier, it's worth noting that the Wake Republicans split their endorsement in District A — or rather, they endorsed both of the Republican candidates, Brian Tinga and Gale Wilkins. Not so in the mayor's race, where Redmond is endorsed and Williams isn't.]

I've heard more than one Republican refer to the Redmond-Williams contest as an unofficial primary (the elections are officially nonpartisan), with the goal of getting the GOP front-runner into a runoff with McFarlane.

If any candidate wins 50 percent of the votes in October, it's over and she — or he — wins.

But if none do, the top two finishers move on to a November runoff. For purposes of getting to a runoff, it may help the Republicans to have a pair of candidates out rounding up votes. But it usually doesn't work that way: Two candidates from the same party make it hard to either to reach critical mass in terms of fundraising, volunteer help and general enthusiasm, leaving the door open for a single candidate from the other party to take off and win.

Not sure which will be true in the case of Redmond & Williams.


Here's the statement from the Wake GOP:

Wake County Republican Party Presents Its Slate of Endorsed Candidates for 2011 Elections

WakeGOP Unified as 2011 Municipal Elections Approach

The Wake County Republican Party has made its official endorsement of candidates in the scheduled October 11 and November 8, 2011 elections. The action came last night, when the Executive Committee voted to endorse the candidates listed below.

“The Wake County Republican Party is pleased to present these well qualified candidates on our endorsed slate. The process of recruiting and endorsing took over a year, with hard work from a strong recruitment committee. I am pleased with the final endorsements by the Wake County GOP Executive Board. The Party is unified around this slate and we are looking forward to helping them achieve victory in the upcoming municipal elections this fall!” - Wake County Republican Party Chair Susan Bryant.

Wake County Republican Party Endorsed Candidates for 2011

Wake County School Board Candidates
School Board District 3: Heather Losurdo
School Board District 4: Venita Peyton
School Board District 5: Cynthia Matson
School Board District 6: Donna Williams
School Board District 8: Ron Margiotta

Apex Municipal Candidates
Apex Mayor: Keith Weatherly
Apex Council: Darren Eustance
Apex Council: Scott Lassiter

Cary Municipal Candidates
Cary Mayor: Michelle Muir
Cary Town Council At-Large: Zeke Bridges
Cary Town Council District B: Don Frantz
Cary Town Council District D: Don Hyatt

Fuquay-Varina Candidates
Fuquay-Varina Town Commissioner: Sean Hearn
Fuquay-Varina Town Commissioner: Charlie Adcock

Garner Candidates
Garner Town Council: Becky Matthews

Holly Springs Candidates
Holly Springs Town Council: Cheri Lee

Knightdale Candidates
Knightdale Town Council: Dustin Tripp
Knightdale Town Council: Doug Taylor

Morrisville Candidates
Morrisville Town Council At-Large: Mark Stohlman
Morrisville Town Council District 1: Michael Schlink
Morrisville Town Council District 3: Gary Martin
Morrisville Town Council At-Large: Tara Mylenski

Raleigh Candidates
Raleigh Mayor: Billie Redmond
Raleigh City Council At-Large: Paul Fitts
Raleigh City Council District A: Brian Tinga
Raleigh City Council District A: Gale Wilkins
Raleigh City Council District B: John Odom
Raleigh City Council District C: Paul Terrell

Rolesville Candidates
Rolesville Mayor: C. Frank Eagles
Rolesville Board of Commissioners: Gil Hartis
Rolesville Board of Commissioners: Shannon Whitley

Wake Forest Candidates
Wake Forest Board of Commissioners: Zachary Donahue
Wake Forest Board of Commissioners: M. Greg Harrington
Wake Forest Board of Commissioners: Anne Hines

Wendell Candidates
Wendell Board of Commissioners: Tillie Turlington

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Monday, August 15, 2011

[Update x 2: Odom's opponent withdraws] New candidates in Raleigh; Crowder, Gaylord unopposed

Posted by on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 4:42 PM


[Update No. 2, 4:10 pm: Just spoke to Gary Sims, deputy director at the Board of Elections. He confirms the gist of the story. The erstwhile candidate came in at 11:59, according to the sign-in sheet in the lobby, but he didn't have a check and the elections staff cannot take cash over $50 (the fee is $100), nor are they set up to take credit cards. By the time the fellow got back with a check, it was after 12 noon, meaning that, by law, the filing period had ended. No one else was ahead of him to file, so he couldn't argue that he was in line waiting when the filing period ended. Sims said he followed the law as he understands it and turned the fellow away, but Sims did tell him that he can seek to have Sims' decision overturned when the Board of Elections meets on Tuesday. "I'm not the last word, the Board is," Sims said.]

