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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Trouble for Ellmers: Most North Carolina voters surveyed say Ground Zero mosque has no place in campaigns

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM

More than half of North Carolina voters surveyed say it is inappropriate to exploit the Ground Zero mosque as a campaign issue, according to Public Policy Polling release issued today. PPP_Release_NC_930_1_.pdf

Republican Renee Ellmers, who is running against Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge for the Second Congressional District, used the mosque in a TV attack ad—that contained several inaccuracies—on Etheridge.

That tactic may hurt Ellmers' chances of winning, PPP concluded, because key groups she needs to beat Etheridge are put off by the ad.

While 60 percent of Republican voters view invoking the mosque in campaigns as acceptable, more than two-thirds of Democrats and half of Independents disapprove of it, PPP said.

See Bob Geary's story on the tactics in this week's Indy.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UNC nixes plans for Innovation Center at Carolina North

Posted by on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 10:50 PM

The Innovation Center that UNC leaders had heralded as the first building to be built at Carolina North is unlikely to be constructed, Carolina North Executive Director Jack Evans said Wednesday night.

“I would simply summarize by saying that it’s unlikely to happen,” he said. “That’s another casualty of the economy. … If the financial markets hadn’t gone to hell, it would have been constructed by now.”

  • Courtesy of UNC
Evans was addressing a group of Chapel Hill residents at a public information meeting detailing the first Carolina North Annual Report, submitted to the town Sept. 1 as required by the university and town development agreement.

The Innovation Center was planned to be an 85,000 square foot, three-story building that would provide incubator space for startup companies and other private techonology companies.

Evans says discussions broke down the private partner Alexandria Real Estate Equities of Pasadena, Calif.
“It would take something that I don’t see in the offing to have that discussion,” he said.

Alexandria would have built and operated the space and UNC wanted to rent 1/3 of it. Because Alexandria is private, the company would have paid taxes on it. UNC is tax exempt. The UNC Board of Trustees approved plans for the center in August of 2008.

UNC planners now envision a research building as the first Carolina North edifice to be erected on the Horace Williams Tract, the 947-acre plot in Chapel Hill and Carrboro that will be home to the new campus.

Continue reading…

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Holly Springs breaks up with Western Wake Partners

Posted by on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 6:10 PM

The town of Holly Springs has withdrawn from the Western Wake Partners, a multi-town alliance that is building a controversial sewage treatment plant in New Hill.

The town officially announced its decision Sept. 23, leaving Cary, Apex and Morrisville as the remaining partners.

But Holly Springs was never a major player in the partnership, and had planned to use only the pipes outside the treatment facility.

“This is pretty much a business decision,” said Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears, who indicated to the Indy in August that he hoped to withdraw from the contract. “Five years ago, the plant seemed to be the only viable alternative for our town, but we are seeking other options, and those will certainly save more than the $30 to $40 million needed for the New Hill plant hook-up.”

For example, Holly Springs is researching the possibility of releasing more of their effluent—treated wastewater—into Harris Lake.

Sears said the town's decision has nothing to do with the New Hill Community Association's recent filing for a contested case hearing to stop the partners from building the $327 million plant. However, it does appear that now is the best time to get out of the partnership before litigation begins.

Holly Springs will be responsible for a portion of their financial responsibility as detailed in the contract, Sears does not have a figure of what the town will owe the partners at this time.

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Taylor reconsiders; debate continues about one-year residency requirement

Posted by on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Roy Taylor
  • Roy Taylor

Although he told the Indy and other media outlets he was going to withdraw from the race for Durham County sheriff today, Republican candidate Roy Taylor now says he's reconsidering.

Taylor might just continue his campaign against four-term incumbent Worth Hill, he said Wednesday. He has yet to announce his final intentions, but he said he might still be a qualified candidate under state election law after listening to the interpretations of several local attorneys.

Taylor initially thought he would step down because he has not lived in Durham County consecutively for the past year. He lived in Wake County last year from July to December, he said. That fact came to light after Taylor applied to renew his permit to carry a concealed weapon in Durham.

Taylor listed his past addresses on that application, he said. When a sergeant at the Durham County Sheriff's Office was checking information in the application, he found that Taylor has current addresses in both Raleigh and Durham, according to a statement released Wednesday by Major Paul Martin of the Durham County Sheriff's Office (PDF). According to the Sheriff's Office statement, Taylor has an apartment in his name in the Brier Creek area of Raleigh with a lease through November of this year, as well as his current apartment on University Road in Durham.

