Orange County | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Orange County 

2006 county, legislative and judicial races

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All responses are unedited.

County Races
County Commisioner At-Large (3 seats)Mike Nelson (Dem)
Alice Gordon (Dem)
Barry Jacobs (Dem)
Jamie Daniel (Rep)
SheriffLindy Pendergrass (Dem)
William (Buddy) Parker (Rep)
Soil & Water Conservation (2 seats)Charles W. Snipes
William C. Hogan
Will Shooter
Legislative Races
NC Senate 23Ellie Kinnaird (Dem)
E.B. Alston (Rep)
NC House 54 (Orange/Chatham)Joe Hackney (Dem)
Alvin Reed (Rep)
Judicial Races
Superior Court
Superior Court 15B (Orange/Chatham)Charles (Chuck) Anderson
Allen Baddour
Carl R. Fox
Adam Stein

County Races

County Commissioner At-Large (3 seats)

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MIKE NELSON
Party: Democrat
Date of Birth: 12/29/63
Campaign Web Site: www.electmikenelson.com
Occupation & Employer: Director of Governmental Relations, Conservation Council of North Carolina
Years Lived in Orange County: 24

1. If elected, what are your top priorities?

  • School Equity. If elected, I will work to resolve the funding inequity situation between the two school systems.

  • Environmental protection. As a county commissioner, I will continue to make environmental issues a priority as I did in Carrboro. For example, I am putting the final touches on a proposal for a county Energy Plan which will be released on Earth Day. This proposal will lay out a road map for increasing energy efficiency, increasing usage of alternative fuels, and reducing air pollution and the release of contaminants that contribute to global climate change.

  • Social Justice. If elected I will work to ensure that water and sewer facilities are extended to all underserved neighborhoods. In addition, I will vote to give the schools the resources they need to address the achievement gap. Finally, I will continue to be a voice for equal rights for LGBT citizens

    2. What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective Orange County Commissioner? Please be specific about your public and community service background.

    First, I have served in a number of elected leadership roles:

  • Carrboro Board of Aldermen, 1993-1995

  • Mayor of Carrboro, 1995-2005

    I believe this service provides me with the knowledge and experience necessary to serve capably as an Orange County Commissioner. In those positions, I chaired innumerable committees, including Carrboro Vision 2020, New Century/New Carrboro, Century Center Committee, and the search committee for a new Town Manager. I also served as board liaison to the Environmental Advisory Committee, the Horace Williams Committee, the (first) Library Services Committee, the Music Festival Committee, and the Carrboro Arts Committee. And I helped form the affordable housing committee that eventually led to the creation of the Orange County Land Trust.

    My service in Carrboro gave me an opportunity to develop experience working on a wide range of issues that are also important on the county level, such as environmental protection, land use management, transportation, economic development, and utilizing technology innovations to make government work better for people.

    I would also say that I learned a lot about leadership during those years, in particular I learned how to lead a community during good times AND during stressful times. In the course of my 10 years as Mayor of Carrboro, I steered the community through various tough discussions, such as adoption of our small area plan, arts controversy, severe budget cuts, increasing commercial tax base, and adding domestic partners benefits.

    Second, I have significant community service experience locally, statewide, and even nationally. I previously was active in Democratic Party politics, serving as precinct chair of East Franklin and Lion's Club precincts, as vice-chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, on the state executive Committee, and as delegate the Democratic National Convention 4 times in a row.

    As a student at UNC-CH, I served briefly on the Student Congress (then called the Student Governing Council) and an active leader in the student LGBT group.

    I currently serve as chair of the Board of Directors of EqualityNC, North Carolina's LGBT statewide political organization.

    I have also been active on the national level. For the past 18 years, I have been an active member of the professional organization for lesbian and gay elected and appointed officials (INLGO). While Mayor, I served as president of GLBO (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual Officials), a constituency group of the National League of Cities.

    3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

    I am a progressive Democrat. I believe in social change. I believe that individuals, working collectively, have an obligation to make the world, our nation, our state, and our community a better place to live.

    And my belief in social change led me to be an activist elected official. While serving on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen and as Mayor, I did not shy away from taking strong positions that I thought would make Carrboro a better place--for environmental protection, sensitive land-use management, locally-focused economic development, and social justice.

    I'm not someone who's going to get elected to office and then merely fill a seat. I'm going to work hard and forcefully to leave our county a better place than when I came.

    My progressive values are demonstrated in my current platform in that I take progressive positions on the issues. I value social justice, good environmental stewardship, and creating a sustainable economy that provides good paying jobs, doesn't pollute,

    4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

    In a state in which most lesbian and gay candidates feel compelled to remain in the closet due to persistent discrimination, simply running as an openly gay candidate is a principled stand that costs me popularity with some voters.

    As an elected official in Carrboro, I often took principled stands on issues that were not popular. I spear-headed efforts to provide equal benefits to the domestic partners of Town employees, a new and controversial concept when we did it in 1994. I also led efforts to add protection for transgender people to Carrboro's employment policy.

    Other examples include the Board's opposition to the Iraq War, last year's decision to annex several neighborhoods just north of Carrboro, and my support of Hannah Ridge, an environmentally sensitive development subdivision in Carrboro that none-the-less was passionately opposed by neighbors.

    As a member of the Orange County Commissioners, I will not shy away from taking stands on controversial issues. I believe that one should never compromise on issues of human or civil rights. No matter how unpopular a cause or group is, I will always be steadfast in my support for freedom--freedom of expression, freedom to live a life free of discrimination, and freedom to pursue opportunity.

    6. What is your position on the redistricting question on the ballot this fall?

    My first thought is: Thank goodness we're not Chatham! What a mess.

    Having run for office at-large in Carrboro 7 times, I believe I was a better elected official because I had to campaign in all parts of town. At-large elections, as opposed to districts, do a better job of ensuring that public officials represent and understand the broad interests of their community. For that reason, I'm not a big fan of electing candidates strictly by district.

    For Orange County, my very strong preference would have been for a cumulative voting system. I believe cumulative voting protects and enhances the interests of minorities (LGBT voters, African-Americans, rural voters, Republicans, etc) while continuing to encourage candidates to campaign county-wide and work for citizens in ALL parts of the county.

    The plan, as it will appear on the ballot, is a half measure that makes nearly no one happy. I think we missed a great opportunity to do something creative. Frankly, I am not really happy of the current method of electing county commissioners OR the proposal on the ballot.

    But there is one aspect of the proposal of which I am very supportive: expanding the size the commission from 5 to 7 members. The county's population has grown significantly over the past few decades, and I have concluded that there needs to be a few more voices at the table when decisions get made.

    So, to sum up: though I support the notion of reform, generally speaking, I am disappointed with the plan as presented. I remain supportive of the expansion proposal, but would have preferred that it be coupled with a more visionary election model such as cumulative voting.

    The system by which we elect county commissioners belongs to the voters. I will respect whatever decision they make on this issue. If the voters decide it's time for a change in our system, I am 100% comfortable with that regardless of my own personal preference for a cumulative system.


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    ALICE GORDON
    Date of Birth: July 1, 1937
    Campaign Web Site: www.alicegordon.com
    Occupation & Employer: County Commissioner, Orange County (Former research psychologist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
    Years Lived in Orange County: 33

    1. If elected, what are your top priorities?

    I have priorities in four major areas: the environment, transportation, schools, and responsive county government. I believe I have made a difference over the last few years as a leader in the first three areas, and I would like to build on those contributions to county government. (Please see my answer to question 2.) I also am committed to a county government that is caring, financially responsible, and inclusive, and will continue my strong support of that kind of government.

    Environment

    My top priority in the area of environmental protection is the funding and implementation of the Water Resources Initiative, put forward by the Commission for the Environment with my encouragement, and approved in concept by the commissioners last year. It builds on the work I initiated in the 1990's. This initiative will help Orange County better protect and more responsibly utilize the county's water supplies, with an emphasis on ground water protection. For example, the first element in the Water Resources Initiative is the "impact of droughts on ground and surface water availability." I am pushing for the commissioners to fund the initiative, primarily by hiring a hydrogeologist. Water is going to be a key element for Orange County's future, especially as we appear to be in an extended period of drought. Orange County, in cooperation with the USGS, completed our ground water studies in 2001, and it is well past the time that we should have implemented such an initiative.

    Other areas that I consider priorities include (1) supporting the county's Lands Legacy Program, and wisely allocating the bond and other funds already budgeted for land acquisition, (2) promoting sustainable growth policies, including recycling, (3) protecting open space and creating new parks, and that includes building the parks we have promised to build as a result of the successful 2001 bond referendum, (4) pursuing wise land use policies, including the protection of the rural buffer.

    Transportation

    My top priority in the area of transportation is to continue to push for improvement in public transit and other alternatives to cars, and the associated efforts to improve air quality in the region. TTA provides regional bus service and some areas have local bus service. However, we need other transit improvements including either regional rail, or some comparable mode of transportation, to meet our long-term transportation goals. Otherwise we will continue to see worsening traffic congestion and air quality degradation in the Triangle area. As part of the region's non-attainment area for air quality, Orange County will be involved in these transportation improvement efforts for years to come. Because I am vice chair of two regional transportation boards, I am in a very good position to positively influence the outcome.

    Schools

    My top priority in the area of schools is fair funding of both school systems to address operating and program needs. In partnership with the two school boards, the commissioners must develop a plan for action that would provide this fair funding. Last spring (2006) I suggested that the the two school boards and the commissioners form a fair funding work group to tackle this issue. The group, of which I was a member, came to consensus on a set of funding recommendations to the BOCC, some of which were accepted. As a result, there was some progress in increasing resources to the Orange County School System (OCS) while meeting the most pressing needs of the Chapel Hill - Carrboro City School System. I should mention that, contrary to what is sometimes said about me, I am an enthusiastic supporter of schools in both districts. Evidence in support of this contention is the fact that I was publicly endorsed by four OCS School Board members (Brown, Hough, Simpson, Whitling) for the May 2006 primary election.

    My other goal for schools is to address the renovation and maintenance needs of older schools in both districts, many of which need immediate attention.

    Caring, Financially Responsible, and Inclusive County Government

    I have supported and will continue to work for caring human services for all of our residents, including our youth and those with lower incomes; for completion our our senior centers, with services for seniors; for affordable housing; for meaningful participation in county government for all the diverse members of our community, inclusive of women and men; for support of our local farms and businesses and thoughtful economic development; for effective and fiscally responsible government. I have been recognized as a leader for the environment and schools, but I would like to emphasize that I work for a just community. (Please see my answer to question 5).

    2. Part A: What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective leader? Please be specific about your public and community service background.

    Effective leadership can be measured in several ways, including the judgment of others concerning your leadership and also by your record of accomplishments.

    Others have placed enough confidence in me to choose me for positions of leadership. That includes being the chair and vice chair of the county commissioners. I will mention other leadership positions in my discussion below. Moreover, the Independent Weekly had enough confidence in me to endorse me in all of my previous election campaigns, including 1990, 1994 (when I was one of four candidates featured on the cover of the endorsement issue), 1998, 2002, and in the 2006 primary election. Among the five organizations endorsing me in the 2006 primary were Citizens Advocating for the Schools, and the Sierra Club (who also endorsed me in all of my previous election campaigns).

    There are three areas in which my leadership ability is demonstrated by my record of accomplishment: environmental protection, regional transportation, and school excellence.

    Environmental Protection

    My most important legacy as an environmental leader will by my initiatives to make environmental protection a function of county government. In the past, environmental issues had been handled as part of the overall planning function of the Planning Department. Now, thanks to my leadership on the initiatives detailed below, environmental protection has its own special place in county government.

  • Proposed the creation of the Water Resources Committee

  • Proposed the creation of the Commission for the Environment

  • Proposed the creation of the Environment and Resource Conservation Department (ERCD), the county department dedicated to dealing with environmental issues

  • Proposed the creation of the county's comprehensive land preservation program, the nationally recognized "Lands Legacy Program

    I proposed the creation of, and helped establish, these different parts of county government to strengthen the county's focus on environmental protection. All of these innovative proposals met initial resistance, either from the staff or some of the commissioners, so it required considerable effort and persuasion to make them a reality. That was particularly true for the creation of the new environmental department, and the associated proposal for a land preservation program, which was initially approved on a 3-2 vote.

    A. The Water Resources Committee was established in 1992 to go beyond the county's good work in protecting watersheds and expand it to include an emphasis on ground water as well. I feel it was a far-sighted move to advocate for an investigation of our groundwater supplies, well before there was any crisis (like a drought), to help us plan for our long-term water needs. We now have three studies completed in cooperation with the USGS, giving us valuable information concerning ground water availability and quality in Orange County.

    B. The Commission for the Environment was established in 1997 to advise the commissioners on environmental matters such as air quality and biological resources or other natural resources. As a result, the commissioners had for first time a group to provide advice on air quality and other environmental issues, and for the first time the county produced a State of the Environment Report. The 2004 State of the Environment Report, the most recent, was dedicated to me by the Commission in recognition of my contributions to Orange County's environment.

    C. The Environment and Resource Conservation Department was established in 1998 to coordinate county goals for environmental protection, resource conservation, and land acquisition. The ERCD began operations in 1999 while I was BOCC chair. As a result, the county now has the expertise and staff to evaluate resources and to buy land and conservation easements.

    D. The award-winning Lands Legacy Program, adopted in April 2000, is the first comprehensive land acquisition program in North Carolina. The program acquires or otherwise protects the county's most precious natural and cultural resources before they are lost. In just six years, the County has protected over 1600 acres of land, both for natural resource and farmland preservation, and for parks. This is a success story that is unusual in North Carolina.

    Regional Transportation

    As vice chair of two regional transportation policy decision-making boards -- Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization and Triangle Transit Authority -- I have worked for wise transportation planning in the Triangle area. My regional service has included the following responsibilities:

  • Vice chair (former chair and vice chair), Transportation Advisory Committee for the Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization

  • Vice chair (former secretary and treasurer), Board of Trustees for the Triangle Transit Authority

    Each of these boards is responsible for the planning of millions of dollars worth of transportation facilities. My particular focus while serving on these boards has been to promote public transit in the region, and other alternatives to cars, and efforts to improve air quality.

    As part of my work on the TTA Board of Trustees, I spearheaded the creation of the new TTA bus route from Hillsborough to Chapel Hill which began operation in January. In recognition of my contributions in the area of transportation, I was given an environmental award several years ago by the Sierra Club.

    School Excellence

    As a commissioner, I chaired the county-wide group of elected officials that crafted the Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance for Orange County. SAPFO is used to coordinate long-range planning for future school needs and thus it helps prevent future school overcrowding. The effort involved getting agreement from the three towns, two school boards, and the commissioners, and took some negotiating. The Orange County Planning Director has verified that this is the only functional Schools APFO in North Carolina.

