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Re: “Durham Mayor and City Council: Bell and Davis

The Committee to Elect Valentine for Durham

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to your September 18th article about the Indy’s endorsement of local candidates running for public office. My candidacy for mayor is not about being “prime time.” Instead it is about transforming this moment in history into the beginnings of a movement, a movement to engage more Durham citizens to take an active role in transforming our community. The greatest asset of any city is its people. People have become the root of some of the greatest achievements in America’s history.
Now, without knowing who I am, I can understand your pause. So let me reintroduce myself, my name is Michael Valentine. In no particular order, I am a business consultant by trade, a husband, a new father, a brother, and a son. I have been self-employed since the age of 22 and I’ve lived enough life and gone through many primetime experiences to be ready for any challenge. In the role of business consultant, I have advised and strategized for institutions of all sizes. I’m running for mayor of Durham, not just because of my belief in what I can offer the Bull City, but also because of my belief in what citizens can offer Durham, all citizens from the well-established to the homeless. This leads me to the misperception of my response to the panhandling ordinance question at the recent forum hosted by The League of Women Voters. Let me explain that I always carry some change (money) in my pocket for those who are of misfortune but I explain to them if they want real change (to make a difference) you should become involved in making our community better. That can start with voting. Your piece made it seem like I was describing buying votes and this was not the case. I know what it is to really need help and if elected to city council I will devise solutions to fix this issue for the long haul as opposed to my short-term solution of carrying change and buying people a few meals here and there.

Please, in the future, know that I am open to being asked questions, and I am especially open to clarifying my stances. I don’t think you know me enough to throw me away so hastily. After graduating college, I interned at company similar to yours and therefore I value the work that you do. For this reason, I take the views of your writers and audience very seriously. Though I may not be “prime time” on the station you are tuned in to, let’s not throw out the idea of my candidacy to all your readers. Besides, some of your readers might be tuned in to a different station that may have a prime time spot with my name on it. All this to say, keep providing a good service. Like you, I may be misunderstood at times, but what matters most is what a person believes at the core and doing what’s right for those who count on us. One of my wise advisers on my campaign gave me the best advice yet. He indicated that to win in Durham politics, you must have very thick skin and a great since of humor. Check, check. Thank you again for the great service you provide and I hope that we will have other opportunities to learn more about one another.


Warmest regards,


Michael Valentine
Reader of the Independent &
Candidate for Mayor City of Durham

Posted by valentinefordurham on 09/24/2013 at 11:29 PM

Re: “Wake County Board of Education: Benton, Johnson-Hostler, Felton and Fletcher

Bill Fletcher as the nonpartisan choice in District 9? Hardly! He gave up any claim as nonpartisan when he sued June Atkinson after he lost the election for State Superintendent. Does anyone remember that nasty business that cost him his BOE seat the first time?

Back in 2004 when he lost the election by 8,500 votes, he sued to disenfranchise 11,000 votes cast out of precinct on provisional ballots. The Democratically controlled General Assembly eventually decided the election for Atkinson.

Bygones you say? Fast forward to last month when the Republicans in the legislature passed their draconian voter restrictions. Among the changes is the prohibition of out-of-precinct ballots, based on the Fletcher-Atkinson race, http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/08/18/4246395/new-law-bars-voting-outside-of.html

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by pastisprologue on 09/22/2013 at 2:33 PM

Re: “Voter Integrity Project boot camp teaches how to challenge voters

Ms. Porter, you are full of bunk! You were there at the VIP BootCamp, all day, you heard the same material that everyone else did, and yet you blatantly twist, lie, and distort. Shame on you!

We hope to post videos of our speakers on our website soon. I challenge any/all of you reading this, and similar bunk, to view these video sessions and compare them with Ms. Porter's notes and this article. I know you will find huge discrepancies between what she wrote and what was really said at our BootCamp! VoterIntegrityProject.com.

What's really sad is how horribly hard-core leftists have twisted your young mind and filled your heart with hate. I wish you all the best regardless.

