Show us you're smart

We're just four days out from the election now, so I'd be interested to hear some predictions on a couple fronts:

Obviously the most intense race locally is the well funded Superior Court race between incumbents Carl Fox and Allen Baddour, and challengers Chuck Anderson and Adam Stein.

-One thing I'll be watching with interest Tuesday night is Carl Fox's performance. During both the primary and the general, Fox has run the lowest profile campaign of the contenders. In the primary he finished first by a large margin nonetheless, likely owing to his name recognition and magnetic personality.

But that was the primary, and the wider electorate in the general is less likely to be familiar with Fox's record and personality. I think he'll probably still finish first, but by a much smaller margin, at least percentage-wise, than in the spring.

-I think the breakdown of the vote between Orange and Chatham Counties could also play a large factor in determining the results. In November 2004, Orange County cast 72% of the votes between the two counties. But in the primary, the hot Chatham Commissioner primary brought out so many people relative to Orange County that the OC cast only 51% of the primary vote.

Why does this matter? Adam Stein finished well ahead of Anderson and Baddour in Orange County, but trailed them by a significant (although lesser) margin in Chatham County.

This would seem to indicate that the greater turnout is in Orange relative to Chatham, the greater Stein's chances are, and vice versa.

It's hard to say how that will play out. Both counties have redistricting referendums, but Chatham's is much hotter than Orange's. Also the 72% figure in 2004 for Orange County owed a lot to student votes, which figure to be comparatively few and far between this fall. Guess we'll see...

Anyway, I think all the candidates have run strong campaigns this fall. I'm not making any predictions on the outcome, but I'd be interested to hear yours.
_________________________________________
I'll also be interested to see how much of an impact the late breaking anti-Mike Nelson campaign has in the BOCC race. Clearly Nelson will win and by a significant margin, but will he finish well behind fellow Democrats Alice Gordon and Barry Jacobs?

In the 2004 general election, Moses Carey finished about 3,400 votes behind Val Foushee. This was likely due to residual opposition by the nomerger movement. That wasn't nearly as strong a factor in this year's primary, but Jamie Daniel (who I like on a personal level) seems to be waving the bloody shirt of merger to pick up some votes this fall.

Lingering annexation resentment is another factor that could hurt Mike this fall, although I was surprised in the primary that his performance in the Coles Store precinct, where annexees still voted then was not that bad.

I don't think there are ten voters who will really vote against Mike for raising a lot of money from out of county LGBT activists, nor do I think Robin Cutson writing a letter to the editor criticizing his environmental credentials is going to carry much weight with anyone.

I think Mike will probably finish a few thousand votes back like Moses did because of the merger suspicion, but comfortably win.

________________
Anyway, I guess I should be most interested in what Fred Black thinks since he picked the election results perfectly last fall, but consider this a pre-election open thread. What's going on out there, have you voted yet, have you had any interesting experiences, what do you think's going to happen?

Issues: 

Total votes: 174

Comments

Will - thanks for the time and effort you put in on this issue.

I think that newspaper endorsements carry far more weight on referendums than on individual candidates. The fact that the Independent, the CH News, and the Herald all endorsed this measure probably paved the way. Had just one paper taken a more thorough & critical look, it may have raised sufficient awareness of the inherent mediocrity of the "reform".

Nothing against Mike's win but don't you think straight ticket voting might have played a role in Mike's numbers Tom? I observed many folks asking the Dem poll workers for "their ballot". And then there's the power of the Indy-endorsement cheat sheet.

I knew defeating the referendum was an uphill battle - especially with the sugar-coating of board expansion.

In my informal polling, and after talking to folks at various soirees last night, I've got a small read on how it played out. Folks leaving the polls told me they thought they voted to expand the board only. As far as districting, they either didn't think closely about it, were concerned but thought it worth a try or really didn't care one way or the other.

I talked to very few folks that supported districting - only one that actually was enthusiastic. My sample was fairly small, less than 50 folks. The afternoon rains really didn't make it easy to asks folks to pause for a moment and discuss their choices.

