A Single Shot for M. Brown

Having followed the County Commissioner campaign as closely as I know how, I just went down to Town Hall and cast a single vote for Margaret Brown. Here's why: over the past eight years, where the county has made progress, Brown has been a leader. Not just a reliable vote in support but a true leader. I know some people have trouble with Margaret's personality or style but, on a five member commission, I think you have to give such key leadership on the issues the lion's share of the weight. As to the particulars, heres what The Independent has to say:

"since Brown's election to the board in 1996, the county has built more schools, parks, greenways and trails than in several decades prior. Environmental protections and recreation projects have blossomed under her leadership. The affordable housing bond and the county's living wage policy are direct results of her leadership. She initiated the Lands Legacy program to preserve rural farmland, and helped move the greenbelt--1,000 contiguous acres stretching across the county--from concept to near completion. Her critics have blamed her for the slow approval of bond-funded capital projects, but it takes time to do things right, and it's the commissioners' duty to plan for the long haul and implement projects carefully. "

Why no second vote? I just don't find the other candidates compelling, at least not enough to take a risk on Brown's re-election in this uncertain campaign.

I have great respect for Pam Hemminger's environmental commitments and track record and think that she could be a fine addition to the BOCC. I wish she had developed a broader platform and gotten some experience on county issues before running. Had she done so, she could have earned my second vote.

Moses Carey has always been a cautious vote for the status quo. I can find no reason to vote for him other than to recognize the importance of keeping an African-American voice on the BOCC and to recognize his recent courage with the merger issue.

Some people I respect are supporting Valerie Foushee. I don't know why. I have found her opportunistic ride on the nomerger movement very troubling. I don't think a responsible candidate should cooperate with the effort to have the merger issue obscure all others. Foushee has continually failed to articulate specific positions on other matters of concern.

Brown and Carey are running forthrightly on their records. The challengers are running largely on platitudes and the vaguest of proposals. Those who cast their votes based on platitudes usually get just what was promised them.

Only Brown has a record and a platform that I can support. That's why she got my vote.

Issues: 

Total votes: 113

Comments

Todd,

I wrote "doesn't your friend Todd run a local politics web site?"

Is mere association of someone with you invariably an attempt to discredit them? I certainly didn't think of it that way.

I already apologized to Jeff for misconstruing the existence of a relationship between you and I now do so to you as well.

I have nothing but respect for Jeff. I will be interested to see what evidence you have to draw your conclusion that I do not respect him. I also have no idea what "lead" your are referring to that I follow but you and Ruby do not.

Respectfully baffled,

Dan

p.s. is your interpretation of a comment of mine that was in itself a reply to a tangential comment of Jeff's really of interest to others? why not reply to me directly? cc Jeff if you like.

Dan

Trying to associate Jeff Vanke with myself in order to discredit him is rediculous.

1) I have only met the guy twice.

2) I did NOT support his attempt to unseat Swastika Mike Nelson.

3) Vanke has made tons of comments on this site that I disagree with, and he has taken opposing views with me on nearly every comment posted on my blog.

4) I have TONS of friends who are liberals to different extents. We don't agree on much, but we are still friends and respect one another. One of my best buddy's is a major Bowles supporter giving the maxium amount to his campaign. I am doing a Burr fundraiser. I don't rule out friends because they are liberals, like you imply liberals should do with me.

Jeff Vanke is simply a decent guy who is willing to debate those he does not agree with. I respect that, you obviously don't.

If the whole country followed your lead, it would be a sad place to live! Clearly Ruby and I don't follow that lead, as we are willing to debate each other on our respected sites (although she won't have a beer with me).

ToddtheBlog

A run down of Dan's quotes

Dan Coleman' colum of several months ago. "I predict that Valerie Foushee will come in third".

Valeries finished as the top voter getter.

"Some people I respect are supporting Valerie Foushee. I don't know why. I have found her opportunistic ride on the nomerger movement very troubling. I don't think a responsible candidate should cooperate with the effort to have the merger issue obscure all others. Foushee has continually failed to articulate specific positions on other matters of concern:.

Since both Moses and Valerie won, Valerie was neither a "opportunist" or "one issue". If that were true, Moses would have lost.

Foushee both articulate a specific position on a variety of concerete issues. She galvanized supporters (from a diverse base) with that her message.

Let us know begin to build a new tommorrow by dropping the rhetoric and building cooperate understanding.

