District Representation for BOCC

Today's Herald reported that a group from rural Orange County led by farmer Bob Strayhorn and state Rep. Bill Faison is pushing the BOCC to consider district representation. They point out that a large segment of Orange County voters feels that they are not represented under the current system. A petition to that effect with 1252 signatures was delivered to the commissioners.

This has been raised before but the commissioners were unwilling to act. My own thinking is that we should provide voting and representation systems that allow maximum representation of points of view while maintaining one-person/one-vote and effective government.

Cumulative voting could be another option to attain the same ends. Cumulative voting would allow a variety of constituencies to identify themselves and seek better representation. But there are problems with it.

Preference voting which is an arguably better process than cumulative is another possibility.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that a BOCC elected primarily by the urban area voters will make a change unless pro-democracy forces in Chapel Hill in Carrboro also take up the cause.

Issues: 

Total votes: 261

Comments

Mark, I went back and read some information on those two types of voting approaches and I think I understand them better now. You're right, they do look very promising and would more likely promote representation in a positive fashion.

Does anyone know why the County Commission race is partisan, while the Town Council is not?

Mark,
Should I have used the term "y'all" instead of you? I was referring to the board in second person plural.

Actually, arbitrary lines on the map are just what I have in mind...it's those that aren't arbitrary that cause problems.

But I think I understand where you're coming from. I think where we disagree most is on whether or not any sort of districts can objectively be called right or wrong. While there is a lot of gray territory, in the extreme I see that some can be. You apparently do not. Would a gerrymandered white supremicist district be any more clearly wrong?

Civil discourse! And over the internet! Take note, World, it is possible!

There are two goals here--one to make sure every vote has an equal chance of counting and also to encourage candidates outside of Chapel Hill/Carrboro to run for office. I just don't see that cumulative voting alone will encourage minority candidates to run for office. To me the ideal form of democracy within Orange County would include a combination of small, service-related geographic areas as well as a cumulative voting method.

District representation would, at best, assure that there is one Northern Orange commissioner (and perhaps not even that) and would also assure that s/he is voted down 4-1 pretty consistently.

Mark, right now, many folks in rural Orange County feel they are voted down by 5-0. A 4-1 vote would be a notable improvement.

There are two goals here–one to make sure every vote has an equal chance of counting and also to encourage candidates outside of Chapel Hill/Carrboro to run for office. I just don't see that cumulative voting alone will encourage minority candidates to run for office.

Terri, there has never been a problem with encouraging candidates outside of Chapel Hill/Carrboro to run for office. The "problem" or "challenge" (as I understand the issue) has been in convincing the Chapel Hill/Carrboro active voters (which seems to consist mostly of liberals and "progressives") to vote for a moderate or conservative candidate.

If this were not the case, one could reasonably argue that rural Orange County residents Barry Jacobs and Steve Halkiotis represent the values of rural Orange County. However, it is not the case. In 2002, Steve Halkiotis didn't even win in his home precinct.

If this were not the case, I rather doubt that Bob Strayhorn and Bill Faison would have brought forth their signed petitions before the BOCC.

In the average person's mind, district representation is about having a conservative or moderate voice on the BOCC, nothing else.

The discussion about cumulative voting is all well and good, but it is really antic-dotal at this point. If the BOCC was interested in district representation, they would be jumping all over it like Moses Carey on School Merger (crying social injustice!). If Chapel Hill/Carrboro active voters really cared about having a minority voice on the BOCC, they could have voted for one of the minority candidates in past elections.

"Ain't gonna happen. Not gonna do it" - Dana Carvey mimicking George H.W. Bush

Paul--as we have established earlier, my concept of representation extends beyond partisan affiliation. I don't see that middle to upper middle class professionals are representative of all constituents, regardless of their liberal/conservative philosophies or their party membership. My hope for district representation would be to encourage citizens who lower income, young, Hispanic, etc. to run. You can call that idealistic, but I call it hopeful.

My hope for district representation would be to encourage citizens who lower income, young, Hispanic, etc. to run. You can call that idealistic, but I call it hopeful.

There is nothing wrong with being idealistic, but when it comes to district representation in Orange County, we must also be realistic.