    I have consistently worked for quality public education for children all over Orange County. I have advocated for the funding of new schools when they are needed while also ensuring the renovation and maintenance of the county's older schools. That is because of my strong commitment to excellent schools in both school systems. As you know, county commissioners are responsible for providing adequate school facilities. In Orange County we have a done a good job.

    2. Part B: What boards and commissions have you served on, and how will you apply that experience to this job.

    This service includes being a Board of County Commissioner (BOCC) representative to multi-jurisdictional and/or regional groups. (These groups are noted.)

    Environment (including environmental protection, parks, land use)

    Commission for the Environment (BOCC member/ liaison)

    Air Quality Advisory Committee (multi-jurisdictional, BOCC rep)

    North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Environment Steering Committee

    Water Resources Committee (past member)

    Intergovernmental Parks Work Group, Chair (multi-jurisdictional group, BOCC rep)

    Recreation and Parks Advisory Council (BOCC member/ liaison)

    Master plan design committee for two parks: Twin Creeks and New Hope at Blackwood Farm (BOCC member and convenor)

    Project Planning Committee (Chapel Hill/Orange County parks planning group (BOCC rep)

    Durham - Chapel Hill - Orange Work Group (multi-jurisdictional group, BOCC rep) - This group took the initiative in planning the New Hope Preserve on the Durham-Orange County border

    Triangle J Council of Governments - Former Executive Committee member

    Previous to being on BOCC: Orange County Planning Board, Chair - I worked with the Chapel Hill Planning Board Chair, Alice Ingram to develop the principles and framework for the Joint Planning Agreement for Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Orange County. This agreement was adopted in 1987

    Transportation

    Durham - Chapel Hill - Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization, TAC Vice Chair (Former Chair) (regional group, BOCC rep)

    Triangle Transit Authority Board of Trustees, Vice Chair (regional group, BOCC rep)

    Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization, RTAC Member (regional group, BOCC rep)

    Orange Unified Transportation Board (BOCC liaison)

    Transportation Services Board (BOCC liaison)

    Schools

    Fair Funding Work Group (included reps from both school boards and BOCC)

    Schools and Land Use Council, Former Chair (multi-jurisdictional group)

    Previous to being on BOCC: Chapel Hill - Carrboro PTA Council President

    Responsive County Government

    Advisory Board on Aging (BOCC liaison)

    Master Aging Plan Task Force Steering Committee (BOCC member)

    Seymour Senior Center Design Committee (BOCC member)

    IFC Men's Residential Facility Work Group (multi-jurisdictional work group, BOCC member)

    Board of Health (past BOCC member)

    Human Services Advisory Commission (past BOCC liaison)

    I have indicated in my answer to the first part of this question what I wish to accomplish in the areas of environment, transportation, schools, and responsive county government. The experience listed above will play a key role in allowing me to accomplish those goals.

    3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

    I am a progressive Democrat who works on issues such as environmental protection, excellent schools, improved transportation, and responsive county services while promoting fiscal responsibility and effective county government.

    What I am going to describe is my approach to county government. I listen to the concerns of all the residents, analyze the facts, and then try to find an approach that will satisfy the concerns. I also try to identify the challenges of the community, preferably before a crisis arises, and propose initiatives to address those challenges.

    For example, I proposed the establishment of an Orange County Water Resources Committee and investigation of water resources back in the mid-1990's, before there was any crisis, like a drought. Now I advocate building on those completed studies of groundwater availability and quality by implementing a "Water Resources Initiative" to help us better plan for our long-term water needs. I also proposed various initiatives to make environmental protection a function of county government, with the result that our "Lands Legacy" program has successfully preserved precious county lands before they were lost. My work also includes promoting the protection of open space and the provision of park and recreation facilities.

    Another example is the leadership role I played in establishing a Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to keep up with school facility needs before the county fell too far behind. The children all over the county need adequate schools in which to receive their instruction.

    In the area of transportation, I have promoted public transit and efforts to improve air quality. For example, it was through my leadership that the new TTA bus route was established between Hillsborough and Chapel Hill. I will continue these efforts in another term.

    In general, I have worked to provide the infrastructure -- whether it be green infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, school infrastructure -- that the county needs to sustain the wonderful quality of life we enjoy now. When the infrastructure is in place, then the county can better provide the programs and services that our residents require. Fifty years from now and on into the future, I want Orange County to have grown into a place where it is still a great place to live.

    Finally, I work hard as a county commissioner because I care about Orange County and the people who live here. I ask the hard questions, do my homework, and people know they can count on me to do what I say.

    4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

    Any stand I might take which involved the commissioners speaking out on a controversial national issue could cost some popularity points with voters. Some people have told me that the commissioners should stick to local issues and not get involved in national politics. I experienced that as a reaction to two resolutions that were put on the agenda of the Orange County Commissioners at my request.

    On November 2, 2005 the "Resolution Supporting the End of the War in Iraq" was written by me and passed (with some revisions at our meeting) by the commissioners. On November 15, the "Resolution Calling for New Federal Priorities" was written by three citizens, and passed by the Chapel Hill Town Council prior to our action. I asked for the resolution to be put on our agenda, and we did pass it although one commissioner wanted to remove the bullet points (that listed the unfunded mandates that supported the call for new federal priorities); however, these points remained at my insistence.

    In the future, I am prepared to introduce similar resolutions on the Iraq war or other subjects, as appropriate.

    5. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

    My election would help because I would continue the progressive direction that I have taken already. Let me give you examples of some of the things I have supported. In the past I supported the commissioners opposition to the death penalty, and the time and thousands of dollars we spent battling with Progress Energy concerning the storage of spent fuel roads at Shearon Harris (and we may have to take action again with respect to company's attempt to get a new license). I have supported our work in promoting human rights and relations, including women's rights; support paying a living wage and providing health benefits for domestic partners. I have supported our affordable housing bonds and our other endeavors to increase the amount of affordable housing. We believe in caring human services in the areas of health and mental health, and social services. Furthermore, we encourage diversity in our advisory boards and commissions, solicit extensive public comment before we take action, and try to make our services accessible to all of our residents, including our seniors, children, those with low income, to women as well as men, and to citizens all over Orange County. We have a Skills Development Center and are building a new Durham Technical Community College satellite campus to bring job training to people in our county. We also encourage small businesses and buying locally. One of my newest initiatives is to advocate a tax assistance program for our low income seniors, and county staff is now researching that topic to bring back to our annual retreat.

    The other thing I would point to is the work I have done in the area of schools, the environment and land use, and regional transportation. We cannot have a just society without the basic things that all people need, including clean air and clean water. We need excellent schools for all of the children in the county. We need a transportation system that is not dependent on cars, both for environmental reasons and so that people who do not own cars can get to their jobs, their doctors, and other essential services. As I mentioned, I spearheaded the establishment of the TTA Hillsborough to Chapel Hill bus route this year. I also bring a regional perspective, a Triangle-wide perspective to issues, as well as the perspective of encouraging cooperation within Orange county. That will be helpful in building a just community here in the Triangle.

    6. What is your position on the redistricting question on the ballot this fall?

    The question to be decided by the voters is whether to implement district representation in Orange County where there are presently no districts and all commissioners are elected at large in both the primary and general election.

    I support the commissioners' decision to put to a vote the question of district representation for the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). We responded to a petition presented to us by about 1200 citizens, and the question of district representation has been an issue for rural residents for many years. During the several months the commissioners discussed this issue, I was consistent in supporting the petitioners' request to address this question.

    Over those months, the commissioners discussed various maps and various proposals and tentatively adopted one after another before we settled on the referendum question currently on the ballot. At one point we selected a map that almost perfectly reflected the one person - one vote requirement. That map was the one that included all of Chapel Hill Township in one district (with two thirds of the population) and the rest of the county in the other district (with one third of the population). However, when we adopted the final map, we approved a different map that just barely fit the one - person one vote requirement. The map that was adopted includes the southern two thirds of Chapel Hill Township in one district, with the rest of the county in the other district. It is worth noting that it is harder to define the boundary which divides a township than one that follows township lines. If there were redistricting in the future, it would be difficult at that time as well, especially if it were necessary to move the boundary farther south.

    There are at least two potentially unfortunate aspects of the map utilized in the referendum question on which county residents will vote. One is that it might be necessary to redistrict after the 2010 census for a system that will go into effect in 2008. The second is that the residents of Chapel Hill Township, which includes two-thirds of the county's population, may refuse to approve the referendum. That is because a section of the Town of Chapel Hill and part of the Joint Planning Area in the northern part of Chapel Hill Township are separated from the southern two-thirds of Chapel Hill Township, and also because the number of residents represented by one commissioner is greater than for the district that includes the rest of the county.

    Thus, rather than being a simpler question of whether citizens want a certain type of district representation system, the ballot question is complicated by a map that in my opinion strays farther than was necessary from the one person - one vote requirement.

    Having said all of that, I still support the commissioners' decision to have the citizens vote on the question of district representation.


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    BARRY JACOBS
    Date of Birth: November 1, 1950
    Campaign Web Site: www.barryjacobs.org
    Occupation & Employer: Self-employed writer, caretaker at Moorefields historic site and wildlife refuge, county commissioner
    Years Lived in Orange County: 33

    1. If elected, what are your top priorities?

    My top priorities are investing every government action with a sense of environmental responsibility; a commitment to quality public education; strong support for social justice; targeted economic development; a willingness to think beyond jurisdictional limits; and playing a role as facilitator in making government more responsive, accessible and cost-effective.

    Environmental responsibility.

    Everything I do in government is grounded in an environmental ethic.

    I have worked to assure that growth does not overwhelm the special character of Orange County, but is channeled by public design and with utmost sensitivity to the environment. Any benefits of growth must be shared, and the adverse impacts minimized through the sort of sensitive, creative leadership I provide.

    Orange County's Lands Legacy program, which I helped establish, is a state model for protecting natural areas, acquiring conservation easements, buying parkland, protecting significant cultural resources, and otherwise making foresighted purchases. We have protected more than 1,750 acres since 2001, with several hundred additional acres in negotiation, and leveraged millions of dollars in federal and state funds. We have new park sites under development throughout the county, and have completed the master planning of five parks since 2002. Joint efforts with other governments led to cost-effective protection of the New Hope Preserve near Durham and the Adams Tract in Carrboro, as well as to creation of the 391-acre Little River Regional Park. My direct outreach to Duke University put us in position to purchase two parcels that were previously part of Duke Forest.

    Our farmland easement purchase program, which I spearheaded, is another state model, for which were honored in late April by the federal government. I have led eight annual agricultural summits where ideas, support, and alternatives are presented to farmers to help them stay in business. Viable local agriculture produces fresher food and preserves open space, an important segment of our economy, and a set of traditional values that have shaped our culture.

    I serve on several regional boards that deal with transportation issues, including the Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization and the Triangle J Council of Governments. Through the RPO we secured federal grant funds for a 125-space park-and-ride lot adjoining our new community college campus.

    I chaired a county task force on construction and demolition waste that led to one of the few on-site material separation ordinance in the state, and to a deconstruction program that has been applied to removing and reusing several buildings on county property. We are one of the few counties in the state that recycles electronic devises. Those efforts helped keep Orange County at the forefront of solid waste reduction in North Carolina.

    Additionally, I proposed and led the way to adoption of an environmental responsibility goal for county government, covering everything from greenbuilding to water, energy and fuel efficiency in operations. This is a most important area in which government must lead by example.

    And, on April 11, I worked with staff to plan and host a five-hour Eno River Confluence, bringing together stakeholders to discuss issues related to the long-term viability of the river and its reservoir system. A follow-up meeting is scheduled for October 25 at which solutions to previously identified problems will be discussed.

    Quality public education.

    I take pride in Orange County's commitment to public education, which is at the forefront of my priorities.

    Each of our school systems is among the best-funded in North Carolina, and our combined effort on capital and operations is unsurpassed in the state. We have nearly kept pace with the construction demands necessitated by growth. Current building projects will enable us to catch up in both districts at the middle school and high school levels, and plans are underway for a new elementary school that will satisfy demands at that level, too. Over the past 15 years, about 78 percent of the county's capital spending has gone to schools.

    During my tenure we also put in place a School Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to tie the pace of development to our capacity to provide classrooms, a rarity in North Carolina. This enables us to do more accurate financial modeling and facility planning. At my urging, representatives of the county and the Orange County Schools met with Mebane officials earlier this year to began the process of bringing that fast-growing municipality at our western border into the planning fold.

    Faced with reduced state support and school construction costs that rose 50 percent on average from 2003 to 2005, we must resist pressures to weaken our commitment to building and upgrading schools.

    We must also find creative ways to achieve greater funding equity between our two school districts, and to continue the promotion of shared resources and programming.

    Next year we open a branch of Durham Technical Community College, and we must assure that the structure is a greenbuilding model and, once open, serves the broad needs of the county. We recently voted an additional $260,000 for environmentally sensitive improvements to the building (reused rain water, windows that open, waterless urinals, light shelves, etc.) The community college can provide focused opportunities to train residents for available, good-paying jobs, and can enhance the exchange of ideas within our community.

    Social Justice.

    Maintaining humane government is key to my service. I have been a leader on senior issues, co-chaired a county task force on affordable housing, chaired a library services task force, and championed creation of a "critical needs fund" to pick up the slack where federal and state cuts threatened to weaken the social safety net. Lending a helping hand to those in need, and spreading services and support throughout the county, are essentials to good government.

    I was central to the creation of our comprehensive, award-winning Master Aging Plan, and am involved in the current update. I also pushed for purchase of the SportsPlex in Hillsborough, not only to enhance recreational opportunities but as a prime site for a co-located senior center. A southern Orange senior center is under construction, and I serve on the planning committee for a central Orange facility at the SportsPlex that will incorporate senior day health care.

    I am our board's strongest advocate for libraries. I worked on three separate committees that examined library needs, resulting in the creation of a computer-oriented "cybrary" in downtown Carrboro, an improved operating agreement for a public library located within a Carrboro school, a new library branch in Cedar Grove, and a comprehensive plan for improving countywide library services. I've scouted possible sites for a free-standing downtown library branch in Carrboro and a new central library in Hillsborough, and pushed through an increase in our annual library funding to raise our level of service.

    I was on the 2001 bond committee that including significant funds for affordable housing, and co-chaired an affordable housing task force that led to creation of a permanent affordable housing advisory board, a fund for land-banking to meet future housing demands, and other much-needed measures. I am a strong supporter of the community land trust, Habitat, and other nonprofits, both in concept and come budget time. I am presently pushing a discussion of creative approaches to preserving manufactured housing communities in and beyond our municipalities as key components of our long-term affordable housing strategy.

    I proposed county adoption of a social justice goal, which would make us the first county in the country to do so. The Human Relations Commission, on which I serve, is currently surveying the public for ideas and comments as it formulates the specifics that can direct future county policy and operations.