More disclosure is always good. I think it's great that y'all have offered to do so.

kmr

CHN Editorial Page for Wed 7/21:

Correction

In an editorial Sunday, we said that “we don’t know the contributors to NoMerger.org,” a special-interest group opposed to school merger. Actually, we did know; NoMerger.org had supplied a list of its contributors to a CHN reporter. The list is not on the public record with the Orange County Board of Elections, because NoMerger.org held contributions to $99 or less, below the threshold for disclosure.

http://www.chapelhillnews.com/opinion/story/1449717p-7583524c.html

Another reason to cast 2 votes...

if the 2nd place finisher doesn't get 20% of the total votes cast for the commissioner there will be a runoff.

can you say Oy Vey!

--Jay

Thanks, Duncan. I have also been yelled at (and demeaned and lied about) by Margaret's husband. It certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but I don't blame her for that, directly. I think being berated by Bob Brown puts me in good, diverse, and populous company.

Thanks, Duncan.

I really don't know what to say about the anon slamming except that it shows the kind of people they are. Such manners.

And, you're right, Jen is four-star in my book.

kmr

This N&O article had it's title retracted (a day later) but no doubt was encouraged by some false accusations

........

Brown, who said her campaign accepts no PAC money, took issue with NoMerger.org's requirement that contributions be $99 or less.

The group's Web site asks for donations in that amount, which is $1.01 under the limit that requires disclosure of donor information.

"I think it is deceitful and a great disservice to the public," said Robert Brown, Margaret Brown's husband and campaign manager.

.........

all we did was not accept 1000 checks from out of the county and only took small contributions. In fact what these critics didn't realize was that we had voluntarily offered the entire list to Mr. Ross (above) the day before and the CH news but they both turned us down. The Herald accepted it and to date we are the only group of all the candidates to voluntarily give the entire list of all contributors through 6/30 to the media. But call this "deceitful" if you want....

add me to the lied about list...

Jay,

Hold on thar. I didn't "turn down" the kind offer for the list

I assume it still stands. I doubt that Ted Vaden turned it down, too, but I'm not at the CHN anymore.

kmr

Didn't mean anything negative -- just that it was offered for the public domain -- and this happened the day before the N&O guy ever interviewed anyone.

Also, I did offer a reporter at the Chapel Hill news (and he did turn it down -- I might still have the email....)

that's all -- nothing negative about it ... just that we have done more disclosure than anyone else to date..

One more thing: I'm sick to death of anonymous posters slagging Jennifer Strom's ethics as a journalist. I'm finally naming her because you all have been such cowards and haven't been willing to say exactly what the hell you mean while you spin your little paranoid webs of conspiracy.

Those of us who remember her when she was Jennifer Money, covering Orange County government, then Durham County, then taking an editorship at the Herald-Sun, know that she would resign from The Independent before she'd take a dive on behalf of something her husband wanted, as if Bill Strom would ever ask her to do such a thing. Which he wouldn't, because he knows what's good for him -- that he'd get it upside the head if he ever asked her to do anything so unethical and contemptible. Which he wouldn't.

Those of us who have participated in the reporting of an Independent endorsement issue (I have) know that the process is open and that there's much discussion among that entire staff over who should be endorsed, based on the answers to the questionnaires and the reporting of the person assigned to cover that election. (I'm assuming that's still the same process -- it's been a couple of years.) To my knowledge, it would be very difficult -- and extremely obvious -- for one person to skew the endorsements to suit their personal preferences. I believe that members of that staff -- and that includes the whole staff, not just editorial -- would pitch a fit if they thought those endorsements were rigged. You might not like them, it's not a perfect process and people with good intentions can have widely varied opinions on candidates, but it's the most open endorsement process I've ever seen.

I know that Jennifer will not like that I've posted this. She doesn't need me or anyone else to stick up for her, she does that just fine for herself. I'm sure I'll get cracked upside the head the next time I see her.

But since the cowards on this site decided to play coy while slinging mud at her, I thought I'd speak up for my friend. You don't know Jennifer Strom if you think she'd do anything but voice her own opinion about _anything_. I wonder if the same crackpot conspiracy theories would get launched at a man in the same position; I doubt it, and therefore I think it's insulting.

I hope I have not overstepped my bounds here, and I hope that Kirk Ross will step in, because this anonymous trashing of reputations is absolute crap.

Dan, If you are implying that my politics, or style, are like Todd Melet's, then you are doing me a real disservice. That was a cheap shot, and poorly aimed. I'd be willing to start a thread here or on his blog. I don't know about you, but I'm willing to talk with Republicans, even though I've given up talking national politics with some of them. I thought we got my progressive politics (anti-war, pro-homosexual rights, for solar energy in every home) cleared up here on OP months ago.