The folks you are wanting district representation to help out will hardly exist in Orange County by the time district representation is put into place. Your target demographic can't afford to live in Orange County, much less Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Most are moving to Alamance and Chatham counties where they can afford to live their dreams at an economical price (look whats happening in Mebane!). But that would be a discussion on sprawl and hence, off-topic in this thread.

It is disingenuous of the county commissioners to say that the issue of representation will be studied deliberately at the local level. They are acting as if they didn't already do that in 1992-93. At that time, the committee formed to study the issue recommended expanding the board to 7 members and switching to cumulative voting. This was not the answer they were looking for so they swept it under the rug.

Party affiliation at the county level is one major hurdle for fair representation. At least 2/3's of the voters just vote straight ticket on county commissioners & don't even know who they are voting for. So the commissioners are alwasy chosen by a small minority of Democratic Party voters at the primaries. This is undemocratic no matter how you slice it.

And Ray - don't forget that there is a lot of rural Orange County out to the west of you city slickers. This has erroneously been characterized as a north-south split (which is geographically incorrect) when it is really a rural-urban split. Of course if cumulative voting were utilized, people could align themselves in ways unrelated to geography which has positive effects as well.

Mark

Legislation filed March 24 to set up district representation, subject to a referendum on the subject:

http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2005&Bil...

http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2005/Bills/House/PDF/H913v0.pdf

This bill looks tentatively promising....

I do have to ask why the Chapel Hill District would get 4 commisioners out of the seven. 5 in reality, because of the at-large seat. While the county does need some representation, this has the potential to just be paying lip service to the county while the town continues to be the 800 pound gorilla.

Chapel Hill Township has 67.0% of the population of the county, thus a four-seat district along with two single member districts in the remainder of the county. (66.6%)

Cumulative voting (as the county's committee recommended in '93) or instant-run-off voting is a much more elegant way to achieve fair representation. People can align themselves in groups of significant minorities without the need to draw & redraw districts.

Gerry-

According to the 2000 Census Chapel Hill and Carrboro make up less than 54% of the county's population, not two thirds. Given the at-large seat as well, the towns would be getting 71% of the seats. That's simply undemocratic.

http://www.co.orange.nc.us/ecodev/stats/demogrph.htm

Good math and bad geography, Chris. Chapel Hill Township includes a good deal more than just Chapel Hill and Carrboro. It also includes much of unincorporated southern Orange County.

And here's a history lesson for you, too: Gerry Cohen has spent a huge chunk of his professional carreer working with US Census data, GIS computer mapping software and legislative districting as staff counsel to the North Carolina General Assembly.

And in general, Gerry Cohen is probably the most knowledgable attorney in the state of North Carolina. So, he could be wrong, but I doubt it.

The township concept/boundary lines are not all that well known, Chris. I'm not sure what purpose the township designation plays except in some of the regional funding/state management activities such as DOT. I *think* the township includes both Chapel Hill and Carrboro plus the extra-territorial jurisdiction areas of both towns. I think there is also some Orange Co property around university lake that isn't part of Carrboro's EJT. Does anyone know why we have townships in Orange County?

Modified from the State Library of North Carolina,
COUNTY GOVERNMENT: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/NC/CNTYOUT/PRECOUNT.HTM

When the Constitution of North Carolina was rewritten in 1868, each county was divided into townships and the voters of each township elected two justices of the peace and a clerk who served as the governing body of the township. Under the county commissioner's supervision, the township board was responsible for roads and bridges and for the assessment of property for taxation. Each township had a constable and each had a school committee...

Seven years after the Constitution of 1868 established the county commissioners and township systems, political control shifted to the conservatives. At a constitutional convention in 1875, the Constitution of North Carolina was amended to authorize the General Assembly to modify the plan of county government established in 1868. The legislature was quick to exercise its authority in this matter. The board of county commissioners was not abolished, but members were to be chosen by the justices of the peace of the county rather than by the people at large. While the commissioners retained their responsibilities, decisions on matters of substance could not be put into effect without the concurrence of a majority of the justices - all of whom were elected by the legislature. The justices were made responsible for conducting all elections. In more than a few counties, the board of commissioners was also made subject to legislative appointment.