Denise

3 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Denise Stetter on 09/21/2013 at 11:59 AM

Re: “Raleigh Mayor and City Council: Incumbents are best choices

I'm confused. On your endorsement of Bill Bell for Durham mayor, you criticize Sylvester Williams and say you could never endorse a candidate that supports discrimination.
Yet you endorse Odom???
http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/12/07/169…

Posted by RaleighRob on 09/20/2013 at 11:06 AM

Re: “Raleigh Mayor and City Council: Incumbents are best choices

You didn't mention Crowder's opposition to food trucks. Here's what he said in 2011, as reported by the Raleigh Public Record: “We could end up having a real food truck rodeo, and it could be a real problem.”

It's unclear why a food truck rodeo would be a problem, and in fact, Raleigh has since held several successful ones without causing any problems.

That's where Crowder lost me as a supporter.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Andy Bechtel on 09/19/2013 at 8:58 PM

Re: “Raleigh Mayor and City Council: Incumbents are best choices

My head is spinning about Odom. Really? I mean come on...really? No...Fitzsimmons would be a big improvement there.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by RaleighRob on 09/19/2013 at 6:21 PM

Re: “Raleigh Mayor and City Council: Incumbents are best choices

I won't be voting for Baldwin. Her knee-jerk defense of disgraced former Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen and uninformed public criticisms of fellow council members who have bothered to ask tough questions at a time when it's clear that Raleigh's city manager and planning director (and police chief, etc.) are unaccountable to the elected city council/mayor are shameful. Time and time again, she offers PR and marketing tactics to avoid real solutions and buries real issues in favor of those with deep pockets who will never be satisfied (like endorsing Peace College's land grab at Seaboard, which she incredibly described as a public relations problem, ignoring the land-banking issues that have so obviously damaged the neighborhood business environment around NCSU.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Barry Eriksen on 09/18/2013 at 12:04 PM

Re: “Wake Dems endorse two candidates in same race, irking District D residents

The Republicans hand out slates that are crystal clear with no ambiguities. One office, one candidate. The Democrats list every Democrat running for each office with no distinction. The question is, which methodology results in winners.

Posted by thepaulatics on 09/14/2013 at 6:59 AM

Re: “The launch of fall election season

MikeW, yes we are doing both. Our endorsements issues come out Sept. 18 and Oct. 17, and we run voting guides every week after until elections. Questionnaires should be online the week of the issue. Thanks!

Posted by Denise Prickett, INDY Editorial Web Director on 09/09/2013 at 10:12 AM

Re: “The launch of fall election season

Will you be doing candidate questionnaires and/or endorsements this round (both Oct and Nov) of local elections? If so, when do you expect to post this info on your site?

Thanks!!!

Posted by MikeW on 09/06/2013 at 3:42 PM

Re: “Why Wake County Judge Abe Jones lost

"As senior resident judge, Stephens explains, he's "held responsible" for the administration of justice by the superior court. And it's in the administration where he found Jones' expertise lacking."

Judge Donald Stephens has avoided administering justice for years:

1. No court form exists to allow a defendant to plead not guilty in the state district courts.
2. No court form exists to allow a defendant to demand or waive probable cause hearing in district court per NCGS 15A-606. (That’s why cases get continued for years).
3. The ACIS court computer system records all court dates as jury trials. (So a court clerk doesn’t know if a defendant had a probable cause hearing before being forced into a jury trial).
4. The ACIS court computer system doesn’t contain a field to allow a clerk to input a probable cause hearing.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Bella Sans on 11/27/2012 at 2:46 PM

Re: “Why Wake County Judge Abe Jones lost

@Diana: I don't have personal knowledge of Judge Jones, but I did meet him at the polls, and the Indy endorsed him, so he surely had my support. On the other hand, Judge Stephens ruled against me in a very painful appeal that severed my family in two, from which we have no evidence of a recovery, now 7 years later. It was a bad decision, and he was predisposed against me before he heard the facts in a guardianship case.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by MST on 11/20/2012 at 8:07 PM

Re: “Why Wake County Judge Abe Jones lost

WOW, I work in and around the courtrooms and know both of these guys and seen them work. Judge Jones makes sure everything is correct before moving onto another case. I've seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.
Judge Stephens, well my mom and grandmother always taught me that if you can't say something good then don't say nothing at all so my lips are tight.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Diana Haywood on 11/20/2012 at 12:25 PM

Re: “Who will fill Chris Malone's vacancy on the Wake County school board?