    My interest in assuring that no one is left behind in Orange County led to my proposing a "critical needs" reserve in our annual budget. Now in its fourth year, the reserve has applied about $750,000 to fund numerous programs that were dropped or compromised by state and federal cuts -- urgent home repair for elderly, low-income seniors; a breastfeeding program; extra grants for child care; emergency fuel assistance; coordination of in-home care for seniors; transition funds for providers adversely impacted by so-called mental health reform; testing of a minority community's groundwater to investigate a health risk; and criminal justice programs that provide alternatives to standard practices. We recently added $100,000 to child care subsidies from funds freed by a freeze on our share of Medicaid costs.

    I remain committed to paying all staff a living wage, to providing a strong benefits package, a safe workplace, and opportunities for advancement in salary and responsibility. Several times I have successfully pushed for elevating the salaries of our lowest pay-grades. I continue to stress fashioning a workforce that reflects the county's diversity.

    Targeted economic development.

    I have been the county's leader on economic development issues throughout my tenure.

    Cultivation of both small business and environmentally sound commercial development in targeted locations can help with the tax burden and expand opportunities for good-paying jobs. Before I came on the board, our designated economic development districts were stagnant, more pipedream than promise. I devoted many hours to developing clearly articulated, environmentally-grounded standards with Hillsborough for a mixed-use economic development district. A walkable, transit-friendly project is under construction in that area, anchored by a new branch of Durham Technical Community College in which the county is a funding and planning partner.

    I also worked with Mebane to bring water and sewer to an economic development district in western Orange, to be governed by Orange County land use and zoning, and initiated talks to do likewise on the Durham border. I'm working on a redevelopment project in Hillsborough's low-income Fairview community, and on re-examining nodes in rural areas, starting on NC 57 in northeastern Orange County, that might support community-oriented business. Separating uses is an outmoded idea, particularly when seeking to reduce vehicle-miles traveled and air pollution. At my urging we will also re-examine uses that were deemed nonconforming in 1981, limiting their expansion capabilities.

    Cultivating a vibrant local agricultural economy is an ongoing interest, manifest in a variety of ways from hiring the only county ag economic development specialist in the state to securing federal funds for a shelter to protect the Hillsborough Farmer's Market. Under my leadership we continue to seek funding for a regional processing center that would enable local producers to create products that could be dependably purchased by large institutions such as UNC, UNC Hospitals and our school districts. We even stress patronizing caterers for county functions who use locally produced food.

    I have convened a group including representatives of El Centro Latino and our agriculture and economic development communities to explore creating a program that would provide opportunities for newcomers from agrarian backgrounds. We wish to start a model program that would teach business and marketing realities, identify and cultivate marketing opportunities in the burgeoning ethnic produce sector, and perhaps link Latino and Asian immigrants with aging native farmers who do not want to see their land go out of production.

    I also worked on creating a joint venture with Hillsborough for redevelopment of the US 70 corridor in the Fairview community north of town. Development tends to gravitate toward green sites, moving jobs farther from town residents and easy transportation access. This is a chance to work with a disadvantaged minority community to capitalize on existing infrastructure to improve employment opportunities, wealth creation, and services.

    Improving our small business loan pool to make it accessible, and extending support to small and existing county businesses, are additional key concerns.

    Not to be forgotten, a sound public education system is the best way to empower people to seek and retain decent jobs, and our school districts and new community college ably fill that essential role.

    Reaching beyond jurisdictional lines.

    An ongoing priority is building partnerships by reaching out to neighboring jurisdictions, to the Department of Transportation, and to water providers. The value of forging good relationships cannot be underestimated.

    Thanks to those efforts, Mebane is working with us to bring water and sewer service to our Buckhorn Road economic development district, and two of its elected officials joined me as dependable participants in formulating a Efland-Mebane small area plan. Recommendations of that group are now being converted into regulatory form.

    Our relationship with Hillsborough has improved tremendously. We jointly planned a Fairview park (I served on that committee) that includes a land swap and co-located public works. We are working together on a strategic growth plan for Hillsborough (I co-chair that effort) which should provide growth limits, seamless development standards, and perhaps designated rural buffers. I served with Hillsborough elected officials on a small group that planned the economic development district south of town. I worked as part of another small group that developed an access management plan for Orange Grove Road, including significant recommendations for improvements in pedestrian access to two schools.

    Another commissioner, county staff, and I meet our local DOT representatives for lunch several times annually. That direct, informal communication has expedited a number of small transportation projects, improved overall cooperation, and served as a model our division engineer has replicated with other jurisdictions.

    We developed a working relationship with the private Orange-Alamance water system for the first time in memory, strengthened our collaborations with OWASA, and became working partners with Duke, dispelling tensions caused by a landfill search that predated my tenure on the board. We also reached out to elected officials from Alamance, Chatham, Durham and Person counties and from the city of Durham to discuss areas of mutual interest such as land use planning, transportation, emergency preparedness, solid waste and agriculture. We are currently working with Durham city to bring water and sewer to our eastern economic development district.

    Until earlier this year I served as the Orange representative in a four-county rural transportation planning organization. I am first vice president of the Triangle J Council of Governments in only my second year on the board. Among my interests at Triangle J is creating a structured venue for discussion of development projects of regional concern, and a plan to bring together water users and those jurisdictions that protect watersheds to plan proactively and cooperatively.

    Responsive Government.

    We must do a better job of reaching out to citizens. That is an ongoing problem addressed already by a change in leadership in our technology department, a strategic plan to improve Web-based services, and another, more comprehensive plan to upgrade all of our communication efforts.

    We convened meetings around the county on matters of substance such as the land use plan update and the social justice goal. At my suggestion, last year we had listening sessions in each township. We also vastly increased the number of press releases to spread word of what we are doing; people often complain they wish they knew more about what the county does and what services it offers.

    Most important, we respond to citizen concerns in a timely, direct manner. The goal should be to treat every resident as if they are a customer and we desire their repeat business. To that end, we are working on one-stop permitting that will greatly simplify the bureaucratic hassles of creating a small business or seeking to build or remodel a home.

    One of the most satisfying aspects of public service is functioning as a conduit for residents to get results and straight answers. I do not try to pressure staff, but I do help direct folks to the appropriate venue, tell them what to ask and what to expect, then follow up to see what happened. Through such interactions I helped citizens secure improvements in our noise ordinance and our hunting ordinance, gain resolution of neighbors' zoning violations, have handicapped parking spaces moved so they are suitably accessible, have a dead deer removed from an elderly man's driveway, and have the sheriff enforce speed limits and covered load regulations.

    All of our actions must also be guided by a sense of fiscal discipline and a creative use of resources. The cost of providing service leads to higher taxes, a necessary evil that nevertheless must be mitigated if we are to remain a heterogeneous community.

    2. What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective Orange County Commissioner? Please be specific about your public and community service background. What boards and commissions have you served on, and how will you apply that experience to this job?

    I have been actively involved in local government for 21 years. My first exposure came when I looked beyond the 84-acre wildlife refuge and 1785 house where I am caretaker. Moorefields is located near Hillsborough, adjacent to a significant natural area and within a water-supply watershed, and I wondered how that distinctive setting could be preserved. I quickly realized the importance of proactive land-use planning and, despite my nervousness speaking at a packed public hearing, voiced my support for zoning. It turned out I was the sole speaker in favor of that most necessary planning tool.

    Within a few years, I was appointed to the Orange County Planning Board. I became chair within six months of joining, and remained in that position for four of my six years on the board. We aggressively investigated and sought better policies on environmental protection, affordable housing, water and sewer policy, transportation, rural character preservation, and parks.

    Later I served for nearly six years on the board of directors of the Orange Water and Sewer Authority, again serving as chair for the majority of my tenure. We changed the culture of the organization to become more responsive to the community, advocated stringent watershed protections and an aggressive land-purchase program near our water supplies, and started a "Taste of Hope" program to help low-income customers.

    I am currently serving in my eighth year as an Orange County commissioner. I have worked hard on issues such as environmental responsibility, smart growth, natural area protection, park development, energy efficiency and solid waste reduction, growing a local agricultural economy, and expanding opportunities for economic development in appropriate locations.

    I am an unwavering supporter of public education, including widened opportunity through a community college. I have repeatedly reached out to neighboring governments and other service providers to create partnerships that better serve our communities.

    I have been at the forefront of efforts to assist those who need a helping hand. At my urging we created a "critical needs fund" to pick up programs, from breastfeeding support to emergency fuel assistance to urgent home repair, that were adversely impacted by federal and state cuts. I continue to work on issues of affordable housing, senior services, and health care.

    I have demonstrated leadership on the state level as co-chair of the Farm and Open Space work group of the Smart Growth Commission, and as a member of the Commission on Electronic Voting. Regionally, I have chaired the Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization, and presently serve as first vice president of the Triangle J Council of Governments.

    3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

    I am a progressive, and proud of it. That means I believe government can be a force for positive change, and for protecting both the rights of the group and of the individual. I believe government must help those least able to help or protect themselves, including the environment, and must operate in a manner that is respectful and accessible to all.

    I believe in forging partnerships and working regionally. Looking for similarities is more productive than accenting differences.

    I believe government serves many valuable roles in public life, and that responsive government can be run efficiently without losing its humanity or generosity of spirit. Watching the public's money as if it is my own may be considered conservative; I consider it responsible.

    I believe government should reflect the best of its citizenry, should lead by example, and should serve as a unifying force. The rights of the individual, and minority viewpoints, must be protected from intrusion or coersion, including by government itself.

    My philosophy is manifest in dozens of actions and initiatives I have pursued in office, as outlined in my other answers.

    4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

    A principled stand I did take involves the election of county commissioners. Residents of rural Orange petitioned the Board of Commissioners for greater representation early in 2005. The board examined a number of models for electing and nominating commissioners, and listened to extensive public comment.

    Clearly, a number of issues were involved, some quite genuinely reflective of a failure to meet democratic principles of fair representation. Residents of Chapel Hill and Carrboro have the mathematical power to determine who is elected, leaving many rural residents feeling disaffected and unrepresented.

    The current commissioners strive to represent all interests, however. We are a diverse group as well. Two of us, me among them, live in rural Orange, so there is a false echo to some of the assertions.

    Still, the sense of alienation is genuine, and I recommended we go to a seven-member board that would assure broader representation and would put the proposition before county voters in November. The first time I suggested this, the proposal was defeated on a 4-1 vote. I continued to work for this improvement behind the scenes. After listening to citizens maintain their objections to a five-member board, I again proposed seven, with some coming from districts and the rest elected at-large. This second iteration of my proposal passed, 4-1.

    I further advocated that we stick with residential districts for choosing commissioners despite a drumbeat of support for nominating districts from citizens and the threat of a legislatively-imposed plan. Residential districts provide that a person must live in the area from which they are elected, even though they earn their party's nomination and run for general election by vote of all eligible county voters. Nominating districts restrict the ability to choose a candidate for party nomination to those who reside within a circumscribed area.

    I have spoken with present and former commissioners and managers from counties that have nominating districts. Without exception they said it is a very divisive method of election, since candidates know they need not take a countywide interest but must only satisfy their narrowed constituency. A survey by Orange County staff of 22 mid-size to large North Carolina counties found that all but one had residential districts, with nomination and election at-large. That is the model I chose, and for which I alone voted, despite ongoing criticism that may well cost me votes.

    The idea is to unify the county and to increase a sense of inclusion, rather than to fragment our community. That is why I also think it important to retain several at-large seats.

    5. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

    Throughout my tenure I have endeavored to make our government and its policies as inclusive as possible. Social justice is an important component of the philosophical basis from which I seek to govern and work with others. I've even worked with county staff to develop a "Social Justice Goal" that articulates the county's commitment to fair treatment of all and to providing a social safety net for residents.

    A just community begins with caring for those least able to help themselves -- people with mental and physical handicaps, those of modest means, and those who've faced traumatic experiences. I have been most supportive of efforts to assist those on Work First, to extend Orange's public transit, to aid with heating bills in the winter, and to provide funding to the many outside agencies that work diligently to provide counseling, treatment and other support to those in need. As mental health services are devolved from the state to local government, we will need to be careful that the level of service is not compromised.

    Our land-use and housing policies have been, and will continue to be, designed to combat resegregation by race or income.

    I've been a leader in promoting the provision of affordable housing in the county. The housing task force I co-chaired came up with strategies and policies that the bond task force I co-chaired supported with $4 million in voter-approved funds. I've been a strong supporter of the county's non-profit housing entities both publicly and behind the scenes. I led the way on our board to assure an affordable housing trust fund from general fund revenues, and in maintaining support of the Urgent Home Repair program that fixes critical problems for low-income, mostly elderly residents. Now that we are bringing water and sewer to our economic development districts, we can require a percentage of high-density affordable housing in the mix.

    I'm a strong advocate for the county's senior citizens, serving on the steering committee for our award-winning Master Aging Plan in 2001 and again this year. For most of my term in office I served on the county's Advisory Board on Aging. I worked for bond monies to build a pair of county senior centers, and served on the design group for the Central Orange Senior Center. I have advocated services from senior daycare to in-home nursing and cleaning assistance for those who seek to age in place. It was at my suggestion that we included an Adult Day Health Center in the new Central Orange Senior Center. As chair of the Board of Commissioners, I also intervened with a Chapel Hill nursing home to support concerns about poor care raised by one of our advisory boards, with the result company administrators came to assure us they would improve and have followed through. State officials were not aware of a similar case of commissioner intervention in North Carolina.

    We've strongly supported El Centro Latino since I've been a commissioner. I am currently leading an effort to design a farm linkage program that allows immigrants from agrarian backgrounds, particularly Latinos and Asians, to get into agriculture here, filling a vacuum that currently exists in North Carolina. I've prompted staff to send representatives to recruit for employment in the Latino community, and helped facilitate a meeting between El Centro leaders and our sheriff to discuss hiring and other issues of mutual concern. I am working with Raleigh Council member Thomas Crowder and others to bring a dispassionate discussion of Latino impacts on our region, perhaps as a public symposium, through the Triangle J Council of Governments.

    Most of all, I insist we hire a county workforce that better reflects the diversity of our citizenry, and have endeavored to create job linkages with Club Nova, Orange Industries and others who aid folks suffering some handicap or disability.

    I led the way in eliminating the bottom rung on our pay scale, bumping up even the lowest-paid workers. We pay a living wage to every employee, even temporary help. I was instrumental in assuring that sheriff's deputies, who are required to live within Orange County, are paid at least the housing living wage.

    When serving as a commissioner representative on the Board of Health we negotiated a new contract with the Animal Protection Society, and since have taken over operation of animal services in Orange County. We have pressured the ABC board to provide benefits to its workers comparable to the county's.