This troubling arrangement lasted for twenty years. In 1895, the right of the people to elect county commissioners was restored in most counties, and the necessity for approval of the board's decisions by the justices of the peace was repealed. Townships were stripped of their powers, but they were retained as convenient administrative subdivisions, primarily for road building and maintenance purposes. Finally, in 1905 the people of all 100 counties regained direct control over the board of commissioners through the ballot box.

Um, forgive me for being stubborn, but I would still like to see the information, though that does make more sense.

The main concept is that voting districts' population counts must be within 5% of one another.

All the calls over the years for Township representation would not be legal (or fair). Rural residents have identified with their townships though, as a way of having some organizational identity versus the obvious (and politicalkly dominating) urban identity. Also, there used to be a somewhat active system of Township Advisory Councils (the Commissioners patronizing nod toward the rural resident's desire for authentic democratic power) that wouild occasionally communicate concerns to the BOC. They didn't have any real power so consequently they faded away.

Chapel Hill Township is the following precincts. it is SLIGHTLY bigger than the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Administrative Unit (the northern part of Coles Store and Patterson precincts are in the Orange County school district, but are in Chapel Hill Township.):

BATTLE PARK (BP) - Chapel Hill Community Center – 120 S. Estes Dr. - Chapel Hill

BOOKER CREEK (BC) – Grace Church – 200 Sage Rd. - Chapel Hill

CARRBORO (CB) – Carrboro Elementary School – Shelton St. - Carrboro

CEDAR FALLS (CF) – Chapel Hill Bible Church – 260 Erwin Rd. – Chapel Hill

COKER HILLS (CH) - Church of Reconcillation - 110 Elliott Rd. - Chapel Hill

COLES STORE (CS) - Union Grove Methodist Church - 6407 Union Grove Church Rd. - Chapel Hill

COLONIAL HEIGHTS (CO) – Smith Middle School – 9201 Seawell School Rd. – Chapel Hill

COUNTRY CLUB (CC) – School of Government – 400 South Road – Knapp-Sanders Bldg. UNC Campus -Chapel Hill

DAMASCUS (DM) – Grey Culbreth School – 225 Culbreth Dr. – Chapel Hill

DOGWOOD ACRES (DA) – Mary Scroggs Elementary School – 501 Kildaire Rd. – Chapel Hill

EAST FRANKLIN (EA) - Holy Trinity Lutheran Church - 300 E. Rosemary St. - Chapel Hill

EASTSIDE (ES) - Ephesus Road School - 1495 Ephesus Church Rd. - Chapel Hill

ESTES HILLS (EH) - Chapel Hill Public Library - 100 Library Dr. - Chapel Hill

GLENWOOD (GL) – Meadowmont Clubhouse - 301 Old Barn Ln. - Chapel Hill

GREENWOOD (GR) - General Administration Building - 910 Raleigh Rd. - Chapel Hill

KINGS MILL (KM) - Aldersgate Methodist Church - 632 Laurel Hill Rd. - Chapel Hill

LINCOLN (LI) - Lincoln Center Administration Building - 750 S. Merritt Mill Rd. - Chapel Hill

LIONS CLUB (LC) – Carolina Spring Apt. Complex – 600 W. Poplar Ave.(1st floor) - Carrboro

MASON FARM (MF) – Chapel Hill Kehillah - 1200 Mason Farm Rd. - Chapel Hill

NORTH CARRBORO (NC) - Homestead Community Center - 600 Homestead Rd. - Chapel Hill

NORTHSIDE (NS) – First Baptist Church – 106 N. Roberson St. - Chapel Hill

OWASA (OW) - OWASA Administration Bldg. - 400 Jones Ferry Rd. - Carrboro

PATTERSON (PA) – Chapel Hill Wesleyan Church – 7326 Sunrise Road - Chapel Hill

RIDGEFIELD (RF) - Binkley Baptist Church - 1712 Willow Dr. - Chapel Hill

ST. JOHN (SJ) – McDougle Middle School – 900 Old Fayetteville Rd. - Carrboro

TOWN HALL (TH) - Carrboro Town Hall - 301 W. Main St. - Carrboro

WEAVER DAIRY (WD) – Fire Station # 4 – 1695 Airport Road - Chapel Hill

WEAVER DAIRY SAT. (WDS) – Carol Woods Retirement Community – 750 Weaver Dairy Rd. – Chapel Hill

WESTWOOD (WW) - Frank Porter Graham School - 101 Smith Level Rd. - Chapel Hill

Does anyone have a link to a map of the townships? I'd like to see what 'District C' looks like (Bingham, Cheeks, Cedar Grove and Little River).