So, with Mike on-board and reform in the air, I'm going to wait until the new BOC is seated to ask for the next steps to be taken - non-partisan races, cumulative voting, super-precincts, another run at voter-owned elections and lower caps - ala Chapel Hill - on contributions.

Further, I'll be asking them to start thinking about how to share the power to modify the district lines with the people so that the Chatham chaos can be forestalled.

I mean that the ones he finished fourth in he only finished out of the money by a small margin, if that was unclear.

I would like to congratulate Mike Nelson on a most impressive finish in the BOCC race. Near as I can tell he was a winner in all but three precincts in the county, and those just by a narrow margin.

Most notably he finished a solid third in the Hogan Farms precinct where many of Carrboro's annexed residents live.

Congratulations on a finish that reflects a broad base of support from around the county Mike!

Alan, that is a legitimate issue, but I just can't see how Beverly (sp?) Perdue can be stopped by any Democrat or Republican from winning the Governor's Mansion. Assuming I'm right about that, then electing Stein will be, in part, handing an appointment to future Gov. Perdue. That is a risk that I am okay with.

Gee, running for office and actually really wanting to win. Shame on Adam Stein. That said, one point I haven't seen raised here is the distinct possibility we'll have a conservative Republican governor (after all, Easley might as well be a Republican) by the time Stein would have to resign. That governor would get to fill the vacancy. In my mind, THAT is the reason that Stein's candidacy should be questioned by those concerned with the politicization of the judicial ranks. Arguments that minimize his fine credentials are really grasping at straws.

Oy already, indeed. I guess it matters what's important to you.

Oy, indeed. Plus the weather's gonna be junky tomorrow. I predict a very close margin on the Orange redistricting referendum, which might bring more voters out on a rainy day than we normally see.

Oy already, get a room you two!

And for judges, what exactly does "transparency in the governance process" mean?

Most likely only very invovled voters are going to vote in this one
Because of that I predict
Gordon,Jacobs..Nelson 3rd with a surprisingly low % of Carrboro votes
Anderson and Baddour..because they both have a lot of supporters who will only vote for them becuase they think Carl does not need their vote to win they will try to give their favorite a boost.People like Carl but few feel very strongly about him and so will vote only for their first pick and assume that Carl has enough votes to win,they will be wrong.Too many informed voters are concerned about Adam's age,which is a shame
JAcquie

If there's any inference to be made, it is that a candidate's attitude about greater transparency in the campaign process might be reflective of a candidate's attitude about transparency in the governance process.

I agree.

Fred, the metaphor was handy but a bit strained. If it offends you, please accept my apology.

I was trying to say that simply complying with a law is not always sufficient, reasonable or right.

There's no innuendo in what I've said about the judges reports. I've been equally critical of those I support and those I don't. The point (and this is it for me on this thread), is that any candidate - the BOCC's, the Superior Court's, the Soil and Water Supervisor's - can now, with little effort, publish the contents of their campaign reports prior to the legally proscribed date.

I think I've established, by words and deeds, that I believe this to be a great way to promote transparency in the elective process.

If there's any inference to be made, it is that a candidate's attitude about greater transparency in the campaign process might be reflective of a candidate's attitude about transparency in the governance process.

And that's no hidden inference - a simple search of OP, CitizenWill, etc. will bring up numerous examples of my public equation of the two.

That's it folks - at least on this thread.

The weather might be a bit nasty tomorrow - so please folks, encourage everyone to overcome and get out and vote.

Please forgive my typo in the above post.

It is http:www.northcarolinarepublicans.org (not .com)

Republcan Commando

It's sad to think that you believe that candidates following a law on campaign finance reports is like upholding a law that required the segregation of the races. Like what the folks in Montgomery so bravely did, change the law if you don't like it, but stop the innuendos about those who didn't comply with your “public call.”