Jeff,

If I misunderstood your relationship with Todd, I'm sorry. It was not intended to characterize your politics.

Hey, I'm for solar energy in every home too! And I'll bet most of the candidates for BOCC are too. The question is who will do anything about it. Few of us can stand muster in that regard alongside the above-besmirched Mark Marcoplos.

His article on The Green Good Life from the 1/29/03 Independent is worth reading: http://indyweek.com/durham/2003-01-29/cover.html

Dear Anonymous whatever,

In my capacity as a (then) member of the board of ARI, I was at that BOCC meeting in June of last year during which the commissioners approved the remaining part of the first chunk of affordable housing bond money for rental properties.

At the earlier, May 30 meeting, the commissioners had received the PRS recommendations, which were: $90,000 for EmPOWERMENT (approved), $170,000 for Habitat for Humanity (approved), and $270,000 for Weaver Community Housing (postponed). Neither OPC nor ARI were approved at that time, due to "application deficiencies." In the case of Weaver Community Housing, the Board aked for more information regarding the organization's "Supportive Services Plan."

OPC was asked to provide a project design narrative, a project feasibility narrative including a letter confirming zoning compliance, a full description of the developer's experience, and a Support Services Plan. By the June meeting, that had been accomplished.

ARI was asked to provide a complete property rehab plan and estimate, an updated project feasibility section to include a letter from a local financial institution pledging project support and evidence of unit availability in Abbey Court over the previous years in lieu of purchase contracts, and additional information regarding board and staff expertise. By the June meeting, that had been accomplished.

Weaver Community Housing was asked to profide evidence of formal collaborative relationships in the Supportive Services Plan, rather than support letters. By the June meeting, that had been accomplished: they submitted Memoranda of Understanding with IFC, Good Work, Inc., Orange Coummunity Housing and Land Trust, and the Women's Center.

In short, all three applications were held over for the June meeting by a decision of the Board as a whole, all due to issues with the application. In the case of OPC and ARI, the PRS specifically stated that the reason they were not making recommendations was "due to the incompleteness of the submitted funding proposal."

In the case of Weaver Community Housing, there's no doubt in my mind that Margaret Brown had a real problem with the project idea. She was not shy about telling the Weaver Community Housing people what she thought of their idea -- very little, apparently. But she wasn't the only one. According to my notes, Halkiotis had some problems with it too.

The crucial point to remember, though, is that Brown proposed to gut Weaver Community Housing's funding, but her motion failed and the organization ended up getting a significant chunk of what it had requested. (ARI and OPC also got less than they requested.)

My point: how much power does she really wield? At best, she made a symbolic gesture doomed to failure.

Did she make that symbolic gesture because she doesn't like Ruffin Slater? I've got to think that's an oversimplification. She may not like Ruffin Slater, but I know for a fact that there were at least three members of ARI at the time that, rumor had it, she also didn't "like."

Just as I'm sure that there folks who question ARI's (or OPC's) affordable housing model, there are people other than Brown who question WCA's. This isn't surprising: if I learned anything during my brief stint in the world of affordable housing, it's this: federal, state, local, and private sources of housing money are here today and gone tomorrow, they all have different visions of what ought to be done with their money, and they all have their own remarkably complicated set of hoops you have to jump through to get money for affordable housing. This "system" -- and I use that word with reservation -- handicaps non-profit housing organizations trying to do their work in a competitive housing market. The fact is that organizations like ARI and WCA have to take chances, improvise, and try things that haven't been done before, and these are precisely the kinds of thing that governments are typically _not_ good at doing. I doesn't surprise me that the board asked for more information from both organizations.

It may be that Margaret Brown had a personal vendetta to execute against Ruffin Slater, or it might be something more complicated than that. Regardless, even if you take the least charitable view, she wasn't successful in deep-sixing WCA's money, was she? How fearsome does that make her?

[And, since you seem to be pretty informed about affordable housing in the county, you probably already know that one of the founders of ARI spoke up at that meeting on behalf of OPC, also spoke on behalf of WCA as that organization's treasurer, and happened to be heading EmPOWERment at the time. The community of affordable housing advocates is knit tight enough that maybe you'll agree it's pretty difficult trying to parse out "most-favored-nonprofit" status based on personal relationships in a county where everyone seems to have sat at one time or another on everybody else's board. Or is married to someone who sat on another board. And so on.]