I have placed a Faison District Representation Map on my website at www.paulnewton.com.

It will be interesting to see if we get to vote on this in November.

just thought that while all of this is being sorted through, you might like to keep an eye on who might be after those rural votes.

as noted above, young jamie daniel took a lead in many rural areas, but don't forget artie franklin.

our libertarian friend is upping his civic profile; he's been a fixture at commissioner meetings, and he's just made it on to the affordable housing advisory board And the human relations board.

i have to admire his willingness to stick with it after failing to get a seat.

Thanks, Paul.

There was a column in today's Chapel Hill Herald by Representative Faison explaining District Representation.

Since it cannot be pulled up online without a subscription, I placed a copy of it here.

The best two sentences in the column read:

"Moreover, the leadership on the board [of County Commissioners] has set about a course of conduct that would stall this matter from coming before the board for an "up or down vote" until most probably next year. Justice delayed is justice denied."
- Rep. Bill Faison

Eww, Bill Faison quoting MLK. Disingenuous at best. Doesn't he know Carrboro is not in his district?

FYI:

Quotation #28904 from Classic Quotes:

Justice delayed, is justice denied.
William Gladstone
British politician (1809 - 1898)

Gladstone also gave us:

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.

Ooops, my bad! I guess I learned it from King quoting Gladstone. Thanks for the correction, Dan.

In any case, I still don't buy Faison's sudden concern for "justice." It smells like political grandstanding to me.

Well, Ruby...Bill Faison's my representative, and my tax bill for 2005 will refelect that I live in Carrboro.

Is it your opinion Ruby, that people outside of Chapel Hill township deserve any voice in County government? That iust what the current "at large" system assures. I would think as a progressive, you would understand that it is the minority voice that needs legal protection. I believe that as liberals, we should stand for bending over backwards to enfranchise every voter. It should be like free speech. We protect the rights of even those we don't agree with, because it is simply the right thing to do.

The one thing I've learned in my brief time here is that the Carrboro crowd has a good bit in common with Tom Delay.

I think I'll go raise some money for Bill Faison.

katrina, have you ever met or spoken with your - Our - county commissioners?

the idea that they don't take every beating heart into consideration as they deliberate is misguided.

go listen to the process and i think you'll find that they keep everyone in mind.

an at-large race means you represent the entire county.

maybe there's no one on the board from Schley, but that's not because the township has run them out of any political race on a rail.

run a good campaign countywide and you'll win.

this proposed system would divide our county and our Board of commissioners. there's no guarantee that getting a seat means getting things done.

Katrina,
I voted for Jacobs in the primary and paid no attention to Faison. I still have no idea who Faison really is. Would you really raise money for him? Do you know where he stands on such things as religious extremism, Delay's biblical worldview, following the spirit of democratic law?
I like the idea of district representation, but, frankly, I'm feeling a little paranoid. Over Easter I visited the Republicans in Virginia. They're getting scarrier, (so too is the Richmond Times Dispatch-- makes NANDO look like NYT). I really don't want to do anything that encourages extremists. I'm trying to believe that having Republicans at the county table will have a moderating influence on their views.

Mary et al...

Yes I have met several of our county commissioners in conjunction with the Orange County Democratic Women's boards and commissions project. I don't understand what that has to do with liking the idea of district representation.

If we elected congressmen for the state "at large", Chapel Hill/Carrboro's voice would be non-existent. And you can't tell me for one minute that Richard Burr would be thinking about Chapel Hill when he voted.
We have local representatives because different areas have different needs. Northern Orange is very different than CH/Carrboro. Suburban Carrboro is different than downtown. Having a voice in government menas having someone ( hopefully) that understands your community. I guess I don't see the harm in allowing Northern Orange one or two voices in five. It just seems like the right thing to do.