Well, local politics in this area are mostly democrat cantidates (many of whom are fine, competent men and women) and as some know, we are endorsing Lewis Cheek in the DA race over a "wannabe" who happens to be "republican".

I personally think Mr. Fox is a good man with a good history and Durham's current sheriff is an excellent man for the job.

It is hard to know what will happen on the national scale, though. I'll have to vote national security there.

Some recent events like John Kerry (video available at http://www.northcarolinarepublicans.org ) showing democrat contempt for our military and the Islam video (also available at the same site and much more important) may have some effect.

It has not been that long that Chapel Hill was the victim of the Islamic war on the US. Had the man been competent it would have been a much worse thing. For so many years I had a rose colored view of CH and Carboro that there could never be violence there.....

Anyway, everyone should check out that Obession video and see how it affects your politics.

Republican Commando
http://www.northcarolinarepublicans.com

No card intended, just a handy example from a post I was writing on a separate topic.

I'd like to clarify a distinction I'm trying to make on the finance reports.

Yes, I understand that the reports were made available to traditional news outlets that asked for them in a timely manner.

No, I don't understand why a candidate wouldn't avail themselves of "walking the talk" and make their reports available, even in a simple scanned version, concurrently via their own websites.

The media does a service when they analyze the primary source material but is their filtered content the only avenue the electorate should have for evaluating the candidates' finances?

Will, please! Don't play that card on me; it's offensive.

Ahh, what's legal, say Montgomery ordinance C.6.10-11, must be what's right.

The deadlines are a compromise amongst many factors - practicality, political gamesmanship, public good, etc.

Candidates have it within their power to do better than the law demands - to serve their constituents above and beyond the legal call - to set an example for others to follow. They do not have to move the voters to the back of the bus.

Do they "have to"? No.

Is my call anymore special than anyone elses? No.

But if no one asks, will candidates answer?

I do see the difference Fred, don't you.

Howdy. Looping back to the original topic of the thread, here are my predictions:

Superior Court (two judgeships): Carl Fox, Adam Stein, Chuck Anderson, Allan Baddour, in that order (district-wide).

State Senate: Ellie Kinnaird 65%, E.B. Alston 35% (district-wide).

BOCC (three seats): Alice Gordon and Barry Jacobs, in that order, for the first two seats. Third seat: Mike Nelson 53%, Jamie Daniel 47%.

Districting Referendum: Passes 53%-47%.

Peace,
Mark H.

Your answer Will, indicates that you don't understand the question. If the State mandates a specific date and Will Raymond wants an earlier date, why should candidates go with your date? You say it's doing the right thing, but doing the right thing is to comply with the law. You, and others, think that it would be better to provide information earlier than the law requires. I hope that you can see the difference. I think that the candidates did.

Bob Orr is a terrific judge and public servant

My public call was timed to coincide with the date the 3rd quarter closed, the date the BOE recommends that your paperwork be complete (in fact, they suggest keeping your paperwork current throughout the cycle).

"What's the incentive?" you ask Fred. What's the reason?

How about the same reason you do the right thing even if no one is watching. Is that good enough?

WillR writes:
"Fox's 3rd quarter report [PDF] was available by Friday. Soon enough for weekend perusal but late enough to miss the news cycle if anything untoward had popped up."

If it was hand delivered on Oct. 30 and not scanned until Nov. 3, who's responsible for that? Once again, the goal should be to have critical info out there before the first person can vote. That means the State must revise the deadlines.

Why do you think these candidates would make job of responding to the legal deadlines harder by responding to your "public call?" What's the incentive, knowing that the great majority won't even bother to vote, let alone care where the campaign money came from?

PS: Heard from Bob Orr AND Bill Clinton this morning. Orr wanted me to vote for Baddour and Clinton wanted me to vote the Democratic straight ticket and for the Democrats running for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Tom, since you find it "ironic" that Orr only served a fraction of his term because he voluntarily stepped down for political purposes, I guess you find it triply so that Stein is voluntarily running a big money campaign knowing he will be forced out in 2+ years.

