Foy or Chilton qualified to be President?

Given the GOP's pick for VP, I am asking if there are those who think being mayor of Chapel Hill or Carboro, both with larger populations than Wasilla, Alaska make them qualified to be a heart beat away from the presidency?  Interesting and frightening.





I think either one of them would easily make a better Vice President than Sarah Palin, and that's not just because I disagree with her on every position imaginable. In fact, I've often thought that Mayor Chilton would make a good Congressmember or even President some day. In addition to positions I usually agree with, he's got good negotiating skills, strong political instincts, a good head for strategy, and also has a surprisingly deep knowledge of US history.

Kevin looks good in a dark suit, so he'd be good for those state funerals that the VP always has to go to.

Seriously, though, those are kind words, Ruby.  But, there is no question that Sarah Palin is about the least qualified VP candidate ever - at least on paper.

On the other hand, President of the United States must be an office that is so amazingly more responsibility than any other that no one could be said to be truly fully prepared for it.  I think only five people alive today really, truly have any idea what it is to be President and I doubt that some of them would really even be up to the task at this point.

What's more striking is Sen. McCain's overtly political and poorly researched choice.  No one can seriously argue that Palin is the best choice.  Even accepting the overtly political move of nominating a woman for her own sake, Palin is still not the most qualified or best Republican woman.  And now it comes to light that she has engaged in questionable employment practices as Governor - and it appears that her own family is proving the shortcomings of "abstinence only" sex ed - that's not Sarah Palin's fault, but that is her educational policy. 

Frankly, she's a walking train wreck as a VP candidate.  Biden does have his shortcomings, but he's certainly more prepared than most people to be President.

Mark, If you are talking about the "troopergate" issue, they are only allegations at this point.

The more time we spend saying that being Mayor of a Small Town and then becoming Governor of a Not So Populated State makes you less qualified than say being a trial lawyer and then serving in the Senate for a term, the more we alienate voters who identify themselves as smart independent people who have chosen to live rurally.


I have long-ago friends in Kasilof, Alaska, who consider themselves to have expatriated.  They pooled their fortunes, bought land, and left for good.  I'm sure they don't know and don't care what's going on in the rest of the world.  Ms. Palin would be a fine addition to the cast of Northern Exposure.  Her VP nomination bugs me for many reasons, chief of which is the insult to women voters who are expected to flock like lemmings to the other side.  I'm hoping for a backlash.  

Of course I/we don't want to alienate the entire voting population of Alaska. We probably stand to learn more about Alaska in the course of this campaign season, kind of like we learned more about China during the Olympics.  

That's assuming that anyone expects Clinton's supporters to flock to Palin like lemmings and that she wasn't chosen because Clinton supporters will flock to criticize her like lemmings thus alienating all the women who personally identify more with Sarah Palin than they do with Hilary Clinton. 


I'm with Catherine on this one. Who'd have guessed that Aslaska and Hawaii would be so dominant in Presidential Politics?

Bottom line is McCain's what's good for the next five minutes judgment. Were he thinking for the long term, he'd have invited Palin to be the Keynote speaker at the convention. (Like Obama was on '04 and Clinton was in '88) Perhaps by the next cycle, she'd have been viewed as an up-and-coming star in her party. Now, she'll be an Harriet Miers-esque punchline. I don't agree with one thing this woman stnads for, but she doesn't deserve that. Nobody does.

McCain's right about one thing ... it IS all about judgment.

I hereby cast my VP vote for Mayor Chilton, who so graciously deferred to Mayor Foy earlier today.  Either candidate would conduct himself impeccably at state funerals.  But why campaign at all for John McCain's second-in-command when Barack Obama has Joe Biden backing him up?  This is so silly. 
Silliness is good once in a while.
Chapel Hill has borders with UNC and Carrboro.  All those relationships can get dicey and require sensitive diplomacy that minimize the chance for hostile actions.  That results in experience that matters.
Jon Stewart of the Daily Show had a great comment Friday: "The GOP is saying that Alaska is close to Russia so this makes her a foreign policy expert.  By this reasoning, since Alaska is close to the North Pole, she must know Santa Claus."

The topic of this thread was one of the first things I thought of when I learned the background of Sarah Palin but I didn't want to post it because I thought it might not qualify as local politics.  According to the 2000 census numbers, Chapel Hill has about nine times the population of Wasilla, Alaska.  Isn't the job of mayor of Chapel Hill a part time job?  From 1992 to 2002 she was on the city council and then mayor of a town 1/9th the size of Chapel Hill.

 If Sarah Palin is qualified to be VP of the USA then Kevin Foy is qualified to be Supreme Ruler of Earth.

Hopefully the nation does not go back to sleep after an Obama/Biden victory and think that all has been corrected. Here's a Cheneyesque pre-Iraq war quote from Biden:

"I do not believe this is a rush to war. I believe it is a march to peace and security. I believe that failure to overwhelmingly support this resolution is likely to enhance the prospects that war will occur. ... [Saddam Hussein] possesses chemical and biological weapons and is seeking nuclear weapons. ... For four years now, he has prevented United Nations inspectors from uncovering those weapons...

The terms of surrender dictated by the United Nations require him to declare and destroy his weapons of mass destruction programs. He has not done so. ...

Many predicted the administration would refuse to give the weapons inspectors one last chance to disarm. ...

Mr. President, President Bush did not lash out precipitously after 9/11. He did not snub the U.N. or our allies. He did not dismiss a new inspection regime. He did not ignore the Congress. At each pivotal moment, he has chosen a course of moderation and deliberation. ...