Taylor said he hasn't lived at the Brier Creek apartment since moving to Durham and wasn't aware the lease was still active. He said he never paid rent for the apartment because it was given to him free because his company provided security to the complex.

The statement from the Sheriff's office contends also that Taylor's address from Dec. 2009 to May 2010, which Taylor used in filing for office, is actually a business. But tax records describe the property at 2222 Glover Road as a three-bedroom home. Taylor said he lived there with a former girlfriend. Taylor said he then moved to his current apartment on University Road and has lived there since July.

Because he hasn't lived in Durham for 12 consecutive months, Taylor believed he was ineligible to become sheriff. But after consulting with attorneys, he said he's now questioning whether an exemption under state law (GS 163-57, section 2) that says a person doesn't lose residency if he moves to another state, county, etc., for temporary purposes with the intention of returning. Taylor said he moved to Wake County temporarily after selling the Durham home he owned with his former wife, and that he always intended to return to Durham.

Taylor said he would announce soon whether he intends to stay in the sheriff's race. Meanwhile, Hill said he was going to continue his campaign and that it would be up to elections officials to determine whether Taylor is actually eligible to become sheriff.

Continue reading…

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Activists, Left Turn Mag contributors to speak at Durham library tonight

Posted by on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Flahertys book
  • Flaherty's book

A trio of local and national activists who have studied and documented social struggles from racism to school privatization will speak at the Durham County Library today as part of an international Community and Resistance Tour.

Writers Jordan Flaherty and Victoria Law and Durham-based activist Manju Rajendran will speak at the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the library's main branch at 300 N. Roxboro St.

Flaherty is a journalist and community organizer from New Orleans, and editor at Left Turn Magazine, who has won praise for his writing on the Jena Six case and coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He is author of "FLOODLINES: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six." Read more about the speakers >>

The tour is sponsored by Haymarket Books, PM Press, Left Turn Magazine and other radical and independent media, according to the tour's website.

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Ashe: I specifically asked Taylor if he had been here a year.

Posted by on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 2:03 PM

In his withdrawal from the race for Durham sheriff, candidate Roy Taylor said Tuesday he didn't know candidates had to live in the county where they were running for a year prior to election. Taylor indicated that he wasn't notified of the requirement when he filed for office with Board of Elections Director Mike Ashe.

However, Ashe responded Wednesday that he spent a lengthy time meeting with Taylor when he filed, and that he specifically told Taylor he had to have been in Durham a year prior to the election. Ashe said he believes there was a miscommunication.

"Maybe he and I remember it differently," Ashe said. "I remember asking him and being comfortable with his answer, that he met the requirements."

Ashe said he regrets the misunderstanding and understands Taylor's disappointment.

"Any time something goes wrong wrong in the election business in Durham, I am part of that," Ashe said. "I apologize and feel bad about that."

Taylor had said he would send an official withdrawal letter to the BOE today. Although he is withdrawing, Taylor's name will still appear on ballots, Ashe said, but votes for him will not be reported in voting results.

Taylor's ineligibility gives incumbent Sheriff Worth Hill a free pass to his fifth consecutive term. Hill has not yet been reached for comment.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BREAKING: Taylor withdraws from Durham sheriff's race on technicality

Posted by on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Roy Taylor
  • Roy Taylor

Two weeks before early voting begins, Republican candidate for sheriff Roy Taylor says he is withdrawing from the race because he has not lived in Durham County consecutively for one year, which disqualifies him from becoming sheriff.

This allows Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill, a Democrat, to sweep into his fifth term in office unopposed. Taylor said late Tuesday that he had learned earlier in the day that he was ineligible to become sheriff because he spent about five months last year living in apartments in Wake County. The issue was brought to his attention, he said, after renewing his permit to carry a concealed weapon in Durham at the county courthouse. The application asked him to list his past 10 addresses, which included two recent addresses in Raleigh.

Taylor said someone from the sheriff’s office disseminated the permit application to the media and others on Monday, and that’s how Taylor realized Tuesday he was ineligible to run.

“I’m going to withdraw. I want to be an honest broker,” Taylor said. “If I’m not qualified to run, then I’m not going to be out there. I just wish the board of elections would have told me about the requirement.”

Taylor said he sold his long-time Durham home in July 2009 after he and his wife divorced. He temporarily moved to Wake County while looking for another home in Durham. He moved back to Durham in December 2009, he said.