Whether intentional or not, some candidates know they can play the "float" between submitting the report and public availability.

That's why I made a public call to the candidates to pre-release and/or ensure prompt disclosure. Baddour and Stein were on top of this enough to give the citizenry and our 4th estate some time to evaluate their contributions.

While Daniels, Gordon and Jacobs were on their game - Mike Nelson lagged. I even called Mike to see if he'd voluntarily release the information to serve the public better...

I don't think Fox or Anderson were gaming the system but the outcome was the same.

The SBOE could make the process both easier and quicker - they know that and they're working the issue.

BTW, Anderson's report is downloading very, very slowly so I've posted another copy here.

Surely one of you smart folks knows what time the polls are open tomorrow. I looked at the Orange County Board of Elections website, but if this information is there, it's buried where my poor eyes can't see it.

6:30AM to 7:30PM

FYI:

Note precinct changes: More information here.

Battle Park precinct votes at the Chapel Hill Senior Center 400-A S. Elliott Road Chapel Hill for the November 7, 2006 Election only.

Coles Store precinct have been split into two precincts.The School Districts divider line determines your precinct and voting location:

If you live in the Orange County School District (to be known as Coles Store 1 Precinct), you will continue to vote at the Union Grove Methodist Church, 6407 Union Grove Church Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

If you live in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro School District (to be known as Hogan Farms Precinct), you will now vote at the Lake Hogan Farms Clubhouse, 101 Commons Way Dr, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

Will-

Anderson's report showed up online Saturday and I don't think the delays in the reports being posted has anything to do with Anderson or Fox being slow- the BOE website says that Fox's came in on time on the 30th and that Anderson's was in hand on the 31st, which means it must have been postmarked on time.

The delay was in Raleigh, not with the candidates.

Reports of a call from former Republican Supreme Court judge Bob Orr for Baddour this morning. Ironically Orr chose to serve only 1.5 years of the eight year term he was elected to in 2002 even though he certainly could have served the whole thing.

OK, tempered kudos for Baddour and Stein for being prompt on their 3rd quarter campaign reports (here
). Tempered because all of the candidates had the means, a website, to self-publish the figures prior to the polls opening. Maybe next year.

So, 2 1/2 stars for promptness.

Fox's 3rd quarter report [PDF] was available by Friday. Soon enough for weekend perusal but late enough to miss the news cycle if anything untoward had popped up.

Anderson, a judicial election reformer and a candidate I support, was the laggard with his
3rd quarter [PDF] report appearing just today (Nov. 6th).

Howdy again. Since we're talking about "push polls," I should note that they aren't "polls" at all. They're persuasion calls masquerading as polls, and they're usually negative-persuasion calls--that is, they're used to slime an opposing candidate, or (worse) to pre-test several different possible slimes for their effectiveness.

It's not merely distasteful; it is deliberately false and deceptive. This skanky practice diminishes the public's confindence in, and willingness to cooperate with, legitimate market research and public opinion surveys (such as I do for a living). "Push polling" is universally condemned by market and opinion research organizations, and is an extremely serious violation of our industry's codes of professional responsibility.

Just so you know...

Peace,
Mark H.

(P.S.: Having Mark K. and Mark C. and Mark P. and myself possibly other Marks on here on one thread is kinda fun...and a testament to how little imagination our parents' generation had when it came to baby names!)

Twelve grand on robo-calls, huh? That seems wasteful, seeing as how easy it is to hang up on them. Much more wasteful, however, is the amount of heavy shiny paper mailed out by the Stein campaign.

The only thing I know for sure about Adam Stein is that he wants to win badly enough to create a recycling hassle.

Cat, the calls were made by humans. After some quick Googling it appears that such calls run to $4 or more per.... $12K would go quickly considering the per call cost + the overhead of analysis.

Andrea, our calls seem downright hospitable compared to what's going on in other races:

A bit more info on the robocall scam coming out of New York state. People on the ground seem to be putting the pieces together. A wave of harassing calls paid for by the NRCC targetting probable Democratic voters and uncommitteds with the intent of getting them pissed off at multiple repeat call-backs from what they think is the Dem campaign.