    I've advocated strenuously for fair and prompt consideration of folks in and around Fairview, a low-income, predominantly African-American community on the edge of Hillsborough. We overcame the opposition of one commissioner and the skepticism of others to support the citizen-led creation of a ballfield once testing assured the site's safety. I lobbied for adequate funds to develop a park at Fairview, and served on the planning committee for that park. We partially funded a community policing center, and have forged a partnership with Hillsborough to expand services and options at Fairview. I currently serve on a redevelopment task force that I instigated, which intends to bring infrastructure and other improvements to that area.

    Serving on the Human Rights and Relations Commission, I've supported efforts to improve our outreach to students on matters like tolerance of others. We've fought as a county against Blue Cross Blue Shield and big business all the way to the N.C. Supreme Court for the right of local governments to investigate worker complaints of discrimination. I've pushed for undercover testing of housing inclusiveness in our county to ascertain the extent of discrimination in rentals.

    As a member of the Human Services Advisory Commission I was part of planning and hosting symposia on building bridges to the Latino community, mental health issues and poverty in Orange County.

    Public education -- equal opportunity to advance one's knowledge, standing and career -- is an important component of building a just community, and I've been an unswerving supporter. Efforts to fragment that support, or to undermine it on the basis of blanket opposition to taxation, undermine diversity and equal opportunity.

    I've been a leader in promoting the extension of water lines to the historic Rogers Road neighborhood near the landfill I pushed to have a neighborhood representative on our Solid Waste Advisory Board (on which I serve). I advocated a strong benefits package for neighbors of the American Stone Quarry, where expanded operation will provide additional water resources to Orange's urban residents. I've worked with Congressman David Price and others to secure funds to bring water and sewer to a predominantly elderly, African-American community in western Orange near Buckhorn Road.

    And, as at Fairview, I stand firm for treating those in low-income neighborhoods with the same deference and understanding insisted upon by citizens more familiar with lobbying government. I prod staff to reach out to any community whenever we take a step that affects them.

    I believe strongly in environmental justice and in justice for the environment. I've pushed county government to adopt strong environmental standards for its own operations; to adopt a policy of conducting environmental and cultural surveys of every site the county develops for its own use or use by the schools; suggested we look at greenbuilding standards for private development, as we have for county facilities; and urged our staff to consider a joint waste transfer station with Durham before settling again upon siting such facilities on Eubanks Road.

    Again, government must lead by example, our actions showing a path of sensitivity and understanding. The examples set by Orange County can in turn influence others throughout the Triangle.

    6. What is your position on the redistricting question on the ballot this fall?

    The referendum is in fact on districting. There are no districts from which Orange County commissioners are currently chosen.

    The impetus behind this initiative, as stated above, is a sense that rural residents are under-represented on the Board of Commissioners as currently constituted. This is an eye-of-the-beholder perception to a large extent -- not only are two of five commissioners from rural Orange, but at least two commissioners have come from central or northern Orange for many decades. Orange County is a state leader in farmland preservation and in promoting a local agricultural economy. We brought a library branch and a park to rural Cedar Grove, a park to rural Little River, and are pursuing siting parks in rural northcentral and southwestern Orange.

    What's more, the present system has produced remarkable diversity. Two of five commissioners are female. Two of five commissioners are African-American. Two of five commissioners work full-time.

    Still, in a growing county, where better than 60 percent of the populace is located in one township (Chapel Hill), a reasonable argument can be made that democracy required enlargement of the Board of Commissioners. I was the first to advocate for seven members, which is on the ballot this fall.

    I further support a system that combines both district and at-large election. I believe every voter should be able to participate in direct selection of a majority of the commissioners. The plan that is on the ballot in November allows for that because, first, all district and at-large candidates are voted upon by everyone in the general election; and second, even with district nomination rural voters are represented by two district seats and two at-large seats.

    What is to be avoided is a system that guarantees the majority of the BOCC always comes from Chapel Hill and Carrboro; we have three seats for that district, not four. Also to be avoided is a total balkanization of representation so that commissioners feel beholden only to those in the district that chose them. I opposed district nomination for this reason, but believe the proposed system will suffice to maintain a Board of Commissioners that must consider the entire county at all times.


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    JAMIE DANIEL
    Date of Birth: 08/01/1971
    Campaign Web Site: www.jamiedaniel.org
    Occupation & Employer: DCRI
    Years Lived in Orange County: 8

    1. If elected, what are your top priorities?

    I am concerned about family survivability in Orange County. For this reason my priorities are Family, Schools and Business.

    2. What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective Orange County Commissioner? Please be specific about your public and community service background. What boards and commissions have you served on, and how will you apply that experience to this job?

    I served on the Orange County Human Rights and Relations Committee. I served on the Orange County Technology Focus Forum. I spent 8 years in the United States Army. I have been a consultant for 10 years and traveled the country and the world, visiting many other areas. I feel that my experiences are broad and will lend new perspectives for the progress of Orange County.

    3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

    I am a Republican. I am concerned that we in Orange County have hit a saturation point with the rising taxes. Family survivability is at risk. It seems that only those that can afford to live here deserve to live here. Orange County is not a gated community of elitists. We care about the future of our elders and children. How can doing the right thing for the citizens of Orange County be besmirched by placing a political title on doing the right thing?

    4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

    I want to see more attention given to development in Orange County. I want to see more commercial development to help reduce our dependence on property taxes for our primary source of revenue.

    5. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

    Having served on the Human Rights and Relations Committee, I have seen the internal efforts it takes to keep a balanced and fair society for all citizens. Every citizen must be protected and have their interests represented in a fair and unbiased way. As my parents and grandparents taught me, "Doing what is right might not be popular. Doing the right thing might not make you popular, but you have to look yourself in the mirror every morning." I will not make decisions that pander to the public and advance only my agenda or my position.

    6. What is your position on the redistricting question on the ballot this fall?

    I think it is a step in the right direction, but there are facets of the plan that miss the mark of fairness for the citizens of Orange County. Citizens in rural Orange County deserve to vote on their own candidates. While this is true in the primary, the general election will still allow the entire county to vote on who would represent their district. This is just the same type of unbalance with a new wrapper.


    Sheriff

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    LINDY PENDERGRASS
    Date of Birth: May 13, 1934
    Campaign Web Site: www.re-electlindysheriff.com
    Occupation & Employer: Sheriff of Orange County employed by Orange County
    Years Lived in Orange County: 72 years

    1. If elected, what are your top priorities?

  • Continue to seek technology grants. We want to increase the number of mobile data terminals we now have. Our goal is to have these units in all vehicles to reduce report writing time for deputies now being spent writing reports by hand.

  • Persevere to seek methods of reduced domestic violence through the use of GPS technology. We hope to have this system implemented by the fiscal year. This procedure will allow us to identify at all times the location of the domestic violence offender thus reducing victims, assaults and harassments by offenders.

  • Intensify the recruitment of more female and Spanish speaking applicants to meet the challenges of the language barrier and better serve our socially diverse community.

  • Due to budget constraints and increasing service demands we must innovative and resourceful in using our present personnel to the maximum. To maintain present levels of service will require constant, sound and rational strategies. A deliberation of planning and the capability to capitalize on existing means in overcoming fiscal deficiencies.

    2. The jail population consistently exceeds the capacity by nearly 50 percent. What is causing consistent overcrowding and how do you plan to reduce the number of inmates? What is your time line for any reductions?

    There are many factors involving overcrowding in our jail. In the past year there has been a significant increase in the number of days inmates must stay in our facility waiting trial. The average time now being spent by inmates averages 100 to 150 days. We have no control over how many persons are arrested by all the law enforcement agencies in Orange county and placed in jail under bond; only the responsibility for the housing and custody of the inmates.

    We asked the county Commissioners this year for capital improvement funding to provide additional bed space in the jail. The request was approved for 1million dollars in renovations. The upgrading of the facility should be completed within the coming year. When finished we will have additional space for both female inmates and a larger capacity for male misdemeanors.

    3. In some jurisdictions, local law enforcement is being called upon to function as de-faceto border patrol agents, including detaining persons suspected of being illegal immigrants. What is you opinion about the role of local law enforcement in enforcing US Immigration Law?

    First we must comply with the law. If the law requires is to check persons for citizenship we will have to do so. However we have not detained any persons suspected of being illegal immigrants. Our present local obligations have increased to the point we do not have the time or manpower to be enforcing U.S. immigration laws.

    4. Roadblocks and checkpoints can be used as a way to racially profile drivers and passengers. What policies should be in place in regards to roadblocks and checkpoints? Under what circumstances should they be used?

    We have not and do not racially profile any persons driving vehicles or riding as passengers in vehicles stopped by our deputies. We conduct driver license checkpoints on roads all over the county and not in any specific area or time of day. Each month we send our citations to DMV and have not seen any significant disparity regarding race.

    5. What is your opinion to public access to officers' disciplinary records? What type of records should be opened?

    Personnel laws govern what can be released to the public from personnel records. We abide by these laws. If an employee is charged with a crime or civil action that warrants personnel records to be open for review they can be subpoenaed. There must be a reason or just cause to allow anyone other than the employer or employee access to any persons' personnel file

    6. For the incumbent, have you implemented any provisions of the Patriot Act in Sheriff's Department Policy? If so, what have you implemented and why? How has it affected protocol, particularly regarding search and seizure laws?

    We have not written any policy or procedures regarding the Patriot act. Nor do we need to because we are not involved with the any provisions of the Patriot Act at the local level.

    Our search and seizure policy is set by both Federal and State law, which mandates "probable cause must exist and be present for any search or seizure to be conducted". We will continue to enforce our conventional laws as written until altered by the legislature or the courts.


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    WILLIAM "BUDDY" PARKER
    Date of Birth: May 1, 1972
    Campaign Web Site: www.parker4sheriff.com
    Occupation & Employer: Police Sergeant Hillsborough Police Department
    Years Lived in Orange County: 34 (native)

    1. If elected, what are your top priorities?

    One of my first priorities would be to address the turnover rate at the sheriff's office. I believe that in order to maintain a professional agency you should retain the most important resource: Personnel.

    My second priority would be to bring the department fully into the 21st Century by utilizing current and evolving technology to increase productivity and decrease costs. This will address two issues, downtime for our deputies and increased information flow to the public, media, and other agencies, as well as helping to protect you the citizens as well as our children.

    My third priority will be Drugs and Alcohol violations. Through proactive enforcement, proactive education and proactive prosecution we'll show criminals that they will not gain a foothold nor will this type of activity be pushed under the carpet. This type of Proactive Law Enforcement will also protect our communities, children and schools.

    2. The jail population consistently exceeds capacity by nearly 50 percent. What is causing consistent overcrowding and how do you plan to reduce the number of inmates? What is your timeline for any reductions?

    This question could be answered in several different ways. The jail is not large enough for the population that Law Enforcement serves in this county and we house a disproportionate number of federal inmates as opposed to local or state prisoners. One answer would be to plan a major expansion of the jail facility, an expansion that would not be outgrown in 10 years, yet would allow for additions if or when they were needed. This could be accomplished through bonds that the citizens could vote to approve or not approve or expand the capability to house more federal prisoners, while also expanding the capability to house state and local prisoners, through federal funding since the federal government does pay a prisoner fee per day for any prisoners that the jail houses. I have heard from people in the community that they are tired of seeing and hearing that someone was released on a written promise to appear on a serious crime(s). The other option would be to just house federal inmates and/or violent and repeat offenders; however I do not think that the majority of the citizens of Orange County would go for this. I understand that these fixes are not going to happen overnight however they need to be addressed as soon as feasibly possible and would be discussed at great lengths with the Board of County Commissioners. I would have to prioritize this after being elected and hearing from the citizens of Orange County.

    3. In some jurisdictions, local law enforcement are being called upon to function as de facto border patrol agents, including detaining persons suspected of being illegal immigrants. What is your opinion about the role of local law enforcement in enforcing U.S. immigration law?

    Every officer from the federal level down to the local level took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and Laws of The United States of America, if we happen to run across an illegal immigrant during the course of our duties and he or she has committed a crime then we will deal with them the same way that we would a legal citizen of the United States of America. If he or she has been listed as a wanted criminal through NCIC then we will act on that and make the arrest and hold them until I.N.S. can come and take custody of them.

    4. Roadblocks and checkpoints can be used as a way to racially profile drivers and passengers. What policies should be in place in regards to roadblocks and checkpoints? Under what circumstances should they be used?

    When used properly and according to current court cases roadblocks are a very effective tool in combating Motor Vehicle Violations and targeting high crime areas. Policies that should be in place would adhere to what is currently held as legal through the courts of NC and the United States of America. Roadblocks should be used when they are necessary to apprehend or identify suspects in high crime areas and make arrests of Motor Vehicle Violations such as DWI.

    5. What is your opinion on public access to officers' disciplinary records? What types of records should be open?

    I do not think that officer's disciplinary files should be open to the public. The portion of an officer's personnel file that is currently legal to obtain as a right of public record is sufficient. If the situation arises that warrants someone seeing an officer's disciplinary record then it should be a judge in a court of law that views those types of records.

    6. For the incumbent, have you implemented any provisions of the Patriot Act in sheriff's department policy? If so, what have you implemented and why? How has it affected protocol, particularly regarding search and seizure laws? For the challenger, what do you think about the Patriot Act and the expanded powers it gives law enforcement?

    The Patriot Act is another tool to be used to combat Terrorism. As far as search and seizure for non-terrorism crimes we will continue to use what we have been using for years. The NC Search and Seizure laws and the Search and Seizure laws through the US Constitution are sufficient for investigative purposes.


    Legislative Races

    NC Senate 23

    ELLIE KINNAIRD
    Campaign Web Site: www.elliekinnaird.com
    Occupation & Employer: Self employed attorney

    1. What are the two or three most important issues facing our state, and/or your district, and how would you address them if elected to serve in the General Assembly?

    The most important issue facing our state is maintaining our services in education, environment, social services, courts and employee benefits within the budget. We could be facing a $1 billion deficit next year.

    We must also shift the emphasis from incarcerating people to intervention and prevention. There are new approaches from our Orange County Community Court (mental health court), to a therapeutic model for our Juvenile Justice system. We must also deal wholistically with families in trouble to prevent violence and criminal behavior and protect our young people.

    Finally, we must provide a health delivery system for everyone who does not now have health insurance and making it affordable to those who do, especially our state employee dependent coverage. We must deal with the mental health crisis with continuing the funding we added this year.

    2. Ethics reform has been on the front burner in Raleigh because of the revelations about House Speaker Jim Black. Should Black resign or be replaced as speaker? How do you rate the reform measures enacted in the recent short session? What more should be done in the '07 long session?

    I hope the House will deal with Speaker Black. Since voters don't know the difference between the House and Senate, the Black cloud (if you'll pardon the pun) enures to our campaigns.

    I introduced lobbying reform bills the last two terms. The first bill that passed was not as strong as it should have been. This year's bill adds real teeth and restrictions. But until we have publically financed campaigns for the legislature, money will continue to talk and influence legislation. Publically supported funding of campaigns is the only way to get the big money out of politics. That should be the goal. It is too easy to find loopholes in even the new legislation.