I have never voted for Margaret Brown, and now that I've moved to Chatham County, I probably never will. I've been yelled at by her husband, and most of _my_ "cronies" (except for one) have had run ins with her. And yet, I still don't have any reason to _fear_ her or her ability to exact revenge.

Fundamentally, my problem with this whole discussion of Margaret Brown has been its obsessive focus on anything _but_ policy and her voting record. Has she spent more on her campaign than she's reported? Well, no one seems to know for sure, nor has anyone suggested a reason why she would lie about how much she's spent. Can she ruin people and their projects? The example of the WCA stands in opposition to the point for which it's offered: it's an example of what she _can't_ do, when she doesn't have a majority of the board behind her.

Only Ruby and a few others have raised questions about her actual record, and that's really unfortunate. Buried deep in the two long threads on Margaret Brown is enough information, if you care to sift it, to make a pretty good case against Brown on the merits of her record. If you look close enough, you can also find enough substance to mount a pretty good case _for_ her. Weight the arguments, make your vote. But cluttering the discussion is all this paranoid b-llsh-t, and it's tiresome.

[To Ms. Faley: I was thinking only of an anonymous poster who expressed fear of Brown's power to wage jihad against her enemies when I used the term "histrionic." I certainly didn't mean to include you in that characterization. I only mentioned your name because at that point you were the only one on this site who had reported the Brown campaign brochures, and so it was unclear how many she had sent out, or how widely. Since then, others have spoken up to say they've received them, so it seems that they were pretty widely distributed.]

Ruby,

Your comment is postively astonishing. I'm sitting here trying to make a cogent response, but I am rendered wordless.

"Even the Republicans here are environmentalists, so that's not much to run on."

Wow...

Ruby,

I agree that there have been some disappointments in housing policy over the past few years. But I also think that the county has done much more since Margaret come on the BOCC. Two bonds, increased general revenue funding, and an advisory board for starters. Margaret also took the lead on the living wage regulation that applies to county workers, wage levels being a key component of the housing equation.

--Dan

FYI

In the past 8 years that the current county commisssioners have been serving they have done many things. One thing they have done is to CUT FUNDING to the EMS (Emergercy Services). The Fire Depts have picked this task up.While they do a great job they were trained as a firefighter. If the EMS is out on a call and another call comes in say for a heart attack then you might have a Fireman to come to assist you instead of a trained EMS person.

I like parks but I would rather have a fully staffed EMS than all this parkland that Margaret Brown and other commissioners brag about creating. Also I'm under the impression that most of the Rescue Squad is volunteers. They're different from the EMS. There the ones that come and cut you out of the car and put their life in danger or some other dangerous situation. Frankly I would like for them to be paid also. But don't forget we have the parks.

Don't get me wrong. We need parks but that seems to be Margaret brown's only focus. I think the EMS and Rescue Squad situation is far more important than the current Board gives it. Of course people don't think about this until its to late.

NV

Get real, Mark.

Some folks support the envirnoment for REAL and some folks are starting to support the envirnoment when it suits their own purposes. Now, I am not going to elaborate on that statement. It has already been elaborated on. I don't think you want to hear anything that does fit the "party line". That is unfortunate because I had a great deal of respect for you.

When you start to wonder whether one is determining the descisions, supporting other people, or setting policies based on whether it is going to support your power base or whether it is going to support your own interests, the public must and should ask questions.

Why shouldn't the liberal voters of this town start to ask questions, why do we need to march in lock step. It is called "Independent" Thought. I remember my old bumper sticker "Question Authority". Well that "Authority" does not cover just Republicans.

Have to agree with 3 posts here.

1. partisan commissioner elections seem entirely silly.

Why should this (conceptually/phillosophilcally) be any different than council/alderman or school board elections. School boards and commissioners even have adjacent/overlapping domains. (I realize the law is that little thing that prevents it but it really doesn't make sense.).

2. why wouldn't someone vote for 2 people? By all indications the 2nd slot might be open but not the first. The Board of elections is predicting a relatively normal primary turnout of 21%. Certainly if the status quo could use some change there are some interesting other candidates.

3. Hemminger is certainly an improvement over moses if the environment is your bag while Foushee seems to have a lot of support from some very good longtime genuine people. Both of them are VERY nice people to boot, the types you would feel you would get a fair hearing from... There may be some learning curve as someone above pointed out but not much...

Glad y'all had a good weekend while I was out of town! Now that I have more time I will try explain myself while also attempting to adhere to the "play nice" guideline.