For two decades, Saddam Hussein has relentlessly pursued weapons of mass destruction. There is a broad agreement that he retains chemical and biological weapons, the means to manufacture those weapons and modified Scud missiles, and that he is actively seeking a nuclear capability. ...

We must be clear with the American people that we are committing to Iraq for the long haul; not just the day after, but the decade after.... I am absolutely confident the President will not take us to war alone. I am absolutely confident we will enhance his ability to get the world to be with us by us voting for this resolution."

I would be upset with the party.  They blew their chance to win this election when Hilary was passed up for VP.  Biden is an insider just like McCain.  Bad choice.


I think Palin would make a good VP.

Let's make comparisons after Foy or Chilton get elected governor.
Sen. McCain is 22 years older than the State of Alaska! He was born August 29, 1936 and Alaska achieved statehood on January 3, 1959.  Were our mayors even born then?
Kevin was 3 years old then.  I was -11.
Mark, have you been vetted and you're just not telling us? 
Sorry, i signed an agreement that does not allow me to respond.

In spite of considerable opposition on the home front, I've been watching the Republican convention this week very closely.  Ms. Palin's "speech" drew applause for snipy jabs at Barack's experience, comments she has no right to make. 

But it was this from Mike Huckabee that blew my mind:  I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

More Dems should have heard that and howled with rage.  


Gov Palin made numerous comments about both O'bama and herself that were quite inaccurate. So what's new in politics?  She did the dirty work very well.  She is a much better speaker than McCain.  Her style, even with the snippy jabs, is going to appeal to lots of folks.  She proves the adage that one should never, ever underestimate the opposition. 

This is going to be close and we need to turn NC blue. 

Is the job of Mayor of Chapel Hill legally a part-time job?  I could have sworn I read on the website of Wasilla, Alaska the other day that the job of Mayor of Wasilla is a part-time job but I can't find it now.  But that town is about 1/8th the population of CH and I thought the job of Mayor of CH was considered part-time so you'd think Mayor of Wasilla would be considered part-time too.

 Also, the Wasilla website says the salary of mayor is 75 K.  That seems ridiculously high for a part-time mayor job of a town of about 7,000.  And it says the salary of the mayor may be reduced at the mayors disecretion.  That sounds kind of odd.  Why would they even need to put that in there?  If the mayor wanted to give some of her 75 K salary to the town then she could just donate it.  Maybe there are tax issues to do it the way they do it.

To see the code in question for Wasilla go to and the look under 2.16.070.

Mayor of Chapel Hill pays about $20K and is part-time, but is not officially designated so.  Remember though that the Town of Chapel Hill employes a full time professional town manager who makes about $120K or so.  Wasilla may not have a town manager, but rather a so-called strong mayor system.  I don't know.

There's a quite a lot of detail in this letter from Anne Kilkenny, a local government watcher in Wasilla. (I first heard about this on NPR, the letter is legit.)  She says:

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

But she doesn't address Mayoral salary.

Both mayors here are part time, and neither makes anywhere near $75K.  The Wasilla AK website has undoubtedly undergone considerable "vetting" since last week's announcement.  Stand by for all kinds of fabricated factoids.  I would love to know how many votes it took for Ms. Palin to win the governorship of her state.  That info is not readily accessible. 

Election Results

  Candidate Total Votes Percent
2006 general Sarah Palin (R) 114,697 48%  
  Tony Knowles (D) 97,238 41%  
  Andrew Halcro (I) 22,443 9%  
 Other 2,944 1%  
2006 primary Sarah Palin (R) 51,443 51%  
  John Binkley (R) 30,349 30%  
  Frank Murkowski (R) 19,412 19%  

Source: 2008 The Almanac of American Politics 

Thanks for the numbers, Fred.  I'm losing a debate with my brother, could you guess?  My actual brother !!  Once again I'm reminded how fortunate I am to live in a community of like-minded people in the Land of No Safe Assumptions. 



In some communities in other states, the mayor functions as the "manager" of the town and  is paid commensurate with those duties. 

In the US, there are typically four models:

1. The Council-manager Form (what we typically see in NC)

2. The Strong mayor-council form

3. The Weak- Mayor Form

4. The Commission Form

Her town is type 2 where the strong-mayor is given almost total administrative authority, with the power to appoint and dismiss department heads without council approval. Likewise, the mayor prepares and administers the budget, although that budget often must be approved by the city council. In some strong-mayor governments, the mayor will appoint a chief administrative officer who will supervise department heads, prepare the budget, and coordinate departments. This CAO is responsible only to the mayor.

In a weak mayor-council form of government, the mayor, even though popularly elected, is mainly a ceremonial figure. The council is not only the policy making body, but also provides a committee form of administrative leadership and exercises the powers of appointment and removal of agency heads and budget preparation. There is generally no mayoral veto power, and committee chairmen tend to wield extensive powers.In this form of the mayor-council government, the council possesses both legislative and executive authority. The council may appoint officials and must approve of mayoral nominations. The council also exercises primary control over the municipal budget.

The commission form is fairly rare these days.
In the commission form, the city council is made up of the various department heads, so the Chief of Police is elected and s/he serves as a member fo the city council.  This was meant to be a hgihly efficient form of government and was first introduced in re-organizing Galveston, Texas following the nearly complete destruction of Galveston in the great Galveston hurricane of 1900.  It is, as Fred says, rare.
I hope I am largely correct about the above.  It is what I recall from taking the City and Regional Planning class that Jonathan Howes taught 18 years ago this Fall.

Your memory is excellent and your former mayor-professor taught you well. If I remember correctly from the ICMA pub, Portland, OR is the only major city to still use it and efforts to change it were overwhelmingly defeated as lata as last year. I guess it is in concrete in Portland.   :-;


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