Commissioner Race Gets Going

Finally! I tell you this July primary business is tough on us political junkies. It was sad to watch May 4, which should have been the date of our primary, come and go with only the thought of an election in the air.

A few newcomers will be challenging the two incumbent members of the Orange County Commision this year. Since this is such a "liberal" community (ha ha) most of the excitement will be played out in the primary election since the Democrats always win the general race in November. (Anyone know how long this consistency dates back? Have I asked that before?)

However, we usually have one brave Republican (or Indepdendent/Green) attempt to challenge the hegemony, and this year is no exception. Jamie Daniels will be making his second attempt for this office. So far he has no primary opposition for the Republican nomination. Here is what I know about him so far (thanks, Google): he is 32; ran for commisioner in 2002; lives at 617 Sinai Circle, Hillsborough, 27278, 919-225-6795; served on the Technology Plan Committee in 2000 for Orange County Schools; practices Ninjitsu (The Art of the Ninja) at Hillsborough Bujinkan Dojo; and has almost no chance of being elected to the Orange County Commissioners. (That wasn't so hard was it? Ask yourself why this is more information than you get from paid journalists.)

Another recently-announced challenger is Democrat Pam Hemminger. According to the Chapel Hill Herald: Pam is 44, married to a UNC professor, has four children in the city school system, opposes merger (shock!), is an advocate of parks and of more public input regarding them, is a member of the board of Rainbow Soccer and of the Ephesus Elementary School Governance Council.

And the third challenger so far is Valerie Foushee, a CHPD employee and Chapel Hill-Carboro School Board Member who we have already been chatting about for a while now. She has not yet officially filed for office.

There are five members of the Orange County Commission, but the seats are staggered so that only 2 or 3 are elected every two years to their four-year terms. This year both incumbents - Margaret Brown and Moses Carey - intend to run to to keep their seats. I'm sure we'll hear lots more about them later.

Again, the Democratic primary on July 20 is the one to watch. We will have at least four candidates vying for two nominations. Candidate filing is open until this Friday so this could get even more interesting.

P.S.: You must register by June 25 to vote in the primary. Contact the Orange County Board of Elections.



can someone explain why Orange county would want to merge with a crazy mixed up system like CHCCS?

Good question -- why would Orange County want to merge with CHCCS? The answer they don't!

Some social engineers in CH-Carrboro think they know what is best for everyone else and must enforce it on them.

The liberal elite don't think the hillbillies in the county should have the right to run their own schools and vote for their own school board.

The hillbllies must be forced to tax themselves more because it is best for them .

A small vocal minority in the county wants to tie everything to every penny that southern Orange residents have VOTED to tax themselves more for on their schools. Never mind that they actually voted on this matter or that chapel hill is a very expensive place to live and should cost more.

When someone wants to enforce their religious or political beliefs on their neighbors because it is the ultimate truth and good be very wary.

Past cases of people trying to slam their political ideology on others has not turned out well.

I apologized to clarify the statement and heap praise on agencies that do affordable housing and that was not the point-- the point was there is speculation that merger makes housing less affordable by at least 2 mechanisms in the future (property taxes and land appeciation).....

A state legislator said the property tax increase and perhaps concomitant increase in property value in the county would make houses that some could afford today unaffordable for some of the same demographics in the future. Meaning housing options in the county would be diminshed for future residents and made "less affordable".

We all need a little help from someone a bank an agency etc... and that wasn't really the point of where the help comes from.

I apologized to clarify the statement and heap praise on agencies that do affordable housing and that was not the point-- the point was there is speculation that merger makes housing less affordable by at least 2 mechanisms in the future (property taxes and land appeciation).....

A state legislator said the property tax increase and perhaps concomitant increase in property value in the county would make houses that some could afford today unaffordable for some of the same demographics in the future. Meaning housing options in the county would be diminshed for future residents and made "less affordable".

We all need a little help from someone a bank an agency etc... and that wasn't really the point of where the help comes from. Only that there are categories of housing that could be considered affordable that people often forget about.

That's a class 3 misdemeanor, as is littering. Care to elaborate?

As person who owns an affordable home thanks to a local nonprofit, I don't appreciate your definition of affordable housing as "the kind owned by a person not a land trust."

please explain why..........

I don't want to name the person I am talking about ---maybe someone who is following the OCS school board election can chime in --- because I don't follow everything in the county that closely.

However the rob-chapel hill boycot was one that I believe even you had critical comments over. I believe they were advocating for residents of orange to not spend any sales tax in chapel hill/carrboro but durham instead. Maybe someone with facts can chime in on the criminal charges accusation too?