Dan says "I know some people have trouble with Margaret's personality or style." That's quite an understatement. I don't really care about her personality, but her style of leadership is very important to me as her constituent and as a community advocate. Living in a community as progressive as Orange County, it matters slightly less to me who has the best liberal credentials. What's also critically important is how and whether she gets things done,and which issues she shows real leadership on. Even the Republicans here are environmentalists, so that's not much to run on.

I don't have as detailed a memory as others, but even I remember that Margaret failed to support the report of the Affordable Housing Task Force which she co-chaired, and which was created largely because she and the commissioners stonewalled the affordable housing groups after making them jump through the commissioner's hoops to apply for funding. She was the Lucy VanPelt to the nonprofits' Charlie brown. D'oh, fooled us again!

So although "GuessWhyThisIsAnonymous" is an anonymous coward, I'm inclined to agree with her/him. In fact, I'm a little surprised that Mark wants "facts" to back up the comments. The post is full of them. Do you require citations? All of the affordable housing stuff happened wide open in public. I remember those old commissioner races and they were very unpleasant. I know you were here, did you turn a blind eye, or did that just look fair to you?

As far as changing your party affiliation to vote for the county commissioner, I don't feel it is distasteful in this case because republicans haven't won for BOCC in decades and the board affects the lives of everyone in Orange county, whether democrat or republican. So the only way for a republican to be able to participate in choosing who he/she wants to represent their interests is to change affiliation. Personally, I think the BOCC should be a non-affiliated office.

Teacher mom

You are so right. Amen

Whatever the CC do ,it affects us all. And can't we all just get along

Amen again.

New voter

Teacher/mom says, "So the only way for a republican to be able to participate in choosing who he/she wants to represent their interests is to change affiliation."

Another way is for the Republican Party to run candidates that have voter appeal, a strong record, and a platform people are willing to support. Of the registered OC voters, 54% are Dems, 23% are Reps, and 22% are Unaffiliated. The right candidate can win, given those statistics, and especially if there is a real push for turn-out and a top-notch campaign by the Republicans. Isn't this exactly what happened the last two times Republicans were elected governor? And I seem to remember that a good number of Democrats crossed over.

One downside for registering so that you can vote the Democratic ballot for OC Commissioners: you don't get to vote for all of those folks competing for the offices on the Republican ballot like US Senate, US House District 4, Governor, Lt. Gov., AG, Auditor, Insurance Commissioner, and Labor Commissioner.

So, I guess it's a mater of your priorities, but switching before the registeration deadline was not the "only way."

I can't agree that single-shot voting has a positive benefit.

Yes, if you vote for only one candidate, you use your

vote to help him/her to the maximal extent. However there

are two downsides, one obvious and one more subtle but

equally important. Obviously, two commissioners will be

(re)elected on Tuesday and if you vote for only one, you foreit

your choice on the second one. More complex is this:

Our local governments are designed so that no one official

has too much power. It takes 3 votes (4 Carr, 5 CH) to pass

a law or a resolution. It does no good to be at the

losing end of a lot of 4-1 votes -- indeed after a while, that official is marginalized and not taken seriously. I believe that each person

who feels strongly about a particular issue does better voting for

several acceptable candidates than only for the one perfect

candidate.

And yet the Independent says that Ms. Hemminger lacks knowledge about the issues outside of Chapel Hill, and encourages Ms. Foushee to broaden her issue experience as well. Both of these women are an asset to the county, but lack the broader experience to be commissioner at this time.

Ms. Brown lives in the county. Ms. Foushee and Ms. Hemminger are Chapel Hill residents.

Ms. Brown said her report was properly postmarked; I am not sure what the problem is here, unless it's with the USPS.

Can't attack the record, so go after the technicalities. Just because you support someone else does not mean the ones you oppose are evil, or even up to no good. It just means you feel one candidate has demonstrated the skills, knowledge, and ability to be the best choice, hands down. That's Margaret Brown. And if a single shot offsets the mudslinging and misleading non-issues that have arisen in this race or even one Republican who changed their registration for our Democratic primary (a distasteful tactic, I think), so be it.

Single shot for Brown here as well. It's what's best for the county. The entire county.

Oops. I have read enough here lurking to realize that if I do not correct this, some surly anon poster will deconstruct my entire post based solely on this possible misinterpretation:

Yes, I know Chapel Hill is in Orange County. I meant Ms. Brown does not live in Chapel Hill.

Herald columnists are not allowed to use their columns to make endorsements or say who to vote for.

