New neighbors

We knew last summer that then-Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth bought some property in Orange County just west of Carrboro. The picture became more complete with the announcement last Friday that Edwards has received a faculty appointment at UNC and will direct a new Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.My first reaction: what a testament to the drawing power of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system! It can't help John Edwards' exponentially-growing political career to hail from one of the most famously left-leaning communities in the region. I guess they felt it was worth spending some political capital to get the best for Jack and Emma. Of course I'm assuming they will be in public school.Second thought: the Edwardses are certainly role models for the nouveaux rich yuppies by positioning themselves to pay county/school taxes but not town taxes. This is exactly the type of growth that we hope to stem with the rural buffer and urban services boundary.Finally, what are the odds of running into them on the lawn at Weaver Street Market? I wouldn't mind giving Elizabeth Edwards a big hug for being unapologetic about, well, everything. Other than that, no big deal right?



My first thought: If trying to position yourself as a democratic populist, sending your kids to public schools is an excellent first step, even if you do "cherry pick" the school district.

My second thought. Wow! "nouveau riche yuppies." I thought as liberals, we tried not to label people. I guess by some peoples reckoning, it's okay to label white, college-educated suburbanites.Why assume the worst of people, Ruby? Maybe they just wanted a yard. Many people with children do.The au-currant ubiquitous planning model of "high density" residential living doesn't suit putting up a swing set, having a fenced yard for a dog, and many other "family-friendly" lifestyles, let alone the unique security concerns of the Edwards family.

And I would guess Elizabeth Edwards would still hug you, even though you think she's a "nouveau riche yuppie."

Ruby--that was just plain snarky and mean. Guess the forum rules don't apply to you?

And I haven't run in to Mrs. Edwards at Carr Mill, but I did meet Senator Edwards there--when he was a senator and one of the two younger children was in a stroller--pretty certain it was the little girl. He was very pleasant, and thanked me for holding the door open for the stroller.

HE had nice manners.

I'm pleased they bought that big chunk of land. Perhaps it'll STAY lovely now. (Does anyone else remeber how pretty the horse farm that USED to be Sunrise Creek was once upon a time?)

I would like to respectfully disagree with the notion that the current trend towards denser urban living precludes living arrangements that are friendly to children, or yards, or fences. The townhome form is more than capable of providing all three attributes.

Perhaps the best regional example of this type of density is historic Savannah, GA, which ranges from 7500-12000 people per square mile in central Savannah.

The 24 squares of the city break up roads and keep traffic slow-moving, while the closely spaced townhouses and estates maintain both density and privacy- most homes have private gardens and (albeit small) yards that are fenced in.

For bigger green spaces, well, most homes are less than a 5-minute walk from a square.

Not the best picture to illustrate this, but the best I could find on short notice.

One house on 102 acres doesn't strike me as sprawl. Even if it's a big house.

And the suggestion that you need to live outside of town to have a yard is a bit of a stretch. How big of a yard do you all mean?

Now, now ... listen. The Edwards' children would be well-educated regardless of where they choose to live. They have smart, well-educated, caring parents who have all they need to provide a wealth of educational opportunities.

As for "cherry-picking," we all give the CH-C schools entirely too much credit for being oh-so-great. They have an enviable demographic and the parents of all those high-achieving kids deserve a lot of the credit.

John & Elizabeth Edwards offered themselves to the country to pursue a progressive agenda that they seem to really believe in. I'm with Ruby ... if I run into Elizabeth at Weaver Street, I'm going to introduce myself, mention a mutual friend who went to law school with her, then I'm going to hug her neck like a damn groupie cause I admire her.

Then I'm going to buy her a cup of tea and offer to chase Jack around for a few minutes while she tries to relax.

Elizabeth told me last April that the REASON they were moving to Chapel Hill was to have their children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.

"I would like to respectfully disagree with the notion that the current trend towards denser urban living precludes living arrangements that are friendly to children, or yards, or fences. The townhome form is more than capable of providing all three attributes.

Perhaps the best regional example of this type of density is historic Savannah, GA, which ranges from 7500-12000 people per square mile in central Savannah."

Not so for my brother. He lived downtown (437 Tatnall) in an antebellum place that he restored himself. It was about one block from the "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" house.

He enjoyed it as a young married but it did not work once he had children. I don't know that he had many neighbors with enough "backyard" for a swing set. However, this area offered sufficient space for firewood and the trash bin.

Otherwise, the squares system does give the downtown area a different feel and Forsythe Park is great.