For what it's worth, Mary, I'm pretty happy with the bills Faison has introduced and sponsered. They include pay raises for teachers, tax credits for employing felons, subsidies for high-risk health insurance, and help for women and minorites to start small businesses. Those are all things that can make real differences in peoples lives, and I think that's government at its best.

Katrina,
Thanks for the response.
I'm sure you've noticed that your push for merging the towns never elicits a response from anyone on this forum. I can only assume that the silence points to the reality that District A is more than one community of interest. If we're going to be logical, and district representation is really about representing communities of interest, don't you think District A should be further divided?

I think Carrboro and Chapel Hill should merge. I rarely say it becouse I don't think it will ever happen. If it did half the politicians and quite a few buerocrats would be dead wood. One less mayor, one less town manager, one less police chief, et cetera. That's a lot of resistance. Add to that all the folks who think thier town would lose thier "specialness" if it was somehow tainted by merger with the other. Chapel Hill thinks Carrboro is filled with hippies. Carrboro thinks Chapel Hill is filled with yuppies. I think both towns could stand to look in the mirror.

Mary,

If you look through the various times I've mentioned it, many people have agreed that there is no logical reason why Chapel Hill and Carrboro are seperate towns. They merge geographically, neither is so large that it requires seperate services or governing bodies, and the financial realities are overwhelming. The towns should merge. It's pure hubris on the part of both town councils not to be investigating the viability of a merger. If you're truly, truly a progressive, and not just a lipservice liberal, I don't see how you can argue against an easy to implement plan that would free up millions of dollars every year for free buses, homeles shelters, jobs training, public art, public health....whatever your little liberal heart desires.( and I'm not name calling or questioning anybody's convictions. I'm just calling on anyone more "in the know" than myself to justify why this isn't being considered)

On the topic of subdividing district A. I guess it depends on how many county commissioners you think you need. If we subdivide A, that would mean that we increase the number to 9 commissioners. ( Based on keeping an odd # of commissioners). I'm not saying the Faison's plan is the "only" possible way to institute district voting. It's just the only one anybody has proposed.

One should never multi-task while posting. Mea Culpa I forgot to spell check my last post...

And as a final note, Mary, I think the deafening silence in response to my merger proposal is due to the lack of logical opposition to the plan.

I find it refreshing that the very same commissioners who repeatedly abuse *elected* school board members in public meetings and try to overstep legal authority by micro-managing local school boards are fretting over a little pressure via a perfectly legal action by a state representative.

One the one hand, the commisioners should have time to craft a proposal. And if they can do it in time, then perhaps Faison can amend his bill to respect whatever the commissioners come up with it. But does anyone really think that the particular commissioners speaking out so strongly against Faison are actually going to come up with a proposal without pressure from someone like Faison? History says no.

Faison calls for a referendum, which is appropriate for consideration for something not originating from the commissioners.

I would like to see 9 commissioners with 2 or 3 at large. I'm okay with one large ch/c district, but perhaps a CH and a Carrboro district would be better.

Imagine where Moses stands if the two rural Orange district commissioners say that their districts don't want school merger. It's over.

Would Moses win in his current district?

Both of the letters are posted at http://www.orangecountypolitics.org/index.php?p=11

Rep. Faison's proposal doesn't do much to improve the current situation. Under his proposal Chapel Hill Township would have a permanent majority on the Board and this might create an even deeper rift between northern and southern Orange County.

Currently, Chapel Hill Township residents hold 60% of the seats on the BOCC. Under Faison's proposal they will hold either 57% or 71% depending on whether the at-large seat is won by a Chapel Hill Township resident. That means that at most Chapel Hill Township will decline in its control of the BOCC by 3%.

Furthermore, under the Faison plan, the 57% of the BOCC from Chapel Hill Township will have no need to show any accountability to the other Townships in the County. Despite what some northern Orange voters may believe, under the current rules no one wins a seat on the BOCC without at least some support from northern Orange.

Okay I'll bite ...

Rep. Faison's proposal doesn't do much to improve the current situation. Under his proposal Chapel Hill Township would have a permanent majority on the Board and this might create an even deeper rift between northern and southern Orange County.