Taylor said he was not aware of the one-year residency requirement when he filed to run for office, and that he was not informed of the rule. He said elections officials checked his voter registration and accepted his paperwork. Officials at the county Board of Elections were not available for comment after hours Tuesday. A Durham Board of Elections web page shows requirements for Sheriff, but doesn't specify the year-long residency requirement. But an easily located fact sheet (PDF) at the N.C. State Board of Elections makes the requirement clear.

Taylor, who works as an anti-terrorism specialist for the U.S. Army National Guard and owns a private security company, said he has spent about $15,000, including about $13,000 of his savings, on the campaign. (The next round of campaign finance reports that would reflect Taylor's most recent expenditures aren't due until Oct. 25.)

Much of Taylor’s campaign has focused on scandals and improprieties that have happened during Hill’s tenure, including embezzlement and other crimes committed by a few of Hill’s employees.

“I hope that my campaign has brought out some issues and the sheriff will focus on [doing] a good job serving the community. I want to leave it on a positive note. I’m withdrawing because it’s the most honorable thing to do,” Taylor said. Hill, 73, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Look for updates on Triangulator on Wednesday.

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IRV? WTF? Durham elections director explains Oct. 12

Posted by on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 5:51 PM


For the first time in history, North Carolina voters across the state will see IRV, or Instant Runoff Voting, on their ballots. The voting method, which whittles a long list of candidates by combining a primary and election, will be used for the statewide race for Court of Appeals Judge.

Thankfully, Durham's Board of Elections Director, Mike Ashe, will guide any anxious voters through a practice run from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at the main branch of the Durham County Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.

Ashe will provide the audience with sample ballots and explain how voters will choose their first, second and third choices for Court of Appeals Judge, and how how the votes will be tabulated the night of the Nov. 2 election.

Pictured here is a preview of IRV instructions, which are also available on the Durham BOE website.

Early voting at the Board of Elections office at 706 W. Corporation St. begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14. Satellite locations at libraries in north and south Durham will begin Monday, Oct. 25. Details on times and locations are on the BOE site.

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Jimmy Carter falls ill, plans to reschedule Regulator event

Posted by on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Former President Jimmy Carter has cancelled his appearance tonight at Durham’s Regulator Bookshop and will remain in a Cleveland hospital overnight where he is being treated for an upset stomach. (More details from CNN here.)

Wander Lorentz De Haas, a manager of the Regulator, says Carter, who was slated to sign copies of his latest book, “The White House Diaries,” will set a new date.

“We just know from the publisher that they are keeping him overnight, although it went back and forth several times today,” he says.

The store received the news at 3 p.m. Lorentz De Haas says he expects to hear from the publisher within the next 24 hours to confirm another day for Carter to meet and greet Triangle readers.

“Obviously we hope he gets better soon,” he says. “He was in Cleveland for a book signing there as well, and when he arrived there early this morning he was ill. We don’t think it’s anything serious as we’ve heard from secret service.”

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Kosta Harlan speaks out about being targeted by FBI

Posted by on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 12:51 PM

When Kosta Harlan's mother answered the door early Friday morning, she found two men who identified themselves as FBI agents, asking to question her son.

Harlan, a member of Students for a Democratic Society and the Colombia Action Network, came to the door. "They said they had a lot of information and there was an ongoing investigation," Harlan said at a press conference in Durham today. "I said I would not speak to them without a lawyer present."

Harlan was one of about a dozen anti-war activists targeted by the FBI that day; the rest were in Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, California and Wisconsin. Federal agents raided seven houses and an office in Chicago and Minneapolis, confiscating cell phones, computers and other personal items. Agents also subpoenaed 11 anti-war activists to testify before a grand jury about their activities.

Today's press conference is one of about 30 events scheduled nationwide protesting the FBI's actions.

Harlan said the two agents left, but two other men stood by his house, then eventually got into their car and drove away. However, Harlan said he saw the car pass his home about once an hour.

Later that day, Harlan met with a fellow activist. Within hours agents visited that person about the meeting, he said.

"I am proud of all the anti-war organizing I've done. It's all been public and above board," he said, adding that activists across the U.S. should not "be intimidated by the FBI's activities."

Another protest is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m. at the Federal Building in Raleigh, 310 New Bern Ave.

See the upcoming print edition of the Indy for an update.

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