Ruby chose her authors with an eye to who would help in her goal of encouraging lcoal activism by those with "progressive values." Hopefully I haven't disappointed her.

Ruby is very open to guest authors.

p.s. doesn't your friend Todd run a local politics web site?

Jeff, I'm sorry but I have no idea what you're referring to. Feel free to contact me directly if you want to talk.

Dan,

Sorry for the confusion, and I'll try to take care of that now by emailing you directly. I'm referring in part to your posting in your own thread, http://orangepolitics.org/elections/does_campaign_spending_matter.html

The problem with campaign finance limits in local elections is that it would take tens of thousands of dollars to counterbalance major paper endorsements, plus the policy and endorsement statements by columnists like yourself, employed at one newspaper, and with thread-initiating power here on a popular blog run by a techie with presumably a lot fewer family responsibilities than I have (and thank you Ruby for doing it).

Dan...

You suggested that we read the website about Val and Pam priorities. Thanks. Their message were clear, informative, and spoke to exactly what the county needs to do to move forward.

Thanks again.

Dan,

I think you are a stickler enough about the rules to have insisted in the past that candidates report contributions in kind (like a friend helping with a web page), as well as those in money.

My point in my first posting here was not to criticize Brown for a late filing per se. Last fall, I missed the same pre-election deadline, albeit by one day. It was to call attention to what I perceived as your inconsistency -- you seemed to hold your candidate to a different standard, than that held for candidates whose agendas you oppose (such as Rohrbacher last fall).

Jeff

Make that Bachman, I think. Apologies for the confusion.

Mr. One Shot

It doesn't surprise me that a Margaret brown supporter would one shot her. After all she has stated many times she's against district respentation. Margaret probably couldn't win her district plus she would have to try and work with someone with a different point of view. Isn't it misleading to campaign that you're about respensting all the county and then her supporters try to one shot her. The one shot idea possibly could be a campaign idea.That says her supporters don't care about the rest of the county.

New voter

Dear GuessWhyThisIsAnonymous

I am answering you because you used my name and my name has been used a couple times here around the INDY non-endorsement of me. I appreciate your comments. But, let's let that particular endorsement go.

I don't know nor do I really understand why the INDY didn't endorse me. They had their reasons. Reasons that I don't agree with. But, my opinion is my opinion. Their opinion is their opinion.

While that process was painful for me, I am still here and I am still speaking out. While that process was painful for me, I will continue to hope and continue to request that all of the media study issues and research facts.

Since I am not an editor of any newspaper, that is all that I can do. Since I am not an investigative reporter, that is all that I can do.

Let us continue to speak the truth as clearly and honestly as we can. Let us continue to uplift the community. Let us continue to support the political views and candidates that we firmly believe in. I will continue to take that action.

So, I say bye bye because I am out to canvas neighborhoods for Valerie and Pam. See ya at the polls.

Dear GuessWhyThisIsAnonymous,

How about backing up your assertion about me with facts.And how about having the garden-variety integrity to use your name.

To follow up "guess..anonymous",

Anyone who has ever been involved in political issues has made statements that some disagree with. Since individual people's words or actions sometimes become part of the debate, names are mentioned. Obviously people disagree and obviously open fair debate is healthy and requires a degree of frankness and an understanding that when one enters the political fray that they should be prepared to hear some things they don't agree with & might be personally sensitive about.

I have spoken out on issues that I believe in and made statements in the context of open political debate. Some of those statements have not made everyone happy. That's the way it goes in public debate. You move on and you try to focus on the issues as much as possible.

I have never crafted statements to be vengeful or tried to just trash somebody. And I have always made my statements using my own name and take full responsibility for them. And I'm always open to further discussion. It's hard to respect someone when they sling mud anonymously. And since, by definition, you can't respect an anonymous person -- let's just say that honest disrespect for somebody is probably a more authentic feeling than dealing with the childishness and triviality of anonymity.

Mr. Coleman, whatever you do, please don't try to give Margaret Brown credit for anything in the realm of affordable housing. Those who were on the Commissioners Affordable Housing Task Force know the truth: Margaret tried to shit-can the report of the Task Force at the last minute.

She also did NOT show leadership in getting Affordable Housing Bond money out there from the bond issue. In fact she spearheaded the move to delay the whole process for a year and a half.

Even once the bonds were issued, Margaret tried all she could to stop the Weaver Co-op housing project from getting funds. This was despite Weaver's project being recommended for funding by the evaluation committee.