It is my understanding that Faison's redistricting plan isn't intended to reduce the influence of the Chapel Hill Township. It is intended to give Hillsborough and rural Orange County a voice on its Board of County Commissioners. Therein lies the improvement. Today, Hillsborough and rural Orange County have no voice.

Currently, Chapel Hill Township residents hold 60% of the seats on the BOCC. Under Faison's proposal they will hold either 57% or 71% depending on whether the at-large seat is won by a Chapel Hill Township resident. That means that at most Chapel Hill Township will decline in its control of the BOCC by 3%.

Again, it is my understanding that Faison's bill isn't aimed at reducing the majority vote that the Chapel Hill Township currently enjoys.

Furthermore, under the Faison plan, the 57% of the BOCC from Chapel Hill Township will have no need to show any accountability to the other Townships in the County. Despite what some northern Orange voters may believe, under the current rules no one wins a seat on the BOCC without at least some support from northern Orange.

This is the best point you have made Mark. However, folks could reasonably argue that the current sitting County Commisioners already ignore the needs of rural Orange County and Hillsborough.

For example, the Orange County Commissioners refuse, I repeat, refuse to endorse the Town of Hillsborough transportation improvement priority list. Hillsborough's number one transportation priority isn't even listed on Orange County's list. In fact, Commissioner Barry Jacobs has worked against Hillsborough citizens by forming loaded committees to work against the endorsed tranportation priorities by the Hillsborough Town Board. As Orange County's representative to the TAC, Alice Gordon has done everything she can to derail Hillsborough's TIP list at every turn.

Take a look at the 2002 Democratic Primary results for Steve Halkiotis. When one adds up the vote count from all the Northern Orange County precincts (Cheeks, Efland, Eno, St. Mary's, Cameron Park, Grady Brown, Hillsborough, West Hillsborough, Carr, Cedar Grove, Tolars, and Caldwell) Halkiotis came in dead last. Keith Cook would be a County Commissioner today if Northern Orange County votes counted.

Barry Jacobs, I believe, was the highest vote getter out of the same precincts in 2002. With district representation in place, he may very well remain a commissioner in District B ... or ... perhaps it will create a more competitive situation where Jacobs would have to work harder to keep those same votes that got him elected in the first place. In other words, Jacobs will not only have to drive a pickup and where coveralls, he might actually have to take a conservative position on something (say ... on school merger).

Faison's district representation plans wouldn't put rural Orange County or Hillsborough citizens in any worse predicament than they are in already. I believe Faison's plan would improve things for all of Orange County.

Paul, I understand your points. I support making some changes to the way we elect the BOCC, as you may recall from a prior discussion on this site.

And I certainly understand those who feel that the current BOCC has no accountability to the northern Orange voters. It would be interesting to give a more thorough analysis to the results of the 2002 race. In 2004, Valerie Foushee and Moses Carey clearly won partly off the strength of votes that they got in some northern Orange precincts. I have posted about that before, too.

But let's not squabble. My point is this: Under Faison's plan the majority of the BOCC will be even more liberal; at the same time, there will likely be at least one conservative on the Board. The more conservative view point does deserve a seat at the table, however the net effect of Faison's plan will be to leave conservatives more powerless, but perhaps less disenfranchised.

As an aside, if Faison's plan were implemented, why would anyone want to run for the one at-large seat?

Mark,

How does one go about editing ones posts such as you have done? It has been interesting to witness the transformation of your opinion to say the least. ;-)

My point is this: Under Faison's plan the majority of the BOCC will be even more liberal; at the same time, there will likely be at least one conservative on the Board. The more conservative view point does deserve a seat at the table, however the net effect of Faison's plan will be to leave conservatives more powerless, but perhaps less disenfranchised.

Well then. If we are to take your logic at face value, then all of the OC Commissioners should be promoting District Representation, not opposing it (as they are). After all, what better way to promote the liberal or progressive cause!?

Its sorta like "please, please don't throw me into the briar patch!". Isn't it?

;-)

You have to be pretty good friends with Ruby Sinreich to be able to edit your posts!

With all due respect to the BOCC, people are naturally biased toward the system from which they arose. That is, the procedure is by definition currently set up in a way that those five people are already good at.