Think John will visit the homeless shelter? Poor people want to know
exactly what he is going to do for

Does it surprise you that Edwards might be living in the county so as to avoid city taxes? After all, this is the same John Edwards who set up a SubChapter S corporation so that he could avoid paying almost $290,000 in Medicare taxes. Curious given he is a self-described populist fighting against privileges for the rich and powerful...

Don't count on seeing Edwards at a homeless shelter, unless it's in New Hampshire. If being one of 100 US senators was just a stepping stone, this post is just a resume filler until the next election.

Maybe they just like the area? I'm as liberal as they come, but some people are out to find ulterior motives in everything. Just because they're famous (and of course, he's a lawyer and a politician) doesn't mean they're up to something.

I for one welcome our new neighbors.

By the way, I did a little research and although their kids are enrolled in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system, the Edwards are not registered to vote here in the School Board election this fall. :-P

John Edwards doesn't like to vote anyway.... Such a bother....

The Edwardses went to the Carrboro Music Festival and stopped by the OCDP table.

As for nouveaux rich, well, we all know John wasn't born into the lucky-sperm-and-egg club. He parlayed his power of persuasion into a lucrative career -- more power to him -- and his UNC appointment is perfectly in keeping with his anti-poverty mission. I believe he truly worries about poverty. Plus it's a tribute to UNC that he chooses to serve there. (He offered to manage my campaign, but I said, "No, John, you have more important things to do.")

My in-town dwelling features a fenced-in yard and a pooch. We have a third of an acre, which is large by in-town standards. Many owners of similarly sized lots have put rental houses in their back yards.

I agree with Jeff. We should be welcoming them instead of questioing their motives. After all, I think we're all happy to be here. I can't think of anywhere else I would've wanted to raise my kids. Aren't they entitled to the same happiness? If they do some good along the way, even better.

John Edwards is still registered in Wake County, and voted in the municipal elections on the 11th- it's all in the SBoE database. My friend and I looked it up randomly last week.

I think Edwards should live in Fallujah for about a year and then report back to us on the lovely little war he supports.

All I'm saying is that considering that Edwards just gave a speech encouraging people to get involved in their communities at the local, state, and national level it sends the wrong message for him to be voting in Raleigh while his kids are in Chapel Hill schools.

I don't think it asking so much for Edwards to register to vote where he lives. In fact, I think it's the law.

Ruby, I agree, but exactly when did he move into his permanent residence? My roommate didn't register here until Friday, and she's still not in the database under Orange County. I'm not trying to stick up for him, but he might very well have changed his registration in the past few days and it hasn't shown up yet. They still have me down as being active in both Buncombe and Orange County, and I moved my registration here almost a month ago.

And for an example of people not living where they vote, look at Mayor Meeker. He owned a house in Chapel Hill at some point in the last election cycle. I don't know if he does now, though.

The main reason I moved my registration here was to vote for Town Council, because there are not any elections at home that I can take part in. I'm moving mine back to Buncombe right after the election, because I care more about the 11th district Congressional race than anything here. Maybe he's just voting as often as he can :) If I were in Raleigh, I would have changed my registration here after last week's election- there's nothing illegal about that.

Anybody know where he lives?

I dont know how long they've been here, but if their kids started school at the beginning of the year I woud guess they've been here since at least August.

Off of Old Greensboro, I believe, but I found and article in the N&O from last June that says that the house isn't supposed to be completed until spring, and that they're living in West Raleigh for now, which might explain why he hasn't moved his registration.

Erin, Old Greensboro is their future home, but Edwards stated on Monday that his family is living in an apartment in Chapel Hill, and that the kids are in school here.

You may want to read the discussion at the link I posted earlier for some background on this.

Let's see if I can clear some things up for those posting or lurking.

When we planned to return to North Carolina, we thought about whether to come back to our house (of 23+ years) in Raleigh or to relocate elsewhere in the state. For reasons that are deeply personal, we decided to relocate. Well, where? We choose the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area for several reasons. One is what Gerry referred to: great public schools. Our older children attended public schools in Wake County, and I knew well the reputation of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System. But there are other reasons, too, including the level of political involvement of the people here, the proximity to UNC where John now has a position and works, and good and long-time friends who live here. Since John was otherwise occupied, I looked for a place to build, and we once had an option on some land inside the city limits, but when that didn't work out, I found the land we did purchase off Old Greensboro Road on the internet. We weren't looking for that much land, but when we saw it, we fell in love with it. In fact, it is just a few miles from the little church where we were married in 1977. The fact that it was outside city limits was not even in our consciousness, I have to say, until I was on the CHCSS site looking at the map to figure out what school the children would attend. Meanwhile, the house is being built and when we realized that there was no chance it would be done by school opening, we applied for(under a provision that permits building land owners to seek) admission of our younger children to the CHCSS, for which we paid tuition. When the Raleigh-Chapel Hill (x4 times a day) drive became too much for us (we're not so young anymore) and for the children, we decided to find a place to rent in Chapel Hill, which we have now done. We still have our house in Raleigh, where we have furniture and beds and 23 years of stuff and we will spend time there, too. In fact, we hadn't yet moved to Chapel Hill when we voted in October in Raleigh. I don't know if it is legal (and I don't think in any case it is proper) to vote in two different jurisdictions in the same cycle. We will register here and vote here, but not in this cycle. We are happy to call this home.
Was there anything else? Let's see, we have been to Weaver Street. Eaten at Elmos several times, gone to Southern States, shopped. In fact, I was part of the group that acted to save Carr Mill so long ago. (I lived in Carrboro from 1972 through 1977; my parents still own that house.) Anything else? The Fallajuh comment. John has said that the war was wrong and that his vote for the war was wrong. His taking responsibility for that vote, his direct statement that he was wrong (instead of watering it down with excuses) makes me very proud of him.