Want to improve public education? Let people choose it -- and any other issue they care about -- invite experts or just regular citizens to submit VIABLE solutions in an easy-to-use format, and let people vote for the strategies they like most. www.at10us.com

Posted by ejcarrig on 11/19/2012 at 10:54 AM

Re: “Why Wake County Judge Abe Jones lost

I live in garner & i could not find judge jones name anywhere on the ballot when i was voting same as my mom when i ask a pole official about why his name isn't on the ballot she told me she don't know it just not up there. We wrote his name in but i feel that should be looked into that don't seem right & i know judge jones personally that's not him that his style. I hope judge jones fight this.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Cedric Smith on 11/18/2012 at 10:25 AM

Re: “Despite election of all-female delegations in Orange and Chatham, women still a minority in N.C. legislature

Seems like you forgot to mention how these women won or retained their seats--the old-fashioned way-by spending gobs more money than their GOP challengers.

On average each of these women spent $77K on their campaigns, while the opponents spent $18K, so they spent 4 times as much as their opponents.

I don't doubt that if their challengers had won, campaign finance would be the lead of this article.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by MJKopechne on 11/15/2012 at 3:52 PM

Re: “Why Wake County Judge Abe Jones lost

Maybe Judge Stephens meant ""It's really CRAP" because it certainly is. This is not the Judge Jones we know.Graduating in the top of his class at Enloe then Harvard College, then Harvard Law School, appointed to the U.S. Attorney's Office and then the Superior Court by Governor Hunt, 17 years of service on the bench...that doesn't happen without a very strong work ethic.Judge Jones is known for always asking "do you have anything else for me?" before leaving the bench each day.He's taken cases for other judges. Let's face it - this was a personal vendetta against Judge Jones. Judge Stephens got what he wanted, but a bully just can't resist stomping his victim one more time...pathetic! Judge Jones is a survivor. He ran a positive campaign and those who know him wish him only the best. As for Judge Stephens...
counting on Karma

13 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by workforjustice on 11/14/2012 at 10:05 PM

Re: “What went wrong for North Carolina's Democrats?

Everyone who voted to keep the Chair was a member of the SEC. They are all active in their county, district and state to get EVERY Democrat elected - the entire slate. Many can and do work on individual campaigns, but we also chose to focus on the bigger picture.

Let me put it to you another way. In a county like Wake with 200 precincts, do you know how many people each campaign would need to cover every precinct with signs the night before the election? Does it make sense for each and every campaign to have so many people doing the exact same job as those in other campaigns? Or does it make more sense for some of those functions to be done in a more cost-effective (in terms of money and manpower) by a county Party that works for ALL Dems?

That's what looking at the big picture will do. And that's how people get to go from merely being a volunteer in an individual campaign to working on coordinated campaigns to being a member of the State Executive Committee who are in charge of the bigger picture.

And now to the regrettable handling of the harassment lawsuit. First off, the matter was handled internally - which is a requirement under state and federal laws. David Parker broke no state or federal law in how he handled that. So why were so many COS candidates as well as Dalton asking for him to be more transparent, and then when he was - they asked for his resignation? Could it be that they were being manipulated, first by the Republicans and then by their own paid political consultants - both of whom wanted to scramble the NCDP leadership at this crucial time?

And what of the alleged victim in this whole matter - the ex NCDP employee who was allegedly harassed by his employer? Well, the ED who resigned was able to collect full unemployment because the ESC determined that he did not in fact resign - he was given no choice but to resign, so in effect he was fired. But as it turns out - he was not fired for any good cause. Meaning ESC did an investigation of the claim, and they determined that Jay didn't do anything worthy of being fired for. And as Parker revealed during the press conference, Jay Parmalee didn't engage in any illegal conduct. Now as to why Adraidn might have felt like Jay was sexually harassing him, I have no idea. You'll have to ask him when the lawsuit comes to trial.

Was he fired for complaining about Jay sexually harassing him? I don't know exactly why he was fired, but from what I saw, he was an incompetent employee. He was the guy who flashed the "Aunt Jemima and Oprah" images up on the big screen at the April 2011 SEC meeting in Raleigh. And when he was assigned to me to help take tickets for the dinner that night, he had the attention span of a gnat - he didn't stay at the table taking tickets. Nor for that matter did the other NCDP staffer. Who knows why they repeatedly left their posts to go off and do stuff, only to come back a few minutes later.