[Update, 3:30 pm: Just heard that someone tried to file to run in District E, learned that he now lives in the redrawn District D. This happens close to noon. He thinks about it, says OK, I'll run in D, but then he's not allowed to pay the filing fee with a credit card — checks only. By the time he gets back with a check, it's slightly past noon and the filing period has ended. If he appeals, if he wins, if he runs, Crowder could have an opponent.]


[Crowd-sourcing, I love it:]

Crowd-sourcing is the newest thing in journalism, a variation of open-source methods of product development. In this instance of crowd-sourcing, we seek to gather information on candidates I've never or barely heard of who are running for office in Raleigh. I can call around, and eventually will see these folks at candidate forums, but that's the slow way. Quicker — and the digital way — is to ask for your input:

Do you know these people? What can you tell us about them?

So with the filing period ended, the list of candidates running for City Council seats is below.

(N.B., the mayoral field didn't change — still District A City Councilor Nancy McFarlane vs. brokerage CEO Billie Redmond vs. Dr. Randall Williams. As promised, I went to Williams' ice-cream kickoff last night, so I can now say that I've met/know all three. More on them in next week's printed Indy and maybe here if I get time.)

So let us know, either here or by email to, if you can shed any light on the candidates, especially the ones marked with a * — which means they're new to me.


At-Large (vote for 2)

Russ Stephenson — incumbent, Democrat
Mary-Ann Baldwin — ditto
Paul Fitts* — met him briefly last night, Republican challenger

District A

Randy Stagner — unaffiliated voter; retired military & McFarlane's choice to succeed her on Council
Gale Wilkins* — voter registration says: Republican
Brian Tinga* — he ran for a state House seat last year, lost the GOP primary

District B

John Odom — incumbent, Republican
Bradley Johnson* — {UPDATE — Johnson withdrew on 8/15] — voter registration says: Democrat; town planning background, works in Knightdale

District C

Eugene Weeks — incumbent, Democrat
Lent Carr — in prison for parole violation
Racquel Williams — vied with Weeks for appointment to this seat when James West vacated
Shelia Jones — ditto
Corey Branch* — crowd-sourcing reveals, bright young-ish Democrat & engineer
Paul Terrell — conservative, Republican, white; not the profile of past District C winners

District D

Thomas Crowder — incumbent, Democrat, unopposed

District E

Bonner Gaylord — incumbent, unaffiliated, unopposed

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Friday, August 12, 2011

A distant trumpet sounds, and Vernon Robinson runs again

Posted by on Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 2:41 PM


I ran into Vernon Robinson last week at the charter schools conference downtown. Vernon's an old charter schools guy, one of the originals, actually. Anyway, he said he needed to get busy raising money for his congressional campaign. What campaign? I asked.

Well, he didn't say. Vernon announced his candidacy for Brad Miller's 13th District seat awhile back, but that's when the weirdly gerrymandered 13th wandered over toward Winston-Salem, where Vernon lives. It has since been weirdly re-gerrymandered to go east from Raleigh, leaving Vernon out unless he chooses once again to run in a district he doesn't live in.

More off-putting from his standpoint is that the new & even more gerrymandered 13th District is now a lock for a Wake County Republican, which is why both Paul Coble and George Holding (and Bill Randall) are running in it.

This is all assuming that the gerrymandered districts survive federal court challenges, which is anything but certain given how far the Republicans in the General Assembly went in trying to eliminate Democratic officeholders.

But for now, the districts are what they are — weird, gerrymandered, would be illegal in a sane world — so where do they leave Vernon?

This morning, the answer arrived in the form of a fundraising email. Vernon is running for the Republican nomination in the new & also gerrymandered 8th District, where Larry Kissell is the endangered Democratic incumbent.