Elizabeth, welcome to Orange County and to OrangePolitics!

I really appreciate you taking the time to write this explanation, and I'm glad to hear that you will be participating in the local community once you all are settled. See you at Weaver Street!

Elizabeth, I'm also proud of John for taking responsibility for his vote - it's an act worth emulating (hint, hint DP!).

I wish you had an opportunity to vote in Chapel Hill this cycle, there's some fairly decent choices this round.

Welcome to the OP community.

Welcome to OP, Elizabeth. I hope you and John come to be a part of our local political scene as much as you have the national one.

> I don't know if it is legal (and I don't think in any case it is
> proper) to vote in two different jurisdictions in the same cycle.
> We will register here and vote here, but not in this cycle.

Voting and mobility have always been at odds. The second biggest barrier for me getting students registered to vote in this election (behind apathy, and perhaps laziness) is getting them to understand that they are a part of a community here, too! Many register to vote at "home," which seems rather silly to me except for those few who are more politically involved or knowledgable elsewhere.

I just had lunch with a friend of mine who was a UNC PhD grad not long ago and had just moved to NOLA to start a teaching job at Tulane not long ago. As a result of Hurricane Katrina he's been living in a Carrboro apartment for the past month or two. His wife worked in a DC lawfirm, and he had a temporary job before this one up in Ann Arbor. I was joking with him that he should have moved to Chapel Hill so he could have voted for me, and when we started talking about it he told me how guilty he felt that the last four places he had voted he ended up moving out of less than a year later.

What to do about "mobile voters" seems to be an increasing problem in today's society, especially in a place like Chapel Hill where I would assume at least a third of the people living here today won't be here in four years. For the last few cycles I've tried to keep my voter registration in the place where it would make the greatest impact, which for me involved some switching cycle to cycle. I think this ultimately needs to be decided by each individual voter, but I see it as no less morally savory to vote in the place where you'll be spending your next few years than to vote where you might live now.

Welcome home, Elizabeth!

Glad to see Elizabeth posting. I forwarded the link to this thread to her and she posted within the hour.

Elizabeth, I'm embarrassed to say that I wasn't aware that John called his vote on the war a mistake. Can you give me a cit for that so I can quote from it? Sorry we won't see you as much in Raleigh, but our loss is the OC's gain.

Wow, big news travels slowly. How did I miss the Democratic Party vice presidential candidate reversing his position on supporting the Iraq War and now opposing it? When did this happen? Did the media completely ignore it? Does anyone have a salient quote from Edwards that states his new position against the war?

I can agree about voters who have the choice between two residences picking the one where their vote can have the most impact. When we voted in Raleigh we had no choice; we were Raleigh residents. But even if we had that choice to make, the Raleigh City Council race had some very starkly different choices; we had the chance to help elect progressive family-friendly candidates. So we voted, and the new City Council in Raleigh will be much better for Raleigh.

> But even if we had that choice to make, the Raleigh City
> Council race had some very starkly different choices; we had
> the chance to help elect progressive family-friendly candidates. > So we voted, and the new City Council in Raleigh will be much
> better for Raleigh.

Indeed. The only reports I heard up until the election looked pretty bad for Russ Stephenson, who I'm so glad was able to pull off a victory. I think your vote had some utility there, and the Raleigh City Council has an even stronger Democratic majority as a result.

However, it seemed like the closest and most contentious elections over in Wake County were in the school board races. I don't think your particular district had anyone up this time around, but if it had, do you think you would have voted in it? Just curious - one of the longest arguments I remember having in any of my political science classes here at UNC is whether people without children in the school system should have a vote in school board elections. In fact, the (similar) discussion of whether non-citizens should be able to vote in school board elections (assuming they DO have kids in the schools) came up in a recent Carrboro / Chapel Hill candidates' forum put on by PA'Lante.