If you've gotten the calls, let us know. We want specifics.

Via TalkingPointsMemo

To add briefly, to Mark K's comments above, the NC Supreme Court also hears appeals of cases in which the defendant has recieved a life sentence. That is, such cases do not go through the Court of Appeals.

Mark K is quite right, though, in saying that there are tons of footnotes to these rules. Consider for example that there are many other obscure courts from which one might file an appeal. For example Workers Compensation claims are heard initially by the NC Industrial Commission and appeals go from there to . . . I don't know actually, but the point is that there are plenty of obscure appelate procedure rules in North Carolina.

The Supreme Court races are plenty important though. The Justices are the ultimate arbiters of North Carolina law and the place where all death sentences and life sentences are appealed. As Terri says though, as a practical matter most cases will never get past the NC Court of Appeals (most actually never even get that far), so the Ct of App is critical. If you were denied justice at trial in North Carolina, your main hope would be at the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Will-

The poll you link to from the earlier thread was clearly done by the Baddour campaign.

There's a 12k expenditure for it dated August 11th on his most recent report.

The recipient was:

ANZALONE LISZT RESEARCH
260 COMMERCE STREET--4TH FLOOR
MONTGOMERY, AL 36104

___________
To clarify though, it was not a push poll, which would have been highly distasteful. If the poll was how Judge Baddour wanted to spend his money that is perfectly respectable and I hope he feels he got his money's worth out of it.

Andrea, to listen to folks they find the calls: irritating, not informative (too short or sound-bitey), irritating ;-), etc.

Several states have banned automated calling - Indiana, I think South Dakota, a few more - and have so far been supported in their ban because other avenues for unsolicited speech ("ads") exist.

During my run I got solicitations from companies doing robo-calls for between $0.10 to $0.27 a call depending on the target demographic (the more targeted, the more expensive). Of course, these guys claimed it was quite effective ;-).

Here, I think, the cost makes them appear attractive - the cheapest mailings, even in the thousands, cost 4-5 times as much. Given the possibility of cheesing off a potential voter, it seems kind of reckless. Maybe candidates feel that the irritation is forgotten before the name recognition - that lingering traces of "I've heard of that person before..." will not be associated with the "where I heard them..."

I've read various research that kind of backs that theory (I'll look it up after I mow the lawn).

The only candidate I've discussed this with this year was Judge Anderson. He said that folks had suggested using a $0.06 a call service that hangs up if a human answers but, on principle alone, he rejected this approach. Good for him.

The one area of robo-calling that does seem to be effective is "robo-push-polling", though there's quite a margin between various ad hoc studies. It seems that the interactivity/non-passivity of the faux survey, with questions designed to elicit changes in attitude, plays a role in their effectivity. Again, I'll look the cites up later.

There is legitimate phone surveying. If you're uncertain about key issues in your district it's an effective tool but now-a-days it seems that the difference between push-polling and legit polling can be confusing.

Has anyone received any push polling beyond the earlier reported incidents? Maybe we can collectively put together a list of who is bombarding us. I know I have about 10 calls on the answering machine now.

I have been getting many robo calls, so many from one candidate that I am irritated. I know these calls are cheaper than mailings, but do they get results?

It would be an interesting post election analysis to see if the candidates who used extensive (or any) robo calls are winners.

Citizen Will do you have any information on the effectiveness of robo calls supporting specific candidates, compared to general GOTV robo calls.

For those who learn visually, p. 5 of this doc puts Mark K excellent explanation of the appeals process to picture.

http://www.nccourts.org/Citizens/Publications/Documents/JudicialSystem.pdf

Terri, was just re-reading your post and add:

Also, those Federal District Court judges, like all federal judges don't run for election. All are appointed by the President. None of them are elected. So when you're telling people about any judicial elections, you should never find yourself talking about the federal court system.

