What's at Stake in the School Board Race?

Can somebody break down the school board race for us? I know this: Incumbents Gloria Faley, Ed Sechrest and Elizabeth Carter are running. Challengers Jamezetta Bedford, Mike Kelley and George Griffin are also running. There are four seats total to be filled.

Personally I have known Gloria Faley and Elizabeth Carter for a long time and I plan to vote for them, but I am having a hard time picking my other candidates. I like Ed Sechrest and I think I will vote for him, but how do I choose from among Bedford, Kelley and Griffin.

All the newspaper articles make these candidates sound very similar. About the most substantive thing I can find is that Griffin and Kelley are critical of a Board decision to eliminate "a self-contained classroom" for "gifted" students in middle schools. Is that a suburban middle-class issue that betrays something about who Griffin and Kelley are? Or is it just plain old vote grabbing? Or is there a real, live issue there (but one which I don't entirely understand)?

Now Play Nice, Y'all

Hi folks. The amount of participation and dialogue on the site lately has been amazing! It's really exciting to see so many ideas being exchanged, and to hear voices that aren't often reflected in the local media and government chambers. A lot of people have contacted me to say so - including candidates, reporters, and elected officials!

While I understand that some folks have compelling reasons for posting anonymously or under pseudonyms, I also am concerned that by not standing behind the words, writers really lessen their credibility in the conversation. I've also seen that such anonymity tends to lower the level of discourse. Speaking to strangers on the Internet is very different than speaking to folks you run into around town. Please try to write as if you were talking to your neighbor, ie: someone you have to get along with, even if you disagree or dislike her.

Do Endorsements Matter?

A few weeks ago we started talking about and comparing endorsements in the local races. Since then, a few more endorsements have come out, including the supposedly-influential Independent Weekly's picks.

A reader recently asked: "Please have a story about least helpful/most harmful personal endorsements. My vote is Moses Carey endorsing Jim Ward."

So what do YOU think, readers? Do endorsements matter? Which ones? Personal or organizational? How many of us bring the Indy voter guides into the booth each November? Whose recommendations do you trust?

Correction?

From this week's Indy (the endorsement issue that was missing a whole page of Orange and Chatham!), the following correction on page 21:

An Oct. 22 article "Town vs. Gown," should have said that Chapel Hill Town Council candidate Dianne Bachman was a board member of the Community Action Network, not the chair. Also, as a university architect and project manager, Bachman did not present plans to the Town Council, but attended council meetings to assist senior adminstrators on technical issues.

Sounds like Dianne didn't like being asked the old "so when did you stop beating your wife" question, and insisted that the Independent let folks know that it was months ago. Really. How reassuring.

And the fox says: "I wasn't actually 'guarding' the hen house per se, I was just, um, watching it for a friend. He'll be right back, I promise."

Indy School Board Endorsement Misses a Good One

I was sorely disappointed with the Independent's failure to endorse School Board Vice-Chairperson Gloria Faley. I have to admit that I'm not the most consistent watcher of school board actions, but the Indy got this one all wrong. There has been no indication that Gloria ever stopped being a "refreshing, independent voice" on the Board. As a member of one of the other elected bodies Gloria addressed during the "School in a Park" debate, one who ultimately voted against her position, I saw Gloria as professional, articulate advocate -- even as some others who supported locating the school on the park land, were anything but. I hope voters in Chapel Hill and Carrboro remember that amidst the fiery rhetoric of both the School/Park issue and the recent merger fights, Gloria has been a calming voice…in large part because she approaches these issues with a reasoned mind (even if other reasoned minds sometimes disagree with her). Her leadership consistently reminds me of the value of representative government.

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