If you've been missing that Vernon Robinson touch since he last appeared on our shores in the 2006 election against Brad Miller, here's a sample:

I happen to be a black man, but the only thing I have in common with Barack Obama is a good tan! If you share my belief that that socialist and his Democrat allies in Congress are destroying America, please read every word below.

While Obama was smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine, I was earning badges to become an Eagle Scout. While Obama was being mentored by Communist Party Member Frank Davis, I was taught to love God and country by my parents. While Obama was consorting with Marxist professors, Black Panthers, trial lawyers, union bosses, hippie peaceniks, anti-Christian atheists, militant homosexual agitators, radical pro-abortion feminists, gun grabbers, illegal immigration/open border zealots, Chi-Com sympathizers, globalists who worship at the altar of the UN, and environmentalist wackos, I was earning my bachelor's degree alongside my fellow cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

While Obama was hanging out with terrorists such as Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers (who bombed the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon), I was serving my country as a Missile Combat Crew Commander and Intelligence Officer. While Obama was attending "Socialist conferences" at Cooper Union, I was reading Milton Friedman, watching William F. Buckley, Jr., and attending the 1980 Republican National Convention that nominated Ronald Reagan. While Obama was learning his redistribution-based economics theory from law professors at Harvard, I was earning my MBA and learning the virtues of free market principles and pro-growth policies. While Obama was following in the footsteps of Saul Alinsky to become a Chicago-based community organizer, I was working as a business professor and serving in the first Bush Administration.

While Obama was saying “Amen” to the loony, vile, anti-America, anti-Whitey, anti-Semitic, pro-reparations, “black liberation theology” spewed by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, I was worshipping at a church that preaches the Gospel and erecting a Ten Commandments monument on municipal property (to the dismay of the government bureaucrats and high priests of political correctness who insist that God must be ejected from the public square). While Obama was supporting the NAACP, the ACLU, the NEA, and ACORN, I was filing the successful lawsuit against the University of North Carolina that put an end to its practice of electing trustees according to strict racial and gender quotas and providing blacks-only scholarships at taxpayer expense.

It goes on.

The sad part is, Vernon channels the inner Republican in more GOP candidates than you might think. They don't say these things — not right out, anyway. In public, they use code words. He doesn't. He tells it like it is on the planet Republican, in a galaxy very close to home.


Here's the proposed 8th District, by the way (Kissell lives in Montgomery County):


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Republicans fill out Wake school board slate, profess love for Tata too

Posted by on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 1:17 PM


The Wake County Republican Party is making no bones about it. As far as they're concerned, it's great if the non-partisan school board elections are partisan. To that end, they've rolled out their "A" team of GOP candidates, capped off by the announcement today that Donna Williams, founding leader of the Northern Wake Republican Club, will run in District 6.

Williams will be pitted against Christine Kushner, whose credentials look pretty darned impressive, in a district that should favor Kushner. A third candidate, George Morgan, is also on the ballot; the incumbent, Carolyn Morrison, is not seeking re-election.

Underlining the point that the schools are now political (if ever they weren't), the Williams campaign quoted Wake School Board Chair Ron Margiotta, "Papa Ron" to his fellow Republicans, as follows:

Wake School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta said he was delighted to learn Williams had decided to make the run. “Donna Williams is one of the most respected and hardest-working leaders on the Wake County political scene,” he said. “She will be a tremendous asset to the Board, and I know she will wage an exceptionally vigorous and issue-oriented campaign. I look forward to serving with her in the years ahead.”

Meanwhile, Wake Republican Party Chair Susan Bryant is out today with her "Elephant Express" newsletter, extolling the virtues of the GOP's slate of school board candidates. In addition to Williams and Margiotta, who is up for re-election in District 8, she lists: Cynthia Matson, District 5; Heather Losurdo, District 3; and in District 4, perennial candidate Venita Peyton stands for office yet again.


By the way, we noted the effort the other day by Wake Democratic Party Chair Mack Paul to point out that Margiotta & Co. are not as supportive of Schools Superintendent Tony Tata as they might lead you to believe.

Au contraire, Bryant replied today. Did Mack Paul "praise" Tata? (He did.) All right, then, Bryant would smootch up all over him:

Tony Tata, our new superintendent and a recent hire by the school board, is hard at work — focused like a laser beam - on the best interests of our children. He is doing a magnificent job re-organizing the school system to better serve the county.