Didn't mean to offend about affordable housing -- lots of great different kinds--- but one kind that gets overlooked is the old fashioned kind that a typical person can afford without the help of any agency (not that those agencies aren't great).

And yes commissioners have to do lots of things at the same time and there are plenty of issues to go around.

it is clear from the above Bobby Clapp thread as well as lets say the carrboro mayor election that tarring someone as a republican is a name calling technique that can work to some extent.

A little research reveals the facts:

*** FFICS Founding Member ***

“Liz Brown and Monroe-Porco both have children at Grady Brown Elementary in the county district, and they're members of the group called Fair Funding In County Schools that has formed out of the merger debate. As its name suggests, the group has focused on pushing for a change in how the county district is funded, and some of its members point to a potential merger with the city schools as the best available option for making that change.”

October 8, 2003 – “Talk of merger to continue in panel discussion Parent group: Combining school systems may solve financial inequity” – Chapel Hill Herald

*** ROB-CH Founding Member ***

“I urge my fellow OCS residents to boycott Chapel Hill and Carrboro businesses this holiday season, and indefinitely, until the commissioners find a way to share our county’s resources equally among all our children” – Liz Brown

November 14, 2003 – Letter To Editor - Chapel Hill News

*** Pro-Merger ***

“I think that makes common sense, and I don’t know why people are afraid that in a merged system, common sense would somehow be superceded.” – Liz Brown

October 16, 2003 – Public Hearing on the Potential Impacts of a Possible School Merger - Chapel Hill

*** After Filing, Now Anti-Merger ***

"Personally, I have never wanted merger -- except if it's the only solution." – Liz Brown

May 7, 2004 – “More seek seats; deadline near Commissioners, Assembly draw more candidates” – Chapel Hill Herald

*** School Board Candidate / Pro-Merger Advocate In Legal Trouble ***

State of North Carolina vs. Elizabeth Brown

Injuring Notices and Advertisements

Orange County District Court

June 7, 2004 – 9:00am

Just the facts.


J, who is calling somone a Republican? Are you talking about the Bobby Clapp thing above?

As person who owns an affordable home thanks to a local nonprofit, I don't appreciate your definition of affordable housing as "the kind owned by a person not a land trust."

What are the "mebane/chatham scenario" and "ROB- CH?" What are you talking about?

J, what you say is true in many ways, but there are many other things at stake in this election than just the merger issue.

-Mark Chilton

Ruby- The ROB-CH was the boycott of Chapel Hill businesses during the Xmas holidays devised by the pro merger folks, including a current candidate for OCS board.

ROB-CH is Rural Orange Boycotting Chapel Hill which was the don't shop in Chapel Hill initiative last fall

see Nov 23 posting 'Boycotting What' on this site

So who are the Republican backed candidates, again?

-Mark Chilton

I can tell you who a state legislature said was the biggest beneficiary of school merger...

"the real estate lobby" is what he/she said.

the years after merger will be another mebane/chatham scenario with unforeseen unintended consequences. True affordable housing - the kind owned by a person not a land trust will become less affordable in the county if for no other reason a big jump in property taxes.

republicans can only back the registered republican candidate for commissioner - who will lose as surely as bush lost the popular vote. But in the county a registered republican for school board will certainly be supported - my guess is Al Hartkopf will do well against someone who was involved with ROB- CH and I believe has a trial for removing political signs of others.

It seems pretty low brow to call anyone who doesn't agree with everything someone else does a republican as an insult. Is that a your either for us or against us bushism? Its scarry how often calling someone a republican works.

So what is up with the fact that some people (everytime they post to this news group) suggest that Republicans should temporarily change their voter registration? Is there some implication that Republicans or Liberatarians have a special point of view on Orange school merger?

just curious . . . as a Democrat . . .

-Mark Chilton

Mark, The race for County Commissioner has always gone to a democrat, I believe. If this trend continues, the race will be decided at the Deomcratic Primary on July 20, not in November. Therefore only those registered as Unaffiliated or Democrat will have a voice in this very imprtant local decision.

Mark C.

you are way too smart to not know that answer.

Republicans as we all know (I am not one) don't like taxes for anything (except maybe corporate subsidies).

School merger is (Under)estimated to result in at least a 25% property tax increase in the county. You know which way a republican votes on a 25% property tax increase?

that is also why a republican state legistlature wouldn't force a merger -- how will they justify such a property tax increase?

Also, by having ridiculous partisan commissioner elections we might as well tell republicans to go through their vote in a recycling bin to have the same amount of elected representation for county commissioners.