Thanks Mark. Sounds like we need to be paying much more attention to the candidates for the Court of Appeals--no jury, end of the road decisions.

How unfortunate that the federal court gets nicer furnishings than the state courts. :) I assume the state pay scale increases as you move up the hierarchy. Is that correct?

Interestingly, Mark H. applauds Democracy NC for judicial election reform in the same post where he supports Mr. Nelson's campaign financing.

Democracy NC would certainly object to the out of county donations.

Terri,

The NC Supreme Court is the court of last resort in North Carolina. The Chief is the head of the judicial branch of government. She is joined on the court by 6 Associates. They hear cases that originate in district court, and superior court. (only some special district court cases though). Many cases come to them after having been heard through the Court of Appeals, except Death Penalty cases which the allows to by-pass the Court of Appeals and go straight to the Supreme Court. Death cases consume a vast amount of Supreme Court time (a little less in recent years).

The Court of Appeals is the intermediary appeals court. Parties appeal decisions from the lower trial courts. There are lots of Court of Appeals judges to handle the tons and tons of cases they receive each year. They break up into 3 judge teams to hear each case. (Actually they don't "hear" most cases. Most cases are decided only on the papers). If you lose a case in the Court of Appeals, unless one of the 3 judges has dissented, you don't have a right to appeal any further. You'r done. You can ask the NC Supreme Court to review the case, but they don't have to if the Court of Appeals was unanimous, i.e. 3-0.

Superior and District Courts are our trial courts.
Superior Courts handle felonies and civil cases involving large sums of money. Its the court where juries are seated to decide cases. Like the Peterson trial. District Court has trials too, but there are no juries. The judges decide the cases. They handle small crimes, traffic, juvenile, and family law cases. If you have a trial in District Court and you lose, you have a right to ask for a jury to decide your case in Superior Court. If you choose to exercise that right, the decision of the District Court judge is not factored into the ultimate outcome.

There are some exceptions to how cases flow through the system, but that's pretty much how it works.

One of the confusing elements is that the Federal Trial court is also called District Court. It's like a state superior court, only the furnishings are nicer. There are juries, etc. They only handle cases when the issue turns on a federal law. They don't concern themselves with issues of state law except in some very limited circumstances. If you lose a case there, you appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia and then to the US Supreme Court. US Supreme Court review is of course discretionary, you rarely ever have a right to have them review your case.

Thanks Duncan and Gerry for the explanations and the references. I'm working the polls on Tuesday and want to be able to explain this to others (I am still vacillating between Allen Baddour, Charles Anderson and Carl Fox--still irritated by the Dalzell case).

Slightly off-topic: Can someone please verify that I have the court functions correct?

State Supreme Court: highest level of state court, hears appeals cases from the superior court (only appeals?)

Superior Court: state level court that hears felony cases, civil cases of value over $10,000 in jeopardy, and appeals cases from the lower municipal court

Appeals Court: state level court that hears appeals from lower level trial or appellate courts stemming from errors in law, fact, or due process (traffic court? what other courts are lower level?)

District Court: first level of federal court system, hears civil and criminal trial cases. (what courts send cases to the district court?)

There's actually been some stirring in the General Assembly about re-examining the retirement age issue.
The statute involved is:
http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_...
§ 7A‑4.20. Age limit for service as justice or judge: exception.
No justice or judge of the General Court of Justice may continue in office beyond the last day of the month in which he attains his seventy‑second birthday, but justices and judges so retired may be recalled for periods of temporary service as provided in Subchapters II and III of this chapter.

In 2005, two bills were filed to allow a DISTRICT coutr judge who reaches age 72 to finish the term of office, although neither bill got out of committee:
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2005&Bil...
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2005&Bil...
A house committee actually approved a bill last year to allow any judge to finish the entire YEAR in which they reach 72, rather than just the month they turn 72 (the bill was sent back to committee)
http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2005/Bills/Senate/HTML/S523v3.html (see section 4)

Jane, thank you for writing the SBOE about the reports.