And why did she try to stop the project? So that she could get funds to go to organizations that were recommended for DENIAL by the evaluation committee. Lo and behold, the organizations which got funds were ones run by her cronies (ARI and OPC -both recommended for denial).

The committee was put in place to allow for an objective evaluation of the organizations' applications based on criteria provided in advance by the County. The idea (and it was Margaret's idea) was to de-politicize these funding decisions. But as soon as it didn't suit her, guess what happened? She re-politicized it.

Why does Margaret dislike Weaver Co-op Housing? Because Ruffin Slater is on its Board of Directors. What does that have to do with the merits of the project?

Now you tell me, Mr. Murrell, do some people have something to fear from her? We have also seen that there is pretty much nothing Margaret won't stoop to in terms of retribution against her enemies (and yes she sees it in those terms: 'enemies').

In the mid 1990's Margaret sponsored the campaign that brought down a candidate for Orange County Commissioner - the reason that candidate dropped out? Because Margaret brought out old court records showing that the candidate had been convicted of DUI many years before. Did Margaret bring this up because she thought a DUI makes a person unfit for office? No, she brought it up because the candidate was not in Margaret's pocket.

Then, when Margaret ran for commissioner against Don Wilhoyt in 1996, she used some of the sleaziest campaign tactics seen in modern memory in Orange County. Or at least up until that time – since then things have degenerated further.

Then, Margaret and her husband used their connections at the Independent to ensure that the Indy dumped Gloria Faley from its endorsement last year. Why did this happen? Because Gloria had the audacity (unanimously with the rest of the school board) to suggest that Chapel Hill value schools enough to discuss sharing the Southern Community Park site. HORRORS! Having a discussion about an issue? Kick her out! [Ah, starting to feel the sting of being on the other end of you-can't-even-discuss-it, Margaret?] What is the real transgression here? Gloria is just not in Margaret’s pocket and is therefore another enemy. Nevermind whether Gloria has been volunteering for the Schools for years and has been a dedicated school board member who worked hard on closing the achievement gap. It’s not about that. It is about Gloria’s failure to know her place.

Bottom line, if you disagree with Margaret, you can count on being shat on by Margaret at some upcoming Commissioner meeting under some less vengeful pretext. Oh and you can also count on being beat up by the Independent at election time, too.

Sincerely,

GuessWhyThisIsAnonymous

PS Ruby, would you like to answer Mark and Informed Voter directly or do you think this post will be good enough? And don't you love the irony of Mark asking the question? I mean he is AT LEAST as absurdly vengeful. Peas in a pod those two are . . .

I have received at least three different opnes in the mail.

Gloria, I'm glad to hear that you support election reforms. Maybe you would support my suggestion that candidates, voluntarily to start, provide one more two week snapshot prior to the election (funds through Oct. 31).

Maybe you could get CAN could make it a requirement that candidates it supports - like Mr. Ward and Ms. Bachman - report the occupations and locations of all their contributors - no matter how small ( ala Mr. Hill and Ms. Greene) unlike what they did in the last election.

Moving forward, maybe CAN could push for an amendment to the state election law allowing various jurisdictions to mandate this more accurate and timely reporting.

I am somewhat confused though by your statement "For the record, I am someone who strongly believes in campaign finance reform. That's why I belong to CAN."

How does CAN square supporting Dianne Bachman with her pattern of contributions and her 'coyness' (to be nice about it) when questioned about her contributionbs with an effort to reform the process?

As covered here http://orangepolitics.org/elections/unfinished_business.html you can see that Ms. Bachman violated both the intent and the spirit of open reporting. The last time I checked there were still discrepencies in her reports, has CAN spoken to her about these lapses?

I've looked at CAN's web site, where is CAN's platform on electioneering? I couldn't find it.

Where is its repudiation of Ms. Bachmans performance?

I cast my BOCC votes this past week for Foushee and Hemminger.

I voted for Brown before. I agree with her on most every issue. And the same could probably be said, with a little less conviction, about Carey.

They created this merger mess (along with Jacobs); and then after it exploded in their collective faces attempted to sneeringly blame it all on elitist Volvo-driving selfish people with children.

Brown's treatment of the school system(s) (and don't get me wrong, the schools are not blameless) has been, well, let's put it this way: Tom Delay gives Democrats more respect.

Brown had my respect and lost it. Foushee has it. Would she and Hemminger be on a learning curve if elected? You bet. But with Foushee's schools experience and Hemminger's environmental interests and their willingness to listen and learn; the curve shoudn't be that steep. Brown and Carey were new to the BOCC once, too.