    3. Do you support or oppose public financing of campaigns, either directly to candidates or in some other fashion? Please explain. Should legislators be prohibited from taking contributions from people with a vested interest in how they vote?

    Legislators take money from many sources, including those who support environmental, social justice and clean government reform measures, so a narrowly crafted defintion of vested interest is needed. No lobbyist should give money, as we enacted last year, but clever monied interests will find a way around the rules. That's why only publically-funded capaigns will get truly honest government.

    4. Tax fairness, or the lack of it, is an issue in North Carolina; critics say the state's tax structure, taken as a whole, is steeply regressive. Do you agree? If so, what changes would you support? Specifically, in order to reduce taxes on people of lesser means, would you support raising a greater proportion of the state's revenues from:

    a. Personal income taxes?

    b. Corporate income taxes?

    c. Sales tax on services?

    d. Other taxes or fees? (If so, what are they?)

    e. Spending cuts only?

    Our tax structure is based too heavily on the sales tax which is regressive. I doubt either personal or corporate income taxes could be raised because of the present political climate - after all we just cut them last session, because of the complaints when we raised taxes on the top income earners and corporations to balance the budget six years ago. A sales tax on services, since we have gone from a primarily manufacturing state to a service state. But that has a large constituency from lawyers and doctors to hair dressers and plumbers. A good change is to stop the huge tax credit giveaways to lure business to the state. Individual taxpayers have to make up for the lost tax revenue.

    We certainly can't make spending cuts. We just restored the draconian cuts made during the recession to education, mental health, social services, the court system, environmental regulation and the defacto cuts to employee salaries though their health insurance increases.

    5. If you picked "e," please indicate where spending should be cut (or the rate of increase reduced)?

    N/A

    6. The number of North Carolinians who lack adequate health insurance is growing, and now exceeds one million. What's your position on this issue? Should the state be helping more? If so, how? And which--if any--of the various ideas proposed in the last session for expanding health-insurance coverage do you favor?

    Some years ago, the Institute of Medicine found that the state could provide health insurance for every person in NC for the same price they pay for indigent care outside the regular health system. This is the only answer, and if the federal government won't do it, NC must. We must also get a handle on the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry that are one of causes of the problem. Rep. Verla Insko has a bill for a constitutional amendment to make health care a right in NC, just as education is. I look forward to working with her next term. Finally, we must pass a high-risk insurance pool in the short term.

    7. Please comment on these major issues, and your position on them:

    a. The Leandro lawsuit, and equitable funding of schools in poorer counties?

    Good schools are the best economic development tools we have, along with community colleges. We will never attract industry and business to areas with poor schools, as every study shows. We made a good start this year on funding low-performing schools and mentoring and should continue that next term.

    b. Paying for school construction? (The lottery wasn't much help.)

    The legislature will probably have a bond issue next term for school construction.

    c. Mental-health reform?

    The legislature put $95 million into local community mental health. That funding will probably be continued until the local infrastructure can meet our mental health needs.

    d. Transportation/public transit needs in the urban areas, especially the Triangle?

    It was a disapointment when the light-rail effort failed. However, if they are serious about it, next time the TTA will have a route to the airport and Chapel Hill in addition to Raleigh and Durham.

    e. Open-space conservation?

    The Land For Tomorrow initiative disappointingly didn't get out of the Senate, even though many of us worked for it. It would have put a bond issue on the ballot, for a $billion to buy land for preservation. I will work for that funding next term. The state also needs to stop the proliferation of building at the coast that is destroying the environment and the fishing industry.

    8. What is your stance on assessing impact fees on development? If you support fees, how should they be calculated? How should the money be used? If you are elected, would you support a measure allowing all counties to assess impact fees if their respective commissioners approve?

    We need local impact taxes, not impact fees. An impact fee is the same for a trailor as for a McMansion. An mpact tax is based on the cost or square footage of the unit and is fairer. However, the most powerful lobbying group in the state is the Homebuilders Association. They prevented Chapel Hill-Carrboro from assessing a tax rather than a fee and have successfully prevented every other area except Chatham, from enacting either a fee or a tax. I have urged our leadership to allow a menu of taxes: transfer, meals, lodging, but so far to no avail.


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    E. B. ALSTON
    Date of Birth: 09/12/1934
    Campaign Web Site: www.alstonforncsenate.com
    Occupation & Employer: Retired. Own a small publishing business.

    1. What are the two or three most important issues facing our state, and/or your district, and how would you address them if elected to serve in the General Assembly?

    Broad based economic development to make, higher paying jobs with benefits available for workers in North Carolina.

    Getting our share of road and transportation dollars from the state.

    Refocus government towards the practical needs of the population as opposed pork barrel projects, politically correct nostrums and allowing unelected lobbyists to make legislative decisions.

    2. Ethics reform has been on the front burner in Raleigh because of the revelations about House Speaker Jim Black. Should Black resign or be replaced as speaker? How do you rate the reform measures enacted in the recent short session? What more should be done in the '07 long session?

    The measures passed were weak band-aid reforms enacted under public pressure.

    I think current regulations are too restrictive. Legislators ought to make honest decisions. If the speaker proves unwilling to resign they should oust him. If they don't, they are complicit in the fraud. It is abuse of their office. The voters hold the keys to keeping legislators in line.

    3. Do you support or oppose public financing of campaigns, either directly to candidates or in some other fashion? Please explain. Should legislators be prohibited from taking contributions from people with a vested interest in how they vote?

    I oppose public financing of political campaigns.

    All political contributors represent a vested interest. When I use my own money, I'm using money from a party interested in a certain outcome. Contributing to political campaigns is a form of freedom of speech. The legislator has the burden of making legislative decisions that benefit the majority of his constituents.

    The failure of a legislator, or group of legislators, to behave honorably is not a reason to burden everybody else with more regulations.

    4. Tax fairness, or the lack of it, is an issue in North Carolina; critics say the state's tax structure, taken as a whole, is steeply regressive. Do you agree? If so, what changes would you support? Specifically, in order to reduce taxes on people of lesser means, would you support raising a greater proportion of the state's revenues from:

    General Comment: I am not an opponent of any particular form of taxation. I believe that the state needs a variety of revenue streams because a mix of sources dampens ups and downs in the amount of revenue collected caused by changes in the economy.

    a. Personal income taxes?

    The argument is really about balancing the amount of taxes commandeered from those at the top of the income chain to meet the needs of those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Naturally the well to do would like to keep more of their money. Naturally the poor want more of it. This is a perpetual conflict and it will never be solved to everybody's satisfaction. The state's tax structure is regressive It is also true that the top 50% of taxpayers benefit the most from tax cuts but that is a natural statistical result. Those in the lower tax brackets pay fewer taxes therefore receive less relief percentage wise by tax cuts. Those of "lesser means" don't pay any income taxes. A "sliding scale" plan is all smoke and mirrors because the only way to make it meaningful at the lower income levels would be to adjust the scale to where it meant nothing at the higher income levels. It is the willingness of those with higher incomes to invest in the economy that keeps the economy robust. Any tinkering with that algorithm harms the overall economy and those who suffer the most are those of lesser means.

    I prefer a flat tax for everybody whose income is above poverty level.

    I oppose any proposal that makes the tax code more complicated.

    b. Corporate income taxes?

    Too many loopholes. Too complicated. I prefer a flat tax.

    c. Sales tax on services?

    I favor taxing consumption. If taxpayers have economic hardships they can choose what to buy or choose not to buy at all. They don't have the option not to pay taxes.

    d. Other taxes or fees? (If so, what are they?)

    We don't need any 'other' taxes. We should generate required revenues by using existing mechanisms.

    I think service fees should be set by the cost of providing the service, not as hidden taxes.

    e. Spending cuts only?

    I oppose across-the-board spending cuts. Spending cuts should be made by cutting obsolete programs and streamlining existing programs to reduce operational costs.

    5. If you picked "e," please indicate where spending should be cut (or the rate of increase reduced)?

    N/A

    6. The number of North Carolinians who lack adequate health insurance is growing, and now exceeds one million. What's your position on this issue? Should the state be helping more? If so, how? And which--if any--of the various ideas proposed in the last session for expanding health-insurance coverage do you favor?

    I don't favor anything proposed during the last session. Setting up another bureaucracy is both costly, ineffective and ends up treating people unfairly.

    Nobody will say it because it's an intensely partisan issue, but the only entity that can solve this dilemma is the government. The current process is those who can pay their medical bills pay more to make up for those who cannot pay their medical bills. It is unfair to everybody, including medical care providers who have to balance the needs of those who can pay and those who can't and make a profit too.

    I believe the state ought to buy an HMO on the open market (by a bid process) for everybody who does not have company paid healthcare. If this is done, health care providers could adjust their prices downward because they no longer have to offset the costs of non-paying patients. This could bring sanity to pricing and delivery of health care services.

    The challenge would be keeping this from becoming just another expensive bureaucratic boondoggle that costs more that what we have now. The state should NOT hire 50,000 bureaucrats to manage it using a million complicated regulations. Medicare and Social Security cost more to manage than they pay out in benefits. Management costs of the program ought to be held to the percentage private industry pays to manage their health care programs.

    Enact medical malpractice tort reform limiting recovery to proven losses in income and related expenses.

    7. Please comment on these major issues, and your position on them:

    a. The Leandro lawsuit, and equitable funding of schools in poorer counties?

    The learning crisis is not caused by a lack of spending. Children can learn in less expensive environments. The education crisis is not because of imbalances in school funding. Education quality does not suffer because the children live in poor counties. Education quality suffers across the board because the curriculum is not rigorous enough and students are not motivated to perform well.

    b. Paying for school construction? (The lottery wasn't much help.)

    The school system chooses very expensive buildings and plant. What's wrong with cheaper buildings? Charter school buildings cost a fraction of what regular school buildings cost. Direct the state education department to come up with less expensive designs, like any business would do.

    c. Mental-health reform?

    I favor custodial care for those who are mentally ill.

    I favor professionally supervised medication of borderline mental cases where the individual can function in open society as long as that individual is not prone to violent behavior.

    d. Transportation/public transit needs in the urban areas, especially the Triangle?

    The area needs commuter trains, as opposed to buses because buses use public roads. However population density and commuter angst is not yet high enough to support them. Gas prices and traffic congestion will eventually turn the tide of opinion in favor of them. In the meantime, state and municipal governments should develop plans and begin initial construction of commuter railroads even though it will not be popular and won't pay for itself for a long time.

    e. Open-space conservation?

    I favor open space conservation.

    8. What is your stance on assessing impact fees on development? If you support fees, how should they be calculated? How should the money be used? If you are elected, would you support a measure allowing all counties to assess impact fees if their respective commissioners approve?

    I don't favor impact fees.

    I do favor allowing the counties to make their own decisions in this matter. This is an issue for local government to decide.

    9. If you're not the incumbent in this district, what's wrong with the incumbent's performance? What is there in your background and experience that suggests you'll do better?

    The incumbent votes along party lines most of the time. She favors a regulatory and personally intrusive form of government that many of her constituents, including me, find objectionable. When the government begins to care what I think, what I say and the manner in which I say it, government has overstepped its bounds. The proper functions of a democratic government are to provide for the common practical needs of the population it serves. I don't mean to imply that the incumbent and I disagree on every issue. I'm sure there are some issues on which we would agree.

    I will decide which course to take based on a practical, businesslike, approach. Is it honest? Does it make practical sense? Will it benefit our constituents? Will its cost be reasonable and bearable? A famous person from the past said, "When common sense is ignored, tragedy follows." This axiom has been proven valid in our time by events over the past few years. I will favor the common sense approach in every legislative decision I make on behalf of my constituents.


    NC House 54 (Orange/Chatham)

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    JOE HACKNEY
    Date of Birth: 9/23/45
    Campaign Web Site: www.joehackney.com
    Occupation & Employer: Partner, Epting & Hackney, Attorneys; farmer; legislator

    1. What are the two or three most important issues facing our state, and/or your district, and how would you address them if elected to serve in the General Assembly?

    Continuing to improve public education should be our highest priority. We do this by improving teacher pay to attract good teachers; by providing adequate resources for schools; by funding Leandro and lower wealth schools better so they can catch up; and by using programs like Smart Start and More at Four to assure that children arrive at school healthy and ready to learn.

    We must continue to expand health care and health insurance to more of our citizens, especially our children.

    We must improve our environmental protection efforts, a long-time priority of mine.

    2. Ethics reform has been on the front burner in Raleigh because of the revelations about House Speaker Jim Black. Should Black resign or be replaced as speaker? How do you rate the reform measures enacted in the recent short session? What more should be done in the '07 long session?

    I was the cochair of the House Ethics Study, and the lead sponsor of the ten bills recommended as a result of the study. Nine passed in some form. We passed a first-ever lobbyist gift ban; a first-ever full monthly reporting of all lobbying expenses, including expenses for good will lobbying; a first-ever ban on lobbyists contributing to political campaigns; a first-ever limitation on the use of campaign funds; a first-ever requirement for campaign treasurer training; a first-ever comprehensive legislative and executive ethics law, with central reporting; and a first ever ban on the use of blank checks. These represent significant and far-reaching reforms.

    There is more to do, and we will continue to look carefully at what limits on campaign fundraising and spending are constitutionally permissible. I hope and expect that the momentum for reform will continue.

    I do not know what will happen with Speaker Black. The 2005-2006 Session has adjourned, and his term is almost over. Whether he will be reelected to the House, whether he will be a candidate for Speaker again, and whether if so he will be a viable candidate are all very uncertain at this time.

    3. Do you support or oppose public financing of campaigns, either directly to candidates or in some other fashion? Please explain. Should legislators be prohibited from taking contributions from people with a vested interest in how they vote?

    I support it, and introduced legislation last time. It works well in Arizona and Maine, and we can continue to learn from them.

    4. Tax fairness, or the lack of it, is an issue in North Carolina; critics say the state's tax structure, taken as a whole, is steeply regressive. Do you agree? If so, what changes would you support? Specifically, in order to reduce taxes on people of lesser means, would you support raising a greater proportion of the state's revenues from:

    a. Personal income taxes?

    b. Corporate income taxes?

    c. Sales tax on services?

    d. Other taxes or fees? (If so, what are they?)

    e. Spending cuts only?

    I would support a reasonable tax reform package, but currently there is no such package that has political viability or the support of the Governor. We should continue and expand efforts to make our taxes more progressive. To succeed, these efforts must include a high-level study in which the Governor, the House, and the Senate are all invested, because of the inherent difficulty of this task.

    5. If you picked "e," please indicate where spending should be cut (or the rate of increase reduced)?

    6. The number of North Carolinians who lack adequate health insurance is growing, and now exceeds one million. What's your position on this issue? Should the state be helping more? If so, how? And which--if any--of the various ideas proposed in the last session for expanding health-insurance coverage do you favor?