He was also dismissed from NCSU student government for being involved in a ticket scalping incident, mainly because he knew what was going on, and he refused to accept his higher level of responsibility as a member of student government. Why anyone hired him to work for the NCDP during the tenure of David Young is beyond me. Diversity is one thing - but we need to hire competent people of good character to work for our Party. Hire good competent people first - no matter their gender, race, or sexual preferences. If you have two good candidates, then use diversity. But diversity is no excuse for hiring screw-ups.

Meek was elected by the SEC members - the same ones you bad-mouth for rejecting Parker's resignation.

I'd say that some of the candidates or electeds hurt the Party more than the decisions made by these so-called myopic and uninformed EDs. Why for example, did the NCDP have to hire lawyers to defend the Party from the actions of Easley campaign staffers? Why did the NCDP have to pay for ticket upgrades for Gov Perdue and tickets for her millionaire husband? For many years before, the NCDP was thought to be the plaything of the electeds - especially the higher-up electeds. Meek tried to change that, but even he couldn't totally change the Party in one fell swoop. We still had some hold-over policies that SEC members especially were trying to change.

And in terms of pyopic and uninformed decisions of EDs - which EDs are you talking about? OK - after Meek left, the Governor wanted us to elect a Chair who had only lived in the western part of the state as a 4-term county commissioner. His experience winning those 4 elections was supposed to be important and valuable for us in the future. His first decision was to hire someone from the Heath Shuler campaign who also happened to be dating Jerry Meek's ED. They then hired 3 key people by June 2009: a political director; a statewide Field Director who was from DC (his daddy was a friend of Obama's) who only worked in NC during the 2008 campaign with OFA; and a communications director who did little communicating to the public (but I did see her on her cell phone out in front of Goodwin House quite often). They then hired 5 Regional Field Directors by August (most of whom had NO POLITICAL experience other than working for OFA in the 2008 election campaign) - one of whom reportedly was a Republican before the 2008 election. How well did that work out for the Party?

Well - two of the three June hires were fired before the 2009 elections took place. The remaining June hire did very little communicating that anyone could see - there were no press releases or press conferences coming from Goodwin House to counter the daily press conferences that NC GOP Chair Tom Fetzer was making. Three of the 5 RFDs were "loaned" to the Anthony Foxx campaign, instead of working around the state doing more good on school board and municipal races. Nearly 3/4s of a million dollars were funneled into the Foxx race - which he won by around 3K votes. It was apparently that important for Foxx to win this race even though Dems already controlled the Charlotte City Council. After that election, we only had 4 RFDs. And instead of building the Party, they worked to con volunteers into phone banking only - no canvassing. That's important because studies have shown that door to door canvassing is more effective in getting out the vote than phone banking. One big advantage that phone banking has is that it allows the folks managing the phone banking to better control the volunteers - and that's what OFA was about. Not building a community or a party - but about controlling the message. Which was very Obama-centric by this time right down to the new Democratic Party logo - which appeared to be a small "D" surrounded by a BIG "O" (right from the President's own logo. As if the entire Democratic Party was smaller and less important than either the President or his campaign. That insulted a lot of Dems who realize that there are many more races than the every 4-year Presidential race that needed to be won.

So yes - I agree that all those Obamacentric decisions were myopic. They hurt many more candidates than they helped in 2009 and especially in 2010. So what's your point again - that OFA methods WORK? Other than for the 2008 election (and the 2012 election in every swing state OTHER THAN NC), they failed to work to elect Democrats. Otherwise, how do you explain the huge ass-kicking that was 2010?

While there are more voters in NC in 2012 than in 2008, and more voters voted, turnout as a % of registered voters was DOWN in 2012 compared to 2008 when the NCDP and county Parties were stronger. SO the decision to weaken the Party was not a good one - and SEC members know that.

First off, most SEC members run for that office in their own county convention, elected by delegates from the precincts. Those are the people who are in the trenches electing Democrats at the local level. We vote on resolutions and changes to the NCDP Plan of Organization. Many SEC members are also county Chairs and Vice-Chairs, US Congressional District Chairs, Presidents of Democratic Party auxiliaries, and some elected public officials. By the way - none of the Council of State members who were pushing Parker to resign actually cast a vote in that May 12 SEC meeting to reject or accept Parker's resignation. There's a saying you might have heard of (or maybe you have not been around long enough to know it), but it goes like this: "if you don't vote, don't bitch!"

