Previewing 2010: Eyes on County Commissioners and N.C. Senate

Kirk Ross had a good preview of the coming electoral season in The Carrboro Citizen last week.  He highlighted the battle for Ellie Kinnaird's N.C. Senate seat as she will really be retiring this year (we think.)  I'm amused that after his bold declaration that he'd be back after losing to Kinnaird in the 2008 primary, Moses Carey is now quietly enjoying his N.C. state goverment appointment instead of gearing up for a campaign.

Kirk also introduced the emerging races for County Comissioner...

The terms of long-serving commissioners Alice Gordon and Barry Jacobs also are up in 2010.

Should the pair decide to run again, they, along with any others who step up, will have to figure out whether to run in one of the two districts or as an at-large candidate. Jacobs lives in District 2 and Gordon in District 1. There was quite a bit of behind-the-scenes discussion among the candidates last time around over this issue.

Another twist: In the primary, only residents of a district may vote for a commissioner candidate of their political party running in that district. In the general election, all voters have a choice of candidates in both districts and at-large.

The political year ahead, 1/1/2010

Other than Mike Nelson, who's a strong contender for Kinnaird's seat, Ross didn't really talk about who might be jockeying for positions.  Who do you think will run in 2010, or who do you wish would run?




for Senator Kinnaird's seat.And as you can see he has a number of supporters ready to back him up should he decide to go for said seat.  I think his background as an Alderman, as Mayor, & especially as County Commissioner, where one must represent a broader geograhic area, sets him up to solidly understand the issues facing the 23rd district & represent them well.

Mike has been a disappointment for rural residents. He may live in Hillsborough but his ties to Carrboro/Chapel Hill still show strongly but, then again that is where the votes are.

rural residents care about?   Now that Kinniard is running again I guess the Mike thing is a non-issue, but for my own education, as someone who has spent most of my time in this area living in Chapel Hill & working in Carrboro, I'd like to know.

Rural residents are concerned that the revaluation and taxation is a runaway train and will do nothing but drive the middle and lower classes from the county. The commissioners completly ignored thousands of people showing up to protest the recent valuation and proposed tax rate. They then tried to pull a con job that they were actually passing something revenue neutral. Most taxpayers ended up paying more. Seniors and future retirees in the county arre worried that they will be gentrified from what they have worked all there lives for when they go to a fixed income consideraby less than what they earned as workers if this runaway train is not stopped.Rural residents are concerned that they help pay for all these school buildings in Chapel Hill via bonds and are excluded form using them even if they are closer to a Chapel Hill school. Their children are forced to ride a bus an hour to an hour and a half each day  when a Chapel Hill school might be closer to where they live.Rural residnets are concerned when Chapel Hill confiscates tax generating county land and puts it to use for Chapel residents only, leaving the county residents to make up the difference. None of the existing commisioners has shown ANY compassion for county residents and there needs on these major issues. Mike included even though he lives in the county now.As a note I have been totally unimpressed with Ellie's capability to get energy reform going that would make the most signifcant  contributions to our carbon footprint such as let's make it cheaper for people to get into hybrid cars.  

For decades, the way we elect county commissioners has been slanted in favor of those who appeal to the urban voters. The new system is a half-baked change that gives the appearance of reform. However, having seven members instead of just five opens things up a little.There is also long-standing resentment over land being taken for the Cane Creek Reservoir and land nearly being taken for a mega-landfill in the early 90's. Both of these events ( and others) created a very justifiable feeling of not being fairly represented.  

are there any issues being disccused or decided on now or in the near future with rural residents interests at stake?  And what would a pro-rural stance look like in that case?

is that commissioners have been able to get elected by just appealing to the large majority of voters in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. Consequently, communication about rural concerns has been insufficient. Now we have the bizarre two district and at-large primary system. The commissioners are elected in the Democratic primary - another source of irritation for rural conservatives (and progressives like myself who believe in fair elections with maximium participation). So Alice Gordon will run in District 1 - the urban district. Barry Jacobs will run at-large, which encompasses the urban district, and a handful of rural candidates will vie for the District 2 slot. The option to run at-large allows someone to avoid appealing to voters in District 2, even if they live in District 2. If we are going to have district voting in the primaries, then candidates should have to run in the district where they live. It's just a clumsy system designed by incumbents and insiders (Democrats) to minimize reform and maintain power while simultaneously claiming that they are in favor of voting reform - something they opposed adamantly for years.The fact that rural concerns have not been represented at the commissioners table has caused irritation and unnecessary rancor over the years. It has cost the county in many ways, not the least of which is having a better understanding of rural concerns. 

they are setting it up such that the new person has to come from district 2.  If there is 1 spot for d1, 1 for d2, and 1 for at large, and the 2 incumbants have filled in the d1 & at large spots (perhaps so they can both appeal to urban voters), at least that means the only new person (do non-incumbents ever win CC seats?) will come from d2 right?  