    We passed a small business tax credit for expanding health insurance coverage, which will help some, but the numbers of uninsured continues to grow. I supported Rep.Insko's high risk pool bill. We should expand coverage more each session and chip away at the problem each session until the Congress acts on a national solution.

    7. Please comment on these major issues, and your position on them:

    a. The Leandro lawsuit, and equitable funding of schools in poorer counties?

    We funded the Leandro needs last session, and we should continue to do so.

    b. Paying for school construction? (The lottery wasn't much help.)

    School construction remains primarily a local responsibility, but the State does help in various ways. Consideration will be given next time to additional help in the form of a statewide bond package for school construction.

    c. Mental-health reform?

    Mental health reform efforts received an infusion of cash last session. The transition to private provider care still has problems, and extensive efforts are underway in the legislature and in the executive branch to make the new system work better. These efforts should continue.

    d. Transportation/public transit needs in the urban areas, especially the Triangle?

    TTA is at a crossroads. It needs to survive and make new plans for public transit in the Triangle under the new circumstances. I do not have that answer right now, but I will be supportive of the efforts to assure survival.

    e. Open-space conservation?

    I supported the Land For Tomorrow bond package, and will continue to do so. I have always supported the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and other trust vehicles for preserving open space and farmland.

    8. If you're not the incumbent in this district, what's wrong with the incumbent's performance? What is there in your background and experience that suggests you'll do better?

    The incumbent is doing a good job.


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    ALVIN REED
    Date of Birth: 5/21/56
    Campaign Web Site: www.AlvinReed.com
    Occupation & Employer: CEO of SBM Ratings Network

    1. What are the two or three most important issues facing our state, and/or your district, and how would you address them if elected to serve in the General Assembly?

    Respect for Original Intent covers a lot of territory. This country was founded on acknowledgment of a Higher Power as a moral compass. The decay of this moral compass affects attitudes, and ultimately leads to the destruction of a nation. I will work diligently to legislate Original Intent into the laws of North Carolina.

    Jobs are always important, especially in cities like Siler City where so many illegal aliens reside. Work ethic must be addressed at the early ages so that the work force is poised for working harder, but more importantly , having the inbred desire and ability to work smarter. Pumping more money into failing methods is not the answer. I will work to legislate smarter schools that emphasize the moral compass.

    2. Ethics reform has been on the front burner in Raleigh because of the revelations about House Speaker Jim Black. Should Black resign or be replaced as speaker? How do you rate the reform measures enacted in the recent short session? What more should be done in the '07 long session?

    House Speaker Jim Black should step down immediately. My opponent is Jim Black's right hand man. My opponent should publically denounce the Speaker''s actions. The reform measures are a step in the right direction, but done more for politics then action. The 07 session needs to take specific steps with addressing the long term solution by teaching morals and ethics in classrooms.

    3. Do you support or oppose public financing of campaigns, either directly to candidates or in some other fashion? Please explain. Should legislators be prohibited from taking contributions from people with a vested interest in how they vote?

    The general idea has merit, but anytime there is a complex solution for a simple problem, alternate solutions should be addressed. Greater ethics in spending campaign money will go a long way. Common sense is hard to measure, but should be a primary process of any campaign financing changes.

    4. Tax fairness, or the lack of it, is an issue in North Carolina; critics say the state's tax structure, taken as a whole, is steeply regressive. Do you agree? If so, what changes would you support? Specifically, in order to reduce taxes on people of lesser means, would you support raising a greater proportion of the state's revenues from:

    a. Personal income taxes?

    No

    b. Corporate income taxes?

    No

    c. Sales tax on services?

    Only in the form of fair tax.

    d. Other taxes or fees? (If so, what are they?)

    No.

    e. Spending cuts only?

    Yes, this is always the best solution

    5. If you picked "e," please indicate where spending should be cut (or the rate of increase reduced)?

    Spending is always local. A freeze in programs and a ten percent cut on all programs over several years will be fought but is the only reasonable means of bringing down costs. Educating our children is a major part of the budget, but throwing money at education historically doesn't work. Opportunities can be legislated to provide avenues for smarter ways of educating our children to replace more expensive methods. Administration is an option to cut.

    6. The number of North Carolinians who lack adequate health insurance is growing, and now exceeds one million. What's your position on this issue? Should the state be helping more? If so, how? And which--if any--of the various ideas proposed in the last session for expanding health-insurance coverage do you favor?

    North Carolina cannot afford to give every citizen perfect health care. Any catastrophic injuries must be catered to. It makes economic sense to use some state revenues to educate citizens on healthy habits, but we cannot afford socialized medicine in any form. Socialism just doesn't work.

    7. Please comment on these major issues, and your position on them:

    a. The Leandro lawsuit, and equitable funding of schools in poorer counties?

    Reasonable care should be exercised in providing some uniformity, but differences in funding will always exists between rich and poor communities.

    b. Paying for school construction? (The lottery wasn't much help.)

    The lottery ultimately hurts the economy. Getting rid of the lottery is the only logical thing to do. Smarter spending is not an easy solution, but is the only affordable solution.

    c. Mental-health reform?

    The greatest minds are also sometimes the minds closest to recognized instability. It is great minds that make this country. Mental-health reform cannot be ignored as it has for the past couple of years.

    d. Transportation/public transit needs in the urban areas, especially the Triangle?

    Mass transit will not work because the triangle is not dense. Educating businesses on alternate hours and ride sharing is a must. Roads are expensive but an absolute investment in our future economy.

    e. Open-space conservation?

    Within reason, we should always respect nature, but we must always be careful to not hurt a thriving economy that will pay for clean parks.

    8. If you're not the incumbent in this district, what's wrong with the incumbents performance? What is there in your background and experience that suggests you'll do better?

    I recognize the 26 years my opponent has been in office. He is well known by his fellow representatives to be very liberal. My opponent represents a very liberal district, so one could argue that he accurately represents the perceived mode of the district. I personally recognize the pitfalls of short term thinking and am an absolute advocate of conservative values, as they are our future. It is too our peril to forget that our "Founding Fathers" recognized the sanctity of "Original Intent". I will bring back the moral compass to the North Carolina Legislature that is so desperately needed to maintain this state and this country consistent with this sanctity of "Original Intent". My track record is to make things happen. My goal is to bring "Original Intent" back to North Carolina, and to this country.


    Judicial Races

    Superior Court 15B

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    CHARLES (CHUCK) ANDERSON
    Party: Democrat
    Date of Birth: January 27, 1950
    Campaign Web Site: www.judgeanderson.org
    Occupation & Employer: 15B District Court Judge, State of North Carolina
    Years Lived In Orange/Chatham County: 26 years in Chatham County [moved into 15B District in 1968]

    1. Why are you seeking the office of Superior Court Judge at this time?

    There is no higher calling than service in the administration of justice, whether it relates to an individual case or the court system's overall operation in processing conflict. However, I share the concerns of many that our State courts are approaching a point of crisis that requires careful planning to preserve public trust and confidence. I am committed to working to develop a unified effort in our community to bring greater efficiency and dignity to our District's judicial process and to the work of each individual involved in the court system.

    In my tenth year of service as District Court Judge, I have grown in my understanding of the role and responsibilities of a judge and the judicial system. I seek the Superior Court Judgeship to use my broad experience and capabilities as a judge to effect positive change in the administration of justice in the Superior Court through collaboration and innovation. I want to insure, as a Superior Court Judge, the highest possible level of judicial independence, while maintaining the outstanding quality of justice that has existed in our District since its creation.

    2. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

    My election would put a social and political progressive, with a record of commitment to social justice, on the Superior Court Bench. My original interest in the legal profession was based upon my perception of the law as a means to achieving social progress.

    I originally became a lawyer in order to work toward the redistribution of opportunity in society. My career began in 1976 with North State Legal Services providing legal aid to low income citizens in Orange and Chatham counties. Legal work included federal litigation challenging the racially discriminatory impact of a municipality's rejection of a low-income housing project. In Jones v. Harris, 629 F. 2d 334 (4th Cir. 1980), I worked to expand the rights of low-income, illegitimate children to obtain social security survivors benefits.

    From 1980-1985, I served as staff attorney and then Director of NC Prisoner Legal Services, providing legal assistance to state prison inmates and local jail detainees. Litigation in Slakan v Porter, 737 F. 2d 368 (4th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 US 1035 (1985), established legal precedent for supervisory liability in civil rights actions. The case involved a hosing, tear gassing, and baton assault on an inmate already locked in his cell, and resulted in a federal jury verdict against the Secretary of Corrections, the Director of Prisons, the Warden of Central Prison, as well as the prison guards involved in the assault. Other work involved prison over-crowding, failure to protect inmates from foreseeable violence within prison, forced medication, and excessive use of force.

    During eleven years (1985-1986) of private practice at Northen Blue Law Firm in Chapel Hill, I built a general practice that included public benefits litigation (SSA Disability) and challenges to tenure decisions, while accepting court appointment for indigent criminal defendants.

    Over two and one-half terms as a District Court Judge I have proactively addressed issues involving child welfare and domestic violence, seeking where possible to enhance services by reform and innovation. The reputation I have earned is consistent with my goal as judge, to make the courtroom a place where, in the words of Thomas Paine, " the poor are not oppressed and the rich are not privileged." This is a commitment to the dignity of both the individual and his or her legal argument before the court. It is the foundation of a just community and a civil society. If elected Superior Court Judge, I will continue to recognize that the law is not a means unto itself, but rather the instrument of a just society insuring equality and due process of law to every individual.

    3. How long do you plan to serve if elected, and how long will you be able to serve?

    If elected I plan to serve a full eight-year term and seek re-election to a second term in 2014. I am eligible to serve under North Carolina law through January of 2022. At age 56, I believe my professional background and ten years experience as a judge allow me to continue in public service as a Superior Court Judge during the prime of my professional life, fully committing myself to the administration of justice and the improvement of our courts.

    4. What is the judicial function of a Superior Court Judge in Criminal Court, and what specifically about your qualifications make you the best candidate to perform this function?

    A Superior Court Judge is responsible for the fair and orderly management of individual criminal cases that he or she is assigned to hear on pretrial motions or jury trial, as well as plea dispositions. Trial responsibilities include supervision of jury selection and counsels' arguments, decisions on evidentiary issues, proper instruction of the jury, and assurance of a trial free of prejudice or legal error. Court approval of individual guilty pleas requires a judge to safeguard the defendant's rights to adequate counsel and entry of a knowing and voluntary admission of guilt. A judge must be satisfied that the plea sentence is appropriate under the circumstances of the case, and generally consistent with dispositions in similar cases. Sentencing often includes expressions of hope, moral guidance, or judgment that provide closure for the community and the individuals involved in the case. The dignity of citizens and the rule of law must both be served by the judge in conducting criminal court.

    Since 1996 I have been performing many of these functions in the trial and disposition of thousands of criminal misdemeanor cases and many probable cause hearings (felony charges). District court judges preside over "bench" trials, serving as both judge and jury, and do not preside over criminal jury trials; however, the patterns of individual and institutional conduct and responsibility are quite similar. I have grown in my appreciation of the role of a judge in the administration of criminal justice and my capacity to respond to its demands. I have learned how to ask better questions of myself and others, how to guide a courtroom, or individuals, in a reasoned direction, how to evaluate a plea bargain or a motion to suppress, and how to offer dignity and compassion in cases involving the loss of life. My experience as a judge in criminal court distinguishes me as a candidate with a mature judicial perspective.

    5. What is the judicial function of a Superior Court Judge in Civil Court, and what specifically about your qualifications make you the best candidate to perform this function?

    A Superior Court Judge's responsibilities in Civil Superior Court are similar in certain ways to those in Criminal Court, particularly regarding management of jury trials. However there are obvious and important distinctions. In civil matters a judge is often required to rule largely on matters of law in declaratory judgment actions or preliminary motions. These rulings eliminate or refine litigation between parties prior to either jury trials or "bench" trials, which are not uncommon in complex Civil Superior Court cases. A civil trial judge can be required to manage complicated class action lawsuits, contentious pretrial discovery, or rule on motions to limit evidence or shape issues at trial. A Superior Court Judge has a greater opportunity to assume leadership for case management in Civil Court, and is often required to respond to more complicated, less familiar legal argument than is experienced in Criminal Court. It is important to be decisive to allow the process to advance. Balancing deliberation with intuition and common sense is necessary - decisions must be made and should not be avoided. Listening carefully to both sides and explaining your decisions help the parties accept the orders of a judge and move forward.

    As a District Court Judge for a decade I have presided over an extraordinarily broad range of civil cases, including but not limited to civil jury trials, civil bench trials, and bench trials under the Juvenile Code. As a practicing attorney, I have been involved in class action and declaratory judgment lawsuits and argued before juries in state and federal court. My experience as a lawyer led me to recognize the importance of diligence and scholarship in a civil court judge, and I have tried to emphasize those qualities in my work as a District Court Judge. The variety of cases coming before the District Court exposed me to diverse legal issues, requiring initiative and care in research and rulings from the bench. Contentiousness of opposing counsel too often compromises the efficiency and dignity of the civil court. I have encouraged courtesy and cooperation, as well as accountability, on the part of lawyers. Over the years I have learned to recognize opportunities to assist attorneys and litigants resolve or minimize their civil conflicts through cooperative case management or collaborative exploration of settlement prospects. My active and continuous service presiding over Civil District Court since 1996 has given me a foundation for helping civil litigants solve their conflicts.

    Whether it involves identifying a win-win outcome or conducting a well-organized trial, I find satisfaction in what is ultimately constructive conflict resolution, by the rules. My experience has given me the knowledge and perspective necessary to become a judge sought by lawyers to hear their cases. My recognized commitment to judicial independence has made them secure in the knowledge that the case will be decided on the law and the facts, not politics, provincialism, or personal influence. My length of judicial service and my performance as a judge have allowed me to earn this confidence of the bar, and it distinguishes my candidacy from other candidates, even those appointed to the Superior Court bench in 2005 and 2006.

    6. What specifically about your qualifications do you think will enable you to improve the administration of justice in Criminal Superior Court?

    Participation in the criminal justice system over ten years as a District Court Judge is almost an anthropological experience. Learning the substantive and procedural law is the obvious responsibility and consequence of performing your duties. More subtle and profound is the slow accumulation of insight into patterns of conduct, the roles of different "stakeholders" in the system, and the significance of process and resources in administering justice. Over time this experience yields the confidence and understanding essential to considering and acting upon improvements to the court system. You recognize your responsibility to manage as well as referee the contest.