Jeff,

My main point (on the other thread) was to disagree with overly dramatic characterization of Margaret Brown's power, and the consequences of crossing her.

I'm not happy that she didn't turn her reports in on time.

Gloria Faley has reported there were "glossy brochures." Has anyone else received them? And was that expense listed on her report? Are they leftover brochures from previous campaigns? Yes, there's reporting to do, but I'd prefer to hear those facts before wringing my hands about how much power Margaret Brown has to shake people down and wreak her vengeance upon those who don't fall in line with her. If we turned the histrionics down a couple of levels, maybe we'd get somewhere. That goes for most of what passes for political discussion in that county of your's. ;)

Dunan...

I am have not made any histrionics here about "crossing" or "uncrossing". I have not made any comments about "wringing my hands"... Maybe you have me confused with another poster. My comment that you quoting is about the cost of elections and giving accurate information to the public.

I have recieved four seperate different glossy brochures from Commissioner Brown over the last four weeks. I am not the only one who has recieved these glossy brochures. I am sorry that you are not on her mailing list. It appears that I am on her list three times. (Yo... Brown's staff... you are wasting a lot of money sending this many brochures at one time to my house)

No... these are not old brochures from some past campaign. They have up-to-date (somewhat misleading) information about her work. But, you have gotten them so you don't know. sorry.

If you think that she will or has only spent $1,000 or so on her campaign. You need to seriously think again. But, we will all find out how much money when we get the final report after the election. And I will be sure and publize that on orangepolitics.org. In fact, you might want to check what one ad is in the one newspaper.

I don't have problems with glossy brochures. It keeps printers in business. I don't have a problem with people's right to running an aggressive campaign. If you have the money to run a well financed campaign, I am not going to stop you.

I never had that kind of money. In my campaigns, I limited my donations and I refused to take any outside the county donations.

Don't portray yourself as a candidate who does not spend a lot of money on a campaign. Don't tell the newspaper that you only have under $7,000 when you are your own treasurer and then have a report that you really have $12,000 come out. This does not make citizen feel good or very confident in the process.

For the record, I am someone who strongly believes in campaign finance reform. That's why I belong to CAN. I don't think that winning an election should depend on how much money that you have or who many rich people you can depend on.

Just for the record, I have had my moments with the political discussion here occasionally, but then I decided that discussions come in all kinds of sizes. The discussion that are here are just one of those sizes. Here's to differences.

Dan, The question of public finance was not what I raised. I raised the question of transparent campaign finances. There is a reason that laws &/or regulations stipulate that finance reports are due X days before an election -- so that columnists like you can analyze those reports. Not only can't you do that in this case, but you have voted in way contrary to your stated desires for transparency and strict adherence to the rules.

I'd love to hear the reason for Ms. Sinreich's absolute anti-Brown bias as well.

Jeff, I think you are projecting a bit. You would be hard pressed to find evidence that I am a stickler for "strict adherence to the rules." Last fall, for example, I made no comment on Jim Ward's inept campaign reporting.

There can be no real transparency under the current system. It is too easy for candidates to delay reporting contributions until the final report that is due after election day.

Getting a report in late does not help a candidate. It pretty much ensures greater scrutiny.

Often efforts to hide one's contributors will backfire. You may recall the case from Chapel Hill in the mid-90s. I believe it was Pat Evans who submited spending reports with line after line of $100 contributions with no contributors indicated. That in itself was pretty damning although she still eeked out a close fourth place finish.

Voter-owned elections ensures transparency for participating candidates and identifies non-participants right off the block as big spenders.

Not sure what this has to do with the topic at hand other than to clarify that I do not share your concern about Brown's report coming in a day or two late. She had some impressive names on her contributors list. It's hard to imagine that she took any intentional action to delay its release.

Rubu,

Out of curiousity, what's the basis for your statement "I never have and never will vote for Margaret for any office"?

Anyone who disagrees with my characterization of Foushee's platform should check it out at http://www.val4orange.com/my_pledge.htm

Hemminger's is a bit better and can be found at http://www.pamhemminger.com/priorities.htm

You will find that they are just as I have described them.

I am on the road and can't write much so I will not mince words. I never have and never will vote for Margaret for any office. I voted today for Val Foushee and Moses Carey.

Dan, Several months ago you wrote a column about campaign finance issues, including transparency, and now you have voted for the one person who did not file the last pre-election report on time, and the reports of her glossy brochures imply that there is some reporting to be done (which inconsistency, Duncan, you seem to have missed in posting to another thread).

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