I just hope the turnout is greater than 10%.

It would be unfortunate if a 5-10% voter turnout determines the July 20th primary winners.

The Sierra Club has scheduled a televised forum for

Orange County Commissioners Candidates at 7pm

on Weds, June 9th at the CH Town Hall. If you have

any questions you would like to have asked, please

email them to me at

Please note that this forum is not primarily

about schools or school merger -- its primary theme will

be environmental issues.

Date: June 1

Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Location: Chapel Hill Public Library, Estes Drive, Downstairs Meeting Room

Come meet Valerie FOUSHEE & Pam HEMMINGER

...Hear from these two Orange County Commission Candidates

...Learn how they can best represent all the people of Orange County

...Learn what you can do to make a difference in the Orange County Primary

The July 20th Primary is Very Important

School merger has not been taken off the table. Only three commissioner votes are needed to approve merger. Two commissioner seats are up for grabs on July 20, Moses Carey's seat and Margaret Brown's seat. Both Carey and Brown support merger.

Democrats have dominated the commissioner race for over 50 years, so the winners of the July 20th primary and any runoffs will likely be the two commissioners seated in November.

To be eligible to vote in the Democratic Primary, you have to register to vote and select "Unaffiliated" or "Democrat" party affiliations by June 25th. Party affiliations only affect the primary and do not affect your voting in November.

If you are unable to get to the polls on July 20, you have two options.

Absentee voting in person: One-Stop Absentee Voting - This is a process in which you appear in person and vote your ballot from July 1st to July 17th at the Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St., Carrboro, the Morehead Planetarium on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, or the Orange County Board of Elections on 110 East King Street, Hillsborough. Any qualified voter wishing to vote prior to Election Day may vote at one of the One-Stop voting locations. Exact dates and times are listed below.

Absentee voting by mail: To request absentee ballots by mail, the request must be in writing and mailed to the Board of Elections' office in Hillsborough. You may request an absentee ballot for any reason (no justification or reason is required).

Provide your full name

Provide your Residence address

Specify the address where you would like the ballots to be mailed.

Sign the request. Optionally, you may include your date of birth.

Mail the request after May 31st to Orange County Board of Elections, P.O. Box 220, Hillsborough, N.C. 27278

Make sure the completed ballot is received by by July 13th if by mail or 5pm the day prior to the election if hand-delivered. Ballots may be mailed or hand-delivered to the Board of Elections offices, 110 East King Street, Hillsborough.

More information about election procedures and schedules is available at

One Stop Locations Dates and Times

Hillsborough Board of Elections

110 East King Street


July 1-2, 9am - 4pm

July 6-9, 9am - 4pm

July 10, 9am - 1pm

July 12-16, 9am - 1pm

July 17, 9am - 1pm

Morehead Planetarium

East Franklin

July 6-9, 9am - 4pm

July 12-16, 9am - 1pm

July 17, 9am - 1pm

Carrboro Town Hall

301 W. Main St.


July 6-9, 9am - 4pm

July 12-16, 9am - 1pm

Democratic've been burned!! Wrong Bobby. OOPS!!!! I am a registered Democrat and will ENTHUSIASTICALLY support and vote for Valerie Foushee and Pam Hemminger in July and will work my fanny off to get as many other Democrats to do the same. IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!

I stand by the facts and comments in my May 13th posting, in response to "Democratic Voter." You got it wrong again in your May 14th posting. My name is James Robert (I go by "Bobby") Clapp Jr. Why the attempt to attack/discredit someone?

Thanks to whomever "Public Records" is and her/his posting, otherwise Democratic Voter may have "black listed" me ala McCarthy-ism. Whew...

And thanks teacher/mom!

Paul Newton nicely states the debacle of Carey and Brown on the SAPCO work they've done. Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools have (like Mebane...) also attempted to comply with the expectations Carey and Brown set in SAPCO, but Carey and Brown are sitting on needed decisions in support of public schools across the County.

Folks interested in a refreshing change in leadership should consider FOUSHEE and HEMMINGER in the Democratice Primary in July. Please vote knowledgebly.

I always find it interesting whenever an Orange County Commissioner tries to beat their own drum when it comes to SAPFO (Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance). Now it would seem that Margaret Brown is the latest commissioner to tout that accomplishment.

Perhaps SAPFO is a great thing for Chapel Hill and Carrboro Schools, but because of a serious oversight on the part of our county commissioners (Margaret Brown, Barry Jacobs, Moses Carey, Alice Gordon, and Steve Halkiotis) a serious misjudgement was made regarding the rest of Orange County.