Magnificent, and yet the Republican school board members aren't rushing to embrace his "Blue" plan for student assignments, which is the key thing he's come up with since he started six months ago.


One more thing. It hadn't quite struck me until today that the Northern Wake Republican Club is calling its Aug. 25 gala "Paint the Town Red."

Red, as in Republican.

Red, as in Redmond ...? ... as in Billie Redmond, a Republican candidate for Raleigh mayor this year, but only one of the two Republican candidates for mayor?

Redmond's red campaign signs are popping up — illegally, it must be noted — on every thoroughfare in town, and she's got that "Paint Raleigh Redmond" thing going. She got into the race with Bryant's enthusiastic nod, which seemed to so steam the truly red right-wing of the Republican Party that within days they produced their own Republican candidate, Dr. Randall Williams.

Williams, as in former Mayor Tom Fetzer's protege? Thus far, the announcement that Fetzer is Williams' campaign strategist is about all anyone knows about the good doctor — but he's hosting an ice-cream social tonight at Broughton HS (6-8 p.m. in the gym — I like strawberry, fyi), so we'll hope to learn something more about him then.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In Tata we trust—II: Wake Dems get with Tony, say Repubs aren't

Posted by on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Two months ago, I posted "In Tata we trust?" — note the question mark. The gist of it was, Wake Schools Superintendent Tony Tata's Blue Plan for student assignment seemed like a reasonable path out of the muck that the school system's been sunk in since the '09 elections ... and Tata, the former general, was a refreshing, surprising success as the supe.

But of course, he'd only been in town four months, so prudence dictated that any praise take the form of a question :)

Today, Mack Paul is out with a statement on behalf of the Wake Democratic Party, and there's no question mark in sight. Mack likes Tata, says he's doing a good job, and contrasts Tata's "pragmatic approach" with the "ideological agenda" of the five-member Republican school board majority. The full statement is copied below.


In fact, Paul's statement is all about aligning the Democratic school board candidates with Tata ahead of the '11 elections in October, while also pointing out that Tata's compromise Blue Plan faces a major impediment in the form of Republican Board Chair Ron Margiotta.

The election campaign has yet to heat up, and it remains to be seen whether Margiotta, the only Republican member on the ballot and the leader of the board that brought Tata to Wake County, will get behind Tata's plan or not.

Thus far, he hasn't — indeed, Margiotta's been heard to pooh-pooh a key aspect of Tata's approach: The need, about which Tata's been crystal clear, to reserve a sufficient number of seats in high-achieving schools for kids being transported from neighborhoods of low achievement.

In other words, Tata wants diversity in every school via student achievement levels (not race any more or the family's socioeconomic status).

Margiotta, along with fellow Republican John Tedesco, wants neighborhood schools, not diversity. Or so it seems.

There are five school board seats on the ballot in October. The other four are held by Democrats, two of whom (Kevin Hill, Keith Sutton) are running for re-election; in the other two, Jim Martin is seeking to succeed the outgoing Anne McLaurin as District 5's Democratic rep, while in District 6 Christine Kushner is the Democrat most likely to take over from the departing Carolyn Morrison.

Sutton's said that, instead of Tata's Blue Plan, he'd prefer the Green Plan that Tata put on the table as an option only to pronounce it inferior to Blue. Hill, Martin and Kushner are, as far as I know, still weighing their positions.

Meanwhile, within the Republican bloc Debra Goldman has wavered, sometimes seeming to be with Tata, sometimes with Margiotta for neighborhood schools. Should she come down on the side of Tata & Blue-with-sufficient-seats, she could swing things in favor of a compromise with the Democrats.

That's what Paul is referring to when he mentions Margiotta's desire to knock of Kevin Hill in District 3 or perhaps Jim Martin in District 5 and push the Republican majority from 5-4 to 6-3, making it "Goldman proof" in the event that Goldman goes her own way.


Here's Paul's complete statement, you can judge for yourself what its purpose is:

Tata Deserves Praise at Six Month Mark

Six months ago, Tony Tata arrived for his first day of work as Wake County's new school superintendent. For those of us who had observed the school board's actions with concern and dismay, Tata's hiring was one more slap in the face. As a talking head for Fox News with 18 months of education experience, Tata fit perfectly into the board majority's efforts to take the school system in an ideological direction.