    During my service as a District Court Judge, I have sought opportunities to address reform of our court system. Some of this work and training has a direct impact on my capacity to improve Criminal Superior Court. Intensive training in Domestic Violence and Drug Treatment Court, organized through the National Judicial College, and participation on the N.C. Bar Administration of Justice Task Force and Orange-Chatham Alternative Sentencing Board of Directors (community corrections) have direct application to improvement of Criminal Superior Court. Efforts directed toward other areas, such as the AOC Court Improvement Project (improving child protection case management) or the Association of District Court Judges' Association Education Committee (planning continuing judicial education programming) have allowed me to better understand how court improvements can be best introduced and advanced. While experience is important to successfully implementing progressive reform, a judge must also be personally comfortable with the idea of serving as an agent for change. I see that role as an important and rewarding part of a judge's responsibilities.

    In this regard I have joined in coalitions seeking to reform domestic violence case management (both civil and criminal) to eliminate delays in disposition and facilitate treatment plans in unsuccessful prosecutions. I will continue these types of efforts in the future. My experience in the district court criminal justice system and work and training in areas of drug court, domestic violence, and community corrections will enable me to improve the administration of criminal justice in Criminal Superior Court.

    7. What specifically about your qualification do you think will enable you to improve the administration of justice in Civil Superior Court?

    After several years service as a District Court Judge, I became convinced that our courts could not maintain public confidence and meet the needs of our citizens solely by the effort of judges in the courtroom. Resource limitations, growing caseloads, and antiquated procedures now require careful innovation to insure a credible and accountable judicial system. I have committed myself to improving the administration of civil justice in a number of ways, all of which have application to the improvement of Civil Superior Court practices.

    Since 2000, I have served on the N.C. Bar Association Administration of Justice Task Force, a bench and bar committee advising the Association Board of Governors on issues advancing the administration of both civil and criminal justice. The Task Force has over the years addressed a number of prospective changes in our civil justice system, many of them borrowed from the 1996 Commission for the Future of Justice and the Courts in North Carolina. [See generally, The Vision for the Ideal Court System, John G. Medlin, Jr., The North Carolina State Bar Journal, Fall, 1996] A current issue under study is the development of a tool for fair and effective evaluation of judges.

    As a District Court Judge, I convened a committee of our local bar to address high-conflict custody cases through a child-oriented intervention process. My observations as an attorney and as a judge were that this type of litigation was unproductive, harmful to the child, and subject to abuse against the more dependent spouse, typically the woman. My initiative resulted in the implementation of local rules creating the Guardian Ad Litem and Parent Coordinator Programs, now serving as models across the state. Both programs operate to encourage expedited, economical child custody resolutions, either through a Guardian, who conducts a "field study" of the child's circumstances and prepares recommendations regarding the child's best interests, or a Parent Coordinator, who addresses parenting conflicts through collaboration. These programs operate to reduce time consuming child custody litigation that clogged district court dockets and compromised families and children. I have learned how to identify an issue, develop a solution, build a consensus, and implement improvements in the administration of justice in the culture of civil court.

    In Civil Superior Court the most obvious and least difficult means of effecting improvement in the administration of justice would be to assign civil cases to a single judge to be managed from beginning to end. This has long been the practice in federal district court and is now recognized as a best practices approach to family law cases. This reform eliminates a number of problems that plague scheduling and disposition of cases in Superior Court and encourages a higher quality of justice with one judge accepting ownership of the case and its management. A second over-arching court reform, recommended by the Future Commission ten years ago, involves merging the superior and district courts to allow more efficient and coordinated utilization of capital and human resources. These reforms cannot be implemented by a single judge; however innovations of this character are readily achievable only if members of the judiciary commit themselves to the improvement of our courts. I look forward to continued work to improve the administration of justice.

    8. What role does ideology play in the performance of this office?

    With respect to a judge's duties in an individual case, ideology cannot influence substantive or procedural rulings. The rule of law demands absolute impartiality of a judge, and anything less is a disservice to the judicial function.

    With respect to the process surrounding an individual case or the administration of justice, ideological perspectives may operate to insure respect for all individuals, leading to the development of systemic practices that serve the fair treatment of citizens and safeguard their rights, regardless of their individual beliefs or conduct. Administratively and legislatively, ideology can play a role in a judge's individual advocacy for just and progressive changes in legal procedure and criminal punishment.

    Throughout my career I have applied my sense of social justice to my engagement with the law. Honoring the humanity of troubled lives and recognizing the complexities of their origins constitute judgment not ideology, so long as beliefs do not interfere with the application of the law to the facts. Guaranteeing equal treatment of all individuals is the abiding obligation of the office.


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    ALLEN BADDOUR
    Party: Democrat
    Date of Birth: 07/03/1971
    Campaign Web Site: www.judgebaddour.org
    Occupation & Employer: Superior Court Judge, State of North Carolina
    Years Lived in Orange/Chatham County: 9 in Chatham, 25 in Orange

    1. Why are you seeking the office of Superior Court Judge at this time?

    I have dedicated myself to a life of public service, and so I was honored to accept Governor Easley's appointment to the Office of Superior Court Judge in February 2006. I am seeking to retain my seat because I believe that I am the best qualified person to serve the people of Orange and Chatham counties as Superior Court judge for the next 8 years and beyond.

    It is important that a judge make a lasting and positive impact on the community, the judicial system, and society as a whole. I can make that impact. I have significant, recent, relevant experience in Superior Court, an even temperament, patience, and a proven commitment to seeking the fair application of the law in a dignified manner.

    In addition, I am committed to four things as a Judge. First, I am committed to improved efficiency in the courtroom. We are fortunate in Chatham and Orange Counties that we do not have a significant backlog of cases in Superior Court. However, we can do better to handle cases more efficiently, without requiring unnecessary court appearances or allowing unnecessary delays. We can do more with technology to improve efficiency, including using email and other 21st Century technology to communicate more quickly and easily. That said, I will not compromise fairness or justice for convenience or expediency. I will remain patient and keep an even temperament in the courtroom, so that all participants in the court system and in the courtroom are treated with respect and dignity.

    Second, I will seek to have a drug court in Superior Court for non-violent, first time offenders. For those individuals, I believe we should ensure accountability and responsibility, but we can also provide counseling and treatment for people addicted to drugs. Drug court is a way to ensure responsibility, while at the same time seeking treatment, in a way that provides more support for participants.

    Third, I will work to have Superior Court Judges offices in Chatham County. Chatham should have better access to a Superior Court Judge in emergency situations, just as residents of Orange County presently do. I will continue to advocate for Green Design Principles to be employed in the planned Chatham County judicial facility in a way that does not compromise security. I will also work to improve court efficiency by including more meeting spaces in the courthouse, which will allow for more private and meaningful discussions between lawyers and their clients, and between parties as they might attempt to settle cases.

    Fourth, I will continue to talk with kids about our court system, and about violence, domestic violence, drugs, and alcohol. I will do this in the schools, because I want to see and talk with kids in the classroom, not the courtroom.

    2. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

    As a Judge, I will continue to demand fairness and justice in the courtroom. From the beginning of my legal career, I have proven my dedication to improving the community in which I was born and raised and I have worked hard to apply my legal expertise to seek justice in a fair and balanced manner. I have sought justice by assisting victims of crime by prosecuting cases as an Assistant District Attorney, and I have spent just as much time seeking justice and preserving the rights of Defendants as a criminal defense attorney.

    I founded the Community Legal Project at the UNC School of Law, which cultivates community service among law students by connecting them with women in need. I was awarded the Orange County Women's Center Volunteer of the Year Award in 2001 for my work with the Women's Center as a law student and in private practice.

    I started my own law practice in Chapel Hill where I was both a civil litigator and criminal defense attorney. I took pro bono cases to assist individuals in need who could not afford an attorney but who deserved access to the courts.

    I served as managing assistant District Attorney of Orange and Chatham Counties, where I prosecuted hundreds of cases over the course of more than four years. While with the DA's office, I worked hard to balance the interests of the state and community, the victim, and the defendant in a way that protected the safety of the community, sought redress for victims of crime, and attempted, when appropriate, to provide incentives to defendants to receive treatment, education, or other help while at the same time holding defendants accountable for their actions.

    I was instrumental in bringing the YMCA to Chatham County because I believe in giving our youth a place to spend their time and energy in a productive and healthy manner. I believe these opportunities should be available without regard to race, gender, or economic background. As a judge, I am committed to continued involvement in nonprofits like the YMCA that make our communities better.

    I will continue to be a Judge who remains active outside of the courtroom and in the community in which I live and work. My wife Holly and I were both born and raised in Chapel Hill and have lived in Pittsboro for 9 years. We have chosen to raise our two young sons in Chatham County and we are both dedicated to the community in which we live. There is no better way to make a positive, lasting impact in the community as a Judge than to be involved on every level- from coaching youth basketball- to speaking to kids in the classroom about the dangers of drugs and violence- to running a fair and balanced courtroom - to ensure that justice is served in our community.

    3. How long to you plan to serve if elected, and how long will you be able to serve?

    I am running to keep my seat on the bench because I want nothing more than to dedicate the rest of my legal career to serving the people of Chatham and Orange Counties as their Superior Court Judge. I will serve the full 8 year term, if elected, and would welcome the opportunity to serve longer, if given the chance.

    4. What is the judicial function of a Superior Court Judge in Criminal Court, and what specifically about your qualifications make you the best candidate to perform this function?

    In criminal court, a Superior Court Judge's most important function is to ensure that all cases are heard in a fair and efficient manner. The Judge must ensure that constitutional and other legal rights of the defendant are protected during trial. It is also imperative to make certain that the Defendant, whether English or non-English speaking, understands the proceedings. The Judge must sentence defendants found guilty of their crimes in a way that balances the needs and safety of the community and the victim with the need to hold defendants accountable, while at the same time offering, when appropriate, a way in which rehabilitation may be achieved. All of these functions must be met in a way that is fair and just, and conducted in a way that treats people in court with respect and dignity.

    I am the only candidate who has been both a criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor. In fact, I have spent essentially the same amount of time in each role. Since I have not spent my career in any one area of the law, I have not developed -- consciously or subconsciously -- a bias. Having represented both sides of criminal cases, I have a unique perspective on criminal law. I understand what it means to say that criminal defendants have a right to a trial. My time as a criminal defense attorney has given me a good understanding of the types of defendants who might benefit from alternatives to incarceration. On the other hand, my time as a prosecutor has given me a deep appreciation of the needs of the community, and the need to protect the community from dangerous individuals. I also understand that victims of crime deserve the right to be heard in court, and that the wishes of victims should be considered during sentencing.

    5. What is the judicial function of a Superior Court Judge in Civil Court, and what specifically about your qualifications make you the best candidate to perform this function?

    In Civil Court, a Superior Court Judge must ensure that the parties have a fair opportunity to be heard in an efficient and timely manner. Litigants deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Before trials begin, litigants should expect the Judge to issue rulings on pre-trial motions and other issues in a timely manner. In both civil and criminal court, the Judge should employ an even temperament and patience in handling all matters. When citizens are called to serve on a jury, their time should be used efficiently, and they should be dealt with as important participants in the judicial process, and treated with openness and respect.

    While in private practice, I handled many cases in civil superior court, and understand what it is like to represent people who are seeking their day in court. This experience has given me an important perspective on how to treat the participants in civil trials, and I am benefiting from that perspective every day that I sit on the bench. As a Superior Court Judge, it is now my responsibility to hear civil cases and issue rulings on motions in a timely manner. I have been patient, fair, efficient, and respectful. I have worked hard to make the people involved in cases -- parties, lawyers, court personnel, and juries -- feel at ease in the courtroom while preserving the dignity and respect a court proceeding demands.

    6. What specifically about your qualifications do you think will enable you to improve the administration of justice in Criminal Superior Court?

    I am the only candidate who has been both a criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor, and now a sitting Judge. From my private practice, I understand the need of criminal defense attorneys to have enough time to review and investigate the evidence against a defendant. As a former prosecutor who was often responsible for the management of the court calendar, I have a proven record of managing court in Chatham County fairly and efficiently while at the same time treating people with respect and dignity. As a sitting Superior Court Judge, I understand the need for efficiency as a court system, but I will not compromise fairness or justice for convenience or expediency. I will review our case management system and look to eliminate unnecessary appearances in court by witnesses, victims, parties, and attorneys.

    7. What specifically about your qualifications do you think will enable you to improve the administration of justice in Civil Superior Court?

    I have practiced law as a civil attorney. I understand the need for the litigants to go through the process of discovery before trying their cases. I also understand when cases are being delayed unnecessarily by one party or the other, in a way that prevents justice rather than promotes it. To improve efficiency, I would like to use new technology to assist in the efficient functioning of the courts with email, listserv, and other electronic communications leading the way. Additionally, the case management system should ensure that those cases set for trial are actually tried, which will reduce waiting time for citizen juries. Some cases will take longer than others, and fairness and justice demands that more complex or more difficult cases be handled with patience.

    8. What role does ideology play in the performance of this office?

    It is imperative that a judge have a strong sense of ideology that is consistent with and reflects our bedrock legal principles. I believe that it is my job as a judge is to follow the law and ensure that the law is fairly and impartially applied in the cases before me. I will continue to use diplomacy, patience, and a firm temperament to handle emotional and difficult cases in a way that preserves order, respect, and dignity. I will apply the law to the cases before me in a thoughtful, fair, and impartial manner, and I will do so regardless of a person's appearance, background, or status in society.


    CARL R. FOX
    Party: Democratic (Non-Partisan)
    Date of Birth: 09/02/1953
    Campaign Web Site: carlfoxjudge.org
    Occupation & Employer: Senior Resident Superior Court Judge, 15B Superior Court District, State of North Carolina, Administrative Office of the Courts
    Years Lived in Chatham County: Five months
    Years Lived in Orange County: 33

    1. Why are you seeking the office of Superior Court Judge at this time?

    Since my appointment as Resident Superior Court Judge by Governor Easley in March 2005, I have presided over 18 criminal and 7 civil trials, heard hundreds of guilty pleas and motions (civil and criminal), and held court in nine counties. I have enjoyed serving as a Superior Court Judge. I am running for election to continue serving the citizens of Chatham and Orange Counties as a Superior Court Judge.

    2. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

    Since my appointment, I have had opportunities to see hundreds of lawyers, defendants, litigants, court personnel and jurors in my role as a judge. First, I have always believed in the concepts of fundamental fairness, equal protection and seeking justice. Second, I treat everyone in court with respect and courtesy. I try to communicate and reason with criminal defendants, rather than simply asserting the authority of my office. Third, I understand that justice is not a "one size fits all" concept. Although defendants must often be sentenced to prison, I believe in alternatives to incarceration such as drug treatment, education, community service, house arrest and other community-based sanctions for punishment, rehabilitation and deterrence. Fourth, I believe everyone is entitled to his or her day in court. Fifth, I believe diversity among personnel in the courtroom creates a perception of justice and fairness among parties and observers. Finally, I believe in the right of the media to cover court proceedings and disseminate information to the public.