The cities of Mebane and Durham were NEVER even approached about participating in the program until after all three Orange County municipalities adopted the ordinance. So while Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough will have restrictions in place to link growth and development to school capacity, Mebane and Durham will not.

Mebane is on a serious annexation spree. Earlier this year they annexed a significant portion of rural Orange County to develop a 500 dwelling unit subdivision (including a retirement community that the Town of Hillsborough rejected). They did so without the same obligation to the school systems as the other Orange County municipalities.

So when XYZ Land Developer out of state wants to build in Orange County, which municipality will he approach? Chapel Hill, Carrboro, or Hillsborough? Or will he approach the path of least resistance and larger profits ... in Mebane.

If Margaret Brown (or any other commissioner running for office) can't fix this problem, then all SAPFO represents in my opinion, is a collosal (and quite embarrassing) failure.



County Name: ORANGE

Status: ACTIVE

City: CHAPEL HILL NC 27514



Gender: Male



Address: 260 ERWIN RD

City: CHAPEL HILL, NC 27514

It is public record, and according to public record my facts are straight-


County Name: ORANGE

Status: ACTIVE

City: CHAPEL HILL NC 27516



Gender: Male




City: CHAPEL HILL, NC 27516

Is this not you?


I find it somewhat disingenuous for you to be telling people who to vote for in the Democratic Primary when you are indeed a registered Republican. I think it says something about Foushee and Hemminger's support bases when their loudest advocate is a Republican. The Democratic voters in the primary will support Carey and Brown, and they will be reelected against the opposition of Republicans trying to infiltrate the election.

Ha. "Democratic Voter," who's the disingenuous one here?

When I moved back to the area in 1995, I registered again as Unaffiliated, NOT Republican. How can you state my Party affiliation with such authority (when you are really guessing) and in so doing attack me? It's public record; you could have gotten your facts straight.

Ane oh yes, I like YOUR use of a code name to call ME disingenuous when I'm sharing a viewpoint openly.

Shouldn't everyone be encouraged to participate in the election process, including those of us who don't meet your standard of "pure bred"? The last time I checked, the majority of local elections in this County are non-partisan (ie School Board(s), Town Council(s)...).

In terms of the County Commission election itself, a lot of folks (Democrats, Republicans and Unaffiliated) are fed-up with the status quo we have in Carey and Brown.

Lets get everyone in the pool. We all live here and have a stake in the success of our community. We all for sure have an opinion...seems to me that's the Democratic way.

The last time I looked, both FOUSHEE and HEMMINGER were solid Democratic candidates with a strong grassroots Democratic voter base, which in my opinion is ultimately the group who will elect them. They've got there platforms done and out there, so check it out. But in the end, if they are not elected by the people after a spirited campaign, so be it.

You may wish to encourage another passive Orange County election, marked by a lack of participation in the Primary process. You may also want to deny others access to your private club. And if you want to do so by criticising folks for not being "true blue democrats," go for it!

Ruby will slap my wrist if I get out of hand (I've seen her do it on this site with others). I'll keep expressing my views about the candidates, and in particular supporting the new faces of FOUSHEE and HEMMINGER...many are so excite about these two! If I'm missing something, folks here can just tell me to back-off.

The Chapel Hill Herald intends to sponsor a forum for the candidates running for the Orange County Commissioners, but we have not yet established a date or venue. We'll relay that information as soon as it's available.

I would add that our intention is to hold the forum before the July 20 primary.

The Orange County electorate faces an important decision in the upcoming County Commissioner election and I'm not referring to November.

I agree with Mark's and other's comments. The upcoming July 25th Democratic Primary is the important decision date! The last County Commission election saw the Democratic Primary winners easily sweep all opposing candidates. The two Democratic candidates netted 30,000 votes each, and the two Republican candidates 17,000 each. With the national election staged for Nov., turnout should be much higher for Democrats.

This year, there are finally two refreshing Democratic candidates for Orange Co. Commissioner, Valerie FOUSHEE and Pam HEMMINGER. Both have clear policy platforms. Each opposes school system merger while committing to work for top quality educational opportunities for all children.

Consider the following points, and judge for yourself the performance of the current incumbent Commissions Margaret Brown and Moses Carey:

a. First is their inadequate coordination and clarity in defining development and revitalization plans important to our urban and rural areas

b. Second, under their watch we have seen a decline in public safety, evidenced only in part by recent local violent incidents

c. And third, as Commissioners promoting merger, Brown’s and Carey’s micro-management of local schools, and the divisive manner in which they have held hostage school funding is actually hurting both the County and City School Districts.