But I think it would be a mistake to place too much emphasis on the question of the re-election ambitions of the current BOCC members. Surely many of them are planning on retiring within the next few years. [Oh man what a set up! Go ahead, Paul, tell us how likely you think that is!]

;)

Mark,

The rumor mill has been active on some county commisioner's future ambitions. Senator Ellie Kinnaird is likely to retire at some point in the coming years so someone will have to replace her. We already know that Barry Jacobs has greater aspirations of public service but I have also heard that Moses Cary does as well.

Back to District Representation, I agree with Bill Faison's statement that the issue is not about the current sitting BOCC. It is about the will of the people.

The people, it would seem, want District Representation, or at the very least, the opportunity to vote on District Representation. Whether or not we get to vote on District Representation in Novemeber will depend on whether Faison's bill passes or not.

It would also seem that at least four members of the current County Commission do not want the citizens of Orange County to have that choice. They have their various reasons.

Moses Cary has stated that he is, in fact, in favor of District Representation. He has said it many times over many years. I have actually heard him say it. I imagine that got him a good number of votes from the folks in the rural parts of Orange County.

However, there is a big difference between "talk" and "action". A good friend of mine has often said "support is an action verb". Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I do not recall Moses Cary blazing the District Representation trail in much the same manner as he pushed his school merger agenda. School merger, arguably, has been and continues to be a politically unpopular subject. That is probably why (even to this day) at least one commissioner continues to avoid taking a clearly defined position on the issue.

Moses Cary stepped up to the plate to pursue an issue he felt was very important and while I disagree with him on the issue, I do not fault him for doing what he believed was right.

Now that someone else is doing the same thing with District Representation (an issue that Cary allegedly supports), Cary cries foul.

Interesting.

PS - Ruby, can I be your friend? Sometimes I mis-spell words. ;-)

For example it is spelled "Carey."

There ya go ... ;-)

Here is a link to the 2002 Democratic Primary results for Northern Orange County Precincts that I mentioned in an earlier post.

At the risk of total irrelevance, I thought it might be interesting to see how the 2004 Democratic Primary for BOCC breaks down when viewed through the lens of Faison's proposed district.

It is important to remember that under Faison's plan the field of candidates and the method of selection would be different, so we cannot say what would have happened. However, perhaps we can feel something about the texture of these districts based on the following data:

District A (Chapel Hill area)
Candidate, % of vote received
Foushee, 29
Hemminger, 25
Brown, 22
Carey, 21
Lamb, 3

District B (Hillsborough area)
Candidate, % of vote received
Carey, 32
Brown, 28
Foushee, 16
Hemminger, 12
Lamb, 11

District C (Northern and Western Orange County)
Candidate, % of vote received
Carey, 31
Brown, 26
Foushee, 17
Lamb, 13
Hemminger, 13

Note also that in the general election in 2004, Republican Jamie Daniel came out ahead of the Democrats by a razor thin margin in District C. Although, there again we should note that the field of candidates and method of selection would be different under Faison's plan.

Still it gives the feeling that districts B and C would certainly pick different candidates than District A (although curiously Districts B and C went for the much criticized incumbents). And it seems entirely possible that District C might be represented by a Republican. That would not be impossible in District B, but it would be less likely.

I agree that there should be district representation, but I am loathe to think that adding 2 more positions to the BOCC is such a good proposal. The idea is less government, and true representation. Based on the corruption that exists today in Orange County and Chapelboro city governments, with the "good ole boy" network that's in place, and how hard they are fighting the constitutional idea of district representation, this is a move in the right direction.
Remember the old adage, "a hit dog hollers", and look at the "officials" who are crying over this proposal, and it becomes clear who stands to lose anything by this proposal.
I commend the courage of Rep. Faison in his two latest bills and am glad that those of us north of I-85 finally have a good statesman with Libertarian ideas.

Mark C.,

Thanks for doing the homework for me. This answers the somewhat rhetorical question I posed earlier. It appears that Carey would not have won (or even come close) in his current district under Faison's proposal.

District A (Chapel Hill area)
Candidate, % of vote received
Foushee, 29
Hemminger, 25
Brown, 22
Carey, 21
Lamb, 3

MarkP

Good point! Carey must protest this loudly as he stands to lose his "throne" when representation is the law. "A hit dog hollers"!

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