Funny thing about that May rejection of David Parker's resignation. David's resignation was defeated by a larger majority than he got when he was elected NCDP Chair in January 2011. Do you not respect the will of the majority? That's what elections are all about. Funny that you claim to be working in campaigns but you don't respect the results of the votes that campaigns make possible.

The NCDP is a political party. OFA was a $750 million top-down business in 2008, and it was a $1 billion business in 2012 with only one goal - to sell their product in 2008 and then again in 2012. They cared about nothing else. Most didn't care about the downsides of what they did and how OFA methods affected other candidates in those years or the years in between. They also didn't care about the Democratic Party. Plouffe pretty much said so in his book.

But do they think that working for strong myopic leaders (those who only have one product to sell and don't care about other races or the Party Platform that is created by a more democratic process than whatever process a campaign or an elected official uses to create their agenda - like the Obama agenda which seemed to change quite often?

Which people know the donors? Where were the donors this year - they were donating to the GOP, because the GOP got the majority in 2010 because too many people allowed OFA the organization and former OFA staffers to destroy the Democratic Party.

And in all your worldly experience, do you really think Bev Perdue making people think that she was going to run for Gov again in 2012, and then announcing at the last minute that she was not going to run was a smart idea? Especially when McCrory started running for 2012 the day after the 2008 election? I can tell you that after 2010, many people who would normally run for office had to think twice. Once because they knew that OFA would suck all the oxygen out of the room in 2012 - much like they did in 2008. And that the NCDP and many county Party organizations had been severely weakened by what OFA did in 2008 and so in 2012 the Party would not be able to provide anywhere near the help for all candidates that we did in 2008.

And of course there was Charlotte. While many people lost their perspective (and minds) trying to get to the big dog and pony show that was the 2012 DNC Convention, many people realized what a total waste of time that would be in terms of getting out the vote and winning local elections. That's why many key elected officials initially talked about staying home and working to get out the vote. If the Charlotte convention was such a good thing for NC - why do you think that Obama lost NC in 2012 by nearly 100K votes when he barely won it in 200*?

I don't know how that would happen - unless OFA was telling volunteers directly in 2008 that the NCDP and county party organizations were a waste of time. We had one OFA worker call up our former county party Chair Doris Weaver and tell her that directly in 2008. This guy got a paid NCDP staff job in 2009, but got loaned to Charlotte in 2009 even though his resume says he didn't start working for the NCDP until 2010. He worked for the Wake Dems on the 2011 school board election even though he somehow got deregistered to vote in North Carolina for a couple of months.

And how will the NCDP get it's act together if OFA is trying to destroy the NCDP? We had OFA staffers following behind NCDP staffers at phone banks, actively poaching those NCDP volunteers. When caught in the act, they claimed that we are all in this together. If so - why doesn't OFA share their volunteers? And why does OFA poison the NCDP well?

NCDP will get it's act together and build itself up to be the strong Party organization it once was when we learn that no candidate or campaign is bigger than or is the boss of the Party. And we can start by getting OFA volunteer data from OFA, then showing them the door. And never making the same mistake again to let any candidate or campaign make the Party subordinate to the candidate or campaign.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by ProgPitBull on 11/09/2012 at 8:11 AM

Re: “In Wake County, European election observers critique the process

What an outrage! NC officials should have arrested all of them and then ejected them from the state. Best if they could have been deported back to Europe or at least dropped off in the UN lobby in NYC and told to go home.

0 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by ProudlyUnaffiliated on 11/08/2012 at 2:54 PM

Re: “What went wrong for North Carolina's Democrats?

Why Obama Lost North Carolina
The Democratic Convention for the presidential elections was held in North Carolina, a state that has a large African American population. During the convention, the LGBT agenda was flaunted in a rather arrogant way. This offended many black voters and they reflected that by not voting for Barack Obama. Four years earlier, Obama won North Carolina. This year, he won all of the battleground states except North Carolina.

0 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by West Thea on 11/08/2012 at 12:54 PM

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