Welcome, Elizabeth. I look forward to seeing you at Southern States. (Actually--think I may have spoken with you--but didn't recognise you at the time--you were there with your brother?) My kids spent their entire school careers in CHCCS--I think you will be pleased. Mostly. I have been. (Mostly.)

Take care. Come holler if you need plants!


Welcome back! I'm glad you are well and can infuse Orange County with your dynamism. I thoroughy enjoyed your speech last fall in Raleigh at the Dorton Arena. John and Bon Jovi weren't bad either!
P.S. I taught at FPG once upon a time-great choice.fabulous school!

Let's see. Bob, I don't know where it is reported, but I know he was asked by a reporter when he was the Opportunity Rocks event in Chapel Hill. You will have to ask him directly so you can get his words instead of mine.

And you are right, Melanie, my brother and I came into Southern States looking for Sherry (the woman, not the drink).

Let me try this again - I know the media is generally weak on telling the truth concerning Iraq , but wouldn't Edwards revesing his position from support of the war to opposing it be HUGE news? Did I really miss it? If so, can anyone show me some proof?

Mark, the truth is that the press isn't asking the question much. Maybe Bob will; I know John was asked in Chapel Hill last week. Then a place in print where you can read his words -- not mine, or yours -- and, I hope, be satisfied that it is reported.

Will R:

What does the David Price comment mean? He voted against the war.

Mark--why would this be huge news now? Mr. Edwards is a private citizen again...not "newsworthy" as far as the press is concerned.

Though Jon Stewart seems to disagree.

I thought he did quite well on The Daily Show.


David Price voted against the war, yet wants it to continue for a while. John Edwards now opposes the war he supported while running for vice-president, yet nobody outside of his family knows it. Innocent Iraqis continue to die, the country has been bludgeoned into chaos, American soldiers are dying for neo-con power fantasies and incredible proits for Halliburton, Blackwater, the Carlyle group, etc. and our country is steadily weakening from the abuse. The Republican and Democratic parties support the war. A majority of citizens consider the Iraq War to be a failure. Where should these people look for leadership?

Lest you all think I don't listen to Elizabeth, I tried to reach John--who's traveling with the Opportunity Rocks tour--yesterday and today. But his spokeswoman, Kim Rubey, says he doesn't want to wing a conversation about the war and doesn't have the time for the "in-depth discussion" it merits. So--we're supposed to talk in depth about his poverty work when he gets back. I guess we'll have a second--and certainly related--topic as well. Though by then, a story in The Nation that former Independent Weekly editor Bob Moser was working on that day at UNC (he must be the reporter Elizabeth's thinking of, because I know the subject didn't come up otherwise--I was there) may tell all. Moser was going to interview John when the UNC "OR" event ended.

Moser's The Nation piece is published:

In an interview after the UNC speech, Edwards finally utters the words he'd assiduously avoided during the last campaign: "I voted for the resolution," he says. "It was a mistake."

full article at

coverage also at

Well - now we look beyond a subtle utterance for signs of authentic leadership and a clearer elucidation of an anti-war stance.

Or leadership that recognizes that pulling out of Iraq now will be an even bigger fiasco than the one we have now.

I'm not saying I agree or disagree with that idea -- I'm just tired of people slamming JE and DP for being "unprincipled." It is a perfectly valid, principled statement to say that voting for the war was wrong while at the same time recognizing the need to keep troops in Iraq. Hell, at this stage in the game, it's probably a voice in the wilderness looking to join with other voices, which in my book isn't a bad definition of leadership.

That, to me, is real progressivism. Knee-jerk politician-bashing gets us nowhere.

I wonder how many of the folks who voted FOR the war would have voted AGAINST the war if they'd been told the TRUTH? We'll never know, will we?

I was opposed to the war--and I am horrified by the way this administration has handled things--and I don't KNOW what we should do. Part of me thinks we need to stay and clean up the mess we helped make, and part of me thinks the longer we stay, the worse things GET.



Melanie, they were told the truth from the start - by thousands of demonstrators, letters from constituents, etc. - they just didn't listen.

Ruby--I was one of the letter writers. At least Mr. Edwards has admitted he made a mistake.

(More than most people ever do.)

So, please, edify me. Now that the damage is done--how would YOU orchestrate the departure of the US forces? The rebuilding of Iraq?


That, Melanie, is the very, very difficult question that I don't think anyone has a good answer to.

Yes, it's MUCH easier to say "I told you so."




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