For those who think Margaret's brainchild SAFCO (Adequate School Facilities Ordinance) is a good thing, check-out the stonewalling currently in place for important decisions the Commissioners assured that they would make; reports received and not acted on. Both School Boards have met their committments under SAFCO; the Commission has not.

These incumbent candidates (Margaret Brown as Chair) have been in office for a combined 28 years, yet many don't see the progress we would expect.

The July 20th Democratic Primary will likely decide the winners of the two contested Orange County Commission seats. Many hope folks will turnout for that date and vote knowledgably.

The filing period is over. The candidates are listed at

Seven commissioner candidates filed for the two seats.

Five people filed today for the OCS school board, bringing the total to 7 vying for 4 seats.

Is anyone aware of a candidate forum for the commissioners prior to the primary? I called someone at the League of Women Voters and they aren't doing one until fall, to which I replied that it will be over on July 20th. I am following up with some other LWV folks.

At the fall election, straight Democratic Party ticket votes will bury all challengers. A huge number of those straight-ticket voters won't even be able to name the County Commissioner candidates they voted for. The Democrats who are elected will continue the charade by referring to their mandate, etc. even though they know full well that they won in the very low turnout Democratic Party primary. It's not a system to be proud of, if democracy and fair representation are guiding principles.


Mark--how would you propose changing a system where people vote based on ideology rather than individuals? I've felt the same frustration. I'll never forget Newt Gingrich's Republican mandate based on 30% turnout, more than half of whom were white males. But we have a system that relies on the media to educate/inform and the media is driven by profits which trumps providing clear, unbiased information. We also have a citzenry that are overwhelmed by the amount of information available and no clear way of judging an individual candidate on her merits. It's a conundrum.


Oh, and I forgot to add that if Commissioner Barry Jacobs wins his race for N.C. House District 50, then there will be another member appointed by the Board of Commissioners to fill his vacated seat.

Will they do it before the new(?) Commissioners are seated? Will they select the next highest voter-getter from this year's race? Will it be cleaner than the County School Board's recent attempt to do the same?

Valerie Foushee filed May 4 according to Orange County BOE website

Whoops! Thanks for the correction.

I've always found this idea of appointing the next highest vote getter to an open seat to be a bit strange. The third place finisher in this fall's election will be one of a handful of people in the county for whom we have an objective indication that the voters do not want them on the board. It seems a bit of an affront to democracy to appoint that person.

There are cases, like Richard Franck losing by 39 votes in 1995, that such an appointment might be ok but it ought to be based on a very close finish.

terms of office for the commissioners start in December, for the General Assembly in January. If Barry is elected and resigns effective January 1, then the NEW Board of Commissioners must make the appointment AFTER they are sworn in (persons can not vote to fill a vacancy that will not exist until after they leave office). If Barry was elected to the GA and resigned after the election but before the new board is sworn in in December, the old board can make the appointment.

The law provides that (I;ve deleted some material not relevant):

"§ 153A 27. Vacancies on the board of commissioners.

If a vacancy occurs on the board of commissioners, the remaining members of the board shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy. . . . . . If for any ..... reason the remaining members of the board do not fill a vacancy within 60 days after the day the vacancy occurs, the clerk shall immediately report the vacancy to the clerk of superior court of the county. The clerk of superior court shall, within 10 days after the day the vacancy is reported to him, fill the vacancy.

If the member being replaced was serving a two year term, or if the member was serving a four year term and the vacancy occurs later than 60 days before the general election held after the first two years of the term, the appointment to fill the vacancy is for the remainder of the unexpired term. Otherwise, the term of the person appointed to fill the vacancy extends to the first Monday in December next following the first general election held more than 60 days after the day the vacancy occurs; at that general election, a person shall be elected to the seat vacated, either to the remainder of the unexpired term or, if the term has expired, to a full term.

To be eligible for appointment to fill a vacancy, a person must (i) be a member of the same political party as the member being replaced, if that member was elected as the nominee of a political party ..... The board of commissioners or the clerk of superior court, as the case may be, shall consult the county executive committee of the appropriate political party before filling a vacancy, but neither the board nor the clerk of the superior court is bound by the committee's recommendation."

In early 1973 when a commissioner resigned (Ira Ward, I think) the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee recommended Henry Latane and me. The commissioners deadlocked 2-2 on separate ballots on each name, each of us got the votes of Flo Garrett and Richard Whitted (the two more conservative commissioners did not want either of us), and then clerk of court Frank Frederick appointed someone else who was more to the liking of the remaing two conservative Democrats.



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