Tata also arrived at a time of tremendous turmoil. As noted in AdvanEd's accreditation report, the Board majority wasted little time after the 2009 election to "launch a premeditated act that resulted in destabilizing the school system and community." Before Tata arrived, the board deadlocked on an assignment plan and devolved into name calling. Moreover, its failure to follow basic governance standards placed the County's accreditation status at risk.

Given the board majority's ideological expectations for Tata and the unstable situation he faced on February 1, Tata deserves praise. His biggest accomplishment has been calming a community on the edge, which took several gutsy moves.

First, he slowed down the pace of dramatic policy shifts and reengaged the community in the process. He did this by making himself available to stakeholders across the political spectrum. By taking time to listen to a wide range of views, Tata has gained a deeper understanding of Wake County values. This approach also helped compensate for the school board's actions to restrict public participation, which had outraged parents used to addressing the board and led to a lawsuit for open meetings violations.

Second, Tata publicly acknowledged the excellent reputation and quality of Wake County schools. In contrast, the board majority has made a number of derogatory comments about the school system. For example, John Tedesco trumpeted to a Tea Party audience that our schools are "not good." The AdvanEd report cited instances where the board majority fabricated negative data on student achievement. The board's actions created significant anxiety in the community. Not only did it injure efforts to recruit business, it led many families to expect wholesale changes to the school system. Tata's comments helped alleviate that anxiety.

Third, Tata has temporarily calmed the volatile discussion over student assignment. Reframing this divisive issue, Tata has offered plans with greater flexibility and choice. He also made access to high achieving schools a key element of the plans up for discussion. Implicit in this position is the fundamental principle that all children must have access to a good school regardless of the affluence of their community. This is the legacy of Wake County schools that cannot be lost in today's debate.

While Tata's first six months can be counted as a success, the most challenging days lie ahead. A final assignment plan has yet to be released. Chairman Ron Margiotta has already dismissed the idea that access to high achieving schools must be embedded in any assignment plan. He has expressed a desire to "Goldman proof" the board. In other words, he wants a majority that can advance an ideological agenda.

That is why this fall's school board election is so crucial. It will determine whether Wake County's legacy of excellence built on equal access continues. Regardless of Tata's pragmatic approach, he ultimately answers to a board. Let's hope the next six months are as successful as the last.

Mack Paul


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Friday, August 5, 2011

The Republican plan to generate economic growth in two sentences

Posted by on Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 3:08 PM

broker rating

No. 1: Especially in a recession, we don't need government jobs — cut 'em.*

No. 2: Instead of paying a lot of government bureaucrats, save money by privatizing public functions — the way Stephen LaRoque does it.**

Your footnotes:

No. 1 —

* Data for the public sector again reflected the ongoing state and local budget problems, with state government employment losing 23,000 jobs and local government employment dropping by 16,000. According to the Commissioner’s Statement, the state government decline was due almost entirely to the partial government shutdown in Minnesota. But even excluding these losses, state and local governments have shed over half a million jobs since their peak in August 2008.

The private sector added 154,000 jobs in July. Of these gains, 112,000 were in private service-providing industries and 42,000 were in goods-producing industries. Manufacturing gained 24,000 jobs, after adding an average of 15,000 over the prior three months. Of manufacturing’s gains, 12,000 were in motor vehicles and parts, some of which may be due to seasonal-adjustment factors related to plant shut downs for retooling. Construction grew by 8,000 in July, after adding an average of 1,000 over the prior three months.

analysis by the Economic Policy Institute

No. 2 —

** But LaRoque, who returned in January to the N.C. General Assembly after a four-year hiatus, takes aim at government waste while quietly accepting generous six-figure paychecks for running two public charities funded with $8 million in federal dollars since 1997.

He’s earned up to $195,000 a year heading the two small economic development organizations—the East Carolina Development Company and Piedmont Development Company—and used the non-profits to loan some of the public funds to his close associates and political allies. Past board members say they were kept in the dark about his pay.

— by Sarah Ovaska, N.C. Policy Watch

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