I sent them a detailed list of "simple" (making the PDF versions of their forms writable) and "common" ( standards-based formats) techniques to make the process even incrementally better after my 2005 run (which involved a lot less money but a similar amount of paperwork).

Maybe there's some point where a critical mass of suggestions/observations will end up jerking the SBOE's operations into the 21st century.

That said, the candidates can fill the gap by self-publishing their finances in a timely manner.

The Superior Court 15B race been quite an interesting one to follow - good luck on the final run-up.

Mark C,

The Indy's explanation is simply wrong.

Stein does not "have" to become a recalled retired judge when he retires. He can ask to become one and, if the chief justice sees fit, he can become one. He'll join more than two dozen other recalled retired judges on the state list, most (if not all of whom) have much more experience on the bench than Stein would have if he were to serve his 2 1/2 years. I don't know who the Indy spoke to at the AOC (and it's curious that they're not quoted by name), but everything I hear from actual recalled retired judges and the AOC indicates that any one of the retired judges is rarely called.

Because of the number of recalled retired judges on the list, openings are coveted and tend to be assigned by seniority, years on the list, and geographic proximity. But geographic proximity, for us, includes Wake County, and there are many retired Wake judges on the recalled list who are more likely to get appointed in Wake and in Orange before Stein.

If expansion in the Triangle requires more judges, the legislature will approve more permanent judgeships. The idea that the AOC would rely on recalled retired judges to take up the slack is silly and has never been the case.

Stein has managed to muddy the waters on this issue significantly if someone as informed and intelligent as Terri Buckner is still puzzled by it. He has acted with disrespect for the office by running as if its eight-year term of office were of no concern, that 2 1/2 years of Adam Stein on the bench is worth throwing off one of the two worthy, experienced, and outstanding judges we already have hearing cases _right now_. He's acted with disrespect for the office by raising the issue of recalled retired judges and then failing to explain that issue properly, and in only the most pie-in-the-sky optimistic terms.

Adam Stein will rarely hear cases after he is retired in 2 1/2 years. I'm so sure of that, I've put my money where my mouth is.

As you all can probably guess, I have some disagreements with Duncan Murrell's posts. Not a lot of fun to read! However his recent statement

"Having watched one of those treasurers spend much of the time between the 21st and the 29th, three hours a night, getting everything straight and legal using the BOE's !@#$%&* software, I'm not sure how much quicker it could have been done without updating the software and making it more user friendly."

is one that I totally agree with. I'm planning to write up some fairly strong complaints to the State Board of Elections after this is all over and hope that other campaign finance people will do the same. We had to keep two separate databases since there's no way to import into the state's archaic software.

Anxiously awaiting Wednesday,
Jane Stein

Mark K says: "but I understand that for you and many it is the only issue"

I closely follow all of the county's and CHCCS BOE's agenda items and many of the Chapel Hill items and have commented on many of these topics. I closely follow national issues. I frequently email and speak to the county commissioners and staff about a variety of topics. I kindly ask that you stick to discussion of the facts rather than resorting to personal attacks.

Mark K says: "These monies come from people who are very active in their local communities."

County commissioner elections are about people in a county electing their commissioners. As others have stated, this is not a state or national race, it is a county race. When out of county people choose to move into the county, then they can vote and contribute money to influence the election. I am okay with a small amount of out of county money for startup costs. Where we disagree is that you appear to think that any amount of external influence is okay. The point is that the contributors we are discussing do not live in this county, so their level of activity in their own county is irrelevant.

I agree with Will's points about the lack of distribution of money to other candidates who support gay rights. Would Mrs. Gordon and Mr. Jacobs qualify for such support given their support of gay rights?

I agree with Terri's point that the lesser amounts of money should be distributed to more gay rights candidates.

Dan Coleman says: "I agree with Mark Peters about keeping funding for campaign local (it is arguably somewhat different when the race is for a state or national office)."

Thanks Dan.

MarkP

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