When you get screwed day in and day out then there is NO TRUST. I refer you and others who are lost to website and the subject hot topics which list just a few of the issues.As Mark has stated the election process is still a hard pill to stomach for rural folks.When you receive few services a reduction has a bigger impact i.e. reduced hours at trash drop off sites. Lets not forget the sludge spreading which is occuring all over our county. One last item is OWASA pays no taxes for the 3,000 plus acres it owns mostly in Bingham Township, taxes that support everyone. Remember that word I used earlier "trust" it is something you have to build on and the rural community had to stand up and do the job that the staff is paid to do for accurate pictures being presented to public officials on several issues.

This whole issue seems to reflect the arguments that established the House of Representative and the Senate. Our county seems a bit small for such politics. Is it possible to put their lands into Nature Conservancies and lower their taxes but also their value at resale?

Have you ever lived in a rural area or owned a farm?

My sister and her husband live on 640 acres in Virginia. Does that count?

No, it doesn't.I have only lived in rural Orange County for 25 plus years. I married a local girl who's family has lived in the same area for 225 plus years. In the rural community you depend on yourself or neighbors and that neighbor may live a mile away. I take my trash off and I never did that until I moved to the country. There are those who will stop by and get my trash for a fee but that is something that was not available until recently.

is something I oddly have as a fond memory and is something I haven't done in a few years (b/c of college & living in apartment complexes in Raleigh & Chapel Hill) since growing up in Mt. Airy, NC.  But as a kid hopping in the truck with my dad and hauling it off to the trash site, and tossing all the bags out of the bed of the truck in to compactor  and watching it get crushed was kind of fun. </random memory>

I expect we'll see some news in the Senate race fairly soon.

....running in the 2nd District. He would lose a lot of his base in rest of the county if he did. There are two Democrats who have announced they are going to run, Renee Price from Hillsborough and Earl McKee from Caldwell and also one Republican, Greg Andrews from Efland.

What a sloppy way to set up an election. Having some candidates choose to appeal to voters in the entire county & others choosing the rural or urban voters is ridiculous. What a travesty of all the efforts over the years to reform commissioner elections in Orange County.

Now Mark, I know and most everyone else knows your opinion on how we elect our commissioners. Not saying you are off the mark but, short of a revolution nothing will change.

Expect to see Jacobs run at-large and Gordon in District 1.Thanks, Ruby, for getting this thread going. Given the name of the blog, it was getting to be about time to return to a central topic.  Ed Harrison

Not that I'm not thrilled to have her representing us, we couldn't do much better. But this she's-in-she's-out-she's-in game is getting tiresome.

From her statement, as published at the Carrboro Citizen link above:

“This last term has been a challenge for the State budget, just like it has for families throughout the state, but I have been able to provide the leadership to write and guide legislation benefiting every person in the district and in the state. Building on my past work, I want to further encourage the development of alternative energy and energy efficiency to improve our people’s health and economic security. The mental health crisis is not yet behind us and I want to improve the situation as best we can in these lean times. There is also more to do to help our families and youth in their interactions with state agencies and the completion of a system-wide electronic criminal justice network will help prevent dangerous criminals from getting lost between agencies in the system. Most importantly, we must embark on tax reform to make the system fair while providing necessary services to our citizens in severe economic and fiscal downturns.”

There are worse things than stirring up a little suspense in the media if you are vulnerable to having a potentially ho-hum campaign because you're taken for granted.  Not saying that Ellie Kinnaird was being purposeful and devious rather than genuinely ambivalent.  Just saying the "on again/off again" game isn't necessarily a bad thing in the larger picture.  When people think she might not be running, they tend to trot out the reasons why it's been a very good thing to have her in the Senate, reminding themselves and us of her worth AND of what happens in Raleigh that sometimes has more of an impact on us than the DC dramas.

I should have checked in on the status of the race after the Rand resignation and the other changes in the Senate leadership (Soles, Hoyle, Boseman are not running again). It's a different Senate than it was two months ago.

I personally am thrilled that Ellie is running again.  It is such a pleasure to work with her.  She is such an excellent representative for us here, and she is so accessible and responsive to our local concerns.   She is very passionate about those issues she talks about in her statement, and I know that she wants very much to continue to work on those.    She is genuine, thoughtful, caring, smart and she is someone I look up to.   I applaud her decision.   Go Ellie!

The Orange County Board of Elections hosted an open house today at their new office location at 208 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough.

The office was previously located on East King Street. 


2010 Candidate Filing Period

The 2010 candidate filing period begins at noon on Monday, February 8 and ends at noon on Friday, February 26 at the Orange County Board of Elections located at 208 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough.

All Notices of Candidacy, together with the proper filing fee, must be in the possession of the Orange County Board of Elections by noon on Friday, February 26.  Filing will be open for the following offices: State Senate, State House of Representatives, County Commissioner, Sheriff, Register of Deeds, Clerk of Court and Orange County Board of Education.  Notices arriving after that time cannot be accepted. Filing fees exceeding $50.00 must be paid with individual check or money order, payable to the "Orange County Board of Elections". Business or corporate checks are not acceptable.

Information on the 2010 election, including filing fees, can be found on the Board of Elections website or by contacting the Orange County Board of Elections at 245-2350.


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