    3. How long do you plan to serve if elected, and how long will you be able to serve?

    If elected, I plan to serve an eight year term and I am able to serve eight years. By law, I am allowed to serve until my 72nd birthday.

    4. What is the judicial function of a Superior Court Judge in Criminal Court, and what specifically about your qualifications make you the best candidate to perform this function?

    The judge rules on pretrial and trial motions and objections during trials. The judge maintains order in the courtroom. The judge serves as counsel to the grand jury and instructs trial juries. The judge sentences criminal defendants. The judge may issue orders for the production of evidence. As requested in infraction appeals, the judge conducts bench trials.

    I am the best candidate to perform this function because I have served as a Superior Court Judge for over a year. I have presided over 18 criminal trials. I have heard hundreds of motions and guilty pleas in criminal court. I have instructed a grand jury and many trial juries. I have issued search warrants and other orders for the production of evidence. I have a calm and patient temperament and maintain order without embarrassing attorneys, or other individuals.

    In addition, I have over 26 years of experience as a prosecutor, over 20 as the elected D.A. As a prosecutor, I tried over 340 jury trials and over 30 capital trials. I believe I have the most extensive criminal trial experience in state court of any candidate for this office.

    5. What is the judicial function of a Superior Court Judge in Civil Court, and what specifically about your qualifications make you the best candidate to perform this function?

    The judge rules on pretrial and trial motions and objections during trials. The judge sets the schedule for the procedural stages of civil matters. The judge calls the civil calendar and manages the civil caseload. The judge instructs the trial juries. The judge maintains order in the courtroom.

    I am the best candidate to perform to perform this function because I have served as a Superior Court Judge for over a year. I have presided over several motions calendars and seven civil jury trials. I have heard perhaps a hundred civil motions and I have ruled on all of them in a timely fashion. I currently have no cases under advisement awaiting a decision. I try to keep cases moving toward resolution. I grant continuances when the interests of justice require it, or when all parties agree and a continuance is necessary to allow a party, or parties, to adequately prepare for hearings or trials. I have drafted instructions for many different types of cases. My extensive criminal trial experience has been extremely beneficial in conducting civil trials and drafting orders. I have a calm and patient temperament and maintain order without embarrassing attorneys, or other individuals. In addition, as a law student, most of my coursework was in civil matters including negotiable instruments, sales and secured transactions, debtor-creditor relations, real estate finance and insurance law.

    6. What specifically about your qualifications do you think will enable you to improve the administration of justice in Criminal Superior Court?

    Having managed the criminal calendar as district attorney, I understand the necessity of moving cases along and having speedy trials. I also have a frame of reference for the appropriateness of bonds, depending on the seriousness of the offenses and the age of the cases. I have sufficient experience to scrutinize the facts of cases and determine whether the punishment in plea agreements is excessive or commensurate with the facts of cases. Whenever appropriate, I will peremptorily set cases for trial to ensure cases are resolved in a timely fashion.

    7. What specifically about your qualifications do you think will enable you to improve the administration of justice in Civil Superior Court?

    Having an inquisitive mind, I have the ability to "cut to the chase" and get right to the critical points of an issue. I am always conscious of the age of pending cases and motivated to move cases toward disposition. I believe pending cases should move towards resolution, whether by mediation, other settlement, trial or dismissal.

    8. What role does ideology play in the performance of this office?

    Since the role of the courts is to interpret the law, ideology can play a significant role in the performance of a judge's duties. Ideally, a judge's ideology should not play a role in his or her interpretation of the law. As a judge, I have no ideology or agenda that would influence the performance of my duties as a judge.


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    ADAM STEIN
    Party: Nonpartisan election: I have been a registered Democrat since 1961.
    Date of Birth: September 3, 1937
    Campaign Web Site: AdamSteinForJudge.com
    Occupation & Employer: Lawyer, Ferguson, Stein, Chambers, Gresham & Sumter, PA
    Years Lived in Orange/Chatham County: I have lived in Orange County for 35 years.

    1. Why are you seeking the office of Superior Court Judge at this time?

    I have always enjoyed practicing law; I have also always wanted to be a Superior Court Judge. You can't do both at the same time. This is the first time when there has been a real opening (actually two) in this district at a time when I was prepared to leave my practice. So I am going for it.

    2. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

    My mission as a lawyer and as a citizen has also been to build a just community, an aspiration that will inform my work as a judge.

    I began as a civil rights lawyer in 1967 by helping form the State's first integrated law firm with Julius Chambers. We fought the cause of civil rights across the state including more that than 50 school desegregation cases. Our firm's cases are the leading precedent-setting cases decided by the United States Supreme Court on school desegregation, employment discrimination and voting rights, all of which I worked on. I have argued and won three cases in the United States Supreme Court, all of them civil rights -- a school desegregation case, a prisoner's rights case and a congressional redistricting case.

    I handled precedent-setting cases in desegregating public accommodations to African-Americans, including the Raleigh YMCA. I have represented people in fair housing cases including cases in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. I was counsel for plaintiffs in both the Durham City and Durham County school desegregation cases. The decision of the United States Court of Appeals in the early 1970's in the Durham County case set the rule for the Fourth Circuit that the time "all deliberate speed" was over and required immediate mid-year desegregation of the schools, a case that I briefed and argued. Years later, when the two systems were merged and the merger was attacked in the court by white residents, I represented white and African--American citizens who intervened to defend the merger. We won in the trial court and on appeal.

    I worked through the 1990's, including three trips to the United States Supreme Court, seeking to preserve two congressional districts where African-American voters could elect members of Congress of their choice. As a result, my former partner Mel Watt is still in Congress, is head of the Congressional Black Caucus, and is a strong voice for progressive values.

    For four decades, my wife Jane and I have supported progressive organizations and political candidates, by contributions and work, in a quest for building a just community. I received the Frank Porter Graham Award from the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union, its highest award. Jane and I received the Chapel Hill ACLU Chapter's award and the Citizen Award of the NC Chapter of American Planning Association for developing Culbreth Park, a 50-home affordable housing project, just north of Southern Village.

    3. How long to you plan to serve if elected, and how long will you be able to serve?

    If elected, I plan to serve at least eight years as a Superior Court Judge. I will serve as a Resident Superior Court Judge until the end of September 2009 when I turn 72 and then serve as an Recalled Superior Court Judge. State law requires superior court judges to step down as Resident Judges when they reach age 72 but authorizes their continued service as Recalled Judges. There is no difference in the authority of Resident and Recalled Judges in presiding over and deciding cases. The main difference is that Resident Judges are assigned to hold court in various counties by a regular rotation; Recalled Judges are assigned where needed.

    The Governor would fill the Resident's position when I step down until the next general election in 2010 when it will be on the ballot again, just as has recently occurred upon the retirement of Judge Wade Barber. In 2010, just as today, the voters should select the best judicial candidate. That new judge would serve a full eight-year term, thus eliminating for the future the multiple judge election we have now; one judgeship would be up for election every four years.

    When a new judge replaces me as a Resident Judge, instead of two active superior court judges living in the Orange/Chatham district, the district would have the advantage of three -- two Resident Superior Court Judges and one Recalled Superior Court Judge.

    4. What is the judicial function of a Superior Court Judge in Criminal Court, and what specifically about your qualifications make you the best candidate to perform this function?

    A Superior Court Judge in a criminal case must exhibit those basic qualities expected of a good judge in all cases: that the judge conduct the proceedings patiently, politely and conduct the proceedings with an even temper; treat everyone fairly and with respect; and with order and dignity. Among the particular responsibilities of a judge in a criminal case is ensuring that the defendant's constitutional -- such as the protections against self-incrimination and the rights to effective assistance of counsel, to a speedy trial, and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures -- are observed. The judge sees that the District Attorney and the Defendant have fulfilled their respective obligations to provide the other with particular evidence, reports and witness statements. The judge must decide often difficult questions as to the admissibility of evidence. After evidence is presented, the judge must decide, as to each charge, whether the State's evidence is sufficient to support a conviction. The judge must determine what jury instructions are to be given in each case, sometimes covering complex legal issues. Finally, if the defendant is convicted, the judge must sentence the defendant, within the framework of the law.

    The best judges in criminal cases have a substantial body of knowledge of criminal law and procedure and an ability to correctly decide legal questions, even when the answer is not obvious. The judge must be well grounded in the often arcane law of evidence. The best judges have the skills of a good lawyer to untangle difficult issues and come to sound conclusions. I have a core knowledge of the law learned in scores and scores of cases over three decades of practice, both in the trial and appellate courts. For example, I was responsible for handling the legal issues when James Ferguson and I defended Darryl Hunt in three murder trials where dozens and dozens of complicated issues arose. I handled successfully two appeals in the Hunt cases based on issues we had presented in the trial courts. In my view, my experience in successfully crafting legal briefs on appeal is a particularly useful credential for a trial judge. When I served as Appellate Defender, I not only handled cases myself, but also reviewed every brief our nine lawyers wrote over five years.

    The best judges are not only learned in the law, but have the temperament, character and experience to make sound judgments. Many rulings by the judge are within the judge's unreviewable discretion within broad boundaries. I believe my long experience in the law and in life equip me well to make good, fair decisions.

    5. What is the judicial function of a Superior Court Judge in Civil Court, and what specifically about your qualifications make you the best candidate to perform this function?

    The basic functions of a Superior Court Judge in civil cases are similar to those in criminal cases as outlined in the answer to question 4 above. The substantive civil law, such as the rules on contracts, property and personal injury, is, of course, different from criminal law. A good judge has substantial knowledge of several areas of civil law, and has the legal ability to decide competing arguments about the law correctly. The judge will spend much of his or her time deciding pre-trial motions in civil cases, motions that require the understanding of both the underlying law and the rules of civil procedure. Mastery of civil procedure does not come quickly

    Judges with little or no experience with civil cases are much more prone to make costly mistakes than those with lots of experience.

    As with criminal law, I have tried many different kinds civil cases in many courts over three decades. I have successfully handled appeals in civil cases in the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. I consider myself an expert in procedure and in several areas of civil law. I think my record as an appellate lawyer indicates that I have the proven ability to comprehend and decide thorny legal issues.

    6. What specifically about your qualifications do you think will enable you to improve the administration of justice in Criminal Superior Court?

    I have devoted a significant portion of my professional life to the improvement of criminal justice in the Superior Courts. In the 1960's and 1970's, I represented more than 15 people on death row, including a 16 year old girl from Rocky Mount convicted of killing a shopkeeper in a robbery, a young man in Orange County who was given the death penalty for rape, and a man sentenced to death for burglary. Three things were common in most of these cases: the law was both unfair and unfairly applied. Death penalty for burglary and rape was in practice reserved exclusively for black men who entered the houses of white people or raped white women. And very often the defendant was given only perfunctory representation by court-appointed attorneys. We were successful in reversing some of those cases in the North Carolina Supreme Court. The rest were overturned by the United States Supreme Court.

    North Carolina revised its death penalty law after its statutes were declared unconstitutional. A couple of years later, I agreed to leave private practice to establish the Appellate Defender Office to improve the practice of criminal law in the appellate courts and to have a resource of criminal law experts for trial lawyers to call upon. I was particularly concerned about the quality of advocacy in criminal appeals, especially in death penalty cases, by lawyers not equipped to do appellate work properly. Once the office was established, I was appointed to be the director by Governor Hunt. I was Appellate Defender for five years. The work of the office, continuing and improving with my successors, has substantially improved the quality of representation of indigent criminal defendants in the appellate courts and the quality of criminal representation throughout the system as trial and appellate lawyers consult with the office's lawyers on criminal issues.

    I also was one of the founders of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation and its predecessor organizations and served on its board. It has provided high quality representation of death row inmates and has offered valuable expert assistance to lawyers with pending capital cases. It is one of the very best offices of its kind in the United States.

    I was elected to the NC Bar Council by the lawyers in Orange and Chatham County and served as the Bar Council's chair of the Legal Aid to Indigents Committee. Under my leadership there was a called meeting of the Bar Council resulting in an increase in payment for lawyers in capital cases thereby attracting more competent lawyers for this work and some reforms in the processing of capital cases.

    I have served on a series of committees concerning indigent criminal representation, including one on appointment by Chief Justice Exum and a legislative study commission on appointment by Chief Justice Mitchell. The latter committee recommended the creation of the Indigent Defense Service Commission (IDS), a recommendation I had made in dissenting from the contrary report of Chief Justice Exum's committee ten years earlier.

    The IDS was created by the General Assembly. The problem addressed was that indigent defense in the state was being performed without oversight, accountability or quality control at great expense to the state. I was appointed as a member by the Speaker of the House and served as its first chair. The state funds are now used much more efficiently. At the same time, we have substantially improved defense services. For example, we appointed a Capital Defender who appoints the lawyers in all capital cases, all of whom must apply to be on the capital list. Capital case representation has improved immensely and the number of death verdicts are down, in part because the lawyers in the cases are better qualified to handle these difficult cases. Similarly, the Appellate Defender is now the appointing authority and appoints only lawyers who have demonstrated their qualifications to handle appeals in those defendants not represented by his office. There is progress in other areas and will be more. I continue to serve on the commission and chair two of its committees.

    As a judge, working with others, I will continue to find ways to improve the administration of criminal justice, as I have as a lawyer.

    7. What specifically about your qualifications do you think will enable you to improve the administration of justice in Civil Superior Court?

    Many civil cases take too long to come to resolution and are too expensive to the parties. I have tried scores and scores of many types of civil cases before many different judges in many courts from a stop sign violation auto wreck case to a complicated consumer fraud class action jury trial. I have seen how different courts and the best judges fairly attack these problems. From my experience, I know how to cut unnecessary delay and expense. In medical malpractice cases, for example, there has been an escalation in the number of experts identified by the parties, sometimes totaling more than 50. A reasonable limitation on the number of experts early in the case will save the parties tens of thousands of dollars in expert fees and the costs associated with their depositions and allow the case to be ready for trial much sooner. I drafted a bill that was introduced in the General Assembly to require judges to impose limits on experts. Unfortunately, it was bound up with tort reform measures that never came to a vote.

    Too often, scores of people - parties, witnesses, lawyers and jurors- unnecessarily sit for hours in the courtroom waiting their turn. There are some relatively simple scheduling measures that can be taken to respect their time. Also, judges should insist on deciding as many legal issues as possible before the jury is selected so that jurors do not spend hours in the jury room while legal issues are thrashed out.

    8. What role does ideology play in the performance of this office?

    The rule of law requires judges to apply the law as it is, not as they think it should be. In that sense, ideology has no role. That means that I will have to fairly administer laws with which I disagree. Good lawyers recognize the judges who conscientiously do what the law requires despite their own opinions. In complicated and difficult cases, lawyers on both sides often jointly request the Administrative Office of the Courts to assign a particular judge to their case because they agree that judge is knowledgeable and fair and their clients will see him that way. I hope to be such a judge.

    • 2006 county, legislative and judicial races

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